Life Within And Without

I received a forward of a meditation by Richard Rohr. Fr Rohr is a Franciscan priest and Academic Dean of the Living School for Action and Contemplation. Some of his  meditations focus on the theme of recovery and using the 12 Step Program. I found these thoughts of his to be very meaningful.

He writes, “Our suffering in developed countries is primarily psychological, relational, and addictive: the suffering of people who are comfortable on the outside but oppressed and empty within. It is a crisis of meaninglessness, which leads us to try to find meaning in possessions, perks, prestige, and power, which are always outside of self. It doesn’t finally work. So we turn to ingesting food, drink, or drugs, and we become addictive consumers to fill the empty hole within us…….Bill Wilson and his A.A. movement have shown us that the real power is when we no longer seek, need, or abuse outer power because we have found real power within. They rightly call it our ‘Higher Power'”.

Over the years the greatest disruptions and struggles have been inside of myself. Yet I find it amazing how something so covered up inside gets played out on the landscape of daily life. And when it comes out it has significant impact on those around me.

For many years the fall season becomes my time of both anxiety and contemplation. It brings me back to the hurry of the harvest when I grew up on a farm in southeastern Minnesota. The harvest needed to be brought in before the wet, cold weather set in. The scurry to get all the field work done before it was too late consumed daily life. Yet, there was a peace when the task was completed. A sense of relaxation at a job well done. Another yearly goal was met and anxiety about the future was greatly diminished.

The inner disruptions of my own sense of adequacy, sufficiency, and value get churned around during this time of year. Have I done enough to get through the changes to come? Will this new season be longer and more difficult than anything I have already endured? Will there be major changes, breakdowns, and roadblocks in the months to come? All of these questions get bounced around inside while a hectic external pace ensues to make sure that I not only survive, but conquer. All of my internal and external chaos makes life miserable for those around me. I become short-sited, short-tempered, and self-absorbed. Yet, just like the harvest something happens or someone intervenes to bring me back to a sense of peace and serenity. As of yet, I haven’t felt the disruptions inside other than for a few fleeting moments. Is it finally learning? Is it finally conquering myself? Or as I believe, it’s becoming more reliant upon the Higher Power to see me though each day. In the words of A.A.’s 1st Step, “We admitted that we were  powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.”  So much of life is outside of my control even when I believe I have the power to make things happen. Maybe I have caught a climpse of living with what is my current reality and knowing that I will survive?

This fall is a great time for me. I look forward to the changes, the challenges of an upcoming 100 mile gravel bike ride, and the opportunity to focus on life outside and around me.