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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Changing the way you see your lady week

This article isn't just for the ladies!I seriously encourage men to read this too,because the more a man understands his lady,the safer and happier the lady feels

So if you’re anything like me, you’re one: a female, and two: you absolutely dread your period. And understandably so, right? It’s inconvenient, messy and painful, not to mention the ridiculous mood swings and suddenly taking every single thing anyone says personally. Not all of us have it this bad, but the majority of us seem to. As I’ve gotten older I’ve really started to learn the way my lady week works. First, a week before it even happens I suddenly start getting upset about the weirdest shit. My boyfriend, bewildered, becomes terrified to say anything to me because there’s a pretty good chance I’ll either get really offended, really angry, or it will make me cry.

After that week of hell runs its course, I start feeling anti-social and extremely self-conscious. I look exactly the same as I did a few weeks ago, but now when I look in the mirror I see a humungous bloated freak. I become ashamed of my appearance and hope to god nobody I know is at the store to see me shopping for anything chocolate related in my pre-period walk of shame. And then it finally happens. I’m bleeding! This means I’m not pregnant! And I don’t feel bitchy anymore! And suddenly I look in the mirror and I see this crazily sexy goddess capable of bringing life into the world and smiting anyone who needs smiting. It’s likely the next day I’ll be crying about spilling a glass of water, but hey right now I feel fanfuckingtastic. 

Each lady week is unique to the lady having it, but most of this is probably all too familiar to you. Well, I’ve become sick of the way I think about my period. I hate the idea of having a week of absolute hell every month for the bulk of my life. So recently I decided to start doing some research into the history and significance of this huge part of our lives, and what I found has very much changed my perception. Here are some of the most interesting things I found:

"Once a month the lining of a woman’s uterus sheds causing her to bleed or have her period.
Today, periods are often viewed in the Western world as an inconvenience but many years ago when a woman had her period she was celebrated.

Many rituals from Taoists to the Ancient Egyptians involved the consumption of menstrual blood mixed with red wine. This was believed to increase spiritual power.

In Ancient Greece, menstrual blood was used to help support crops grow and was buried into the earth during fertility festivals in the Spring.

Once upon a time, when a woman was having her period it was believed that she held the power of creation, wisdom and deep spirituality. During this time, women were encouraged to listen to their inner voice and her tribe would look to her for advice and guidance.

Women’s bleeding cycles are connect to the cycles of the moon and the tides. In fact, the word menstruation comes from the Greek word, menus which translates to moon, power and month. Women would often bleed together on the new moon and ovulate on the full moon.

Around 5,000 years ago when the idea of goddess worship shifted to a patriarchal society, women were labelled as unclean and were forced to separate themselves from men when they were bleeding.

Suddenly, the belief was adopted that when a woman was bleeding she was impure and was not fit to enter churches, prepare food or have sex.

Despite the emergence of these patriarchal view points, many women still experience deep, profound spiritual connections when bleeding however, majority of the Western world suppress their blood flow, blocking their creative intuition and refusing to honor this divine time.
It is said that a painful or uncomfortable period relates to rejecting femininity and that our attitudes to menstruation as a culture have caused women to feel shamed or embarrassed when on their periods."

“If you are searching to get more in tune with your bleeding cycle, here is a guide to help you get in touch with your divine feminine creativity:

Day 1 (the first day of bleeding):

The first day of bleeding marks the ‘death’ phase of the death-rebirth cycle. The old lining is shed away to make room for the new, healthy lining that will take its place. It is at this time that a woman should go within and clear out emotional and physical baggage that she may be carrying.

Day 2- 7 (Bleeding):

As the cycle continues, learning to embrace your divine femininity and creativity will grow. During the bleeding cycle it is best to stay within and undisturbed. If you can, retreat to a quite place, allow yourself time to mediate, write, create art and let go of old thoughts or belief systems that no longer serve you.

During this time you are vulnerable, so avoid harsh music, loud scenes and being around people who are not comforting.

Day 8-14 (Ovulation phase):

After the lining has been shed, and all that old energy of last month has been removed, the body starts preparing to release an egg. This is the peak of feminine creativity and is a time where women have increased sexual energy, increased intuition and will place her energy outwards into the world.

It is the perfect time to start new projects, give birth to new ideas or even create new life.

Studies have been shown that men are subconsciously more attracted to women when they are in this phase.

Day 15-21 (Harvest Phase):

This post-ovulatory phase is often a time where a woman will reflect on her achievements for the month just past. This stems from deep within our psyche when a woman would feel either relief or regret from not falling pregnant. This phase is often about change and confronting things in life that are no longer of benefit.

It is during this phase that a woman will discover what she needs to let go of.

Day 22-28 (Lining preparing to shed):

Once it has been determined what needs to be removed from her life, the lining prepares to shed. This phase is about preparing to clear all from your life what has not been serving your greatest good.

During this phase, a woman must surrender and make herself less emotionally available to others. This is the clarity phase, where a woman will realize what she needs to remove from her life and make the appropriate steps to begin the new cycle.

It is often not until a woman reaches menopause does she realize what she has missed. Learn how to celebrate your cycle again by being conscious of your femininity and appreciating that your period is really a time of deep healing and spiritual connection with yourself and with mother earth.

Forget the idea that your period is an inconvenience or a curse and tap into the reservoir of feminine power that lies within- nurture, shed your skin and create.” 
“Traditionally, the Moontime is the sacred time of woman when she is honored as a Mother of the Creative Force. During this time she is allowed to release the old energy her body has carried and prepare for reconnection to the Earth Mother’s fertility that she will carry in the next Moon or month. Our Ancestors understood the importance of allowing each woman to have her Sacred Space during this time of reconnection, because women were the carriers of abundance and fertility…

As Grandmother Moon is the weaver of tides ( the water or blood of our Earth Mother) so a woman’s cycles follow the rhythm of that weaving. When women live together in a common space, their bodies begin to regulate their menses and all will eventually have their Moontime concurrently. This natural rhythm is one of the bonds of Sisterhood…

Women honor their sacred path when they acknowledge the intuitive knowing inherent in their receptive nature. In trusting the cycles of their bodies and allowing the feelings to emerge within them, women have been Seers and Oracles for their tribes for centuries.”

[Jamie Sams from Sacred Path Cards: The Discovery of Self Through Native Teachings]
“Passing down wisdom or embarrassment?

Once upon a time, mothers, aunts, grandmas passed down knowledge and insight about this sacred cycle. They’d share what it means. They’d rejoice in how to unfold beautifully through it and acknowledge how to embrace our divinely given energies. Sadly it has become a taboo subject, even in our modern ‘open-minded’ world. When I was 14 years old, I felt as if I had blindly launched into my cycle and never talked about it with anyone, not even the girls at school. It was something to be hidden and embarrassed about and heaven forbid if you didn’t keep it under total control, no matter what physical activities (sports, swimming etc.) you had to participate in. In today’s world, women are not given the time and space to honour the cycle. If they take time off work, they are considered weak; if they take time to rest, they are often seen as lazy as the pile of stuff to do just grows bigger and bigger. The distress on the mind, body & spirit by not honouring the cycle generates a plethora of physical and hormonally related emotional issues that shouldn’t even exist.

I used to feel angry at being cast into a hush-hush women’s world that I didn't understand. There was nobody to ask either (even sister-google didn’t exist back then) because ‘you just didn’t talk about that sort of stuff’. When I shed cervical mucus for the first time (midway through the cycle), I thought there was something medically wrong with me. It wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s and I bought a book on the female cycle, that I realised it was normal! As I grew I felt the deep pain of the divine feminine throughout the whole planet. When we overwrite the natural flow, things start going wrong. Neglecting the sacred cycle has meant that women are plagued with menstrual disorders, pain, hormonal imbalances and severe mood swings that needn't exist at all. All because we've ignored the divine flow of the universe…

Letting go - letting flow:
 The shedding of menses is symbolic of shedding any accumulated negative energy during the previous weeks. It is an opportunity to let go of that which no longer serves. It is a time to reflect on what we are ready to release, what we are ready to receive and what lessons we have learnt. In honouring our moontime we often find balance and a re-centering of our state of being. If we miss this time of re-centering, then we may spend the rest of the month out of sync to the sacred rhythm, never quite catching up with ourselves. Thankfully we are offered the opportunity once each month (until we are not) - yet it is up to us as women to find our inner strength and love ourselves enough to honour this cyclical event.

Loving ourselves

If we don't normally think of ourselves first and foremost, then moontime is the time to do it. If we have children, if at all possible, get someone else to watch them for a day or two (I know that is usually easier said than done). If they go to school make the most of that time. If we can't find someone to watch them, make the most of the evening or the moments you can find (only do what you really have to do). Start right now and make the most of what you can.. commit to the moment. Love yourself. The rest will follow.

If you have a partner or close friends tell them how you feel about this sacred moontime and discuss with them how you might work together in helping to honour this.

Do whatever makes your heart sing: dance, play music, meditate, write poetry, tend your plants, read, take a bath, enjoy a gentle walk in the woodlands. If you have children, then take them out in to nature too. It may be that you simply wish to rest and do nothing... honour that! Being ‘super-women’ involves being vulnerable and loving yourself too. True strength comes from gentleness.”

That is just the main gist of all the information I found. I will include all the links I found useful in my research for you at the end of this post.

According to my research, there are many different ways to help re-balance yourself during your lady week. Here are some of the ways I found:

“Agnus Castus herb - to me, this feels like nirvana and as long as I remember to take it, the tincture works quickly. It is the first thing I reach for when it gets too much.

B vitamins - we use up a lot of B vitamins when we are stressed, so if we are prone to anxiety and stress during the pre-menstrual phase, then it’s really helpful to replace them by taking a good quality supplement.

Maca - this the root of a South American plant and comes in powdered form. It has all sorts of properties, although the thing that stands out for me is that it's an 'adaptogen', which means it helps the body adapt and find balance in stressful situations. A lovely friend of mine also said it worked for her (and she knew this, because after adding it to her smoothies daily, 'it was the first month she hadn't felt like killing someone!'... so I'd say that was success).

Exercise - gets endorphins flowing and helps to flush out the excessive hormones and unbalanced energies.

Meditation - even if it's just taking a breather every now and again, sitting quietly and focusing on big deep exhales and inhales... this can feel really cleansing and nurturing.

Loving ourselves - strangely this is often the hardest for women (including myself). Taking time to stop and doing something, like having a soak in the bath with essential oils, baking a deliciously healthy treat etc...

Kava Kava herb - this is an excellent anti-anxiety herb. It helps us find a space of calm and peace within when all else fails.

It's well worth looking into different options that help to naturally rebalance, although I would say that one of the most important things is to take time to replenish and rest.” []

I also found this tea at whole foods called Woman's Moon Cycle, and it is absolutely amazing. It has a lady doing a yoga pose printed on the side of the box that is supposed to help with cramps, and let me tell you, it really works! : 
This is what the pose looks like, and the instructions underneath it are: “Lie on back, bring knees to chest and hold them snugly, relax in this position, breathing long and deep for 1 to 3 minutes. Enjoy the feeling of comfort as your body returns to its natural state of balance.”

I really wish my mother had known these things and taught me this stuff when I was a little girl. When I first got my period, all I knew was that now I was a woman. Whatever that meant. And that my stomach was suddenly enduring some of the worst pain I’d ever felt. I can’t imagine how different my life would be if I’d known this stuff early on, and could come into my womanhood armed with the knowledge that I was sacred and powerful.

So, I hope these things have helped change the way you see your period, ladies. And speaking of the word period... why not change that to a prettier word? The terms we use for this beautiful, sacred time of the month have so many negative connotations attached to them. As you might have picked up on, I’ve started calling mine my “lady week”. Maybe you should think of a pretty name for yours that reminds you of how important and sacred this time is. Some girls I know like to call it their moon cycle. I’ve always liked that one. What will you call yours?

If you liked this post, you’ll love all these amazing websites I found about this: (this one was especially amazing to me)

I also made this short YouTube playlist that some of you may enjoy during your lady week:
Straight Up Lady Music
Here are one of the videos on the playlist just to give you a taste:
(click for sample)

***Remember: always appreciate your femininity. It is beautiful and sacred. gather your lady friends close and remind them of their feminine beauty that this world has forgotten. we are bringing back the sacred feminine one woman at a time. You are all my sisters and I love you so very much. also dudes who hopefully read this too. you're fucking awesome for wanting to understand your ladies better. you may never understand how much we truly appreciate your efforts. We love to be understood, CHERISHED and adored. ***

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