January 30, 2012

Falling Upwards

Richard Rohr's Falling Upwards has caught my attention.  Rohr describes the first half of life as the season in which you are creating the container of your life.  You concentrate on the shape and appearance of the container--its image, and functionality.  What are the external motivations in life that you are responding to, what are the things you put into place to create the life that you think that you want, how will others know you and perceive you externally?

In the second half of life, you turn your attention to what the container of your life is holding.  At that process is disorienting and redefining.  It often involves turns the container over and shaking all of the contents on the table and sorting them for what you really want in the container and what you don't.  

This process is happening in my life.  I describe it this way.  For a long time in life, I was very motivated by external gold stars.  I knew deeply at my core what those stars were that I wanted and they were also important to me as a person and to my unfolding sense of spiritual call.  I wasn't just externally motivated, but certainly there were certain people and things that I wanted to accomplish as goals that I set for myself (many of these goals I might not even have articulated they were so much a part of the fabric of myself).  

But now, I find that there are few gold stars that I am that interested in finding or earning.  I suppose for some of you, I am very late to the table on this.  You left behind external motivations when you were 25. But all I have is my own story, so here it is.  Over the last few years, increasingly what matters most to me is my own internalized passions.  Many of the externals and internals are integrated, but some are not.

It is a different think to look ahead at the second half of life and realize that there are no stars to collect or work for unless they are in my heart. As a goal oriented person, this is a little shattering. 

It means that my Pleaser and Performer are slowly leaving me...and that is what I have worked for...but now that they are departing, I wonder what will be my motivations? What will be the fuel that moves me forward or deeper?

Now, don't get all know-it-all on me and say something easy and simple like: "God will provide."  I know that God is up to something.  But I am so much more about the process than the destination. So let me have my process and my journey and my angst. 

It's the labor pains of the Self continuing to be born in me and God's image continuing to be developed and grown.  


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