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Growth Spurts

“You can’t change the waves, but you can learn to surf.” Jon Kabat-Zinn

Let’s take a minute to reflect on growth spurts. Not the physical kind that teens and babies experience, but the kind that completely changes our current way of understanding and meaning of life. Have you ever read a simple sentence, heard a comment, reflected on a quote, gained insight that completely changed you?

Some of these growth spurts we welcome with open arms and excitement. The growth spurt I personally gained from the quote above by Kabat-Zinn is one such moment. Realizing what we can and cannot control in life can sometimes be a very painful process. I was struggling with this process years ago. Visualizing an ocean and waves as life and considering where I exert my power truly clicked. It was freeing and empowering.  I loved that moment. I continue to reflect on this quote many years later.

If all growth spurts could be that simple, magical, warm, fuzzy and not too painful, we would be open to them more often. Something I notice as others share their hearts, is that we often don’t welcome growth spurts unless they resemble more of the warm-fuzzies. 

Life has a funny way of preparing us for change. It usually goes a little like this: we are going through our everyday lives functioning in predictable, routine patterns and then, BAM! An experience changes lands on us; changes us.

A deep loss, a career change, relationship stressors, denial eroding, abandonment, rejection, identity concerns, and memories of abuse. It’s natural to feel resistant to these not so fun growth opportunities. It’s hard to label, identify, and express emotions when we are experiencing something new. We aren’t resistant because we don’t want to grow. We are resistant when we are scared and uncertain. 

I believe these experiences give us two opportunities. First, to engage in the growth spurt, to see what growth and change may come from our hardships. We can all agree it’s not fun, but it can lead to significant healing. Second, we continue attempting to function in ways we always have, which usually leads to us denying a deep soul desire. Leading only to more pain, more destruction, and more unmet needs. 

My hope for all of us is to spend some reflection time considering:

What have been my biggest growth spurts? 

How have I resisted growth due to fear and old patterns? 

Do I treat myself with gentleness in the middle of a growth spurt? 

Do I attend to my needs and core self?

When am I most frustrated and intolerant? 

Do I give myself grace to work through new layers of pain? 

A coworker who I truly admire once told a client, “The only way to do this wrong, is to do it alone.”  We aren’t wired to cope alone. 

Unresolved emotions prove that to be true all of the time. Call a friend, open up a tiny bit more with your partner, maybe even start with yourself. If you need an objective view, seek out a counselor. 

We are meant to heal. 

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