If someone asked me what I would like for my children, I would reply that I would like them to grow up calm and become aware adults. So, my hope, and perhaps that of most parents, is condensed into these two presuppositions that seem to be in some way inseparable and at the same time guaranteeing a fulfilling and happy existence.
They condense in themselves all that a human being may need.
If I grow up I will become great. If I grow up I will be autonomous. If I am autonomous I will know how to get by. If I know how to get away I will be happy.
But every adult also knows that it will not be easy, that there will be battles to be faced, defeats to be suffered, wounds to be repaired, setbacks, falls, days of emptiness and disorientation, and then, of course, overcoming trials, lessons learned, moments of rare intensity and happy days.
But it will still be an uphill road because growth is change and change is a transition from one status to another and you know, no transition is ever painless.
But what does it mean to grow? Is it becoming an adult? Is it being independent? Is it making a career? Is it building a family? In my opinion, growing up is much, much more.
Growing up is research, courage, transformation, openness, trust, strength, acceptance, flexibility, will. All essential skills to ensure that the change is proactive. Oh yes, because change can be even worse. It happens when fear, disdain, violence, arrogance, envy, control, the inability to face life’s challenges take over. Paralysis. Then everything crystallizes, everything stops, life no longer pulsates, there is no more light. Involution.
But fortunately, change is the only constant in our existence. It is daily. No day leaves us without having metamorphoses within us. Often we are not aware of it but what matters is that we can always get up and resume the journey from where we left off even if sometimes the stops are imposed.
Some think it takes a long time to grow. Certainly no one will wake up one morning “grown up”, but in this context, time is a very relative variable. There are people who have intuitions, who seek, who are flexible and know how to change in order to move forward, who take giant steps in a short time; others who remain a lifetime nailed to their schemes, clinging to their ideas, protected by their beliefs. All closed windows, with no openings through which the light of wisdom, knowledge, novelty can filter.
Children grow up fast and then, slowly, that drive slows down to almost stop. And at that point, to continue to progress, it takes the awareness of the adult, the desire to discover, to get involved, to seek new perspectives to see different horizons, to experience wonder, to understand others and themselves, to do not suffer, to learn to be humble and strong at the same time.
Each of us is responsible for his choices and the paths he will want to take.
And one of the mistakes we can most easily make is blaming others for our falls and suffering. This attitude can only block growth. On the other hand, welcoming even the dark moments, losses and defeats with benevolence will be an act of courage and great maturity because, by stripping ourselves of our certainties we will be forced to look naked, without the scaffolding that we have built for defense, to feel less fragile, to deceive others and often ourselves. Only through this very hard process of stripping will we learn to measure our strengths, those necessary to grow.
Footsteps Suffering is certainly one of the worst obstacles we can face but it is also one of the greatest teachers. It is an extraordinary tool for broadening consciousness. Because when a pain is recognized and experienced only as a pain, it will remain so forever, trapped in its label. It will be a useless waste of energy, a sterile ground on which we will stop, scattering precious moments of life that will be swallowed up into nothingness. If, on the other hand, we will be able to transfer it into the vital processes then we will be able to operate an alchemy, a metamorphosis of existence, we will be able to place the seeds for our growth and our future in the fertile soil because it teaches us that freedom, the true one, passes through the ability to accept and the will to choose.
Life is truly a wonderful, unfathomable adventure, full of dark corners but also lots of light … extraordinary … and this is precisely what we need to grow. Of light.