Welcome back to The Way I See It, the place where we talk about Awareness, Attitude and Intuition, and how, with these Three Keys in our power pack, it helps us to gain more confidence in our decision making which leads to more aligned living! And that’s exciting to think about and experience, isn’t it?
For this post/podcast which I have titled, Saying Goodbye, I would like to talk about Life Cycles, how to recognize when one cycle is ending and another is beginning, and ways that I try to make it as gentle and seamless as possible, which is no easy feat!
First let’s talk about what a life cycle can look like. It can cover many facets of life, from where we live, to what job we have, to moving our residence including upsizing or downsizing, getting married or divorced, dealing with individual relationships, or even how we spend our leisure time.
We are always in a cycle of sorts, whether it’s just beginning or one we’ve been in for a while. There are natural ebbs and flows with each cycle. But how do we know when we’ve been in a cycle and the longevity is waning because it’s no longer serving us or our life circumstances have changed?
Sometimes life hands us an abrupt change that we didn’t see coming. Like having a rental home sold out from under you and you’re left to find another place to live and where you’ve been is no longer affordable? Or a major job change that brings you to an area you’ve never been to and you know no one, and are feeling isolated? Or perhaps, you’re in a place where you’ve just entered the role of single mom because the relationship with your significant other became toxic. Or maybe you’ve just entered a whole new neuro-divergent world with a diagnosis of autism in your child and you feel lost and uncertain about what the future holds.
There are some cycles in life that last for many years, such as a long standing marriage of 50+ or living in the same house for your entire married life or living in the same neighborhood even from childhood.
But what about those situations that last only a few years or even a few months? Perhaps a friendship becomes disconnected because your interests have change or one moved away and the distance creates a void. Or maybe you’ve been a full time caretaker of a special needs person and someone else takes over; or your spouse is in the last stages of an illness, and it’s time to say goodbye.
We could also look at each day, each month, or even each task as a cycle, which just shows the natural ebbs and flows that we can experience.
We can also look at our creative output cycles. Perhaps how change occurs as we paint, draw, sing, play an instrument, write books, or blog posts, or host a podcast? Sometimes, as we change, our content changes with us.
Now that we’ve looked at all the types of cycles we may encounter in our life time, let’s talk about how we can recognize the signs of when one cycle ends and another begins.
Sometimes it can be really tricky to know. Other times it can be really obvious.
This is where AWARENESS is so key. The more we can sustain an active awareness concerning where we are in a cycle, the more readily we will be able to see the signs of when a cycle is coming to a close. Sometimes it just happens naturally and we just need to move intuitively through the process. Other cycles are ones we create for ourselves; this is when we have to be more proactive about recognizing when the cycle we are in is no longer serving us, especially when we feel out of alignment because of it.
One of the things that really helps me in dealing with a cycle that is waning is to feel into my body about what’s happening. What emotions am I feeling? Am I more frustrated than usual? Do I feel blocked? Am I agitated and wonder why? Do I feel resistance rather than flow?
It can be helpful to write down how you’re feeling, whether on a piece of paper or in a journal, depending on whether what you write will be preserved or tossed. Sometimes just getting it out on the page can give you just the right clarity in the moment to recognize a changing cycle that you weren’t already aware of.
Now I’d like to address how we can let go of an old cycle (even if it’s a short one) in order to embrace the new one that is beginning. This can be especially difficult to navigate when it’s a big change, such as caring for a loved one that required a lot of time and energy, or making a big move across the country. That’s why I titled this Saying Goodbye. It’s important to look at the cycle that is ending and see all the benefits you have experienced from that time. In a sense, it gives you the opportunity to honor your life’s experience and how it helped make you who you are today.
And as you do this, you can begin to say goodbye in a way that is gentle, kind and compassionate, toward yourself especially, which is vitally important! And as you do this, it enables you to tap into that intuitive wisdom that you need to guide you into what is next for you in that new cycle that is just beginning.
I will say that it can be very hard to let go…especially when you’ve taken on responsibilities that were challenging. It can sometimes feel like you’re in a free fall, which can feel disorienting and even overwhelming. Thus the gentle awareness can help us ease into that next place, as we open our hands and let go of what is no longer necessary or essential for us to do or have.
And we can celebrate how we have grown into who we are today that makes what is coming next possible, which helps us to fully align and move into that place with more ease and grace, with the least amount of resistance and stress possible.
Yes, I notice that sometimes when I’m in the process of letting go of an older cycle, I may experience a bit (or a lot!) of grief or sadness. But I remind myself that opening my hands to let go of what was (sometime I do this literally with my hands; it helps ground me in the present moment) can then lead to receiving what is to come, what is literally at the door of the new cycle that is beginning! And that’s worth celebrating!
I find when I get stuck in my head concerning the ending of one cycle and the beginning of another, the logistics can really slow me down and give me a feeling of powerlessness. So I have to remind myself that I don’t need to know all the details just yet. If I received everything I think I needed to know now, that would truly be overwhelming and completely unnecessary. Gentle beginnings can help us take it in one step at a time. And each step we take is worth celebrating as we Say Goodbye to what was and begin to Say Hello to what is new! And as you do this, I celebrate with you!
A journaling prompt for you:
Take a moment to record life cycles that you are currently in right now, from relationships to jobs to hobbies to family dynamics to how old you are. This will help you activate awareness with where you may be in a cycle. Do you see or feel any signs of a cycle coming to a close? How do you feel about this? Are you ready to release the old and embrace the new? Do you know where you want to go?
