These are some of my favorite authors and books and a few selected quotes:
Excerpts from Holding the Center: Sanctuary in a Time of Confusion.
“Our lives are a small stitch sewn on a vast circle of mystery. While we are forever mounting a campaign to order, know, grasp, and control, we are constantly reminded that with all our cunning, we still don’t know a hoot, really, about life. True, the pursuit of knowledge generates power, and yes, we have created tools that if used humanely provide a leverage for helping others. But until we look inside our looking, until we become fully present to what it means to be a human being, we will stray from that which is essential. We exist by the generosity of an abundant and mysterious force that constantly eludes our efforts to author it. Yet in the extravagant and intricate free fall we call our lives there is a beauty that, if we allow it, will shape our spirit into something both wild and comforting. ” Page 23.
“What we actually have to offer one another is the simple but daring contribution of our genuine presence. Techniques and theories abound and we can learn half a dozen in an hour, but it is in the pulsating contact between living things that healing and beauty take place. Presence is being present – a state impregnated with an open-minded curiosity, relaxation, and power that comes from seamlessly knitting together one’s mind, body and spirit.
As far as I can tell – and this is something that all my teachers have passed on to me – it is only through practice that this unification can occur. “If you want to tame something,” the fox advises the Little Prince, “sit with it every day at the same time.”
Frederic M. Hudson
Excerpt from The Adult Years: Mastering the Art of Renewal.
“We all have a very brief slice of time on earth. Our lives are wrapped in limiting cognitive structures through which we maintain distorted visions of who we are and who we might become. Such is the human condition. We are mortals not gods. Yet the principles that we choose to explain our lives are absolutely crucial to our destiny, for they shape our thoughts, feelings, and actions. They link us to the world as we see it and define our boundaries. They express our beliefs and define our hopes. They are all we have to measure our lives. Through them we have an opportunity to honor our past, celebrate our present, and design our future.” Page 216.
Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee
Excerpt from Resonant Leadership.
“In our work with executives we have found that true renewal relies on three key elements that might at first sound too soft to support the hard work of being a resonant leader. But they are absolutely essential; without them, leaders cannot sustain resonance in themselves or with others.
The first element is mindfulness, or living in a state of full, conscious awareness of one’s whole self, other people, and the context in which we live and work. In effect, mindfulness means being awake, aware, and attending – to ourselves and to the world around us.
The second element, hope, enables us to believe that the future we envision is attainable, and to move toward our visions and goals while inspiring others toward those goals as well.
When we experience the third critical element for renewal, compassion, we understand people’s wants and needs and feel motivated to act on our feelings.” Pages 8 and 9.
“Often, in order to stay alive, we have to unmake a living in order to get back to living the life we wanted for ourselves. It is this cycle of making, disintegration, and remaking that is the hallmark of meaningful and creative work.” Page 77.
“Once we have built our work and our contribution around our natural gifts, we have joined a great gravitational river where the current is flowing in the direction we wish to travel. Longing is a deep current of gravity that we perceive will take us home, or to a new home, and being caught in that gravity field is the sense that we have of belonging.” Page 138.
“In a sense, each morning is a time to get to know that strange thing we call a self again and, just as important, what that self is attempting to do with its even stranger mix of selflessness, selfishness, and self-sabotage. We shape our work, and then, not surprisingly, we are shaped again by the work we have done. Sometimes to our distress, we find ourselves in a place where the work suddenly seems to be doing all the shaping, where we do not seem to lift ourselves out of the mud of our own making, where we do not feel able to shape ourselves at all. At this point no strategy will free us from our imprisonment, no new organizer will organize us into something new; we need time and a renewed sense of the breadth and depth of time in which to do the reimagining that is the essence of self-shaping. It is the reimagining of ourselves in our own private time that allows us to then reshape ourselves in conversation with the world.” Page 201.
Excerpts from Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation.
“It is a strange gift, this birthright gift of self. Accepting it turns out to be even more demanding than attempting to become someone else. I have sometimes responded to that demand by ignoring the gift, or hiding it, or squandering it – and I think I am not alone. There is a Hasidic tale that reveals, with amazing brevity, both the universal tendency to want to be someone else and the ultimate importance of becoming one’s self. Rabbi Zusya, when he was an old man, said, “In the coming world, they will not ask me: ‘Why were you not Moses?’ They will ask me: “Why were you not Zusya?’ Page 11.
“Our deepest calling is to grow into our authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks – we will also find our path of authentic service in the world. True vocation joins self and service, as Frederic Buechner asserts when he defines vocation as “the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” Page 16.
Robert A. Johnson
“It is also astonishing to find that some very good characteristics turn up in the shadow. Generally, the ordinary, mundane characteristics are the norm. Anything less that this goes into the shadow. But anything better also goes into the shadow! Some of the pure gold of our personality is relegated to the shadow because it can find no place in that great leveling process that is culture.
Curiously, people resist the noble aspects of their shadow more strenuously than they hide the dark sides. To draw the skeleton out of the closet is relatively easy, but to own the gold in the shadow is terrifying.” Page 8.
Patricia R. Adson
In the Introduction to her book, Dr. Adson quotes her colleague, Carol Pearson, from Awakening the Heroes Within:
“We are aided on our journey by inner guides, or archetypes, each of which exemplifies a way of living on the journey . . . Each has a lesson to teach us, and presides over a stage of the journey.
These archetypes are names given to basic human resources, traits, and capabilities that are built into the biological substrate of human beings. They are ways to categorize and talk about our capacity to care for others, to stand up for and defend ourselves, to feel wonder and trust, and to experience a sense of loss (among many other things). We call on the archetypes to accomplish the fundamental tasks of human development, such as learning to trust, to be autonomous, to find our identity and our work, and to live in integrity and pass on what we have learned to others. In doing this, we take the hero’s journey (metaphorically), fight our dragons (other people’s expectations for us), find our treasures and our identity, and return to share these with the community.
The archetypal resources live in each one of us and can be activated, developed, awakened, or called forth at various stages and ages of our lives. . . We can learn to evoke and to balance these forces after we have acknowledged their presence. Becoming aware of archetypal forces allows us to activate these inner resources and to live intentional lives, lives that we compose and manage ourselves. When we are unaware of the archetypes, they “live us” instead of our living them. By this I mean that when we are unaware our behavior is driven by forces that we don’t know we can control. As a result, our reactions to stimuli are unconscious and immature.” Pages 3 and 4.