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Circular Patterns

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

I have been managing my anxiety for years now and sometimes I still lose control.

I have been managing my fibromyalgia for years now and occasionally have enough pain to believe I’m regressing.

I have been managing my grief as it lessens year by year. Grief will never leave me. It’s more of a companion I welcome instead of slamming the door in its face.

So far, I am managing my aging and it’s not easy. Especially when I have a grandchild asking about the funky hairs on my chin or when my eagerness to play is impeded by my stiffness.

I manage my life, holding my center, because I will lose my center and find it again. Over and Over.

It hurts my heart to witness someone I love struggling as they manage their challenges. It’s painful to be the helpless observer. I have been there. I’d rather be in control and call the shots instead in the passenger seat watching it all unfold. If only they would do what I suggest, then my discomfort would ease.

I think of a steady pendulum in my familiar routines. And then I think how it swings wildly as I face new situations, suffer through the challenge until I understand, accept and find my rhythm again.

Patterns play out over time. There’s the onset, then reactions including denial, anger, kicking and screaming, and releasing expectations on timelines, the eventual acceptance. It’s time to reflect on what I learned.

This repeating pattern became apparent when living through the years with my chronically-ill daughter as well as the work with therapists uncovering my layers of pain.

The pattern of being out of control, learning through the chaos, making adaptations and ultimately reflecting and accepting.

I learn from every challenge. My learning is part of my journey as I live one day at a time. It’s a circular journey with circular rhythms, like breathing in and out, sunrise and sunset, ebb and flow, new baby to elder.

Our observer self is present all the time. Practicing silence allows it to emerge. Our observer never abandons us. Our observer is constantly patient with unconditional love. Our observer offers us another perspective, a quiet respectful presence that is omni-directional, a bird’s eye view, an expansive view of life. Our only job is to gift ourselves the space for it to emerge.

It is Born by Pablo Neruda Here I came to the very edge where nothing at all needs saying, everything is absorbed through water and the sea, and the moon swam back, its rays all silvered, and time and again the darkness would be broken by the crash of a wave, and every day on the balcony of the sea wings open, fire is born, and everything is blue again like morning... Let us look for secret things somewhere in the world, on the blue shore of silence or where the storm has passed, rampaging like a train. There the faint signs are left, coins of time and water, debris, celestial ash and the irreplaceable rapture of sharing in the labour of solitude and the sand.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • I keep thinking about a sharing several weeks ago of a participant’s words and emotions around the loss of her friend’s health with severe dementia. As she was sobbing, she realized she sensed herself sitting in front of her being with her. This recounting is an example of the power of the observer gently being there. It’s a gift to discover our observer.

  • Thank you for that image that you reminded us of. It’s very similar to what I was just practicing in these 15 minutes about coming back to center and leaving and coming back over and over. I keep forgetting it’s practice. It doesn’t happen automatically. I want it to just happen. Then I had seen this image in a movie of a couple hugging so deep and feeling I want that. I recognize I’ve been through this, wanting that for myself. So I pictured myself hugging me, similar to that. It doesn’t just happen. It takes effort. I wish it didn’t take so much effort.

  • Sometimes I think it’s from all my TV watching where life happens and it’s resolved in an hour and a half.

  • Thank you for that. Most days I feel like a slot machine when the ball is pulled and it goes crazy. That’s what I feel like. I attribute a lot of that to Covid. Previous to Covid, I believed I had life down to a better rhythm and more able to stay there. I guess the message is let’s not be discouraged. I’m finding new rhythms. Practicing, accepting and adapting.

  • The real thing is really we’re not alone. When we speak our truth, people say, yeah, me too. There’s so much comfort in yeah, me too. We don’t know what others are feeling and it’s so easy to compare our insides to their outsides. People may appear to have it together in that one moment.

  • Thank you for this, very much, especially shining the light on the self as observer. I have not done that a whole lot. In previous times you’ve talked so much about being compassionate with ourselves in every way. For me I can picture myself later today going to a setting where I’m a little uncomfortable, not sure how it’s going to go, to kick into my observer and have a compassionate companion. That means a whole lot to me. Also going from the pain and stress, working towards acceptance. It reminds me what I learned from Richard Rohr about “order, disorder, reorder.” Covid has certainly pulled the rug out from under us in many ways.

  • Thank you. I just drove back this morning several hours and I haven’t made that drive in about five years. My family lives up there with my grandchildren. I have been taking the bus. I’m an anxious driver and it’s hard for me. I wasn’t going to get on a bus yet. I had to talk myself through the whole drive constantly and I realized that it was my Observer helping me there. You can do this. Just focus and relax. I had to tune in quite a bit especially with the rain. Thank you! I really spent a lot of time with my Observer this morning. It was very helpful. I’m home safe and sound. It was very helpful and it was a lovely day yesterday. I did it with my Observer.

  • Really, our Observer is our Higher Self, that unconditionally is there for us constantly. When we lose connection with our Higher Self, it is us turning away. This was a concept that was eye opening to me because I always pointed saying where did she go?

  • Thank you for listening to me today. It’s one step at a time today. I think when we tune in to our Higher Self, our Observer, we can feel that comfort. When we tune in to our fear and anxiety, we easily feel our discomfort. It’s learning the tools to guide our way. With our toolbelts in hand, we go forward. I hope you all have a gentle day.

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