“Growth is a spiral process. Doubling back on itself, reassessing and regrouping.” —Julia Margaret Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way
“Life is a journey up a spiral staircase; as we grow older we cover the ground we have covered before, only higher up; as we look down the winding stair below us we measure our progress by the number of places where we were but no longer are. The journey is both repetitious and progressive, we go both round and upward.” —William Butler Yeats
I remember when I first decided I wanted to change. I had a destination in mind, and that destination was called, Best Self. I didn’t really know what the path to Best Self looked like, but I think I rather imagined that once I pushed the Best Self button, I’d be off and running in a straight shot to the top (Best Self was always up). I wasn’t completely clueless about Best Self. I had a list of things that needed to change in order to get to my final destination. I needed to react less and respond more, I needed to stop lying about my feelings, I needed to stop being a coward in relationships, I needed to be less dependent and attached. I figured that once I tackled these, one after the other, I’d get to Best Self. I would be calm, honest, brave and independent (among other glorious things).
As I walked this path, committed to the idea of achieving Best Self, I began to have a sad realization: Every time I THOUGHT I had fixed one of my issues, it would pop up in a new disguise. For example, when I thought I had the hang of independence, I came into contact with a person, who through no fault of their own, brought up all sorts of emotions in me, and before I knew it, I was wrapped up in a dependence cycle again…a cycle that looked just different enough to trick me for a moment before I caught it.
Wait! What? Did I fall down that elevator shaft? I thought I had. I told myself, at least the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd time that it happened, that I had never made any progress at all. That all was for nought. Woe, Woe is me.
But that wasn’t the truth. The first truth I learned is this: The road to growth, change and healing is a spiral. We move round and round and round, and the lessons we need to learn keep coming around again. It’s not that we have lost what we’ve learned, or ceased to grow, or worse – fallen all the way back to the beginning. It IS that the biggest lessons that we have in this life keep coming back until we have learned them. There is no straight shot to the top. There is no elevator and no button.
But here’s the good news. It took a bit longer for me to figure this one out. There Is. No. Top. Best Self is not a destination to be reached at all. It’s not at the top of the building. Best Self is a choice I get to make in every single moment of my life. It doesn’t mean my issues are gone or fixed. One of my issues may come around and bite me on the face, because it’s wearing a Halloween costume that I was completely unprepared for, and I get to choose to be my Best Self right there and then.
And the more I choose to be my Best Self, the more Best Self becomes my Reality. The lessons keep coming. My issues might keep popping up giving me more opportunities to practice my Best Self moves. New issues will pop up too. Awesome. More Best Self time.
It’s the coolest thing ever. There is no Top. There is no Penthouse. Best Self is not a destination. It’s a moment to moment choice.
Take a minute and breathe into your Best Self.