Growing Pains

Growing Pains

Life is continuous journey. The irony is that, more often than not, we haven’t the faintest idea where we are going…yet going we must. That is the process of growth, personal or otherwise.

For example, today is the 100th day of rioting and protests in my fair city of Portland. I love this place. When I moved here 25 years ago, it was more like a town. Street lights hung from sloping wires across narrow streets. It was alive with potential and still is.

Portland and I have grown up together, maturing into complex entities. While my heart is heavy to see this city go through so much, I know it is part of an important, larger picture – one I may never see come to fruition. I know this to be true because that is the journey of growth.

Change cannot be stopped or willed. It occurs whether we like it or not. With this mind, it serves us to look at the hidden agendas and unconscious motives that are running our lives. In the words of Joseph Campbell:

“You have to strive every minute to get rid of the life you have planned on order to have the life that is waiting to be yours.”

As we haven’t the foggiest notion how long the journey may be – it be hours or it could be years – identifying our unique passage can be instrumental in the quality of our experience of it. This requires taking time to look deeply and honestly within ourselves. How are we contributing or hindering what seeks expression? Where in our lives are we digging in our heels?

The only certainty we have is that for something new to emerge, the old must be die. That is the law of nature. It requires we let go of our old way of being. That we surrender our plans, expectations, strategies, stories, etc., and give in to the unfolding without resentment. The kicker is that we humans like our comfort zones and are reluctant to relinquish control. We love to replay “What if’s” and create scenes to distract us from our misery. But for those who persevere, something larger awaits on the other side. As Rainer Marie Rilke observed, “our task is to be defeated by ever-larger things.”

This is the soul’s journey. It takes great courage and warrior’s heart to walk it. It’s not easy, but the rewards are worth it.



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