Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Growth Periods

Growth Periods ©2008 Joan M. Newcomb

Growth periods are times of change. Any time one makes a decision to move forward in life, one experiences a growth period. Spirit chooses to go in a particular direction, and the body has to hustle to catch up! Change is easy from Spirit’s perspective – we’ve had bodies before, we’ve traveled along life paths, we’re familiar with the trail, we decide we’d like to gallop to the next ridge. Change is challenging from a body point of view – this is the only lifetime our body has experienced, it doesn’t know what the trail is going to be like, it’s not certain it wants to gallop when a leisurely trot will get it to the next patch of grass to graze on.

We have a choice how to experience our growth periods – we can experience them from our body’s perspective, which can seem like a very life-or-death thing. (Bodies always view things in terms of life or death, as they’re particularly attached to living and particularly resistant to that other word). Or we can experience them as spirit, with a little more neutrality or even amusement. (Spirit is immortal and doesn’t take death as seriously). I’m not talking about actually dying here (although that’s a pretty whopping growth period), I’m just talking about the body’s reaction to a growth period. Any new experience, anything that takes body out of its comfort zone, can feel like dying – and in one sense it is – dying to the old experience and being born into a new reality.

I believe that life is about creating, and that we manifest in physical form to figure out how to navigate through the currents of effort and resistance to bring about the reality that we desire. Each body is a new challenge, with its own unique personality and set of lessons. So as Spirit I may have utmost confidence about the path I’m on and what I need to do in order to get where I want to go, but the exciting thing is to get this new and skittish body to go along with my intentions! I say new and skittish, but I actually found it easier to manifest giant changes in my youth, I could just haul my body in any direction I wanted to check out (now that I think about it, I wonder if it was my body hauling me)! This older nag is a lot less trusting of my plans, and much more desirous of security than breaking out of limiting patterns and trying new things.

Change happens whether the old gray mare wants it or not. I find every couple years or so I manifest a major shift that forces me to get rid of what hasn’t been working and strengthen my foundation. Some of the growth periods happen gracefully – times when I have a strong support system, money in the bank, and a strong spiritual practice. More often the growth periods are a little messy and traumatic, propelling me to try new things and reach out to new avenues of support – expanding my Universe, so to speak.

It’s helpful to find ways to coax one’s body through a growth period – some people call it using Extreme Self Care. Extreme Self Care can look like – frequent massages, extra chocolate, hot baths, increased support group meetings, more meditation and journaling, hanging out with loved ones, exercise, yoga – whatever helps the body to feel nurtured and loved and cared for (so it doesn’t think it’s dying just because you decided to expand your reality)!

Notice what kind of growth period you may be experiencing at this moment; if necessary try shifting your perspective of it from body to Spirit. What can you do to ease your body’s transition? What works for you?

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