Does life teach life?

What if life teaches life? So that through one experience it teaches you for another. With all of us suddenly in the deep end, as lockdown poses a huge curveball for many all facing different circumstances; perhaps this is the case? As lockdown allows many the time to adapt to change and a ‘chance to reflect’ as the seemingly never-ending days, weeks, months & the era of lockdown present new challenges and a way of life. But does this time actually allow life to teach life? When life decides to throw everything at the blank canvas all at once, making sense of outcome, narrative or journey can be challenging. 

But even if we lose sight of the plan, and the colours on the canvas blend into one – we can still find uniformity in life: a broken heart will always hurt, irrespective of the circumstances & days & months will always pass. Through each new experience, we learn and figure out more about ourselves. Such as through my recent breakup, I’ve learnt I’m stronger than I often given myself credit for & the power of being a little kinder to your body & mind as you heal. By figuring out how we react in times of trouble, adversity and change – we grow as humans. 

But each new struggle & event is new & we will never encounter each pitfall as we were before. We’re in a constant state of renewal & becoming, which is often a positive shift, even if minute – it helps us to take on new & different challenges. As I read in ‘Breathe’ magazine, “we’re in a constant state of flux both as individuals and as a species”. 

Autumn leaves
Winter leaves
Summer leaves

If we stayed ‘static’, ‘stationary’ and unable to learn from our previous experiences, how would we ever grow? But I’m still working on this… with the past months feeling rather static due to restricted travel, movement & normal social interactions – it’s easy to fall into the feeling of entrapment, loneliness; even when surrounded by people at home all day. For me, there are times when I crave busyness, travel, the feeling of a strong purpose or direction. All of which I felt like I could more easily achieve in my ‘normal’ lifestyle. 

But it’s not lost, far from it – I’m learning more about myself & how to cope with anxiety, sudden change, heartbreak & the unexpected – from the seemingly ‘static’. 

Just as Heraclitus, the ancient philosopher poses: we cannot step into the same river twice, because the flow has changed & so the material has moved on. Heraclitus believed the essence of life is change. But it doesn’t have to come from clear obvious movement, such as a geographical shift in nature; but rather it can stem from something small & subtle.

The Constancy of change: Heraclitus’ river

There have been days where I’ve wanted to shut off my phone, drive to the beach, forget everything & just listen to the sound of the waves crashing. My life lately has seemingly gone from one up to down – & merely trying to keep my feet on the level ground some days has been challenging. Practicing & investing in self-care, chatting to great friends, allowing myself time to simply breathe – has given me the space to react to the change. But fearing the change seems strange when the opposite, void of the opportunity to grow is considerably worse – even when merely looking at it on the surface. So how can growth occur without conflict? 

But perhaps the happy medium is, sure growth often stems from conflict and uncomfortable changes in our lives, but it can be self-imposed – you can realise that growth is needed without the need for conflict to force the shift. But does life teach life? I’m not so sure the picture is that black and white; through experiences we learn, but with each new encounter we adapt and although life itself may be the catalyst, the growth comes from self-awareness and the ability to recognise the need for change, even if so unexpected and uninvited. But it is where many of us find ourselves in this strange period of lockdown and so maybe now is the best time to reflect on the change and wonder: does life teach life?

Butterfly’s: nature’s growth into something beautiful

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