Just as nature circles round, with each season carrying its own tempo and rhythms, so do we. This happens on the level of biological processes, as we move through the phases of sleep or as a person who menstruates’ monthly cycle might impact their mood and energy levels.
We create rhythms and patterns in our daily life, moving from rest to activity and back again.
In our fast-paced world that often celebrates more action, doing and “blossoming,” our natural cycles and rhythms can become compressed, out of sync and we might even lose touch with them during particularly stressful times.
If you are feeling anxiety, overstimulated or disconnected, it might be a good time to check in with your internal cycles and rhythms.
Have you been in a space of doing, striving, moving for a while? Just as nothing blooms throughout the year 100% of the time (even in warmer climates!), so we too need time for rest and replenishment.
On the other hand, there are times when we might feel stagnant or stuck, in a long winter that’s overstayed its welcome. Sometimes we end up here due to burnout, grief and/or trauma. The systems that we live within (think capitalism and white supremacy) do not invite us to lean into these places of dormancy as nothing “productive” may come out of them.
While it might seem like the last thing we want to do, it’s important to honor where we are rather than forcing ourselves into a more active place. At the same time, we might ask ourselves: How can I take a cue from the transition seasons and invite a little more movement and focusing outward into my day? What might need releasing? Just as we cannot see the seeds and root systems growing below the soil, it may not be evident until months (or years!) later what the teachings of these long winter seasons are and how they fit into our greater life story.
Whatever season you currently are in, it can be helpful to invite in rituals and practices that help us to connect to and access the wisdom in all stages of a cycle. Here are a few suggestions for what that might look like:
Connect to Your Breath
Without thinking about it, our bodies fall into natural rhythms of inhales and exhales. We can bring attention to this first by just noticing the breath. Perhaps put a hand over your chest and/or belly to notice the outward motion as you inhale and the contraction as you exhale.
You can begin by just noticing what rhythm your breath is naturally taking on, and perhaps get playful with changing that rhythm in a way that feels nurturing. Inviting ourselves to deepen the breath by lengthening the inhales and exhales can help calm the nervous system.
Look to the Moon
The natural world can be an incredible teacher, and it can be comforting to connect to rhythms and cycles that unapologetically ebb and flow without any effort on our part. Because the moon’s phases are so visually apparent and easy to look up online, bringing more awareness to those shifts can invite us to slow down and consider, for example:
- What am I wishing to release (thoughts, feelings, behaviors, old patterning) and in their place manifest? (particularly potent during the full moon phase)
- What has served and hasn’t served me in the last few weeks, and what habits/practices can support me in bringing my intentions to life? (helpful when done on or around a new moon)
- How does this time of fullness/waxing/waning/transition feel in my body?
Attune to the Seasons
I’ve always been grateful to live in a part of the world where the change from one season to the next is so evident. In the US northeast, there’s no missing the blossoming of delicate pink flowers on the trees in springtime, the lush green and vibrant colors of summer, the crisp air that carries the scent of fallen leaves in autumn, and the quiet grays and whites of winter.
Each season carries its unique lesson and energies. As much as we may love the active, outgoing vibrations of summer, they can also feel over-stimulating (especially for those of us who identify as highly sensitive people), and it can feel deeply nurturing to draw more inward as the days become shorter and the air cooler. The coziness and time spent indoors during winter may leave us ready to venture out into the new growth of spring.
You might ask yourself:
- What season am I in today/this week/month/year?
- Are there any parts of my cycles and rhythms I’ve been neglecting? If so, how can I invite a little more attention to these places?
- What are some of my favorite ways to allow for needed seasons of rest and relaxation?
If you’re feeling pulled to get to know, understand and work with rather than against your rhythms and cycles, working with a therapist who incorporates mindfulness and somatic methods such as EMDR and music therapy can help. Click here to schedule a free consultation today!