Do you ever find yourself having the same fight with this spouse that you had with the last one?
Or same spouse different decade?
Or maybe not a fight and not a spouse, but a familiar conversation with a friend about the perils of your work or the ten pounds that’s back or those blasted childhood abandonment issues that just won’t leave you alone?
Maybe you’re smoking again, or feeling excessively guilty again, or pissing people off again.
Maybe your inner critic is taking over just like during that dark period in college, or you feel that itching longing to overthrow your whole life and go be free and you’ve noticed, in utter frustration, that that longing arises every time things are really starting to take off in your career.
In such times we may ask ourselves, why am I here again? I thought I grew past this.
When we find ourselves in a place that we’ve been in before, it can feel like we’re in developmental regression. Here I thought I’d changed from all these insights, all this work I’ve been doing on myself and yet, I find myself right smack in the midst of the same old shit. Shit.
I often find myself looking over the horizon aching for the moment when things all settle down.
But things don’t get settled for me- really.
The second something is settled, I want to dig deeper, explore further, take on the next adventure or challenge or creation and express and learn all I can. And when I do this from a less centred place I find myself in the midst of a nightmare that starts to feel like those early days when I was flying by the seat of my pants, building blinding visions from booming enthusiasm with little capacity to ground all that crazy into something sustainable. Big promises, lots of deadlines, little sleep, less chill time, everything off to a strong start, messes abound and the burden of having to follow through on every last thing I gave my word to.
But that same scene with a dash of wisdom, realism and a neon soul compass and it feels like creation rushing through me, productivity flows easily, I know where every project is at, paper is filed, which action is next and if I’m likely to put it off so should call in some support.
The difference between what feels like my stressful scattered past rearing its head and chomping my ass and me being grounded, trusting and aligned with what’s most important to me to create may only be a goodnight sleep or a yoga class, a clean house or cleared inbox or cleansed liver.
Thinking I shouldn’t be the way I am, that I should be ‘over’ something is NEVER helpful.
The variations on our own personal dramas are 7 billion wide but what they have in common is they’re all cyclical. Old patterns or past issues are generally less destructive than the way we react to it.
It’s probably one of the most crazy-making beliefs we can have- ‘I should be past this’. Particularly when it’s one of our long standing habit patterns because every time it creeps in just a little, we’re likely to plummet into some cycle of shame or despair (and we all know how useful that is for getting over something!)
Development isn’t linear, it’s cyclical. Our brains are pattern recognition machines and so even if one of these things is not like the other, our brilliant minds will find the ways in which it is.
If there are two paths and one is more difficult and painful, but familiar and the other is easy and joyful, but unfamiliar, we’ll be hard pressed to not go where we’ve gone before. That’s just how we’re wired. If we can bring kindness to ourselves in the midst of such a cycle, we’ll be better able to interrupt it and move in a new direction.
For those of us who are really engaged with the questions of who we are and what we’re here for and how to bring our deepest, highest and best selves forth, with each round of lovingly recognizing ourselves going through what we go through, with that flavour that is unique to us, our capacity may expand, hearts open, critical assessment soften and wisdom deepen.
We are where we are. It’s exquisite.