I'm just completing my stay in the San Francisco Bay area after speaking at Sonoma State University for the Institute of Imaginal Studies and at a beautiful church in Santa Rosa for Copperfield Bookstore. I also spent a couple of hours recording with Michael and Justine Thoms, old friends who live in Ukiah and run New Dimensions. One more stop is One Taste, an urban retreat center in San Francisco.
I had trouble getting this book out originally because I keep tripping over myself as I try to be substantive and readable at the same time. I usually want to indulge in my esoteric interests and historical roots, while editors try to keep me focused in the current century. And that goes against my grain. In any case, people are responding with passion to the topic of a life work, as distinct from just getting a job. The crowds are big and welcoming. Now I know what I was trying to do and wish I could start over.
One useful idea that has come out in the talks and is not strong in the book is the archetypal, eternal longing for the work that will ultimately satisfy. I'm reminded of James Hillman's discussion of impossible love in The Myth of Analysis. He says there that the longing is deep and not as literal as it appears. It will always be there urging us on toward new life. I think the same about the longing for the ultimate job or project. We need that fantasy of a job out of reach. It keeps the soul alive. The frustrating thing is that it is never fully satisfied.
Even as I travel, I keep my ears open for ideas about my next big project, the soul of medicine. I know now how I want to write it and can't wait to get started. Meanwhile, as we speak my new agent is working on getting the book on the Gospels into print.