Find an easier, more sustainable, more feminine productivity groove by switching to the natural calendar

Writer’s note: This post is the second in a series of posts exploring the natural calendar as a more easeful planing tool for women. Last week in the first installment, we looked at why biorhythms are a powerful, more harmonious way for women to get things done in tune with their bodies.

Happy New Year …. in March! We’re two days away from the Spring Equinox, which is also known as the astrological new year.

If that term “astrological” freaks you out and makes you think of fortun tellers and crystal balls, then think of it as the beginning of the “agricultural year”–the start of the planting, nurturing, harvesting, resting cycle that farmers have used since the dawn of time.

I adopted this calendar about two years ago, and it’s been one of the best changes I ever made. When I ran my own business I ran by this calendar. Now that I am working in someone else’s business again for a season, I of course have to run by the western calendar at work. But in terms of my own goal-setting and productivity at home, this is my new year.

Why would I adopt a calendar that feels so “radical” compared to how the whole rest of our whole world is set up?

It’s simple. Because the natural calendar honors my God-given feminine body, feminine way of knowing and feminine wisdom.

We’ll talk about feminine energy more another day … but for now, suffice to say that feminine energy is earthy, it is in-the-moment and it is tied to the body. This is why I believe Satan attacks so many women with sexual trauma, body shame issues and even physical assault–because the more disconnected we become from our bodies, the harder it is for us to live in the glorious natural rhythms and full internal power that is our birthright as women.

Because women are more “earthy” in our orientation and more intuitive about what’s going on around them (versus men who are more stuck in their heads …. sorry, guys!), our bodies natural pick up on the energy cycles of the universe.

Our monthly menstrual cycle is just one example; if healthy, it roughly mimics the lunar cycle. Many women I know also “just know” that something is happening even before they get confirmation–and they’re often right.

For this reason, we’re super attuned to the energy cycles of the season. And yes, the seasons do have them. Energy begins to cycle upward again at the winter solstice, but it’s really not until spring that we can ride that energy planting the seeds of something new. In the northern hemisphere, days get longer, people are outside doing more, and general life runs at a higher pace, with this pace climbing all the way through the summer solstice. Then it begins to fall again. By the autumnal equinox, we’re harvesting what we planted back in spring, and then by the winter solstice our bodies are demanding slumber during the coldest, darkest days of the year.

Come Spring Equinox, the cycle starts all over again.

The general idea here is to treat your schedule–your home improvement projects, your business, your vacations, your goals for your children, etc.–like a field you’re planting. Drop the seeds into the soil and water well in spring. Cultivate during summer. Begin to harvest the fruit of what you’ve sown in the fall and REST REST REST during the winter.

Your body already craves this. Think about how much more energy you have when it’s light later outside, and how hard it is to get out of bed at 5 AM when it’s snowing outside and dark until 8 AM.

Even here in the Arabian Desert where I live, I feel my energy spiking up HIGH now that it’s still light when I’m leaving work at 7 PM … even though the temperature has been moderate and every day has been sunny, all winter long.

So based on this cycle, it’s actually New Year coming up on the 21st of March. This, for me, is the time to commence new things, to create resolutions (which I prefer to call “intentions”–will share more about that next week), and to general increase my activity level around fresh goals.

And I absolutely love it. I ride the energy wave through the summer, begin to round things up in the fall and then have permission to take a breather in the winter when my body actually demands it.

And that’s the key: when my body actually demands it.

So much of modern life is a denial of our bodies, a denial of our natural way of working and our intuition. You might say that modern life in general is an assault on women’s ways of knowing.

Masculine energy is very much aligned toward the four-quarter business system on our traditional calendar that starts in January. Masculine energy “pushes through” no matter what the season. Masculine energy makes decisions from head, not body, and is, in general, oblivious to what is going on in the cycles and seasons of the universe.

This was not always the case. In the past, both masculine and feminine wisdom were necessary for everyone to survive, in a sense. Not so anymore.

But to live on the masculine calendar is, for me as a woman, to frustrate and grieve myself unnecessarily with work patterns that aren’t a fit for me. It leads to so much self-loathing, unhappiness and exhaustion.

In releasing that, I have found so much joy.

So what does it actually look like when I set intentions at the Spring Equinox and then begin to implement them? I’m glad you asked. We’ll tackle that next week.

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Have you as a woman ever used the natural cycle or agricultural calendar to run your year? What did you find by embracing this ancient way of working?

