“I can’t believe we’re here again.” The refrain resounding among friends and colleagues, round the country and the world, as the Omicron variant jolts us all into this latest phase of the pandemic we’ve been struggling to navigate for the last two years. Right when so many felt like things were finally getting back to some semblance of normal. Whatever normal is…
What struck me, as I got the dreaded email from school that my child was exposed and I was launched once again into the analysis of “What now?”, is that this kind of déjà vu happens a lot in life. So often, we keep coming back around to the same issue, problem, challenge or idea.
Perhaps your New Year’s resolution looks a lot like last year’s that went missing somewhere around February 1st. Or you’ve never been able to completely quiet the call to drive a certain kind of change in the world. Maybe you look up to realize you’re doing something you swore you’d never do again. Or, perhaps, you’re still not doing something you swore to yourself you would start… Believing in yourself. Trusting your knowing. Knowing your value.
Whatever the thing is, it keeps showing up. It may shape shift a bit here and there around the edges but, at its core, it’s the same. Though, that’s not always clear at the outset. Maybe the fundamental issue of worthiness showed up as disordered eating in high school and as the instinct to shrink oneself in the big meeting last week. Without consciousness, that essential sameness may never be seen.
Sometimes, it starts with a feeling. Something so familiar, yet also out of grasp. There can be a flash of perception, only to fade into the background of the moment’s focus. Recognizing the sameness is the first step. And, that’s why it’s so important to be open. Feel your feelings. Listen closely and look around. Take it all in. Even if it hurts.
As is the case with Omicron, though, when we do come back around to what feels like the same place, it is always, necessarily, from a different perspective. More of a spiral than a loop.
However, it takes intentionality to see that you’re at a different viewpoint and to take the time to ponder what you’ve learned since you were last here. What’s different this time and, also, how to apply what you’ve learned.
I’m generally not a proponent of rumination (more of a victim, really, but recovering…). The one thing I will say in its favor, though, is it can get you to the gate. The gate of reflection. In my experience, I have found rumination and reflection are close cousins. If you let your human inclination towards rumination turn your mind to the past, and you remain in awareness and compassion, you can choose to shift and cross the threshold into the more generative place of reflection.
Rather than, “I blew it. Here are all the ways that was terrible,” leaning into the energy of “I put a lot into that. How did it go? What do I think? How do I feel?” And, should dancing so dangerously close to rumination call you back to that more treacherous place, breathe into it and return to the right side of the gate.
The point is, no matter the issue, if it is one that runs deep, whether it is one of your soul’s questions or just something important you’re still working through, it will show up again. You will come full circle over and over, revisiting it anew each time.
And this is the opportunity. Intention changes “If I could go back and do it all over again, here’s what I would do differently” to “When I do it all over again, here is what I am going to do differently.”