The Journey is a Spiral

Jen
8 min readMar 27, 2021

The realization that everything is interconnected, reveals the existence of your own spiral path (see illustration below).

In more plain english, less metaphorical: “Discovering I was standing on a spiral path and starting to walk it” is how I learned I was broken, started to put the pieces back together and began discovering where my real place is in this crazy wonderful world. It’s not a lovey fuzzy process, more like engaging in trench warfare against the parts that aren’t really you and trying to coax the real you out of survival mode.

The realization of interconnectedness reveals our own path or journey which we all understand from different places; everyone’s personal experience is different.

I’m grasping at my own understanding as I write this (SPOILER ALERT- not an expert) but it seems as your awareness and understanding of your connection to your self and others deepens, you begin to have a greater awareness and understanding of your own place in the world and where you should be going. Hence the spiral, the more you know, the broader your path spirals, the more you see you don’t know and on it goes. ****I had another thought to connect this all together, but it has vanished if it comes back to me I’ll revise this and add it later**

I define interconnectedness as an existence in which every thought, action, emotion has an effect no matter how small, which affects someone or something else and so on and all matter is connected in some way directly or indirectly. It can be argued from multiple scientific perspectives: ecosystem balance, global warming, the war between bacteria and phages, the laws of physics. The metaphysical explains interconnection in terms of vibration frequency, the great wheel, the connection between spiritual, physical and mental health. There is overwhelming examples from many perspectives: scientific, cultural, anecdotal, metaphysical etc. You can use whatever frame of reference is comfortable for you.

How do you know if you’re on your journey (path)?

We’re all on a path- whether we’re progressing or aware of our path is a completely different story.

How I Found My Path and Learned to Love the Atomic Bomb

(For some reason I can’t help myself from including the vaguely connected cultural references)

My realization that I was on my journey, has only occurred very recently (past couple months). But the process of coming to that realization began over five years ago when I reached rock bottom in my life. My mental health was the worst it had ever been. I was stuck in a job that made me mentally and physically ill .We had a newborn and we were broke because I was mentally unable to return to work full time in my previous position. My life was detonating around me. I felt I had no control and everything was happening to me and I had no power.

I knew I couldn’t continue living like that, and my daughter was the only reason that really gave me the will to seek help. But my mental health was so bad it took me another 3 years reach out and have the capacity to organize myself to be able to seek diagnosis and treatment. I’l be honest, I have no idea how I survived that period beyond stubbornness and the at the time illogical belief that I’d figure out how to overcome my struggles eventually.

The struggle bus continued but I began moving forward out of the black hole my life had become at its worst point. In 2019 I began mental health treatment and I had returned back to school to make a career change. While I didn’t feel great and still struggled every day with my mental health, logically I knew that I had to push through this to make it out on the other side.

Gotta Fight For Your Right to Party aka End The Suck

I began journalling at the beginning of the pandemic to “document historical events” but it slowly evolved into a consistent mental and emotional reflection practice. I’ve always been a writer, but I stopped writing for a long time after graduating, somehow it had become tainted for me, a constant reminder of all my failures and weaknesses. The summer of 2020 (before I started graduate school) I found a book, The Gifted Adult. That book was the actual catalyst for me beginning to seriously dig into learning more about myself. It was actually shocking to me as I worked through the prompts and exercises how poorly I thought of myself. As painful and eye opening as it was, it was also wonderful! It meant I could finally see the monster and go at it head on. Shortly that I found a book that was very obscure and written by a woman in upstate NY and began experimenting with meditation and energy visualizations. My exploration has pretty much snowballed from there.

In November 2020 I bought my first tarot deck (The Wildwood Tarot Deck) after asking one of my friends many questions about it and used it to slowly peel back more layers of myself that I didn’t see or that weren’t really me at all. The different perspectives to your problems that tarot can provide through its symbolism is fascinating and almost makes the most difficult self-work bearable.

