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Onions Matter

Healing is an onion.

Have you ever heard that phrase before? Why do we use it in spiritual circles?

It’s a somewhat known phenomenon when you heal yourself, that things keep coming back around until you fully heal them. I’ve certainly experienced this in my own life and I’m sure you’ve probably found the same is true for you.

Much like an onion has layers, so does your pain. Over the course of your life you’ve had different challenges and collected different bits of pain from those experiences. Each time you experienced something that caused pain it added a new layer to your own proverbial onion. That means when you’re healing, you go back through each of those layers of pain that you created.

Sometimes it feels like you just keep re-living the same experience and in some cases that’s true, particularly if it was a repeating cycle in your life. You will keep re-experiencing that pain because the onion you created has many identical or very similar layers.

I think we can all agree that this phenomenon can be a little annoying, especially when the same thing keeps coming up over and over and over again. But why does that happen? What can we do about it?

Things keep coming back up for a variety of reasons. The first is that you need to see it a different way. You’re being shown a different aspect of that same layer. Sometimes you get the same layer from a new angle. It’s important that you pick up what it is they are showing you. What’s the new perspective you need to take on?

Sometimes it’s just simply that you didn’t pick up what the Universe was putting down. Don’t beat yourself up because this happens to all of us. Maybe you got distracted by the pain. Maybe you mistook what was happening. Maybe you just didn’t have the bandwidth to deal with it right then. Maybe you’re in avoidance or denial. There are a thousand reasons why we can miss the cues from the Universe. The important thing though is that you’re willing to do the work when it shows up again the next time, which it will because that’s how the Universe works.

And then there is the place in the journey where you’ve figured it out, you’ve done the work, and back up comes that cycle. Why is it here now? What I’ve found for myself a lot of the time is that this was the Universe’s way of making sure I was done with the old cycle. Are you sure you’re done with this? Are you sure you want to create the new cycle? Are you sure? Are you really, really sure?

The trick at this stage is that you need to be able to respond differently to the cycle. This is why I talk so much about changing your behavior. It’s because if you just do the inner work and you don’t change your response to the external stimuli, the cycle will keep happening. You haven’t changed your response yet. You’re still behaving the same way. For a lot of the people I see around me right now, this is the main reason why the cycle keeps happening.

There is a possibility of fear showing up at this stage. Sometimes we’re afraid to change our response to what’s happening because we’re not sure what the outcome will be. If we respond the same way we always have, we know the outcome already. There’s a little bit of an unknown in changing your behavior. What’s the new outcome going to be? This is one of those places where you just have to try it and see what happens.

Even once we change our behavior, sometimes that cycle will sneak in there again anyway to see what you do. You’ve done the internal work. You’ve shifted the behavior. The cycle had more or less stopped and then bam! There it is in your face for you to manage one more time. Why?

The Universe is checking on you again. Are you sure? Do you know what to do? Have you really shifted it? The Universe is checking to see if you’re stable in the new energy you took on. Your job is to show the Universe that you are. When you do that, the cycle fades out completely.

You see, you can heal the entire onion. It’s not never-ending like some people feel it is. Generally, when people feel like it’s never-ending it’s usually because they’ve only done the internal work. They are still behaving as if they are in pain. They get stuck because they don’t yet recognize that their behavior is a reflection of the old energy. It’s a reflection of who they were before they did the work.

Behavior is one of the harder things to change. It’s the most obvious and also the most hidden at the same time. We don’t get taught to think about how we act. We get told how to act all the time from parents and caregivers and sometimes even from random strangers on the Internet. But we very rarely think about what our behavior is reflecting within us.

Behavior is also a very external thing. People are going to see the change within you if you change your behavior. If you allow your behavior to be a reflection of the internal work that you’ve done, everybody is going to know that you’ve changed. That can be a scary prospect for many people.

Fear is one thing, the harder part is actually recognizing the behavior in the first place. How do you know which behaviors are wonky? How do you know what to shift? How do you actually change your behavior? Where do you start?

