Falling Upward

A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life
by Richard Rohr, OFM | 240 pages

Alexandra got this book for me after I told her how much I loved David Brooks’ The Second Mountain. Apparently it is recommended alongside that book on Amazon. With 1,400+ reviews, Alexandra thought I might like it. Not only did I like the book, I loved it. And, I fell in love with Richard Rohr. Father Rohr is a Franciscan priest who beautifully integrates his faith with wisdom from various perspectives. Big Ideas we explore include our main Job in life (remembering that we're light bulbs and staying screwed in!), life's two major tasks, the fact that the way UP is DOWN (hence, the title of the book: Falling Upward), the hero and the heroine and their journeys, the paradox of the ego ("You ironically need a very strong ego structure to let go of your ego"), and how to become a Serene Disciple (let God drive).


“Holding our inner blueprint, which is a good description for our soul, and returning it humbly to the world and to God by love and service is indeed of ultimate concern. Each thing and every person must act out its nature fully, at whatever cost. It is our life’s purpose, and the deepest meaning of ‘natural law.’ We are here to give back fully and freely what was first given to us—but now writ personally—by us! It is probably the most courageous and free act we will ever perform—and it takes both halves of our life to do it fully. The first half of life is discovering the script, and the second half is actually writing it and owning it.

So get ready for a great adventure, the one you were really born for. If we never get to our little bit of heaven, our life does not make much sense, and we have created our own ‘hell.’ So get ready for some new freedom, some dangerous permission, some hope from nowhere, some unexpected happiness, some stumbling stones, some radical grace, and some new and pressing responsibility for yourself and for our suffering world.”

~ Richard Rohr from Falling Upward

Alexandra got this book for me after I told her how much I loved David Brooks’ The Second Mountain. Apparently it is recommended alongside that book on Amazon. With 1,400+ reviews, Alexandra thought I might like it.

And, well, YES!! Not only did I like the book, I loved it. And, I fell in love with Richard Rohr.

Father Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest. In fact, he’s been a Franciscan priest for FIVE DECADES. (This has particular resonance for me. As we’ve discussed, I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school for twelve years. At my elementary school and primary church, our priests were Franciscan. Yet… The closest I’ve come to studying an integrated Catholic perspective thus far has been Anthony de Mello—a Jesuit priest. So… I found Father Richard’s wisdom particularly resonant for a range of reasons.)

Now… When I read a book, I use a blank note card as a bookmark. On that note card, I jot down related books and ideas I want to make sure we cover in our Notes together. At the top of the bookmark-card for this book I wrote this description of Father Richard: “If Joseph Campbell was a Franciscan monk.”

I laughed as I typed that but it’s a pretty good, playful micro-bio. Throw in a little Ken Wilber and a TON of “elderly” wisdom and voila. We have one of my new favorite spiritual teachers.

My copy of the book is (laughing again as I type this) RIDICULOUSLY underlined and asterisked and marked all up. Creating a Note in which we pull out just a handful of my favorite Ideas will be even more challenging than usual. If you also resonate with the ideas, I think you’ll really enjoy the book as well. (Get a copy here.)

For now, let’s jump straight in!

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About the author

Authors

Richard Rohr, OFM

Franciscan author and teacher, founder of the Center for Action & Contemplation in Albuquerque, NM.