Have you ever gone through a phase where you just didn't want to make love or workout, or do much of anything? You let things slide, like, that regular yoga practice you started a few months ago and you'd rather "Netflix and Chill" than book yourself in for that spin class you couldn't get enough of back in January.
Then there are times you feel like crying ALLLLL the time. Every time you look on Instagram you feel a wave of envy come over you as you start comparing your success, your life, and your body to the people you follow. You logically know everyone is just sharing their highlight reel, but you can't help but feel like everyone else's life is better than yours. Anxiety is running high and your self-esteem is running low.
What about those days where you're ready to make a change? You want to take on a new challenge and you've got ideas flowing faster than you can write them down. You're feeling ready for action and you can't wait to get started.
And then there are those times when you're feeling CRAZY energetic. You're crushing goals and attracting opportunities like the badass rockstar you know you are. You're on top of your game and feeling freaking AWESOME.
I'm going to guess that you've probably experienced some form of each of the above and I'm also going to guess that you've put some pressure or expectation on yourself in the past to live in the latter two scenarios over the first two. You value feeling on fire, creative and on top of your game.
I want to let you know that you're not alone.
We've all been there. In fact, our culture VALUES our constant flow of creative ideas, our big dreams, our goal crushing, and our magnetism. This is pretty much the definition of success.
Whenever we find ourselves in scenarios 1 or 2, there's a misconception that something's gone wrong. We're not doing something right, and there must be a problem.
My question for you is - is there a problem with the moon when it's not visible in the night sky or not at its fullest?
Is there a problem with the trees when the leaves fall off?
Or, when the temperature dips and snow covers the ground instead of the lush green grass?
Of course not! We have ZERO issues with the cycles of nature yet as humans we've managed to cut ourselves off completely from our own natural flow of energy!!
As women, with very obvious cycles, we've created a cultural dialogue that favours our expressive ovulatory phase over our more emotional, contemplative, and reflective menstrual phase. How often do you see cultural memes around women's premenstrual or menstrual phases that depict us as humourless raging b*tches?
I'm here to tell you that it's not a problem with you. It's the moon. And everything else in the natural world.
Your cycle is natural, normal, expected and has a timeline of its own.
You may follow the moon, you may follow the seasons, you may follow your menstrual cycle. You may find there are seasons throughout your entire life.
Once you see yourself in the cycle of nature, you'll see that you are continually flowing in and out of these seasons.
Sometimes it's predictable, like your menstrual cycle, the moon, and the seasons.
And, sometimes your seasons are not predictable at all.
What is true is that YOU HAVE SEASONS and that your entire life will be better if you honour them!
Here's a quick rundown of each season, what you can expect to feel while you're in it, along with how you can better take care of yourself through it.
(Please note that Kate Northup's book "Do Less" outlines how these phases play out for women in business and life if you'd like more information. I've gathered my own understanding from both Kate + my teacher, Layla Martin, and have combined their teachings with my personal observations of myself and my clients/students)
Spring - Waxing Moon - Follicular Phase - Birth to Childhood - Birth of a Creative Idea
This is the time of rebirth and renewal. Provided you've replenished during the previous two seasons, you'll emerge here feeling rejuvenated and alive. This is a great time to try new things, go on adventures, start a new habit, or take a risk.
Summer - Full Moon - Ovulation - Childbearing Years - Launch of Creative Idea
This season is the one we most expect to stay in ALL THE TIME. This is your fullest expression, your most energy, your most highly magnetic time. Communication is easeful and clear. Dive in fully and enjoy this time! This is a great time for making babies, magnetizing opportunities, writing, communicating, teaching workshops, exploring, playing and expressing.
Fall - Waning Moon - Luteal Phase - Older Adulthood - Post Launch
Time to start slowing down. During this phase, you'll probably feel more emotional, reflective and your shadow side might surface a bit more. This is a time to release and let go, spend time in contemplation and give yourself more time to do things while also resting and taking time for self-care. This is a good time to cut back on social media because you might find yourself going into comparison mode and struggling with your emotional response to what you're consuming in your feed.
Winter - New Moon - Menstruation - Death or In Utero - Deep Rest
Rest rest rest. This is where everything can slow down and you can rest easy. Ensure you eat nourishing foods, and take lots of time to take really good care of yourself. A restful winter can ensure a more plentiful spring. Some women feel very powerful during menstruation and so I'll encourage you to experiment with how you're feeling. During this time your left and right brain are balanced making it a great time to do your bookkeeping or activities that require looking at and analyzing data.
Here's the thing.
If you force spring or summer as your constant state of being you will end up stuck in winter. You will burn out because you have not honoured the natural ebb and flow of your energy. Forcing yourself to be in summer mode when you're fully aware that it's time to hibernate (ie Netflix and Chill) is going to result in illness, depression, anxiety, lack of desire, lack of passion and a perpetual winter.
I recognize the obvious privilege inherent in this and I want to say that our culture is NOT SET UP for honouring our cycles. The reality is that most of us can't take 5 days off work every month, or take time to rejuvenate after finishing a big project because there are bills to pay and mouths to feed. I get it. That's why it's on you to take responsibility for yourself and your own energy through observation and a solid self-care practice.
You've got to become aware of this and you've got to go easy on yourself as you flow from season to season. I love how Kate Northup describes honouring your cycles as flowing with the current rather than against it. Once you know this information you can check in with yourself daily. What's my energy like? How am I feeling? Do I really need to say "yes" to this opportunity? Is next week the BEST time to launch my next project or should I wait a week?
Know when you need to add in more self-care, know that it's okay to not be full-on, full-tilt every single day. Know when you're the most magnetic and capitalize on that time - reel in ALLLL the opportunities with your full power turned on!!
And, when you're in doubt about resting or taking it easy. Look at nature and how she gets everything done at her own pace, in her own way. There's no rush - trust in yourself and your body as much as you trust that the sun will rise every day at just the right time.
Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments! I'm in creation mode (yay springtime energy) and your thoughts on this topic would help me make something really amazing to help you navigate your seasons with some solid support and practices.