Here we are, folks, at the end and beginning of another cycle of the human-created year. A segment of time based on the real travels of this planet Earth as it moves around the Sun, the greatest star in our universal body (at least from our everyday perspective here on Earth.) A new dawn, a new Year.
Consider this for a moment, if you will: as I write this and (possibly) as you read this, our planetary home returns back to approximately the same place in its orbit of the Sun, the same general place in Space that it was a year ago as we ended 2017 and began 2018.
This cycle by our home planet, around and round the Sun, is a glorious and dependable pattern on which we rely, often without any thought to it. The planet is constantly in motion and, as its residents, so are you and I. The Sun and our relationship to it is a powerful force in our lives and each day - whether with intention or not - we interact with this great being from different perspectives as we dance around its metaphorical throne in the middle of our solar system. As far as most of us are concerned, the Sun does not change course: it is stable and constant. It is the basis on which we measure time. The relationship of the Sun and the Earth determines our seasons. We need its light every day just as we need time to recuperate in the darkness that our spinning in orbit gives us. And it is gravity, the thing that supports us and keeps us grounded, that allows us to maintain this orbit.
As you absorb all of this information, I invite you to add this to your thoughts as well: imagine yourself as a speck of cosmic dust riding on this body of Earth orbiting the Sun, and remember that even as you sit still, even while you read this, you are always moving through Space. Notice the sensory experience of this. (This exercise can be ungrounding, so before you move on please take care to return your attention to yourself as a physical presence resting on this big planet, securely held in place by gravity.)
Now, I invite you to layer in this idea: you, as an individual, started your personal dance around and with the Sun at the moment you emerged from the womb and have been doing it ever since. At that moment in time and in a specific place on the planet, you moved from your watery confines and entered into existence at a unique placement somewhere on this great elliptical pattern that is the Earth traveling around the core of our solar system!
When we each celebrate our individual birthday, we are not only celebrating the date of our birth, but we also have the opportunity to celebrate the unique place where we initially landed on the wheel of the year and started our cosmic rhumba with the Sun. Our birthday can be our individual relationship within this cycle of the Earth’s year dance, if we choose to consider it this way.
Likewise, when we celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day on Dec 31 and Jan 1, we are acknowledging the beginning and ending points of this annual cycle as determined by some human (a Roman guy, if my memory serves me!) Observant astronomers had determined that the length of this cycle was 365¼ days but it was Caesar who decided the point in the cycle on which the year would end and, as a result, begin.
In movement work we call this type of conceptualization a “phrase.” A phrase always has a From, a Through and a To. In other words, I can describe the movement of this new year as coming From the time and place of 12/31/18 and moving Through the 365¼ days To the time and place of 12/31/19 when we will once again find ourselves approximately in the same place in Space in relation to the Sun that we were previously…or, in this case, are now.
Within this phrase of a year, we have many phrases because all movement has phrasing.
Phrases that are general to all of us as part of this cosmic dance are those like the moon cycle of approximately 28 days, the day cycle of 24 hours, the hour cycle of 60 minutes and on and on.
In addition we are always living and choosing and moving phrases that are specific to us such as the unique phrasings of our daily tasks and events, of experiences we have, or actions we take, of each breath.
Within all this movement we are constantly invited to recognize where, when, what and how we are moving From some experience or place, Through something and Toward yet some other place, experience or thing. We are invited to recognize that we can choose how we conceptualize our movement, whether it is how we relate to the phrasing of the larger cycles of the Earth moving around the Sun, or other similar cosmic scale patterns or how we attend to the smaller, more personal phrases like how we move in our everyday life, in relation to our Self, in relation to Others and in relation to our environment.
Some folks consider the Sun as a metaphor for our Soul’s purpose such as in astrology where we have something called the Sun Sign based on the date and placement of our birth (as I described above). Regardless of whether you believe in astrology or not, I invite you to recognize that we all have patterns that often relate to or orbit around one Core issue or theme throughout our lives, even while we are also dealing with smaller, everyday challenges and joys. As humans, we get to explore, choose, resist, consider and/or engage this metaphorical Sun around which we orbit. Unlike the planets in their orbits, we get to choose about how we move our own bodily universe in relationship to itself and to its world. We get to consider whether and what we orbit as well as how and when.
