Do you ever find yourself circling back around to a familiar place every so often—a certain part of town, a grove in the woods, the home where you grew up? Do you keep coming back to landscape photography over other subjects you might explore with the precision of celestial bodies? Do you notice how that same knee bothers you with each approaching storm? Do you continue to find yourself facing a familiar challenge? Do you keep re-establishing what is important to you when you find yourself unsatisfied?
If you combine a circle representing wholeness, and a line representing change over time, what results is another union of opposites: the spiral. Across the globe, from the Mediterranean island of Malta to the Tibetan Plateau, from the Amazon Basin to the Tribes of North American, arising organically from communities that had no direct contact with one another, the spiral, again and again, appears as the symbol of creativity. The reconfiguration of wholeness moment by moment—your own creative progression as an individual and that of the world around you—and the tension between novelty and familiarity over time is spiraling by nature.
From the invisible double helix code of life shared by all living creatures up to the incomprehensibly large galaxies containing millions of stars in each pinwheeling arm, from the arrangement of seeds in a sunflower to the waves of the shore break folding in on themselves, from the resurfacing of familiar feeling and emotions to the cycling and recycling of certain ideas over time, the universe loops back on itself again and again, exploring something familiar—a place, an energy, a theme—but never in quite the same way.
The Path of Creativity is also a spiral. As you explore one field in particular—painting or poetry, or antique car restoration, or move between different fields– notice the way you gravitate towards certain aspects while avoiding others. Notice when you are falling into old habits and when you are wakefully exploring variations along a common theme. Notice when you move into uncharted territory and when you return to an old favorite. Notice when tension mounts and when it releases.
As the Earth makes its way around the sun, and the sun around the center of the galaxy, and the galaxy around other galaxies within the ever-expanding universe, you are covering inconceivable distances in each and every moment of your life. Even if you’re sitting on your couch in a dark room watching hours of infomercials, you’re still corkscrewing through the universe at breakneck speeds. Whether you like it or not, whether you chose to actively participate or allow someone else to drive you around the old neighborhood, you are spiraling about and expanding with the universe.
As you look: examine your own life; look for the spirals; look at how you have orbited around certain objects, certain places, certain themes. Look at those times you have tried to do something totally new for a spell only to be pulled back toward an old favorite. Look at those times you broke free from something that wasn’t working then revisited a familiar place with a new sense of possibility.
Whenever you notice yourself spiraling back on something that seems oddly familiar– including places, emotions, thoughts, or themes– pay attention. What is your connection with it? What is here to teach you? Why do you keep coming back to it?
The wisdom of creation is found within spirals; the ineffable experience of insight and the rock meets bone realities of manifestation coexist in the vortex, offering you both a bold moment of clarity regarding the choices you’ve made as well as the opportunity to either do something different or maintain the same course of action. The felt sense of circling back around again gives you the chance to feel the weight of your habitual patterns and the levity of real, unadulterated choice.
When you find yourself curving back around, pay attention to both the inward gathering force that manifests all the delectable details being perfectly balanced with the outward undulations of the tidal waves of the cosmos tugging at the seams. Celebrate the poignant moments of creation when that which seems so familiar unfolds, yet again, in a completely unexpected way, a way that, once again, tethers your miraculous awareness and the levity of being to the awesome significance of this precious life you’ve been given, this precious life you’ve been given for some undisclosed amount of time.