I have always been fascinated with patterns and how they affect our health and movement within society. I recently discovered a seven-year Jewish cycle called Shemitah (shmita) which correlates with the Jewish New Year, usually occurring in September. The Shemitah cycle seems to correlate accurately with life-changing events and changing of core values. There is a larger, 49 year cycle known as the Jubilee, which seems to correlate with larger changes of values within society. The last Jubilee years were in 1918 and 1967, respectively. On a large scale, these years in the United States were enormous.
In 1918, society settled more comfortably into the modern era as WWI ended; entertainment, media, communication, and transportation transformed, and the first women’s rights campaigns became public. In 1967 amidst civil unrest, the Vietnam War, the Death of the Hippie, and the Civil Rights movement, people were becoming much more interested in opening spiritually, learning who they were and trying to connect with life’s core values. 2016 will be another Jubilee year in this cycle.
The most recent past Shemitah-years in these cycles were September 2001 and September 2008. In 2001, we saw the loss of many personal freedoms in the U.S., and the proliferation of widespread fear. During and after the banking collapse of 2008, people were more unwilling to spend money on their health and self-improvement, which was unprecedented in my experience. Usually during recessions, I would regularly see an increased interest in people’s willingness and enthusiasm to take care of their health and satisfaction. During these times, we would have periods of noticeable growth in Essene’s customer base and more people participating in macrobiotic educational events. Since 2008 however, there seems to be more overall interest to increase income and job qualifications, as opposed to self-improvement and satisfaction. There is a huge difference between the two. It was also during this time that aggressive medical treatments increased and the medical industry and the use of science gained much deeper influence in people’s lives and destinies.
I’ve been thinking about what the upcoming year may hold. It seems apparent that we have arrived at a fork in the road. It is now time to decide what kind of life we are going to choose for ourselves and future generations. Especially since the Industrial Revolution, our society has been experiencing a polarization. One pole is those who choose to live an artificial life trying to control nature itself, as well as human life physically, mentally and emotionally. The other pole is those who choose to live in harmony with nature and its orderly cycles and orient their lives towards personal, social, and/or planetary health. Agriculture, technology, and medicine have progressed at the expense of personal and planetary health. This progression has made a very small percentage of the population wealthy and powerful at the expense of everyone else.
There has been a steady deterioration in diet and health, for both individuals and the planet. Our food security is more threatened than ever before, and our large-scale agricultural and dietary model is not sustainable for people or the planet. However, at the same time, we have been experiencing a huge resurgence in sustainable agriculture and technology, local and naturally processed foods, and expanding sense of compassion and empathy for each other and the other creatures with whom we share the planet. We are becoming more aware of the effects of our choices on ourselves, our communities, and the rest of the planet.
We have an awareness, but we now also have the ability to express ourselves and act on that awareness. Now is the time when it is important to connect and align with others who share similar visions and values. In a future entry, I would like to talk about another system of time and movement and how it relates to 2016 and beyond.