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  • ... only in growth, reform, and change, paradoxically enough, is true security to be found.

  • A blossom must break the sheath it has been sheltered by.

  • Growing up takes longer than you think.

  • The great constructive energies of the child ... have hitherto been concealed beneath an accumulation of ideas concerning motherhood. We used to say it was the mother who formed the child; for it is she who teaches him to walk, talk, and so on. But none of this is really done by the mother. It is an achievement of the child. What the mother brings forth is the baby, but it is the baby who produces the man. Should the mother die, the baby still grows up and completes his work of making the man.

  • The development of the individual can be described as a succession of new births at consecutively higher levels.

  • The base from which all growth is predicated then, is in the future, not from the past. Growing is always into, not away from.

  • This is your dividing line, by the way, between child and nonchild — when the first trouble happens that Mama can't fix.

  • Growth is exciting; growth is dynamic and alarming.

  • Growth itself contains the germ of happiness.

  • Love dies only when growth stops.

  • We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another, unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1946, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • ... in my experience one thing you don't learn from is anything anyone set up to be a lesson; what you are to know you pick up as you go along.

  • So all that is in her will not bloom — but in how many does it?

    • Tillie Olsen,
    • "I Stand Here Ironing," Tell Me A Riddle ()
  • A finished person is a boring person.

  • 'How does one become a butterfly?' she asked pensively. 'You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.'

  • But buds will be roses, and kittens, cats, — more's the pity!

  • Without defeats, how do you really know who the hell you are? If you never had to stand up to something — to get up, to be knocked down, and to get up again — life can walk over you wearing football cleats. But each time you do get up, you're bigger, taller, finer, more beautiful, more kind, more understanding, more loving. Each time you get up, you're more inclusive. More people can stand under your umbrella.

  • ... psychological growth is the great gift and inexorable fact of human life.

  • A stream cannot rise higher than its source.

  • The body grows by food and work, the mind by use, and the soul through joy and pain.

  • At twenty-one, although half of one's being is still a child, reaching back into the past, clinging stubbornly to the known, the safe, the remembered way, the other half is tearing itself loose, kicking aside restraints and bondage, pursuing with complete selfishness and egotism its own ends and aims.

  • Discomfort is always a necessary part of the process of enlightenment.

  • We are not unlike a particularly hardy crustacean. ... With each passage from one stage of human growth to the next we, too, must shed a protective structure. We are left exposed and vulnerable — but also yeasty and embryonic again, capable of stretching in ways we hadn't known before. These sheddings may take several years or more. Coming out of each passage, though, we enter a longer and more stable period in which we can expect relative tranquillity and a sense of equilibrium regained.

  • Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.

  • ... growth is not concerned with itself.

  • Everywhere he looked he saw new shoots of heartbreakingly tender green; grass and bud and leaf, springing into life. Living, growing beings, certain of their place on the wheel of the seasons, sure of their destiny of flowering and fulfillment.

  • We are not born all at once, but by bits. The body first, and the spirit later; and the birth and growth of the spirit, in those who are attentive to their own inner life, are slow and exceedingly painful. Our mothers are racked with the pains of our physical birth; we ourselves suffer the longer pains of our spiritual growth.

  • Being, I imagine, must be very simple. It is Becoming which is so messy and which I am all for.

    • Alice B. Sheldon,
    • in Julie Phillips, James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon ()