Cycles of Life

For those who might not be aware, I’ve been focusing energy on personal growth specifically since my separation. Technically my search for spiritual and personal growth began before Scott and I split, but I’ve been more active and mindful in this endeavor since the split. While in a group counseling session I came up with an analogy of my personal growth that has stuck with me.

I think the nerds in the group will appreciate this analogy the most, but it’s still a good analogy.

I think that most people would agree that there are cycles in life. We all experience highs and lows, and sometimes we experience situations that are similar to previous experiences and respond to these situations in a similar way. There are a number of cycles that I’ve recognized and revisited throughout my life. As I’ve revisited those various cycles, I noticed a trend:  a dampened oscillation with an overall positive trend (this is the nerd part).

So what does that mean? Historically I would have extreme highs (e.g. graduations, marriage), but also extreme lows. When you are in a low time in your life, sometimes you can’t imagine ever getting out of it. It seems so big. Now I recognize that I still have those low times, but I don’t feel as low as I did when I was younger. Not only that, but I am able to process the negative emotions associated with things and process them more quickly…

This was such an important realization for me, largely because I’ve technically had a couple of really shitty years. To give you an idea, since 2009: separated from husband of 10 years, moved out of house, Dad diagnosed with cancer, Scott not taking care of divorce proceedings, stress of finishing Masters program through the divorce, Grt-gma died, Kitty Kat died, GPT died, Gma Foust died, Dad not responding to cancer treatments, Petey died, Dad died, higher than normal Ph.D. stress…

To the untrained eye, a lot of people would expect me to be a huge mess after experiencing all of that. But I’m not. Every year since 2009 has been my best year. Which means that every year-despite deaths, disease, and divorce-have felt better and better. And I’m very proud of myself for making such progress in dealing and coping with such difficult circumstances. For taking time to take care of me, feel what I need to feel, let it go, and continue to enjoy life…

For awhile I’ve been toying with the idea of putting my dampened oscillation on canvas. I’ve done a couple of paintings at Sketch-n-Sip classes in the past, and I’m actually pretty proud of those paintings. But taking those classes made me think that I could create something on my own. So this is my attempt to put my analogy into visual form.

I’ve coupled the oscillation with colors that correspond to the various chakras. If you believe in such things, chakras are life energy centers located along the spine. Each chakra has a representative color. (Here’s a bit more information about chakras and their various meanings.) Overall you can think of red being associated with base survival and a progression through the color spectrum (also a bit nerdy) through to more spiritual concerns.

So early in spiritual development the cycles are more erratic. As you progress, the cycles continue but the lows are less low. If you look at the painting, the highs are also a little bit higher, but mostly there’s not much of a change there. I think that’s an important point… But the overall trend is positive. Even when Dad died, as terrible and sad as I felt, that low didn’t feel as low as when Scott and I separated. And I didn’t feel as terrible as I felt when Tonya died many years ago. That is the sort of progress that I am proud to make.

I’m no Renoir, but I’m pretty proud of this painting. It’s not ever going to be in a museum, but it certainly means quite a lot to me. So I wanted to share both the painting and my story with my FB community. I’d love your thoughts on the topic of the painting. I’ve already got another painting in mind on a similar theme that will be called “Comfort Zone.”

If you don’t like my painting, I didn’t make it for you anyway. 😉


*re-posted from Facebook


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