photo credit:  NASA Jet Propulsion Lab at CalTech , dark side of Saturn's largest moon, Titan

photo credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Lab at CalTech, dark side of Saturn's largest moon, Titan

We are humans, bound by nature, made by nature, literally made up of the same elements as the entire universe. It’s an astonishing concept, maybe even overwhelming, once your mind starts to open to it. This awareness is also what makes us human. No other animal stares deeply upward into the cosmos to ponder the nature of reality. To feel tethered to the greater reality of what it is to be human on this Earth, and to feel the ebb and flow of our micro-corner of this universe, is simply a necessity for me - and I argue - for all of us.


Nature’s rhythms are sometimes hard to feel in the big city. Yes, we have some of the most beautiful dawns and dusks in Brooklyn - and I try to take notice daily. Recognizing the passing of weather patterns and the cycling of seasons are also practical ways to stay connected to the broader, elemental picture of our existence. This is especially true when one lives away from the raw opulence of the countryside or forest or coast.

Moon Phases.

Following our moon’s phases is another expansive, nourishing way to follow these natural cycles. I’ve been following the cycles of the moon for many years now, partially because I was once a part of a shaman group that instilled this valuable practice into me and partially because I’m an astronomy & universe-enthusiast. Each new (dark) moon, such as this past Sunday, and full moon (the next one is 4/29), are marked in my Google calendar. Keeping track reminds me to pause, to step back and observe *where I am* in the space-time continuum we call life.

Intention Setting.

Intention-setting is like planting seeds you want to see grow in your life. Sometimes new seeds need to be planted. Other times, your intention seeds that were previously planted require more watering and sunlight - i.e. *attention* and *energy.* And sometimes, the seeds you planted a while back no longer serve you, and they need to be weeded out - i.e. it's time to *let go.*

On new (dark) moon days, I make a point to re-evaluate my day-to-day existence, even if it’s just for a few minutes. It’s a time for me to contemplate the bigger picture of life, and perhaps plant some new seeds by setting a new intention or two in motion. On full moon days, I take stock of intentions I’ve set, and evaluate what needs to be let go as the moon wanes back to darkness.

An intention may be as simple as a word, or a more complex phrase, sentence, or idea. I'll write in more detail about intention setting in another post, stay tuned!

Ebb and Flow.

As the waves in the sea ebb and flow, so do the moon’s phases. And I’m sure you know, the two are interconnected: the tides of all of our oceans are a result of the moon exerting its gravitational force on these great bodies of sea water. We’re made of water and salt too, in different proportions, sure … 

But all of this -- you and me and the moon and the sea -- are parts of the same big, beautiful mystery we call life on planet Earth, within our tiny Solar System, part of the spiral-shaped Milky Way Galaxy, among billions of other galaxies, and so much else we do not yet understand much at all.

  Image courtesy of NASA, so much cool stuff to read  here .

  Image courtesy of NASA, so much cool stuff to read here.


The Year of Yes is a weekly photo-and-word installment by Dr. Shah written with the purpose of evoking hope, resilience, and a gentle movement toward healthy change in all of us.