honoring our rhythms…

Posted by on May 23, 2017

A month ago, I led a retreat.  One of the things we talked about was how we, as women, as humans, are connected to nature & connected to the cosmos, not separate from it (as our modern world would try to convince us of).  Similar to the seasons of nature, the phases of the moon, the orbits of the planets, we too have cycles of up and down, in and out, light and dark.  As I share often, I fight my cycles… make myself wrong for needing/ wanting down time.  Must do more.  Must be productive all the time.  Must constantly be working on my business and what I do in the world.  Must be producing.  Must be DOING.

 

Whew.  It’s tiring to live from this place.

 

I end up spinning in unproductive circles in my head, acting from fear instead of being guided from within. Which is even more tiring. One of the things I teach – the importance of taking sacred pause – is also what I must learn over and over again in my own life.

 

While preparing for this past retreat, I honored my cycles in a way I have not prior to a big event before… I gave myself plenty of space in between times of preparing to pause, to enjoy life. I was dedicated to my own self-care as I prepared to guide a group of women through their own self-care: massage, yoga, self-reflection, meditation, time in nature (all the “simple” practices I’m constantly writing about).

 

At the same time, I was also stepping outside of my comfort zone – reaching out to colleagues and friends to promote for me, marketing in a more visible way than ever before, scrapping the material I had planned 3 weeks prior to the event and re-doing it.

 

It paid off, this integrated way of being in my busy time (expanding even!) while also taking care of myself… the retreat was transformative, healing & enjoyable… AND I didn’t feel physically depleted.  Upon return, I intended to take a couple of days off and get back to it – creating content, marketing my next women’s circle, collaborating, etc.

 

My surprise came when I realized another cycle was starting for me… one that I needed to deeply honor as well and not by “doing” outward moving life at the same time.  It was a deeply inward moving cycle… one where the personal a-ha’s were plentiful, and full of much “ouch”.  It lasted a few weeks which were filled with: sleeping (the deep, processing type where you wake up and feel like you were fighting for your life before you dive back in), self loathing, tears, escaping to the mountains, sleeping, being so gentle & kind with myself, did I mention sleeping?!, self-forgiveness, and many moments of awkwardly being in the world stripped of another layer of defense…

 

After a lot of expansion in our lives, there is a natural contraction that happens.  When we inhale, we must exhale.  It is part of the cycle.

 

The contraction lasts longer if I fight it.  And, boy do I. The way my mind fights it is by convincing me that I’m not doing anything. I start resisting what is actually happening and convincing myself that I need to be somewhere else. Fortunately, a mentor pointed out to me that the inner work is “doing” a lot.  Showing up and being in the messy human part of life without running away, seeing clearly where I’ve been running patterns that have ultimately hurt myself or others, seeing where I’ve thought I was better than others or acted out because of the belief that I was not worthy… the work of looking at these things as they come up and kindly, gently reminding myself that I did the best I could at the time with the tools I had. This is hard work for me, this being human… and making mistakes… and admitting to them… and loving myself through it all.

 

As I come up out of it at this time, I see that actually there was also much that happened naturally – a few collaborations have been formed and new projects started, the women’s circle already has several participants signed up, in meditation, I can feel the wisps of content that is in there wanting to be written when the timing is right, some areas in my life where I have completely ignored my own boundaries have been course corrected.

 

My life is unfolding and I am trying to flow with it, not to fight it, to accept this moment now… not to force it, to simply BE the witness… it’s an art… and not one that seems to be promoted in the mainstream.  The dance of honoring our cycles, our rhythms, of opening up to the unfoldment of our lives.  Of letting go of the tight grip on the reigns and TRUSTING that we will know when to slow down or speed up.  And of simplifying.  I feel myself coming up into the light and want to run & jump & over-commit.  Instead, I breathe and observe this too.

 

Two beautifully written books that have helped me: Sabbath by Wayne Muller & Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. They both stress the importance of honoring our cycles and spending time in stillness, space & quiet as a necessity vs a luxury.

 

And, of course, I couldn’t do this life thing without my team of  support.  Part of my self-care is to see them continuously, NOT only when in crisis mode.  Over time, this has built a foundation for me to firmly stand on when I find myself in another cycle or when I step off the crazy merry-go-round of 24/7 productivity.  We humans are full of rhythms, of cycles, just like nature, and if we don’t honor them, we will move further away from the things we most crave – integration, balance & a rich, meaningful life.  Much love to you wherever you are in your cycle.  Be kind to yourself.