Friday, June 23, 2006

Respecting the Flow of Growth

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Yesterday's Daily Om had a nice article on respecting the flow of growth and giving ourselves permission to simply be.

Permission To Simply Be
Working Through Transitions

The elation we feel when we have learned an important lesson, achieved a goal, or had a big breakthrough can sometimes be met with a period of downtime afterward. During this period of transition, we may feel unsure and not know where to turn next. Many people, during the pause between achievements, begin to wonder what their life is about. These feelings are common and strike everyone from time to time. Human beings are active creatures-we feel best when we are working on a project or vigorously pursuing a goal. But there is nothing inherently wrong with spending a day, a week, or even a month simply existing and not having a plan. Just be. It won't be long before you embark upon your next voyage of growth and discovery.

The quiet lull into we which we fall between ideas, projects, and goals can make life seem empty. After accomplishing one objective, you may want to move immediately on to the next. However, when your next step is unclear, you may feel frustrated, disconnected, or even a mild depression. You may even perceive your lack of forward momentum as an indicator of imminent stagnation. To calm these distressing thoughts, try to accept that if your intent is personal growth, you will continue to grow as an individual whether striving for a specific objective or not. Spending time immersed in life's rigors and pleasures can be a cathartic experience that gives you the time you need to think about what you have recently gone through and leisurely contemplate what you wish to do next. You may also find that in simply being and going through the motions of everyday life, you reconnect with your priorities in a very organic, unforced way.

The mindful transitional pause can take many forms. For some, it can be a period of reflection that helps them understand how their life has unfolded. For others, it can be a period of adjustment, where new values based on recent changes are integrated into daily life. Just because you're not headed swiftly to a final destination doesn't mean you should assume that you have lost your drive. The stage between journeys can become a wonderful period of relaxation that prepares you for the path that will soon be revealed to you.
For those of us who are addicted to the rush of the growth process, this is good advice. Some of my best growth has occurred while I wasn't involved. The psyche has its own pace that we need to respect.

For example, if we are feeling blocked in any way by internal stuff, we need to look at whether we are being resistant or whether our psyches are trying to tell us to slow down or back off. Sometimes, just listening to the message is enough to get things moving again. This winter I decided to stop therapy for a while -- I was feeling like I needed a break from the intensity of the inward gaze. In the months since then, my growth has taken huge new strides.

Sometimes, it is during the super compensation phase (a term from weight lifting that describes the short break after an intense period of training when the muscle heals and grows stronger and larger) that much or our growth occurs -- even while we are sleeping.

We need downtime to relax and rejuvenate for the next test/lesson/adventure. Respecting that is part of the process, too.

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