Our physical bodies, as well as our pet’s physical bodies, are linked to many forms of cycles.  Every morning when we awaken, we open our eyes, the light comes through the pupil, strikes the retina, sends an electrical impulse to the brain.  The brain knows to activate the pineal gland, then the pituitary gland, which activates the adrenal glands to release the chemical, cortisol, which gives us a boost of energy to get up and start our day.  This happens every day without us giving it one moment of our direct awareness.  This is just one of thousands of daily physiological functions that are being directed with a 24 hour cycle.

Not only are we influenced by daily cycles, but there are many other cycles that happen regularly, with or without our direct awareness.  Women are obvious about their monthly menstrual cycles. Like clock work, every month a change in hormonal regulation occurs that move the body in a different direction. This happens in other animals as well. Non-spayed dogs will have sexual hormonal cycles every six months, whether they think about it or not.  Cats that have not been spayed have cycles directed by the season and not on a monthly cycle.  Every winter, they stop cycling (heat) and will not start their heat cycle again until the spring.  Then, they have a polyestrous cycle that will have them continue to cycle over and over again unless they are bred or the next winter arrives. 

Horses are also seasonal cyclers and each spring they begin to become reproductively active.  This is why most race horses are the same age.  Their mares cycled at the same time, were bred at the same time, had similar gestation periods and gave birth at similar times of the year.

There are other cycles that we here in the US are not used to being aware of. There are energetic cycles.  It is  recognized that every seven years in our lives up until the age of seventy, there is an abrupt change in development. There is an energetic shift, some say caused by the soul, that keeps us on track of our development spiritually. When these shifts occur, and we are not aware with what is happening due to the change in this seven year cycle, we can do some very irrational things that can cause us great discomfort and lead to a lot of regrets.  Simply because we were not aware of what was happening and did not know that it was best to understand and go with the flow.  Most of us have heard of the seven year itch in relationships.  The mid-life crisis, which typically happens at year 49 (seventh 7 year cycle or 7 to the second power).  This is no coincidence.  The more one understands what is happening, then they can use this to benefit them instead of reacting to the discomfort of change, often leading to making critical mistakes.

There are other cycles that occur in many phases of our lives, both physically and energetically, both individually and collectively.  The more that we can become aware of these cycles and how we are effected by them, the better off we will be.  Many of our emotional, behavioral and physical disturbances can be cause or influenced by not being in alignment with the flow of these cycles.  If you have ever had a night-time job for any length of time, you will know how this affects your health.  You might become conditioned and it might get a bit easier, but in the long term, it will have a negative effect on your health.  You were created to be active during the day and rest at night.  Your entire system functions under this influential guidance.

Many other parts of the world are keenly aware of these cycles and how their reality is affected by them.  There are rituals that celebrate the changes in these cycles which bring awareness to the importance of understanding why these happen and their influences. 

A very important cycle that affects both ourselves and our pets is the yearly cycle, manifested by the seasons.  We have become so conditioned to living unconsciously through the seasons that we not only refuse to allow their benefits, but resist their influences, often causing imbalance and poor health.

The Chinese as well as other ancient cultures and civilizations, are keenly aware of seasonal influences.  With this awareness, they alter their lifestyles according to the seasonal flows which will benefit them from many perspectives.  Here in The US, we have become so busy and trapped in our busy minds that, unknowingly, resist the changes of the seasons, leading to energetic imbalances and poor health.

Winter is the resting season.  Many animals will hibernate and sleep throughout the winter.  Others will slowdown metabolically until they need very little food to survive.  Cold water animals like fish, that will feed several times a day during the summer will only feed every 3 or 4 days during the winter.  We humans are also meant to slow down and rest during the winter. 

Individuals, both animals and plants, need to rest during winter months so that they can gain their strength for the upcoming springtime which is the time for replenishment and growth.  Springtime is the growing season when planting is done, babies are born and everything springs forward with aliveness.  If the individual did not rest and replenish during winter, it will not have the energy reserve to handle the spring energetic rush and will become depleted and illness will occur.

Winter is also a time of moving inward and contemplation.  We should take this time to contemplate how we did during the previous year so that we can learn from this.  We cannot do this when  we are too busy running around and staying busy.  Yes, there are things that we have to do like going to work and other responsibilities, but it is just as important to devote time for rest and contemplation.  Reduced light hours allow us to stay inside and devote more time for rest and turning our thoughts inward.  It is a time for being and not for doing.

Winter brings more darkness and darkness represents the shadow part of our lives.  We all have a shadow side of our lives which is represented by our fears.  The wise person will take the time to spend time with these fears so that they may be transcended.  When we are busy doing things, when the fears arise, we just push them back down to avoid the pain.  Unfortunately, we may live with these fears our entire lives, creating great suffering. The winter months of turning inward, meditating, prayer or contemplation will allow us to find the internal guidance that will help us transcend these fears and live a fuller, happier life in the upcoming year.

Winter is the season of the water element in Chinese medicine.  The water element is described:  direction-north, temperature-cold, dominant yin organ-kidney, yang organ-urinary bladder, emotion-fear.  Using the five element system to understand health issues for our pets, we realize that the kidney and urinary bladder are especially sensitive and if they are out of balance, there is a good chance that disease may occur.

Since fear is the emotion of the water element, winter, and its shadow side often bring fearful emotions to the surface that need to be dealt with.  If they are not, then the energetic influence of fear will create disease associated with the kidney or urinary bladder. Since the kidney also controls the brain, nervous system, bones and joints, then symptoms might include urinary incontinence, urinary infection, kidney stones and infection, lower back pain, knee pain and weakness, hearing problems like tinnitus, and brain imbalances like memory loss.

During the winter, or water element, it is important that we keep hydrated, stay warm (particularly the neck and shoulders), get plenty of rest, contemplate or meditate and eat warming foods like veggies or long grains. We must allow ourselves and our pets to rest and recoup in order to have the energy required as we move into spring, the time of re-growth and expansion.

All of our imbalances, emotional and physical have energetic patterns that will directly affect our health and our pet’s health.  If we are energetically imbalanced, in time, our pets will become imbalanced.  Don’t overlook the importance of seasonal cycles as well as other cycles that have an effect on both yourself and your pet.  It will certainly improve your lives in many ways.