Circling Back

Cycles are on my mind because things from my past are looping back. I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in seven years. The clothing from when I was a teenager is making a comeback. We’re again having a Trump/Biden showdown. I can’t seem to articulate what I want to convey about all this so instead I’m resharing a post from September 2023. That means I’m not currently migrating old pictures, nor is it Mercury retrograde, but my overarching point is still relevant. Enjoy.

Right now, I’m migrating old pictures from my phone to my computer. In part, it’s to create more space but it’s also because I’m in the mood to clean and clear. In other words, I’m acting very much in line with Mercury retrograde, which is the time to reflect, reassess, and remove. Anything that begins with “re” is an appropriate Mercury retrograde activity.

What’s interesting is that instead of looking at the photos with wistfulness and nostalgia like I usually do, I’m struck with the parallels between then and now. My pictures from 2015 and 2016 show me with friends, visiting beautiful places in nature, flying to different states to attend weddings, and smiling with my meditation community. You might say, “That’s always what your pictures show. That’s nothing new,” and while there is consistency, 2015 and 2016 also held an excitement, a verve to my life that I haven’t felt in a long time.

In the ensuing eight years, the community I built broke apart, people moved away, relationships changed, and I didn’t have excitement or verve anymore. I was in a different cycle of life. But here I am, with a resurgence of verve and excitement. I’m meeting new people left and right, I’m building community, and there’s more energy. It’s as if the wheel of life turned once more and I’m re-experiencing a similar pattern.

spiral staircase

Life is like a spiral, not a line. Photo by Ansgar Scheffold on Unsplash

As if to underscore my point, an enormous dragonfly whizzed by my window while writing this. I haven’t seen a dragonfly where I live for years and I regularly stare out the window. According to animal shamanism, “Dragonfly reminds you that change is the only constant in life. When dragonflies surround you, change is on the horizon …. Dragonfly can also be a positive omen indicating you are ready for a change to take shape in your life. Be flexible and adapt to evolving circumstances and you can progress in ways you haven’t imagined.”

So often when I think of change, I think of linear progress, of being transported to somewhere I’ve never been before. But today I’m realizing change is cyclical, just like everything in nature. We have day becoming night, spring becoming summer, and the moon waxing and waning over and over again. Human beings are embedded in nature, we are not separate from it so it makes sense that our changes would also be cyclical.

Change is the only constant in life, which is why my spiritual teacher says, “Here in the universe, nothing is stationary, nothing is fixed. Everything moves; that’s why this universe is called jagat. Movement is its dharma; movement is its innate characteristic.”

We are also moving and sometimes that movement is a spiral. It seems like we’re in the same place, but as with a spiral staircase, we aren’t exactly. We’re circling back, but we’re approaching the situation with a new perspective from a similar place.

I dream of a world where we recognize we are always moving and changing. A world where we understand just as nature has its cycles, we do too. A world where we realize change isn’t linear, progressing in a straight line, but more like a spiral shifting us to a similar, but slightly different place every time. A world where we understand things circle back.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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