Dr Ng Wai Sheng

Growing Space vs. Dying Space

Growing Space vs. Dying Space

Growing Space vs. Dying Space

Written by Dr. Ng Wai Sheng

Image by Markus Spiske @ Unsplash


All relationships are growing space. Most of us like the idea of growing. But part of growing, is dying. Now this is the part that we have problem with.

So to keep pumping in new life, we have babies, go for holidays, explore new interests…
Sometimes that works, for a while…
Sometimes we are tempted to let the old relationship die, in hope that something new may come out from that dead space…
Sometimes it will. Sometimes it won’t.

But to let something die and not try to save it is a huge risk!
That’s why doctors try to save patients, firefighters try to save trapped people or animals, couples try to save their marriage, and children try to save their parents!
We fear death. We fear the unknown.
So like most people, we cling on to the status quo. We are afraid of change.

But what if, you know that to not change would still eventually lead to death, anyway… Would you still resist change as much?
A mature fetus will die if it insists on staying inside its mother’s comfortable womb. The mother herself may die if she does not try to push the baby out from her narrow vaginal canal, or allow her abdomen and womb to be cut open for the baby to leave her.

The process of change and transitions often feels like something is dying or will die soon. And it feels horrible!

Even what seems to be growing well will have to go through the path of dying as well. That’s the normal cycle of life.

“Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (Jesus, Gospel of John 12: 24)

Point to note though, the end of a person’s life does not end the relationship. Many of us continue to have relationships with the dead, for better or for worse. On the other hand, people often outlive their relationships. Some may even hang on to relationships that has long died, for many obvious and not-so-obvious reasons like shared children, properties, reputation and vengeance. It’s really not easy to say goodbye.

Let’s pause and think of a significant relationship in your life now. Check the relational pulse… How is it going?

If it’s alive and growing, congratulations! May you and your beloved enjoy this fruitful season from your many months and years of hard (and heart) labor, which I bet is immersed with much blood, sweat and tears. Even if there’s tension and pain, know that growth comes with turbulence too. So be sure to enjoy the roller coaster ride that keeps your adrenaline pumping!

If it’s dying, congratulations! Precisely because you both have shared a real, palpable relationship, the signs are now prompting you to examine yourselves and your relationship. Fear not, this is a time of renovation and renewal. Things might be a little chaotic and dusty for a while. You will need to choose wisely what’s useful to keep in the relationship, and shed what’s not so useful, so that you both can be happy, in the long run.

If it’s dead, congratulations! You are finally free to choose again – to be the person you want to be, and to make new relationships! But don’t be too quick to “move on”. Allow yourself plenty of time to stay in darkness, to stay still, to grieve your loss, to feel sorry for yourself, to be mad, to feel lonely and empty, to despair about the future, to fear losing your mind… And finally, to love yourself in spite of all these…

“Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That’s its balance.” (Osho Rajneesh, Everyday Osho: 365 Daily Meditations for the Here and Now)

A seed grows in darkness. Unless you allow yourself to grow in darkness, you may never know what your true potentials are! But don’t drag or prolong your stay in darkness. When your seed begins to sprout, it will require sunshine to continue its growth to the next level.

Thus is the cycle of life. That we may continuously be born, mature, die and born again.