Falling Upward

Falling Upward : A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

4.19 (12,926 ratings by Goodreads)
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A fresh way of thinking about spirituality that grows throughout life In Falling Upward , Fr. Richard Rohr seeks to help readers understand the tasks of the two halves of life and to show them that those who have fallen, failed, or "gone down" are the only ones who understand "up." Most of us tend to think of the second half of life as largely about getting old, dealing with health issues, and letting go of life, but the whole thesis of this book is exactly the opposite. What looks like falling down can largely be experienced as "falling upward." In fact, it is not a loss but somehow actually a gain, as we have all seen with elders who have come to their fullness. Explains why the second half of life can and should be full of spiritual richness Offers a new view of how spiritual growth happens loss is gain Richard. Rohr is a regular contributing writer for Sojourners and Tikkun magazines This important book explores the counterintuitive message that we grow spiritually much more by doing wrong than by doing right.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 148 x 183 x 24mm | 274g
  • John Wiley & Sons Ltd
  • Chichester, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0470907754
  • 9780470907757
  • 77,347

Flap copy

In the first half of life, we are naturally and rightly preoccupied with establishing our identity--climbing, achieving, and performing. But those concerns will not serve us as we grow older and begin to embark on a further journey, one that involves challenges, mistakes, loss of control, broader horizons, and necessary suffering that actually shocks us out of our prior comfort zone. Eventually, we need to see ourselves in a different and more life-giving way. This message of falling down--that is in fact moving upward--is the most resisted and counterintuitive of messages in the world's religions, including and most especially Christianity.

In Falling Upward, Father Richard Rohr--the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation--offers a new paradigm for understanding one of the most profound of life's mysteries: how our failings can be the foundation for our ongoing spiritual growth. Drawing on the wisdom from time-honored myths, heroic poems, great thinkers, and sacred religious texts, the author explores the two halves of life to show that those who have fallen, failed, or gone down are the only ones who understand up. We grow spiritually more by doing it wrong than by doing it right.

With rare insight, Rohr takes us on a journey to give us an understanding of how the heartbreaks, disappointments, and first loves of life are actually stepping stones to the spiritual joys that the second half of life has in store for us.
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Back cover copy


Understanding the spiritual aspects of aging is as important as appreciating the systems and biological processes that age us. Richard Rohr has given us a perfect guide to what he calls the 'further journey, ' a voyage into the mystery and beauty of healthy spiritual maturity.
--Mehmet Oz, M.D., host of the Dr. Oz Show

Falling Upward calls forth the promise within us and frees us to follow it into wider dimensions of our spiritual authenticity. This 'second half of life' need not wait till our middle years. It emerges whenever we are ready and able to expand beyond the structures and strictures of our chosen path. With Richard Rohr as a guide, this mystery can become as real and immediate as your hand on the doorknob.
--Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self

In Falling Upward, Richard offers a simple but deeply helpful framework for seeing the whole spiritual life--one that will help both beginners on the path as they look ahead and long-term pilgrims as they look back over their journey so far.
--Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity and Naked Spirituality brianmclaren.net

The value of this book lies in the way Richard Rohr shares his own aging process with us in ways that help us be less afraid. We begin to see that, as we grow older, we are being awakened to deep, simple, and mysterious things we simply could not see when we were younger.
--Jim Finley, retreat leader, Merton scholar, and author of The Contemplative Heart

This is Richard Rohr at his vintage best: prophetic, pastoral, practical. A book I will gratefully share with my children and grandchildren.
--Cynthia Bourgeault, Episcopal priest, retreat leader, and author of The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, Centering Prayer, Inner Awakening, and The Wisdom Way of Knowing
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Table of contents

The Invitation to a Further Journey vii Introduction xiii 1 The Two Halves of Life 1 2 The Hero and Heroine's Journey 17 3 The First Half of Life 25 4 The Tragic Sense of Life 53 5 Stumbling over the Stumbling Stone 65 6 Necessary Suffering 73 7 Home and Homesickness 87 8 Amnesia and the Big Picture 97 9 A Second Simplicity 105 10 A Bright Sadness 117 11 The Shadowlands 127 12 New Problems and New Directions 137 13 Falling Upward 153 Coda 161 Notes 169 Bibliography 177 The Author 183 Index 185
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Review quote

'...prophetic, wise and clear!' (Thegoodbookstall.org.uk, June 2011).
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About Richard Rohr

Fr. Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province. He founded the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1986, where he presently serves as Founding Director. Fr. Rohr is the author of more than twenty books, an internationally known speaker, and a regular contributing writer for Sojourners and Tikkun magazines, and the CAC's quarterly journal, Radical Grace.
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Rating details

12,926 ratings
4.19 out of 5 stars
5 48% (6,171)
4 32% (4,190)
3 13% (1,712)
2 4% (549)
1 2% (304)
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