Growing Pains

Jesse Russell

If I’ve learned anything since beginning my journey of self-transformation through yoga and other means, it’s that growth is anything but comfortable. Many of the situations in my life which have forced me to grow have felt like moments of despair. During those periods of time, it felt more like being caught in quicksand rather than nestling inside a cocoon awaiting my effortless transformation into a beautiful butterfly. Rarely, if ever, was it apparent that the circumstances I was enduring were ultimately leading me towards greatness.

Growth is a beautiful thing when witnessed from outside. This Spring has been a visual display of the beauty of growth, of rebirth and renewal. It’s not difficult to admire the flowers and the lush fullness of the wildlife when it’s fully grown, yet it’s easy to overlook the harsh conditions the plants had to endure throughout the winter. The strongest trees will encounter many storms, and their might will be tested by the merciless power of Mother Nature, but so long as there’s a way, they will never quit. It is programmed into their DNA to grow, and we are programmed to do the same. We must learn to weather the seasons of our lives as the storms pass and our vigor is put to the test.

To this day, it’s still quite difficult for me to recognize and accept the fear and discomfort of stepping outside my comfort zone, and it’s certainly not always by choice that I find myself in the vulnerable, indeterminate waters of the ocean of change and transformation. Yet one thing is for sure. If it weren’t for the painful push of my higher self, I’d likely be in a much darker place than I am today, and I’m grateful for all my battle scars that I’ve accumulated along the way despite how badly I despised the battles I faced. It can be a daunting journey venturing troubled waters without any signs of the skies clearing and without any shore in sight, but the lessons we learn with each passing storm leave us better equipped to navigate the uncertain seas before us.

Patience, acceptance, perseverance; these are but a few of the many valuable traits worth cultivating as we grow. The mighty Sequoias of the Pacific coast did not reach their majestic heights overnight, and we would be naïve to think things would turn out differently for ourselves. It’s okay to move slowly. Baby steps can become large strides once we learn to walk the walk. Practice acceptance. Accepting the obstacles and challenges life presents us allows us to be responsive rather than reactive, and from a place of acceptance we’re able to construct creative methods to help aid our growth and progress. Perhaps the most important quality of growth which is apparent all throughout nature is perseverance. The battles in life are many, and in the words of Margaret Thatcher, “you may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”


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