The Manifestation of Growth
At the end of this semester I found myself desperately wishing my last few days were over. The pressure was finally getting to me and it felt like there was a large animal sitting on top of me, holding me down and pressing on my heart and brain. I had a teacher here at seminary describe grad school as a time when one is being turned upside-down and all of the “loose change” in your pockets is shook out. I definitely resonate with that and I am not sure when I will be right side up again.
While in the process of being upside-down, specifically in the last few weeks of school, I felt myself losing my awareness and as I mentioned, desperately wishing for Christmas break. But then I had an interesting realization… I suddenly began to wonder, what am I missing out on learning by rushing through this uncomfortable stage of life? This reminded me of what I have learned in yoga and in different athletic endeavors… Often times you have to stay in a pose for an uncomfortable amount of time, and it is during this time that you are able to facilitate muscle growth and strength. It is also interesting to hear the chatter that comes up when you are faced with a difficult pose.
I am talking about that internal dialogue that is such an a**hole (at least mine is). For example: “No one is in as much pain as you are right now.”, “Oh you don’t need to hold chair for this long. Ever.” or, “Get out get out get out get out.”. In the same way that we must fight against an internal dialogue in yoga or CrossFit or running; we must fight against it during the sucky times of our lives. If we get out of the pose early or numb ourselves to what is going on, we miss out on the potential for growth.
The easy thing to do is to numb ourselves to the difficult experiences we are working through and wish for the better times..e.g., “I can’t wait until school is over, THEN I will be better.”, “If I can just hold on until the terrible two’s are over...”, “Life will be better once I am married, then I can make real plans.” I would encourage you to stay present in the difficult times, because it is in these times that we are able to facilitate real growth in our lives.
Because, just like physical training, we become much stronger when we stay with the pose.
Alas, we are human and sometimes all we can do is anticipate what is to come. If you struggle with staying present, I would encourage you to be aware of when you are numbing yourself to difficulties. It may not be time for you to embrace the difficult times, but it doesn’t hurt to be aware of when you are blocking them out.
As always, feedback is greatly appreciated.