Thursday, September 20, 2012

It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

Lately several friends have commented (complained, really) to me about situations that keep cropping up in their lives – relationship snafus, issues with co-workers, unpleasantness with relatives. We all experience these sorts of problems from time to time, bits of tangled mess that turn up over and over in similar form.

I call these situations Repeaters.

Teachers create Repeaters on purpose. If you’re trying to teach something to your students, you present it in the way that you expect will reach most of them. But there will be a few who don’t get it the first time, so you present it again, just a little differently. And if there are still one or two who haven’t caught on, you offer it a third time in slightly changed form. That’s good teaching: you keep on offering similar-but-not-exactly-same examples until they all understand.

The universe is a very effective teacher. Call it deity, higher self, cosmos, ultimate consciousness, true nature, whatever…if we don’t get something the first time, that cosmic teacher will present it again. And again. As many times as necessary.

For me, the hard part is recognizing the pattern. I don’t like to think that I’m slower at catching on than anyone else, so I don’t want to see that a tricky or uncomfortable situation is a repeat of one that happened before, maybe several times. I suspect I’m not the only one who feels this way.

The second-hardest part for me is admitting that there’s something I don’t ‘get’ yet. I do my best to live mindfully, to think deeply about life, to understand. But then a Repeater rears its ugly head to remind me that I’m not perfect and still have something to learn. Quite a blow to the ego, that is.

Of course, none of us is perfect. We all have things to learn. I know that. You know that. But knowing it doesn’t make it any easier to admit.

After talking with the friends who are facing Repeaters in their lives, I’ve decided to take a little time to examine my own life. The autumn is a contemplative time for me anyway, with the pace of the season slowing down a little and beginning to turn inward. So I’m going to go Repeater-hunting.

I’m going to look closely at uncomfortable or unpleasant situations as they crop up (thankfully, not too often) and determine whether I’ve faced something similar before. If I have, I’ll work to find the lesson, the value, the growth experience at the core of the issue.

I figure, if I’m proactive like this, the really big Repeaters will become less frequent. I find that the ‘examples’ the universe provides me become less subtle and more akin to a two-by-four upside the head, the longer it takes me to get it.

A number of years ago, a friend developed a trinity of deities related to the idea of Repeaters. He called the three Clue, Smack and Swat. If the universe presents you with a Clue and you don’t take heed, you’ll get a Smack, followed by a Swat if you are still unable to absorb the lesson. In fact, he suggested that the various levels of ‘Pay Attention to This’ are applied with a Clue-by-Four.

I plan to work hard at identifying the Clues so I don’t have to deal with the dreaded Smacks and Swats. I want to ‘get it’ as soon as possible to the cosmic teacher doesn’t load me up with too much homework. Not to mention the headaches, both literal and figurative, caused by the Clue-by-Four.

Have you experienced Repeaters in your life? Did it take you a while to recognize them? Will you come Repeater-hunting with me this year? I now declare the season officially open.