The Universal Cycles of Change—
Patterns in Nature Translated to Human Behavior
by Kris Hallbom, WealthyMind™ Developer
We can learn so much about ourselves from observing the lives of cells, the growth of trees, the waves in the ocean, along with other universal and biological patterns of growth and self-creation. Nature is our greatest teacher. Since human beings are a part of nature, and our universe is about 13.7 billion years old, it seems obvious that there must be some kind of connection between the patterns that exits outside of ourselves–and the unconscious patterns that reside within us.
For the last 25 years I have been observing nature and studying the laws of our universe with the same question in mind. “How is our inner reality directly related to our outer reality, and how do the two effect one another?”
This has led me on a long journey that has included studying the sciences of complexity, chaos theory, systems thinking, and quantum mechanics; coupled with NLP and many other psychological and spiritual models. Through this ongoing research I have developed a model to help you consciously create what you want in life called the Universal Cycles of Change.
The Universal Cycles of Change are an ongoing process that’s been happening in our universe for about 13 billion years, so it is a really old model. There are seven universal cycles of change that occur in all living systems such as plants, trees, stars, cells and animals. You can also see these same cycles occurring in most non-living systems such as cars, houses, computers and the economy.
The Universal Cycles of Change can also be found within all aspects of human life and behavior. They happen in marriages, in business, with health, with families, with various states of mind and so on. We go through these cycles everyday and every year of our life. Being aware of these cycles can help you to consciously create the kinds of life experiences that you want, and to bring forth the reality of your choice. The people who do well in life are naturally attuned to these cycles of change.
Below is a brief description of the seven Universal Cycles of Change that we have identified.
(A more detailed description of these cycles is provided later in the article.)
This cycle is about new beginnings, birth and rejuvenation. All systems must have a starting point of some kind.
This cycle is about growth and expansion. When a living system begins to grow and develop, it becomes “self organizing”.
Complexity to Maturity
This cycle is about perfection and refinement. As a system begins to take shape and form through continued growth, it becomes more complex to the point where it reaches what I call a “steady state”. A system operates at its very best when it is in a steady state.
When the system becomes too complex in its growth, problems begin to develop and turbulence sets in. Turbulence is considered feedback from the environment that the system’s complex state can no longer be supported. Something has to shift for it to go to the next level of creation and growth. If this shift “does not” occur, then chaos will set in.
This cycle is about crisis, mass change and opportunity. This is when the system begins to fall apart because it has become too complex, and chaos sets in. The system can no longer hold it all together.
Releasing and Dropping Off
This cycle is about letting go of what is no longer serving you. Once chaos has set in, there must be some kind of a release or dropping off to bring the system back into balance.
Meditation and Dormancy
This is the final cycle in which the system regains its balance, which will allow it to recycle back up into Creation. The system now has less mass, yet more energy because it contains all the learning from the previous cycles.
Everything in our universe evolves and grows, and has been doing so for billions of years. Part of this natural evolutionary process includes going through different states of change. Let’s take a tree for example, since its the easiest metaphor I’ve found to describe the Universal Cycles of Change.
The first cycle that a tree goes through is that of creation, which happens when a seed gets planted. Then the tree grows– given that it has been provided with enough water and sunshine to grow. Over time the tree reaches a steady state of maturity in which all of its leaves have blossomed with complete beauty. Then the autumn season sets in; the leaves begin to change color. They turn brown and drop off to the ground. After this happens, the tree stands in dormancy without any leaves. But then spring comes around, the tree sprouts new leaves and the whole process of Creation happens again.
Because all living systems get too complex in their growth and development, they must have some kind of a dropping off or release to regain their balance. Trees do this all the time with their leaves. We can learn a lot by modelling trees. Have you ever been walking by a tree and its leaves are falling off. And all of a sudden you hear the tree crying out, “Pleeeease, don’t let my leaves fall off!”
