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Recently, I dipped into Soul Mates for the first part of The Magic and Alchemy of Marriage (Ch. 3), where Thomas mentions a friend who lives in one town, and her husband in another as an example of the odd arrangements a soulful marriage might involve. at the same time, I was reading In the Eye of the Tyger on, which discusses the changes in Ireland and how Irish imagination might deal with such changes as technological "advances" and economic prosperity.

This article is about the growing number of "commuter marriages" and the challenges, and rewards, these relationships engender.

To me, there is some soul to be found in commuter marriages/relationships when we heed Thomas' observations on the role of imagination and technology from the first two sources I've mentioned here. Maybe this is good reading for some of you. It was for me. Even though I'm not in a commuter marriage, I think we are all both distant, traveling and working within our individual selves and imaginations internally, while we live a life of relationship with friends and family that is woven into our inner world. Soul, as Thomas has often said, is where these outer and inner worlds meet.


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A cookie commercial plays on "commuter families" with a father and son sharing their cookie-eating experience via a digital video link. The father says, "Good night, son." The boy replies, "Good morning, Dad." The son is at the end of his day and the father is just starting his, half way around the world. I wrestle with seeing this new "long distance" relationship arrangement being similar to Moore's example of the couple in separate cities. His desciption suggests the arrangement supports the relationship while the N.Y. Times piece described people in commuter marriages/families using technology to "stay together" despite the separations. The newspaper article seemed to say the couples decided to live apart primarily because of economics, not desire. I enjoyed reading the piece. I'm unconvinced it's a worthy model for family life.
I can only agree. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I'll have to read the passage in Thomas' book again, as I'm not sure if he explains why those two ended up in different cities. An important point!

A friend of mine, living in Japan, is now commuting 5 miles each week to leave Tokyo and be with his family for 3 days in the countryside where they live. Interestingly, he has told me the time with his family has become more intimate. It wouldn't be the thing for me, but he even enjoys the long train ride.

Thanks again for commenting on this thread.
I recently started Soul Mates as well and I am continually moved by Moore's treatment of soul and how it often means we won't fit into the accepted norm of society when we follow the mystery that is soul - both in individual and communal pursuit.
I agree that the NY Times piece makes commuter marriages seem less than desirable, and I agree with your observations. I might have seen that commercial somewhere, too --- sounds familiar. My friend in Japan has discovered things about himself that he likely would not have if he hadn't, for economic reasons, moved into an apartment away from his family four days a week.

Life is so full of mystery, we can become moralistic when we apply reason and ego to situations that seem unhealthy on the outside or violate our sense of virtue. I'm not saying anyone in this forum has done that, but I know I have often been too quick to judge.

By the way, aren't we all, in this forum, using technology to "stay together"? :-)
I agree with you Rob about our penchant to judge. I try to be more conscious of those times. I'm not sure why people join this forum -- a shared interest in Thomas Moore's work is one reason for its creation. I posted links from Utne Reader in the Barque: Thomas Moore as Catalyst blog because they touch on conversation and community -- features to cultivate here. I'm glad you posted the link to the NY Times article; we may see more examples given current economics.
Thanks again for staring this forum, which has connected me to Thomas Moore's work and wonderful people. Apropos 'current economics', I think we stand to gain deeper insight into our culture and ourselves as we weather this storm. Like a personal depression, this economic depression (Economics nomenclature aside) brings us down from the dizzying swirl of fast times and high finance to examine a culture of greed and luxury at the expense of our fellow humans and our planet. We can come home again if we use these hard times to escape the shimmering allure of reason and ego (Thomas talks about these things often) to return to where the water is good, that place within ourselves that appreciates mystery, and soul.


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