Sunday, February 17, 2008

Growing Pains

It’s not easy growing—no matter what age we may be.

The past couple of weeks have given me essentially nonstop opportunities to grow. I say that with a wry smile.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m grateful for those opportunities! It’s just...growing isn’t always easy, hence the title of this blog post—growing pains.

I found myself coming up against fears I had about myself and how I interact with others, fears about matters that are important to me, and questions about what direction I want to take in certain areas of my life. And it was a profound gift because as I so often say: It’s the assumptions (and fears) we don’t even know we have that trip us up the most.

One of the easier opportunities to grow came with an exercise in a workshop I was taking. We were asked by Gary Simmons to think of an experience that left us unhappy. (He suggested a “light” memory.) He asked us to think about what happened and how we felt about it. Then he had us ask ourselves a very profound question: What inner resource, if we had had it, would have made the experience something we would not feel bad about?

That’s an exercise that’s still resonating with me today. It’s deceptively simple and profoundly powerful.

(Mind you, me being me, I couldn’t resist commenting that at the same time we recognize what it would have meant if we had had that inner resource, it’s equally important to be able to say to ourselves that it is understandable that we did not have—or perhaps even could not possibly have had—that inner resource available at the time.)

I repeat: It’s deceptively simple and profoundly powerful. It’s going to take me time to fully internalize, grasp (grok if you will) this concept. But already I begin to feel the change in me EVEN THOUGH in some ways it’s not that different from things I’ve said to people in the past about life experiences.

The interesting thing about the past few weeks is that through all of it, the actual experiences were positive. Every difficulty arose out of my own fears, my own self-doubts, my own mistaken beliefs and assumptions.

That’s also a very powerful lesson to learn. Because now I can combine those two powerful lessons. In any challenging situation, I now stop and ask myself: How would I handle this if I wasn’t afraid and if I had complete faith in my own self-worth?

The answers are illuminating and I find myself handling things in ways that are different—and far more effective!—than I would have if I hadn’t asked myself that question.

Every experience gives us the opportunity to learn. Every experience gives us the opportunity to move forward in some way and make our lives better and happier than they were before.

Here’s hoping you are each having your own epiphanies and discovering the questions that are most powerful for YOU to ask yourselves.

Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),
April_optimist

5 comments:

keepers said...

thanks for sharing this, think many can see some words here to ponder, we did!

peace and blessings

keepers

Kahless said...

Thanks April; interesting post. fear is so limiting.

Rising Rainbow said...

I'm not sure I even know an epiphany at the time. It's only later that I might grasp it's significance at all.

Kahless said...

Please visit JIPs blog; she really needs our support right now.

April_optimist said...

Keepers, Every time I try to get to your blog, I get an error. Not sure what I'm doing wrong.

Kahless, Fear IS limiting--but oh, how wonderful when we do learn to let it go! (PS Posted at JIP's blog. Thanks for the heads up.)

Rising Rainbow, I don't always get it instantly either. The thing is to keep looking for what we can learn about our lives to be happier.