An Invitation to Listen to Your Soul’s Calling
How do you define "growing up"? Does it mean you achieve certain cultural benchmarks—a steady income, paying taxes, marriage, and children? Or does it mean leaving behind the expectations of others and growing into the person you were meant to be? If you find yourself in a career, place, relationship, or crisis you never foresaw or that seems at odds with your beliefs about who you are, it means your soul is calling on you to reexamine your path.
With Living an Examined Life, James Hollis offers an essential guidebook for anyone at a crossroads in life. Here this acclaimed author guides you through 21 areas for self-inquiry and growth, challenging you to:
• Recover Personal Authority—how to stop living in response to the expectations placed on you
• Choose Meaning Over Happiness—why seeking truth instead of entertaining distractions ultimately leads to greater fulfillment
• Exorcise the Ghosts of the Past That Bind You—how the voices that haunt you can lead you to grow
• Bestow Love on the Unlovable Parts of You—recovering the guiding force concealed in your Shadow
• Construct a Mature Spirituality—the five essential elements of integrating meaning and mystery into your life
• Seize Permission to Be Who You Really Are—the challenge of fully showing up for your life
With his trademark eloquence and insight, Dr. Hollis offers Living an Examined Life to inspire you toward a life of personal authority, integrity, and fulfillment. "It is my hope that this book will be a tool to recover your respect for that which abides deeply within," writes Dr. Hollis. "You will not be spared disappointment or suffering. But you can know the depth and dignity of an authentic journey, of being a real player in your time on this turning planet, and your life will become more interesting, taking you deeper than ever before."
“Living the Examined Life is a gift of rare gold: the accumulated logos of a life lived deeply and fully, generously shared and beautifully crafted. James Hollis bridges profound psychological insight and practical application. Joyously, this book dares us to go beyond the ordinary, acknowledgement of the terrors of the adventure before us, yet promising—like a loyal, loving, trusty Sherpa—to accompany us as we navigate the difficult terrain of authentic personal growth. This is the book to have as a fellow traveler—Socratic interrogator, wise friend, loving teacher, mindful mentor.” —Martin Lloyd-Elliott, psychologist, psychotherapist, author
“This book represents the distillation of a lifetime’s accumulated wisdom. The reader is sure to find helpful guidance for life's perplexities and warm companionship on the way.” —Lionel Corbett, professor at Pacifica Graduate Institute
“Nobody writes about the challenges of creating a meaningful life with as much wisdom and warmth as James Hollis. This book is an extraordinary gift to all of us grappling with the ‘second half of life’—free of all platitudes and false comforts, but full of sustenance, humor, and tools for navigating the journey.” —Oliver Burkeman, columnist for the Guardian and author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking
“This is a book full of gems. Some are wise, some are deep, some are precious. Still others are even funny and others self-evident. Yet every one of them is necessary and belongs to the whole. As if James Hollis had scanned the inner landscape of us all, himself included, to produce a necklace of human truths from every part of the psyche, including the wondrous, the normal, and the dire. Reading him is to be reminded that it is possible to be fully human because, and not in spite of, our full part of light and shadow.” —Jan Bauer, Jungian analyst and author of Impossible Love: Or Why the Heart Must Go Wrong
“James Hollis is the most lucid thinker I know about the complexities and complexes that interfere with living a full life. His broad background in literature, philosophy, and Jungian psychology is everywhere present in this important book, which—as it strips away illusions—posits the soul-work that’s necessary for the difficult task of making our lives meaningful. He’s one of our great teachers and healers.” —Stephen Dunn, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet