Juggling Tigers

When you’re at the edge of your comfort.

When you’re at the edge of what you know.

When you’re at the edge of your sense of who you are.

Then you’re juggling tigers.

My mother told me the expression last night; she recently coined it. Huh, I thought, that’s a spot-on way to describe growth.

We do not grow in the warm blankets and restful hammocks of what we know. We grow on the cracking ice and unstable suspension bridges life serves up. And we grow not into who we imagine ourselves to be, but who we have it in us to be. (The latter, it should be noted, is often quite larger than the former.)

We can’t be juggling tigers all the time. Our muscles and matter need periods of hot noodle soup, ease and calm to recuperate. After which it is time to start juggling anew. Because what were once tigers will now be much tamer, much easier for us. And new tigers are needed for us to grow in new ways.

Growth, a word that can get stretched thin and meaningless with overuse, is becoming more of ourselves. It is uncomfortable more than comfortable, upheaval more than calm, alive more than inert.

And sometimes, it requires tigers.

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Courage BoostsCaitie Whelan