It reads, “Stir into flame the gift which is you.”
Ask anyone who’s circling the formation spiral for another go-round, and they’ll tell you the worst part about this whole thing is that feeling of, “But I already learned this!”
It’s the worst.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said this myself and heard other people say it. It’s the most flabbergasting thing. You know that you sincerely learned things in previous seasons of growth — really learned them, really set your heart toward them and incorporated them into your lived reality — and yet here you find yourself, re-learning them again as though from the beginning.
It can really throw you for a loop.
One of the things that’s even worse in this place — like rubbing salt in the wound — is not being taken seriously when you express that you’ve already learned the thing you’re re-learning now. I’ve found it’s really important to me that the truth of the jouney I’ve already walked be validated as real.
And so let me do that for you.
If you are walking a path that feels like déjà vu, learning things you’ve invested real heart and time and energy learning at previous points in your journey, know that it really happened. You did learn those things. You know this thing you’re re-learning right now, at least in certain places inside your soul. What you’ve learned before is real.
I was talking with a friend on Friday night about this re-learning thing. We were talking about the oft-related image of formation as a spiral — something that circles around and around, hitting up against well-known refrains as it comes back around again. She was saying, “It makes sense that when you hit a new pocket of growth, you revert back to old ways of being. It feels like starting over.”
My question to her was, “When does the thing you’ve previously spent time learning become so ingrained that it’s the new default position, even when you hit new pockets of growth?”
I don’t know the answer to this yet. Maybe that happens once it’s been learned and re-learned a number of times and builds up enough power to overtake the instinctive response we learned early on in our lives.
So here I sit, relearning some things right now. This week, I’ll share some of those growing edges I’m re-learning with you.
Have you ever had to re-learn something you already spent time and care learning before?