Life is an ever-moving circle. We grow close to others, then things fall away. We experience the joy of birth, then have to grieve what is lost. We feel we are close to recognizing our life’s purpose, then realize there is further seeking to be done. Once we realize that the movements and changes of life are part of a natural cycle, we can stop trying to control and resist them and instead experience the peace that can be found in surrender.

Life is circular and cyclical and there are many prominent models to reinforce this. The same patterns can be seen in plant growth, the way waters move, and in the cycles of nature around us. By seeing that we are connected to the world around us, we are reminded that we are not alone, we are part of something larger, and from this connection we can find strength through transitions.

Common Types of Cycles

When we begin looking around us with mindfulness, we notice the many types of cycles that are an inherent part of life. Here are just a few examples:

Seasons The four seasons are one of the easiest examples of cycles to relate to in our world. Spring brings new life and beginnings while winter sees it all retreat and die so that it can be born again. Though some seasons are more subtle than others depending on where we live, we can always tune into the time of year to feel a connection to a season’s gifts.

Moon Cycle Moon cycles have been observed, celebrated, and even worshipped throughout the centuries and have been a prominent focus of such varied cultures as ancient Babylonia to modern-day Native Americans. Taking only 28 days to complete a full cycle, the moon phases are easy to connect with as we can see what cycle we are in simply by looking up into the night sky. During the new moon, we welcome new beginnings; during the first quarter (half moon) we build and create; with the full moon we celebrate this growth; and as the third quarter moon wanes we release what’s not serving us.

Life Stages Nowhere is the cycle of life more evident than in the four main life stages. From newborns to teenagers, into adolescence as we try to find our place in the world and ending with eldership and our inevitable passage from this realm. When we connect and celebrate our life stages, we harmonize with the cyclical nature of the universe and our place in the web of life.

Directions No matter which of the four direction we look, we can identify with a cycle. The east represents new beginnings, air and spirit. The south is summery, full of action, the sun and fire. The west is softer, feminine and watery. While the north brings us wisdom as we reflect on the death phase that is needed to trigger new life.

Feeling Connected

When we pay attention to examples such as these, we can more deeply connect with others and with the world around us. We better know where we come from and where we are headed, and it’s less likely that we’ll become stuck in a certain phase or resist change. It becomes easier to embrace the the unknown instead of fearing it as we understand that we are always exactly where we should be in relation to the Universal wheel of life.

When we feel loneliness or start to question why certain changes have occurred in our lives, simply looking for all the powerful examples of cycles around us can be all the peace we need to move forward with purpose.