In the last several weeks, it's come up more times than I can count. Loops. We live in loops. All of us.
First, it appeared in the show Westworld (which you really should watch if you haven't yet I mean holy cow wow). The idea of artificial intelligence set to live in a loop, every day, and what it would mean to divert from one's assigned loop... I didn't realize while watching the show that this concept applies so strongly to our real human lives. I also didn't realize that it was the first message of many from the universe. I believe very strongly that if the universe has a message or a plan for you, it will begin by sending small little echoes. If you don't hear the echoes quickly and react accordingly, they become shouts, the shouts become screams, and soon the universe will straight up hit you over the head as hard as possible with whatever it is you're supposed to do or learn. I try to be aware enough to never get to the "hit you over the head" part.
So, the universe kept sending little echoes. A week after finishing all of Westworld (please come back soooonnn), I was at the Miss Nashville Vampire Pageant, selling my spooky bone jewelry, enjoying vampire costumes and burlesque nipple tassels in January, when a young dude and his friends came to my table to browse. This guy, who was very obviously in an altered state (whether permanently and spiritually, or just for the evening, I am not certain), he starts telling me about loops. He says that we, as passionate and driven humans, always want to move forward, even when we aren't ready. He says that we are destined to keep returning to the same places, the same patterns in our lives, until we master them. He says that sometimes, people stay in these loops forever, never realizing the patterns, never able to make the changes necessary to move on. It sounds, to me, like a video game, like we have to level up. I ask Altered State Dude where he came from. "WHO SENT YOU!?!" On my drive home, I suddenly feel very awake, very aware.
Hello, Universe. I think I'm receiving a message. Can you shout it a little louder?
The next day, a conversation with my therapist. We were talking about change, about how I want my life to change NOW, and why oh why can it not just happen overnight. She tells me about how people live in---oh my god---loops. But our loops are not alone. My loop is intertwined with thousands of other loops- my family, my boss, my boyfriend, my friends, the people I play music with occasionally, the gas station attendants I see every week on work breaks, the next door neighbors, my mailman... you get the point. All of these people, they are all a part of my loop and I am a part of theirs, and we all work with each other to have consistent, harmonious lives. Everyone around me is expecting something from me. No, I'm not talking about success or responsibility or any of the normal expectations. Everyone around me subconsciously expects me to stay within my loop, to "act normal", or at least normal within the bounds of how I've been acting for the last year and a half. We develop patterns of behavior, communication, timing, eating, social networking, etc., that are based on the expectation that everyone surrounding us will continue to act within their same patterns. So if one person tries to change, if I try to escape my loop...
everyone surrounding me will fight against it
IS THAT NOT TERRIFYING!? We are all subconsciously trying to keep each other stagnant because it is what feels best and right to each individual. "OH My goodness", I told my therapist, "LOOPS! THEY'RE EVERYWHERE!" And god, just writing this is giving me anxiety, but it's exciting anxiety, I swear, because this realization gave me freedom.
Back up. ~rewind~ I have been working at a boutique for the last year and a half. I started out making jewelry, and ended up doing absolutely anything and everything from making flower arrangements and designing shop window displays to hauling carloads of cardboard or damp cherry branches to cleaning up raccoon poop and checking on potentially dead homeless men. This work has been a consistent paycheck, but has not kept me afloat. It was a source of security while I finished my album, but also left me emotionally and creatively exhausted, drained of time and energy. Low-grade depressed. It was a blessing, but a loop I've needed to escape for a long time, and never knew how. I was too scared, too unmotivated, too anxious, too unstable, too whatever. A little over a month ago, I put in my "notice", and started to slowly transition out, but was so unsure of the next steps. All I knew was that I wanted to have music and sewing be my main (only) sources of income, and that I am ready to PLAY, to TOUR.
Cue the universe sending me echoes about loops.
Sitting in this therapy session, with the sudden understanding that true change cannot happen overnight, and that, genuinely, my surrounding life and loved ones will not subconsciously allow it, I was freed of this idea of having to quit everything cold turkey. I did not need to have the perfect right answers, or the magical follow up, right away. I think I mastered my previous loop. I've leveled up.
I was suddenly consciously aware that slow change, single small adjustments to my pattern, would actually help my life move forward more quickly. I remained vigilant, watching for anything that could be good work, I put out feelers, I remained flexible at the boutique, and suddenly, things began to happen. I found an offer to do sewing for a merchandise company, and realized that it was a fantastic idea for a source of freelance income. I made a plan, reached out to other merch companies, and suddenly everything is falling into place, more work is coming in, and fast. Similarly with music, one night, I stepped out of my pattern, and actually went out one night by myself to a show. I talked with people, watched fantastic musicians, set up band auditions, and suddenly had shows booked and people to play with. And things continue to just magically pop up.
The change at the boutique was slow at first, and then a little quicker, and then very rapid. I can still feel the pull to go back, both internal and external. There is still unfinished business. But, the change is happening, my loop has broken, I am set free. The people around me whose loops intertwine with mine- I feel and see them adjusting, trying to understand how to interact, how to move forward. BUT IT'S OKAY. I've realized that my one very large and paralyzing fear- the fear of my actions upsetting or harming people I care about- is partially unnecessary, and that sometimes, people are upset or feel hurt because loops resist change, because they're not sure how to move forward when the patterns are broken.
All of this is to say, if you're stuck in your loop, if you're scared, if you can't quit your patterns, make small, barely noticeable, but consistent, changes. Expect people to recoil, but don't be afraid or hurt. Understand that negative reactions are sometimes just reactions to unexpected change, not to YOU. But be aware enough to understand the difference. Stick to the slight modifications, and your surroundings will adjust, you will adjust, things will fall into place. It is all a matter of INTENTION, of planned change, of realizing you are in a loop, and knowing what parts of the loop need mending or escaping. You must realize your patterns and level up.
The universe is still sending me little echoes. I keep having this idea of loops come up in conversations, in things I'm watching or reading. I'm sure there's so so much more that the universe wants me to understand, but for now, I'm not getting straight up hit over the head.
I'm self-aware, conscious, not a robot in a loop. This life is intentional, and changing.