Do you move between feeling like a raging, whirling tornado and a sack of heavy, sinking stones?
I know I do. Especially now that I’m closer to 50 than to 40 (by 1 year)!
I’ve been asking myself the question of how to break free of this cycle that feels like madness.
Then I started thinking that perhaps there isn’t a problem with the fluctuations. Maybe I create more of a problem in my mind because of my resistance to the natural cycles of life/nature.
In our modern culture the dominant messaging has been to ignore cycles so that we can be equally productive at all times. There is the sense that we should be able to eat the same things, do the same activities and feel the same way all day everyday without any fluctuations.
Some of the messaging includes:
- Ignore your menstrual cycle, don’t buy into the hype that it has an effect on you. That’s just a message to hold women back.
- Don’t talk about perimenopause because unless you’ve stopped having your period you’re not menopausal. The changes you’re experiencing are probably due to stress, or some external cause, or just in your head.
- If you take time for rest and self-care you’re selfish and unproductive.
- You don’t need to change your eating or lifestyle habits through the seasons, you should be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want and be healthy. Ice cream in the dead of winter – why should that be a problem?
These are just a few examples of the messaging I’ve received and seen, as recently as today, around natural cycles.
The truth is that we are nature. You are nature, I am nature. As such, we are beholden to nature’s cycles, just like everything else in the natural world.
These cycles include:
- Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter or Rainy/Dry
Reflecting on these cycles, do you truly believe that you should feel and act the same throughout? Or that they don’t have an effect on your body and mind?
Would you tell a tree that it’s lazy and selfish for letting go of its leaves in winter to rest? Or be mad at tulips for growing only in the spring? I mean, you can do and feel these things, but it’s not going to do you any good except to make you suffer.
We as humans think we can outsmart nature with artificial light, night shifts and the incessant drive for productivity. The result? High rates of illness in folks who work night shifts over many years, higher rates of anxiety and depression across the board, the current pandemic and climate change.
Our drive to separate ourselves from nature and the cycles of nature is having an effect and it’s not pretty.
Because of our connection to our menstrual cycle, women have a deep lived experience of the effects of cycles on the body and mind. Unfortunately we’ve also absorbed the messaging that cycles, especially menstruation, are something to hate, resist and push through.
When I have enough awareness, I can use tools that I’ve learned through Ayurveda to create a new context for the fluctuations between tornado and sack full of stones.
Ayurveda is based on the premise that we are nature and that optimal health (mind and body) is a result of cultivating self-awareness and syncing our diet and lifestyle habits with nature’s cycles. It’s powerful stuff that’s right there in front of us all the time. The key is to embrace it, not resist it.
Here are 5 self-care practices to help you flow with your cycles:
- Pay attention to cycles. Stop pretending that they don’t exist or have an impact. What we resist persists so stop making it hard for yourself and stop buying into the false belief that you should feel and act the same all the time.
- Listen to your body and mind and give yourself what you really need. Rest when you need to rest, move when you need to move. Be willing to give up certain activities at certain times when your body calls for it. This doesn’t make you weak, it makes you wise.
- Tailor your diet and lifestyle according to the seasons, and your unique constitution. Study the seasons and notice what healthy foods your body is craving. Stop ignoring your cellular intelligence and start listening.
- Accept yourself just as you are in this moment, listen deeply and take action from there. Stop comparing yourself to what others are doing right now and drop all ‘shoulds.’
The combination of awareness and acceptance is powerful. It has changed my life and optimized my health, and I know it can do the same for you. If you’d like to guidance and coaching on how to flow with nature’s cycles to become the healthiest you, I invite you to join my Fall Wellness Circle. Click Here to learn more. The last day to register is September 17th.