The Experiences That Keep Repeating: Finally Learning the Lesson

Man on Mountain

“Humbleness, forgiveness, clarity and love are the dynamics of freedom. They are the foundations of authentic power.” ~Gary Zukav

I love the way the universe doesn’t let us get away with anything. Its loving energy allows us to repeat similar life experiences over and over again until we learn that spiritual lesson. Lately, I have been having the most profound healing around my stepson James.

This one particular night, the universe was offering a chance to love my own father and forgive myself for how I treated my brother, through my relationship with James.

When he got home from his weekly visit with his grandparents, where he sometimes sees his father, James was a bit off.

“Hey James, can you get your jammies on please? It’s time to get ready for bed, buddy,” I said as nice and firm as possible.

Instead of listening and responding to me, he continued to play with his ninja turtle.

“Hey buddy, can you pick out your clothes for tomorrow and get your jammies on? It’s bed time.”

He continued to ignore me and his mother’s prompts to get going with his night business. Instead, he started asking questions about random things.

Five minutes later, with his negotiating skills increasing, I told him I was about to carry him to bed since it was time. He resisted, and when I placed him in bed, he cried, swung at me, and screamed profanities that would shock anyone hearing such language from a little person.    

This is the moment I grew spiritually. I became a container. I held space for James. I didn’t run out the door. I didn’t prevent him, in the million ways I could have, from expressing those feelings. I didn’t emotionally shut off and hide.

I was beginning to see in James my own “inner child” that did not have his father in his life. I also began to see my little brother that I raged on and abused at times during childhood, releasing all the violence I saw in our home and in the streets around me.

James eventually began to wind down. He still flung his arms and legs at me and there were still random cuss words that trickled to one every few breaths. Sage, my daughter, was nervous this whole time and near the end was crying herself.

“Daddy, I don’t like when he talks to you like that. It hurts my feelings!” she exclaimed in tears.

“Oh, honey, he’s having big feelings. You don’t have to be afraid for me. You’re safe. I’m safe. He’s safe.” I tried to comfort her. She seemed to calm down a bit.

Part of our nightly routine is to remove their bad dreams. I do an animated show of pulling all the bad dreams from their head and swirling them around in my hands, tossing them out the window, and cutting the loose ties to their body. This night was no different. I was sticking to our regular routine.

I asked James if he wanted me to take his bad dreams out. He declined and sat with his arms crossed on his bed. “I hate you,” he kept softly repeating.

Sage wanted her nightmares out, so I continued as normal. I decided to be even more lovingly animated so James could see what fun we were having.

At the end they usually ask to take my dreams out and fill me with love. After blasting love in our chests we give one last strong push and it’s over.

This night, when Sage pushed my heart that final time, I flew back in a dramatic flare and fell to the ground full of love. I could see James unlocking his arms, and he had a small smile on his face. I got up and asked James one last time if he wanted me to take his bad dreams out.

He whispered something. “What did you say, buddy?” I asked.

“Yes, I want my bad dreams out,” he said calmly and quietly.

“Sure,” I joyfully responded.

At the end of removing his nightmares, he was his normal self, excited to blow me away with his love. He pushed me and I flew harder and bounced around the room.

He laughed and laughed and I thought, “I did it. I got him out his funk.”

What I didn’t expect was the greater healing. After, I lay on the floor waiting for them to fall asleep. I heard James whimper and softly cry. I got up and rubbed his back and legs and was silent for a long moment.

“You miss your dad, huh, buddy?” I asked gently.

He was curled up facing the wall and shook his head.

“I’m so sorry you didn’t get to see him tonight.”

I just stood there, caressing his back for a few minutes until he relaxed his mind and body. Then I lay down and cried.

I finally got it.

Love is the only answer. I forgave my own father on a deeper level in that moment. My brother and I needed our dad too. I did the best I could and failed at loving my father and not harming my brother. Now, I can forgive myself, and be a dad to James, Sage, and most importantly, to myself.

When we recognize that life provides countless opportunities to heal and develop unconditional love for those that fell short, we feel a sense of freedom.

With that comes humility to face our own spiritual lesson to overcome. If we take the opportunity, there is a release that is deep and everlasting. What spiritual lesson keeps repeating for you?

