Going around in circles.


I had a rather big week last week. I was getting over a minor illness, I had lots of stuff going on at home, lots of stuff going on at work, lots of karate training, and too many late nights and early mornings. It was a challenging, yet very productive and exciting week.

However, by Thursday night, driving home from training, I was emotionally, cognitively, and physically exhausted! I had started “running around in circles”. There was so much stuff churning away in my head, I had some physical hurts, and of more concern, I was feeling so unsure of myself, doubting I could achieve my goals.

And then, BANG!: I hit a wall. I think this was not only related to my busy week but the resulting “growing up” it forced me to do. To help me move on though, what I needed was rest, nourishing food, long walks on the beach, reflection time, time to heal (physically and mentally), and maybe even time and space to cry. I also needed a good hug, and a chat with someone reassuring. Fortunately I managed to get most of what I needed over the next few days, and now, consequently, I have almost returned to normal programming. 🙂

Going round in circles is usually something associated with doing much, yet achieving little. However, when we conceptualise the journey of life, we see it as a cycle, and, more pertinently, when we consider the path to enlightenment, the most important learning journey of all, we don’t think of a linear path, but a circular one. Perhaps the way to enlightenment is more like a spiral with an unattainable central point than a closed circle, but the point I am trying to make is that learning cannot be linear. Perhaps this is because in order to progress, you need to see clearly where you have been before. You don’t need to dwell on the past, but you do need to revisit places easily, seeing things through a different set of eyes, and with a new outlook. Ultimately you need to always be the beginner, no matter how much knowledge and insight you have collected on the way around….this time….or last time….or the time before.

The last couple of weeks have seen me reviewing things that were familiar and yet not, learning how to do things in different, better, and more efficient ways, and revisiting previously familiar concepts whilst incorporating new insights. If I hadn’t seen learning as a circle or spiral I may have missed the memo completely and written off seeing these things I had “learned” before, mentally bypassing them as things that I had already checked off my list. Learning quickly is a great skill to have. Forgetting slowly is an even more valuable one. Building on and refining past learning is vital to mastery, and passing on mastery is ultimately the most important tool one can have.

So, going around in circles can ultimately be a productive operation, if you go around it the right way (pardon the terrible pun). Perhaps the reason I hit the wall on Thursday because I was so busy ploughing on straight ahead that I didn’t see I was on the ring road after all. Fortunately I am back on the merry-go-round again and until the music stops again I will keep riding on around looking at the changing scenery as I go.