This journey transforms

Our psychological work is to journey from the chaos of our personal unconscious to a coherent conscious integration. Our spiritual path then takes us to the treasures of the cosmic, collective unconscious and full individuation. Everything in our lives, no matter how terrible, exists in relation to an inner healing force. “The journey with father and mother up and down many ladders represents the making conscious of infantile concerns that have not yet been integrated…The personal unconscious must always be dealt with first…otherwise the gateway to the collective unconscious cannot be opened”, Jung tells us. Our work as adults is thus an heroic journey, since a hero is anyone who has lived through pain and been transformed by it.

David Richo, How to Be an Adult

Seasons in a life

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The question of the first half of life is “What is the world asking of me?” …. The question for the second half is, however, quite different, “What now does the soul ask of me?” Another way of putting the first question is …. Do you have enough energy, courage, resourcefulness, to enter into this world, take on its demands, and create your own conscious place in it?  In the second half of life the question becomes Who, now, apart from the roles you play, are you? Do you have the wherewithal to shift course, deconstruct your painfully achieved identity, risking failure, marginalization and loss of collective approval….  The whole … [of this part] … of life calls us to a spiritual, by which I mean psychological, agenda, while maintaining one’s participation in the social community. 

James Hollis, On this Journey we call Our Life: Living the Questions


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In the face of the new and uncertain, we often return to the old place, which is why we so often stop growing. This is an example of what Jung called “the regressive restoration of the persona,” namely, the re-identification with a former position, role, ideology because it offers a predictable content, security, and script. (It has become clear to me, for example, that aging in itself does not bring wisdom. It often brings regression to childishness, dependency, and bitterness over lost opportunities).  Regression, which we all suffer from time to time, is an abrogation of our summons to live more fully into the world, to risk being who we are, and to accept the gift that our differences bring to the collective.

James Hollis, What Matters Most

photo chris upson


Taking responsibility


The capacity for growth depends on one’s ability to internalize and to take personal responsibility.

If we forever see our life as a problem caused by others,

a problem to be ‘solved,’

then no change will occur.

James Hollis, The Middle Passage

Balance in nature and in life

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There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity