Friday, May 21, 2010

Second Journey – emerging from hibernation

Second Journey was the title and subject of a book by Gerald O’Collins in 1978 (currently out of print) I have not yet read having not located a copy. However, I have read books by other authors in which O’Collin’s ideas have been reiterated.

The first tlime I heard the phrase second journey was in 2001 while reading The Ragamuffin Gospel (Manning, 1990). The kids were out of high school and only two remained at home. I was determined not to become the overly-involved helicopter mom on the one hand, but I also becoming aware that I now had the time, energy and latitude to do that “thing” I had always had this sense I was destined to do after my mothering responsibilities were discharged.

Fast forward to now. I have just come through my first post-divorce year. As I have crossed from year one to year two the nagging sense that my time has come to do this “thing” has returned. In a sense it feels like coming out of hibernation or a time-out. In any case I feel like I’m on the brink or the cusp of the next thing.

(I realize that the entire month of May’s posts have been about examining and rehashing this what’s next issue but if you could have patience for just a bit longer I think things are about to change.)

I had forgotten about the second journey concept until I bumped into Joan Anderson’s book Second Journey: The Road Back to Yourself (2008) in the stacks at the library. Just the title was an immediate connection with the ideas of Manning years before. But more than just recalling the ideas, I got this sense that the time is now to take this journey.

The curious thing is, in part of 2008 and 2009, I had started writing a series of posts that I had framed at the time under the topic “second life” meaning post-mothering women. However, much of that content actually relates to second journey issues and perhaps is a jumping off place to reframe the topic here in terms of second journey. Also, it is an extension of the transition theme that has been running through here.

The distinction about second journey as opposed to transition is its spiritual nature. Second journeys rearrange more than where and how you live or your work and career; they tend to turn everything inside out for a thorough housecleaning and reset. Perhaps that is one reason it has been taking a whole month to talk through this.

But, going back to the hibernation reference, in ways I feel like I’m on the brink of emerging from a chrysalis like a butterfly. If you’ve had the privilege of watching this process it is neither beautiful nor graceful until after the butterfly has been out for a while and fully unfolded itself. Similarly I have felt for some time that I have been sort of attached to life support and hanging out while inside stuff has been taking place.

The thing about butterflies is that you can’t open the chrysalis and release them early because they die. Even I haven’t been very patient with this pre-emergence process but I sense the time to exit and unfurl my wings is coming soon.

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