I’m coming to the end of the #100days project, which began on August 1, 2016 and will finish on November 8th, 2016. People have been asking, what this project has been about. You’ve seen glimpses.
Here’s an explanation and a question of sorts.
How long does it take to grow? The answer is: forever, like the largest, oldest tree that grows inch by inch into tomorrow.
Live long enough and you will learn there are different ways to grow. Some might grow tall, straight and true towards the sun, unstoppable and with unchanging trajectory. Some still straight but with no idea which way their roots go beneath the soil. Some grow wild and unruly. Some will grow entirely shaped by the elements they face, windswept by westerlies until their canopy echoes the curve of the ridge top. Some will drag life out of stony rockface and make a rambling home there.
But if you have the desire, you can choose the way you grow. You can learn how to learn and how to transform. It’s a strange paradox that transformation is how we get from back to our truest selves after the world has demanded how it wants us to be.
How long does it take to grow? The answer is: no time at all, if you know what you are measuring. I count seasons and especially springtimes, moon cycles and sleepless nights. I know the time it takes to let resilience do its work on the way back from disappointment, I measure the slow creep of desire and how it unravels the truth from us.
How long does it take to grow? The answer is as long as it takes to tell the truth; about yourself to yourself and for yourself.
A gardener can take a bonsai tree and determine the final form it will take. Working with organic growth and guiding it with an artistic eye.
A designer will take elements of shape, weight, colour and purpose and bring these otherwise unrelated ideas together into a single, sometimes multiplying form.
We grow by design, taking lessons intentionally and unintentionally. All growth is transformation but not all transformation takes us back to truth; that finicky balance of awareness and self-awareness. Knowing how the world is around us and how we are in the world.
I began #100days because I was seeking transformation. Having encountered within myself some deep knowledge, an awareness of something underneath the surface of my skin longing to find the light – I had to find a way to guide it out.
So for #100days, I have simply paid attention, observed and written down what I have seen, what I have learned, how I have changed. I have been intentionally focused not on what is outside of me, but what is within me that ought to come out.
It has not been one hundred days of a single activity or focus, like an extended Lent. It has been an exercise in letting my inner self tell a story to my outer self – my soul compelling my mind to listen. Because we must learn how to learn and keep learning even when we are in the midst of a repeating machine. There is something in our souls that longs to reach up to the sun and something in our roots that calls for deeper earth.
The heart can be deceitful in many things and your mind will overwhelm you with anxiety if you let it run free. But if I let my soul speak, that which searches out meaning in the world and listens to both heart and mind – I find my way to transformation.
It is Day Ninety. Today I am noticing how much changes in a year, just by opening your life to new experiences. What new bravery I have discovered within myself and what a beautiful new nuance to my voice, even if I alone appreciate it.
The hardest parts of labour are the moments immediately before birth. The last few days have been hard. These snippets of storytelling have encountered moments of joy, hope, sadness, journey, gratitude and mystery – I have measured my growth in the ability to notice and pay attention to the greater story being told around me.
I wanted to share it, because I wanted to see if I could observe and learn something inspiring or hopeful or useful every day. Here’s to your companionship on the journey with me and to whatever is growing and transforming within you.