Ascending our Soul Stairway
Have you ever stood at the bottom of one of those old city buildings that has, at its center, a spiral staircase that goes all the way from the lobby up to the top floor?
Well, those buildings look a lot like our lives. With each step we climb, we gain greater and greater perspective. But buildings have a finite number of steps and floors. In the case of life, the staircase is infinite. The staircase never ends.
One step at a time
When we discover a pattern, a repetitive cycle in our lives, our first impulse is to try to break it. But our patterns are there for a reason. They’re meant to teach us something important. Eventually, what we really want is to get to a place of appreciating our patterns – because regardless of how we perceive it in the moment, everything that happens in our life is a catalyst for change and growth. When you feel as if you’ve tripped and fallen on the same exact step over and over again – whether that step is financial turmoil, or heartbreak, or disappointment, or lust – you are, in fact, on a new and different step, on a higher flight of stairs, each and every time.
With every breath, you are making your way up that infinite staircase. With each step, we are able to recognize and appreciate that we are never passing through the same moment twice. So within a few breaths of where you fell over, you are already fresh and new. You’re constantly in a new place of awareness and experience.
You’ll never meet the same step twice
We have common themes and patterns that show up in our lives. Marrying the wrong guy, losing and gaining the same ten pounds, being able to meet only the minimum payment on your credit cards. We will meet these common themes and patterns in a more evolved way in the fullness of time. The oppression of your twenties is the liberation of your seventies. At seventy, you have greater perspective. You’re further up the staircase. So even if you’re still tripping and falling, it means something completely different than it did when you were younger.
The gift of perspective and awareness
Project yourself, for a moment, into the future. Look back – as if through the opposite end of a telescope – on yourself as you are right here, right at this moment. Perhaps you’re sitting on a sofa with your feet up, reading this. Perhaps you’re riding the commuter train. Maybe your kids are small and crawling underfoot, or they’re off at college, or you don’t have kids. Maybe you’re worried about the size of your bank account, or what you’re having for dinner, or whether you should become a vegetarian. Maybe you just had the same fight with your spouse for the hundredth time. Look back at yourself from further up the staircase. Sometimes viewing our lives from an expanded perspective can be enough to break the pattern. What do you see? Does whatever it is that you’re tripping on today still matter? Of course, we know from experience that it doesn’t. This is the gift of perspective and awareness.
Stepping up, with feeling
When I was growing up, my uncle would always say to me, “Don’t be a robot.” I was seven years old, and I had no idea what he meant, but his words stayed with me. As I got older, I realized that people – grown-ups – often live the same day over and over again. Years pass. And nothing alters. This kind of robotic repetition can seem like safety – but when I see people living inside their patterns, it’s as if they aren’t quite alive. Their need for stability is suffocating them. Their light is diminished. Their patterns have become a web, strangling them.
So here is today’s challenge
This afternoon, instead of eating lunch in front of your computer or while working at your desk, pause for a moment. Break a small habit. See if perhaps that lets a bit of air in, as if you were opening a window and feeling the breeze. If you always eat alone at your desk, instead – if the weather is temperate – invite a colleague to join you on a park bench or in a nearby café. Think about how this change in routine affects your day.
From here, expand your thinking about what your deeper patterns are. If you tend to avoid eye contact with a particular senior colleague, make a point – just for today – of saying hello.
If you never do anything spontaneous, surprise your wife with a small gift or tickets to a play. Notice the way that altering the small stuff leads to thinking about the bigger picture.
After all, if you don’t climb out of your unconscious rut – if you don’t allow yourself to take risks – you will never truly know what blessings life has in store for you.
From Discovering Your Soul Signature, © 2014 by Panache Desai, published by Yellow Kite