In December/January I began Tai Chi, I felt like I had reached a block in my mindfulness exercises and also realized I hadn’t really intentionally exercised since 2009. (Actually wait, that’s a lie, we bought a rowing machine and I managed to use it for a week :0 ) I rationalized at worst, a workout would probably be beneficial for my mental and physical health, at best it might be really interesting and take me places I didn’t expect. Surprisingly I’ve more or less kept it up daily (at varying levels of intensity but still have been doing it more or less every day since January). After I realized I was going to stick with it, I started taking weekly lessons.

Things Get Weird (without me actually detailing the true weirdnesses)

This is when the weird stuff started to happen. I started to experience all these different connections between my posture, my emotions and my thoughts. And my inner awareness started to increase, both my body and my intuition. It was like I was creeping along at 5 mph and then someone just punched it and suddenly I was going at 120 mph. Everything in my life had naturally shifted as I’ve altered my thought patterns (check out cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness for a few different places) my eating habits, caffein consumption, routine, meditation, exercise, and how I see myself connecting to the world and I feel like a completely different person. The biggest thing that has changed is the deep pit of anxiety that has been ever-present in my life is gone. POOF. My energy levels are better.

On the other hand, I”m questioning the world and my place in it in a deeper way than I ever have before. And trust me, my middle name should have been, “but why” ? And I’m still going deeper into understanding myself. It’s like I’ve finally almost peeled off the layers that I internalized from other people and now I’m starting to get to the part of the onion where I can begin to see who I really am and what I’m capable of, which is equal parts exciting, terrifying and exhausting. Oh and I thought I had no life before (aka introverted hermit) but it turns out figuring out who you are is intensely time and energy consuming. It’s not for the faint of heart.

How’s My Path Going? More Bad Metaphors and Cliches!

To summarize: I’m still basically stumbling along in the dark, although I have a vague idea of the broader framework. For fantasy readers here’s a reference, it feels like when the Prince of Hed becomes the land ruler of the realm and he’s fighting a battle to save the realm using the winds which he has no idea how to use but he knows what purpose its for and everything finally clicks for him as he sees how he fits into the greater picture. In fact that trilogy really is an ideal metaphor for a life path journey if I’ve ever heard one.

One thing I have learned is that my journey doesn’t happen in isolation (even if you are spending more time along) helping myself helps others. Helping others helps myself. I find this repeating time after time. Your journey is my journey.

I believe the most impactful way to change the world for the better is to change yourself and be the change you want to see. That’s really what has accelerated my investment of time and energy into discovering myself and how I can best use my unique talents and personality to help others. How can I save the world if I’m crumbling.

The spiral as I think of it, conceptualizes all of this: your self, how you interact with and affect the world. As you progress, it becomes more clear that you’re on a path and maybe now you can see behind you and where you’ve come from. And even if you don’t know where it goes yet, you know there is a path spiraling ahead of you upward and you control where it goes and how far and how fast until you can determine where you fit in with your own unique set of characteristics that makes you you.

This is The Song That Never Ends

Anywho I guess I’ve begun living my secret lifelong fantasy of being a professional philosopher. (Did I mention I’m actually a scientist? I can’t really decide on my grown up job occupation apparently.) My eyes are starting to cross so apologies if there are typos or grammatical errors.

I also wanted to include a list of some of the materials I referenced if you’re curious about any of them (I don’t make any money from the links, they’re just for your own edification.)

Referenced Shiz

The Gifted Adult

Vortex Energy (the meditation/energy work book )

The Wildwood Tarot

Tai Chi ( He’s amazing and also has routines and breaks down movements, all free : )

The Riddle Master

Steps to Take

— -Check out some of the stuff I posted. Maybe something piques your interest or you have a feeling about it. Knowledge is power!

— -Learn more about the Spiral, its symbolism etc: If you google: the spiral, spiral path all types of interesting information will come up about symbolism, its place in various religions. It could probably be almost a book, much less a blog entry.

If you’re curious about more or have questions, I’ll try to answer. I can also suggest lots of books in various subfields if you’re curious about learning more.

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Jen

Scientist philosopher explorer mother free spirit