Growth Cycles or Shamanic
Death and Rebirth
Growth cycles are interesting.
Some would say that is a gross understatement. Let’s consider a typical scenario:
At first, and for quite awhile, it is pretty challenging, nay difficult, to understand what is going on. Then, once you figure out why you are uncomfortable and crabby, you think, “Ah ha! Now that I get it - things will get better!”
They usually don’t. It is just a pause while you’re gearing up for the more intense part of the journey. You will recognize this stage because you suddenly find late night reruns of HGTV fascinating. Sleep is elusive so you might as well stay up. You get restless and antisocial. You consider medication. It could help – or not. Though, most likely by the time the meds kick in, you’re on to the next part of the growth cycle, which is small insights followed by never ending questions and self-doubt. You need to talk – a lot. This is a great time for a therapist because you’re going to wear your friends out.
In the next phase, you become even more tired and restless. Exercise helps more than you would ever imagine. Plus, it is so much better than the other alternatives - like eating and drinking more than usual or another sudden interest - shopping on line. These new behaviors are horribly unsatisfying because they are really an attempt to suppress life changes that will not be suppressed.
At this point, the growth cycle is in full tilt and life is extremely uncomfortable. It is filled with constant uncertainty and struggle, punctuated with tiny moments of calm and sanity.
And then suddenly, it is over – sort of. You feel better, maybe even OK. The result is that something has changed or shifted in you. You don’t know what, but you feel very different, calmer, more together, even a little peaceful. You get a good night’s sleep. But, everyone else looks the same. They act the same. You begin to wonder why others can’t see how different you are? It’s similar to when you come back from a vacation, but this was no vacation.
Eventually, you adjust to your new reality and begin to fit back into your world. Maybe, hopefully, behavior and thought patterns begin to adjust. Perhaps you have a new focus, something closer to the truth of your heart. Sometimes, the changes are monumental - jobs or homes or even friends and partners. There are so many facets and so much fallout with growth! You’re still confused – just in a different way.
During this “final” (“last”?) phase you will think that your life hasn’t gotten any easier. It’s just different. Well, maybe it is easier —However, the problem is that you’re too overwhelmed with the changes to have time to consider what is happening or why.
After a while, not knowing will begin to drive you crazy, so you call me and ask, “What the *!@%# is going on with my life?” I explain it to you. We do as much healing as we can. You experience relief. There is always liberation with understanding and healing.
And then, your life does go on – usually into a new growth cycle. You hope that this next one will be a little smaller or easier or quieter or - something?
That’s been my life since January 2. This growth cycle is not over for me. I know that. I am only at a place where I can take a breath and embrace the changes in front of me. I don’t have them figured out or know what to do next.
Today - this minute - I am enjoying breathing fully. I no longer feel like the proverbial elephant has stepped, not so gently, onto my chest. It is good enough to have space and openness waiting to be filled. Yes, I know there will be more questions and decisions to make. Even as I am writing this, the list of issues to be addressed begins to fill my mind. Nonetheless, the old beliefs and patterns are beginning to fall away. My interests are shifting and clarifying.
Writing in my journal this morning, I equated this growth cycle to a road trip. I feel like I have been driving toward something all my life, and just realized that I am way down the road past the turn off. I thought about turning around and going back. In fact, I started to do that. I even asked for directions to make sure I knew where I was going.
Something stopped me. Instead of my usual barreling ahead – I waited. I talked about it with trusted friends. I made the decision to keep driving ahead, and to not go back. There are new adventures, new roads, in front of me - ones I have never considered. The time for the passed-by exit and past journey is gone. I cried for the missed opportunity. And now I have accepted it and am thinking about a different road. Dare I say, “One Less Traveled?”
This growth cycle, because of its magnitude, is referred to as a Shamanic Death and Rebirth .
It is letting go of the old self and coming into a new consciousness. I have taken up this gauntlet more than my fair share in this lifetime. Some very observant souls would laugh knowingly and call this a mid-life crisis. I would say that they are right.
Now I finally understand this much used term - “mid-life crisis.” The mid is when you realize you might have fewer years in front of you than behind you. The crisis is that this is a life review on steroids. One could panic thinking about all the things that haven’t been accomplished and should be before death. With this mid-life review comes an overwhelming feeling that you have been a slacker and missed some significant opportunities. And now it is too late. It is all too clear why so many otherwise reasonably sane people do seemingly ridiculous things during these times.
Thank goodness I have common sense and have acquired patience over the years – I hope. Surely I can keep my life changes in the reasonable range. Today I am greatful for my amazing life and my friends who continue to take this great road trip with me.
For now, I will go for a walk on the pier and breathe. I will do lots of breathing because I know the next phase of the unrelenting growth cycle is on its way. Oh, who cares? It is my life and my growth cycle. Kickboxing may just be the beginning . . .