One of the newsletters that I do value is from Father Richard Rohr who is a Catholic priest in the US and I have one of his books which is a source of comfort for me. It’s Immortal Diamond.
His newsletter goes on every week about the same thing but from different angles. He believes that we have two parts of our lives the one when we’re building a container and the second half of our life when we’re trying to come to terms with the painful bits of us. I want to read you his week’s summary for 24th May 2014.
Remember: The second half of life
'In the second half of life, we can give our energy to making even the painful parts and the formerly excluded parts belong to the now-unified field.
In the second half, you try to influence events, work for change, quietly persuade, change your own attitude, pray or forgive instead of attacking things head on.
Life is more participatory than assertive, and there is no need for strong or further self-definition.
Because such people have built a good container, they are able to ‘contain’ more and more truth, more and more neighbors, more and broader vision, more and more of a mysterious and outpouring God.
We have moved from doing to being to an utterly new kind of doing that flows almost organically, quietly, and by osmosis.
Your concern is not so much to have what you love anymore, but to love what you have – right now.'
Which for me right now includes the fact that I can hear my voice is a little bit hoarse, that there is some stiffness in my right ankle and that I have a pain in my lower back. It also means that I accept and do my best to love the circumstances that are around me. In fact and in my beliefs.
So he wants us to rest in this moving from one way of being, from a way of doing to another way of doing, through being.
Rest: in the newsletter he included a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke and this is the phrase that stuck with me.
Read these words aloud as a prayer for this stage of your life – the fullness and generativity of your being.
'May what I do flow from me life a river,
no forcing and no hlding back,
the way it is with children.'
Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
(translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)
And Richard Rohr suggests that we have a gateway to silence with this sentence. So as we take some deep breaths and relax with our breathing and know that with each conscious breath we take, we allow our bodies to still, send oxygen and energy around our system and help the parasympathetic system to rest.
You may like to allow yourself a few moments silence and stillness and repeat the phrase;
‘May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back.’