|Statue of St. Teresa from St Rita's Retreat Center in Gold Hill, Oregon|
Another question I came back with from my Walkabout: What are the conditions under which I thrive? What is truly nourishing to me?
I’ve heard African Violets are difficult to cultivate and make thrive. My trip made me think about which conditions I need to flourish, like an African Violet – not this, not that; just enough of this, not too much of that. What's a Yes, and what's a No?
The further I go in life the more I think things boil down to discernment: When I feel reluctant to do something, is it fear or is it wisdom? How can I tell the difference between avoidance and intuition? When to push through and when not to? Reluctance can also be a matter of timing: yes, it is something to go forward with, but not at this moment. And, paradoxically, even working difficult (unpleasant) growth edges can be nourishing.
When am I pushing the edges of my comfort zone and turning towards what’s difficult in order to grow and heal? And when am I forcing myself to go past my growth edge and possibly reenact traumatic experiences? Once a yoga teacher said, "If you push your body too far past your edge and injure yourself, your body won't trust you anymore." When we don't honor our psychological or emotional edges and push too far past them, we risk (re)injuring ourselves, and we may lose confidence in our own judgment.
What are my givens and where do I have wiggle room?
When am I operating under what psychoanalyst Karen Horney called "the tyranny of the shoulds"? When am I trying to be something I’m not? What is simply “not for me” and what are the things that I could get better at and benefit from?
"I beg you...to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer." ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
I'm not sure if traveling alone is something that is really “for me,” but as my friend Jacquelene Ambrose says: “It’s a whole other thing when you think you can’t…"
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