I think depth is painfully rare and highly undervalued. It’s not something I find frequently in people or in experiences. But it is something I’ve determined I want desperately in my life. So, I am learning to make the effort to fight for depth. It’s uncomfortable to get deep in any context really. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it’s frustrating. Sometimes it’s just plain hard. It also seems to be somewhat subjective. But it’s no one else’s job to define what depth means or how depth looks or who deserves depth. I also don’t know that the definition is stagnant. I think probably it grows deeper and different each lesson we learn and each experience we fight for.
Truth be told, depth has run a parallel in my life with growth. Growth comes when we make room for growth. Depth also comes when we make room for depth. It’s a conscious effort. It isn’t something that will just “happen”. We must engage and activate these efforts to elicit responses. Which initially seems counterintuitive because they hurt and are uncomfortable. They are actually pretty terrifying. And let’s not forget painful when we try and it doesn’t work out at first. So, for me at least, I get caught thinking if I try and fail, I’ll be going backwards — I’ll trust people less or I’ll take a smaller risk next time. And yet, these lessons are as much trial and error as they are a life necessity. As if they are a true paradox supreme. You’ll fail at growth, but you’ll grow trying. You’ll get rejected in depth but through rejection find capacity for deeper connection.
The feeling I most frequently associated with my early adult life was instability. I would continually tell myself that I just needed ONE “constant” in my life to cling to and all other areas of my life can fly in any direction. I wanted to know it wasn’t all chaos, that I could be in control of at least one thing. I’ve yet to really uncover if that’s true, but also it’s not true. Life is chaos and life is context, and I do not control either. I think I’m an active participant in my life, and I take bold steps towards progress every day, but I don’t think I’m in control. And I think by releasing the need to control everything, I’ve been able to engage with growth and depth on a more authentic level.
Which in the end really does seem to make a lot of sense. I had to let go of figuring out “how” the seed become a flower and trust that it would. Do my part and know the rest will happen. Because here’s the difference between being planted deep (even if that means feeling “stuck”) versus being overpowered by an avalanche. Seeds always know where the sun is. Roots always grow in the soil and make way for blossoms to break through the earth. The danger in an avalanche is not knowing which way is up. That is never the case for the seed. When a seed gets planted, it trusts the process and the elements involved. It does its part and trusts everything else to do its part as well from the soil to the water to the sun. And in focusing on being a seed, and trusting everything else to work as it should, it loses that need to control everything and inevitably grows deep strong roots, aims towards the sun and blooms into something beautiful. No matter how long it may appear to take.
So reject having to be in control, reject being too afraid to try, reject believing this is as good as it gets. Fight for depth. Make room for growth. It’s important to actively engage and make every effort to earn these merits. But do only that which is necessary. Don’t try to control everything. Trust the rest.
Amy Maiolo has lived in Nashville for the past six years. She’s recently transitioned into a new line of work as a consultant. When not working, she enjoys reading, working out and is making a serious effort in terms of learning to cook.
*photo via Stocksnap.io