- Paperback: 340 pages
- Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco (October 11, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062502824
- ISBN-13: 978-0062502827
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Mythic Life: Learning to Live our Greater Story Paperback – October 11, 1996
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About the Author
Jean Houston,Ph.D., is the bestselling author of fifteen books, including The Possible Human and The Search for the Beloved, and an internationally renowned psychologist, scholar, philosopher, and teacher. She is the co-director of the Foundation for Mind Research in Pomona, New York, and founder of the Mystery School -- an institution dedicated to teaching history, philosophy, the new physics, psychology, anthropology, myth and the many dimensions of our human potential. A consultants to the United Nations, UNICEF, and other international agencies, Houston presents transformational workshops to people and organizations all over the world.
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Houston's childhood involved moving often, some years several times in one school year. The moving taught her to observe, adapt, and join groups. Perhaps it was this constant out-siderness that allowed her to pause, even as a child, to see how people interact with each other and to learn how to employ optimal ways for people to work together. She shares her revelations that directed her to help people and communities deepen their creativity and their potential.
It's been Houston's pursuit to engage people and communities to exercise their full potential by spiritually reaching inwardly and outwardly. The text is full of wisdom nuggets like:
"Wounding often involves a painful excursion into pathos, we experience massive anguish, and the suffering cracks the boundaries of what we thought we could stand. And yet, time and again, I discover that the wounding pathos of our local stories contains the seeds of healing and even of transformation."
"On her deathbed, Margaret [Mead] suggested to me that the answers lie not with economic or political initiatives but with a deepened citizenry. We can transform the world only by transforming ourselves, for what threatens our survival is not weaponry or technology but the people who use them."
Her memoir requires an acceptance that life is experienced through many types of lenses and a bit of faith in the un-seeable. It's helpful to remember that Houston is a mystic. She believes in the energies and the essence that lie within people and that tie people to their ancestors.
I could have done without the second to the last chapter. She uses that chapter to break from the style of writing she used in the majority of the book to meld her love of cooking with her philosophy on improving the human condition. The chapter lacked the pace and fluidity of the previous chapters. It's my only complaint in an otherwise interesting read.
Her writing led me to further books, including her friend Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces. His book was on my shortlist to read because it's a must-read text for writers; yet from Houston's point of view and the conversations she shares that she had with Campbell, his famous text has a spiritual edge. In Houston's opinion, Campbell's book reveals the archetypes of spirits present in a multitude of myths and stories. Joseph Campbell was one of many of Houston's more famous friends. Her social circle also included anthropologist Margaret Mead and politician Hilary Clinton.
A Mythic Life is not a summer vacation read. Choose a time to read it when you have time to contemplate her message and her life. For an immensely creative woman, her memoir's cover is dull (dark tan with white writing); luckily the content is not.
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writes with vivid descriptions, candor, uproarious humor and humility. I especially loved the wonderful stories about her unusual early development of self-knowledge which led to her many remarkable abilities in later life. I greatly enjoyed learning about her mentoring by some of the greatest people of our time. She is truly a larger-than-life, most remarkable woman and this is a delicious book.