How our Journey Shapes Our Growth | #SoulfulSunday

“There comes a time when the bubble of ego is popped and you can’t get the ground back for an extended period of time. Those times, when you absolutely cannot get it back together, are the most rich and powerful times in our lives.”

~ Pema Chodron

The human heart aches and bleeds in pain!

Sometimes the pain is indescribable. But, as we all know, it suffers the agony and through the course of that one journey, we feel as if we are being hit in the face by lashing waves—that continue to rise and fall and crash upon the shore, unabated, carrying us along with the flow, while we feel utterly lost and struggle to find meaning of everything that’s been happening to us, and no matter how hard we try, nothing seems to make any sense at that point in time.

However, a few days later and perhaps, after a few weeks and months have passed, we slowly begin to unwrap the truth behind what we had experienced earlier. Epiphanies happen. We learn to make new discoveries as we reflect upon what we encountered then and as if by magic, as we delayer the events from the past, it seems that we are able to see things in an entirely new light this time.

Maybe it’s not magic after all.

Suddenly, in the midst of loneliness, and agony and fear, we realise it is the struggle of the human heart caught in the spiral of sadness. The misunderstandings, the heartbreaks and the pain that we thought would kill us, do not kill us—rather, we emerge stronger this time.

Everything comes to teach us something that we hadn’t known earlier—we encounter difficult people and difficult situations only because we are yet to learn our lessons.

Every time we try to save ourselves from pain and discomfort, we suffer. Yet, strangely enough, when we feel pain and let our hearts break, we discover our kinship with all beings. We become more empathetic and open to understanding what others are enduring in similar circumstances. It opens our hearts to the suffering and pain of the others.

I started reading When Things Fall Apart last year at a time when I was grappling with my own struggles. I found the book surprisingly comforting, even though the basic premise of embracing suffering wholeheartedly was something that did not sit easily with me.

A couple of months back, I picked it up again and re-read the book. The wise words spoke to me, and opened my eyes to new ways of understanding life and everything that we consider painful and challenging. And then it dawned on me yet again why we need to go through these phases again and again.

It’s simple. That how we grow. Any growth is painful. But, then what we emerge into through those experiences makes us stronger and better and eventually shapes us into becoming who we become.

My own journey has been nothing short of a miracle for me. More so, because I never really imagined I could ever reach the phase where I am now. I’m still imperfect in a thousand ways, still make mistakes and have so much to work on, in my personal journey, but when I look back at myself 20, 30 or even 40 years back, I think I’ve come a long long way and I’m proud of being who I am becoming today.

Yes, there’s still miles to go on that path to become the best version of myself but I’m no longer beating myself to get there. I go easy on myself now. I indulge in the little joys every now and then. I smile when nitpickers throw their nasty slings at me, I look through mistakes that would have once robbed my sleep and I remind myself that I am human. No need to be the epitome of perfection, no hesitations anymore to say NO when I have to, no more angry with myself for being nice because o can give it back now, with interest to whoever is nasty with me. A little more kinder and little more forgiving

Life goes on. I’m going to live in the moment for as long as I am around. Enjoying the moments and facing the challenges, head on!

A work in progress, but always eager to learn from life and the shared wisdom of those who lived and learnt from their journeys in the past. My bookshelf is that repository of all the wisdom that I’ve been able to gather over the years.

One of the most profound lessons that has opened my eyes in the most recent times come from Pema again:

″What may appear to be an arrow or a sword we can actually experience as a flower. Whether we experience what happens to us as obstacle and enemy or as teacher and friend depends entirely on our perception of reality. It depends on our relationship with ourselves.″

The growth that we dream of, always happens one step at a time, and oftentimes when we least anticipate it. And, that’s the beauty of life.

Would you agree? Or maybe you have a different perspective on this. Would love to know your thoughts from the journey that you took and the wisdom you learnt.


Written as part of our #SoulfulSunday free writing exercise, along with my friends Vinitha and Shilpa.

6 thoughts

  1. I agree, Esha. Over the years, esp over the past few years, I have realised that challenges come into our lives to teach us some very important lessons and to help us be better versions of ourselves. There is really no point crying about it (although we do!) or wondering what will happen in the future. It’s best to live in the here and the now, learn what life is trying to teach you, and be thankful that things are what they are. It could have been worse! (That’s what my therapist told me years ago. The line stuck in my mind. Thankfully!)

    1. Absolutely, Shilpa! That’s what I believe too. Some lessons can only be learnt after living through these tough moments. So glad to have you stop by and share your thoughts.

  2. I am in agreement with you completely. As our older selves, we have become wiser having learned the lessons that we did. And now the key is to live in the present moment and not turning our faces back at our past times even to get a peek. There is a line from a song which is coming to my mind at this moment – Chod aaye hum wo galiyaan.

    1. So glad to see you here, Anamika! I’m glad we share so much of our life experiences and I love the lyrics of that song…sometimes we forget how far ahead we have come having lived through the challenges. Being in the present is a reminder that I now live by!

    1. It is so true for most of us, right Liz? Learning to be compassionate and kind to oneself after knowing that we’ve made mistakes does take a lot of working on. We’re all trying to get there, aren’t we?
      Thank you for stopping by and sharing about your journey! It’s reassuring to know that we are not alone in this.

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