Gender & Desire: Uncursing Pandora

Why is love so hard to find and hold on to? Is there such a thing as “true love?”

Love has been idealized in music, art, literature and popular culture for centuries; yet eventually all intimate relationships encounter obstacles, including conflict and loss. Love Between Equals: Relationship as a Spiritual Path examines the demands of modern love relationships within the historical context of marriage, inviting us to reconsider our understanding of the nature of “true love” or “personal love.” Turning the notion of love as biological attachment bond or romance on its head, Love Between Equals: Relationship as a Spiritual Path re-defines true love as mutual love between equals; requiring insight, mindfulness, equanimity, emotional maturity, open communication and honesty. In this sense, finding and sustaining true love can become a path to spiritual awakening.

Love Between Equals: Relationship as a Spiritual Path provides a framework for a bold and profound new understanding of enduring relationships so that we can ultimately embrace love, our beloved, and life in the spiritual practice of love. READ AN EXCERPT

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The Present Heart: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Discovery

After a chance encounter with a handsome, idealistic stranger on a plane in 1969, Polly Young-Eisendrath rediscovered Ed Epstein a decade later when she least expected it. After untangling themselves from their existing relationships, they married in 1985 and spent the next 25 years together. They were soul mates, but in 2001, Ed (at the vital age of 53) began to show signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Over the next 10 years, as her husband gradually reversed his mental maturity, Young-Eisendrath was faced with the question, what is love?

The Present Heart is an insightful journey of living in the present moment. In a deeply moving yet unsentimental voice, Young-Eisendrath draws on her lifelong practices of Buddhism and psychoanalysis and her own unique view of love, as well as a circle of profound thinkers including author Abigail Thomas, psychoanalyst Nancy McWilliams, and Buddhist teacher Shinzen Young.

A thoughtful meditation on the human experience, The Present Heart shows how our most intimate relationships, often the source of our greatest pain, can prove to be our path to spiritual enlightenment. The book offers a new perspective on how to maintain engaged, reciprocal relationships—with a partner, parent, child, or friend—under any and all circumstances.

The Self-Esteem Trap: Raising Confident and Compassionate Kids in a Age of Self-Importance

Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D. wrote this book because she sat hour upon hour in her psychotherapy practice listening to stories about how every child, teen and adult should be special, a winner, with the potential to be great. Although this expectation causes great suffering in individuals and families, it has been almost impossible to challenge.

The expectation is founded on the illusion that everyone has an extraordinary potential for creativity or genius or achievement that needs only to be unlocked in order for greatness to happen. When you assume that everyone has something extraordinary to contribute to life, then being ordinary is an embarrassment. This way of thinking has produced a generation of parents, children, teens, and young adults who are caught in…The Self-Esteem Trap.

Drawing on years of experience as a Jungian analyst, psychologist and practitioner of Buddhism – Young-Eisendrath offers an incisive analysis of the cultural, psychological and moral components of the self-esteem trap for kids, parents, teachers, counselors, and mental health professionals in their relationships with each other. After identifying the problem, analyzing its roots in the Baby Boom generation of parents, and clarifying its components, she lays a clear path for parents, and for teens and young adults themselves, toward a new kind of confidence and resilience that is founded on interdependence, autonomy, compassion and sharing.

Hags and Heroes: A Feminist Approach to Jungian Psychotherapy with Couples

Why do relationships fail? Why do partners once so comfortable with each other often wind up at odds? What effect do traditional attitudes toward women have on marriage? Are lasting, long-term relationships possible between men and women? Here is a highly original approach to couple therapy and marriage counseling, integrating feminist views with the depth psychology of C.G. Jung and developmental theories of Harry Stack Sullivan.

The focus of this book is on understanding how individual complexes interfere with harmonious relationships. The emphasis is on revaluing the feminine principle and re-assessing the nature of female authority, in individual attitudes, in relationships and on a broader collective level.