I am a big fan of turning to Mother Nature when I need some clarity and guidance. She is not my only source for these needs but she is one of my first stops. I can watch and witness how her seasons change, how plants and trees grow, how the ocean ebbs and flows, it is all visible proof of change and growth, of death and rebirth. By going outside on my break and reading in the sun for 15 minutes or playing hooky and heading to the beach, I not only enjoy the peace and grounding that nature provides but inevitably, if I look hard enough, I fall into a moment of understanding.
In a recent discussion on the On Being podcast, Michael McCarthy a naturalist and writer explained that for 50,000 generations we lived amongst nature, we were just a part of the wild life, and for the last 500 generations we've moved away from living in and among nature to very far from it. He claims though that despite our movement away from moving in sync with Mother Nature it is still very much apart of our biology. "There is a legacy deep within us, a legacy of instinct, a legacy of inherited feelings, which may lie very deep in the tissues — it may lie underneath all the parts of civilization which we are so familiar with on a daily basis, but it has not gone; that we might have left the natural world, most of us, but the natural world has not left us."
It is for this reason that I have started to witness the many many cycles that show up in nature and I have begun exploring my own cycles. Yes, that cycle but also, my cycles of energy and concentration, cycles of depression or anxiety, and cycles of growth and challenge. I have invited in the concept of paying attention to cycles in the following ways:
- Started tracking my menstrual cycle and symptoms. I use an app to keep an eye on whats happening. After recognizing certain trends I have begun making conscious decisions based on those cycles. Day One - Wicked bad cramps. Day Three - Crying for no good reason. Day Four - Eat ice cream. I would do find time for a heating pad session on day one. I would do my best not to schedule any important meetings on day three. I would buy ice cream on day four :) Knowing my tendencies helps me to prepare and get in harmony with them instead of fighting against them.
- New Moon & Full Moon Journaling. This was the first way that I really found a regular journaling practice, mainly because it was only twice a month. I have a moon app where I track new and full moons each month. Every new moon I journal about what I want to invite into my life (more patience, more presence, more movement, love) and every full moon I journal about what I want to let go of (judgements, fears, sugar, complaining). I love this practice because the moon reminds me to do it!
- Scheduling weekly tasks based on moon cycles. This is newer for me but so far I really love it. I found this article explaining what types of actions and energy are best according to the phase of the moon. I understand that this might be a little out there for some, but it provides me additional focus for each week. For example, right before the new moon each month, is a great time to tie up loose ends and clear the desks (and your mind) for the new cycle. Its a time to meditate on new ideas and get clear on what's ahead. Then, when the new moon arrives, it's time to set new goals and start to bring your ideas into fruition! Keep your eyes open for more one this as I sink in :)
- When I find myself in a depression I think of the moon. I remember reading once that one side of the moon is always dark. I love this because it reminds me that it's COMPLETELY NATURAL to feel dark or down, to feel as if you've lost momentum, to feel a little lost. Knowing that the moon ALWAYS cycles around to find it's light side helps me sink into this darkness and see what I can learn from it. I can take a step back and just be a friend to my darkness and move with it instead of feeling like I'm flawed and fighting against it.
But without the dark we'd never see the stars.
If this feels like something you can relate to and want some more on working and living in sync with your life cycles, check out this interview: How to Tune into Your Own Cycles and Create Sustainable Success between Kate Northrup & Laura Thompson-Brady.