Have you ever heard of the four stages of learning?

It’s a way of articulating what happens when we learn a new skill.

The four stages are:

  • Unconscious Incompetence: For example, getting out onto the dance floor at a waltz and having no idea what you’re doing.

  • Conscious Incompetence: Realizing that while you lack the skill of waltzing, there are ways you can improve.

  • Conscious Competence: Booking yourself into a waltz class and giving it hell, noticing your improvements week by week.

  • Unconscious Competence: Waltzing with ease, so much so you can even show others a thing or two.

Today my yoga teacher was talking about these four phases.

“Guess what happens when you get to stage four?” he asked.

“You go back to stage one and start all over again.”

Oh. Right.

There’s this assumption that once we get to stage four of anything, it’s all piña coladas and vacation time.

But after you learn how to tie your shoes, you’ve got to learn how to button your shirt.

After you learn how to ride a bike, you’ve got to learn how to drive a car.

After you learn how to stand up for yourself, you’ve got to learn how to compromise.

After you learn how to have your heart broken, you’ve got to learn how to love all over again.

This model, rather than a straight line of ascent, is more of a spiral.

Spirals are EVERYWHERE in nature.

Snail shells, weather patterns, whirlpools.

Animal horns, ocean waves, solar systems.

Even our DNA is a spiral shape.

Knowing this helps me relax into the beauty of the spiral, rather than feeling like I’m drowning in its merciless twists and turns.

Like our planet, there will be times where we’re so close to the sun we feel like our skin might burn off, and times we’re so far away we’re afraid we’ll freeze to death.

Both are deadly in excess.

Sometimes gracefully, sometimes recklessly, we move through what’s in-between.

A prayer that wherever you are spiraling today, you may locate yourself in the beauty of its shape, knowing the only constant, is that it will change.



P.S. - When you’re spiraling, one of the best ways to come back to center is to be in your body. Join us for the Sensual Living Retreat, November 6-10th 2019 in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Click here to learn more.