How have I Lived and Grown through Change
and How am I Doing it Now?
By Connie Krautkremer, MM
July, 2016: Reengage in a new vision for your future making space for new growth
“When a being is bombarded by the “oughts,” it can’t grow naturally. It becomes alienated from itself. But once given the open space of nothingness, a being moves naturally and spontaneously toward growth.”
p 38 DO NOTHING, Inner Peace for Everyday Living, by Siroj Sorajjakool
We have changed, each one of us, of course, but sometimes it is difficult to say just how.
Yet, in some ways we have not changed; we are the same as 50 years ago when we entered Maryknoll. When we meet next April we will probably hug one another, step back and comment how “gee, you have not changed.” That is usually taken as a kind of compliment, or no? To hear “gee you have changed,” takes us back a bit, not sure how to take it.
The question now is how have I grown through change? I would like to say I am more understanding of difference, less defensive, less judgmental, a bit more subtle. How did that come about? With lots of help from retreats, quiet times, dream work, psycho-synthesis, and energy work during challenging times. Five years ago I returned to Tanzania, my home since 1969, after almost eight years away in the USA. Everything had changed, it seemed. I had changed, the country had changed. I was older. I still flounder at times. Do I fit any more? Where? Things I did in the past, which excited me, do not have the same appeal now. Getting older (and growing too) is hard work, harder than I would have thought, in ways I did not expect.
And do I want to continue to grow? I guess, but how do I go about that?
I do not like to vision. When I try looking over the horizon I see nothing. It has been this way for most of my life. I ask myself if I even want to try. I wonder if at this age, of 71, I might just sit back and wait to see what comes or maybe just rest. I sense my fruiting is done, or is it? While at some level I want to stop and just rest, I know there is more in me. Creativity lurks in there somewhere.
I like to look for guidance at the natural world around me, which, I think, does not vision. It has its rhythms. Plant energies expand as leaves and flowers form, and then contract back when fruiting is done and seeds are drying. Grass grows up through cracks in the pavement, finding a space, moving toward light. Mold grows in damp shade taking advantage of the right conditions. The grass and mold seek life. I do too in my life. Any expansiveness, new life, and growth probably would not be “more of the same” – to produce or succeed, like in the past; the new growth is more relational. I do not know the next step nor how to find it. Where are the cracks? Is there something that wants to sprout, that badly, that it will find its way? And then there are forest fires that clear away, prune, and make way for new growth. Do I desire something that dramatic?
Is it time to leave Tanzania? But then what? How much of my identity is related to “mission” to “Maryknoll” to Tanzania? Is your identity connected to a role? (last month’s reflection) Where did my roles in life come from? Why did they change over the years? Why did I embrace them in the first place? If somebody called me to think about doing something, that could be start. Being called to something new, rather than my own vision, has moved me in the past.
I sit and let be; I listen to stirrings inside and callings from here and there.