In the past, I might have viewed that retreat as a defeat. I used to set a target and then march towards it, pushing and forcing the desired outcome. Even if I achieved my targets, the process was not always easy.
I have deeper appreciation for growth now (albeit even that appreciation is not linear).
So, two key lessons learnt in action:
First, the growth does not happen in one big go. It’s more of a zigzag. One step forward, one step back. The key to growth is to take that first step. I am so glad I did it because I can now evaluate the experience and decide on the next step. I can perfect the offering in abstract, but strengths and shortcomings are clearer when we view them in context.
Second, after an expansion there is often a contraction. One of my spiritual teachers put it bluntly but to the point: ‘Big opening, big closing. Big meal, big sh*t.’ The trick is to be patient and gentle with ourselves. Once we have expanded, we can do it again. The hardest part is to take that first step.