This never happens. The tree has mastered the art of dropping off and recycling back up to Creation. Snakes are the same way when they shed their skin. I have never known of a snake to resist the process. Even most computers have trash bins to drop off the excess information that can slow down their hard drive, which thus allows for the computer to operate more quickly and creatively.
Interestingly, there is only one living system that does not allow itself to naturally go through this 13 billion year old process of universal change. This same system allows itself to stay stuck in turbulence and chaos for extended periods of time. This same system often resists dropping off what needs to be dropped off. Can you guess which system it is?
Human beings, of course.
People represent the only living system that will allow themselves to stay stuck in turbulence and chaos. They are the only living system that will not drop off and release whatever needs to be dropped off in their life. We see this resistance happening a lot in relationships, career and health.
For example, my husband Tim and I were teaching a class in Australia last year, when a man in the group shared an amazing realization that he had about the Universal Cycles of Change and how they related to him. This man had a teenage daughter who he had been unable to communicate with for several years. After learning about the Universal Cycles of Change, he raised his hand and said, “I finally understand why I have been having so many problems with my 17 year old daughter. In my mind I still think of her as a little child. I am now realizing that I need to “drop off” my perception of her as a child and start treating her like a young adult. It makes total sense to me why there has been so much turbulence and chaos in our relationship over the last couple of years.”
Another woman who attended our training in London, England, told me about an amazing experience that she had with her children and the Universal Cycles of Change model. “Kris, I just have to tell you about the funniest thing that happened to me last night. After I learned about your Universal Cycles of Change model, I made the decision that I needed to “drop off” the co-dependent relationship that I have with my five adult children,” she said with excitement.
“Even though my children are grown up, they are all so needy. I felt like my life was all about them and there was no room for me. On my drive home last night, I set the intent to release the co-dependence that has been keeping me enmeshed with my children for so many years. After I got home, all ‘chaos’ broke loose. One by one, each child phoned me with some major crisis. One of my children’s car broke down, the other had just broken up with a boyfriend, another was having a bad day and so on. The phone just kept ringing off the hook with their problems. I told each child one by one that they were responsible for themselves from now on and that they will need to solve their own problems,” she said.
At this point in the story, she was glowing as she continued to say,
“I just wanted to tell you that today is the beginning of the rest of my life. I am no longer co-dependent with my children and I can have my life back! I am going to go back to school and I am also going to start painting again, and doing the kinds of things that make me happy. I am going to start living my life for me now, instead of for everyone else”.
So often people are afraid to make changes, because they are worried about throwing their lives into turbulence and chaos. In the case of the English woman, she was worried that her grown children would feel resentment towards her if she were not always fully present for them. Instead of being present for her children, she ended up resenting them because she wasn’t getting to live the life that she wanted. Once she released her children from the co-dependent bonds of enmeshment, she was able to evolve into a new way of interacting with her children. And in doing so, she found that she could be more present for her children because she felt more spiritually fulfilled in her life.
As mentioned earlier, the Universal Cycles of Change can influence every area in your life. The primary life areas that they affect the most are:
- Romance and Love
- Money Matters
- Your Present State of Mind
When you assess each area of your life, which Universal Cycle of Change are you experiencing in that context? If any of your areas are in turbulence or chaos, you may want to ask yourself,
“What are some things that I need to drop off and release so that I can bring my life back into balance?”
It doesn’t always have to be a dramatic dropping off. You can drop off something as simple as reading the morning newspaper and drinking diet coke everyday. Some other examples of things that may need to be dropped off are: behaviors, beliefs, attitudes, ways of thinking, perceptions, habits, jobs and relationships. Other specific examples might include: smoking, drinking too much alcohol, weight, television, coffee, unclear boundaries, frenetic busyness, old relationships that need to be updated, a troublesome employee, a toxic friendship, clutter, disorganization, grudges, anger, jealousy, unnecessary debt and unfinished business with people.
