If you receive HumanaNatura’s member newsletter or follow our NaturaLife blog, you know we make regular recommendations about planning, action, and celebration during the year, or rather during the natural year. This post provides background on these recurring recommendations, for your information and to share with others.
Progressive Health Promotion Throughout the Natural Year full-size
First, when HumanaNatura talks about the natural year, we mean the solar year that begins and ends with the winter solstice, or the day with the least amount of sunlight each year. As you may know, the word solstice literally means “sun-stopping” and this day – along with its complement, the summer solstice or the day with the most sunlight in the natural year – has been marked and celebrated by people at least since the beginning of recorded history.
You may also know that the amount of sunlight grows and recedes during the solar year because our planet is tilted in its orbit around the sun. Because of this tilt, the earth’s two poles periodically lean into and then away from the sun as we travel around it, changing the amount of light each day, in an opposite or reciprocal way in the northern and southern hemispheres. Halfway in this recurring process are the equinoxes, a word meaning days of equal light and night. And at the endpoint of each increasing and decreasing half-year of light is a solstice.
In this ancient, sun-oriented heliocentric or approach to time-keeping, the natural year technically begins at opposite times of the year in the northern and southern hemispheres. Depending on the year, the natural new year occurs on roughly December 21st in the north and June 21st in the south of our planet. Since most of us live in the north, and owing to frequent origins of annual time-keeping from the winter solstice, many of the world’s modern and pre-modern calendar systems begin (or once began) at the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. Notable exceptions to this pattern are lunar calendar systems.
With this background, we would next highlight that the HumanaNatura natural health system is based on four natural health techniques. In the HumanaNatura approach, these techniques are employed both successively or in order and also progressively or in an increasing level of depth throughout our lives. HumanaNatura’s four natural health techniques are: 1) Natural Eating, 2) Natural Exercise, 3) Natural Living, and 4) Natural Communities. You can learn more about them all via the overview materials at About HumanaNatura.
A central aspect of our third technique, Natural Living, involves creating progressive cycles of health-seeking planning, action, and learning in our lives – in essence, intentionally mirroring and accelerating the underlying natural functioning of evolving life. This crucial HumanaNatura practice uses our Ten Dimensions of Natural Living, and can occur at any time or on any timescale.
In practice, our own personal cycles of progressive planning, action, and learning often occur quite rapidly when we first begin using the technique of Natural Living. But this progressive cycling often slows over time. In part, this is natural and owes to the fact that, as our progressive plans become more established and tested in time, there is often less need for frequent planning. However, our cycling can also slow, and perhaps excessively and undesirably, if we do not create milestones or reminders to ensure that we begin new progressive cycles on a regular basis.
In our experience, fairly intensive personal planning twice-yearly or biannually strikes a good balance between too little and too much planning in our lives, especially as our use of the technique of Natural Living develops and we become more skilled in its practice. Always, we want to have enough experience with or learning from our previous plans as a foundation for each new progressive cycle, but we also do not want to plan so infrequently that we miss important opportunities for the compounding learning and health-increasing change that planning and Natural Living reliably foster. Again, we have found that intensive planning twice-yearly often creates an ideal planning cycle for many of us (which can be increased as needed and also supplemented by plan adjustments between more in-depth planning sessions).
To foster this biannual rhythm of progressive planning, action, and learning in our lives – also to promote Natural Living’s emphasis on powerfully balancing present-oriented or intrinsic life with future-oriented or extrinsic functioning – we therefore recommend using the waiting milestones of the natural year as an aid to our progressive planning, action, and learning. As highlighted in our Mastering The Natural Year graphic, HumanaNatura’s recommended use of the natural year as a progressive aid has three core aspects, which you will see us encourage on our NaturaLife blog and social media sites throughout the year:
> Equinox Planning – we encourage Natural Living planning sessions at each equinox, both to encourage biannual planning and because the greater environmental balance of these times of the year can aid reflection and deliberation. In the HumanaNatura system, this work results in our creation or updating of our Natural Life Plan, outlining our evolving personal vision for progressively healthier life and the steps we will take to realize this vision before our next planning cycle.
> Cross Quarter Action & Learning – in the four periods between the two equinoxes and the two solstices each year, we encourage extra focus on implementing (and thus learning from) our Natural Life Plans. As the name implies, and as you may know, a cross quarter is the halfway point between each equinox and solstice.
> Solstice Celebration – importantly, since this focus on planning and goal-oriented action can make us quite future-oriented – and potentially less healthy, by making us become less appreciative of or attentive to momentary or intrinsic life – we encourage HumanaNatura practitioners to step away from our plans and goals at each solstice, to gather with others and celebrate our lives and accomplishments, and to mark the passage of time, as people have done naturally for millennia – and perhaps for far longer.
We hope this overview of the HumanaNatura natural health system, our critical lifelong and lifewide technique of progressive Natural Living, and recurring recommendations during the natural year will prove helpful, healthful, and ultimately life-enriching to you and those around you.
If you have not yet created a Natural Life Plan to guide your use and expression of the HumanaNatura technique of Natural Living, we would encourage you to begin this important work today. The links we have provided will take you to our free planning worksheets and seven-step planning process, and guide you to begin progressively exploring your naturally open-ended health potential, now and on an ongoing basis.
Together, these resources will help you begin more intentionally health-centered and naturally progressive life and learning in the days and weeks ahead. In this crucial and often life-changing work that we call Natural Living, you may contact us anytime with any questions you have at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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