Hey, it's spring! Shit is starting to bloom, people are putting in gardens, pollen is making people miserable. Stuff is growing!!
The question is, are you?
No, I don't mean gaining height, or even girth. I mean inside.
In many traditions, winter is a time of contemplation and reflection, an inactive time where we reflect on the year past, and what we want to do in the future. The custom of new years resolutions is one facet of that.
But as magical practitioners we do a little more that vow to go to the gym more often, or pay more on our credit cards. We pay attention to what is going on with our selves, our dreams, and our relationships to the universe around us.
Sure, it's easy to vow to meditate more often, or do yoga, or make more frequent offering to our gods, but that actually involves no introspection or inner change.
Everyone, at least everyone who has been a pagan for at least a few years, should be aware of themselves, their good points and bad points. But have you accepted the stuff that's there? Are you still thinking of yourself as this nice person who treats the world with fairness and goodness all the time? Are you aware of the things that trigger the not so nice parts of your personality? Are you still associating with toxic people and places? Are you still lying to yourself about the world around you?
Surprisingly enough, the practice of magic has a grounding in reality. You can't know what is changed if you don't know what is there now. The biggest area of pitfall for a mage is to not truly know yourself. Your will and your intention are your most powerful tools. If you have stuff that you have hidden from your conscious mind, it will still be present in your will and your intention subconsciously, and can lead to very unintended consequences. Self sabotage is the most common form of failure.
So the process of self knowledge and self control is one of personal growth.
This doesn't mean that you are supposed to control how the world around you affects you, because in truth you can't. It means that you know what things trigger what reactions in you, and how you deal with the reaction. Fighting words are still fighting words, but you can control whether you associate with people who set you off. It means that you can understand why some things irritate you, and take steps to avoid the sources of that irritation.
When you know yourself, your triggers, and your reactions to the world around you, you can learn to evaluate if people or situations are likely to set you off, and then avoid it, diffuse it, or even prevent it. Knowledge is power. Once you start to have that self knowledge, you have more choices, and more control over your situation, more warning of potential pitfalls.
Everyone has internal conflicts. Part of personal growth is reconciling and resolving those conflicting desires and feelings. Yeah, you'll get more as you go through life, but if you regularly assess who you are, good and bad, you can regularly re-balance those internal tensions.
In general, a good honest self inventory, good and bad, will go a long way toward making sure that you don't get blind-sided or surprised by your own reactions to the curves that life throws you.
That is growth.