I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.

~ George Burns ~

The Circle Of Life

October 8th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 11 secs

The circle of cooking good food is a powerful metaphor.

There is a pattern, a circle if you will, that occurs in life. The demands of work with all of its attendant effort. The rhythms of day and night, of shopping, cooking, eating, and cleaning… together they form patterns within patterns to make up what we call daily life.

Maybe it’s strange to be talking about routines and the circle of regular events when just yesterday I talked with you about being unique. But, to me, these apparently disparate issues are not in conflict.

Being original and true to yourself doesn’t mean that the dishes don’t need to be cleaned, beds made, and tables laid.  Far from it. The rhythms of these routines provide the real world backdrop for us to express ourselves. For, in doing all the little things that need doing again and again, you see who you are through the way you achieve them. In these patterns, we live out most of our existence.

Each routine forms a small circle of action that meshes together with many other circles. Some we associate with drudgery. While others, we relish, eagerly revisiting them again and again, as if they were old friends.

What binds them together is, of course, the great circle of life itself. The cycle of birth, life, and death that keeps repeating with endless variation.  This circle is the ultimate backdrop to the way we live our own life, and it’s context is true for all of us. Just as, together, we each choose our way through it.

At various times in my life, I have felt deprived of choice and trapped by circumstance. But eventually, I discovered more choice than I ever thought possible. In each instance, I had forgotten to consider the power of my own decision making to influence events. But by realizing each time, I was able to break through and move on to better things. These experiences became part of my circle of discovery.

But, what about you? Are there areas in your life where you feel like you’re treading water? Do you ever feel pressured but can’t see your situation changing? If so, instead of circles of learning, it’s easy to feel routines have got you surrounded.

If that’s true, I suggest taking a step back to assess the situation. When we feel like we want answers to sort everything out, a broader view can be immensely helpful. It can even make lots of those demands redundant. For instance, the woman who keeps dating the wrong men expects her answer is in finding a better man. But if she saw the circle of her overall behavior, she might find some of the factors setting her up for repeated disappointment and frustration. Potentially, they may have little to do with the male gene pool at all.

Whether in the routines of daily life or the things we keep revisiting, becoming aware of each circle and its influence is empowering. Just to focus your attention on what you keep repeating has the potential to let you reframe your experience, and your life.


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