It’s that that time of the month again, so how do you feel? Do you look forward to the cycles in your body or are they nuisances? The way we feel about our menstrual cycles has deep emotional, physical, mental and spiritual implications. It affects how we perceive ourselves and the world around us.
All of nature moves in cycles. In fact, everything in the universe, as far as we are concerned, is cyclical. Nowadays, we have managed to dominate certain aspects of nature and manipulate these cycles. The way we’ve collectively treated the earth is the way we have treated our bodies, too.
Many of the practical products women use are anything but practical in the long run. There are pills that suspend menstrual cycles altogether. If you wish to have it only once a year, now it’s a possibility! Sound appealing? Why? Why would women choose something so unnatural? So synthetic?
It is understandable to take such measures when you have a demanding job or you are an athlete or perhaps you just really hate your period because it is painful or slows you down. This leads me to the next point: How do you take care of yourself during your cycle? I never liked the word period, so I began calling it my “moon,” and the moment I began honoring my “moon,” things changed. I know not everyone can take off from work or not be mom for those days, etc. However, even simply acknowledging that your body is doing something extraordinary and needs a little rest helps tremendously.
Many of us were not really educated by the women in our lives about the beauty of becoming a woman. Many of us could not even mention it to our fathers. We educated one another in school and in the girls’ bathroom. Menstrual cycles were taboo, something shameful that should not be discussed. What effect do you think this has on a young woman’s psyche? How are we supposed to love every aspect of who we are when this one very important thing is overlooked and demonized? This issue is not just about women; this is for the fathers who are raising girls and for the boys being raised by women. We all come into this world through a woman, so this concerns us all.
Imagine a culture that celebrates its girls. Imagine the kind of women we could raise if we honored them. Imagine that on the day you got your period your mother, aunts, grandmothers and friends all gathered to have a party for you. Picture the house decorated with red roses and pillows, candles, ribbons. Visualize that your mother gifts you handmade cotton pads in beautiful colors. She also has prepared soothing herbal tea for you and guests. Everyone eats chocolate, dances and shares the joy of being women. Imagine your father also gives you a special gift and acknowledges this transformation happening before your very eyes.
I certainly would have appreciated an experience like this over the awkward pad shopping run. I felt so embarrassed. Embarrassed for being a woman! Embarrassed for nature’s ways?
I would like to make one thing clear here: I am not a feminist; I am a humanist. As I mentioned before, this issue is about humanity, not just women. This is about taking care of our bodies and the earth, which is our greater body. The time is right for us to take personal and social responsibility. Think this doesn’t concern men? Well, check out this fact – the average woman uses 16,000 tampons during her lifetime. Where do they end up? What are these products doing for our health and our planet? Gratefully, we have ecological alternatives. I personally use organic cotton pads, and if I need to be out and about or traveling, I use the Diva Cup. There are also many nontoxic and chemical free alternatives on the market as well as reusable cloth pads.
All transitions take time and energy. Every change you’ve made has had its challenges, but when you know it’s the right thing to do, every effort feels worthwhile. I also have the privilege of owning a lot of my time. I create my own hours unless I am catering retreats. So I pretty much have time to sit back and enjoy my cycle. I usually avoid driving during those days. I wear something red and create a sacred space next to my garden for me to lounge, read, write, make art and eat chocolate, of course! My daughter also loves lounging with me and making lemonade for Mom’s moon garden time. Something that is very valuable is asking for what you need. I have learned to ask for help during my cycle. It’s a time when a woman is even more intuitive and needs to be more meditative.
Our fast paced culture does not allow many women this time, so even taking a bath after your busy day and making yourself a cup of nettle or rose tea with honey can soothe PMS. The moment I learned to slow down, my cramping went away. My body had been screaming, “Please, just chill!” So I have decided to listen.
Once you make the leap to reusable feminine products, you can begin to use your blood as fertilizer as well. I know this sounds crazy for our culture, but do your research. Our ancestors and women in other cultures still return their blood to the earth. Your blood is not shameful. It is golden. Your orange tree or garden will really appreciate it. I am a farmer, and I know that if you want healthy soil, you need blood. We have become so domesticated that natural things that help us close the nutrient cycles have become strange.
I recently met a native elder who spoke of the importance of feeding the mother and creating a sacred ritual for our moon cycles. This is a topic I could write about for hours. It is dear to my heart because I have experienced the shift in my awareness and in my body since I began tuning in to the moon and honoring my cycles. It is really about honoring our bodies, our connection to the earth and one another. The moon lodges are packed with women who are in sync with each other and who choose to enjoy their bond in sisterhood, thus assisting one another and weaving beauty into their world. Magic happens within a circle of women. Then we take that magic and share it with our families, partners and communities.
It’s time to remember the wisdom that modern progress forgot. Let in the magic and tend to your feminine essence. You are beautiful!
Inspiration and resources: