Saturday, October 23, 2010

Growing Pains

Over the last several months there seem to have been definite winds of change breezing through my life and the lives of many people around me. Maybe you have noticed it too among your own circle. What with the changing of the season, Mercury coming out of retrograde and, on the particular weekend that I am writing this entry, a full moon, it is no wonder that change has been in the air. There is a shift, to be sure, and it seems like it is ultimately a positive one, but getting to the good stuff isn't always straightforward and simple. To the contrary, many of us have to experience some very real growing pains to get there.

I'll speak for myself and from my own experience, since that is what I'm here to do after all. I've been growing up. It has been a largely intentional process, seeing as how, with the multiple significant changes in my life in the last few years, I made a conscious decision to get to know myself better and cultivate certain qualities while ridding myself of others. How this would all take shape, how long it would take, etc. I did not know. I simply hoped that by turning toward a spiritual practice, people, books and activities that embody the patience, mindfulness, compassion, courage, strength, independence, state of gratitude and so on that I, myself, want to embody, sooner or later they'd begin to rub off, and I'd become more of the woman I wished to be.

It is very gratifying to see this starting to happen. It is particularly awesome to have people who's opinions I regard highly give me unsolicited feedback on their perception of the changes in me, the softening, the opening, the growth. It's all quite amazing, really, but what it has not been is easy. And the fact of the matter is that it continues to not be easy to this very day.

I woke up the other morning with the Rolling Stones "You Can't Always Get What You Want" playing in my head, completely befitting the mood I've been in lately. I've had some very clear ideas about what I want from my life, and by the grace of the Universe, many of these wants have been realized. A large circle of incredible friends, excellent health, a successful career, amazing work-life balance. Perhaps not surprisingly, high on my list of wants after finding myself single was to fall in love again. I wasn't sure if it was possible to do so with the complete abandon that I did the first time around, now that I'm older, wiser and, let's face it, a little more skeptical after having had my heart broken, but I certainly hoped that I would be swept off my feet and find myself back in a fairy tale for a while. I'd venture to say that most of us girls, whether we say it out loud or not, want that. We want to be cherished, have attention and affection lavished on us, be made to feel like we are the only girl in the world by the man we love.

But there is a catch. I have been very conscious of doing my best to cultivate my independence and to set the stage for the kind of healthy, balanced relationship I want to have in my life. The last thing I want to be is needy or clingy, and I absolutely do not want to drastically change my life for a new relationship since I have worked very hard to get it to such a great place. So while I want to be the princess in a story of true love, what I need is turning out to be a little different it seems. I need someone who has his own life that he doesn't want to substantially change and who isn't going to be needy or clingy. I need a relationship that is going to help me deal with my own insecurities and fears so that they don't become triggers for me to repeat mistakes I've already had the opportunity to learn from in the past. For example, I've only ever really known relationships that started off very intensely wherein we immediately became two halves of the same whole, spending all sorts of time together and adapting our lives to suit the others'. As a creature of habit, I want that because it is familiar. As a conscious being seeking growth, I need space and time and a slower pace, which is unfamiliar and frankly very uncomfortable for me. Thanks to the power of manifestation, I've gotten what I need. But I must admit it is a major growing pain when, in the midst of so much love, joy, elation and the like that come with a new relationship, I also have to confront anxiety, doubt and unease. They are my teachers. They are what I've asked for. They are part of what I need.

So to all my fellow travelers on this journey of change and growth, take heart in knowing the moments and the emotions that really challenge us are the very same ones that help us to progress the most. Have the clarity of mind and the courage to recognize these circumstances as the opportunities we have asked for in order to become the people we wish to be. Have the strength and the patience to be present during discomfort so the lesson within it has a chance to unfold. Embrace your growing pains just as you embrace your growth.