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Living in Circles or Living Progressively


Wellness insights from Acupuncture Center of NJ, providing holistic complementary mind-body-heart-healing since 1986, in Morristown, NJ!

Living in Circles or Living Progressively

Peter Kadar


While it’s been generally believed that people in unfamiliar terrain often end up walking in circles, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen,  Germany proved this to be accurate, yet only under a specific circumstance.  Findings presented in a study published in 2009 showed that when the study’s participants were tracked by GPS in two very different yet equally unfamiliar environments, they repeatedly walked in circles when they could not see a reference point.  In this study, the reference point was the sun.  Conversely, when there was a reference point, “when the sun was visible, participants sometimes veered from a straight course but did not walk in circles. They made progress in a specific direction.”[1]


What if this is true regarding how we live as well as how we navigate physically?

I love the concept of consciously “designing a future to live into”.  This future of our design becomes the sun by which we navigate.  It is out there, shining brightly, drawing us towards it.  It is through this envisioned future that we can tell if we are happening off course.  With our reference point we have the capacity to reorient ourselves and keep moving in the direction of our desire.

Without this future, what are we navigating by? If we have no reference point out there, are we expending great effort yet living in circles? Could this be why, at times, we feel we aren’t getting anywhere?  Perhaps living without a designed future becomes living in circles or worse, living towards what was least enjoyable about our past?

When our reference point is how we don’t want to feel, what we don’t want to experience, we are navigating by our past, our pain, and our fears. And if we are navigating by what it is we desire to get away from, won’t that result in circles as well?  We’ll be navigating by where we already are.


I’ve done that mistakenly with my automobile’s GPS, setting my destination to where I am rather than where I wanted to go.  It kept directing me back to where I had been.  Circles are exactly what happened until I realized the glitch!

In November, I coached a young woman who was sure what she didn’t want in a partner.  She’d go out in the world and see all these living examples of what she didn’t want, in droves!  She found this over and over, reinforcing more of what she didn’t want.  She was living in a circle. Her reference point? Her past experiences.

I asked her what qualities she did want in a partner.  It was a new inquiry for her.  We engaged in an exercise of identifying the qualities that she desired.  Within a few months she was involved with a partner with the qualities she desired.  She had set her sun in her sky, and she began to move towards it.

We can too, about anything in our lives.  When we put that reference point up there and head out, we are heading in a progressive direction of both our design and our choice.  Happy navigating.


Post by Lisa Brick, CPC, ELI-MP, L.Ac.

Co-Founding Acupuncturist, Professional Life + Divorce Coach

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Source: [1], Current Biology, Volume 19, Issue 18, 1538-1542, 20 August 2009

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