Don Henley once sang, “The more I know, the less I understand.” I'm finding on a regular basis that I'm only starting to understand conspicuous dynamics that were right in front of me all the while–or, in the case of the moon and its lunar cycles, just 238,900 miles above me.
It took the partial reading of a new, fantastic book called Present Shock, by Douglas Rushkoff, to awaken me to the notion that all my careful and ostensibly-evolved strategic planning and thinking has been far too cerebral. Rushkoff makes a very detailed and researched case for how we might align technology to our psychosomatic needs rather than constantly sacrificing those needs on the altar of what he terms “present-ism.” The author offers a living example, having synced his monthly work flow to the four-week lunar cycle in a manner he claims has resulted in a “40 percent increase in productivity” along with better work-life balance.
The lunar cycle, as many of you probably already know, is the cyclical, four-week sequence of new (“invisible” to human eyes) moon/first quarter (or “half”) moon/full moon/third quarter moon. Research, easily found in Rushkoff's book or through a quick Google search, demonstrates some unique characteristics of each of these weeks that span well beyond the conventional menstrual calendar:
Waxing Crescent Week (after the new moon, when the moon increases in illumination from our perspective but less than half is visible)
Increased capacity to perform
Increased attention span and energy
A great time to initiate things and brainstorm with people on now ideas and projects
Waxing Gibbous (after the first quarter/half moon, when the moon becomes more than half-illuminated)
High focus and high energy, more lucidity
Solitude is encouraged; a great time to hang with the “Muse”
Waning Gibbous Week (after the full moon, when the moon becomes less than half-illuminated to human eyes)
A great time to try new things
A week to have fun!
Waning Crescent Week (after the third quarter/half moon, when the moon continues to “darken” until a completely dark new moon once again)
A good time for more structural tasks that don't require a lot of reflection
A good week to make decisions and act upon them, exploiting the non-emotional state of mind found this week
By the way: THIS WEEK!
Rushkoff writes, “Just as there are four solar seasons with rather obvious implications (winter is better for body repair; summer is better for exertion), there are four corresponding moon phases; four sections of the day; four quarters of the hour; and stages of breath…By coordinating our internal four-part, or 'four phase,' rhythms with those of our greater environment, we can think, work, and interact with greater coherence.”
I'm currently tweaking my digital calendar for a grand, three-month experiment of “lunar alignment.” Thankfully this won't require too many radical changes–just the willingness to give myself a chance to dictate the flow of life a little more on my terms, and a little less on what the virtual, 24-7 world demands.