What Gives Us the Comfort to Grow

Here's what you need to know about Michael Bear: He was a little bigger and a lot lighter than a medicine ball. He could compress himself down into the corner of a suitcase, duffel, overnight bag. And he came with me to friends' houses, Indiana, India. Because for several years, Michael Bear was my anchor.

When I say anchor, I mean the comfort I needed so I could do the uncomfortable. Growth, after all, is uncomfortable.

Being away from home when I was younger and being in far-flung places when I was older ungrounded me. Holding Michael Bear or seeing his soft, round paw out of my luggage grounded me again and again.

Some people have prayer beads, heart-shaped rocks, necklaces that never come off, tattoos, mantras, lucky songs, rings passed down from one generation's finger to the next.

Anchors come in all forms. But their function remains about the same: to root us firmly in ourselves. And from that rooting, spring wholeheartedly into the unknown, uncertain world.

So if we find that there is some space between where we are and where we want to be, perhaps a helpful question to ask ourselves is this: What is it that gives me the comfort to grow?

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Growing WiserCaitie Whelan