Circles of Life
In the west we tend to see things in a very linear ways; you go to school, pass your exams, maybe go to university, get a job. You start at basic level in your work, you learn new skills and make your way upwards.
You date and gradually find your life partner, eventually you may settle down together.
All very satisfying. But what if it doesn’t quite happen like that?
You hate school and don’t do well in that environment; you never find the person of your dreams, you are passed over for promotion, get made redundant.
In the east the viewpoint is that life is circular, but not going around the same circle constantly, it is usual to have several different circles on the go at the same time. The other thing is that you may encounter the same situation more than once, but time adds another dimension so you are not in quite the same place second or third time around.
Thinking about life in circles is potentially a kinder way of viewing life and allows for reflection and growth. Martha Beck (life coach and all round awesome person) describes this as a Change Cycle. It can be looked at as seasonal and also like the cycle of change that a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly.
It all starts with a catalytic event; this doesn’t have to be bad, it could be getting married, having a baby, getting the job of your dreams, but maybe an illness, death or redundancy. The main thing is that as a result of this event you cannot continue your life in its usual way. You may try to hang onto the old life but it generally creates stress and suffering.
The first phase of the cycle is winter and when the caterpillar goes into its cocoon, where it is totally dissolved. At this point we may feel the need to ‘cocoon’, take care of ourselves, get warm and comfortable. Gradually clumps of DNA come together and the butterfly starts to form, this is phase 2 Spring. It’s where we start to rethink what we might do, have different ideas see different possibilities. Phase 3 is summer, where the butterfly emerges and this is difficult and exhausting. This is where we try to put our new ideas/plans into the world and it can be surprisingly hard. We may have to rethink and may fluctuate between squares 1,2 and 3.
Phase 4 is autumn and where we have our new life established, at this point we may consider is there anything I can do to make this better?
We maybe in phase 4 in our work life and phase 1 in our personal lives.
Life never stands still, having a framework can help us make sense of it all. If we feel overwhelmed it can help us understand and help us make skilled choices for ourselves.