Also, you can note down what cycles you have more direct control over versus those that are more outward circumstances that you simply have to work with.
Now pick one of those cycles and determine how you can make the change as gentle and compassionate toward yourself as possible. You may want to write a letter in your journal to that cycle that is closing, highlighting the ways it has benefitted you and helped you grow in various aspects of life.
It can also help to pace yourself with your to dos or giving yourself space to create to unload pent up emotion.
And remember to celebrate all that you have experienced and honor who you are today as a result of having lived that life cycle. You deserve it!
Welcome back to The Way I See It, an honest look at how what I observe transforms what I see depending on what Lens I choose to look through. When I first introduced this new blog, I mentioned the possibility of sharing about my life as full time Grandma with a grandson diagnosed with autism and other neurological differences. So this will be my first foray of that nature.
Let me begin by saying that whatever I share here is meant to be thought provoking but not offensive. Autism has become better understood in recent years, but everyone’s experience with it is different and affect different families in different ways. So, with the hope of being understood and even appreciated for my point of view on this subject, especially with how it affects me on a daily basis, I shall share what’s on my heart.
My grandson loves dragons. He received a stuffy dragon for a gift from his great grandma. He loves looking at dragons in books and he especially enjoys the movie series, How to Train Your Dragon. I highly recommend this series for its humor, family dynamic and what each member learns in the process, as well as the conflict of interest between father and son concerning said dragons.
There’s quite a lot of dragon fighting amongst the tribe of Vikings in order to save the lives of the people and animals. But Hiccup, the boy in the story, has a sensitive heart and struggles to fulfill his father’s dream for him as a dragon slayer. Instead, Hiccup finds another way to solve the Dragon Dilemma. He trains his dragon to fly and take him everywhere. They end up becoming best friends. Of course, there is a lot more to this story, and I won’t offer any further spoilers.
Of course, over the past several months as I’ve watched this series with grandson and Grandpa, it has given me some serious food for thought.
First of all, Love conquers all.
Secondly, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Not that it doesn’t include consequence, because it does. Sometimes following what you feel is right can end in sorrow. But also victory.
Life is full of true paradox. And there’s such a fine line between letting the child lead the way and knowing when it’s necessary to step in.
This is the struggle the father and son face as they reckon with the dragon issue.
Thus it can be with autism. When you want to step in and try to show them how life is done, they often have their own way of doing it. Their brains work differently and they are sensitive folks. And when they aren’t understood or appreciated for what they do know (which can often be difficult to access if they don’t tell you), this brings on the frustration, on both sides, with both child and grandparent (or parent for those who are).
But like the verse goes, Train up a Child in the way he should go.
Now let’s look more closely at the word Train. It means to teach a person or animal a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time.
We can all be trained to learn new things and to instill good habits over time.
An example from my own pursuits would be learning the piano in the past year as I have played my spiritual songs by ear. First I had to learn where the keys were on the piano; I did this by feel rather than by sight. I found the keys to play the melodies and harmonies of the songs I added to my piano book; and then I practiced every day. Of course, over time, I have built new neuro pathways in my brain, so when I go to play a song I have practiced many times, I often find myself remembering what keys to press to make those melodies, which is deeply satisfying to me. All that practice for me is a delight! It also helps to have a routine to follow so it becomes second nature to include what I want to do in my day.
I try to do this with grandson by instilling a routine of first, then next, then after that we do this. Of course we have to get past the hurdle of resistance when one doesn’t want to follow through with said activity because it’s boring or stupid in their eyes. But there are some things that simply have to be done to make one civilized!
Now there is a difference between learning a new skill that is meaningful to you and simply learning something that needs to be done but is considered mundane. But the same principal applies toward the success of whatever the training is for.
I try to aim low, or as low as is reasonable to not overload the sensory aspect that is involved with mundane tasks when it comes to teaching grandson the way he should go.
Faithfully showing love, affection and even making a game out of as much of it as possible does make it an easier process; I just have to stay consistent without losing my patience. Especially when said child has to be reminded repeatedly.
So, how do you train yourself to learn a new skill, whether it’s pleasurable or mundane?
I think staying present as much as possible can make any thing you choose to do more palatable, not to mention looking at it through a positive lens. This I try to instill in grandson; sometimes he gets it, especially when he learns a new concept and succeeds and understands. And even those verbal gold stars go a long way toward encouraging those habits, such as putting on a seatbelt without a reminder.
Ultimately my goal as a grandma is to bring grandson to a place where he sees himself as intelligent, capable, funny, and creative, so much so that he will learn to fly.
There’s nothing like the exhilarating feeling of flying your own dragon once you’ve made friends with it, like Hiccup did with Toothless.
I’m sure that grandson would love to fly on a dragon too. Maybe he will some day—-in a story he writes and illustrates.
In the meanwhile, he’ll have to learn to do the mundane things, one day at a time, even if it’s boring.
I think he would tell me, I’d rather watch a movie, Grandma. Can you put on How to Train Your Dragon?
Yes, dear grandson, I can do that for you. Just make sure you brush your teeth afterwards, ok?
I'm Dawn Herring. Here is a space where I share The Way I See It from my many Life Lenses of Art, Music, Journal Keeping, Autism, Mental Health, being Full Time Grandma of Special Needs Grandson, and many other POVs that are relevant and helpful. Prepare for a full spectrum of experience, with an invitation for you to share your POV because The Way You See It Matters too.