It’s been a wonderful week, starting with Beltane and a bank holiday, then some wonderful news for friends, then the realisation that this time last year I attended Keris Stainton’s book launch in London and met up with online friends who became dear in-real-life friends.
I love the beginning of May. It’s my partner’s birthday and I get to buy him something nice and, for the past ten years, I’ve attended a dinner in Aberdeen, where I’ve also made some lovely friends.
It’s new beginnings. New beginnings that grow and eventually flower into something long lasting. I’m not superstitious and I don’t usually subscribe to theories about ‘lucky times’ or ‘ready made windows of opportunity’, I think that we make our own luck, but I’ve recently been doing some work on circadian rhythms and there may be more to the ‘times of the day/month/year’ than meets the eyes.
Circadian, altradian and infradian rhythms are aspects of nature that key us into the symbiosis of life. For example, a day, a breath, the menstrual period, the tide and even the lifespan are all natural rhythms of life. The suggestion that they aren’t accurate because they don’t fit exactly into our numerical language is meaningless; perhaps we should spend more of our time arranging our lives around them, instead of trying to fit them into our ‘conventional time.
I had a conversation the other day at a meeting that I was attending for the first time. The talk was around how the clocks move forward in the spring and autumn and how this was confusing. One member of the meeting said, ‘I keep my clocks ten minutes in front so that I’m never late.’ He looked at me and I answered, ‘I don’t wear a watch.’ He then asked me, ‘What about the clock in your car?’ I told him that I didn’t drive. He was dumbfounded. ‘How do you know what time it is then?’ I explained that I arranged my life around the day and didn’t let the day rule me.
It was clear to me from this conversation, and the deathly silence afterwards, that these differences reflected my fit in the group, and I took this into account when considering my future contribution.
Whilst this may sound a little twee and new-agey, it really works for me. I first realised how time ruled my life when my children began to wake with the daylight, yet my work started at 9am. This meant that winter was a stressful mele of waking sleepy children, and summer held the horrors of having done a day’s work before my paid work started. There was nothing I could do about this, as industry dictates that we all obey time.
I began to listen to my body, and I found that my most unproductive times were, unsurprisingly, when I had PMS. No allowance is made for this natural cycle in any aspect of life, and I decided that instead of torturing myself, and to be fair, others, at this time, I would do all the things I needed to do to alleviate my own suffering. I took holidays and had time off, arranged my days in a relaxing way, and had time on my own. That was what I needed, and that was what I did. My stress levels immediately decreased and I found that I became very creative in this window of my natural cycle.
The key to this is to look at the natural cycles of life and compare them with the way we regulate through time and other numerically based controls, and why we do it. Even a day is a regulated time period; we all know that day and night vary over a year, yet we still call a day 24 hours; we compensate for any missed minutes with a leap year. It’s a well know fact that women’s menstrual cycles are not every 28 days for some women, and anything withing the range of 24 to 32 days is completely normal. These cycles are also changeable; if women live together for long enough their cycles change to coincide.
Are we are so obsessed with time that we often miss these wonderful details of nature? like the Higgs Particle and the concept of nothingness, are we perhaps missing something that is just there, something that our time-driven minds overlook. I’ll certainly be on the lookout for good things this time next year.