How to Recognize Your Major Life Lessons

If you look closely, you’ll notice patterns all around you:  the patterns of the seasons, the patterns of the sun rising, setting, then rising again day after day, the patterns that the tree branches cast through their shadows on the ground, your daily cycles of sleeping, waking and then sleeping again and your monthly menstrual cycles.  We can depend on many of these patterns to continue day after day for our entire lives and many of them will continue even when we’re no longer physically present on the planet.

There are other really important patterns that may not come around on a daily weekly or even monthly basis but they do come around again and again until we change them by transforming ourselves.  These patterns are our life lessons.

I believe that the purpose of life is to learn, grow and connect.  We’re each born with certain lessons that we’re meant learn in this lifetime.  Those lessons are generally never fun or easy but they’re a vital part in fulfilling our life’s purpose.  They may be your greatest challenges and they’re also your greatest gifts because once you learn those lessons, you can help others that need to learn them too.

How do you recognize these lessons?  One way is to look for the patterns.  What’s something that comes up for you again and again?  It might be abandonment.  Maybe one of your parents walked out when you were a kid and somehow for the rest of your life, you keep on being abandoned in relationships (or at least it feels that way).    It could be about completion and finishing what you start.  This might show up as starting a new and exciting project, but as it comes towards completion and is at the brink of being something great, you give up and move on to something else.  This could show up in hobbies, careers, exercise programs and even relationships that never seem to pan out.  Somewhere inside is the fear of what might happen if you actually finish what you started and either fail or succeed (yes fear of success is a real thing and it can totally hold us back).  It could even show up as physical symptoms.

One of many examples from my life has to do with my throat.  From an early age, I always got sore throats, then it was tonsillitis, once the tonsils where removed it was laryngitis.  There were also thyroid issues, multiple whiplashes and often neck pain. There was definitely a pattern and my body was trying to tell me something.

The throat chakra is an energy center that represents communication, expression and authenticity (for more on chakras click here).  This is an area I’ve really struggled with in my life.  Communication has been one of my biggest challenges.  I’ve spent significant time, shed a lot of tears and felt a ton of anxiety around learning to communicate lovingly and being willing to do it even when it’s hard.  I’ve also found that learning to communicate, express myself and be authentic has been one of my greatest gifts and one I strive to share with others.  Have I fully learned this lesson?  NO!!! I’m still working on it and I may for the rest of my life, however it gets easier and less scary the more I learn and practice.  I now find that when my pattern of neck and throat issues arises, there’s either something I need to say that I’m not saying or I’m not expressing something artistically that needs to be expressed.  It might also be that I’ve somehow dampened my authenticity for fear of what people might think.

You may already know what some of your patterns are and have spent countless hours and dollars going to therapy to try to work them out.  It seems to get better for a while and you think you got that one and then it comes back…again, only to leave you feeling frustrated and discouraged.  You thought you were done with this lesson and here it is yet again.

The way I like to look at lessons we think we’ve completed but are back for another round is that we travel our path in spirals that are ever widening.  You may come back to the same challenge or issue again and again yet every time it comes up for you, your perspective is slightly wider because you’re now looking at it from a part of the spiral that is farther removed from the problem which lies at the center of the spiral. You might notice that although the lesson seems as painful as always, you’re more aware of what’s happening and you may even recognize that here’s another opportunity to learn, grow, connect and forgive.  At first you may have a knee jerk reaction, responding as you always have, however you might notice that the time you spend feeling bad about this lesson doesn’t last as long as it used to and rather than fueling the fire with habitual responses, you now have much more choice on how to handle things.

Our main life lessons are going to be some of our biggest challenges, and they’ll show up again and again until we’ve learned them fully and they’re complete.  The next time you find yourself coming around the spiral to an old lesson yet again, celebrate because here’s another opportunity to learn it once and for all and to transform this pattern for good.

What are some lessons that you’ve noticed reappearing in the form of patterns?  Please comment below to let me know.

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