Mo and I have been on what I would call an adventure of personal growth since we met eight years ago. I had always been involved with holistic healing and spirituality, and Mo had been interested in Eastern religions for years. Like most couples, we went through ups and downs, learned how to live together, learned how to be married, and learned how to be parents. The parenting part really brought up a lot of difficult feelings and experiences for both of us, and at a certain point we didn’t like the direction our relationship was heading. There were too many treacherous pitfalls to tread around in every conversation, too many arguments, too much misunderstanding and resentment.
We began to really consciously make an effort to be more self-aware and try to grow into our best selves about three years ago when we started seeing a therapist in New York. A year later when we lived in Jerusalem I found myself part of a beautiful women’s group therapy circle in my neighborhood, and that was the beginning of another level of a journey inward for me. I began to learn to look inside my feelings, my fears, and my uncomfortable places, discover their stories, and have the courage to talk about them.
Talking about my inner life was a difficult leap for me. I spend a lot of time in my own head and I don’t always know how or even think to say what’s on my mind. I do things like start a story in the middle, think I said something when I really didn’t, and expect Mo to understand where I’m coming from when he has no idea because I haven’t told him. Healthy communication is really hard for me, and it is something that I have been working on for what feels like a really long time! I try to dig deep and have the courage to not only look at my true feelings, but say them out loud, to Mo or our therapist.
The other night Mo and I were talking about growth and change, wondering out loud how long it takes to make progress, what progress looks like, when to step back and acknowledge how far we’ve come, when to let something go and come back to it later if it’s too hard, when to accept that certain things will always be hard, what is the status quo, and when do we need to push ourselves further? So many questions!
The main theme for me was based in my noticing that there are things that I’m aware of that I want to change, in theory, but that I somehow find myself continuing to do in a way that doesn’t really work so well. Do I give myself credit for the awareness at all? Do I accept that it’s hard for me and let it go? Do I really push myself to change? To a certain extent I think that personal growth is like peeling away layers. If you take it step by step and work on what is “up” at any given time, things will move forward and get closer to the core. I do notice that it loops back on itself though, with issues that I struggle with popping up, being addressed to a certain extent, then taking a backseat for a while. How do you feel this works in your life?
My birthday is approaching (next Saturday) so I feel like I’m sort of taking stock of where I am now and what I hope and wish for in the year ahead. I’ll try to keep sharing my thoughts with you throughout the week, and I’m planning on doing the month long daily posts for November, so I hope to really dig into the blog in the coming weeks.
Here are some photos of our recent adventures, Shavua Tov, have a great week!