To Grow or Not to Grow

Wherein I profess a terribly simplistic view of growth.

Either you are growing or you are decaying. It’s a terrible dichotomy you can’t really escape.

From a thermodynamics point of view, either energy is coming into the system or it is leaving. I suppose there can be the appearance of stasis but in humans I don’t think that’s a thing.

So let’s focus on choosing to grow (focusing on not choosing to grow would just be depressing and you can probably guess where that leads on your own).

We’ll keep the concept general and say you choose to grow. So that means energy in. That means effort. The specifics of what that might look like are infinite and range from physical to emotional to mental to spiritual intakes and certainly other pathways I am not privy to.

So energy is now coming in to the very complex environment that is known as the human condition. Energy coming in means the complex system is going to change, maybe in subtle ways, maybe in significant ways.

Either way, shit is changing. The challenge (or problem or impediment or struggle) for many (most?) is that when we start to put energy into the system we want to have a say in how it will change. We need to have some tangible goal or vision of how that growth is going to proceed. We need and want certainty or surety. In a very Western rationalistic way, we want (need) to be able to measure the growth. And maybe what we really want to do is have control over how the growth proceeds.

Well, sorry, that’s not how it works. In your complex human condition, you only have control over a very few things. You just get to wind the mechanism and watch what it will do. That can be scary because it is going to lead into the unknown. And so we often fight it and try to restrain or contain it so that it heads in some direction that we have predetermined. And so while growth and change will still occur because of the energy you are putting in, the process becomes contentious and dissonant, which leads to struggle and frustration.

And so then what? You ask. Well, stop it. Stop trying to contain and restrain and direct the growth. Let growth do its thing. And of course, that is easier said than done.

It’s hard because letting go means giving up control. It means being open and accepting to possibilities we had not considered or even imagined before. It means being uncomfortable, lacking surety, being vulnerable.

And we are unsure and uncomfortable because we often view the process from a Western point of view and need to apply the idea of success or failure to the process, as if that matters and as if we would know what success or failure means for a new adventure anyway.

I suppose there is success or failure here but not in the way we typically think. Success is allowing yourself to go with the flow, not trying to control and not undermining yourself. Failure (if we want to call it that) is fighting the flow.  

So what can you do? Well, first step is to put energy into your system. Second, be mindful of what fighting the flow looks like and try to work through it. Third, keep at it. Oh, the places you will go.

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