As I went through this transformation, one of the ideas I really embraced was growth. When you control aspects of your thoughts, feelings, and actions it’s easy to stagnate in terms of learning and growing as a person. I’d always loved to learn. The thought that there are so many ideas that I haven’t been exposed to yet is invigorating and exciting.
At the end of July, I suddenly had the realization that I couldn’t rush through this process of awakening. I wrote in my journal:
As these weeks have unfolded, I realized something profound… the things I’ve learned in the last couple days were unknowable to the Kelsey of two weeks ago. The things I learned last week were unknown to me just a day prior to learning those lessons. Similarly, everything I’ll learn next week, next month, or years from now, I don’t know today. Growth. This concept has given me peace because it means I don’t have to rush to figure everything out. Lessons, learning, life will unfold for me as it should, in God’s time.
Perhaps this is obvious to other people…? But, for me it felt like revelation, particularly in terms of my own emotional and mental growth. I’d always recognized that continuing to grow intellectually was important (as in Integral’s “education for its own sake”), but in terms of knowing myself and allowing for the idea that I can change and grow throughout my life, this was an epiphany!
As I started reading and implementing the exercises in The Happiness Trap, I’d have stretches of growth and then moments of backsliding… two steps forward and one step back. So, my recurring prayer was for God to “keep me on this path of growth.” Whenever my deeply ingrained habits of trying to stay “happy” would kick in, I’d return to the idea of wanting to change and grow in my dependence and trust in God.
This post started brewing in my mind during a run yesterday. I was running up a long, gradual hill that reminded me of “The Incline” Dennis and I used to run on 6th Avenue near Balboa Park. This stretch of our run always gave me anxiety, and it was a huge accomplishment when I could make it to the top and keep running without stopping to catch my breath. Now that I’ve run for several more years and longer distances, running this type of hill doesn’t bother me anymore.
As I pondered these thoughts, my attention returned to the song playing in my headphones. Pandora Shuffle had chosen a Disney song (from the station I added for the kids!); it was “Go the Distance” from Hercules. The lyrics spoke to exactly this idea:
I will find my way
If I can be strong
I know every mile
Will be worth my while
When I go the distance
I’ll be right where I belong
There are so many different areas of our life where we can grow: artistically, athletically, intellectually, spiritually, as a mother or father, wife or husband, friend, manager, etc., etc. It’s awesome to know that there is still much to learn in any particular area of your life. Also, embracing growth means it’s okay not to know something, not to have everything figured out. It’s simultaneously motivating and liberating.
Growth. It’s a good thing.