The Cycles in Life: How To Re-emerge From 'Down' Times!

railroad-sun.jpgAfter seven months of posting an average of 3 We The Change articles per

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week, many of you have noticed that I have not published new content since the beginning of April.

I have gotten several emails from blogger friends and concerned readers asking “is everything OK with you”? The sentiments have been heart-warming, and I appreciate your interest in my well being.

First off, the answer is ‘yes’, everything is OK with me. The reasons for my taking a break are very personal, but in honoring my mission for complete transparency concerning my journey in life I would like to share with you the experiences I have had over the last 6 weeks.

The goal: to help you garner a few nuggets of wisdom and start seeing that it is OK to have down cycles in your life. To help you see these times are very necessary and often set the stage for a greater ‘you’ to emerge. Let me explain:

Start of My Downward Cycle

Towards the end of March, my long-term girlfriend Irina and I decided to split up. After 3+ years of beautiful time together (and 2 years of living under the same roof) we mutually agreed that the best thing for us to do was go our separate ways.

I am not ready to get into the details of why we broke up, or my philosophy concerning relationships and ‘life partners’. I am sure I will have more to say on this in the future, but now is not the right time.

I will say that the split is very tough for me (and I imagine for her too) because we never fought and had no animosity between us. In a nutshell, we wanted different things and simply began to ‘grow apart’.

The morning after we made the official decision, my front tooth (which is a crown) cracked and broke off. This particular tooth has been my nemesis since I was 9 years old when my best friend (still to this day) inadvertently hit me in the face with a bag filled with silverware and broke my natural tooth to the base.

I haven’t had a problem with that tooth in 8 years, but the day after a traumatic and emotional decision was reached the thing decides to crack off. Funny the way life works. I believe that coincidences like this hold great meaning (as opposed to random, dis-connected occurrences) and I sought to understand what was going on.

In this case I believe my tooth breaking was a physical manifestation of the breakdown in my life that was underway. The universe was telling me ‘things are becoming undone’. I just didn’t know how far it was going to go…

The Downward Cycle Continues…

After going through the very uncomfortable process of getting a new front crown, I was traveling back from Los Angeles on a red eye after extensive and exhaustive business meetings regarding The SHIFT project I am working on.

I was excited to get home and just chill. Upon entering my apartment Sunday morning I immediately switched on The Masters golf tournament (one of my favorite sporting events of the year). As I began to unwind I felt a little twinge in my throat. I got up to make some tea, and it hit me all at once: I was sick. My body felt completely broke down.

The next several days, I chose to honor the intelligence of my body and slept late, drank plenty of fluids and relaxed as much as possible. This was tough, believe me. I had a lot of important things going on in my life, and I felt that it was the worst possible time for my body to break down.

For one, I was turning 35 that week. A BIG birthday mentally and I really had intentions of spending it with some good friends in light of my recent break up with Irina. Second, there was a ton of work that needed to be done for The SHIFT and some other projects I am working on.

But none of it happened—my body was speaking loud and clear. Although I was trying to listen, and was giving myself requisite time to heal, I did not fully realize the greater context of these congruent events. In fact, I think I am just starting to realize the life lessons inherent in the ebb and flow of the last 6 weeks.

Bottoming Out: Downward Cycle in Full Effect

About 6 days later, a newly single, very ill, new tooth wearing, and exhausted Todd went to his parent’s house for a family dinner and gathering. I walked into the house, my mother took one look at me and said “what in the hell is wrong with you…” and “do you have any idea to take care of yourself”! I guess I looked pretty terrible.

My sickness had progressed and I could barely hear out of my right ear. I definitely had a pretty strong sinus and ear infection…potentially worse! But I somehow made it through the dinner, and promised my mom I would go to a doctor immediately the next day.

As I went upstairs to my parent’s guest bedroom and prepared for a lengthy slumber, my newly crowned tooth (which cost me $1,800 by the way…I do not have dental insurance) cracked again. I sat there looking in the mirror at myself, and what I saw was this: a tired, sick, cheap auto repair one toothed, un-motivated, confused, scared, lonely, and sad little boy sitting at the edge of his parent’s guest bedroom bed in pajamas.

What in the hell was going on with me? How could all of these things be happening at once? I allowed myself to soak in the feelings of self-pity for a few moments, and I wallowed in the unfairness and pain of my present circumstances.

But a funny thing happened: right in the middle of my deepest despair I began laughing at myself.

