25 March 2016 6 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 77: Conundrums in Personal Growth

“Whenever we work through a particular layer of our personality, the issues of the next layer automatically present themselves.” (From “Understanding the Enneagram,” by Don Richard Riso)

This fact can, frankly, be annoying, especially if we are trying to achieve a particular state or condition. It tends to pop up when we are making progress—and feel like a setback. We may then feel like we are NOT making progress, but the emergence of that next layer IS a sign of progress. One may feel weary and frustrated at working diligently for a breakthrough, only to confront the constellation of issues at next layer of personality.

This new layer often consists of things we believe we have previously handled. In this case it can be a deeper expression of the familiar issues. The related challenges and wounds may be familiar, yet as we enter more deeply into the territory, it may be constructed somewhat differently.

Sometimes growing and confronting challenges can show up like climbing stairs, since we tend to stabilize at a plateau before hitting the next challenge. We may experience these figurative stairs like climbing, as in increasing achievement, or like heading deeper, down into core Beingness.IMG_0226

Like stairs in an Escher painting, these directions and processes are occurring at the same time. Which way they are going may be primarily a matter of how we are looking at it at the moment.

The work going down and in often involves confronting any prior trauma. Trauma causes rigidity in the personalty. When we can relax our defenses against encountering our historic trauma and accept it, we heal, becoming freer and more flexible in our responses to life.

In the stair metaphor, encountering inner or outer challenges can be like going along the tread of the stair and hitting the wall of the ascent or decent, which symbolize challenges that require a shift in awareness to effectively negotiate. Periods of stabilization—symbolized here by the tread—are required to integrate learning into life. These periods can be short during times of rapid growth.

During quick growth we need to take advantage of stabilization periods to intentionally rest and recover. Saying, “Phew! I’m glad that’s over!” is natural but can be ill-advised—unless we are equipped to gently laugh at ourselves when the next layer shows up. Looking for that next layer is savvy, by observing objectively so we don’t manufacture it from expectation.

When we become accustomed to a certain level of development, dipping back into previous issues or backsliding so that our experience, comfort, and performance are not what they have been can bring up distress.

The Path is a labyrinth. We seem to be getting close to something and then find we are far way, or visa versa. These metaphors describe certain kinds of experience, but they break down and our experience changes when we surrender to life in the moment without the need to fix or change ourselves. The descriptions are useful only if they help us to bring in light and increase self awareness.

How do YOU experience the path of growth?

What is your balance between seeking to grow and accepting yourself?

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6 Responses to “Manage Your Energy Part 77: Conundrums in Personal Growth”

  1. Sabine 25 March 2016 at 7:15 pm #

    After coming through a few years of myriad challenges and life-changing losses with a reasonable amount of resiliency, I thought my life was “back on track,” and would start to take on some semblance of normalcy again. Instead a year ago a seemingly ” freak” event has set me so far back that I hardly recognize myself anymore. I’d hoped to be doing a victory lap and, instead, I’m just trying to keep going. Yes, I’ve invested a LOT of energy resisting what is, feeling like all hope is lost and life is random, mourning the loss of the “old” me that I liked, feeling angry, etc.
    Just a week ago I summoned the wherewithal to at least attempt to lean into the debilitating negativity I’ve been feeling. Perhaps the timeliness of your writing on this topic is a way-sign that I’m on the right path (as shrouded in fog as it seems to be).
    Trusting all is well with you, T. Hugs.

    • Teresa Dietze 25 March 2016 at 8:17 pm #

      Thank you, Sabine, for your vulnerability and authenticity in sharing this. We need to remember that whenever we increase Light, to ground that light requires bringing it all the way down into the next deepest layer of darkness, to illuminate what is there on the way to grounding the Light.

      Interesting: I haven’t heard from you in a long time and yesterday I was thinking about you for quite some time, wondering what was going on and how you have been doing. Thanks for reaching out. 🙂

      Hugs, Love.


  2. Therese 26 March 2016 at 2:24 pm #

    I use to experience the process of growth as up/down, forward/backward, high/low; you get the idea. Now, I still experience growth that way sometimes but, usually, I view it more from an observer mentality. When I come up against growth, I step back and observe what is happening. Is this new, old, a variation I haven’t encountered before? What seems to be the lesson? If I don’t see an obvious lesson, is there something I’ve done/I’m doing which invited this into my life? Is this a sign to change direction? I just have so many questions! Kind of like when I’m trying to teach a horse to do something for me. I play with the process to unravel it. I pull at strings here and there to see how it affects the whole. Eventually, I find the solution and move on to the next growth opportunity.

    The Universe is always giving me the opportunity to learn. Yes, sometimes I throw a tantrum (periodically I give myself 24 hours to have a pity party). Some days I see an opportunity and say “I’ll deal with you after my nap.” Sometimes, I walk forward boldly. All are acceptable.

    Nice post, Teresa! Today is a good example of a challenge for me. I’ve moved to a new place where the sites are so tight my slides are within inches of the site next door. Not my preferred situation. I’m focusing on the woods out my back window and have rerouted to have a more peaceful drive home. If this site hadn’t been challenging, I wouldn’t have looked closer at my options. ?

    With Love,

    • Teresa Dietze 1 April 2016 at 9:42 am #

      Good questions for directing your inner inquiry, Therese. 🙂

      I’m talking about large swings, after intensive spiritual work, and will get into it more when I have time to write it out.

      I like your idea/policy of giving yourself a period of time to go into the self pity, so you can go into your humanity without getting into wallowing. Feels compassionate.

      Ugh. That’s a tight site! Can be so disappointing. I’m glad you have a plan for better-optimized travel.



      • Therese 1 April 2016 at 12:47 pm #

        I haven’t had a large swing in so long I can’t answer the questions from that perspective. Or, maybe my view of the swings has changed. The last time I was upset about a lesson was November 2015. I was upset because I’d found I needed to apologize for being pushy about someone else growing. I wasn’t truly listening. Their words and actions weren’t matching and I was focused on the words instead of the actions because I wanted them to mean the words and not the actions. It was a very good lesson because I haven’t given words more emphasis than actions since.

        I think the huge swings are gone because I’m leaning so strongly towards what Source wants of me. I’m focused on loving myself into the person Source recommends; little to no resistance. Hopefully, this answered your question better.

        With Love,

        • Teresa Dietze 1 April 2016 at 2:01 pm #

          I think I remember that.

          Leaning into Source without hesitation, ongoing as you are doing, will even out some of that type of swing.
          There are lots of different factors.

          I’ll say more about it later.



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