Special Feature – The Spirals and Circles of Transformation
When I was thinking about what to feature for March’s Special Feature, I couldn’t help but think how the month of March would bring me almost full circle around the sun since I arrived into The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. And at the same time I couldn’t help but think of the word transformation. I love the word; Transformation. I think it would be very difficult to not go through some form of transformation living in this country and in this environment. And I realize many of you want to hear about my year and my changes. But this post is a Special Feature on two of my very favorite people and blogs I’ve met in the blogosphere. (Plus, it isn’t precisely a year since I arrived into The Kingdom. The earth still has about 12 days to rotate around the sun before it’s a year. Plenty of time for my story yet.)
There is something about being willing to transform that has always drawn me in. I have always gravitated to those people who despite the fear, take a stance, look change into the eye, and take the transformational leap into the unknown. I have myself gone through multiple transformations personally and professionally throughout my life and as I look back I can see I weathered some changes and transitions, uhm, better than others; “Will we be broken down and defeated, or broken open and transformed?” from Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser. And that is precisely why I was drawn in by Zully at Spiritual World Traveler. I was lead to her blog fairly early in my blogging existence. Zully had recently returned from three months in Egypt and Romania and one could sense the transformation arising within her. So needless to say I started
stalking following Zully’s journey through her blog. And then this past November Zully posted this: Who is the World Spiritual Traveler and this: The Phoenix .
And at those moments I knew exactly why I was drawn to Zully, her musings, and her journey. Zully looked her fear head-on but still had the belief, followed it by action, and went to go find her truth. Zully’s transformational journey is symbolized by the spiral. As Zully writes; The spiral represents the centering and transformational rhythm of Life: a single point of Birth, Growth, Death and re-Birth.
When Tahira asked us to do a collaborative post on Transformation, we were thrilled. Given some recent experiences that we have had together, we thought that Spirals and Circles would be the perfect theme for this post…
Rufina and I have been seeing lots of spirals and circles recently. So many that we are intrigued! We get the sense the spiral and the circle have an important message and have been pondering what they could possibly mean. I’ve come across a few documentaries featuring spirals which have provided a lot of insight for me. Spirals are one of most ancient sacred symbols. It is found in most prehistoric cultures all over the world through a span of thousands of years. The earliest spiral symbol found is 24,000 years ago. Today, it symbolizes the cycles of time and of the seasons; the womb, fertility. You can see them all over nature in sea shells, snails, tornadoes, flowers, even our DNA. The planets move in a spiral motion. Our galaxy is a spiral. In fact, the Universe itself is one massive spiral originating from a single point!
After many months of Rufina and I pondering all of this information, here is what the spiral symbolizes to me… The spiral represents the centering and transformational rhythm of Life: a single point of Birth, Growth, Death and re-Birth. From the center point Life is created and expands. Each loop of the spiral brings you back to the same place, the center point; it also takes you to a higher level at each turn. In this way, it symbolizes the evolution of our Life and the expansion of our consciousness. As we go through the up and down cycles of Life, we are given an opportunity to learn, evolve and, most importantly, to stay centered.
In the last year, I have been growing and learning some very important Life Lessons. Not all were joyous occasions, but they weren’t all tough lessons either. That’s how Life is ~ ups and downs. I was a real estate attorney working from out of state. Two years ago, I had gotten married and created a way to be able to move and keep my small law practice with a partner. I barely spoke to my clients much less see them. Pretty much everything was done through emails and my representative. Though I am thankful for what I created, as it was a dream come true and it allowed me to live in Cairo for three months in 2012, it no longer made me happy. I wasn’t enjoying my job any longer. And being a people person, the lack of personal contact was weighing on my soul. In the midst of all of this, I was getting a divorce. I also started de-cluttering my home as my Life was being de-cluttered in the form of losing what no longer reflected Me.
The decision to quit was a long time coming; however, I couldn’t go through with it at first for many reasons. The biggest one was that I had no answer to the logical question that came after leaving a job: What’s next? I had no plan, but I knew that I did not want to practice law. I was becoming more and more miserable working at a job that had recently felt amazing. I knew there were so many perks to working from home and being my own boss, but I dreaded working more as the months went by. And I felt guilty for that. I felt ungrateful. Mostly, I felt scared.
In October 2012, I finally announced that I was withdrawing from Law. For my friends it was not a surprise. To a few, it was not the best decision I’ve made. And I’m sure to some, it was a crazy move. To be honest, there were times I was terrified after withdrawing. I didn’t know how I was going to pay my bills or where I was going to live. I lived in a two-bedroom apartment after my divorce and could not afford it on my own. It took some time for me to be okay with not knowing what was next and trusting that the Universe would provide in its infinite abundance. What is that place this spiral birthed Life from and brings us back to? I believe it is our Truth. What does that mean, really? Truth is hard to define because it is different for each person and each situation. Even though we cannot define Truth, you will know you are living your Truth because it feels good. It’s a joy and it comes with ease. I didn’t say it was always pleasant, perfect or easy; however it is not a burden.