I had a sudden realization that my mind had totally taken control of me, and was perpetuating a story of being a victim of all these occurrences. Although I was still ill, single, and with one tooth, this very awareness snapped me out of it. In a sense, I awakened for a moment. This was the start of the upward cycle…

Putting It In Perspective, And What It All Means!

230766536_3adce9b68b_m.jpgA few weeks ago, I wrote an article concerning what happens when a Caterpillar turns into a Butterfly. If you have not read this one, please take a moment to read it because I think it applies very mightily to the downward cycles I recently experienced.

I feel as if the last 6 weeks served as a very necessary and important stage of what needed to happen in my life at this time. In retrospect I experienced

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a great clearing in a myriad of areas including intimate relationships (Irina) and physical health (infection), and was forced to deal with a variety of emotional, physical, and spiritual realities.

A big nemesis showed up again (tooth) and passed through the physical milestone of a ‘new age’ (35). I was forced to slow down and rest even though my mind wanted me to move, move, move and act, act, act!

Everything in the last few months has pointed to a clearing of the past and setting the stage for a greater future to emerge. I feel like the last 6 weeks of my life were similar to the Caterpillar’s time as a big blob of goo right before it takes form as a new realm of being: a Butterfly.

So where am I right now? In one word: re-emerged. I feel very clear headed and empowered. I am traveling out to Los Angeles next week for work and am crystal clear about what needs to get accomplished. It was also very apparent to me that now was the right time to publish a We The Change article again, and that I needed to share this specific story with you.

(In fact, I started writing this piece last week, but it just felt ‘off’. I wasn’t quite sure what I was trying to accomplish. The big blob of goo that was Todd was not ready yet).

I also know what I need to do to honor my wonderful relationship with Irina, and insure that we both are able to create the greatest future that wants to emerge for both of us.

TIPS For You

In all, my downward cycle was a necessary stage for the beautiful upward mojo that I now have. Here are some things that I hope you can take away from my story:

Shed the light of awareness when you are in a down cycle. Don’t force yourself out of it, just be aware that these times exist for a reason and accept them. Have ultimate faith that you will inherently know when the time is right to re-emerge.

Appreciate the uptime, but understand that it is also fleeing. No human being can sustain feelings of true contentment forever. Again, awareness of the cycles is the key.

Notice coincidences and synchronicity: they are telling signs that clue you in to inner intelligence. Put value on them!

Honor the intelligence of your body

Never have your nest friend knock out your front tooth

– Realize that the sentiment ‘I have not been myself lately’ is foolish. You are always yourself, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, etc…

So I am BACK. Tune in for continuing We The Change pieces!

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32 Responses to “The Cycles in Life: How To Re-emerge From 'Down' Times!”

  1. Hi Todd, good to hear from you again! Interesting experience on some of the difficulties life can throw at us

  2. shann says:

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    Painful life cycles teach us so much. I’m glad you found the path from pain to humor. Like a magical elixir, laughing at ourselves allows space for healing and personal growth.

    Welcome back. :)

    Shann

  3. ZHereford says:

    Todd, your story is poignant, funny, heart-warming, honest and full of rich lessons!

    Thank you so much for sharing these difficult and intimate moments with us. It both generous and courageous of you.

    When you describe sitting on the bed and looking in the mirror I started to laugh too and then you write how you did.

    Wonderful post!

  4. Awesome post Todd, and glad to have you back! I can relate in so many ways. What often seems like a setback is merely part of a greater cycle, no matter how hard it is to perceive at the time. The best part of the story for me is when you began laughing at yourself while at your parent’s house. Thats when things seem to have fallen back into perspective. Every piece of advice you wrote under “Tips for you” is both valuable and relevant. I imagine we’ll be seeing lots of good info from this site in the coming weeks and months. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Todd, thanks for sharing your story. I admire your courage to work through all of your setbacks only to emerge stonger. I’m glad you are back – you were missed.

  6. Fantastic post, Todd – thank you for sharing. I agree that those downward cycles are a necessary part of our personal evolution. We have to “clear” everything that is out of resonance with who we are about to become. That includes letting go of significant others, having the body cleanse itself through illness … it’s all making room for what’s about to come!

    I love your advice about not trying to force ourselves out of this “down” time. Maintaining awareness but honoring the cycle is great insight!

