While we are thinking about the moon cycles, what are some other cycles that we should honor? Cycles exist everywhere in nature, but our society has gradually drifted from a way of living that is supported by its rhythms. We eat when should be digesting; we are awake when we should be sleeping; we speed up when should be slowing down; and we spend when should be saving. We crave and cultivate wealth, power and privilege, which creates a cycle of working to make more money to buy more material things that we hope will make us happy, but rarely ever really do.
This vicious, man made cycle is at odds with natural rhythms both in our world and within ourselves. For in the process of doing all of this we strip the earth of its resources and we pollute our air and water. Falling out of balance with nature’s cycles leads us to poor health and dis-ease. Those who feel or are disconnected from a vital source such as nature, family or community may overindulge in some manner to fill the void. Whether it is with food, drugs, sex or material extravagance, oSabverindulging inevitably leads to a never-ending cycle of fear and emptiness.
Here are some tips on paying attention to nature’s rhythms so that you can live a more balanced, skillful life:
- Observe your own Sabbath: Adopt a “Sabbath” ritual that includes rest, activity and community. This does not need to be a “religious observance.” Our body, mind and spirit benefit from one day every seven to slow down.
- Switch up your meals: Consume more at the onset of a meal, then see if you can slow down a little to digest and absorb your food. Eat less overall; many times we simply overwhelm our capacities.
- Hold off on the guilt: In order to keep your metabolism stable, make it a rule not to guilt your friends and family, and ask them to do the same! Emotional or physical stress induces a hormone releases which have significant effects on how our bodies function.
- Find Sunlight…Anywhere: Our body cannot produce Vitamin D without adequate intensity and quantity of sunlight. Besides artificial light options, a supplement of Vitamin D3 might be useful here as well.
It is ok to have a full plate, to some extent, as long as you regularly provide yourself with the opportunity for restoration. The question then becomes: what is required to do this effectively?
To begin, it is important to realize that very few people can achieve this quality of restoration without periodically disconnecting from technology and material life and intentionally reconnecting with family, friends, community and spirit. Some people actually have a daily practice of reflection, contemplation or meditation to do this. However, many others, perhaps most of us, do not adhere to a schedule of regular relief and only once or twice a year actually give themselves this opportunity–clearly, not often enough. The important thing is it has to be regular and reasonably frequent. Indeed, I believe our calendar actually guides us to this practice, yet few of us in our frenetic world actually manage to take advantage of it. I recommend that at a weekly ritual of restoration is what you need to regain and maintain balance.
Putting religious explanations aside, I believe the true wisdom of the Sabbath is that it is a time when regular activity ceases and you depart from the busi-ness of the rest of the week. Could a day to reconnect with family, friends, nature or the divine be enough to recharge your batteries? Historically, there is something profoundly important about honoring the periodicity that coincides precisely with the seven-day/quarter phases of the moon and probably suggests a more ancient appreciation of the seventh day. As we know, the moon has a substantial impact on the rhythms of life on earth-a fact that was well understood by ancient humans. Our modern language further reflects this in the words “menstruation” and “menses,” which come from the Latin mensis (month). Mensis relates to the Greek word mene (moon) and to the roots of the English words month and moon. Even more than the sun, the moon regulates the rhythms on earth.
The Sabbath day is an opportunity to renew and reconstitute, which helps prepare for the coming week’s challenges. Without even adding a religious overtone, this is a classic “day of rest,” which marks the culmination of the weekly cycle, in every sense of the word.