Why am I so keen on following the seasons and Nature’s cycles? And how do they give us insights as to our own transitions and developmental growth?
Often people ask me, “How does the moon cycle affect me in my leadership or personal/professional development?”
As human beings, we are intricate systems, with our own cycles and rhythms. And honoring them, i.e. pausing to integrate big learnings, sleeping more when we aren’t feeling well or hunkering down inside more during the cold months are ways to do so.
The earliest memory of my own relationship with the patterns of Nature was with the moon and stars. I remember staring out at the full moon “following us” as a child in the car with my parents or lying in bed at night being comforted by her Light. Stars, in general, and the Milky Way and shooting stars in particular, have always held a fascination for me.
Then came the play with astrology, which has never really become a deep understanding, even with more involved science and planetary aspects being talked about more and more since my chart is incomplete. I have never been able to track down my birth time!
It’s been about 3 decades since I began tracking the moon, at first for my own monthly cycles as I was preparing to get pregnant, and then for noticing how they affected me in my general life.
A bit later I was using a Moon Journal to track cycles and use them for reflection and introspection. Full moon completions and new moon initiations.
Early in 2000, I began studying Native American spirituality. I felt at home! Nature had always felt like my Church, and Mother Earth and Father Sky, Grandmother Moon and Grandfather Sun, like family. And animals did feel as though they had messages for me as much as the sunset colors, or the wind singing through the trees. Ecology and all things “green” and holistic became passions.
That deep study and the book, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach and experience moved into further understanding of planetary aspects, solstices, equinoxes, eclipses.
Gardening has been an ongoing school for me as well. It felt like the seasonal shifts of planting, tending, harvesting, and winter cleanup was indicative of where I was in my Life. Learning to save seeds, buy locally grown food, and eat foods fresh and during their normal harvest cycle has become a way of life for my family.
Business Leadership Development programs that were based on spiritual and personal development added another layer. Some teachers’ use of the Enneagram added yet another.
Deep dives into Strengths-Based Leadership came next, followed by an introduction to The Spirit of Leadership white paper by the founder of The Leadership Circle 360 Profile. Quickly after I became certified in this assessment and added the evolving wisdom of our multi-dimensionality and up-leveling my own and client’s human development consciousness.
The Shamanic Business Mastermind I participated in a few years back was a brilliant way to see how our businesses, our lives, our physical bodies are all immensely enmeshed with the seasonal cycles. How pausing during Winter, for example, was the inner reflection and stillness required by both my physical and emotional and mental health, as well as that of my business’ health.
All of these new learnings felt “at home” to me like they were “speaking my language” and as natural as my breath. (Another beautiful rhythm of Life and ongoing cycle!)
And each brought me new ways to describe my views of life, train on leadership, and experience love…as if all of these facets of Self were merging with my work in the world!
Cycles, seasons, Nature’s many signs and lessons, and all the changes we’re experiencing now with our economy, society during a pandemic, education systems, and political upheaval are all creating complexity. Even our choices of nourishment…media and food/drink are cycles…what we partake must be digested. Time is needed to process, allow for the nutrients to be received and the waste to be released. Our bodies know how to process food much better than we do with our mental consumption. Time away from our technology and screens and seriousness to be playful, fun, creative, and connecting with others, Self, the Divine. Not an easy thing to do in these times…
Which is when I try to find the simple pleasures of Rituals.
Remembering Who. I. Am.
Connecting with loved ones on Zoom.
And breathing it all in. With grace and compassion for mySelf and all of us.
How are you finding these cycles of change? The ending of 2020 and beginning of 2021? What are your favorite seasons and cycles?
(PS I receive no commission for the books and resources listed and linked in this article)
Feeling too much? Like your nerve endings are on the outside of your body and the slightest sensation or incoming news can ignite or trigger or send you into an emotional spiral?
I am with you.
One client recently called it feeling the “collective rawness.” Yes, collective internally and as a global society..
And with no break since March, it’s been quite an onslaught.
The chronic news of Black people being killed by the hands of law enforcement (over and over) is one thing. Add the pandemic and all of its societal changes and fears and mixed news from science and conspiracy theories, another. Add to that the political craziness and hate-mongering and divisiveness AND the continual destructive storms, wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes, and we are tired.
Cognitive exhaustion, physical exhaustion, emotional exhaustion, and even spiritual exhaustion are all real.
Our lives are not the same as before March of this year, and we wonder when, if ever, we will resume something that feels “normal.” Our minds are searching for some way to “solve” these problems or our hearts want someone else to “save” us from this mess.
Steven Covey wrote years ago in the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, that it is never a good idea to try to teach or learn when we are tired or emotionally upset.
