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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.

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Comment by Hamida on March 12, 2008 at 3:06pm
I wrote about seeing you in Santa Rosa, CA on my blog and that's how I got invited to view this blog. I am in the middle of the book at this point. I read your comment from March 10. For me one of the greatest challenges has been to understand and implement "everything is God", which is part of the alchemical process that you write about and one of the tenets of Sufism. Thus DC is SF etc. One Taste/old time religion no difference - really. That has been my mission over the years. To see it as All One.
Comment by Thomas Moore on March 10, 2008 at 8:18am
Deborah invited me to write from Washington. Well, I just arrived after speaking at One Taste in San Francisco. What an interesting project. One Taste is an intentional community being formed in the Mission Street area, I believe it is, in the city. They are exploring how to live a city/non-celibate monastic community dedicated to a sensual spirituality with an emphasis on shadow. They were very welcoming, warm, intelligent, visionary, and original. Our ideas meshed very well; in fact, I can hardly believe that a community is so close to my own views. Usually I feel that I'm coming from another planet when I speak, as I often do, of linking sexual fulfillment with spirituality.
It feels like a culture shock now to be in Washington DC with its current reputation for old time religion and the approval of torture. Maybe somewhere in this city there is another One Taste. I hope so, and I hope I find it.
Comment by Susan O'Hara on March 9, 2008 at 11:58pm
I attended Mr. Moore's stop at the Seattle Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, March 4th during lunch. I consider it a non-coincidence that I found Mr. Moore. In searching for interesting things to do in Seattle during a Microsoft Conference that I was planning to attend, I mistakenly typed in "Seattle" in the URL of my web browser instead of in the search field of the web browser. This redirected my page to the Seattle Chamber of Commerce site, where the book tour stop was announced. I am embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of Mr. Moore, but was intrigued by the topic of his works. After deciding that I would attend, I asked my husband what is my most frequent complaint. He instantly replied that I was unsatisfied with my work, and felt that I had never found my calling. I am truly one of those persons who is frustrated because while my work pays well, and is somewhat fulfilling from time to time, I consider it to be achieving only goals of "narcisissim," as Thomas Moore puts it. I've always been completely terrified of leaving a stable job to find fulfillment, especially since having children.

I completely appreciate the words that Mr. Moore spoke, and I hung on every phrase he uttered during our lunch time together, as if he and I were the only ones in the room. The best advice I received during this time was to go outside myself, help another person, and not focus on improving myself. This gave me resolve that I am not required to walk away from my employment (initially) to find fulfillment. For that I am grateful.

I have not finished reading the book yet. As I hung on every word uttered during our lunch, I've also read and re-read paragraphs and stopped to really mull things over. I want to get the most out of this experience and make the changes in my life that must be meant to be, else I wouldn't have typed "Seattle" in the address line. Thank you for writing the book.
Comment by Barque on March 9, 2008 at 9:05pm
Many thanks Thomas for this post, given your hectic touring schedule and the unknowable demands on your time. May the new agent see publication of your Gospels book as a significant feature of his/her own opus. Links to more feedback about A Life at Work, have been added at Barque: Thomas Moore as Catalyst. Please post from Washington if you can. D.

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