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By Fr Jim Cogley

Richard Rohr’s book Falling Upward offers a spiritual path for what he calls ‘the two halves of life.’ Some of what follows is influenced by Rohr’s work and some from Carl Jung. However, most of it is a product of my own reflection and experience. Both life stages are very different, and so they are meant to be. What is particularly useful from Jung’s work is his insight that whatever brought us happiness and fulfillment in the first half of life will not deliver, to the same degree in the second. Even what we were very good at will not lift our boat in the second half like it did in the first. He suggests that the real danger would be to still think that it should, and when it doesn’t to try all the harder to force it do so. This might mean expanding the already successful business, working even harder, acquiring more ‘toys’, (or changing one’s partner). If the first half of life was about acquiring, achieving, and making a name for oneself, them the second should be about the very opposite; downsizing, taking more time to be, and decluttering one’s life. It’s as if the flow of energy in the first half of life was going in one direction, but in the second it reverses and flows opposite. Suffering will inevitably result when we resist and don’t allow ourselves to flow with what is.

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