What follows was offered to the guys I meet with monthly to share our lives - the stuff that's working and the stuff that's a work in progress. It features a poem that a guy named Buddy from my old neighborhood shared last autumn and a recent series of meditations from my spiritual father Richard Rohr on the theme of "Order...Disorder...Reorder." See the end for info about these men's groups.
On the edge of autumn
"September has a strange and wonderful feeling. It is the best part of the summer and the hardest part of the summer. Just when summer gets perfect—fresh nights, soft sun, casual breezes, crushingly full and quietly cooling trees, empty beaches and free weekends—it ends.
Life is like that, too. Just when we get it right, it starts to change. The job gets easy and we know just how to do it and they tell us we’re retired. The children grow up and get reasonable and they leave home just when it’s nice to have them around. The days get less full of work but we’re older now and too stiff to play. The money we never had enough of to spend on “extras” abounds after the mortgage is paid off, but the desire for expensive travel and clothing and entertainment has waned.
We celebrate the autumn equinox this month—one of only two days of the year in which daytime and nighttime are of exactly equal length. From now on daytime will begin to wane.
But there is nothing to fear from this diminishment of the kind of life associated with sunlight. The night times of life have their beauty and their lessons, too.
That’s life on the edge of autumn. And that’s beautiful. If we have the humility for it.
Humility is a natural virtue. It’s one of those things that everybody has to get eventually or else die in misery. Diminishment, for instance, is one of the facts of life that breeds humility and diminishment is part of every experience. We get to practice it all our lives. Humility is the survival mechanism of life."
—from A Monastery Almanac by Joan Chittister, OSB
Reader: “What did you hear in these words?” What thoughts & emotions arise?
Take a few minutes to sit with what comes up...allow Spirit to speak to and from your heart...
Reflections on Change that Heals
In Richard Rohr’s initial meditation from Aug. 9, 2020, in which he introduced 3 weeks of Daily Meditations on the theme of "Order - Disorder - Reorder, he says,
“To grow toward love, union, salvation, or enlightenment, we must BE moved from Order to Disorder and then ultimately to Reorder.”
In other places, he says that for this kind of change to take place, we have to experience either great love or great suffering or a combo of both.
--Another model of Order...Disorder...Reorder
Most of us have varying degrees of tolerance for change, with the degree often dependent upon which area of our life is currently being affected. If a change is too uncomfortable, we may try to put it off. Sometimes, like with the pandemic, we have no option to delay, as we have to make the changes required of us.
Right now, in each area of our life, we are each of us is in one of these stages. For example, our career could be in order, our relationship with our spouse or partner could be in disorder, and our relationship with one or more children could be in reorder. And it’s always evolving…
Here’s an example from my life.
After Eileen and I retired, we had a lot more eyeball-to-eyeball time and gradually saw that changes were needed in how we were relating to each other. After a lot of soul searching I was able to accept that, for starters, there were changes that needed to happen on "my side of the 50%." Once I admitted this, I realized that I had no idea how to change my old patterns of poor communication. These included walking away when being confronted with invitations to change - walking away and busying myself with tasks that made me feel good about myself. I felt STUCK! Eventually, this do-it-your-self-er reached out and asked for help. Really!
I started by working for two years with a person my son found who specialized in the areas of emotional and energy therapy. Later, I asked a guy to act as my sponsor and formally take me through the 12 Steps. Simultaneously, my sponsor helped me find another counselor to deal with the stuff that was coming up in my Steps work. These three men enabled me to know myself better and to find better ways to deal with my emotions, including anger. As a result of this inner work:
I don't run away from conflict as in the past but when possible try to stay and listen to Eileen and to Spirit to help me find new ways to grow.
We are both becoming better able - more times than in the past - to share with one other those thoughts we used to keep to ourselves – where they would often gnaw away at our insides when we were apart.
I am becoming able to more quickly recognize when I've reverted to the old patterns AND get back together and make amends - "Keep a short list!"
“Yearning for a new way will not produce it. Only ending the old way can do that.
You cannot hold onto the old, all the while declaring that you want something new.
The old will defy the new;
The old will deny the new;
The old will decry the new.
There is only one way to bring in the new. You must make room for it.”
—Neale Donald Walsch 
“Let go or be dragged.”
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced”.
- James Baldwin
Richard Rohr - Order, Disorder, Reorder (The Stage of Initiation) (7 minute video)
"There's no non-stop flight from Order to Reorder"
Music for Change that Heals
Order, Disorder, Reorder - Jason Gray (song only)
"Like it or not, your love won't stop til it makes me new"
Order, Disorder, Reorder - Jason Gray (Jason gives backstory to song)
Upcoming Opportunities to Experience Change that Heals --
Illuman’s Soularize 2020: “The Masculine Path to Healing” ONLINE 10/15-10/18 - Can participate live or via replay $99.
“Join Illuman and Fr. Richard Rohr as we explore the Masculine Path to Healing!
For many men the wounding of their souls is not generally recognized until midlife. The carrying of unresolved grief, internalized shame and guilt, loneliness, personal family traumas, intergenerational issues and societal pressures all serve to weigh men down in disparaging ways. The wounds of individuals spiral outward, leading to larger wounds in society such as racism, toxic patriarchy, and our ecological crisis–which in turn, further wound individuals in a negative feedback loop.
The injury to a man’s soul, and the wounds of the world, cry out for healing, and Illuman offers a pathway through. We are men transforming men, through a Power greater than ourselves. Using the ancient tools of nature, ritual, image, storytelling and council we will help one another reclaim the soul’s wisdom and the gift of joy. Bearing gifts that often come straight from the wound itself, we then join sisters and brothers, as healing agents in a hurting world.”
Everything is Adrift with Richard Rohr ONLINE - Oct. 24 12-2 pm EST $75.
--“We are offered a tremendous opportunity in our day to change ourselves and our world. This opportunity may be described as a time of major regression, denial of the past and even collapse! This is no exaggeration as we look at the state of our planet, our worldwide politics of despair, the abandonment of many religious traditions and Western Christianity in particular, the loss of moral authority through the pedophilia crisis in the Catholic Church, and what historians will probably refer to as the abandonment of truth. Not to mention the pandemic and its global effects. How do we rebuild on such a non-foundation?”
Richard Rohr’s 3 Weeks of Daily Meditations on Order, Disorder, Reorder
Autumn-themed Blog Posts
--A post about the passage of time AND an introduction to a courageous woman – Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, who’s not afraid to speak TRUTH to power.
--A song-filled follow up to my earlier Autumn post: Folk & rockin' reflections: Judy, Joni, Pete, Bowie, Dead
--As day & night balance for but a moment, reflections on balance from various traditions-ending w/cosmic song
For information about this and similar men's councils, please refer to the "Illuman" & other links on the "Men's Journey" web page on this site or contact me:
Banding together on the journey... Peace, tOM