Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up Paperback – Mar 16 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
The midlife crisis is familiar enough, but as in previous works, Hollis (The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning at Midlife), brings a Jungian perspective to it that goes deeper than the idea of finding mere self-fulfillment. That feeling that you've been living the wrong life, that you're lost and confused, is "an insurgency of the soul," he says poetically, which "overthrows the conscious conduct of our lives." This mental suffering presents an opportunity to embark on a journey transcending expectations foisted on us by others, such as parents, and to find true self-knowledge. Hollis offers not a simple how-to on facing this crisis, but rather a deep Jungian exploration of individuation, the process of becoming the person one was meant to be. Sprinkling his discussion with references to prose, drama, poetry and popular culture as well as examples from patient histories, Hollis recommends working toward a mature spirituality by being true to personal experience and embracing the mystery of life. This spirituality is a reconnection to the voice of the soul, dramatized by images that appear to us in dreams. Hollis is humane and compassionate regarding the human condition, and his focus on the underlying meaning of life will resonate for many, though they may not respond to his somewhat mystical, god-laden language. (May 1) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“How to find your way out of the woods (figuratively)…what’s at stake is what Hollis calls the biggest project of midlife: reclaiming one’s personal authority…”—More magazine "Midlife is a time when people can lose their way and flounder. Jungian analyst James Hollis knows this terrain, describes it well and asks the important questions that can lead to clarity, maturity, and meaning"—Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., author of Goddesses in Everywoman and Gods in EverymanSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I use an example. I have a friend who has been divorced 17 years. Despite his many (non self recognized) eccentricities and way of being that would not be easy to live with, the breakup of his marriage was always and remains the exclusive fault of his wife. She was not perfect, but to believe it was all her fault is for my friend to ignore his reality - or as the author says, to not be "conscious" - is a psychological dead end.
Another friend has been divorced for 10 years. At the outset he was bitter and blaming of his wife. But over time he began to recognize there were things he brought to the relationship that were negative, that he was not perfect, nor his ex-wife imperfect. In fact he began to realize there were many strong points in the relationship, which he appreciated and valued in retrospect. It happened these feelings were reciprocated and over time the two became friends again.
What a better ending to the second story. Not only better in that the couple resolved their differences, but better in that they recognized on both sides that much value had been given each by one another. Yet more critically from the position of my second friend, he left the anger and bitterness still being experienced by my first friend - he went to a new, more reasoned and happier level. He in effect "grew up" - though there will always be room for more given our human imperfections.
This is not a glitzy self help book. Nor is it a quick read, it requires concentration and thought. But I think it is one fine book, a bit exceptional I believe.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
James Hollis writes with clarity and compassion about profound and complex dilemmas, in a deeply engaging way that reflects his personal and professional experience. The best thing about FINDING MEANING IN THE SECOND HALF OF LIFE is that rather than providing easy answers it asks the right questions, so that one is inspired to further evolve toward her own truth. I also recommend James Hollis's other books for their soulful exploration of meaning that can be pragmatically and creatively absorbed.
Rock on, James!
Neither is it a book, at least for me, to be read at one sitting. But it is a pleasure to read in small bits and then ponder what was just read.
I gave a copy to an alcholic friend of mine, who is also looking for some deeper understandings in life, and he said it was the most important book he'd read since he quit drinking over 20 years ago. It is not a 'how to' book, but if you approach it with some patience and curiousity you will be immensely rewarded.
We can learn how to forgive the unavoidable mistake called "the first half of our life" and go confidently forward into the second, with our compassionate guide, James Hollis.
With his writings, he serves as the scout that we need to enter this uncharted territory within ourselves. We need not be scared to enter these depths. We can do this effectively if we read and heed the words of this sage.
I credit Hollis and his book "Eden Project, in Search of the Magical Other" for saving my marriage. I would recommend this book to anyone in a relationship. Hollis will guide you in an eloquent way through relationships and where we tend to go wrong in them. I look around me, at all the dissatisfied couples and think, they could save a lot of misery and money if instead of getting new partners, sports cars and face lifts, they just bought a copy of the Eden Project. It is not light reading, it is not band-aid psychology, but it is well worth the effort.
Now Dr. Hollis will guide us through the second half of life with this book. This is the stuff of real strength, written by a real hero. He has lead us to the promised land that is within.