No Fast Food Personal Growth
Wow! When I really started thinking about it, there have been so many times in my life that I just wanted to skip ahead to the good stuff. I didn’t want to do the day by day work to heal that wound, or let go of that limiting belief, or to forgive. But there are no short cuts to any kind of growth. We can’t order it up like fast food. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, the the trials and tough times are there to help us grow.
When I was much younger and näive, I was angry at Divine Oneness because I thought life was supposed to be fair, it was supposed to be easy, it was supposed to be joyful. My life didn’t look like that at all. It seemed to me that I was being punished, that everyone else’s life was pure bliss. What was up with that?
Then the book, The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck came into my life.The first sentence is simple, “Life is difficult.” And contrary to what you might think, I breathed a sigh of relief. “That is certainly true for me,” I told myself. Reading those words helped shift my perception.
As I continued reading, I realized a few things. No one’s life is easy. We’re all in this together. The way to make life better for ourselves is to deal with one little piece of our messy life at a time. If we want that joy-filled existence at the end of the tunnel, we have to work on clearing out our gunk every day. We need to learn to love ourselves, the dark and light within.
Not long after reading that book I was in a position to take what I call, a sabbatical from my life. I had been teaching drama classes at local parks and recreation centers, and working in the local theatre scene. But that left little time for reflection. Eventually the time came for me to choose between my marriage or theatre. You may have experienced such a moment. You can see the consequences of how your life will be if you choose this or that path. Maybe you feel it physically like I do. A sinking feeling means, danger ahead. Feeling like a weight has been lifted, means choose this opportunity. So, when I chose my marriage, I became a housewife for five years so I’d have the time to journal, read, and reflect. It’s the best thing I have ever done for myself.
I know life is busy. Not everyone can shut down their livelihood for five years. But if you want to find peace in the end, you have to make time to take care of yourself. Once I started working again, I had to find tools to help me continue doing the work every day. Some of those tools are small things like being more grateful, even for things that are devastating, to seeking professional help. I have found journaling and meditation to be quite helpful. But whatever you choose, your life will begin to change the day you decide to heal.
I’m in my sixties now and I’m still working on myself and what I’ve come to understand is that what I thought were a multitude of troubles had one source. I didn’t love myself. That was a hard one to swallow because the other realization that came with it is that I was the source of my own pain. I wasn’t a victim, I was a volunteer. Once I accepted that, my work has become much more focused. I’m happier than I’ve every been, even though troubles still come my way. Yep! I still have more work to do. But I’m good with that. In a way doing the work has become joyful because when I have an aha moment, I know I’ve laid the groundwork for transformation. It’s just one more piece I’ve put into the puzzle of my life.
Personal growth is scary. Take it from me, I know. But I encourage you to do a little bit of work on self-care and self-love everyday, whatever form that takes for you. And since you are unique, you must decide what works best. I only suggest that you work on self-love, because I’m convinced that when the majority of us love ourselves, we’ll create ripples of well-being and the world will be transformed.
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