What is a circle? A round geometric shape? A bunch of people with shared similarities or interests? Moving around something or someone?
I was looking at my logo a couple of days ago and was ‘entranced’ by the five circles in it. Circles are everywhere when you look for them and that pervasiveness inspires me to write about them. Do circles have anything to do with the subconscious mind or the idea of change? Let’s circle ‘round to that…
Have you ever been to an art gallery or museum and seen people look at an artifact or work? While some people may stay in one spot before they move on to something else, many people position themselves at different points around the object to get a different perception of it. They circle it.
So what does that have to do with change? Often, when we have a problem that continues to be a problem, we may be looking at it from limited angles which fail to reveal the answer or solution. I know, you’ve tried A, B,… F,… R… but most ‘plans’ exist by looking from a rational plane, using our analytical mind to solve the setback. The advantage of the irrational subconscious is that the connections and recollections of it are on a different level than the straightforward and logical conscious mind.
Often this deeper, emotional source creates a new view on an old issue. While it may not make any sense, it does produce a new set of considerations or outlooks from which new options can be sourced.
Imagine looking at a mug at eye-level from all sides. It takes the act of rising up to see what’s actually in the cup. This is what happens with hypnosis (yes, and the upper view not only reveals the important contents, but is also a circle).
Check it out at your next coffee break.
Highs and Lows
If you follow around the circle, you’ll travel high, you’ll travel low, you’ll travel left and you’ll travel right, as well as all the points in between. Hmmm. Sounds a lot like life, doesn’t it?
Our growth tends to come from points of challenge in our lives. When we learn, when we transition from one aspect of life to another, when we aim for something that may seem a bit out of reach… It may be uncomfortable and unfamiliar as we transform ourselves to absorb a new lesson, shift to another purpose or direction, move through another chapter of our story, but it is a natural part of life.
Interestingly, sometimes it is merely our expectations that put us in the wrong position. We expect to be ‘right’ and then see that we are ‘left’. Our position is not where we wanted to be and we forget we can shift our position, we can naturally move with or in spite of our environment. Being in the ‘wrong’ spot maybe be the perfect place that allows us to take the opportunity to look at life from another perspective, to even question whether our expected position is truly the one we desire.
From a different position we can often see what we really want, what we really need. Many times I suggest to clients that they feel compassion for their issue – maybe even a bit grateful. Because if the challenge hadn’t lasted so long, or brought such discomfort, or there wasn’t a breakdown of the status quo, or affected life so deeply, they wouldn’t be exploring themselves and learning more about themselves. It’s hard to look at the ‘not so good’ when you’re riding high, just as housing bubbles may ignore fundamental flaws in the system when trends are on the rise.
Day needs night, music needs both notes and rests (just as we create a symphony in our lives only when we have active and resting times), sickness forces us to make changes towards health, seasons all have a purpose, and a ‘down’ often reveals strengths that we don’t need when things are ‘up’ and easy. If you twist a circle out, you’ll get a wave which exists in the natural world and naturally in our patterns of energy, dreaming, thought states and more.
While I always wish greater high points in the lives of people, the low points or off-centered points have a place as well. Sometimes we simply need some help to figure out where we are in the circle to see what direction we need or want to go next.
Hole or Whole
Some people may look at a circle and notice the big empty space in the middle of it. The hole. And that’s one way of looking at it. They say that nature abhors a vacuum, so there’s always ‘something’ even in an empty space. So I guess you could see that hole as a space that may be less visual/physical and more obscure or invisible.
I know that when I want to highlight something, I often circle it. It is usually an indicator that I should be looking there the next time I reference the page. During the change process it isn’t as obvious, yet we still tend to draw attention to an issue and then resolve it.
Often times the invisible can fill what appears to be an empty space – negative thoughts, feelings or patterns that are automatic, unconscious or imperceptible can be affecting us and drawing what we don’t want to us – clearing that out and making the ‘empty’ space, just like the centre of a circle, creates a place where we can replace and restock the ‘hole’ with what we really want and need.
And usually with exploration and understanding, that hole that seemed not to be serving, becomes much more whole.
Circle of Trust and Hold the Space
When I work with others, the greatest success comes when I “hold the space”. This means that I acknowledge the power clients and students have to discover and change with relatively minimal interference/guidance so that they can use their own resources and strengths. I am a fortunate witness to people’s abilities to perform internal work on themselves to shift their mind and their life. It also means that I ‘protect’ the space with high respect, caring, safety, and experience. Within that client-therapist circle of trust, the client is the most important person in the world and the change process can happen with them feeling secure and supported.
If you’ve ever talked to a great listener, you’ll feel that circle of focus. They aren’t waiting for their opportunity to talk, but instead are really taking in your words and more.
You might explore this experience when you’re in a conversation with someone else, or when you’re working with someone. Imagine drawing a circle around the people there (including yourself) and imagine that everything within that space is under your care and attention. You might be surprised how differently people react, even when you don’t say a word. In a world of shifting attentiveness and focus, being present is a present for others and for yourself.
Fulcrum and Getting Rolling
Ever seen a seesaw? In most old-timey playgrounds the fulcrum in the centre is a horizontal bar (look at it from the end and it’s a circle). This means that the board or platform can easily rock from one side to the other, and leverage weights that would be more challenging to do without it. Fun recess activity, but also useful in change. Often times the pivot point in the transformation process is very simple and even might feel a bit far from the burden of the issue, but seems to swing very easily and can shift you from a low point to a high point, especially when you use the subconscious mind. You just have to know where to get the best alignment.
If you put a square wheel on a vehicle, it wouldn’t go very far. However, a circular wheel can move us forward. A square can feel more secure than a circle at times, but it has more issues moving. The circle is a symbol for movement. Can it roll backwards? Yes. Yet even if you feel you’re moving in the wrong direction, that circle can change course and roll differently.
Is a unicycle more challenging than a bicycle? In my experience, yes. So sometimes we need others to roll with us to get us progressing more comfortably. Friends, family or professionals may help to give you more stability as you accelerate into your direction of change.
The circle of life is all around us. The circle of change is similarly natural and can be beautiful. Think of a pebble dropping into water, displacing it and as it sinks down, a circular ripple appears because of this new addition. And that tiny ripple tends to spread and the rings of impact get bigger and bigger. Isn’t that how positive change seems to affect life? Little shifts make a big impact and spreads throughout other aspects of our doing and being.
If you need some support in making a change in your life or learning how to support yourself using the subconscious mind for work or life, please contact me so we can be in the same circle for excellence.
PS Thanks always to Jenny Bigio and her team at Write Angles for creating such a compelling and meaningful logo and identity…