Man on mountain image via Shutterstock

About Rudy Castro

Rudy Castro lives in Los Angeles. He is a holistic therapist, author, and raw vegan educator. His first book Guardian of a Gangster is a coming of age story about transformation. Currently, Rudy is working on a documentary about his family impacted by addiction and the journey into self-healing. Visit him at

See a typo, an inaccuracy, or something offensive? Please contact us so we can fix it!
  • Hi Rudy
    Thank you for such a great post and sharing your story with us. What you talk about here is such an interesting aspect of the whole personal development journey. The repeating lessons will happen regardless of your interest in this matter of course, but when you become conscious of it, it is pretty interesting the patterns you see, and the common thread running through many of our more challenging circumstances.

    Our world is merely a reflection of what is going on inside, and our beliefs and feelings will simply be mirrored back to us. The good old Universe has no choice but to comply as this amazing energy is neutral and responds like a computer–input and output. Until we take stock of what is happening,and investigate what is going on inside, we will continue to have these similar experiences. It can be difficult but also incredibly empowering because we realize we are not at the mercy of some outside force but are in total control.

    Great stuff!

  • Peace Within

    Hi Rudy! Just by reading this story I can tell that you are an amazing dad! James is lucky to have you in his life. I feel like parents easily shut kids off when they are acting a certain way. Sometimes all a child needs you to do is to listen with a compassionate heart. It’s important for all people, including children, to get emotions out. I feel like when children are young, especially boys, parents teach them how to ignore emotions. When I was younger and getting scolded by my parents I used to cry. Instead of seeing that I really was sad and felt bad about what I said or did, my parents thought I was just trying to get out of trouble. I needed compassion and understanding, not tough love. I hope other parents read this and learn from you. Thank you for sharing!

  • katie

    so beautiful, the story and your soul for recognizing these moments with patience and grace. Thank you.

  • Guest

    Thank you for such a lovely post!

  • Thank you Rudy for sharing the story, what a lovely post.

  • Sarah Woolley

    Oh my, Rudy! This is such a beautiful writing! I got a bit teary reading this as it so touched my soul! I am so happy for you to have found your “inner dad” and to have found understanding to relate to your two children, James & Sage in a loving way! You are all so blessed to know the way of love! I am sure that your wife will benefit from your experience as well. I am a firm believer that “love” is the way. Thank you for validating this for me and for being a loving, caring father to James and Sage. Love and light to you and yours!

  • toni

    What a special soul you are Rudy.

  • rudy

    Thank you peace within. My heart is filled with love hearing that. I’ve worked hard to show up as a dad. I agree boys especially need to know their feelings are okay to have.
    Blessings to you

  • rudy

    I wholeheartedly agree. My spirit is smiling from your amazing post. I participate in communities that remind me of life as a reflection of our internal life. Just finished a whole weekend of such a thing.
    Blessings to you.

  • rudy

    Thank you Sarah. Your kind loving words must reflect your love for those around you. I’m just as lucky to my wife who is committed to such a life of inner transformation.
    Blessings to you and yours.

  • rudy

    Claire…thank you very much.

  • rudy

    Grace and patience are clay that my hands have finally molded to look recognizable. Thank you for noticing a moment I mastered it. Doesn’t always look that way.

  • Zachary Goodson

    Rudy, my friend, you are love and light. Pure, beautiful, love and light. Becoming the man you are meant to be is such a gift to watch and read about. And your children are blessed to have you as their father. It’s an honor to be walking on the same path with you.

  • rudy

    You are a blessing my dear good friend Zachary. Your an inspiration and a brother in my heart. Thank you for your love and friendship

  • rudy

    It takes one to see one. Blessings

  • Cozetta Lagemann

    Wow, that brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing, and inspiring me to be more patient and understanding when it comes to my own children trying their best to express themselves with their limited ways of doing so. I completely agree with the Universe continuing to bring us different examples of the same lesson that we haven’t learned or won’t learn yet. When you finally get it, it is such a huge a-ha, and brings about a great sense of relief, too. It feels like, yes, yay, I don’t have to go through that again, because the biggest and most growth-inducing lessons are also the most difficult and heart wrenching. Thank you again for sharing- I wish you and your family the very best. 🙂

  • rudy

    Yes they become those a-ha moments for sure. But ever lasting as you point out. Blessings to you and your family.

  • cindy

    Ur website is TOO long. I cant read all of that.