Harnessing Natural Cycles to Gain Momentum
There you are, hard at work on a big project. It could be something you’re making, like building a raised bed garden, knitting a sweater, or writing a book draft, or maybe you’re working on an important report for work, or you’re spring cleaning and decluttering your home. Things are moving along well, but then all of a sudden you lose steam. All of your momentum seems to collapse, and there’s nothing you want to do less. What happened?
Or maybe you’ve noticed that you tend to have less energy sometimes for the same amount of daily tasks. Your sleep patterns haven’t changed, you aren’t feeling ill, there are no big crises going on in your life, but you just can’t seem to get out of your own way. What gives?
Although we modern human beings put a lot of effort into hiding it, we’re mammals. We’re creatures of the Earth, responsive to the rhythms and cycles of the natural world. Becoming aware of these cycles and how they affect us can help us be more productive and consistent, and also happier.
The cycles of the seasons are perhaps the most obvious ones. Right now, in the northern hemisphere, we’re in the throes of Spring. The days are still lengthening, and the sun’s rays are stronger. Plants are growing; the world gets greener and more lush. This Spring energy is perfect for gaining momentum on your projects. The longer, warmer days will urge your body to want to move more, and taking action will feel natural. You’re drawn to plant and nurture the seeds of your dreams. The tricky part of Spring is when your enthusiasm runs amok, and you might tend to take on more than you can handle.
When Spring transitions into Summer, the energies begin to shift. Summer’s energies let us coast along a bit. Our garden, actual or metaphorical, is in a growth phase, and we’re there to tend and encourage our plants and plans. In temperate climates, you’ll want to be outdoors playing as much as you can while the weather is nice. If you live somewhere more tropical, it might be too hot to be as active, and you’ll want to stay cool and lie low. Either way, the “lazy days” of Summer can tempt you away from the priorities you’ve set. Remember to tend to your projects, allowing the delicious fun of summer activities to renew you, then letting that energy flow back into your goals and intentions.
When Autumn arrives, you’ll be in full-on harvest mode. Your plans and projects will have borne fruit, or if not, you’ll have some clear information about what went wrong. In Autumn our tendency is to plan and organize, and prepare for the next round of action. Think about that “back to school” vibe that many of us still have, even years after we have graduated and moved on. Creativity is at a peak, and you’ll have lots of great ideas and inspirations. Avoid the temptation to hoard your harvest or pull inward too soon. Enjoy the feeling of harvesting what you’ve planted and tended, and let your ideas for the next phase flow freely.
When Winter comes, you’ll feel the natural ebb of your momentum. As the plants begin to go to sleep, and the earth’s critters are in hibernation or migration mode, you’ll enter a more contemplative phase of the year. The days are shorter, and the early arrival of night makes you want to get cozy in your own nest. Winter is a wonderful time to dream and vision, looking ahead to see what new projects or intentions you want to bring into your life when Spring begins. Avoid taking on too much in the Winter, especially around the holidays in late December. When your body longs for extra rest, getting run down can weaken your immune system and make you vulnerable to illness.
Granted, we live in a society that is often full-on, no matter the time of year. Your work schedule might run counter to the seasons, with perhaps your busiest time during the retail madness of Winter, or a lull in Spring, when you wish you could be up and running. There are other cycles that you can be mindful of as you honor your natural ebbs and flows.
Monthly cycles will be familiar to most women. The cycles of the moon have their own energy rhythm, which may or may not line up with your menstrual cycles. Anyone can tap into these lunar cycles and use their energies to help manage momentum for big projects. When the moon is new, it’s a good time to brainstorm about or begin a new project (or phase of a project). As the moon waxes, the lunar energy increases, and you might feel more motivated and focused. The full moon energy works well with completion, although some people find it too chaotic and hard to focus during that time. If that’s true for you, take the full moon off to regroup and recharge. When the moon is waning, it’s a good time for rest and evaluation. The dark of the moon can be used to take a break and get some extra sleep. You can find the times for the moon phases online, or purchase a lovely calendar of moon phases to hang on your wall.
The days have their own, much shorter, cycles that you can use to your advantage. Are you a morning lark or a night owl? When do you feel most energetic and creative? As much as possible, schedule your daily activities according to your natural rhythms. Make sure that you’re doing your most important work when you’re at your best.
Even when you’re not able to fully switch your schedule around to accommodate the season or phase of the moon, being aware of the cycles will help. Knowing that your energy hits a lull during the waning moon means you can plan to go to bed a little earlier, for example. Working with your own rhythms allows you to be at your best, and to honor the ebbs and flows rather than pushing yourself too much. By working with, rather than resisting, the natural cycles, you’ll be able to get more done on your projects and enjoy yourself in the process.