If you are interested in personal growth, chances are at one point or another you’ve encountered the part of yourself that wants to stay small. I surely have, quite a few times. To be honest, whenever this has happened I usually have had a desire for that part to simply disappear once and for all and stop ‘holding me back’. Or at least, that was until a week ago when in a shared ritual space in the Connection Playground community I once again connected to it. This time, however, it showed me another perspective that has been extremely valuable and I’d like to share with you.
The part of us that wants to grow
In each and every human being, as long as our basic needs are met, there will be a natural desire to grow, to expand, to create more, to be more, to do more. This does not apply just to humans! Given proper conditions, any living organism will reach for more, flourish and seek to expand in its own way. In wider terms, it is the Universe’s continuous unfolding and expansion expressing through us, or what we might call the force of ‘becoming’.
In our current culture, this force is greatly favoured and people who have mastered the art of growth are revered and respected. What this does, however, is that it throws a shadow on the part of us that is staying small. If we want growth, staying small should not be there. Or if it is – it will be the enemy, right? Well, actually, not really!
The part of us that wants to stay small
Staying small is just as natural a part of us as the part that wants to grow. Besides growing, our Universe likes to repeat itself, to preserve familiar patterns, which really is about conservation of energy. Until given a good reason to change, things will follow their old ways and just ‘be’ as they are. This force of ‘being’ sometimes expresses in humans as resistance to change. “I just want to remain here as I am, why waste energy changing?” I am not saying this with any judgement towards that, but actually with appreciation of it! How would our Universe and our lives look like if it wasn’t for that resistance to change? Imagine everything moving and growing and changing super fast in all directions, it would be complete madness, no? 😀
So what we call staying small is actually the part of us that sets the pace for our growth! It determines the speed with which our old patterns update themselves, which in turn determines how fast we are moving forward to new ways of being. Letting go of staying small then means wishing for old patterns to update themselves immediately. Or if we take it to an extreme – for growth to happen at the speed of light. When we see it that way, it’s quite clear this is not realistic given the laws that govern our Universe.
What is also clear is that staying small will always be a part of us. It is not something to let go of, but something to hold and appreciate. And then things become interesting, because once we choose to accept and welcome staying small as part of ourselves, we obtain the power to build our relationship with it. Which really is about asking ourselves the question:
“How fast do you want to grow?”
Not an easy or straightforward answer! One of those that really has me longing the simplicity of the right and wrong answers in math tests at school. But truth is it’s not like we can say 140km/h or something and be done with it. When we need to make a decision, we can come back to this question: “How fast do I want to grow?”. We can ask it knowing that the answer will be different depending on who is asking it, where and when and why. We can ask it in full acceptance of our desires to grow and stay small as two parts of the same stick. We can ask it and look at each of those parts, see what it has to say, and CHOOSE our pace.
For example – yesterday I lost my flight to Guatemala due to COVID-related confusions. So there was the question – do I invest in another flight the next day or do I remain in Romania for the winter? Given that I’ve been through some travel stress before due to the virus in the last year, it was not a trivial question for me. The part of me that was staying small was saying – well, stay here, everything is so uncertain right now with the virus, there is a high crime rate over there, a hurricane just killed 40 people not too far from where I’ll stay. Besides, it’s a small fortune buying another ticket last minute… What it was really saying was – be careful, make sure you stay safe. It was all about fear. And knowing the value of staying small, I didn’t look at it with judgement. I knew it is something that is seeking to preserve energy and in the end – the preciousness of the gift of life that I carry!
On the other side was the part of me that wanted to grow – to be in a new space with beautiful nature and community, to open up to the opportunities it will present, to devote myself to a new phase of life and a new way of being in alignment with my shamanic path. I eventually decided to listen to the latter. But I also made sure to check as carefully as possible about all the complications and safety concerns that were asking for my attention.
Choosing our pace…
What’s important to recognise here is that choosing our pace is not about speed, it is about consciousness. It stands in polar opposite to the unconscious way of going about it in which we judge ourselves for staying small and going slow. At its origins, this is about existing in a culture that glorifies exponential growth and rejects slowness and smallness. I say CHOOSING our pace rather than slowing down, because we can still decide to move as fast as we want! It’s not like once we’ve seen the rejection of smallness and slowness we need to now turn to glorify that instead. In each context, we can look around, see what’s up and decide what our response is. It’s just that when we know ourselves a little better and we attune to our own and Universe’s nature a little better, those responses have a little better chance of being a little better.