For example, when I tell my story, when I wake in the morning, when I show up to a meeting, when I become aware of a conflict or any of the other things I do in a day, I have the ability to ask myself, “what is the core issue around which I am dancing or around which this group is dancing?” “what do I bring to this moment From the past or do I have an intention I am trying to get To?” “Is there a larger phrase that I am also moving through?”
I can wonder: Is this the beginning of a new cycle and if it is, then how was I as I moved Through the place or experience that I am coming From? Is this the end of something? If it is, where and when did this cycle begin?
We can, if we choose, attend to such questions as:
Is this where and how I want this body or this body part to be in this moment?
Am I using a pattern of movement, reacting in a familiar, safe way?
Is the quality, mood, or attitude of my movement in tune with my intentions?
Are my movements communicating what I desire to be experiencing or sharing in this moment?
Am I carrying a story or belief with me from the past into the present moment?
Is there something I desire to change in how I am moving in my thoughts, my emotions, my energy and/or in my physical body?
The reality is as living beings we are always in movement. Life is movement. Change is movement. Breath is movement.
The Earth moves through the Solar System. Autumn changes to Winter. December turns to January. Your birthday will come around once again. Yesterday becomes today and today becomes tomorrow. You wake from bed. Your return to bed. You live one day at a time. You breathe one breath at a time. All movement.
Things - such as body parts, bank accounts, traffic, your mind, your belly, your concept of time, trees, tulip bulbs, the electric bill, your anger, your satisfaction - grow. They get larger. They extend or widen, lengthen or bulge. They advance or rise!
Things shrink. They get smaller. They flex or narrow or shorten. They hollow, retreat or sink back to the Earth.
This is movement at its most basic.
Movement is what tells us we are alive. And as humans we can attend to the movement, to the phrases of each breath. We can notice our actions From the moment of a thought Through To where that thought takes us. We can be conscious of our choices as we phrase a moment, a day, a month, a year, a lifetime. We can ask ourselves the questions like the ones I listed above or below at any time:
Where am I in Space in this moment?
Who or What am I interacting with?
What pulls or pushes me to move from Stillness?
What parts of my delightfully complex and physically, spiritually, emotionally, cognitively-able body am I using to support me as I move?
What is the timing that works best for me?
How am I moving?
These are the kinds of questions we can use at any time to deepen our relationships with our Selves as living beings on a living planet.
We can ask these questions as cosmic specks of dust, sitting in stillness. Even as we attempt to be motionless or even passive, we can, if we choose, let ourselves wonder about our unique place on this big glorious ball of energy and substance as it dances it way around and around its bright-fire ball center.
And we can ask them as we move like we are our own universe, on it less predictable path through its own solar system with other planets, stars and cosmic dust! Dancing, spinning and moving our way around our metaphorical Sun, through our days of Light and of Dark, we can ask at any point as we journey and return, each hour, each moment, each breath, each phrase.
We might be tempted to believe, when we find ourselves in what seems like the same place once again, that nothing has changed and that we are stuck in an endless cycle, but this isn’t really possible. Something has changed because there is movement. When we find ourselves in a familiar place, following a well-known pattern and we recognizing all that is the same, we can also be curious and ask “how is this also different?”
Consider this: the dancer never does the same dance twice. The choreography might be the same, with actions and placement on the stage consistent for each performance. But each time the dancer moves that known series of phrases (s)he brings something unique and different to the experience in that moment - sometimes intentionally and sometimes not - because, simply, the body has no choice but to be only and always in the precious, always changing present moment supported by the planet Earth as it rotates it way around the Sun.
Happy New Year’s Day...on whatever day you might be reading this!
To view the source of the image used, as well as for more information on the motion and cycles of bright objects, please click here!