Spirals of Nature and Nurture
It was an incredible revelation when I first realized life moves in cycles. Existence spirals through phases of birth~life~death~re-birth. Cycles weave through our lives in many ways; spring blossoms into the lushness of summer, the fiery, yang, extroverted energy, which fades into the abundance of autumn and then merges into the watery, yin, introverted, darkness of winter, from which life springs forth with freshness and vibrancy again. This transition occurs in the lunar phases; new moon is winter, internally focused and quieter, it waxes through the bursting of spring into the full brightness of summer, like the fierceness of the full moon, which slowly wanes through the cooling of fall, back to the quiet-stillness of winter, new moon. Women have monthly cycles too, from menstruation through ovulation and back again, inspired by the relationship and fluctuation in estrogen and progesterone, and the energies that follow the flow. Men also experience hormonal fluctuations, mainly of testosterone, which affects their internal energy. This occurs on a 24-hour cycle and subtilely throughout the month. These cycles are also influenced by one’s psychological state.
In my last article I wrote about the concept of an Intimacy Practice: a regular, intentional space to experience emotional and physical closeness with one’s self, a partner, a collective of people, or Nature. Any regular personal practice is forever evolving and shifting, as a practice needs to, to correspond with the “season” and energy of the present. It is an incredible gift to recognize and celebrate how skillfully nature aligns energies with each other. For women, there is more energy during ovulation, like the summer/full moon, which becomes quieter and more internal during menses, winter/new moon. Men have more testosterone in the early mornings that uplifts their energy which ebbs and flows through the days and month.
As life gets hectic and daily tasks keep us busy, how do we best honor the shift in cycles while keeping up with our practices? To have a daily or weekly routine and then vary it with Nature can be challenging in a culture that encourages us to be more go, go, go, and consistently be in a full-moon/yang energy; even when the sky is dark, or the nights are cold with stillness, or the body and spirit are calling for rest. We can sometimes hold a belief that there isn’t enough time to rest, yet when we feel rested and rejuvenated we can approach life with more clarity, ease and flow. When we’re always “on” (summer/yang) our full energy will eventually be depleted unless we create periods to rest (winter/yin). Our brightness can be brighter when it has time to rejuvenate. Practicing staying connected to Life-Force energy and supporting transitions of the body, mind and spirit, means recognizing phases and noticing hints on how to attune to one’s needs according to the energies and examples nature creates that influence us.
The flux of energy connected to a woman’s “moon time” changes as we flow through the phases and cycles of life. Post-menopausal women, who are no longer menstruating, experience hormonal fluctuations different from women who are menstruating and reproductively active. Therefore, the connection to the appropriate energy for an Intimacy Practice is less determined by fluctuations in hormones, and more influenced by personal attunement to Nature’s energies. I can’t personally speak from experience on how men’s energy fluctuates, although I’ve witnessed it in friends and family. There is a different approach to life for those who have lived for many decades, the practice comes from looking with fresh eyes at things we have seen hundreds or thousands of times.
Experiment. Adjust the activities you do for your intimacy practice to align them with the energies around you. Play more with a partner or others when you’re feeling bold like the full moon, or dress a little spicier with flare to accentuate your fullness. Spend time journaling about intimacy, write a love letter to yourself, or give self-massage when your energy is more internally focused. Notice how your energy can change depending on how much time you spend connecting with nature.
At every point in life, mindfulness practices like an Intimacy Practice, help the transition into the “next phase.” When possible, allow the schedule of your life to ebb and flow to mirror the inward and outward journey of the energies around you. Women can create more rest during their moon time and honor the dark-yin energy. When possible schedule work or social events when you are in your Full Moon groove, with the confidence and glow that comes with ovulation. Create a practice of flowing with cycles while it comes more naturally, so when the trickle of blood fades you can continue to adjust your energy as nature does. Men can also adjust their daily habits to allow Nature’s energy to carry you farther than you would by yourself. We can all have rituals to honor the moon phases and seasonal transitions, or create affirmations for yourself that correspond to the energy of the time (ex: I am restful and observant and nurture myself when I need to; I am bright and energetic and show up in my full self in the world).
Women, gather with your circle of friends regularly to connect your energies and give thanks for your Divine Feminine self! Men, gather in sacred brotherhood and honor your Divine Masculine. The connection we have with our cycles is a direct reflection of the connection we have with our Creative Energy, the pulse inside that initiates breath and the beating of our hearts. An understanding that we are all cycling through energy fluctuations allows compassion for the waves of diverse energies that carry us on the emotional ride, which we can choose to surrender to, and utilize for our benefit.
Here is a mini lay-out of the seasons and energy transitions:
- Spring: Great for cleansing, renewal and releasing what no longer serves to make space for newness.
- Summer: Great for movement, connection with others and adventures.
- Fall: Celebrate abundance and integrate the expansiveness of summer and prepare for the rest of winter.
- Winter: Rest, reset, heal, be in the power of stillness. In the Mystery of space miracles emerge.
The transition seasons of spring and fall allow integration from the more prominent energies of winter and summer. Take what serves you and leave everything else to be composted back to nature.
Here are some suggestions to align yourself with the energies of Nature:
- Observe. Notice where the moon is in the sky, notice how the length of day corresponds to the season, and experience your own fluctuation of energy.
- Assess your internal energy with that of nature and respond accordingly. Rest if you need more rest, or use your activated energy to take on the world with faith and confidence.
- Integrate and Repeat. Notice how it changes over the month, throughout the seasons, and the years of your life. Use your creative juices to illuminate the world.
Release obligatory meetings that do not serve you. Develop a rhythm to support a Lightness in you physically, emotionally and mentally (practice yoga, meditation, prayer etc.). Simplify your life to things that inspire and uplift your Spirit, and enjoy the ever newness of Creation.
Life is forever spiraling us through time and space. There is no end, so we forever stay in the practice of the practice, which means continuously observing and integrating what serves, and releasing all that doesn’t, in order to create space for more of life’s abundance. Spiral inward with the new moon, the dark time; be more nurturing to yourself. Spiral outward with the full moon, the bright time; connect more with others, express your creativity. The body knows what it needs when it needs it, and we can provide when we turn in and truly listen. Most importantly, listen to your intuition to authentically connect with life through creativity, compassion, innovation and service.