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Repeating Patterns are Feedback from the Cosmos

Five Stages of Change:

A Poem by Portia Nelson


Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am hopeless. It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in this same place. But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there. I still fall in… it’s a habit… but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.

There is no one alive who cannot relate to being stuck in a painful rut or self-destructive pattern. This poem reminds us of the fact that inner states of consciousness will be reflected back to us through repetitive and circulatory situations that we encounter. Clearly, we cannot save others in circumstances where they are not interested in saving themselves and/or allow emotionally abusive or violent relationships to go on. There can even be more benign relationships that are just as hurtful where we are just plain out of balance in giving and receiving; prone to attracting takers, users or passive-aggressive people who cannot be direct or honest.


Events or relationships with the same people keep occurring so that we can see and potentially remove the blocks to becoming conscious of our own opposites. This is not very easy to do as for the most part, when something happens, it’s much easier to assign blame for what occurs externally instead of reflecting on retrieving our much needed shadow side, i.e., our opposites. These patterns would not be coming to us in an extreme form if we were not somehow, through our own attitude and behavior, drawing them in.

Carl Jung says,

To love someone else is easy, but to love what you are, the thing that is yourself, is just as if you were embracing a glowing red-hot iron: it burns into you and that is very painful. Therefore, to love somebody else in the first place is always an escape which we all hope for, and we all enjoy it when we are capable of it.

But in the long run, it comes back on us. You cannot stay away from yourself forever, you have to return, have to come to that experiment, to know whether you really can love. That is the question— whether you can love yourself, and that will be the test.” 


— Carl G. Jung, Nietzsche’s Zarathustra: Notes of the Seminar, 1934-1939 Vol. 2, pp. 1472-1474

It is challenging to live by our ideals indefinitely. We do really well for a few days, even a few weeks in a row but eventually our worst behavior comes through and we get to be who we are with those we become close to. Loving our flawed and suffering human self, known to the Alchemists as the prima materia (primal substance), is not to be denied or denigrated as it is our primary entrance into our own unconscious. Paying attention to our unconscious is the beginning of creating a relationship with an internal partner who has been there all along the way. It knows everything about us. Jung called it the ‘Self’ — our objective transpersonal center, our totality. Understanding this means we are never alone. Our unconscious generates our life with a gradient towards wholeness — uniting the opposites within us.


Our bête noire (pet peeves) will follow us around like a ball and chain until we do the inner work of self-acceptance in the face of what appears to be distasteful, arrogant, inflated, obnoxious, repulsive, condescending, etc. in the mirrors of others that repeat. When we can love that red hot iron, that part of ourselves, we won’t have to see it outside in our relationships in extreme form. We cannot get rid of ourselves anyway, but we can learn to include more. When you commit yourself to self-knowledge, it will be amazing how much is unconscious. Here is an example from my workbook. (on page 121)


EXAMPLE 5: The “Good” Father


Audience: My girlfriend and I are polarizing. I want her to get a job and contribute. I had to buy her a car, pay for her gas and it’s getting old. What’s my Shadow here? I don’t understand.


Rebeca: You are being the good father in the relationship, and she gets to be the child. If you stop paying for everything, then she’ll have to get a job, won’t she? Sit down with her and tell her that you don’t want to be her father anymore. You want to be her partner. She needs to grow up, and you have to let her. You may want to look at how irresponsible you are being to yourself to let someone live off of you. You’ve attracted her to see something about you and vice versa.


Audience: I guess I’ve always taken care of everyone, even my parents, but probably especially my mother.


Rebeca: So, could you still be trying to get your mother to grow up and take care of you?


Audience: Wow! That sounds like it could be true about me.


Rebeca: This sounds simplistic, but it is deep. Some things are so buried in us that we have to attract these mirrors to see what it is we need to see about ourselves. It’s too easy to point the finger and say something is wrong with you! It’s usually both people who need to change, but it takes two to tango, so to speak. Talk to her.


Rebeca Eigen, Astrologer & Relationship FIXER is available for consultations for any relationship you find yourself puzzled about — not just romantic ones. Your Astrological birth chart is an invaluable resource to understand repeating patterns. It is our unique celestial instruction that shows us who we came here to be. 281.799.2900


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