Nature Transmissions

How to Discover the Ease of Cyclical Time

nature intuition nature rituals Mar 16, 2023
Ocean tides for nature rituals

Standing at the edge of the ocean, I am soothed by the infinite repetition of waves roaring and colliding against the sand. In an hour, the foam fingers of the swells will be high enough to reach the legs of my beach chair. In a few hours more, they will recede again, leaving a line of shells and seaweed along the shore. This cycle will begin again in a few hours, thanks to the gravitational pull of the moon.

The tide reminds me that time is not linear. Our society operates on linear time. We perceive time as having a beginning and an end. We are born at point A and we exist until we die at point B.

When we perceive time as linear, we expect progress to be constant and so pressure is applied on us to advance. Starting over is considered moving backwards in linear time. To start over is to “lose time.” Even rest, relaxation or resignation can be thought of as “lost time” because they are the antithesis of linear time, which requires a constant forward motion.

In nature, time is cyclical. A multitude of cycles layered together, causing spirals of time. There is the cycle of a day from sunset to sunset, of a month from new moon to new moon, of seasons from springtime to springtime and of lifetimes from birth to death to rebirth.

Each season of the solar cycle, trees lose their leaves, grow new ones, until those brown, and release again. Each lunar cycle affects the direction the sap flows in the tree and the amount of growth it receives in a week. When a tree falls, it becomes a nurse log that creates the perfect environment for new life to grow. When one cycle ends, another begins.

Consider how our body’s cells are constantly replicating and replacing themselves. Some parts of the body renew more frequently than others, but over time all the cells in our body are different than the ones we were born with. This cycle occurs within a multitude of cycles like the solar years and life cycle of our body. Age is not linear, but cyclical or more specifically a spiral.

Linear time is unnatural and a social construct. If we consider time as cyclical instead, then each moment is an opportunity to start again and with a fresh new perspective.

For example, consider the healing process. When we function in linear time then anytime we have a setback in our healing process, we feel defeated because we should be progressively getting better, otherwise we are failing to heal. Also, we feel like at this moment we should be in optimal health instead of understanding the cyclical nature of our body, which is not an upward climb to constant improvement, but an ever evolving state of being.

However, in cyclical time when our healing is delayed, we are given another opportunity to get better, to reevaluate what worked and what didn’t work with more wisdom, instead of feeling shame or disappointment. Our expectations are more realistic. We understand that our standards for health must shift with the shifts in our body and environment, such as hormones, sunlight hours and climate. This example can be applied to creativity, work, relationships, and many aspects of your life.

By applying cyclical time, we can release what no longer serves us when we have evolved out of it without feeling like we are inconsistent, flaky, or unreliable. Cyclical time allows us to start fresh whenever “the time” feels right to do so. Cycles are happening every moment, every day, every year. By recognizing and acknowledging these cycles, we can flow more easily like the ebb and rise of the tide, the trough and crest of the wave, the turning face of the moon.

How to practice cyclical time:

  1. Each day is a new cycle and a chance to start anew. When you awaken, do so with curiosity. What will the new cycle bring? When you go to sleep, clear the energy of the old day away, willing to start fresh tomorrow.
  2. Examine the cycles that have already occurred in your life, jobs, relationships, haircuts, etc. Notice patterns and evolutions (or even devolutions). Consider how you felt starting over again.
  3. Keep a journal and track the seasons. Do you notice that every winter you fall ill in late February or every summer you feel the need to travel in mid-July? What are the seasonal patterns in your life? How have they changed?
  4. What are you starting or ending in your life right now? How does it feel to see it as part of a spiral of cyclical time? Notice that there is a liminal space between endings and beginnings. Endings require grief and beginnings require planting seeds and setting intentions. This is a quiet time, a winter’s dark moon night. Does this shift the way you feel about it or how you choose to act?
  5. Celebrate the start or end of a new cycle in your life with a rite of passage, such as a solo walk
  6. Follow the moon. Track the moon throughout the month and create intentions every new moon to reflect on and reevaluate every full moon. If you want to do this with a community, join our “moon”thly New Moon Zoom Ritual!


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