Riding Life Spirals
Michael de Glanville & Viola Edward….
The most defining personality we have within ourselves will often be the one that surfaces in that moment of crisis and pain when we lose someone irreplaceable, or become separated from something most treasured, that moment when it begins to feel like we have nothing left to lose.
After such painful experiences, we often say to ourselves, “If only I had said this, or done that, if only I had reacted differently when the chips were down, I would not be back here at the start again” and this self-questioning can sow the seeds of a growing inner consciousness that there must be another, more meaningful, way to relate to the people and the events in our lives.
A new approach
We do usually survive these moments, we recover more or less, but to journey on and transform such painful experiences into something positive in the long term, requires a particular approach. Let us call this process “Riding Life Spirals” and what follows are some reflections, the philosophy behind the suggestion.
The cyclic pattern of our world
We live on this spinning earth in patterns of repetition, we know that night will follow day, we know that autumn and winter will be followed by spring and summer, that there will be meetings and separations, births and deaths. These are the familiar cyclic patterns that structure our lives, patterns of rotation that structure the motion of our solar system, from the smallest particles we can identify to the vast structures of the stars of the universe.
Passive rotations on flat circles
We can live passively through these cycles as we follow the circular rhythms, absorbing the elation and the joy, or the blows and the pain of our experiences, merely hoping that things will get better. But in doing so we continue to deny the uncomfortable evidence that a passive journey around a flat circle returns inevitably, repetitively, to the start point. Another day gone by, another month, another year ended and we still find ourselves facing similar difficulties, suffering from our habitual anxieties and disappointments and enduring the same fruitless relationships.
More consciously, we can decide to benefit from this rich cycle of our personal experiences by regarding them as precious lessons set in our paths, each with its own teaching, there to be learned and integrated into our lifestyles. If we manage to climb each small step of understanding as it appears, we can become “Spiral Riders”, transforming the habitual revolving pattern into a spiral motion that will fly over the original start point on a joyful, fulfilling new plane.
Recognising the lesson
When we understand this concept and have begun to ride the life spiral, no longer repeating the same mistakes, but instead, learning from them, we can simply step away from that repetitive ride back around to the start and assume a new and more purposeful way of living. One essential key to this process of transformation, this process of self development, is the ability to recognise the lesson within the experience.
Awareness of the experience
For this we need to build awareness. We start to look more carefully, trying to see what is really happening, listening more attentively in order to hear what is really being said, sensing and feeling the emotions really being expressed, continuously asking ourselves, “what is the lesson being offered to me by this experience?” Awareness flourishes in an environment of perception, empathy and clarity of vision. Awareness develops intuition and understanding. With persistence, this new consciousness can lead us to the joy and the peace of mind we long for.
Transforming the process
It could take a month, it could take a year or a lifetime, it really doesn’t matter how fast or slow, because the goal of this process is not reaching the end, but transforming the process of the journey, transforming the way we choose to live our lives, transforming the way we see things, transforming how we choose to be touched and nourished by life.
As children, life teaches us how to behave in order to get the things we want, which are generally approval and love. We want to belong, to fit in, to be accepted. We don’t want to stick out or to be different, singled out to face criticism from our group. Sometimes we even do just the contrary to gain the attention and our perception of love. The way we behave and the language we use, how we wear our clothes, our hair, the body piercing, the tattooing, these are badges of conformity to our chosen group, or behaviours we hope will shock the traditional groups we are hoping to escape from. The way we relate with people is a direct result of the conditioning we have received from life’s “teachers”. The lessons, the pressure, the influence, will have come from parents, from family, from schools or from the religious teachings. Aggressive and disrespectful relationship patterns that we may display are rarely the result of conscious choice, they will usually come from childhood conditioning.
Transforming our established relational patterns into richer conscious relationships begins with the realisation of the crucial difference between life’s repeated circles and life spirals.
Travelling life’s flat circles can be compared to the unconscious repetition of what generations have done before me, conforming to or rebelling against the social influences, the peer pressure, the academic teaching and the family traditions. As we have already seen, I inherit my relational habits from my surroundings, I learn how to relate by modelling what I see going on between the people around me. I pick up on how my parents relate to me, relate between themselves and to others and how they relate to nature and the meaning of life. By the end of each cycle, I will have had the expected, (socially acceptable) results or not, but I will regard the painful and uncomfortable experiences that I have fought my way through as “unjust setbacks”, the result of “being in the wrong place at the wrong time”.
Choosing to spiral
Whereas, when I choose to develop awareness and empathy and become capable of questioning the suitability of my habitual behaviour patterns, then I can begin to work towards their transformation. By basing these changes on personal realisations coming from life’s experiences, I have begun to ride life spirals. I can gradually transform my old habits into a behaviour which nourishes my precious loving relationships instead of degrading them, a pattern based on both justice and love of the self and others. I start to look inwards for inspiration, recognising my qualities and my weaknesses, understanding why I do things the way I do, dancing with the breath and riding the spiral towards peace of mind with joy and gratitude.
We would love to hear from you with your comments, experiences and questions.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and 0533 867 3685. FaceBook – ViolaEdwardCoaching.
You can download a free copy of Viola’s book “Breathing the Rhythm of Success” and find a collection of previous articles in this series from www.violaedward.com
Viola came to Cyprus from Venezuela in 2002 to join Michael who was born on the island and returned from France in 1999. Viola and Michael are both therapists and trainers in Breathwork and they founded Kayana Ltd. in 2003. Viola specialises in Relationship Coaching, Business Consulting and Colour and Image. Michael has an engineering background and specialises in Massage and Watsu.