unrolling a person

Development is an interesting word derived from a linguistic root meaning “rolled” or “folded.” An envelope is a folded sheet of paper, and to develop is to “unroll” something that has been heretofore so tightly rolled that we could not see what it really was. After the child has grown up, we can say that she was that way from the very start. But when she was a child, it was anyone’s guess how she would turn out.

The particular individual is an entity that is both utterly unique and profoundly like others. In this paradox of sameness and difference, we are like leaves on a tree or waves on the ocean.

The path of development is the fishtailing course we follow as we let go of what we have been and then discover a new thing to become—only to let go of that in time and become something new. This is the Way of Transition, the way or path of life itself, the alternating current of embodiment and disengagement, expansion and contractions.

William Bridges, The Way of Transitions