Home Concepts Adult Development Deep Caring XXXIII: The Origins of Generativity in the Soul

Deep Caring XXXIII: The Origins of Generativity in the Soul

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Soulful Reflection and Reevaluation

Several years ago, an article in a local paper appeared regarding a man who formerly was a major league baseball manager. He was now living in Maine. The ex-manager talked about going fishing each day and babysitting his granddaughter. He was not sure whether he would like another tour in leading a major league team. In our ego deflation of later mid-life, we are forced to deal with the soul, the feminine, and the loss of status and pride. We learn to find gratification in the mundane and every-day. The wife of a colleague of ours, who went through his own traumatic ego-deflation, having been deposed as president of a major nonprofit organization, speaks about how wonderful it is to see her husband tend his garden every morning before listening to his phone messages. He similarly acknowledges the important lessons he is learning about himself through his gardening.

One of our Sage leaders had the following to say about his own transformation into soul-full Generativity:

After my own fall from grace [as the leader of an educational institution], I tended my ailing mother, cooked meals when I was alone as well as with my wife, did yard work and composting, and took time to write lyrics and poems. I let my hours of sleep be dictated by the sun rather than a watch. I spent considerable time at my cottage, which is a very feminine and soulful place. I also spent special time with women who have served as my guides. All of this relates directly to my own personal soul work.

A wounded adult is often someone who has fallen from grace or has never attained the heights of which she dreamed. If she remains wounded, she will go on to wound her sons and daughters as well as society, especially if she remains in a position of leadership. King Lear is a man gone mad as a result of confrontation with fearsome male forces and a turning to the soul. He soars to the height of his power. He flaunts his power, inflates his own ego, then falls and goes mad. Jane Smiley (2003) rewrites the Lear story from a female perspective in A Thousand Acres. The father in Smiley’s novel is playing games of power, while his children are dying.

How many stories concerning the fall from grace do we find among political figures in Washington, DC? How many sad stories of ego inflation and deflation come from inside the Washington Beltway? Other people around these powerful men and women helped elevate them and inflated their egos. These assistants and loyalists also protected these powerful figures from the real world. Ironically, these aides have often helped bring their bosses back down to earth. They have exposed them, shifted loyalties, and misinterpreted their aspirations and plans to their subordinates or the media. These powerful women and men inside the Washington Beltway must confront their own reality and madness in order to begin the journey inward toward the soul.

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