Linear or Circular?


Do you think of yourself as a linear or a circular person? Is your life moving along in a linear line, or is your life traveling in, a circle only to end up where you started. Linear people think of the life as an adventure that we travel though. While circle people move in circular patterns. The circle can be of any length, with a circumference of hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades or a lifetime.

In my life, I was moving toward an open door, through the door, would I be moving in a linear or circle direction?  Would I just continue as it was, a life that was helplessly moving in small circular patterns, like a leaf in a stream unconsciously being pulled toward an unknown destination? I felt I was being moved about on the current that would alter my life forever. One way or another, I needed to find the exit, and into a life in a more linear pattern.

I became a new teacher, beginning a new life in my late thirties to be closer with my children, and though I was unaware at the time, I was just starting a metamorphosis. My new life in teaching had become my sanctuary, as it began spinning out of control, and sending me on a lifelong journey to new worlds. I was learning to teach day by day, and discovering the how challenging teaching really was. As a teacher I’ve always felt that I have been evolving on a daily basis, always experiencing and learning something new, about teaching, about people and most important about myself.

I could never work in a position where I needed to sit; it simply wasn’t apart of my personality makeup. As a kid, unless I was physically moving or extremely mentally challenged, I would become bored very quickly, and move into a fantasy world of my own creation, playing for hours creating new worlds and challenges that only my imagination could explore. Teaching incorporated all the important personal work elements that made my work life challenging, rewarding and creative.  My new world allowed me to stretch beyond myself and reach out to others in service to others. My heart ached to contribute good, to give a little more than I took, and to do no harm. On the surface that what seem like an easy mandate for all of humanity, but for me it was and still is a daily struggle.

My Catholic background instilled in me the understanding that we as humans are all flawed imperfect creatures, capable of both great good and great harm. My life has always patterned that belief too. Professionally and personally, I have always been concerned about others feelings, yet in retrospect, I often marvel at how insensitive I can be with regard to those feelings. In my case, the harm I’ve done has not been on a conscience level. I’ve stumbled into my blunders through the words, expressions, or attitudes, that later through reflection, I would understand the harm done. I feel I’m living a life while looking through the rear view mirror, trying to understand what has just happened.

To complicate matters, I am very emotional creatures, who like other creatures of own persuasion are given to deep canyons of sadness and occasional high hills of happiness. I am also reflective person, generally feeling things in the past tense. I know that life is not a dress rehearsal, and often there are no second changes and the choices I was making would alter my life forever as I walked through a door into the unknown.

Linear or circular lives, I wonder if there really is a difference. Hopefully we can stretch out the arc enough to appear that we are linear, but we are all moving in a circular pattern. We are born and we die. In reality, though we live in a linear manner, our lives are destined to be circular. Our personal circle needs to have the broadest circumference possible. We live and we die, an inescapable truth. The circle continues.

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