On Cycles and Healing

| By Paul | | Comments (8)

All of us live in a world of cycles.

Cycles, I think, are meant to be double-edged swords. They are the necessary friction of life that I have talked about before.

In the best of cases, we use these predictable cycles as a means of helping us navigate through the phases of our lives. Many of us probably recognize how these are sometimes referred: familiarity, teachable moments, evolution, wisdom, maturity.

We are probably all aware of how a new cycle can serve as a clean slate. When I was in school, every September I was fond of saying "I don't have a single poor grade!" Or, we are probably also aware of a sense of comfort in what is familiar. Every Spring is a time of renewal. Most every Christmas has been a time of magical wonder. I live in an area of the world that snows right around Christmas-time and that serves as a metaphorical punctuation mark.

But, anniversaries of traumatic events and triggers are also types of cycles. And therein lies the friction. And the dichotomy.

Speaking for myself, I know I can very easily find myself trapped in a new cycle and have little or no perspective on it. In other words, the cycle can be strictly seen from a historical point of view. In still other words, parts of me can be stuck in the past.

I so dislike admitting that. I would rather believe that I am full of awareness and am fully healed and fully safe. Period.

But that is simply not true.

For those of us who have lived many years using dissociation as a core means of coping or navigating through cycles or triggers of past trauma, this is not really difficult to fathom.

I have not written here in over a month, and during that time I have experienced many triggers and not navigated all of them well. Just ticking off some of the highlights, there was the perennial Halloween "holiday", with all its normally charged associations, plus we had a rare crippling snowstorm. Then the relentless news of the US college sports sex abuse scandals, which have rocked me to my core. It was not really much of a surprise, but I was caught unprepared by the impact of the late November "anniversaries" of major suicide attempts from the early 90s and the connections to where I was last year (in the hospital). Finally, "church abuse" news, direct or indirect, seems to always crop up.

Reflecting on the past month or two—I have lost track—I can easily say life has been more tilted towards disconnection and chaos and "living in the past" than it has been towards awareness and looking towards the future. My life has certainly not been in any sort of balance, and I have not been safe from purposely hurting myself. As a result, life has become extremely distorted and unstable, and what feels safe also does not feel safe, sometimes simultaneously. Some of you know will know what that statement really means.

I have been living precariously. There has been a thin line separating safety and harm, connection and disconnection, giving up and holding onto hope.

What is most scary, is that I do not even think I realized this!

But this afternoon, the seas have calmed. The compass appears to be working. The ship's wheel isn't spinning out of control anymore. The ship is moving forward. With direction. With purpose. I can see land.

Despite what our psychological "clocks" tell us, we arrive at a new cycle, but always at a place in time that is ahead of the last one. We may not appreciate that as a statement of fact in our times of struggle. But it is a fact. No matter how "in the past" parts of us may be, I strongly believe that we are destined to heal, to find balance, to learn from our past, to build a better future.


Evan said:

Good to hear that you are back on track Paul.

Nansie said:

Just wanted to say "Hi Paul!" Sounds like alot of mixed things have been going on for you? How did you handle Halloween this year? I know that's a tough day for you. I am hanging in and dealing with all kinds of stuff. Just started writing on my blog last night... don't know if it will continue but it's a start. I have withdrawn from alot these days and plan to stay that way for awhile.

This post seems really general for you? You're usually more detailed. Anniversaries are very tough for me... I have to fight the flashbacks and then the part that experienced the event that's flashing back... ugh, it's not good. When you have flashbacks to they belong to different parts?

Kerro said:

Hi Paul, Sorry to hear you've been having such a difficult time, but pleased to hear things have "calmed". I hope that continues during what is usually a difficult holiday period. Please take gentle care, and I look forward to seeing you back, along with the Expressive Arts Carnival, next year.

castorgirl said:

Hi Paul,

Have you looked back over your blog to look at the times where you've reached the point that you mention here - where you have enough connection and perspective to see what is happening? I ask, because it's interesting how you describe it... both the cycle, and the levelling out of the cycle.

I'm sorry that you have been going through such a difficult time. I know that I can not begin to understand what these past few months have been like for you, but I can identify with some of what you have written... "what feels safe also does not feel safe" in particular. I don't know how to reconcile that feeling, or what is causing it... I wish I did.

I hope that you can consistently find that solid ground, safety, and connections again soon.

Take care,

tb0316 said:


It's really good to hear from you again. I thought about you often with the recent news stories and I'm very sorry that you've had to see that.

I'm glad things have gotten better for you and I hope it continues for a long while.

Paul said:

Thank you all for your comments and support!

wantstorun said:


It is so good to see you back posting again.

I liked what you said here: "Despite what our psychological 'clocks' tell us, we arrive at a new cycle, but always at a place in time that is ahead of the last one." Boy, sometimes it doesn't feel that way to me, and I'll need the T to remind me of where I was before versus now; but, it does seem true.

Take good care,


Paul Author Profile Page replied to wantstorun:

Thanks wtr. I think I was hinting at hope in those words. And, yes, it's okay to have someone else hold onto that for us when we cannot.

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This page contains a single entry published on December 5, 2011 4:10 PM.

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