Spring-like weather leaped ahead to summer in Denver this year; hot, record-breaking days followed by occasional grey, cloudy days with wet, slushy snow or rain. Between the changes in the weather and my own move to a different house, I’ve been thinking about the cycles of the seasons and the cycles of life. Every year after what seems like a horribly long winter the sun begins to rise early again and the earth begins to warm up. As we approach the vernal equinox, buds form on trees and bulbs starting pushing their way through the soil as new flowers. It’s so nice to know this will happen every year so we can prepare for it and rely on its coming without any hesitation. Sometimes I wish everything in life were so predictable and easy.
In a way, though, it kind of is predictable. I think life is a lot like the seasons, where we work in cyclical patterns. Things that have happened to us earlier in life often show up again as we get older. Hopefully when they do we have learned a few things and can act differently. I sometimes think of life as a giant spring—and in my picture we keep moving up the spring coming back around again to the same sorts of tests or challenges we faced in the past. Maybe what we’ve learned about ourselves causes changes that will force us to look at the challenges differently. Maybe we have learned some important lessons from the last time a similar experience happened to us which we can apply to this new but familiar experience and make the outcome different with our choices. I like to think so.
I think the choices we make at these full circle moments are important as is recognizing these times for what they are—events that have happened before and are happening again—great learning experiences. It’s almost like life gives us a do-over! How cool is that?
To recognize the cycles in your life try noticing any central themes you may have experienced. For example in my case, some of my themes include: leaving unfulfilling relationships, working with kids (including my own inner children and my daughter), returning to physical fitness, and connecting with teenagers. These things seem to happen to me repeatedly in my life and each time I have an opportunity to apply what I learned in the past, to change and impact my history AND my future, but ONLY if I realize that I’ve been here before and my choices and attitude are what give me control over the situation.
I think it’s all part of our evolution, this working our way further up the spiral of life, taking our previous experiences and learning from them when they reappear so as not to infinitely repeat them. What patterns have you noticed in your life? In what ways have you come full circle?