Guess what? Most of us are both.
And, I’m here to say that Anger is our invitation to create, innovate, move us out of the stuckness and towards what’s emerging. It’s a doorway. How?
Anger has gotten a bad rap. Especially for women. We aren’t shown, for the most part, models of what it looks like to be an angry woman, on purpose, who is still loving and guided by Spirit.
That’s because we haven’t had many. Neither Mother Theresa, who bore her pain silently and alone, or feminists who came across as anti-men and angry. Not the working mother who is worried about her children while taking care of her community and planet and Self (not in that order) while holding down a job. Not women who have chosen not to have children (for their own reasons, because they have a choice) while marching or actively supporting Earth, Gender and Sexual Equality, Racial Justice and healthcare access for our marginalized citizens, nor for those who quietly go about their day-to-day, signing petitions, learning about their role in racism, finding ways to discuss and grow as conscious individuals while making a difference in their own circles by choosing Love over discrimination or hate.
So many ways to be activists. Even by choosing the food we eat, and how we spend our money.
AND, it starts by being Angry. Allowing the fire in the belly to be stronger than the fear of staying silent, standing by, or choosing the status quo for comfort’s sake.
Anger is the beginning of a spiral of emotions and truly helps us become innovators and creators and impactful leaders (and activists).
Years ago, a wise teacher and friend helped me learn about my emotions in this way. Begin by choosing a specific issue that is troubling, that you hate, or that made you angry.
Allow yourself to feel the emotion, speak out loud about it, write it, dance it.
It tends to fade after some focused attention.
Below is something different. Sadness, grief, or fear. Each could come in their own wave.
By asking ”What about this makes me feel sad?” we can get deeper. Feeling the sadness, the grief may be, and letting it be expressed (again through writing, dancing, speaking/crying out loud) allows it to be expressed, felt, and transformed.
Next is probably fear. “What am I afraid of?” Asking over and over till you start feeling the fear, start knowing its source, and focusing on it, even for a few minutes. Sharing out loud to a trusted friend, who is only observing with compassion, not speaking at all, can be cathartic. Letting it out through words, written or prayed, screamed, or softly whispered brings light to the shadow and gets some space around it.
“What do I want/need?” is next. What do I really want to change this? What do I need? It may be that you want the political divisiveness to end, but stay with what’s under your control. What is it that I want to feel instead of this? Expressing it through dance, writing, drawing, imagining then sharing it in some way with the Universe/God/Source is very beneficial.
Then we get to Forgiveness. What can I forgive myself or another for? Again, expressing it orally, through another format is your choice, but put it OUT THERE.
Appreciation/Gratitude is what follows. Express it. To yourself first, then to another if need be and you are called to.
Last is LOVE. It’s the natural progression of following our emotions down to their Source. Our essence is LOVE and when we fall away, step too far from it, feel disconnected, the other emotions are there to help guide us HOME.
Let’s not fear Anger. It’s sacred and needed. The more we try NOT to be angry, the more we can make ourselves sick. It’s like trying to imagine we can shake a can of soda or sparkling water and then open it and it won’t make a mess. The anger WILL explode one way or another unless we guide it back Home. Back to Love.
Want a safe space to do this process? I’m here.
And typically July for me has always had a theme of freedom.
And as I explore that whole topic of freedom. It feels like it falls into several layers.
There’s the actual reflection on what it is that I want to be liberated from.
Then there’s the action or allowing, of the liberation, of the letting go.
Freedom feels like the final state. It’s the result of having reflected, having let go and now basking in this new state of freedom.
So let’s start with a question, or contemplation, about where are we? What are we holding on to that it might be time to let go of? And if you’re like me, it takes me a while, I have to ponder that thought for a day or two. In my case, it’s been the last two or three days of what runs me. What am I allowing to have control over my life?
And there are several feelings, thoughts, patterns, and stories in my head. I’ll play some suggestions out for you and see if they might help you with your self-reflection.
I was running for a long time the story of money and scarcity. “I’m not secure without financial freedom, without the constant struggling and striving to make ends meet.” So my old story was that I had to constantly struggle, juggle, worry about money.
Then it became: “Take good care of money. Be a good steward and invest it well. Place it or spend it in ways that I feel represent my values.”
It’s been a long time coming.
First, it was wrapped up in gender stuff, and that women need to be dependent and reliant on someone else to take care of them. All kinds of things have been unraveling around that for decades for me.
And finally, I can say that money is not something that runs me. AND, I know for several of my friends and acquaintances, it’s still at the forefront in their lives.
Another one that still has a hold on me in some ways is TIME.
I feel like I’m in a race for time; meeting deadlines, filling the calendar, or noticing the empty calendar and wondering how to spend my time creating and generating income and new clients. What does all that look like? Am I spending enough time taking care of me? Taking care of others? Nurturing my relationships? I look at how I spend my time as it’s my most important commodity.
Maybe the pandemic times have brought about the concerns of our mortality, or not having enough Life Force. And, the importance of Breath.
What will happen to us as the pandemic continues? What will our lives be like? What will Time be like? How will I spend it? How will I invest in the use of this commodity in a way that brings me the most joy and be of the most service to the collective?
So Time is still something I’m playing with, that I don’t feel fully liberated from.
Others are old stories of not being “enough” (what is that anyway?), not having enough support, not being loved enough, not being worthy of love, all kinds of good things like that. Little by little, they’ve been chipped away by choices I’ve made, by risks I’ve taken, by moving forward in one area or another, despite the stories. Proving to myself that they really are not the Truth.
The power of many of those old stories and patterns has diminished and faded.
So what is your self-reflection about what still has a hold on you? Still creates fear or anxiety or reactive ways that are keeping you small… keeping you stuck?
Because that is NOT freedom.
What we want to do this month is look at this reflection of what it is that has a constriction on us. Anything that keeps us from Breathing or holds us back.
And then, with gentle, loving, self-compassionate, and from a safe self-observation place, allowing them to loosen their grip on us … and to Feel.
Opening to the liberation of Life. On the other side. The Life where these do not strangle us from our truth, from our value, from our dignity.
To our safety. Towards our sovereignty. That, to me, is Freedom.
Receptivity, or as I like to call it, the Art of Receiving, is not just a surrendering into stillness, it’s often more active than that.
Out of the Feminine Traits of Receptivity, Creating, Nurturing, Connecting, Circular Thinking, and Being in Flow, I find Receiving the most difficult for me.
Receiving (or Allowing), requires opening. Softening. Allowing in the light, love, life that is flowing in and through us. Not fighting it. So often we are at war with reality.
We tend to operate with some level of constriction, resistance, or withholding. This keeps us out of the flow of Life, Grace, and what I call Magic.
Also, what have we learned about holding on? When tightly grabbing or squeezing anything, Love, control, children, or pets, our actions work exactly in the opposite of what we are wanting…more love.
Where I play the game is often in pushing away or demanding from Life, or Source, or my relationships. Even with my work and money.
This ineffective practice also requires much more effort!
If there is one thing I’ve learned about feminine energy, is that it is
e f f o r t l e s s…
it flows constantly, like water.
When we find ourselves striving, pushing, forcing, it’s typically an indicator of time to take a break. Breathe, dance, sip on tea, or walk outside to clear the head and allow a softer and more intuitive answer to come. One that’s easier to implement, involves less effort.
Receiving has a place that is overlooked in our fast-paced, fast-moving, fast-thinking world. We can’t operate our bodies and minds without eating and eliminating. Even more essential, is our breath. Exhaling would be impossible if we didn’t receive a breath first.
And this beautiful reminder of Receiving is at the core of Feminine energy. We need to receive the life force to create anything. The idea or concept of change often comes from asking and receiving the guidance or answer.
This morning I noticed that it’s truly difficult for me to Receive without some type of laying the groundwork. That’s not always the case, yet it helps for the channel to be clear and the connection to be free of static.
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When my old van finally told me it was time for her to retire recently, I took my time looking for a new car. Ever realize how many options there are out there? Narrowing down my choice based on what I wanted to feel like, what I wanted it to look like, how efficient the gas mileage and reliability helped (thank you Consumer Reports!). Yet, there was still the choice decision of what the car’s image said about me…or what I wanted it to say about me.
Our presence speaks volumes about us before we even say a word. How are you showing up?
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Just like the budding spring flowers and trees, I’m beginning to awaken. Stepping into a new season today, on the Spring Equinox feels like moving into balance…letting go of the old stuff, growing in new ways and feeling more sunlight shining on my face.
It takes courage to be with it all. Being both our brightest light-filled Selves and the deep, dark shadowy Selves. It takes courage to shine a light on the stuff we don’t like looking at, want to turn away from, don’t want to acknowledge about ourself. Yet, it’s precisely by looking at it and lovingly accepting those parts that’s being called for.
Courage, at its root, has to do with the heart. And, sometimes we need others to lean on, hold us, remind us, love us through these dark days. So, muster up some courage and ask for help. Ask for someone to listen or just be there so you can cry and be witnessed. Strength, freedom, the exhale of relief is just on the other side.
Be gentle. We need you. ALL of you. Your fullness/wholeness/integrated Self to be at the table, speaking up, sharing your truth.
Read the transcript here.