Growth Happens at the Edges

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A question to ponder: Where are your edges?

In one of the personal growth / spiritual / psychological books stacked in my current reading pile, I came across a paragraph on our struggles as indications of where we are growing.

It’s not exactly a new concept — the phrases “learning zone”, “leading edge”, “spiritual frontier” all come to mind — but was explained in a way that put a new spin on it for me. The author writes that the things we have built into our lives and now do without struggle are no longer indicators of our growth edges. The places where we do struggle are where we are being called to step up and grow.

For example, I know a lot of people who have built themselves healthy exercise and healthy eating routines. It isn’t even a question for them whether they’ll go running four times a week or eat five servings of vegetables a day — they just do it. They have made discipline, self-care, and health built-in priorities.

On the other hand, I also know many people who face a daily struggle to recommit to exercise and recommit to eating vegetables. For these people, the daily struggle is an indication that they are being called to grow. Each of us can determine what growth is being called forth: are we being called to grow in our capacity for discipline? For enthusiasm? For valuing our health?

The take-away for me is to look at the places where I am struggling (e.g. my half-assed meditation practice, or my on-again off-again spiritual reading practice) with gratitude: the struggle is illuminating for me clearly the ways in which my soul is trying to grow, the growth that is being called forth in me.

Where are your edges?