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Why Feelings Matter

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Why Feelings Matter

Past hurts can repeat themselves.
Gregg  Braden
Gregg Braden More by this author
Mar 25, 2011 at 10:00 AM

The cycles of nature apply to our personal lives as well as to global events. While we probably know this relationship intuitively, it often shows up in our lives in ways, and at times, that are the least opportune or that we least expect. For example, we’ve all heard of people who leave their relationships, jobs, and friends and move to a new city for a “fresh start.” You can probably guess what often happens to those who do.

While a change of scenery can sometimes be just what the doctor ordered, it’s not uncommon to find that while the people, weather, and skylines are altered, the circumstances that we thought we were leaving behind us may not. Why would they? The cycles of our world and our lives are made of time and space, the stuff of the universe that cannot be bound by a building or a city. When we think about our lives from this perspective, it should come as no surprise that the cycles that play such a powerful role in the world play an equally powerful role in our personal lives. Once again, the key to uncovering such patterns is to recognize where they begin.

 

The house felt different that morning. Although it was a Saturday, a day that my father normally used to catch up on the sleep he’d lost from working long hours earlier in the week, he and my mom were up early.

Even though I could hear them in the kitchen, it just didn’t feel like a typical weekend. There was no singing from my mom as she went about her endless routines of homemaking. The TV screen that would normally echo the news of the week was black and cold; and there was no radio blaring Peter, Paul and Mary songs from my parents’ bedroom. Even though my mom and dad were up, except for the shuffling of footsteps moving from one room to another across the hardwood floors, the house was absolutely silent.

Cautiously, I tiptoed from my room down the hallway and peeked into Mom and Dad’s bedroom. My father was there with a small suitcase open on the bed, packing his crisp corporate shirts. “Good morning, son,” he said as he caught sight of me from out of the corner of his eye. “Come in here for a minute. I want to talk to you.” Things had been tense in our house for a while. I knew that my parents were having a tough time, and my first thought was that I was going to get an explanation at last. I was right, but it wasn’t the one that I’d expected.

“I’m going away for a while,” my father said, “and I’m not sure when I’m coming back.” That was it. I watched as he closed his suitcase and followed him as he walked down the hallway and passed my mom in the kitchen. Her eyes were still red from crying after the conversation they’d had the night before. Together, she and I watched as my dad left our house that day. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had just witnessed the ending of my parents’ marriage. I was 11 at the time.

It wasn’t until years later that I began to understand how much that moment affected me. As I came to terms with what that day had meant to me, I realized that I had lost not only my father, but also my family—at least the way I had known them for the first 11 years of my life.

At first I believed that, except for not having my dad around, everything in my life would continue as normal—everything, that is, except those things where other boys my age had their fathers present and I didn’t. From parent/teacher nights at school and father/son weekends with the Boy Scouts, to my first public speech to our church congregation and awards presentations at my swim meets, I began to realize that something was missing in my life and that I’d lost something else on that Saturday morning as well.

The reason why I’m sharing this story is because it offers an example of how an experience carrying a strong emotional imprint at one time in life can become the primer for the conditions of that experience to repeat throughout other times.  The meaning that we give to a traumatic experience can set into motion a cyclic pattern that can follow us throughout our lives.

If the experience is a positive one of love and life-affirming emotions, then it’s probably not a problem. There’s certainly no need to recognize it and heal anything. My sense is, however, that we seldom complain of finding ourselves “stuck” in mysterious patterns of joy, healing, and peace in our lives. When we do, it’s probably not something that we want to change.

It’s the negative patterns that will inevitably arise from the situations of everyday life—moments of loss, hurt, and betrayal, for example—that can become the unconscious seeds for a pattern that shows up again and again. Fortunately, just as repeating cycles are also opportunities to change the patterns for war and aggression on a worldwide scale, if we know our individual cycles and how they work, they can become powerful allies in healing some of the greatest hurts of our personal lives.

About Author
Gregg  Braden
New York Times best-selling author Gregg Braden is internationally renowned as a pioneer in bridging science, spirituality and the real world! Following a successful caree Continue reading