The 3 Stages of Growth

It’s impossible to live in the moment and reflect at the same time.  It’s either one or the other.  First live, then learn.  Or in some cases, first learn, then live.  Or, I don’t know, just don’t give a shit I guess.

But as you get older, an ugly form of survival takes shape.  No longer living and learning, it’s all about survival.

1) To live in the moment

  • You don’t know you’re doing it.
  • Emotions guide your actions.
  • Spontaneous, living from the heart.
  • Expressive.
  • To live with hope, love for yourself and love for others

2) To reflect

  • You know when you’re doing it
  • You’re head helps guide your heart
  • It’s the learning phase
  • Mostly happens after you’ve made a choice, experienced loss, or any heavy emotions

3) To survive (the bad version of living in the moment)

  • Fear the unknown
  • Fear of making more poor choices
  • Hiding
  • Seeking power, approval, control
  • You don’t know you’re doing it
  • Not being aware of yourself

If something goes awry in stage 1 and you’re forced into reflection, that reflection will eventually lead you to stage 3.  The only way to safely overcome a hardship during stage 1 is through forgiveness.  Forgiveness of yourself and of others.  That is of course, as long as you can admit responsibility.

Instead of using stage 2 for learning purposes, people use it for rationalizing.  They rather rationalize than forgive themselves for making a mistake.  Or they place blame and “forgive” the other person which only takes them to level 3 (seeking control).

I taken a four hour nap today and now I’m wide awake laying in bed with my laptop.  I’m reflecting big time.  Why am I reflecting big time?  Because my hamster and her babies died today.

The day before Christmas my niece brought her hamster to our house because her mother wanted it gone.  The same thing happened last summer only with rabbits.

So on Christmas day, the store-bought hamster had babies.  I had zero inkling to care about this hamster or her babies, if anything I thought they were gross.  Hamsters eat their babies and I wanted nothing to do with them.

But as the days passed, and the Mother diligently sat on her babies and cared for them, I grew more and more fond.  I read an article on eHow about how to care for them and I gave the mother cheese and tuffs of toilet paper.  She was a good mother.

Then she caught a virus and died with her babies.

I hate stuff like this.  I have no stomach for it.  I’ll feel this malaise for days.  All because of a hamster.  A freaking hamster!  She died this morning, but I still feel like crying.

Last night she tried moving around but couldn’t.  All day she was curled up in a ball when finally at midnight, when she should’ve been awake, I gently picked her up out of her cage and held her rigid body.

I have to get a grip.  I mean seriously.

I should say there are 4 stages to growth.  The forth being grief.  No other stages apply to me right now.

4) Grieving

  • Feeling like life sucks
  • It’s not fair
  • feeling insurmountable compassion that leads you to feel even more grief

I think grief and compassion are linked.  You had to feel grief at at least one time in your life in order to know compassion.  It happens when you form an emotional connection, not an emotional attachment (because that’s all ego), but one of connection.

If you’re attached to something and that attachment is severed, you think only of how it affects you, and not the other person or animal.  You place blame, harbor anger, and you find yourself in stage 3, survival.

But to lose a connection and not an attachment, that’s where you find compassion.  It’s found in the places that can’t hurt you.  Like children and animals, the things that don’t feed your ego.

I’ve learned to widen my range of compassion to encompass most adults.  Which wasn’t easy, but I’ve pushed myself a little each day.  It starts with understanding other people’s perspectives.

Anyway, I ‘spose I should get some sleep.  Or rather, more sleep I should say.

I miss blogging at coffee shops.  I’ve been stuck in stage 3 for a very long time.  I don’t blog in stage 3.

Goddamned hamsters.  I hate hamsters.  Okay, maybe there was a little attachment there.

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Filed under journal, Self help

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