Since childhood, many of us have aspired to “grow up” because we believe that this process is synonymous with maturity, security and success. For those of us that drink from the wisdom of our experiences, growing up may, indeed, represent a fulfilling process aligned with manifesting desired states such as those.

While realizing our desired states is an important means to self-fulfillment, sometimes we become so fixated on our individual growth that we neglect to realize its integral role in our collective growth. We easily get lost in the details of achieving and attaining, neglecting to realize the importance of being and sharing. This is how I have come to differentiate “growing up – often attributed to individual achievement – from “growing out” – which I attribute to dynamic, collective development.

Growing Up vs. Growing Out

Growing up is fixated on achieving more, possessing more, becoming more, getting to the next level or rising to the top.

Growing out is focused on recognizing one’s natural abilities and capacities and sharing those gifts with others to inspire their simultaneous growth.

Although both growing up and growing out depend upon individual development propelled by self-awareness, growing out pays homage to the collective conscious, while growing up is focuses upon individual transformation.

tree-womanThe Tree Allegory †

Think of all of us as branches on a tree. The trunk is the Source, and the branches come from the Source. The tree does not need another trunk, but it does need an array of branches in order to remain healthy and stable. The branches are destined to grow in different directions and to different heights. Not every branch needs to be the tallest or stretch the widest. Every branch simply needs to expand to its natural growth capacity in order to support the simultaneous growth of all the other branches.

We are the branches derived from the trunk. No matter which way we grow, we are connected to all parts of the tree – including every leaf and every organism that lingers on or feeds from the tree. Not only is our individual branch unique; all branches that we intertwine with are unique.

Growth is not just a linear process, or a vertical one for that matter. We need to grow up, yes, but we need to grow out, too – we need to trust the expansion of our branch and provide or assume support from the other branches, too. In order to grow individually, we must grow collectively. In order to grow two-dimensionally, we must unearth the unique gifts provided by the Source that will enable the development of not just our own branch, but every single, beautiful one.

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