When the circle is broken

I lived in South America for a time, where I learned about a spiritual concept that many indigenous people hold, about August being the time of year when “the circle is broken.” It is a time of uncertainly, and of change and openness as well. It is not a comfortable time; there is fear and anxiety inherent in this time of brokenness.

This week, the wisdom of two clients jumped out at me as I have been reflecting on this season of the “broken circle.” One client shared a mantra that she has been using for herself, from Tara Brach in her book Radical Acceptance: “I allow myself to be imperfect. I allow myself to make mistakes. I allow myself to be a learner, learning life’s lessons.” I don’t know about you, but I have parts of me that feel shame about needing to learn new things at this stage of life. This mantra is really soothing.

A second client spoke openly about “honoring the season that I’m in. Not pretending to be something that I’m not.” She has been managing financial, employment and relationship issues all at once, and is honest about her frustration at not being where she wants to be at this stage of her life. As I listened to her speak about honoring herself and her struggles, and not pretending to have it all together when she doesn’t, I felt a chill pass through me. When that happens, as it often does, I know I have just been a witness to a deep truth.  

I’ve been feeling some uncertainty myself lately. In growing my business, I am being forced to learn more about finances and accounting than I had previously needed to know. While I do enjoy numbers, actually, I am discovering parts of me that get quite anxious about balancing budgets and creating spreadsheets. And sometimes those parts can take over and cause me to feel insecure about my competency as a business woman or, frankly, as an adult. When I can notice those anxious parts and recognize that they are a natural accompaniment to this season of expansion and learning and growth — when I can recognize that they are growing pains — then I can keep the thoughts and feelings in perspective, and tap into the parts of me that are excited and confident about these new learnings!

Let’s take the risk to be honest about the “season” of life we are in. For me, that means not pretending that I have it all together when the reality is that I don’t have it all together. Life is presenting me with new, big lessons. Also, I can honor my truth, stay strong and act with courage, even though these lessons are hard.  

Have you been feeling any uncertainty during this season of “the broken circle”? If so, I invite you to take heart, and rest in the knowledge that you are learning what you are meant to be learning, right now. 

“Just throw away all thoughts of imaginary things, and stand firm in that which you are.” 

— Kabir, 15th century Indian mystic and poet