As The Moon Goes: Biorhythms in Creativity

Writer’s Note: This post is one of many I’m sharing from a blog I wrote several years ago called The Scrappy Storyteller. Though the blog is no longer live, I’m sharing select posts here, as a part of my quest to reconnect with and celebrate past iterations of my creative self. This post is also the 1st of 3 to explore natural planning and cycles in advance of the astrological New Year on March 21st.

Maybe in the rush of modern life, we’ve lost some vital knowledge about how to order our lives for maximum peace and productivity. It’s time to find our natural rhythm again.

Last week I wrote about the creative power of resting from our labors once in awhile.

Creative hibernation is a practice I plan to make every winter from here on out.

Hibernation, after all, is part of a kind of yearly cycle, and one toward which most of us have long lost our sensitivity. The modern pace of life (not to mention 24/7 luminescence through electric lighting) encourage us not to listen to our bodies or the natural cycles our ancestors followed for thousands of years.

Another of these prominent cycles is the lunar cycle.

It hit me recently that natural rhythms, especially the rhythm of the waxing/waning moon, probably have a lot of insight to share with us about how we work most effectively. Yet I’ve never heard anyone speak about this rhythm (or any rhythm, in fact) in terms of creative production. And I know very few people that actually plan their lives around them.

That’s about to change.

Recently I started researching the lunar calendar, specifically for how I can use it as a planning tool to bring my business and my art in harmony with them. Upon reflection, I have come to that believe these rhythms were set up by God for us to follow, for our own benefit. We learn so much else from nature. Why not this?

One of my early finds for taking this step was this lovely Moon Calendar for Entrepreneurs by Pink Elephant Academy:

This year, I started to plan my business activities (and now my art too) using this calendar. Then I made my own (as you can see above).

I’ve already noticed a difference.

Instead of running around willy-nilly, I plan at the time of the new moon and then unfold those plans day by day, ordering my activities by how “old”the moon is, which is roughly in harmony with the chart above. Some believe this practice has an astrological or magical power; I merely think it’s a smart way to live in greater harmony with God’s creative plan.

I have also found that my energy levels wax and wane in very similar fashion to the way they’re described on the guide above. This has helped me understand myself more and not get frustrated when my energy is ebbing.

For example, the New Moon was January 9/10, so I set rested and set my intentions around that time. This past week during the Waxing Crescent, I executed the plan: a robust series of actions that “launched”those intentions into their first stage.

Once the Full Moon hits, it will be time to tie up loose ends, wrap up projects and “reap the harvest” of what was planted, until planning and executing starts again.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of this new kind of scheduling is that it gives order to my month. (Kind of the point of having a rhythm anyway, right?) Instead of frenetically executing with little planning, I have a planned series of ups and downs, activities and rest.

It feels far less like pulling teeth. And a lot more, well, natural.

I suppose that’s why they call it “natural.”

The one challenge I have found is that my clients and friends don’t follow this cycle, so getting work scheduled during the right time of month is challenging. In the future I’ll probably stipulate that certain kinds of work happen at certain times, for best results, as part of the initial contract terms with new clients.

We’re not there yet, of course . . . but this is baby steps. Right?

By now you may be thinking I’ve gone totally off the “deep end.” But lest you think I am totally alone in this, I have heard more discussion rising recently around biodynamics and biorhythms. These rhythms and dynamics might involve something like the lunar cycle, which I’m currently using. They might involve something more personal: tracking one’s individual, unique physical, emotional and intellectual cycles over the passage of time.

Imagine knowing yourself at a much deeper level—being able to plan activities and gauge your own capacity for performance by wherever you are in your own established cycle!

Maybe we’d all have smarter expectations of ourselves.

Maybe we’d all be a little bit kinder to ourselves.

Maybe even a bit more successful.

As one writer notes:

“Much has been said recently about the importance of women’s leadership at this time and that the leaders of the future (whether male or female) will embody what we think of as “feminine” qualities.  In my view, a powerful fast track to embodying feminine leadership is working consciously with the rhythms of the moon.”
Liz Rivers

While I’m not yet convinced this is some kind of “fast track,” I am observing through my own experience that there is something to be said for the peace and progress it brings.

I’m excited to see where this new exploration takes me in the lunar cycles ahead.

In fact, I’m over the moon about it.

*  *  *

How about you?  Have you tried biorhythms or biodynamics
as a planning method for your life or creative work?
If so, what has been your experience?