It starts with your reaction to the onion that re-appeared. What is the Universe asking you to do with it? Are you supposed to not react? Are you supposed to walk away from it? Are you supposed to try a new idea or solution?

The way to figure that out is by listening to yourself. Question the work that you did to heal. When you healed, what were you healing? Were you healing anger? Were you healing fear? If you were constantly reacting to your life in anger, then chances are good the change in your behavior will be to stop reacting in anger. If you were in fear, then the job will be to stop being afraid and change your response to something that isn’t coming from fear.

The trick is you can’t feel the fear and then just change your external behavior. You have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. The fear has to be gone from your energy and no longer reflected in your behavior. The fear can’t be there at all. You have to have a level of mastery in place if you want the onion to go away.

You can’t squish this stuff either. The Universe can feel that too. So the pain has to be genuinely healed and gone to stop the cycle from happening. This isn’t easy. I’ve had cycles that I was legitimately working on ending, that keep happening for years until I finally mastered not being afraid. Not only did I have to master the fear, I also had to shift the behavior and master that as well. The bar, at least for me, was pretty high because the cycle was so deeply ingrained within me. Do you think it has something to do with the fact that I teach self-mastery? haha

My job was to get out of it completely and not have any trace of it left within me at all. I needed to see that my life had changed, that cycles even if they did show up, were not going to play out the same way, and that I could handle my reality differently. I was a different person and some of my work was to demonstrate that to myself.

Cycle repetition is a useful tool, even if it is a little annoying sometimes. The idea is to figure out what the purpose of the cycle is this time. Why is it here?

If you try to dig through multiple layers of the onion you’re going to get stuck and the cycle is going to come around again anyway. The reason you’ll get stuck is because you’re essentially not following instructions. The Universe has a specific goal for you to work on in that particular instance and if you don’t do that, the Universe will keep offering it to you until you do it. Trust me, the Universe is more stubborn than you are!

We have this temptation to want to dig down to the core of the onion to do that work so that we can get rid of it. I get it! I totally get it! The problem is that each layer of that onion has something different for you to learn. There’s a new tool, a new skill, a new idea, or a new way of looking at it, that you need to get before you can move to the next thing. Trying to cheat the system by digging in a little deeper probably isn’t going to get you to where you want to go because you still all the things from all the other layers.

I suppose the big message in all this is to trust your experience to show you what you need to do. It’s one of the myriad of ways that the Universe talks to you. For many of us, we just don’t pay any attention. We ignore the cues that our reality is offering us. Why? Because it’s the same old thing and we’re all but oblivious to it because we’re bored with it. But if you want it to change, then you can’t just tune it out. You have to pay attention to it to figure out what it’s showing you so you can do that work.

Sometimes the cycle just comes back to show you that it’s done. It’s a farewell tour. That’s okay too. I spend a lot of time just watching my reality and not doing anything about it because I get more from paying attention to what happens than I do from intervening in what happens. It’s not about me putting my energy into it. It’s about me acknowledging that things aren’t the same as they were.

When I understood after years of doing this work, that the Universe literally wanted me to sit back and watch sometimes, it changed how I showed up. It offered me a new question. Do I need to do anything with this? When the answer is no, my job is not to just tune it out, my job is to actually watch what happens. Notice the shift. What’s different this time?

Those little things matter. I’m all about mental clarity and so sometimes for me cycles come back not so that I can fix them or do anything about them, but just so that I can gain clarity from them. That means I sit back and watch.

It’s actually really cool to watch cycles play out without doing anything about them, when those cycles were the thing that used to scare you to death and upend your whole life for a while. The fact that I can now watch them play out, not do anything about them, not be distracted by them, and just continue on with my life, is a pretty amazing achievement. The fear used to be overwhelming. It’s not even present anymore. That’s a shift all by itself.

It will change. The onion can heal. It doesn’t have to go on forever. Your job is to just figure out what that layer is about so you can do what you need to do to move onto the next layer. Yeah, sometimes it’s a little bit of a guessing game. It can be confusing. But if you’re willing to watch your reality and take your cues from that and also listen to yourself, you’ll find the answers aren’t that hard to come by.

Love to all.



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