    Blessings,
    Andrea

  7. Todd says:

    wow, see now this is what I missed most about blogging…you post an article, take a shower, and come back and have several inspiring and supportive comments in the inbox…hehe, but seriously, thanks so much for the words of encouragement everyone…hope you got something out of it!!
    Todd

  8. Todd,
    It’s good to hear from you again, and I honor the courage it took to share this post with the world. There is a season…

    I agree with Andrea – sometimes you just need to recognize the downtime, embrace it for a bit, and come back refreshed.

    Great post!

  9. Matt Garrett says:

    Excellent post Todd!

    It can be especially difficult to recgnise the need for “downtime” when you are “self employed” or have your own business, as there’s always something that “needs” our attention, but looking after ourselved should always be a primary concern, after all, how can we look after our loved ones if we haven’t managedto look after ourselves..

    I’ve just moved house and come out of a 4+ year marriage (also to a lady called Irina) and needed my own “downtime” without realising it, although under somewhat different conditions to you, as I had no illness or “nemesis” to prompt me, just unusally good weather and an undeniable urge to “not work”.

    today the weather is back to good old UK “gray” and I’m back in the saddle, having re-discovered why I like to work -> so I can enjoy life!
    :)

    @MattGarrett

  10. Thank you for sharing the richness of your journey. Our lives have seasons just like our gardens do, and I hope you find deep joy in the new season you have entered.

    Lexi

  11. farouk says:

    i always believed that you are a talented writer, now i guess every one agrees with me:)

  12. Although not as extreme as your story, I am reminded of something that happened this last weekend.

    I traveled back to my hometown for a wedding, and a friend (Bret) needed a ride. He was tasked with bringing the shoes for our other friend, Alex, who was a groomsman.

    Now you need to understand something about Alex. He’s not, generally speaking, known for having an in-depth understanding of formal situations. Polite, yes, but he’s the kind of guy who would wear short white sports socks with a tuxedo.

    So anyway, Bret and I are driving and GPS is taking us a roundabout way, and we’re starting to wonder if we’ll be late. I was borrowing my Dad’s car, using his GPS, and so I finally decided that we needed to pull over and get a second opinion.

    I pulled out the portable GPS I had brought with me, waited a few minutes until it booted up, and then confirmed that both GPS systems now reported the exact same present location and time to destination.

    At that moment, I turned to Bret and said: “We are definitely going to be late.”

    Bret looks down for a moment, and says, “I still have Alex’s shoes.”

    Needless to say, Bret and I completely lost it. We just laughed for about 5 minutes straight (which of course made us even later to the wedding!) about the complete and utter hopelessness, irony, and ridiculousness of the situation.

    That is one day I’ll never forget… and even though the wedding was held up for us, the bride and groom welcomed us with nothing less than open arms and smiles.

  13. Good to see you again, Todd!

    From the beginning of this post, I was thinking “Oh, you are going through the cocoon period.” and then reminded you too are a big believer of the cocoon theory. In my safe little home office, I just couldn’t help smiling and even chuckling as you told us your horror stories — I have faith in you and the Universe that I knew these were just processes of rebirth.

    I feel for you about the dental bill though. . . and you have a great mother.

  14. Welcome back!

    It’s not the falling down that defines us, but the rising up…and maybe a really good sense of humor!

  15. Tim Brownson says:

    Great to have you back Todd. Missed your posts a lot!

    I’m with you too bro’ I’ve had a tooth root removal where they remove one root of a tooth out through the gum, a colonoscopy and an endoscopy all in the space of 3 days. There have been times when I thought I was falling apart!

    Such is life, nobody promised it would be easy ;-)

  16. Alan says:

    Thanks for sharing, Todd. I also had my own split at the beginning of March with my partner, who I’d been with for 3 years, and engaged with her for 2 of them. I went through some serious changes as well. I couldn’t find any work since December, my father died in February, and my relationship ended a month later. It was a very depressing time for me, and yet it was me who ended the relationship. I just couldn’t continue it, as the other stresses in my life brought out stress in our relationship, which was more than I could handle, and which really brought home to me that it wasn’t the relationship I was wanting in my life.

    A lot changed for me in March, and in April I got myself a new job, and am moving on quite nicely from the relationship that I’d ended. There’s still a lot to sort out within myself, but I know exactly what you mean about the period you go through which is the beginning of new changes. Moving on from the past, and into the new.

    I had to write about it and share it with you, because of the odd similarities in our experiences and timing. Keep up the writing, I look forward to your insights.

