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  • Writer's pictureDayna Culwell

Which is better: to Belong or to Grow?

Imagine a beautiful potted plant that grows too big for the pot. It must be replanted in a bigger space in order to continue to thrive. We are like that. One day we are perfectly content in our space and the next day we feel overly restricted and stifled from creativity. Author Bert Hellinger says,

“We have a need to belong to groups but we also have a need to expand and grow.”

Many of us belong to several groups like a church club, a book club, a carpool club, a volunteer club, or a golf club. These groups serve our need for social contact and help us to grow… until they don’t. Have you ever found yourself growing in directions beyond a group that you’ve been with for a long time? Perhaps the idea of leaving makes you feel a bit guilty.

About 6 years ago, I created a small Spanish group that continues to meet weekly. We found our groove and almost never missed a practice until Covid messed up our routine. We tried to bring the meetings back once we had all received the vaccine. However, by then, I no longer got much out of it. Attendance was sporadic. I had found an online practice that better fit my goals. I wrestled with the idea of continuing the group for the sake of tradition or advancing further with a practice partner who is a language teacher in Mexico. Those of us in the group remain great friends, but the goals for each person have evolved differently.

Sometimes, our need for freedom and expansion may carry with it the price of guilt. We wrestle with the old question, “Should I go or should I stay?”. Does this sound at all familiar to you?

Back in 2010, I had an “Aha!” moment while sitting at the airport bar with several sales people from our district. This was during my pharmaceutical sales days. Our sales district consisted of reps from Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. We were all sitting around a table, talking about this or that. The chat suddenly turned very political and very opinionated. I am all for free speech but not for assuming that one’s thoughts are superior to everyone else's views. It dawned on me that my thought process was changing; I was opening to other people's views. I saw the need to graduate from thinking beyond the perspective of my peers and develop my own way of thinking. I look back at this moment in time and realize it was a huge red flag, letting me know that it was okay to leave this safe comfortable setting in order to grow. My world was ready and eager to open and accept ideas from all corners of the world, not just the little sales bubble from medical sales.

If you are following my blogs regularly, you know we are covering Asteya, one of the Yamas and Niyamas from Deborah Adele’s book. Asteya is the art of non-stealing. Staying in our comfort zone instead of branching out may be a form of stealing from ourselves. Our heart is ready to grow but our mind is comfortable as is. Most often, what we REALLY want or need is just beyond the other side of FEAR.

Truth is subjective. Our seeing is limited by all the groups that shape us as well as by experience. Sometimes the groups that shape us also restrict us from blooming bigger and fuller, like the pretty plant that is stuck in a small pot.

To be a bold person of truth is to constantly look for what we are NOT seeing and to expose ourselves to different views than the ones we hold sacred.

Keeping our eyes and hearts open helps us be truthful. Practicing Asteya keeps us compassionate to our own needs and to the needs of the world around us.

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