script type='text/javascript' src=''>

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Moore delivers keynote lecture in Ottawa, May 3

Next Thursday May 3, 2007, at 8:45 a.m.,Thomas Moore is scheduled to give the Keynote Lecture at the 3rd International Conference on Spirituality & Mental Health to be held at St. Paul University in Ottawa. This event is jointly offered by The Department of Psychiatry of the University of Ottawa, the Ontario Multifaith Council on Spiritual and Religious Care and Saint Paul University.

Moore's talk is called Deep Spirituality: Spirituality Grounded in the Soul.

"Spirituality provides vision, values, and an expanding sense of self that leads to community. But unless it goes deep into the body, emotions, relationships, and the world, it can be dangerous and destructive. Another way to say this is that spirit and soul go together. This presentation tells how to practice spirituality that is deeply grounded and connected to the soul. It outlines many of the dangers of a soulless spirituality and ways to ensoul the spiritual life."

Friday, April 20, 2007

Jackson: How to create soul in a community

The Jackson Citizen Patriot published accounts of Thomas Moore’s recent weekend workshop in Jackson. Reporter Mary Barber wrote a follow-up article on Saturday, April 14, 2007, Author has advice for soulful life, in which she says:
A soulful life is made up of the ordinary things: good food, a close family, lots of friends, a beautiful home, says author and theologian Thomas Moore. Fill your life with those things and encourage others to do the same, and you will see a great change in the community, he told an audience of about 200 at Jackson Community College's Baughman Theatre on Friday night.

"Make this a mecca of pleasure and deep spirituality at the same time," Moore said. Moore, author of the best-seller Care of the Soul and 14 other books, outlined several key elements of soul: a sense of belonging, memory, beauty, food, intimacy, sexuality and diversity.

"The soul doesn't flourish in a uniform environment," the former monk said. The Cottage Retreat Center brought Moore to Jackson for Friday night's lecture and today's workshop on creativity, change and potential. Jackson has plenty of those things, he said.

"I do feel this town is full of promise," Moore said, pointing to the Armory Arts Village and transformation of the former prison, as well as many beautiful and historical buildings downtown. "Your history and your problems are fertile ground (for soul)," he said. "Don't clean it up too much."

Perfection is soulless, he said, which might be why human relationships are the best place to look for soul. None is perfect. One couple, Raymond and Susan Fix of Cement City, said they have read Moore's books and find him to be inspirational. "He opens you up to getting real," Raymond Fix said.

The following Thursday, April 19, 2007, a participant described her first-person perspective in the paper:
Saturday gave me the feeling I was living in Jackson's future. People packed the basement auditorium of the Jackson District Library that morning to take part in author Thomas Moore's workshop on community, creativity and change. The library is a wonderful old building, full of the kind of soul that Moore spoke about Friday night at Jackson Community College.

In his view, soul is about awareness, observation and grounding yourself in the ordinary. It's about paying attention to nature, relationships and home. The meditation exercises and the conversation that Moore prompted left me full of inspiration. I wanted to take the afternoon and write down my ideas -- ideas for my own growth -- so I could work on them later.

But I also wanted to check out the artist marketing workshop at the Ella Sharp Museum of Art and History. Colorado-based marketing consultant Alyson B. Stanfield was in town for the second year in a row. I walked into the museum's beautiful new community room and saw a roomful of artists framed by a gorgeous window, the backdrop of a log cabin and woods. What a sight -- another soulful setting.

Most of the artists were from out of town -- some as far away as Milwaukee and Chicago. I doubt if any other place in southern Michigan had 68 artists gathered together. Think about it: For one day, Jackson was the place to be for working artists. I only wish that more of Jackson's hundreds of artists had been there. Marketing is a huge issue for the arts community here, and it needs to be tackled with imagination and energy. Listening to Stanfield and her audience helped me understand what artists confront as they try to turn their passion into business. That's exactly what we're all facing here.

And I do mean all. We all need to be imaginative and innovative in our work if we're going to survive this economy. Moore also had some ideas about rejuvenating Jackson. He talked about making Jackson a "mecca for pleasure" -- and, despite the inevitable sex jokes, he wasn't kidding. Good food and wonderful architecture are essential elements in building a soulful life and community, Moore said. Jackson has those elements already.

He talked about using the nature of Jackson -- its trees, birds, rivers and lakes -- as inspiration for imagining its future, and as part of its identity in presenting itself to the world.

"Everybody can be nurtured by nature," he said. He talked about the history of Jackson and its profound meaning for the future of the community. "The artist has an important role in all this," Moore said.

I am as guilty as anyone of talking about the "arts community" as if it lives and works separate from the rest of Jackson. The two groups at Saturday's workshops are not really different. In another five or 10 years, our artists will be more integrated into Jackson's economy and cultural life. And whether you believe in the soulful life or care about art, you'll find Jackson has become a deeper, richer and livelier community -- for all of us.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Every community needs to consider its soul

Mary Barber wrote this story "Author wants to help Jackson find its soul" for the Jackson Citizen Patriot yesterday, Sunday, 8 April 2007. Posting permission is pending. Thomas Moore's workshop is scheduled for this weekend in Jackson, Michigan. Check the Barque: Thomas Moore sidebar for details.
"Every community has a soul, says Thomas Moore.
And getting in touch with that soul can be uplifting -- particularly for a place like Jackson, where factories are being closed and residents are increasingly nervous about the future.
Moore, the theologian and author whose 1992 best-seller, Care of the Soul, sparked a lasting public discussion, will come to town this weekend. Moore has published 14 other books on the topic, and several authors such as John O'Donohue (Anam Cara) have followed suit.
"Really what I'm after is to try to get people to imagine the place as having a soul, as having an identity and some depth," he said in a telephone interview from his New Hampshire home.
"It's a blessing to have someone of his stature come here," said the Rev. Jim Heg-edus, pastor of First Presbyterian Church. "I'm excited."
Nancy Angelo, director of the Cottage Retreat Center, said she believes Moore's message will make a difference to Jackson as it deals with unemployment, changes in the economic base and other challenges. The Cottage Retreat Center is bringing Moore here.
"I heard him speak in Portland, Ore., 12 or 13 years ago, and that has stayed with me," Angelo said. "He has an empathy for Michigan and for Jackson. He said yes almost immediately."
The Rev. Jay Cummings of St. John's United Church of Christ said he has read several of Moore's books and watched a DVD of his speeches. He wants to attend both of Moore's appearances here.
"When I went to hear him before, I was thinking more of myself and my church," he said. "I think I'll get something new out of this (from the perspective of helping the community.)"
He said Moore is an expert at helping people identify where they're really at in their lives and finding solutions.
"You walk into a room sometimes and you feel the atmosphere of the people ... you get a sense of the spirit. Maybe there's a quietness, a somberness or joyfulness," he said. "It's the same with a community, if you look for it."
Moore said he knows Jackson is struggling and plans to tour the city before his Friday night lecture.
"A town loses its spirit and its identity, and then people say 'What's happened?'" he said.
Angelo said she hopes this will help Jacksonians recognize their own responsibilities in what happens to the community as a whole.
"I think it begins with each person looking at their own life and how it connects to the exterior life," Angelo said.
Moore said people can create depth in their lives simply by paying attention to basic, constant factors such as home and family.
He'll talk about that in "Creating Everyday Potentials" at 8 p.m. Friday at the Baughman Theatre at Jackson Community College.
"When I talk about caring for the soul, I mean that in very concrete ways, not just meditating off in the woods somewhere," said Moore, who grew up on the east side of Detroit in a working-class family. His father, 94, a former plumber, will come with him to Jackson.
Moore said he'll talk about specific issues, such as marriage, raising children, and devoting time to friends. When people take care of themselves and pay attention to fundamental issues such as home, family and friends, he said, they can create a better community.
Community will be the subject of his workshop, "Being Creative in Times of Change: Loss, Transition, New Beginnings," from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Jackson District Library, 244 W. Michigan Ave. "With the economic problems, you need something to create a new identity, so people keep their optimism," he said. "I think this community really has taken some hits."
But Moore's "practical insights" can help the community and its leaders recognize that "you can have a spiritually thriving, challenging, enjoyable life in the midst of change."
"A place really needs to not just be made into a functional place," Moore said. "A lot of our towns are beautiful." He said he is delighted to hear that Jackson is working to incorporate artists and art into the community through the River ArtsWalk and the Armory Arts Village.
Talking about soul, identity and aesthetics might scare off those who are more practical-minded, he said. He does focus on physical issues, from transportation to architecture.
"But I don't speak for the practical details, because there are plenty of people doing that. ... My job is to address things that people normally ignore. If you don't have these other intangible things, you end up with a lot of social problems," he said.
"It is a practical thing, ultimately. If you don't nurture your soul, it doesn't just sit there -- it complains."
©2007 Jackson Citizen Patriot

Sunday, April 01, 2007

April Fool's Day is Barque: Thomas Moore day

Barque: Thomas Moore celebrates its second anniversary today, April 1, 2007 a.k.a. April Fool's Day. We are the "poisson d'Avril" swimming inside the vessel. With our focus on contemporary wrtiter, Thomas Moore, we've tried to:
-- promote his speaking engagements,
-- link to his online writings, and
-- share related resources

To commemorate the beginning of our third year, we've established a new discussion/forum area where readers, drawn to Moore's work, may post observations, reflections, and reactions. We've enjoyed hearing from many of you during the last two years through individual email correspondence, and now would like to expand the sphere for your thoughts. The Barque: Thomas Moore Forum is at Registration is free. Required information is minimal. As we continue our journey together, please join the Barque: Thomas Moore Forum, introduce yourself and contribute to the discussion, or start your own discussion about Moore's themes. Moore's latest book, The Worth of Our Work: Feeling Stuck, Finding Purpose and the Alchemy of Profound Change will be available at the end of 2007. Let's prepare for its arrival by exchanging introductions now. As we enter our third year at Barque: Thomas Moore, we'll follow the urgings of Samuel Clemens:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
Happy Anniversary!