  17. I’m glad you’re back. Not only have you gone through some pretty trying times, but you’ve emerged with increased intensity. Your writing is so real that I can feel it. I wish you all the best on what looks to be a great project.

    Oh, I almost forgot – I’m sorry about your tooth.

  18. Sunili says:

    Was lead to this article via a Twitter link from Naomi @ http://www.ittybiz.com and I’m glad I clicked. That idea of ‘re-emergence’ is a very powerful one to keep in mind through tough times. Another concept that I will always keep with me is sage advice from my Buddhist upbringing, even though I can’t be called a ‘practicing’ Buddhist any more: “This too will pass”.

    Thank you for your post and sharing your experiences.

  19. Todd I enjoyed reading this story because I knew there was going to be a happy ending. Thank you for helping us to see how life is what it is. Accept it and when ready we get back up and express again.

  20. Todd says:

    ALAN– WOW, thank you so much for sharing your very personal story here. Being vulnerable and outwardly aware of how the circumstances in your life affect you is a very difficult, but often transforming process. You will certainly be in my thoughts…and it sounds like you have beautiful perspective.

    To everyone else, wow, thank you for the comments on here and all the wonderful emails. This has been an amazing exercise and I will try my best to keep my journey as transparent as possible!!

    Much love,
    Todd

  21. It’s great to see you back Todd!

    Transformation seems to be the word for me this year as well. I wonder what’s next. =)

    Jonathan

  22. Angel says:

    Todd,

    I’m so glad you’re back. I adore your website, you are obviously so talented.

    I too, am trying to figure out what all the seemingly negative things happening in my life are here to teach me. And I enjoyed your butterfly concept.

    I am self employed as well, going thru tough financial times. And in the span of 5 days, my electricity was shut off (apparently the electric company gets quite testy when you can’t pay a bill), then 2 days later my favorite aunt died. I was planning to drive out of state to attend her funeral but my car broke down the day before I was supposed to leave, and the repairs were too costly for me to afford. Needless to say I missed her funeral and am now dealing with the guilt of that. But as all of this was occurring I read your latest post and it really helped to bring me out of the pity party I was throwing for myself.

    I’m still not sure what I’m supposed to learn from why all these things are happening all at one time but I’m hoping I will soon find out and emerge a butterfly.

  23. Robin says:

    Hi Todd – I LOVE it when people tell the truth about what is going on with them.

    I’ve only just started reading your blog, so I can’t say “welcome back”, but I did visit here a while ago and picked up your code for the tipping point thingy and put it on my blog. I have been nervously waiting for the words of wisdom email – hoping it would be OK because I was promoting it to my visitors (by it being there). When it didn’t come on the 7th I was starting to wonder… now I see why – I didn’t realize it was actually your project! (sigh of relief).

    Cheers – Robin

  24. [...] Nothing And Success Can Steal Everything Now get a perspective on what “failure” really is. The Cycles In Life: How To Re-Emerge From “Down” Times Great real life story of life changes and keeping the faith in [...]

  25. Glen Allsopp says:

    It’s nice to see a personal side of things, although I’m sorry about what happened between you and your girlfriend, I’m sure things will be better in the long run.

    Heres to continuing ‘Up’ times ;)

  26. [...] The Cycles in Life: How To Re-emerge From ‘Down’ Times! [...]

  27. Clara says:

    Thanks so much for this. Lots of people talk about the good times and edit themselves when something goes bad, but those are the times we learn from.

  28. Hearing Aids says:

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful and beneficial to your readers :)

  29. Down time can be a time for you to learn, really u learn from a down time than an up time , just remember that down times are temporary, deal with it 1 step at a time

  30. Tammy says:

    Wow.

    I know this article is almost 2 years old, but I’ve just read it, and it truly speaks something to me.

    I too have just gone through a mutual break-up, have moved to a different town, am trying to get my life re-started actually. It’s been extremely difficult, but I’ve been coming to realize that I’ll get through this, I just have to stop dwelling on all the bullshit.

    You’ve shown me that I’m not alone, and in fact, life does go on!

    Thank you for this.

    -Tammy P.

  31. [...] Nothing And Success Can Steal Everything Now get a perspective on what “failure” really is. The Cycles In Life: How To Re-Emerge From “Down” Times Great real life story of life changes and keeping the faith in [...]

  32. Fiona says:

    Thank you for sharing this story. It is a wonderful reminder that the past will come up again and the down cycle “too shall pass” so long as we embrace it and listen to our bodies.

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