This past weekend I enjoyed some glorious time at the beach at California’s Half Moon Bay, with a couple of friends. I often used to go to this beach with my grandparents when I was a kid, and now, fortunately, it’s only about an hour’s drive from where I live. To honor those great memories, my friends and I shared a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken – I know, I know, not the healthiest of choices, but it is the perfect beach and picnic food!
It was terrific to be in nature, to hear the ocean waves crashing and feel the hot sand under my feet and between my toes. I thrilled to the icy water on my skin and the sparkling ocean air. It was rejuvenating on so many levels, both conscious and unconscious, and helped restore balance to my life.
I was reminded that much in nature parallels the rhythms that move through our lives. The tide comes in, and it goes out, comes in and goes out. This is just like our breath cycle, we breathe in, we breathe out. We hardly give this a thought. However, life is cycling through us at multiple frequencies, from those that are very short, as in breathing, to those that are longer, as in the path birth to death.
In this blog we’ll go a little deeper into the cycles of our lives and demonstrate that both expansion AND contraction are necessary and normal phases of being human. Being powerful and able to embrace all cycles and phases of your life is a major outcome of the Major Good Mojo System.
Read on and enjoy!
Surfing the Cycles of Life – The Tide Comes In and Goes Out
In the past, under the false belief that I should operate like a machine and produce results 24/7, 365 days a year, I struggled desperately to maximize my output and productivity. In frustration one day, I tried to figure out what, exactly, increased my energy and what decreased it. So I created a spreadsheet. I listed out about 15 or 20 different factors that I suspected had an impact on my energy level, things like amount of sleep, types and amount of food, water intake, caffeine intake, exercise, work demands, amount of outdoor exposure including sunlight, the experience of stressful or inspiring events in my life, etc., etc. I had it all on there. Then I set up a 6-month timeline and captured what I did each day and what I experienced in these areas. I then rated my energy level for the day on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 represented super low, basically dragging my ass through the day, and 5 was outstanding and amazing energy, where I effortlessly and magically moved through my day. (Don’t you love those days?)
You know what I discovered? No matter what I did, no matter how much demand there was on me, my energy CYCLED. There was a very pronounced weekly cycle, where on a pretty routine seven-day cycle I had two days of very high four or five-level energy, two days of very low, one or two-level energy, and about three days of average or three-level energy. I was blown away to see this cycle running through my life, REGARDLESS of how much caffeine I had, how good my diet was, how much sleep I was getting, or whether I exercised or not! No matter what was going on in my life and what I was doing, my energy levels were cycling in this sinusoidal-like fashion, from high through the middle ground, down to low, then back through middle ground, and up to high again.
Ever since then I’ve watched this– it is a feature of life itself! It’s reflected in the seasons: winter is low-energy season; summer is high-energy; and fall and spring are the transitional, or average-energy months. Energy comes up in the spring months, and falls in the autumn.
You can see these cycles in the dynamic of a day, as well. Energy is at its lowest ebb at night, whereas dawn sees energy rising. At midday energy is the highest, and then at sunset energy is decreasing, on its way back to the low point of the nighttime.
And you can also witness the phenomenon in your breath cycle. Most people think of the breath as only a two-phase process, in and out, but it’s actually a four-phase process when you include the two moments of transition between the in and out phases. So, when you’ve fully exhaled, that is the lowest energy point (equivalent to winter). Then there is the transitional moment when you stop exhaling and begin to inhale, where the energy turns and begins to go up (equivalent to spring). When you’ve inhaled and your lungs are full that’s the moment of peak energy (or summer), and then when you stop inhaling and begin to exhale the energy turns and heads back down (or fall).
My point is: Energy cycles, in the Universe AND in you. It expands and it contracts. And this is NORMAL. To the extent you are aware of this, you can be fully present in both the expansion AND contraction stages, to partner with it.
Note that it’s the contraction phase that we tend to resist. It feels like death to us, and we are afraid of death – we don’t like to think of or experience things dying, so we try to be busy ALL THE TIME. But we totally miss and disrespect the opportunity that the contraction cycle is: it is from the contraction that expansion can even take place. You cannot have one without the other, just as you cannot breathe in if you don’t breathe out.
The key is to be wise and aware of this expansion and contraction; we must recognize it is a normal and natural part of the path and of life itself. Because of this, you can embrace the contraction, knowing expansion is sure to follow. In the darker times of your life you can take comfort in the knowledge that change will follow. The tide goes out, and the tide comes in, the breath goes out and the breath goes in. If you pay attention you’ll see this pattern in YOUR life too, and you can be more powerful through all phases, resisting nothing and allowing it all.
To develop your capacity to see and embrace all cycles and phases of your life, I invite you to engage The Major Good Mojo System.
Your Major Good Mojo Assignment:
Reflect upon the nature of contraction in your life, or those times when the metaphorical tide is going out. Do you recognize and embrace these times in your life? Do you fear them? Do you cling to expansion, resisting the contraction and “trying to make things happen,” trying to make the tide come in when it is naturally going out?
Can you improve your ability to “be with” the times of contraction in your life? It is indeed possible. Just like you can be with your exhale, knowing and trusting that the inhale is right behind it. It’s a matter of awareness, trust, and allowing. You don’t have to make the tides come back in, they will come back in on their own. With conscious, trusting and allowing practice, they will come back in your life, as well.
Developing your ability to be strong during the contraction phases of your life is a major key to Major Good Mojo!