Thursday, July 1, 2010

Becoming Fully Alive

So I have been reading James Hollis' book Finding Meaning in the Second Half of life: How to Finally Really Grow Up and it has been both helpful and frightening.  It certainly explains many of the feelings I have been working with lately...like regret; this feeling that somewhere along the way I made a wrong turn or that I have done it all wrong.  That is not true of course.  Yet what is it that keeps nagging at me?  What is it that is demanding my attention?  How can I truly own my life...all of it..even the parts I would rather forget?

Hollis talks about the story of Job and the gifts that suffering can bring, not in an idea of suffering as redemptive.  More the idea that we will suffer in this life, we will have loss and the question is what will we do with it.  He writes: "Once again, out of the experience of suffering, an invitation is found.  As our brother Job learned, our presumptive contracts are delusory efforts by the ego to be in control.  We learn that life is much riskier, more powerful, more mysterious than we had ever thought possible.  While we are rendered more uncomfortable by this discovery, it is a humbling that deepens spiritual possibility.  The world is more magical, less predictable, more autonomous, less controllable, more varied, less simple, more infinite, less knowable, more wonderfully troubling than we could have ever imagined being able to tolerate when we were young." (85)

I love this...I love this idea that life is more magical, more varied, more infinite and it is also terrifying.  I can nearly hear my ego screaming out "NOoooooooo....don't go there" and yet I must.