A Post-it Note in the Sky
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A Post-it Note in the Sky

Dr. Terry Segal discusses Rosh Chodesh Nisan and sacred cycles.

Rosh Chodesh Nisan began at sundown on Thursday, March 26. This month is referred to in the Torah as chodesh ha-aviv, the month of spring, as it begins the season. In our history, two weeks before the Exodus, Hashem showed Moses the crescent edge of the new moon and set the time clock of the months and seasons on which we still run. From that time on, we’ve been given the opportunity to become aware of, and work with, these constant and sacred cycles.

Most people don’t pay attention to the phases of the moon but, in fact, it’s a mitzvah to sanctify the new moon. It was the first mitzvah given to our people of the newly formed nation of Israel.

Being mindful of the moon’s phases becomes relevant to us today, as a valuable tool for preventing burnout. Go outside, at least two nights a month, to observe the darkness of the new moon and the light of the full moon. You’ll not only ground yourself to the grid of Mother earth, but you can consciously entrain with the moon’s rhythms.

Entrainment refers to the alignment of an individual’s chronobiological, physical and behavioral relationship with the environment in which they live.

Chronobiology is a field of biology that examines the adaptation of living organisms to solar and lunar-related rhythms, like our circadian rhythms, that inform us when to sleep, awaken, eat, etc. We all know what it feels like to travel to different time zones and have to readjust.

When we consciously entrain, or match our rhythms to the cycles of the moon, we wax and move outward to shine brightly at the full moon and then wane, as we pull our energies back in to rest and restore through the new moon.

The moon is so much greater than a Post-it note to remind us to live in balance.

Whenever you’re reading this, look up the moon’s phase if you don’t already know it. Notice if you’re in the time of the waning moon that culminates in the new moon or the waxing moon that arrives at the full moon. If you’re in the two-week period through the waning moon then use this time for resting, restoring and planning. Go inward and evaluate where you’ve been wasting your energy or overdoing it, monitor your activity levels and plant the seeds of your next steps.

Get more sleep and be mindful of the patterns that take you off balance. Then in the next two weeks of the waxing moon, turn your inner light up, ready to shine with the full moon, and take action with your energy at its peak.

The female menstrual cycle parallels the moon cycles of ovulation, when the egg is ripe to be fertilized and propagate new growth, and the arrival of the period, when there is a release and sloughing off of matter that has not been used. The time of a woman’s period is often referred to as her “moon time.”

After you’re in the habit of heightening your awareness to the cycles of the moon and you learn to manipulate your energies so that they wax and wane, widen the lens to look at the larger picture of the passage of time.

For most of us, birthdays mark this passage each year. Are you in the group that celebrates your birthday with special trips, parties or dinner plans, or the group that says, “Oh, it’s just another day; I don’t count them anymore”?

When you’re mindful of the passage of time, rather than mourning it, celebrate by scheduling things you’d like to do or achieve.

Meditation Focus: Sit quietly and imagine yourself in each of the two contrasting phases of quiet introspection and full-blown action. Which one is more natural for you? Are you inclined to constantly be doing and running, over-scheduled and without time to think or check in with yourself? Conversely, maybe you spend a great deal of time alone or in a silent, contemplative mood. Make a plan for the next three months to practice living in the balance between the expression of these two opposing energies.

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