My Law practice felt that way for me, but it no longer did. I needed to find something that was more in line with My Truth. As always, the Universe provided… I was eventually hired to work at my two favorite places in the Tampa Bay Area ~ Art from the Heart Café (a paint your own pottery shop which just happens to be my sanctuary) and Ohana Café (organic and vegetarian food with a Hawaiian flair). Yes! I quit law and now work two part time jobs. It has taken some time for me to be okay with that. I could feel the unasked questions, “Why would you do that?” or “Is this what you are going to do for the rest of your life?” I know that being a Lawyer sounds more lucrative, but as with most things, it’s not as lucrative as most people think. Needless to say, that, coupled with my lack of passion for the practice, did not provide abundance. As for the answer to the other question, I don’t know if I’m going to do this for the rest of my life, but for now, this is it and I’m okay with that. Ohana Café is run by Teresa, a joyful owner who makes sure every person who walks in the door is warmly welcomed with a joyful “Aloha!” and most times a hug! I’m around yummy organic and vegetarian food; lots of friendly smiles and I get to hug people! At the pottery shop, Joey has created a fun and creative atmosphere for families. I get to be around children of all ages 2 to 90 unleashing their creativity! I’m around Love, Joy, Creativity and hugs all the time; this is why I am no longer ashamed to tell people that I quit law. I am happier, healthier and more at peace than I’ve ever been! I’m experiencing abundance from a different perspective these days. Abundance doesn’t mean I have all I want, rather that I am making the most of what I do have.
I believe the spirals Rufina and I keep seeing are a reminder to stay centered during the ebb and flows of Life. If we actually stop and contemplate, we will find that during all of our tough times, we learned lessons. And if we stayed centered, we got a little wiser and came out on top. I got to see a hanging spiral that twirled in the wind the other day. I was mesmerized as I watched how it seemed to move in different and unexpected ways depending on which way it shifted or where I was standing. In a spiral everything changes with just a slight shift in perception. What we perceive to be setbacks in Life are not down cycles. Rather, we are going around and up! It may be a large loop of the spiral which can feel way off center. But technically, we are never really separate from the center because each loop of the spiral is also connected to the same place it draws us back to: Truth.
I came across Rufina at Being Rufina via Zully’s blog and this was the first posting I read of Rufina’s and I was hooked: Am I A Stalker? I knew instantly we were blogging-twins. And after snooping around Being Rufina I knew there was a lot more to her than just stalking. This post sealed the deal: It’s Okay To Be Last, this post spoke to me for I have had my own transformation and evolution with running.
Rufina’s transformation is represented by circles. I love circles. As I look back all of my changes and metamorphosis have only become complete after I’ve come full circle and usually ensued by some sort of spiral. (Is it just me or does clarity only come at full circle after a spiral? But perhaps that is for another post – The three of us have already made this post, ah, long enough.)
Being able to take an honest look at oneself, reflect the truth back, and decide to take that first step in the direction of change and transformation is one of the scariest and bravest journeys one can embark on. Rufina intentionally and consciously made a decision to change with her 300-Day Journey. And as with most transformational journeys, it has turned into so much more.
If you consider a collapsed spiral in just one dimension, it is a circle. Life itself is one big circle of transformation (just ask The Lion King! ;). We are born into a certain circumstance, and life brings along other circumstances, over which we sometimes have no control. You can sit back and let life happen, or you can be proactive and shape it for the better.
I have read that there are seven key areas of your life around which you should maintain balance. In no particular order, these are Family, Friendships, Mental, Physical, Spiritual, Financial, and Community. Draw a circle on a sheet of paper, and place each one of these areas of your life around the exterior. From the center point, rate each area of your life between a 1 and a 10 on whether you feel this area is under control (5-10) or whether you feel you have work to do to improve (1-5), and then draw lines around each point you rated to make an inner circle. Would this inner circle be able to roll? Would it spin freely on its own, or would it take one turn and then stop short on a flat spot or a jagged point? Circles with flat spots and jagged points, just like your life, obviously does not roll. It is not necessary to score a 10 in all areas of your life, but more important to feel that you have balance. Where you scored yourself low, think about what action you could take to make a change and help your inner circle to be more rounded.
I have done this exercise, and it is very revealing. Because I was not happy with my self-score on Physical and Mental states, I started a 300-day journey blog as a jumpstart to a healthy living change, and now this journey has become so much more. Many friendships have been renewed as a result of my increased physical activity, and new ones have been forged (like with Zully and Tahira). I have always been an on-again, off-again runner, overly concerned with appearances, and I have since learned that “It’s Okay to be Last”! My eating habits have often been all over the board, but taking control of this area means digging deeper for the self-discipline it takes to eat healthy. When you take the time to assess yourself, and then make concrete plans to transform those areas of your life that are not exactly ideal, it is truly amazing what you can achieve. Belief, followed by action, is key. Taking action helps you to find your Truth, as Zully points out above.
Spirals and Circles – they are powerful symbols, and there is beauty and efficiency to be found in their function. Whether it is a child’s pinwheel or a spinning top, a ballet dancer’s pirouette, whirling dervishes, tumbleweed, or flowers in bloom, take the time to notice this symbol around you. There is something about this design that is fundamental to our core and that we can all relate to as humans; spirals and circles almost seem to resonate inside. Energy may be in random chaos at the smallest level of vibration, but when you expand into the visible world, there is a natural order and that order is designed into spirals and circles everywhere you look.
What kind of Spirals or Circles have you noticed in YOUR life?