Personal transformation requires that we continuously peel away our layers. Like an onion or the Turkish pastry baklava, with its fragile phyllo dough layers, the subtle layers of our patterns must be peeled away on an ongoing basis. In fact, we generate life experiences that reveal the next layer of a pattern to peel away, a process that occurs throughout our lives and is essential to our physical, emotional, and spiritual growth. Using conscious awareness to recognize the layers of our patterns gives us the power to step outside of any situation, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable, and release our destructive reactions.
This healthy clearing process is like skin sloughing off dead cells that accumulate and block the growth of new cells. Animals, birds, and plants also move through a regenerative clearing process—cycles of shedding, molting, or loss of leaves—as a part of their natural development. Similarly, as we shed our layers, we initiate a cycle of transformation that develops spiritual clarity and leads to spiritual growth. When we recognize and release patterns as they surface, we can direct our creative energies toward shaping a more fulfilling life.
Amidst the distractions and fast pace of our lives, we don’t always notice the layers of patterns we carry since they can be disguised as anger, annoyance, or discomfort. But we can remember that spiritual tools are available to assist us whenever we deviate from the path of our true being. Like the jack we keep in the trunk of the car in case of a flat tire, these tools are within reach whenever we need them. And they operate like a cosmic cow catcher in front of a locomotive, clearing the track of anything that blocks the forward momentum of our lives.
Using our cosmic cow catcher, we can catch and release negative patterns. One such tool, useful in clearing any fear-based thought, mindset, or belief that crops up, is the mantra “Bless and release”—to be followed by a positive affirmation such as “Don’t go there” or “Break the pattern.” Give yourself permission to evaluate situations and support the release of patterns rooted in fear.
Releasing the layers of our patterns is a lifelong process because their residue never completely goes away; instead, the layers become subtler and more difficult to discern. Even when we eliminate a pattern, the brain continues to show us a phantom of it. Like a file that we have deleted from our hard drive, its energy as a virtual hologram can still surface physically, alerting us to the past and reminding us to stay true to ourselves. Fortunately, we can reduce its charge by acknowledging our awareness of it, saying, whenever it surfaces, “Hello, pattern, here you are again” and perceiving it only as a phantom of the past.
As the residue of old patterns reveals itself to us, it can prompt us to free ourselves from the past. For example, my second husband and I shared an account number with a grocery store incentive program to earn points toward free gas. As I stopped for gas one afternoon seven years after our divorce, I tried to use my card as always, only to learn that the points in my account had been recently redeemed. Thinking the card had been stolen, I called the customer service manager, who proceeded to explain that the account had been accessed by my ex-husband. It soon dawned on me that this experience offered me an opportunity to forgive the past and clean up the unfinished business from my second marriage by taking my name off the account.
To move forward in our lives, it is imperative to clear lives of anyone or anything that does not align with our vision of future health and happiness. Because residue of patterns can be lurking anywhere in our physical environment, it is necessary to thoroughly evaluate our surroundings for old items inappropriate to our true being that may be blocking our energy. For example, if you open a desk drawer and see papers, photos, or gifts from a previous relationship, regard it as a cue to keep anything you cherish and discard the rest. As if holding an open house at a residence for sale, it is beneficial to set a date for inspecting your living quarters to evaluate your belongings, deciding which items to keep, move to a different place, or release and eliminate.
Learning how to peel away layers of our patterns assists us in embarking on the life we have always envisioned. Instead of becoming aggravated each time we meet up with a pattern, we can clear the track of this pattern that no longer serves us and see our true self and future potential.