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The Pulse of Life

It can often seem to us that there is no order in the Universe. We look for reason and meaning in our lives, but regularly we come up short. The maps we have been provided fall astoundingly short of of  giving us reassurance that our feet are actually on the path and that the seemingly random circumstances of our daily lives have a pattern and a purpose. A multitude of philosophies and religions have been formulated to impose order on the chaos of our human experience, and either they work for you. Or they don’t.

For me, one of the most elegant and effective ways of peering into this abyss of sometimes contradictory and impractical explanations of how the world works is by observing some of the fundamental patterns in nature. In our culture, we have been trained to think that things happen in a straight line – cause and effect, beginning and end, now and then. This kind of linear thinking, while useful to our mind, which likes to compare, analyse, judge and fix, does nothing for our spirit. The limits which it imposes give us no room for our dreams, our ideals, and the web of connection we might feel with everything around us.

Nature rarely expresses itself through a straight line. Rather, it works through cycles. By noticing the ebb and flow of nature, we can come closer to feeling how these very same purposeful cycles work in varying fields throughout our experience. Despite the constant change, these natural fluctuations create a stable rhythm through which we build our lives.

Every one is familiar with the rhythm of night and day. Darkness turns to light and back to darkness again. While this can be expressed in a straight line, it is easy to see that it is more a constant flow of one state into another without end. This is more easily expressed as a circle, or a line that does not have a beginning or end. Within the cycle of night, we can see the moon waxing and waning. A larger cycle can be seen as the seasons flow into one another. It does not matter where you start. Spring turns into Summer, which turns into Autumn, which turns into Winter, and back into Spring again. During this larger cycle, the smaller cycle of night and day turns like a wheel within it.

Within the cycle of seasons we can observe the rise and fall of plant growth. Some cycle faster than others. A blade of grass goes through a cycle of generation, fruition and death within a season, while an oak tree takes a great  number of seasonal cycles to complete this pattern. The cycle does not end with the death of the plant, for after a period of stillness, the cycle starts again with a grass seed or an acorn.

Within our own bodies we have a number of rhythms and cycles that follow the same type of interwoven patterns. An intake of breath ends in an exhale, but begins again with another inhalation. Our hearts beat sending blood through the body and drawing it back to the heart again. We eat food, take nourishment from it, and then eliminate it, only to eat again. Our cells are created, die, and then regenerate. All these cycles are happening simultaneously, woven together, to create our most fundamental experience of life.

Despite the unpredictable nature of all the events we might experience, we can see the steady pulsing of different cycles through our lives. Friends come and go. So do pets, houses, jobs, hobbies, likes and dislikes. In the larger picture, empires rise and fall, continents are formed and crumble. Closer to home, we breathe in. We breathe out. And breathe in again to start the cycle anew. Attention to and appreciation of the myriad cycles can help us locate ourselves on our path, reassuring us that we are an important part of the great natural experiment all around us.

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About the Author: Janet Elson is a registered Jin Shin Do™ Acupressurist, Integrative Acupressure Therapist and a Certified Aromatherapy Health Professional (CAHP), with a background in Therapeutic Touch, Yoga, and metaphysical disciplines. She is a member of the Jin Shin Do™ Foundation for BodyMind™ Acupressure and Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists. Janet holds a BA English Honours and has enjoyed 20 years as a library professional.

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  1. Sedona says:


    I enjoyed this article
    and will print off

    Life sure does give us cycles

    I am a lover of life
    and try to keep mine balanced
    as possible

    Sedona 🙂


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