Wednesday, April 27, 2022


“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“Grown up.”

While the preceding exchange happened multiple decades ago, I recall it vividly. The question was directed at me many times during my youth. It seemed to be a kind of icebreaker between adults and kids at the time. With mostly little in common, it was a potential meeting place for connection. I,however, recollect the feeling of being put on the spot. I felt I needed to not only have an answer. I needed to have an answer that would be acceptable and even impressive to the inquiring adult. I had endured the question several times before this particularly penetrating exchange occurred.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“Grown up.”

While I guess it was a bit tongue in cheek if not directly sarcastic, my answer has become truer than ever.

I want to be grown up.

More than anything.

I want Life to grow me up. I want Life to spiral me up and forward. At this somewhat late stage in my life journey, I want to grow beyond the past stories I have told myself about myself. I will to be a living embodiment of integrity, authenticity, and maturity. I am not content to just talk about spiritual principles. I want to live FROM Principle. To court Truth as an actualized inner experience. I am not satisfied with juvenile notions of what life and spiritual living are about. As we find in sacred literature, “when I was a child I saw, spoke, acted out from a childish perspective.” I intend to spend the remainder of my days seeing, speaking, acting out from a grown-up place in consciousness. I embrace being child-like. Being childish is something altogether different.

Childhood wounding is running the show for most of humanity. Until emotional imprints are felt-through, integrated, and thus healed they will continue to run the shows we call our lives. They fuel wound-based thinking, choices, and relating. We see examples of this everywhere. People in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and beyond are still battling it out in a sandbox of other wounded kids. This from my perspective is not to be judged or made wrong. It is to be compassioned and seen for what it is: unintegrated trauma playing out as repeated and habitual drama. Situation after situation. Circumstance after circumstance. Relationship after relationship. An emotional seven-year-old in a seventy-year-old body playing out patterns that never got resolved. And never will be resolved until some deep and mature and yes, grown-up inner work is done.

I can clearly only speak for myself, but deep and mature and yes, grown up inner work is my purpose and has proven to be my redemption.

The less time I realize I have before me the more urgency my desire to live as a grown up has become. While I am clear that maturity is not a matter of age, time in this regard has proven to be my friend. The time I have to remain on this planet and in this incarnation is far less than the time I have already spent here. I spent more time than I care to report in childish self-absorption. My personal diminishing imprints cried out to finally be recognized, accepted, approved of, and loved. The little boy who was repeatedly rejected, bullied, judged, made wrong struggled to grow up beyond that. The old stories of that wounded young boy were as experiential quicksand. My development was arrested, my growth stunted. The emotional body is ageless. The child can be in charge for a lifetime, regardless of the adult activities we also engage in. As I began to self-realize this, I at first attempted to rid myself of this often tantrum- driven child. Yet it was not until I learned to allow the grown-up part of me to deal with the child part of me that things began to change. I needed to bring the recognition, acceptance, approval, and love to that wounded inner child. Shaming what had been repeatedly shamed served nothing. I needed to be the loving grown-up I had always sought. The adult self-needed to be in charge of the show.

So, here I am at sixty-five. I am not all that I had hoped I would be at this point. Yet I have dedicated myself to a life of spiritual awakening and compassionate service. I constantly allow for and follow an impulse within me that I know to be Source seeking to grow me up. While way less frequently I can still find myself captured by an old imprint. I can feel an internal tantrum brewing. I rarely act out on those impulses at this point. I don’t have to because I have learned to deal with my child-self from a grown-up perspective. I have also learned to deal with other people’s “trauma-dramas” from a mature and understanding place as well. Not always. And it is a process. My child internally speaks first and loudest. And then my grown up takes the lead. My grown-up heads into prayer and response rather than tantrum and reaction. The pause between stimulus and reaction has grown substantially. And so have I.

What do I want to be when I grow up?

More grown up.

One of my favorite quotes from the Talmud is “above every blade of grass is an angel whispering GROW.”

Above and within me there is a host of angels always whispering to me “grow, Taylor.” Grow up, forward Taylor.” “Not just for you. For all beings.”

I love that. I listen to that. I move with that.

So, I guess that long ago retort has become my reality.

What I wanted to be is what I actually am.