How to Become More

The pain of learning can tell us that we’re outgrowing our old shell

Andrew Lawrence Wood
Human Parts
Published in
10 min readJan 4, 2020

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Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

Dear C (age 5),

Can I share with you a dream that I sometimes have? It’s a good dream that helps me understand myself and the world a bit better, when things are changing. It’s not one of those dreams that feels like you’re being chased and makes you run in your sleep.

It’s one that feels so completely real that when you wake up, it takes you most of the day to work out that it’s not real. I have realized that this dream tends to come to me whenever I am being stretched and pushed in real life. I think my dream might be useful in helping me (and you) understand what happens to us when we go through difficult changes.

Describing a dream to someone else is tricky — a bit like describing a color — but let’s try. I’m going to try to give you just enough to understand the dream and its meaning, and then you might find you can fill in the details for yourself and create your own version. Sit somewhere quiet and comfortable, and take your time. Remember to notice what you’re feeling as we go.

Imagine you are standing somewhere in our house. You know it well — you’ve lived in it all your life—and it’s familiar, friendly, safe, well-lit, and warm. You’re alone but not lonely. It’s quiet but not eerie.

Now, go for a walk through the house, slowly, paying more attention to it than usual — run your hands along the walls, feel your feet on the floor, notice the light.

After a while, stop walking, and turn to look at the wall in front of you. Reach out your hand and touch it. There’s a crack in the wall — no, not a crack, a hatchway. You’ve never noticed it before. How could you have missed it? Push it gently. The hatch opens to reveal a narrow, dark passage curving out of sight. If you tuck in your elbows and keep your head down, it looks like you can just about squeeze in on your hands and knees. A secret passageway in your own house that leads who knows where? You feel that you have no choice but to find out where it goes, even though it’s a little unnerving. In you go!

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Andrew Lawrence Wood
Human Parts

Accredited transformational and developmental coach, heart and mind. Baker of thought biscuits. Eierlegende Wollmilchsau. Father. Medium featured writer. FRSA.