Here is a more detailed description of the 7 Universal Cycles of Change to help you identify which cycle or phase you might be in:
Creation: This cycle is about new beginnings. Everything has a starting point, and typically that point begins with an idea, an action, or a blueprint. Some examples of this include starting a business, having a baby, investing in your first stock or fund, creating an idea for a book or a painting, building your first house, getting married, buying a new car, planting the seeds for a vegetable garden, or the Big Bang (the beginning of our universe as we know it).
Growth: When a system begins to grow and develop, it also becomes “self organizing.” What this means is that the initial creation begins to take shape or form. New patterns of behavior start to develop, and the system self–organizes itself around the original creation. For example, a new business develops a wonderful marketing plan, the stock that you’ve invested in begins to rise in price, the small tree that you’ve planted shows signs of growth, you install fancy hubcaps and new seat covers in your car, or your child speaks its first words and takes her first steps.
Complexity to Maturity: As a system begins to take shape and form through continued growth, it becomes more complex to the point where it reaches a “steady state.” A system operates at its best when it is in a steady state. Some examples of a steady state are when things are going exceptionally well in your job, when an athlete enters into the zone, when the tree that you have planted is sprouting beautiful green leaves, when your marriage is going incredibly well, the car that you bought is running great, the stock that you have invested in has made a big jump in the right direction, or when you’re feeling good about yourself and everything in your life.
Turbulence (Feedback): When the system becomes too complex in its growth and development, problems begin to develop and turbulence sets in. Turbulence is considered feedback from the environment that the system’s complex state can no longer be supported—and that something has to be reorganized, changed, or dropped off. For example, you may have hired someone to work for you and that person isn’t working out; you may start noticing some serious communication problems in your marriage that are effecting your individual health and well–being; the leaves on the tree that you planted begin to change color; you may have invested in a stock and it begins to drop; you develop a minor physical symptom that is distracting; you notice signs of depression or dissatisfaction in your life, or your car starts making funny little sounds.
Chaos: This is when the system completely falls apart and chaos sets in. For example, the leaves on the tree turn brown and shrivel up; the troublesome employee acts out to the point where the overall welfare of the business is threatened; the stock that you bought takes a huge drop; your marriage is completely falling apart; you get seriously ill; or the funny sound that your car was making turns into a loud choking sound and grey–blue smoke starts blowing out the tail pipe.
Dropping Off, Releasing and Reorganizing: Sometimes life becomes so complex that chaos sets in and you have to drop off something to help the system regain its overall balance. For example, when the snake sheds its skin or the leaves drop off the tree—these are considered to be droppings off. Even having to replace a part on your car is a form of releasing or a form of reorganization. In order to move forward through a difficult life challenge you often need to let go of a limiting belief, a dysfunctional relationship, change a behavior, or reorganize how you view the world; thus making the space in your life to create something wonderfully new. All life forms in this universe such as trees, snakes, and even stars allow for this natural dropping off cycle to occur; as well as nonliving forms such as computers with animated trash bins. The purpose of the trash bin is to get rid of extra information on the hard drive because it takes up too much space. Human beings are the only ones that resist these natural cycles of change. Keep in mind that when you don’t allow yourself to drop off whatever needs to be released in your life, you are essentially going against several billions years of evolution. It’s not natural to hang on to those things or situations that are no longer serving you.
Meditation and Dormancy: The way a system regains its balance is to drop something off. Then it can rejuvenate itself during the dormancy phase, thus allowing itself to recycle back up to a new evolutionary level of Creation. Just as the tree stands without leaves in the brisk cold winter, we sometimes need to go into a place of meditation and inner silence. It might be uncomfortable for a while, but it can be very healing to quiet one’s mind or to lay low for a while. Before you can move forward, you need to give yourself plenty of being time to renew and rejuvenate. Once you’ve done this, you can become creative again. You will have dropped off what was holding you back. Yet you’ll still have all the knowledge and wisdom that was gained from the whole experience. This sets the tone for a whole new cycle of Creativity and Growth.
