I guess the best way to explain this is to retrace my own steps. When I began practicing in 1991 I knew enough to handle the boundaries of one session at a time. My blind spot was what happened between sessions when clients lifestyles, behaviors and social stress were in play. In an attempt to tunnel under that, I was given the book Staying Healthy With The Seasons by Elson Haas. It was a simple book and it's still over my shoulder on my bookshelf to this day. It spoke of the transitions of energy we make within and between the seasons and how we can use that awareness to better root ourselves to our natural environment. That allowed me to give clients ways to prepare for and manage these slow ~90-day cycles. Now I needed to connect all that with the body and brain's rhythms.
For the brain, I leaned on my experts on the CHAOPSYC listserv. One of the most ecclectic contributors was David A. Goodman, Ph.D. He had done his own research on the relationship of the brain and lunar phases in terms of dream physiology. I began to connect the dots between what he was finding out and what I was formulating on the somatic side with the 4 domains. Around the same time, Dr. Joel Robertson published Peak Performance Living. That work gave me a way to recognize how the profile of our brain's neurotransmitters were reflected in our behavior. This was, in a sense, the waking side of Goodman's dream physiology. When we were surging in acetylcholine, we'd become more sensitivity, more keyed up emotionally and oriented to group supported activity. This coincides with a PHYLOsomatic orientation. Next we'd get a surge in serotonin, which draws us back within ourselves and fosters satiation and a need for solitude and reflection. It's still a high energy state but the focus is more mental. In somatic terms, that's an ONTOsomatic orientation. Following that we'd again shift to the social side and surge in dopamine. That would manifest as a loosening of our grip and a more empathic or ECOsomatic orientation. The cycle would end with a surge in norepinphrine. Again we'd shift back to more socially withdrawn affect, only this time the fight or flight tone would trigger more defensive physiology, the polar opposite to the acetylcholine surge. Our focus becomes more logical and literal and we're very WSYWIG in the way we process. That captures the EXOsomatic orientation. So between Goodman's model, Robertson's personifications of the neurotransmitters and my own somatic work I was well on my way to connecting the moon and the brain. Now the aim was to be able to track all this within my client's world.
Suddenly it all kind of fit. We've been given a biological script that we've been tripping over by accident as we lived our atemporal lives. It held the key to us being coherent throughout our ultradian (rest/activity), circadian (sleep/wake) and infradian (growth/repair) rhythms. This coincided with me adding in the 4 somatic orientations of the domains into the mix. So no longer was this some folklore superstition. Modern neuroscience and the ancient healing systems I'd studied had been bridged. I could track it down to the hour, the minute and the 4-second window it takes to make eye contact and figure out if we're safe or not (AKA neuroception). But now it was time to go back to the heart...where the coherence was easy to see.
"Four brain circuits, four major regions of the frontal lobes, four chief neural transmitters in the brain stem,
four points of the compass, four attributes of mind according to Jung, four kinds of moods and dreams.
Scenario forecasting takes into consideration four types of future, one for each region of the frontal lobes.
There are imagination, intelligence, wariness and rashness.
David A. Goodman August 29, 2005
I'd been a feverish student of neurocardiology since the day I knew my son was going to be born with 'assembly required'. Now a full 5 years into this quest, I'd already become a devotee of HeartMath's HRV technology and a budding clinical researcher on the nonlinear dynamics related to it. My travels had me cross paths with some of the advocates of Dr. Irving Dardik's work with HRV and his notion of cyclical exercise and interval training. It was the year 2000 and while I was curious it'd be another 6 years before his puzzle piece could be added to the big picture. Over that period, I developed my own brain-based protocol to help clients become aware of what John Barresi, Ph.D called our 'extended self'. This became the fabric of my somatic ideas about how our identity is really non-local and existed more as a vibration in the surroundings than an idea in our heads...
"The biggest "Aha!" was this: ...our identity is actually an environmental signal that is playing
through the keyboard on the surface of our cells and engaging our genetic programs; you are not inside
your cells, you are playing through your cells using the keyboard as an interface.
You are an identity derived from the environment." Bruce Lipton The Biology Of Belief
When I crossed paths with Dr. Dardik again I took in his concept of the SuperWave with new eyes. I understood his notion of 'waves, waving within waves' and this was readily transferred to the way I could track my clients' HRV data. My search was complete. Now I had all the ingredients to design a program that could help a client to stay in tune with their bodily rhythms as they traveled through all the lunar and seasonal cycles. I then designed a protocol to connect the inner world Goodman had described and the outer world that Dardik offered. Using my somatic tools as my guide, I created what we call SIMPLES.
"The HeartWave is a combination of the body's energy output during brief exercise and recovery, the large wave, and a representation of the heart contracting and relaxing (systole and diastole), the small wave superimposed on the larger wave. The third set of waves, the smallest, represents the biochemical oscillations of the heart function. This is not a conventional graph, with a single time dimension along the bottom. The bottom line is the time dimension for the large wave of exercise/recovery; the time dimension for the systole/diastole waves is the exercise/recovery wave; and the systole/diastole wave is the time dimension for the biochemical oscillations." Roger LewinMaking Waves
Once I had all these components together I designed what I called the Coherence Calendar. Clients now could connect the awareness of their primary domain with the practice of SIMPLES in a way that both entrained their HRV between sessions and allowed them to tune into the shifts in their brain chemistry's bias as the lunar phases cycled through the domains as well. This meant that they could anticipate and somewhat ameliorate the impact of their lifestyles, behaviors and social stress that remained my not so elusive opponent between sessions. So while the moon/brain connection seems arcane and still a little mystical to us, it's a real world phenomenon that we can tune into and use it to align ourselves with the coherence of nature. What will it take to demonstrate it to you? Will you need some material evidence from the rising field of chronobiology to legitimatize it? Maybe. The best way to find out is to try it for yourself. Your brain and the moon; game on. Here's one guy's results.
"Admittedly, this is all a tough pill to swallow, but after my interviews with Filippi, I began working in this fashion on this book. I would use the first week of the moon to organize chapters, do interviews, and talk with friends and colleagues about the ideas I was working on. In the second, more intense week, I would lock myself in my office, set to task and get the most writing done. In the third week, I would edit what I had written, read new material, jump ahead to whatever section I felt like working on, and try out new ideas. And in the final week I would revisit structure, comb through difficult passages, and recode the nightmare that is my website. My own experience is that my productivity went up by maybe 40%, and my peace of mind about the whole process of writing was utterly transformed for the better. Though certainly anecdotal as far as anyone else is concerned, it convinced me to stay aware of these cycles from now on." Douglas RushkoffPresent Shock