I have been reading Richard Rohr's Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the the Two Halves of Life. What an intriguing, accessible book.
His thesis is that during the first half of life, we spend a lot of time defining ourselves, and most of us do that by creating categories, often quite rigid ones. We decide who we are not. We ask ourselves questions that help us determine life's purpose.
But by midlife, those are often the wrong questions. They often lead us to be worried about status and away from what really matters. And too many of us are stuck there, working on the container, as he calls it, rather than the contents.
It doesn't sound as profound when I write it out here. But the book is full of profound insights. Here are some quotes to whet your appetite:
"Western people are a ritually starved people, and in this are different than most of human history." (p. 44)
"There is a deeper voice of God, which you must learn to hear and obey in the second half of life. It will sound an awful lot like the voices of risk, of trust, of surrender, of soul, of 'common sense,' of destiny, of love, of an intimate stranger, or your deepest self, of soulful 'Beatrice.' The true faith journey only begins at this point." (p. 48)
:The Eight Beatitudes speak to you much more than the Ten Commandments now. I have always wondered why people never want to put a stone monument of the Eight Beatitudes on the courthouse lawn.Then I realize that the Eight Beatitudes of Jesus would probably not be very good for any war, any macho worldview, the wealthy, or our consumer economy. Courthouses are good and necessary first-half-of-life institutions. In the second half,you try instead to influence events, work for change, quietly persuade, change your own attitude, pray, or forgive instead of taking things to court." (.p. 119)
"Basically, the first half of life is writing the text, and the second half is writing the commentary on that text." (p. 143)
"God knows that all of us will fall somehow. Those events that lead us to 'catastrophize' out of all proportion must be business as usual for God--at least six billion times a day. Like good spiritual directors do, God must say after each failure of ours, 'Oh, here is a great opportunity! Let's see how we can work with this!'"
feeling the feelings…
6 months ago