There are a zillion ways to be crooked, but only one way to be straight. ~T. Mooney, PhD, Scientist at the DOE.
It happened again the other day.
A client I have been working with for years, a brilliant, soulful, lovely person, wailed in utter frustration and despair I don't get it! How come I'm here AGAIN?! I feel like such a failure for going in circles!
They were referring to the pattern of their own personal growth. A particular "edge", or wounding, had shown up in their life again, and for them it was about as welcome as a chronic infection. There they were, chuffed with themselves for "how far along" on their path they thought they had come...Oh that old habitual reaction and hurt? That's water under the bridge. And then... kersplash!
Peeling back the layers of the onion...it's an overused metaphor that still rings true. You are where you stood before, but it's a different time and it's a different you. Here's the wounded part of you, and she's asking to be held. Again. You offer her your presence and awareness, the perspective from where you are now. Healing occurs and you move along on your way. But not in a straight line. Possibly more like a spiral. A ripple. Waves. And chances are, you'll be back, and offered yet another chance to go deeper, to live fuller.
The cult of the straight line. A trajectory honored and appreciated for the very fact that it would seem to "conquer" nature. It's the might of industry, the speed of production that doesn't wait for natural laws but has acquired the ability to leap right over them. It's A plus B equals C. Linear and easily predictable, growth in a straight line is control over the self, over destiny, even death itself. And it's an illusion. because we are never in control.
This lack of control and the subsequent surrender it demands, is what makes true growth possible. And what happens when we surrender and allow, when we get out of our own way?
Seasonal cycles of growth, the ebb and the flow, the rise and the fall. Concentric circles from a pebble dropped in still water. The spiral growth of an ancient tree trunk. The logarithmic spirals in sunflowers, the branching pattern of veins, in leaves, in your own body. All of them, marvelous examples of ways to move, to grow, to be. None of them particularly straight.
The straight line isn't a human construction, and there are some jaw droppers in nature. Crystal formations. Granite. Pyrite. The carbon molecule. Honeycomb. Light beams. Are you moving along in a straight line just fine, thankyouverymuch? That's wonderful!
It's just not the only way.
Who is it that tells you your crooked trajectory is a problem anyway? I'm talking about that voice in your head, the critical one. What mask is it wearing? Perhaps the face of someone who disapproved of you long ago (or even yesterday). Maybe it's a conglomerate from the culture...a CEO, a politician, a newscaster, an accountant. Whoever it is, they've got the solid on you. You're a fuck up, no doubt about it.
That voice can say whatever it wants. Telling it to shut up is an exercise in futility anyway. If at all possible, acknowledge it with friendliness. Breathe. And then remember this.
You are standing on an oblate spheroid, called Earth, and even though your sight line to the horizon looks flat, this is an illusion. The sphere you are standing on is also spinning in space, even though you appear to be still. Above you in space, galaxies are spiraling towards distances we may never attain. All the while, your heart muscles are wringing blood through your body with the same spiral motion. As your breath cycles in and out, you are sharing these waves of oxygen with all living things. Living things that contain the same twisty building blocks as you.
So put one foot in front of the other, dear heart. And don't be afraid to dance.