One of my favorite things in the whole world is planning. I love planners and calendars and writing out details and lists for my future self.
And because of that, I love setting goals.
I also love growth.
I love a lot of things, apparently.
Every year I talk about how the New Year is my favorite time. It's a time of new beginnings, letting go of bad habits, adopting new ones, deciding how you'll grow, setting new goals....
Which means it can also be overwhelming.
That's a lot of change all at once.
Trying to figure out what you want for an entire year can be hard. That's a long time. A year is a long cycle. I want shorter ones.
I tried for a long time to just set monthly goals instead, treating each new month as a new start.
That didn't work.
For whatever reason, I just could not wrap my head around it.
But then I found the moon.
Following the moon cycles
When I first started playing with the idea of living by the moon, I was very skeptical. I figured it would go the same way my monthly goals did... terribly.
But I decided to give it a try anyway.
My very first moon cycle, I set my intentions with the new moon.
How do I want to grow? What do I want to accomplish?
Because of my love of goal setting and resolutions, this part came easily to me.
From there, I used the moon phases as a map, guiding me through achieving the things I set out to do. I planned and prepared. I worked towards my intentions.
And at the full moon, I celebrated my successes.
Because we set intentions with the new moon and celebrate with the full moon, that means there are only two weeks (roughly) to get the work done.
Two weeks to focus really hard.
And isn't that about how long most new year's resolutions last, anyway?
Follow the moon to avoid burn out
After my celebration, I continued to reap the benefits of all my work, and then started winding down, released what no longer served me, and spent time in rest and reflection.
Before starting all over again.
There's no time to get burnt out
The beautiful thing about following the moon in this way is that is allows for rest.
I haven't felt burnt out since I've aligned with the moon cycles.
Because you spend two weeks working hard, and then the next two winding down and resting, it's a natural restorative cycle. The moon reminds you to practice self-care.
My natural rhythms align with the moon cycle
But the perks of following the moon don't just end with the increased motivation and reminders to focus (or rest).
I've found it goes much deeper than that.
The longer I stay in line with the moon and it's phases, the more I notice how it's mirrored in my own natural rhythms.
During the waning moon, I typically feel tired, without even realizing where the moon is. The rest and introspection it brings is exactly what I need.
How wild is that?
And I've found that often during the waxing moon, leading up to the full moon, that is when I am at my most creative and highest energy. Perfect for getting work done towards my intentions.
Learning how my own rhythms and moods reflect the moon and using the moon as a guide for when to work and when to rest has been an amazing journey.
I feel that I am more in sync with myself.
I feel more in tune with my physical and emotional needs.
Breakdown of the moon phases
I'm sure we all remember our moon phases from middle school science, right?
I didn't. At all.
* hangs head in shame *
I've always loved the moon. I think it's fascinating. So when I got the chance to dive back in to learning the phases and what each one represents, I was pretty excited.
Ok, really excited!
What I found was that there is a certain flow to the moon cycle. Each phase naturally flows into the next (obviously), but so do the energies and themes of each phase.
Which made following the moon even more natural.
I don't "celebrate" every phase of the moon. There are several I just lump together. But I take time to recognize at least 5 significant points in the moon's cycle.
The new moon is the beginning of a new cycle. So naturally this is a time to start fresh. I celebrate the same way I would New Year's; I set my intentions for the coming cycle.
I think about how I want to grow, what I want to accomplish, and what I want to attract into my life.
And I write it all down.
There is a power in words, and I believe there is something magic about writing those things down.
And it's fun to look back at the end of the cycle to see how many intentions became truths.
The first quarter moon is a time for action! Really, I use the entire time from the new moon until the full moon for pursing my intentions. But I break it down a little.
The first quarter moon signals a shift.
In the days before the first quarter, I am planning and preparing. I spend time figuring out exactly what I need to be doing and how to turn my intentions into truths.
I make a plan.
And at the first quarter, I act on that plan.
From then until the full moon, I am full speed ahead, making things happen.
The full moon is when I celebrate my accomplishments.
The weeks and days leading up to the full moon are my busiest. Those are the days I focus and work really hard.
And the full moon is a celebration of that.
I get to look back and rejoice at how much I've accomplished in such a short time.
Celebrating wins is so important for staying balanced and motivated. It's important to acknowledge and reward yourself for what you've done instead of just rushing on to the next thing.
I have always been bad about actually celebrating my wins.
Following the moon, I have a monthly reminder to stop what I'm doing, and appreciate myself and what I do.
It's a time to look at how all my hard work has paid off.
Just like the first quarter moon represents a shift from planning to taking inspired action, the last quarter signifies another shift.
The last quarter moon is when I shift from an attitude of celebration and gratitude to a time of reflection and releasing. The last quarter signals change.
As I enter the last portion of the lunar cycle, I spend time thinking about what worked well, but also what didn't work.
This is a time of releasing what no longer serves me.
It's a time of change, evaluating what didn't work, letting go of what held me back, so that I can move forward in the new cycle.
The first quarter's introspection leads naturally into the time of rest brought by the balsamic moon.
This moon phase is a great time for self care.
The themes of the balsamic moon are rest and reflection. It's a time to build up your energy for the new moon cycle.
During this time, I make sure I get extra self-care, and I really slow down on the amount of work I do around the house.
I get intentional about taking it easy.
That is so important. Rest is necessary. Especially after working so hard at the beginning of the cycle. We need to take time to rest, rebuild our energy, and be ready for when it's time to work again.
Rest is what keeps us from getting burnt out.
And during this time of rest, I reflect on what I've learned and how I've grown. And I use that growth and the lessons I've learned as guidance when thinking about what my intentions will be for the coming new moon.
The moon gives us a beautiful cycle to follow.
Each phase and it's themes flow naturally from one to the next, giving us exactly what we need to encourage growth.
And how stinking cool is it to have a reminder in the night sky of where your focus should be and keep you motivated towards your goals?!
I'm aware that following the moon may not be for everyone, but if you're looking for something to help keep you focused and grounded, this is it.
I've become more aware of myself, more aware of my surroundings, and more aware of my own growth.
It's centered me in a way I never thought it would.