I learn so much from my children. I often just watch them and smile at the simplicity that I’ve forgotten as I’ve built my un-complex life.

My 3 year old recently discovered a pine cone on a little outdoor field trip. “Look mommy, a tree,” he exclaimed. Yes, pine cones do resemble small trees. I told him it was a pine cone. He repeated, “A pine cone?” He did not question whether it was truly not a tree in his usual nature. I suppose he simply felt it was true and accepted it as so, which is the way that life pretty much should happen in my opinion. I watch my children. They remind me to explore the world like a three-year-old, and be amazed by what I find.

Just because something resembles something else that is familiar to us does not mean that is what it is. Be in a constant state of discovery, learning, and growing.

In changing my perspective to being in this constant state, I have discovered the five E(ase) of growth. Trust that between losing my mother to cancer, emerging from an abusive relationship, and going through a testy divorce, I know a lot about growth. But why ease? Because it just makes life easier when you follow the five E’s. . .for me anyway.

Exposure: Expose yourself to the new, the different, and the unusual. Flood your senses with them. I like this definition of exposure that I found on a Google search and the sample sentence used in it as well.

2.the revelation of an identity or fact, especially one that is concealed or likely to arouse disapproval.
“she took her life for fear of exposure as a spy”

Exposure, whether it’s exposing who we are or exposing ourselves to new environments, requires us to relinquish fear. Fear is not natural.

Experience everything in life. If it’s not for you then it’s not for you. Experience can be deduced to getting involved. The more you experience, the more you learn. Attempt to relate and empathize with other individual’s experiences. Even if you do not agree, even if in a similar situation your choices would have been different; do your best to understand another person’s experience.

Experiment with life. Question everything, ask why, draw a hypothesis, come to a conclusion, change your mind. You have that right. Be a contradiction, make up sh!t. Too many of us have lost our capacity to imagine great and impossible things. Find what works for you. We are not carbon copies of our forefathers.

Fun fact: Is it a coincidence that in the Spanish language, the verb form of the word experience and experiment are the same? I didn’t think so either. When you experiment, you are having an experience. How can they not be one in the same.

Embrace the unknown. Embrace the uncommon. Embrace the unaccepted. Embrace the imperfect. Everyone and everything is as it should be, embrace it as such. Change is inevitable. Willingly and enthusiastically show your support for your fellow human spirit with whom you share this world and will probably share the next. I am not Haitian. I am not Asian. I am not Muslim, Jewish, or Israelite, however, I have friends from all of these backgrounds and when I am with them, in their home and among their family, I embrace their culture and customs. For that, they embrace me in return.

More importantly than all that, embrace you.

Enlightenment: Greater than simply understanding is a combination of both knowledge and understanding. Take a few steps back, change your position, remove your emotions, listen, and observe. Allow your exposure to an experiment cause you to embrace your experience and lead you to enlightenment. YASSSS! It is indeed the ultimate E(ase) of growth.

REMEMBER: In everything, you must seek balance.

What are some other E(ase) you could add to the list as your own personal E’s of growth? There are many.

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