Embracing Life's Spiral

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Spirals exists all around us from delicate seashells and unfurling ferns to vast galaxies. Spiral petroglyphs are found all over the world, left by ancient civilizations who had no contact, yet created similar designs. These symbols refer to such things as water, when to plant seeds, the cycles of seasons, the universe, or the journey through life. 

As we begin a new year, we make resolutions and set intentions to make this one better than the last. We promise to commit to our health and future in order to become the best version of who we are. Sometimes, though, a reminder of a past difficulty arises and we may feel discouraged, that we are being pulled back. We thought we had already addressed and moved beyond this grief, heartbreak, stinging remark, or traumatic event that feels like a ghost from the past. However, its arrival doesn’t mean we are stuck; it means that it has something new to teach us to help us continue forward along our path.

After some time along my healing journey, I noticed that the path of recovery felt more like a spiral than a straight or meandering line. I had begun to feel a sense of accomplishment as I explored past traumas and the resulting self-protective measures that were no longer serving me. I looked forward to my future without being held back by these past struggles. Then, when I began to feel comfortable in this place of greater confidence, I heard a knock from the past. I tried to ignore the whisper, but my confidence fumbled and I questioned the progress I had made. The whisper only grew louder as if saying, “Hi, I’m still here…. I have something else to teach you.” Realizing that turning a cold shoulder was doing more harm than good, I gathered up my courage and opened the door to the past.

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It wasn’t easy to re-examine these difficult times, but I learned something more, saw the past through a different lens, and grew in self-awareness. I continued forward along my path until the past knocked again. However, I didn’t falter as much as I previously had because more time had passed and I felt more grounded in the present. Now, each time it arises, I open the door to a lesson rather than to a ghost from the past.

You, too, may have noticed a repetition in your life. But we are not just spinning around, repeating the same thing over and over. Each time we open the door to the past, it loses its power over us and we learn and grow. Each time it arises, we learn more about ourselves; we grow stronger and more resilient. Each time it knocks and we open the door, we are not at the same point we were before; we have evolved and we address its arrival from this new place along our path. Therefore, we are not stuck in a repetitive cycle, we are evolving along a spiral of self-discovery.

Eventually, these events that once had so much control over how we felt and lived fade back into their appropriate spot along our personal timelines. Instead of feeling haunted, we can regard them from a distance and even appreciate the lessons they taught us.  And as we move forward, we do so with the inner-strength, resilience, and confidence that we earned.

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Life’s journey is like a spiral. Maybe the beginning of our journey is the spiral’s center. We travel along until something happens that shakes our foundation. The cracks it creates radiates outward and whenever our spiral path crosses the crack, we get a reminder of the past, a knock at the door. But as the spiral grows larger, we pass the crack less and less frequently. The crack gets smaller until it eventually fades away as we continue along. Or maybe the beginning of our journey is the outermost point along the spiral path. As we make our spiral journey, we learn about ourselves and grow in self-awareness until finally we reach its center. And at the center is our heart— our heart-center. There, we reside in a place of understanding, kindness, and compassion for ourselves and others. Perhaps we walk the spiral path in both directions at once. We learn from the past and radiate outwards at the same time as we reconnect with who we are, to reside in and radiate out from our heart-center. 

What do you think? How have spirals shown up in your own life? It would be my honor to offer you support along your own spiral journey.

May this new year be filled with love, joy, and health. But also the courage and resilience to move through life’s spiral, learning and growing as you become the best version of yourself.