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The virtue of cycles — and how they affect us

23.11.21 4 min. read

At a glance: The virtue of cycles

  1. The sun and our internal clock
  2. The phases of the moon
  3. The cycles in our environment
  4. The virtues found in the cycle of life
  5. Concrete steps we can all take

 

The essence of nature is characterised by a series of ebbs and flows: coming and going, rising and falling, blossoming and withering... They’re easy to notice when it comes to talking about the passing of day and night or, say, the changing of the seasons. Yet where do we humans come into the picture? Quite often it feels like we don’t belong within these natural cycles, especially given how we’ve become increasingly connected to technology at any given time of day, month or year.

That said, we actually never stopped being a part of the whole picture. To ask ourselves to get out and connect with nature is a contradiction of sorts because we are, in fact, already a part of nature. It’s just something we tend to forget from time to time.

If we seek to be one with nature over the long term, it’s important to understand that life cycles are essential — both around us and within us too.

The sun and our internal clock

Nature’s most obvious pace-setter is the sun, which divides our day into 24 hours. We humans have evolved to internalise this rhythm — so much that we have our own internal clock: our circadian rhythms.

In a given 24-hour period, we experience our very own ups and downs, as our body, mind and behaviour changes at different times of the day. These fluctuations influence, among other things, when we eat, sleep and feel most active. Our highs and lows can shift depending on how we sleep, yet ultimately we all follow a similar pattern.

Light is important to re-calibrating our internal clock. Ever since the invention of the light bulb, we’ve had the opportunity to add more light to our daily routines, lest we mention the light glowing from our computer and mobile screens... Yet it’s really daylight that counts the most toward regulating our circadian rhythms.

Light intensity is typically measured in lux, which corresponds to the amount of light (lumens) that falls in a given square meter. Whereas typically indoor light only has about 400 to 500 lux, even a gloomy winter's day measures 3,000 to 5,000 lux, which is why it can be helpful to take a walk outside and recharge your batteries even on a cloudy or rainy day.

Living according to our natural internal clock can have extremely positive consequences, both physically and mentally. And should our body need downtime in the middle of the day, a Power Nap can be a wonderful way to get back in touch with our circadian rhythms.

The phases of the moon

Unlike the sun, when it comes to the moon, there’s not much consensus on how (if at all) it affects us humans. That said, there are indications of a possible connection between the full moon and poor sleep , as well as between the lunar cycle and our menstrual cycle .

Some believe that the moon’s potential influence over us might be greatest at night when we’re exposed to as few additional light sources as possible [1]. Picture how our ancestors must have felt when moonlight was their only source of light at night — or when it was the start of a new moon and the sky was a frightening pitch black.

The cycles in our environment

We don't just have to look at our solar system to see the cycles around us. These systems penetrate deep into our planet and affect our immediate surroundings too...

The seasons that come about through the inclination of Earth's rotational axis teach us about abundance in summer and patience in winter.

The seeds that become plants then grow and blossom, to release more seeds.

The water that always finds its way back to us, through evaporation, condensation, precipitation and collection, is ultimately what makes life on Earth possible.

The oxygen and carbon dioxide that both we and plants need to survive circulates in the air in a delicate equilibrium that we must preserve by taking responsibility for our actions in order to guarantee life on this planet as we know if for generations to come.

The virtues found in the cycle of life

And we ourselves operate in cycles too, with a strong character that’s subject to our own human nature — not only when it comes to the circle of life and death, but in the countless ups and downs and constant reinvention over the course of our lifetime.

It’s often only through painful life lessons that we learn to trust our own cyclical nature: When we’re young, each setback feels like the end of the world. Yet as we mature, we understand that, as the saying goes, ‘this too shall pass’.

This cyclical framing also applies to other, larger concepts, like learning from the people who came before us and following in their footsteps.

Understanding nature’s instinctive ebbs and flows can also provide us with serenity and confidence when we’re heading into a period of transition. It can be hopeful to know how even after a long winter, plants inevitably blossom anew and trees once again bear glorious, green leaves.

Concrete steps we can all take

Even the little things can be enough to remind us of our connection to nature. When cooking, for example, pay extra attention to local seasonal fruits and vegetables and how those rotate throughout the year. For those who have the chance to sow, plant and harvest their own produce, the experience can be quite grounding, literally.

Small observations can make a big difference as well. For instance, noticing how the tree in front of your house changes each day, each week or month. Or observing what the sky looks like every time you look up at it, even if it’s only through a window.

Of course, we all experience the cyclical nature of our own human nature when it comes to our menstrual cycle, which we feel not only physically but emotionally as well. Our CBD cream  The Hug is a terrific companion for when you’re on your period — and it goes without mentioning that it’s made with sustainable packaging .

References:

[1] Scientists prove the moon’s influence on humans
https://www.europeanscientist.com/de/von-der-redaktion-ausgewahlt/wissenschaftler-belegen-einfluss-des-mondes-auf-menschen/

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