There are phases of life that feel as though I’m wearing a body suit made of sandpaper. The surface of the world as I move through it is studded with irritants, some of which pass away easily and some that rub against old scar tissue. During these times, I never know why this or that thing feels quite so painful when I’m feeling it. No, I’ll wonder and wonder about it, perhaps try to talk about it unsuccessfully, or perhaps not. But I usually don’t figure it out until my mind is softened by something, usually sleep, where the dreams come and give me answers. Barely awake in the half light, the pieces begin to assemble and cohere.

And the answer is always to find myself standing at the edge of a choice: crack my world open a little more, even more than I thought I had already, or stay in the sandpaper bodysuit. Sometimes the world is a loud drill sergeant, and other times it’s a yoga instructor with a deceptively gentle demeanor, but during these times it is always demanding: push harder; expand, make your world bigger. Redefine family. Trust yourself. Crack open the circle that surrounds you. Understand that life, like our abilities, is plastic and flexible and always changing. Take on the hurts you own, and hold others responsible for the ones they own, but try not to muddle the two.

These are the growth times. They’re not easy. But they will pass away, like everything else. You can genuinely, meaningfully live here, though the good times, like skydiving or mountain climbing or just thrilling moments in general, get all the good press.

Stretch. It’s November.

 

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