Opportunity for Growth

Written by Teresa Phelps Martin

On May 26, 2013

When I was a kid if I did something less than brilliant, that is acted like a kid, my parents, instead of grounding me or punishing me would say…’what did you learn from this’. Which at times, especially when I hadn’t figured it out yet, would feel like punishment enough. This approach has me as an adult realizing again and again, what did I learn from this how can I grow from this?

This weekend, memorial day, is always a rocky one for me. Not only is it near and sometimes on my birthday it’s also loaded with memories both sweet and deeply sad. It wasn’t until I graduated from college did I finally release the fear of something bad happening and instead decided to take the time to remember the loving qualities of the loss or challenge that surrounds this time of year for me. I should also add that at one point when I was a teenager my dad said to me something like “Teres, I don’t know what but there has to be something special about all of this. I know it is sad and hard, but maybe there is something good to it all”. (His father had just passed on my birthday). It doesn’t mean that the bad, or I now consider it incredibly challenging, times have vanished, I’ve just cultivated a stronger ability to continue to grow.

Two years ago we put a contract on our home in Charleston that we totally gambled on changing our lives big time. On our way back to to KY, which was my birthday, we stopped at a rest stop and the car was engulfed in smoke and covered in diesel fuel. A little scary, but the car didn’t explode and was still under warranty. My birthday was spent in a hotel in Spartanburg where I had a little time to figure out how I was going to tell everyone back in Kentucky that we were moving.

The year prior to that we were flying with my dad from Kentucky to Charleston for the weekend. The sky closed in on us and I am not going into detail but when we finally landed in Chattanooga (which is not on the way), I touched the earth and felt incredibly alive. The wild part is we refueled and got back in the plane and flew to Charleston, we were 3 hours late. My dad was really good at acting unmoved by the event, but I think he would agree on some level, that it pushed the boundary a little too far.

Where am I going with all this…? Life is full of close calls. It is inevitable that we will feel pain and be challenged. But it is also amazing how there is always something, though you may have to dig deeper than you think you can, that will allow you to grow and strengthen your character. Handling adversity is one of the greater gifts yoga has offered me. In counseling it’s called resiliency and some theorists feel everyone is born with the capability to rebound from adversity. But here is the deal, it seems like it comes in the form of punishment,which some people firmly believe. But really it is just an opportunity for growth a chance to expand and strengthen your character.

Sure some people can handle it better than others, but this is why we have each other. If you are stuck start reading stories that enhance you rather than condescend and make you feel small. It may make you cry, it may even seem like you are about to take your last breath, but there is more cheering you on than you can imagine. If you have lost anyone or anything that is holding you back, trying going out there and doing something great for them, bring forward that quality of yourself that they were attracted to, that helped cultivate the relationship that you miss. And if anything, breathe deep, let the sun hit your skin, (if it’s raining, go get soaking wet), and know that you are always changing and growing. Don’t spend too much time trying to ‘learn from this’ but instead go out and live!

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  1. Tracy Shipley

    Hi Teresa-

    I just wanted to let you know how much I love getting your musings and hearing your voice. A yoga student and friend and I will be traveling, camping and hiking in June (21-28 I think) and plan to spend a night or two on or near the beach. I’d love to see you and maybe take a class. Take care, and please realize your light is shining brightly out through this forum.

    Tracy E. Shipley

    On May 26, 2013, at 11:35 AM, Yoga Full of Grace wrote:

    WordPress.com Teresa Phelps Martin posted: “When I was a kid if I did something less than brilliant, that is acted like a kid, my parents, instead of grounding me or punishing me would say…’what did you learn from this’. Which at times, especially when I hadn’t figured it out yet, would feel like”

    • Teresa Phelps Martin

      Thank you Tracy. I’ll be around Charleston and would love to see you. Saturday June 22 I am actually teaching in Columbia, SC as well.


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