I don’t know about you, but I sort of grew up thinking of life in linear stages, having a beginning point, an ending point, and certain destination spots along the way. This view did not allow for any second chances or replays because from my early perspective, decisions were concrete and inflexible allowing only one shot to get it right. If you blew your one chance then all was lost. While it is true that our lives progress through linear stages from birth to death, I have since learned to recognize and appreciate that there is a circular developmental stage occurs as well.
Everyone Gets a Second Chance
Throughout the course of our lives and through different circumstances, the opportunity to make different decisions is a re-occurring factor. By learning from past decisions and recognizing when second chance moments occur an opportunity for personal and spiritual growth is possible.
Example of A Second Chance Moment
On a typical summer day, Dianne was about to cross the street with her two young sons when a car swerved onto the sidewalk killing the oldest child. For years after the accident, Dianne could not speak the name of her dead son and relinquished the primary responsibility of caring for her surviving child- who was just six years old at the time-to her mother. Dianne found her escape through drug use and relied so entirely on her mother to care for her still living son that when she finally awoke from her “grief stricken coma” her son was an adult that she hardly knew. There relationship was complicated. He felt abandoned. She felt guilt. Neither of them felt understood by the other. Neither had worked through the stages of grief and had never discussed the accident together. What happened next shows how the circular developmental stages of life coincide with the linear stages of life. At the age of 35, Dianne’s son was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Eventually he became too sick to care for himself. He could no longer live alone in his own apartment. Dianne’s mother had basically raised him but she had died three years prior to his diagnosis. Dianne recognized what was happening – that she had an opportunity to take care of her son in a way that she could not do when he was a child. She welcomed her son into her home and went with him to doctor visits. She stayed with him on the nights when he was in too much pain to sleep. With each passing day, Dianne could feel the parts of herself that she thought had died with her oldest son come alive again. She was freeing herself from years of guilt and slowly rebuilding her connection to spirit. The healing was not hers alone because her son too was healing. Years of resentment had developed into pronounced abandonment issues. At times it was almost like he was six all over again because he tested his mother in various ways to see if she would continue to be there for him. This experience was trying for both of them but in the end great progress was made and they were finally able to move forward.
Naturally, everyone’s second chance opportunity will be different because the lessons that we are born to learn are different. Here are some hints to get you going.
- Usually when heavy emotions are experienced in connection to pivotal moment in time, like in the example of Dianne and her son, then it is likely that a second chance opportunity is present.
- Sometimes simply recognizing that the decisions you make at any given moment in time is okay can be a breath of fresh air. If you have ever heard the phrase “When you know better, you do better”? Then you would be wise to use it a certain times in your life. Beating yourself up over past actions will only lead to guilt.
- The act of doing something for another person without any expectation of material compensation puts into motion the premise of circular thinking. As such, you draw to yourself positive experiences.
- Where is your anger coming from? I use the word anger loosely because really you can replace it with any super charged emotion. Feelings of jealousy, selfishness, or negative attention seeking behaviors are clues that life is presenting a second chance opportunity for you.
By applying a circular worldview to your life you accept that decisions and circumstances are recycled and reproduced. This creates an opportunity to make different and/or better choices for the purpose of spiritual growth. To err is to be human, and to realize when your second chance opportunities arise is to be consciously human.
About the Author: Martha Dawson is a Holistic Life Coach who works with both men and women on issues of personal growth. Martha also supports families who are managing chronic childhood health issues through family advocacy work. If you would like to learn more about holistic life coaching or family advocacy contact Martha HERE.
Copyright © 2011 Martha Dawson, Holistic Wellness Consultants