The Rhythms and Cycles of Life

Mar 2, 2011 by

The Rhythms and Cycles of Life

Some thoughts on the rhythms and cycles of birth and death…

Last night I received a call from my brother, telling me that my mother is near death and will likely not live more than a a few more days. She has been suffering for many years from Parkinson’s disease which will finally take her life. I am not close to my mother but I am sorry for her just the same. Her birthday is also not far away.

My maternal grandmother was the one relative, other than my children, that I felt closest to in my lifetime. We were more than grandmother and granddaughter…we were Anam Cara (soul friends). I loved her very much and always wished my daughters could have known her…and she them. She died many years ago, but I remember noticing at the time…that the day she died was only two days before her birthday.

This morning I called the home of my very close friend, Judy, to say hello and to apologize for not coming by for a visit, lately. Her adult daughter, a teacher, was home and answered the phone; she was crying. Judy, who had suffered from a rare terminal illness for about two years, had passed away in her sleep last night. I was supposed to write her obituary and bring it by for her approval as she knew that she could die at any time. I procrastinated that task and now I feel very badly for not having given her this peace of mind…just because it was a sad thing for me to discuss with her. Judy’s birthday was just a few days ago…and I had forgotten.

Over the years I have known of many friends and family members who have died on or near the anniversary of their birth. Famous people such as Mark Twain, William Shakespeare, Ingrid Bergman, Julia Child, C.S. Lewis, and Ezra Pound have died on their birthday, as well. Of course this could all just be coincidence…but I wonder, is it?

Our life spans may be like the seasons, rotating in cyclical fashion…”round and round and round in the circle game” as Joni Mitchell sings…but if so, why? Could there possibly be some reason for why this would be so? Our bodies are in sync with a Circadian rhythm…again, circles…but why?

Elliptical and circular patterns seem prevalent in our universe in both microcosmic and macrocosmic ways…biological and otherwise. We are musical, rhythmic beings…we seem to march to the beat of a universally synchronized drum, (however measured or far away;)…from planetary spins, to cellular activity…”the beat goes on… ” and maybe…just maybe…there is a lesson to learn from this…

So I leave you with something to think about…have you observed the same possible connection of occurrences with days of being born and days of dying? Perhaps, as the poet Rumi said, “We rarely hear the inward music, but we are dancing to it nevertheless”….if so, why? I wonder…

Photo Credits: Darren Tunnicliff@Flickr


  1. Liza Siler via Facebook


  2. Birthdays, to me, are just another day. They remind us that time is passing us by and there is not a damn thing we can do about it. At some time we will cease to exhist and the world will continue on.

  3. Ian Hemingway via Facebook

    I would say historically my biggest challenges seem to happen every year in October…., but I do also feel that Birthday’s hold a huge significance in the grand scheme of things…. 😉