I get it, the menstrual cycle can suck. It can mess up your plans, mess up your clothes, it can hurt, or it can make you feel like you're going crazy. But what if I told you the menstrual cycle held the key to a creative, confident and fulfilling life, if only you knew how to respect it?
It's easy to believe that the menstrual cycle is a curse, or something disgusting or shameful. Society tells us this through adverts which, until recently, have shown menstrual blood as blue fluid (see this Huffington Post article for more on that), or suggested that women should be performing all month long by bungee-jumping out of a plane in skintight white jeans.
Yes the menstrual cycle is a portal for power - but not in the way these adverts suggest. Rather than being an opportunity to keep performing 24/7 in the world, menstruation is an invitation to move closer to your inner world, the world of feelings, thoughts and intuitive wisdom.
Read on for 5 tips on finding the power with your menstrual cycle.
1. Take rest
This is the most important thing you can do, especially if you struggle with PMT, menstrual pains of any sort, or emotional or mental anxieties. Often the body just needs a bit of time and space for the cleansing process of menstruation to occur. Book out time in your diary in advance if you can, and see the difference it makes. Ideally rest throughout the cycle as well, but if that seems impossible, try to make time to rest on the first day of your bleed, even if it's just a lie down for 30 minutes.
2. Throw away the tampons
Environmental impact aside, tampons can interfere with the natural release of the blood towards the earth. Many women find menstrual cramps ease completely by switching to sanitary towels, cloth pads or a moon cup, and once you switch you will feel so much better about how you're treating your body, and the planet, with some respect.
3. Examine your feelings about menstruation
Do you struggle with being a woman in today's world? You are not alone! Often our success comes at a price - sacrificing our needs in order to fit in and perform in a masculine driven work place. Take some time to think about the words you use to describe your period, how menstruation affects you, and how any negativity may be expressing itself in pain or discomfort. Journal about it, talk to a trusted friend, or draw it out. By pretending that 4 - 7 days of every cycle doesn't exist is essentially throwing away part of our lives. Reclaim your cycle!
4. Read up
There are so many great books out there on this subject - one of my favourites is Her Blood Is Gold by Lara Owens, but other authors include Alexandra Pope, Lisa Lister, and Miranda Gray. There are Facebook groups, Red Tents around the country, and women around the world campaigning on this. You will most definitely not be a lonely weirdo in your attempts to reclaim the love for your cycle.
5. Implement self-care
Imagine a world where your career wasn't affected by your need to rest more. Imagine a world where the menstrual cycle wasn't a taboo subject. Imagine understanding your womb and her cycles. How would teenage girls feel growing up in this world? How would your life be different? Rather than waiting around for a utopian future, what can you do to begin to respect the natural wisdom within today?
This is work best shared, face to face, with a circle of women. I am hosting a Shakti Yoga workshop on 26th November 2017. Join me and discover how the premenstruum, menstruation and ultimately menopause all offer us a wisdom and strength that no external force can deliver. Find out more here.