Value Your Growth

640. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

When we were 12 years old my cousin Randal and I ran away from home. We’d had it with the parental suppression and too many rules! We wanted adventure and revolution. One morning in a fit of discontent we took a can opener and 6 dollars and started walking. We didn’t know where we were walking. We’d not identified a direction or made a plan. Along the way we stopped at a 7-Eleven and bought some candy and Coke to fuel our discontent. We walked from Arvada to Golden, approximately twenty miles before we got tired and called home for a ride. Dinner and a soft bed suddenly seemed more important than freedom and adventure. I have always felt fortunate that our very angry mothers were willing to come fetch us from our adventure. Our walkabout revealed the benefits that come with rules; it also made apparent to me how comfort is often the roadblock to rebellion. My only regret was that we never got to use our can opener.

Discontent fuels movement. I remember thinking as we walked that we were walking for the sake of walking. We were walking because we needed to do something, but the something we chose to do was not action – it was reaction. We were not walking toward anything; we were walking away from our problems. We didn’t know what else to do. It seemed important and necessary when we started and confusing and ridiculous by the time we stopped. We’d defined our actions according to what we didn’t want, not according to the creation of what we imagined. Discontent fuels movement but does not give it direction.

When we got to our respective homes that night, the people that loved us yelled at us, grounded us, fed us really good food, hugged us, made sure we were clean and without injury and tucked us in. It was a full spectrum of loving acts! I slept really well that night. The next day I awoke a different person. I knew that running away wasn’t immediately useful and yet, it created movement within me. It was assertive. It helped me run into more than a few boundaries. It initiated conversations that I needed to have. It helped me recognize that love has many faces and that this business of being a human is messy. It helped me distinguish between action and action with purpose. It helped me recognize that Coke and candy are not good fuel for walking long distances. And, it helped me recognize that if I wanted to make significant change in my life or in the world, I needed to value my growth over my comfort. In fact, growth is always through a path of discomfort.

Lora once told me a story of a Buddhist teacher who took cold showers everyday. I shivered and replied that I couldn’t do it. I like hot showers too much. She smiled and said, “That’s exactly what I told him and you know what he said? ‘I’d rather be fully alive than comfortable.”

One Response

  1. I love this post David. Walking toward vs. walking away from, and defining what we need based on what we want vs. what we do not want… A lot to think about today, my friend. Thanks for sharing.

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