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The Middle Passage (Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts) Paperback – March 1, 1993
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About the Author
James Hollis, Ph.D. is a Zurich-trained Jungian analyst. He is the acclaimed author of seven other books in this series. He lives in Houston, Texas, where he is director of the C.G. Jung Educational Center.
Jungian analyst James Hollis looks at that point in life when people return to questioning who they are and where theyre going. While its often called a mid-life crisis, Hollis prefers to call it a passage--after all, its not a crisis for everyone. Reading his own work, Hollis discusses the pressures that lead to this passage, points out the weight of past influences, and offers suggestions on how to navigate these treacherous waters. With a calm tone and a friendly voice, Hollis leads listeners through this perilous period and advises on ways to negotiate it. While the narration is fine, the book itself is dense, and listeners may need to take some time to reflect on some of its profound ideas. K.M. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top customer reviews
What I especially enjoy about Hollis is the literate sensibility he brings to his writing (often utilizing appropriate references from literature both old and modern), combined with his wise and welcoming experience of being human (every stage and experience has its place and value.... It's all good when we find it's meaning, and the struggle and suffering make it all the more recognizable and significant. The real problem is our modern culture is lacking in clear guidelines, maps and support from wise elders.... The challenging part is it's up to us here and now to create these essential functions.)
This book covers an overview of the four stages/identities humans experience in a complete life (childhood and adolescence, which lead to the second adulthood beginning at midlife, leading to acceptance of mortality in old age). It clearly points out how the first half is about establishing our egos, and fitting in to expectations, while the second is about finding our individual voice and real meaning (the resolutions of often long buried questions). As Hollis says, "if we are fortunate to suffer enough, we are stunned into a reluctant consciousness and the questions return to us again." (Pg 19) I could quote so much more to give a taste of his gentle wisdom, but I will share just one more.
"During the Middle Passage, the insurgence of the shadow is part of a corrective effort made by the Self to bring the personality back into balance. The key to integration of the shadow, the unlived life, is to understand that it's demands emanate from the Self, which wishes neither further repression nor unlicensed acting out. The integration of the shadow requires that we live responsibly in society but also more honestly with ourselves. We learn through the deflation of the persona world that we have lived provisionally; the integration of inner truths, joyful or unpleasant, is necessary to bring new life and restoration of purpose." (pg. 44)
James Hollis, a Jungian therapist with decades of experience as an analyst and teacher, has written this remarkable book which is the best I have seen at elucidating what the midlife passage means and the creative response it demands.
Approaching the topic from the rich, poetic, and mystical perspective of depth psychology, Hollis maintains that our second lives call for nothing less than a renegotiation with the universe. In the first part of life, the ego is in charge and has projected unrealistic demands upon people, jobs, institutions and other aspects of the outer world. In the second half of life, Hollis maintains that these projections must be withdrawn and that we must undergo a new, inner journey based on what the soul demands. While this may at first sound theoretical and impractical, in fact Hollis describes aspects of what such an odyssey would entail as it relates to relationships, vocation, and other aspects of living. Hollis says that we already have everything we need to make this journey, however fraught with fear it can be. It's already inside us. I think you will come away convinced.
At only 117 pages, concentrated and learned--but not pedantic--almost every paragraph has a sentence that can be pondered, underlined, and returned to. I expect to do this many times.
As frightening as the midlife passage can be, Hollis gives us hope. He writes, "We are in the sea-surge of the soul, along with many others to be sure, but needing to swim under our own power. The truth is simply that what we must know will come from within. If we can align our lives with that truth, no matter how difficult the abrasions of the world, we will feel healing, hope, and new life."
If you have entered the dark wood of midlife--as Dante referred to it--you will find this book to be an immensely rewarding companion that offers not a way out, but a description of a path through that will be uniquely your own.