Book Review of Falling Upward
September 1, 2015
BOOK REVIEW by Russ Moxley Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, by Fr. Richard Rohr Research done at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) is clear and compelling: hardship experiences provide individuals the opportunity to learn some of the most important and enduring leadership lessons. The late Warren Bennis found the same thing: “crucible” experiences shape us in profound ways. Because on my own personal experiences with hardships, and lessons I have learned as I have been privileged to work with hundreds of leaders, including many clergy leaders, I have never doubted these research findings; my only question is whether hardships are a precursor or a pre-requisite to our learning, growth, and change. I had never considered the possibility, though, that hardships might be a catalyst for our spiritual development, at least not until I read Falling Upward. Franciscan priest Richard Rohr, the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation – don’t you love this name? – argues that our failings and fallings can be the foundation for our spiritual development, prove that only those who have “gone down” can understand “up”. And Rohr suggests that these “necessary sufferings” are a pre-requisite if we are to fall upward and experience the spiritual joys that the second half of life offers us. One word of caution: hardships, crucible experiences, failings and fallings, and necessary sufferings can be a catalyst for our development, but learning the right lesson is not automatic. Some people experience failing or suffering and become discouraged or even cynical – they are de-formed or bent out of shape more than they are transformed. But as Rohr shows, transformation can happen; our failings can help us on the journey to becoming our foundational self. You can find the book on amazon.com here.