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  • Resilient Practice

Honouring Cycles and Rhythms

Updated: Sep 5, 2021

Cycles and rhythms are part of the human experience. We notice them in nature. Day turns to night and then back to day. As the seasons change, we receive more warmth and light, and then less again. The whole natural world responds in its budding, blossoming and dying off followed by budding anew.

Possibly the most poignant cycle for us is that of birth, death, and rebirth. In our human lives we can come to see death as an end, a finality that cannot be reversed. But for the Earth and everything that integrates with it, it is a different story. In terms of the physical, we are not gone. The material we are made of is as old as the Earth itself, constantly changing and coming up anew. In spiritual terms, there is widespread faith across human communities that we go on in some way. Those beliefs are deeply personal and individual but can provide great comfort when we are cast adrift.

Let us also not forget the Buddhist Law of Impermanence which teaches us that everything is transient, and that this too, can provide comfort when we are going through difficult times.

Our bodies also fall in line with this natural ebb and flow. Most obvious is the menstrual cycle, but there are many others. The digestion is a constant taking in, processing, and letting go. We are hungry, and then we are satisfied, and in due time, hungry again. Within our bodies there is constant renewal. A dying off and replacing of our bodies’ building blocks for life, the cells.

For every living creature there is breath. For those of us with lungs, the breath cycle is a beautiful way to consciously bring ourselves into the present moment by fully focussing on the process. This can also be enhanced with specific visualisation and intention. You can learn how to do this in detail from our book:

In her book “Lunar Living” Kirsty Gallagher likens the breath to the phases of the moon. She demonstrates a simple breathing exercise where we can take a ‘full moon’ breath in, pause, exhale, and pause and then repeat. We teach various breathing exercises and techniques on our courses and in our book, but we love aligning the breath with visualisation of the lunar cycles. We also like visualising the ebb and flow of the tides when we practise conscious breathing. Aligning with your breath is a perfect starting point for beginning any inner work.

The cycle of birth, death, and rebirth can be seen in all areas of our lives. In her book “The Creative Fire,” Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes describes the waxing and waning of our creativity as such a cycle. We are fuelled with ideas, intention, and energy until we become full to the brim, we undergo the process of creating something, we let go of it, and then we are empty. Then there is a pause, a latent period where we cannot create and where we are wise to rest. She goes on to discuss in detail how these concepts can be applied within relationships to love and other emotions.

Like our physical bodies, there is clearly ebb and flow of emotion in the human experience.

Here we share our own thoughts on how to find your centre when you are experiencing inward emotional turbulence:

It is clear the human experience is one of flow and change. We write more about harnessing flow here:

We cannot stay the same even if we want to, and while ever we are human, we will be influenced, not only by our own cycles and rhythms but those of others and also those of the vast world around us. This means that something that upsets us today may feel completely different tomorrow. We are wise if we ‘tune in’ to ourselves and the wider environment and harness our ‘high’ and low,’ our ‘full and empty,’ and the natural latent pauses that lie in between.

Try this:

Put aside a few moments during the day to connect with your own cycles and rhythms

A pause at the beginning of the day before you begin your tasks is ideal

Take your awareness to your breathing

Let its tidal quality be your signal to set your intention to align

As always, allow your breath to slow and deepen

And become conscious of the feeling of calm stillness

Of sacred space

That settles over you

Just at the right time

For you to perform this

Important act of self-care


Gently and slowly

Without judgement or analysis

Ask yourself:

Where is my centre?

(Gently place your hands at your centre and connect with it)

Where is my physical energy?

Am I full or filling up?

Am I empty or emptying?

Waxing, waning or resting?

Where in my body do I feel my emotions?

Am I full or filling up?

Am I empty or emptying?

Waxing, waning or resting?

Where do I feel my creative energy?

Full or Filling up?

Empty or Emptying?

Waxing, waning or resting?

Listening to and honour all the answers

Say to yourself:

I connect with my cycles and rhythms

Of my body, mind and spirit

I let them know that I am listening

And I honour them

I create when the vessel is filling or full

I let go and release when the time is right

I rest in the pause

In between my own physical, emotional and spiritual

Filling and emptying

I connect with the cycles and rhythms of the natural world

I honour the changes in season

I know when to plant

And when to cut back

When to water and feed

And when to leave fallow

I accept that those changes reflect my own birth, death and rebirth cycles

And I honour them

As a fully connected and integral part of the vast dance of the Universe

For more meditations with purpose, visualisations exercises and practical tools try 'How to Rise - A Complete Resilience Manual'

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