To benefit yourself and the planet
Advice on tuning in to your body's rhythms to find a deeper connection with the earth.
by Aimie Duggan
“As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul…”
― Hermes Trismegistus
I believe that we as humans have lost touch with the natural rhythms of the planet. We’ve become detached from our true nature and long forgotten what our ancestors honoured: that we are all cyclical beings on this wonderful planet we call home.
'Tracking when your energy levels ebb and flow, and how that correlates to the waxing and waning of the moon, is also a great way to develop your connection with universal rhythms.'
A way I love to rediscover this connection to my body, and the planet, is through tracking my menstrual cycle. For those that don’t bleed, tracking when your energy levels ebb and flow, and how that correlates to the waxing and waning of the moon, is also a great way to develop your connection with universal rhythms.
What is meant by ‘cyclical’?
Depending on the time of year, and your location on the earth, the planet experiences different phases. These change as the earth moves around the sun, shifting the tilt of its axis. In temperate and sub-polar regions, this creates four-season cycles. In Winter all is bare, in Spring life begins to emerge, in the Summer months environments become wild and untameable, before Autumn arrives to soothe it again.
Animals also move in synchronicity with these rhythms, from great migrations to extended hibernations. Without respecting these different phases, it is easy to see how the planet and its fauna, flora and animals would not survive – never mind thrive.
'We have forgotten that there are times to honour rest, stillness and recovery, as well as times to hustle.'
Yet we live in a society that abandons this cyclical nature, and favours “doing”, instead of “being”. This way of moving through the world pushes back against the earth’s seasonal nature and creates friction when it comes to the health of our planet as well as our individual and collective wellbeing. We have forgotten that there are times to honour rest, stillness and recovery, as well as times to hustle.
So, how can we move back into a mindful relationship with the planet? It’s essential that we cultivate a mindful relationship with ourselves. And even better? We can use the cycles of the moon orbiting the earth to do it.
How to connect to your natural cycles:
It wasn’t too long ago that I was tired, overwhelmed and struggling with chronic physical pain. My unhappiness triggered a mental health crisis. Thankfully, I was able to channel this energy into one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences in my life to date: a shift in consciousness.
After this, I realised that I needed to form a deeper connection with my own internal rhythms, so I could move through the world in a way that feels natural for me. It has been this journey of healing, recovery, and self-discovery that has drawn me to healing modalities such as menstrual cycle awareness (and many others!).
This way of connecting to the body is great for those of you who menstruate, as it provides a metric for you to track your emotions, thoughts, and physical energy, which shift depending on what season of your cycle you are in. It was fascinating to learn that as the body goes through hormonal fluctuations, so do our physical, mental, and emotional states.
From what I've learnt, I’ve come to imagine that there are four distinct seasons of this cycle, which I call: Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.
Menstruation occurs in Winter and is typically days 1 - 4 of the cycle, though this can vary from person to person. This is when estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest. These are the hormones responsible for regulating growth and replacement of the lining of the uterus, but also affect things like mood, weight and energy.
When in Winter, it is time to pause, take the rest that is needed and embrace stillness where possible. I know this is difficult, especially in a society that values 24/7 productivity over well-being, but the aim at this point is to move more slowly than you normally would. For instance, you could give yourself more time to get ready in the morning, or avoid committing to new responsibilities for this period.
Spring sets in post bleed, around days 5 – 11, when estrogen levels have started to rise again. This is a time of re-emergence. It’s often associated with a rising feeling of excitability. Imagine the feeling of finally fulfilling some long-awaited plans, such as travelling, or going on an adventure with a new love; that is Spring. Exciting? Yes. Vulnerable? Also, yes. Much like the environment in Spring, life is still fresh and you, the bud, are still yet to fully bloom.
Summer arrives next, as does ovulation (in lunar terms this is typically at the full, or new moon) and this is what I see as the season of self-celebration, and embodying who you are shamelessly. It is the perfect time for social events, work-related hustling, as well as juicy, sensual self-pleasure and sexperiences. It is this stage, roughly days 12 - 18, that we can be constantly on the move.
Autumn arrives shortly afterwards, and for some this can feel like a welcome release from the intensity of Summer. This is the phase of what I call: The Inner Bitch. Those who experience PMS might dread this season: say hello to irritability, sensitivity, bloating and cravings galore!
Although this season has a bad rep, it is great if you want clarity on an issue in your life. Autumn will show you exactly what needs to be changed, and how. My personal warning: make sure to use your powers of discernment wisely and chew those thoughts over until your next Spring before you make any rash changes.
'Take time out to rest either on the new moon or full moon'
For those of you who don’t have a menstruation cycle, but would like to form a deeper connection to this way of cyclical living, you can still tune into the lunar cycle. Take time out to rest either on the new moon or full moon – depending on where the body feels naturally most energised, or depleted.
Use the waxing or waning moons to either start new projects or to finish them, as this is a productive way to make use of excess energy. Again, this is all about tuning into your body and noticing how you’re feeling on what day.
A practical way to strengthen this connection to yourself and the shifting tide of the planet is to create a journal practice around it.
Make a note of where the moon is placed, e.g. New Moon
Beneath this write 3 headings: Body, Mind, Emotions
Write how you feel underneath each one
Keep this practice for two months & and notice the similarities! After 2 months of this practice, you should be able to discern where your natural Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn fall roughly, but with more tracking you’ll soon work out your own rhythm more accurately!
The more we deepen the connection we have to ourselves, the sooner we will reconnect to the truth that what is internal, is also external. As we shift collectively back to this cyclical way of being in the world, we not only form a deeper connection with our bodies and ourselves, but begin to understand and appreciate the natural world in a reverent way.
Aimie (she/her) is is a period and sex positive advocate for self-care. When she's not talking about periods, you can find her exploring tarot, her dual-heritage roots, coaching clients intuitively and embracing the power of play!