Growing Pains



Change. It's one of my favorite things about life. I love it. I thrive on it. But change is not the same thing as growth. These past few weeks have been filled with the needs of my children, my husband's promotion to a new job, the comings and goings of care givers, and my own obligations to the work I do as an artist, a writer, Creative Director of a national nonprofit and, PTA President of a Title 1 school. It sounds like too much, because it is.

Here's the thing... I'm pretty sure that the universe is demanding some serious internal growth from me right now. I love the life that my husband and I have created here in Dallas, but there are also some glaring missing pieces. What are those missing pieces? I have some theories, but I'm also not confident in my ability to see clearly right now. My spirit self is pushing me to look beyond those missing pieces to ask, What are you being CALLED to? What is weighing you down? What can you throw overboard? What must you cling to? 

Personal coach and blogger Tara Wagner has outlined some clear signs that you might be at a spiritual crossroads in her article, "11 Signs Your Life is  Demanding Personal Growth". Now that the kids are back in school, I think I'll wade through some of these signs (many of which I am exhibiting) and do some introspective journaling. Here are Tara's signs:


1)  You are noticing patterns or themes emerging. If the same thing keeps popping into your head, your line of vision, or your conversations this is a really good sign it’s time to embrace it. It might be a book that keeps getting mentioned, a person being brought up or just an idea being repeated in unrelated places. Life insists until we listen or adamantly resist.

2) Your past is suddenly haunting you. Maybe a comment or an event triggered a repressed memory or maybe these memories came out of nowhere. Whatever the case, they are here and they are insistent. When change is imminent, things that no longer serve you or that it’s time to heal will require your attention.

3) You can’t stop emoting all over the place. It could be angry outbursts or uncontrollable crying. Whatever your emotions are doing, there is always a deeper reason and it’s very rarely that you’re “crazy.” Our emotions are a symptom of something moving beneath the surface.

4) You feel unsettled, anxious or restless. You might be having a hard time focusing or sitting still. You might feel as though you’re vibrating with excitement. You may not know what is it but you definitely feel the push or pull. Change is exciting. It’s also nerve-wracking.

5) You feel a bit like a yo-yo. Your moods can feel like polar opposites. One day you’re energized and motivated, the next you’re filled with fear or even despair. You can’t seem to keep an even keel. Your psyche is waffling between the old stories and the new.

6) You feel like you’ve stepped into the ring with Muhammed Ali. And he’s just planted a hard one up side your head. Sometimes it’s a bit of truth about yourself you might have been blinded to or a revelation or inspiration that hits so hard it knocks you over. Either way the shock can leave you seeing stars.

7) You keep feeling like you “want to go home”. But you’re not quite sure where it is that you’re talking about? This is such a common sign of upcoming personal growth calling your name, but it’s one that is rarely ever talked about. We intuitively know we belong somewhere else, even if we can’t name it.

8) Something is just missing or not quite “right.” You can’t put your finger on it, but you know there is more out there than what you’re currently experiencing. These unsettling gut feelings are trying to lead us to it.

9) You’re placating your need for personal growth with constant superficial changes. Rearranging the furniture, constantly changing your clothes (or your mind), feeling the need to buy something new, making new plans or drastically and quickly changing directions on current plans, always trying the next new thing and relentless, frenetic energy. When we’re uncomfortable with digging deep, we dig shallow.

10) You just can’t let go. Something happened or someone said or did something; maybe it’s closely related to you and maybe it’s not. But you can’t seem to let it go. Your thoughts keep coming back to it and you can’t explain why. There is a message there if you listen for it.

11) You are onto something amazing and life suddenly got really hard and messy. Welcome to the big leagues. This is where it gets fun.

I can hear my more stoic friends and family members saying under their breath, "Welcome to adulthood. Suck it up." But right now, I think the best thing for me to do is to treat myself with compassionate curiosity.