Wednesday, June 21, 2017



Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of LifeFalling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm at a place in my life and spiritual journey where this book meant so much to me and was so very helpful. I'm sure it also helps that my theology/spiritual beliefs seem to be closely aligned with Richard Rohr's; I found myself wanting to underline just about everything in this book!

A wide summary; this book discusses the purpose of the 1st half of life/first journey/first task, what life should be like when we've moved into the 2nd half of life/second journey/second task, and those things that must occur in order to move from 1st to 2nd half (note to those who are looking for a quick "self help" guide: this is not something you can control, sorry!)

Some (ok, more than some) highlights for me:

*We are summoned to it, not commanded to go...because each of us has to go on this path (towards the 2nd half of life) freely

*We are led by mystery or grace into spiritual maturity

*Those who walk the full and entire journey are considered...Elders

*The way up is the way down; the way down is the way up. Sacrifice of something...some sort of falling, necessary suffering...is programmed into the journey

*We grow spiritually much more by doing it wrong than by doing it right. The demand for perfect is the greatest enemy of good

*The opposite of rational is not always irrational. It can also be trans-rational (bigger than the rational mind can process)

*You cannot walk the second journey with first journey tools

*We all need some successes, response and positive feedback early in life or we will spend the rest of our lives demanding it, or, bemoaning its lack from others

*2nd journey people both transcend and include 1st journey people. Jesus was a 2nd half of life man who had...the task of trying to teach and be understood by a largely 1st half of life history, church, and culture

*Most of organized religion is still living inside first half of life issues

*We can and will move forward as soon as we have completed and lived the previous state; by grace, and the old agenda shows itself to being insufficient or even falls apart

*You need a very strong container (constructed during the 1st half of life) to hold the contents and the contradictions that arrive later in life. You ironically need a very strong ego structure to let go of ego

*The only real Biblical promise is that unconditional love will have the last word

*The voice of our Loyal Soldier gets us through the first half of life safely...our Loyal Soldier cannot get you to the second half of life. You must discharge your Loyal Soldier = death of False Self, but the very birth of the Soul

*We will need authentic "soul friends" (Spiritual Directors, Elders, Truth Speakers, Contemplatives) to guide us across...to the 2nd half

*Life is both loss and renewal, death and resurrection, chaos and healing at the same time. Life is a collision of opposites

*The tragic sense of life is ultimate and humiliating realism, which demands a lot of forgiveness of almost everything. Faith is simply to trust the real, and to trust that God is found in it

*God comes to you disguised as your life

*Jung: Neurotic behavior is usually the result of refusing legitimate suffering. Refusing this necessary pain of being human brings to the person 10X more suffering in the long run

*Your True Self is who you are objectively from the beginning in the mind and heart of God. "The face you had before you were born"

*God excludes no one from union, but He must allow us to exclude ourselves in order for us to maintain our freedom (free will)

*Either God is for everybody and the divine DNA is somehow in all creatures, or this God is not God by any common definition

*Without Elders, a society perishes. Socially and spiritually

*In the 2nd half of life, if you have forgiven yourself for being imperfect, you can now do it for just about everybody else

*Our (spiritually) mature years are characterized by a kind of bright sadness and a sober happiness

*You do not fight these things anymore...you learn to positively ignore and withdraw your energy from evil or stupid things rather than fight them directly. You fight only when you have been directly called and equipped to do so

*The Beatitudes speak louder to you than The Ten Commandments

*The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better

*Persona = diligently constructed in the 1st half. Not true; it is manufactured and sustained unconsciously by your mind

*Shadow = what you refuse to see about yourself and what you do not want others to see

*The movement to 2nd half of life wisdom has much to do with necessary shadow work. You never get there without major shadow boxing. Shadow work = Falling Upward

*Soulful (2nd half of life) people temper our tantrums by their calm, lessen our urgency by their peace, exhibit a world of options and alternatives when all conversation turns into dualistic bickering

*Soulful people are salt, yeast, light

*If your politics do not become more compassionate and inclusive, it's doubtful whether you are on the second journey

*(embrace) both and thinking...you no longer need to divide the field of every moment between up and down, totally right or totally wrong, with me or against me. It just is.

*Non-dualistic wisdom = contemplation

*Great people come to serve, not to be served

*It is the freedom of the 2nd half of life not to need

*Being totally received as we truly are is what we wait and long for all of our lives. We who are gazed at so perfectly can pass on the same accepting gaze to all others who need it

Amen and Amen!


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