We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.
Growth comes and goes like waves washing over me. Difficult conversations. Vulnerability. Suffering. Pain. Freedom. Triggers. Trauma. Regrets. Faith. Work. Discomfort. All these words describe the growth process to me. Its grueling and long term and not for the faint of heart. And it just keeps going and going and going. Sometimes it seems futile. You make a breakthrough and you feel some peace, and then the situation appears again. And you’re like, really , here we are again? Is it worth it? You start questioning your growth and beating your head against the wall. Oh its you again, hello pride, hello self-centeredness, how I missed you so. Thank you for joining this lovely pity party. Then you feel stuck like what do I do now, I did all this work and here I am again?
I suppose no growth is ever wasted and we aren’t really growing we are just peeling away layers upon layers of shields we coat ourselves with to avoid feeling the very deepest of feelings. Loneliness maybe or just unloved. These feelings are so much more painful that anger, resentment, jealousy. But that’s just it that’s our common humanity, to feel loved and connected. Those feelings trigger hope and faith and courage, which we need to continue to do this arduous work over and over again. We are all are suffering to a certain extent, and strengthening our shields and layers around us, which is also part of the human condition. We are protecting that hope and faith and love we so desperately want and may even have. But we can’t have one set of feelings without the other, and eventually we protect ourselves so much that we drive ourselves to once again feel lonely and scared and fragile.
Then something always happens, we break, and some people cannot or will not put the pieces together or they stay stuck in that hole of separateness. You vs me. Them vs us. And we erase or make invisible our experience. But together we can come out of that hole. We can find each other in the mud, we can see the brokenness is each and every one of us, and instead of tearing each other down we can lift each other up. We can try to see the challenge in a different way and use the experiences we are given to grow another and different branch this time, lettings the waves wash over us, giving us nourishment and courage to begin again.