Again and again it seems that we attract into our lives precisely the encounter, the conversation, the article or poem, precisely the thing we are intended to wrestle with in order to shift to a new level of understanding.
I’ve heard myself say, many times, “But this isn’t what I want!”
I read a poem that forces me to confront themes of reconciliation and mortality (Kingdom Animalia) and I resist it, minimize it, dismiss it because it is just what I need right now.
I read a book (Maybe You Should Talk to Someone) that reminds me of the powerful benefits of therapeutic conversation, the examples reflective of (because, human) my experience. I don’t want to be uncomfortably reminded of those themes, but I need to be.
I have a conversation that disrupts the smooth waters of my well-constructed ego, one that challenges my perception and forces my humility. I need that disruption. I certainly don’t want it.
This is, I think, the price of paying attention. And I would rather do so with vigilance and continue to encounter what I need to encounter than bury my head in the sand and risk no encounter at all.
“Development” or “learning” is never about arrival. It is about engaging the same themes again and again and having an incrementally better go of it the next time around.