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Are You the Author of Your Life’s Story?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a problem with authority. When I’m stopped by a policeman for some minor infraction, I stammer and sweat. Immediately my thoughts go back to a principal in school we used to call the Vulture, and to one or two domineering men who ran monasteries in which I’ve lived. This is a real struggle that I’m always working on. And it’s not lost on me that I’m an author who mistrusts authority.The word author comes from the Latin for “increasing” or “growing.” An author creates something new. In the best of worlds we are each the author of our own lives. But it often feels as though someone in a position of authority is taking over the task and writing our story for us.And yet each of us has the challenge and the opportunity to create a new way of being human. We grow ourselves. Along the way, we may listen closely to someone we respect and admire and give that person a key role in our creative process. We share our precious authority. We hope they will help us author our lives—but only as long as we ask them to.But in fact, people in authority often behave as if they are en …

Thomas Moore is the New York Times best-selling author of Care of the Soul, as well as many other books on deepening soul and cultivating a mature spiritual life, three of which have received the Books for a Better Life Award. At turns he has been a monk, a musician, a university professor, a psychotherapist, and an S&H columnist. 

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