The Cycle of Life/Happy New Year!
The time between the Winter Solstice and New Year’s Day has long been held as a time of letting go of the old and preparing for the new. It serves as a formal reminder of the opportunity to practice this lesson, which is encapsulated in the chant of “AUM”.
Most people think “AUM” is spelled “OM”. But the three letters of AUM actually represent the cycle of life: A – is the creation, U – is the manifestation and M – is the destruction. And then the cycle starts all over again. Interestingly, these vowel/letter sounds also create a loop in your mouth; the “A” sound is located at the front of the palate just behind your front teeth, the “U” sound is located in the middle of the palate and the “M” sound is located at the back of the throat.
The cycle of life repeats itself everywhere, in many ways: an inhale-exhale, a 10-minute conversation with a friend, or a 50-year marriage. It reminds us that everything has a beginning, middle and end. It reminds us that everything is temporary (both the “good” and the “bad”). It reminds us that to allow new things into our lives, we must make space by letting go of something. As Brenda often says, “You have to empty yourself to be filled.”
If you remember that every person, situation or event is a mirror to help teach you about yourself then those mirrors also include lessons about your ability to cope with change and navigate these ever-present cycles. Are you someone who dreads change and goes kicking and screaming, or do you embrace the new? Do you respond differently if you did not “ask” for the change?
When I think about those who try to avoid change, I always remember something Bruce Lipton, PHD said in his book, “The Biology of Belief.” He said that single cells can be used as a metaphor for the whole individual. When a single cell is in a “safe” environment, it goes about its business of being a cell: taking in nutrients, generating energy, removing wastes, etc. When a cell feels it is in an “unsafe” environment, it will close off its membrane as a protective gesture and may be able to function that way temporarily, but eventually will wither and die if it cannot re-open its membrane to be permeable to the exchange of resources and waste from the world around it. So in essence, if you close yourself off to the process of life and change, you too, will wither and “die”. Your growth is stunted and you are stuck in the past, rather than living in the present and being open to the future.
On the other end of the spectrum are those who are racing from one goal to the next without stopping to acknowledge or enjoy what they have accomplished, or who are “doing” as a means of distraction. These individuals rarely feel satisfied or content in their lives. They may rack up many titles, awards or material goods, but have difficulty identifying what really brings them joy.
So I invite you to use this New Year to explore how you approach change/the cycle of life – what strategies are of service to you, and what might be in your best interest to change? I also invite you to take a moment to answer the following questions so that you can be more mindful of where you have been and where you want to go next:
· What did you accomplish or learn this past year? What are you grateful for?
· What would you like to leave behind in 2013?
· What are your goals and intentions for 2014?
· What brings you real joy?
I cannot promise you that all of your dreams will come true but I do hope that in striving towards your goals (of creating a family or anything else) that you find greater self-awareness, compassion, contentment and more ease in navigating the ever-changing cycles of life.
Sending you all many blessings for the New Year!