Tim and I have found that it is useful for people to look at the different areas of their life, and to identify where they are in the Universal Cycles of Change. For example, there was a woman attending one of our trainings in Dallas, Texas last year, who took herself through the Universal Cycles of Change model. In doing so, she discovered that there were three primary areas in her life that were in total chaos. These areas included her job, her marriage, and her health. She had been very unhappy in her marriage for over 10 years and tried everything possible to make it work. She and her husband hadn’t slept in the same bedroom for over five years. She had also become extremely unhappy with her job, and was 40 pounds overweight. She decided that she needed to drop off her marriage, her job, and the extra 40 pounds of weight that she was carrying.
This same woman reappeared four months later at another training of ours in Omaha, Nebraska. She had lost 32 pounds and looked fantastic. I asked her how her life was going. She said that she had asked her husband for a divorce and was in the middle of transitioning out of her old job, all while starting a new business. She had also released some of her limiting beliefs around money, which had given her the courage to start a new business. She admitted that all of these changes had created some chaos in her life, yet she was happier than she had ever been and was looking forward to her new adventure.
We certainly don’t recommend dropping off a relationship or a job. This is a last resort. We always encourage our students and clients to start off by trying to drop off an attitude, a perception, or any behaviors and beliefs that are related to their overall disharmony. If dropping those things off doesn’t work, then perhaps they will need to drop off the relationship or job. Especially, when it’s highly dysfunctional, toxic or abusive.
In the case of the man who was having problems with his teenage daughter, it’s not like he could just “drop off” the relationship with his child. His only option was to reorganize who he was within the context of the relationship. As soon as he stopped treating her like a little girl and started treating her like an adult, their relationship got better. The magic in what he did with his daughter can be found within the structure of his internal experience. He had an internal representation of her being a little girl. When he shifted that representation to her being an adult, then she started acting like an adult. By doing this, he was able to create an entirely new experience with his daughter.
What happened with the man and his daughter leads me back to the original question that I posed earlier in this article. “How is our inner reality directly related to our outer reality, and how do the two affect one another?”
Our outer reality is a reflection of our inner reality. What nature can do for us—is to serve as a perfect model for creating the life we want, as well as evolving to higher levels of personal and spiritual fulfillment. The answers to creating what we want in life can be found by becoming consciously aware of the Universal Cycles of Change and applying them to all the various life areas. There is no reason why we can’t harness the same kind of creative potential that exists within the seed of a plant or a star in our galaxy.
Barbara Walters was interviewing multi–billionaire Bill Gates, and asked him, “Now that you’re the richest man in the world and you can have anything you desire, what more could you possibly want?”
Gates replied, “To never stop changing. Whatever I do today, will be considered history tomorrow. I have to make sure that I never stop changing, and that I am always creating.”
© 2002, 2003, 2010 by Kris Hallbom
For More Information on the next live WealthyMind™ Training click here.
1. A Brief History of Everything, by Ken Wilber
2. Complexity, by M. Mitchell Waldrop
3. The Web of Life, by Fritjof Capra
4. The Tree of Knowledge, by Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela
5. Chaos: Making A New Science, by James Gleick
6. Steps to an Ecology of Mind, by Gregory Bateson
7. Psycho–Cybernetics, by Maxwell Maltz
8. Beliefs: Pathways to Health and Well–Being, by Robert Dilts, Tim Hallbom, and Suzi Smith
Kristine Hallbom is the co-founder of the NLP Institute of California and is a principle author and developer of Dynamic Spin Release™ and the WealthyMind™ program. Recognized for her ability to translate complex ideas into practical skills, and for her warm, approachable style, Kris has trained and coached clients throughout Europe, South America, Australia, Canada and the United States. She is a long time trainer and student of NLP and Systems Thinking, and holds a degree in Psychology and Languages.