Are you having contrasting emotions in the midst of a change?

An available week in my July schedule afforded me the opportunity to travel up to Maine, a most special spot for my family that holds countless memories from our annual summer trips. Year after year, we’d count down the days until our always-too-short coastal vacation that consisted of TV-free days crammed with crab hunting, blueberry picking, fort building, dock jumping, motor boating, lobster roll feasting, island exploring, star gazing, and the like. The hidden gem we visited, a tiny fishing village of no more than 300 local Mainers, was both a haven of flora and fauna and a glorious escape from the blazing temperatures back home in Texas.

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My visit this year, however, has been a bit different. As our family has continued to welcome more babies into our clan, my parents decided to buy another piece of property so we could all enjoy the Maine magic together. For the first time I am not nestled away in the creaky old cottage that I know so intimately, but am instead staying in my folks’ currently under construction house, located about a 5-minute drive away. The addition is undoubtedly an incredible gift. It is also a big change.

For years Maine to me has meant “roughing it”—”enduring” some relatively minor inconveniences like living on the whims of a septic tank and shivering through chilly nights with no heater. In the new house, these former issues just won’t be an issue. On one hand, we’re lucky—who can complain about reliable toilets!? On the other, we’re letting go of some serious charm and cherished experiences. Nothing quite compares to the midnight thrills of bats flying circles around a barely lit bedroom ceiling.

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But isn’t that life as we humans know it: continually letting go of the old to make room for the new, and perhaps learning to embrace this “flow” more and more with each passing opportunity? I find it strange that at times, even when a change is a fabulous, undeserved “upgrade,” the shift can still feel somewhat uncomfortable. I suppose it’s because change inevitably involves loss—sometimes minor, sometimes major—and in this situation I feel it. I have deep gratitude that my family now has extra square footage for us to enjoy together. And, I also have sadness that my image of Maine will never be as rustic as it once was.

Are you having contrasting emotions in the midst of a change?

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What is one tight place that you’d like to see blossom?

This semester my graduate school cohort is taking Group Therapy, a dynamic course that is divided into two distinct portions. For the first half of class we listen to lecture, then we split from the professor and a counselor guides us in an actual therapy session. The hope is that in both settings—first as pupils, then as participants—we’ll gain a better understanding of ourselves, each other, and how group therapy can catalyze healing and growth.

This afternoon we met for our third class/session, and after two weeks of ice breaker-type exercises (sharing some funny stories and disclosing some personal quirks), our focus and energy shifted quite a bit. During the previous class we had collectively selected a certain classmate to propose today’s topic, challenging him to help us all wade into more vulnerable waters.

He started in an unthreatening way by inquiring about our first celebrity crushes, and after we had all enjoyed a good laugh envisioning those pre-teen hotties, he proceeded to read a quote and followed with a question:

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom (Anais Nin). What is one tight place that you would like to blossom? 
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Each of our 8 group members searched inside and shared courageously, which led to many powerful moments of speaking, listening, reflecting, and responding.

We noticed how the stories all centered around the themes of control versus surrender, fear versus faith, the familiar versus the foreign. We saw that though each of our “buds” and “blossoms” appeared in different areas of our lives, we all possessed a similar eagerness to grow. We recognized that while our minds may comprehend that blooming is incredibly beautiful, most of our hearts are still resisting taking the concrete steps necessary for change. Fixed, firm, closed, stiff—these bud-like states often feel so very safe. Seductively so.

While none of us seemed to be miraculously transformed by the session’s end, I’m convinced that several of us advanced that first inch forward by publicly naming our tightly bound-up buds and actively imagining the yet-to-bloom blossoms.

What is one tight place that you’d like to see blossom?