The Magic Of Menstruation
The very fact that I am writing this blog is somewhat of a miracle. Considering I did not get my period for over ten years straight during my 20s, not only did I not know how powerful this time of the month could be, but I was completely disconnected from my cycle and my womb altogether…
Somehow I cleverly convinced myself that not having my period was a good thing and was a result of years of dedicated Yoga and Meditation practice. I felt like I was conserving my life force energy and purifying myself. Not to mention, during this time I was severely underweight, had an unhealthy relationship with food and my body and struggled with insomnia, body pain and stress… I hadn’t connected the dots yet. I hadn’t put two and two together. My lack of connection with my femininity was taking a toll on my physical and mental wellbeing.
I got my period for the first time when I was twelve years old. I didn’t really know what it meant and definitely wasn’t taught about the potentially ‘sacred’ or ‘spiritual’ aspect of this monthly phenomenon. The only thing I remember is thinking it was gross and feeling a lot of shame. In fact, many milestones on the journey of ‘becoming a woman’ freaked me out, such as growing breasts and having to wear a bra, as well as my first deodorant purchase.
When my period stopped, I wasn’t concerned. I did some research which suggested that amenorrhea (cease of menstruation) could be caused by too much exercise and a low percentage of body fat. At this time, I was obsessed with working out and being thin so although I realized something was ‘wrong’ with my menstrual cycle, I wasn’t proactive about finding a solution. It was easy for me to ignore it and go on with my life.
Eventually, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. There are many reasons for this. One of the reasons is that my spiritual practice started to come full circle and naturally led me to learning about Tantra, embodiment and the magic of menstruation… ancient teachings that have been kept secret for centuries. I never considered that my menstrual time could be a time for introspection, meditation, deep connection with the Earth and my primal roots and a time to receive downloads, insights and clarity. Another reason I intuitively knew it was (beyond) time to address my lack of flow was due to chronic stress and burnout. I was operating primarily from my masculine side, and although I was ‘successful’ in my business and efficient in my daily tasks, I was constantly overwhelmed and everything seemed like a struggle. I was very rigid, programmed and structured and there was no real pleasure in my life. The final (and perhaps most obvious) reason I chose to finally heal is due to being in a relationship with a sex therapist who specializes in women’s sexuality (after a decade of default celibacy). I mean, HELLO. Did I call that in or what? For years my Beloved has been encouraging me to take a deeper look at this issue, but I had soooo much resistance. I prioritized work and ‘business’ and I didn’t have any type of sexual self-care routine or womb healing practices. I didn’t realize that once I reconnected with my cycle, everything in my life and business would flow with ease. I was thinking backwards…
It was time to take action.
Although my preference was to avoid the use of pharmaceutical drugs, I realized that my years of disordered eating and overexercising may have wreaked havoc on my hormones to the extent that medication may provide a jumpstart to my system to get back into balance. So I decided to go back to the gynecologist to readdress my concern. When I entered her office and discussed with her that I tried to bring my period on naturally since the last time I saw her, she became discouraged immediately and scolded me for not using the original prescription. So she wrote me another prescription and encouraged me to begin taking it right away.
The prescription was sitting on my dining room table, and I decided to wait until the next morning to get it filled and start taking the medication. Do you want to know what happened when I woke up the next morning? Yep, you guessed it. I got my period. Naturally. I literally have chills as I’m writing this, and every time I think back to this moment I’m just speechless. It’s as if my body was saying thank you for finally giving her the attention she so desperately needed for so many years. So, I didn’t take the medication. I just knew in that moment I didn’t need to. It was clear. And mystical AF. I really still have no words for this occurrence. Just a feeling of deep gratitude and recognition of forces beyond what we know working on our behalf.
Many womb-bearers associate period time with PMS (which I now believe stands for Pure Magic and Sacredness). Cramping and discomfort may seem normal and expected, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many practices to alleviate these symptoms, including energy work, breathing techniques, yin and restorative yoga and cyclical eating. When you understand each phase of your cycle and what your body is going through, it’s that much easier to understand her subtle signals and needs. For example, the week before my period when I am in my luteal phase is a time when my energy is low so I don’t book a lot of work-related tasks that week. I take less hikes and more beach walks. I also notice my cravings are different so I love eating more grounding, heavy foods during this time (which is natural since the uterus is shedding a layer and extra nutrients are required). I used to be so strict and never allow myself to deviate from the same food and same fitness routine each day, which left me feeling unsatisfied, out of balance and exhausted.
Cyclical awareness helps you become more in tune and therefore, more intuitive. You know the foods that will nourish you without having to read a diet book. Your diet varies based on the time of month. You lighten up the load on your hot yoga and high intensity classes during your cycle and go for a nature walk instead (or better yet, a day or two off). Trusting this inherent knowing is the path to personal freedom and embodied living. Having your period is a spiritual experience. I’d like for this truth to become the new norm.
Also, if you have gone through menopause or have had a hysterectomy, these teachings still apply. You are still a cyclical being. Menopause is a rite of passage into a new phase of life where your wisdom and psychic abilities are heightened. The time of menopause is a time for self-reflection, meditation and inner alchemy. If you no longer have a womb, you still have an energetic womb and womb wisdom exists beyond the physical. Tune in to your higher self and trust her signals.
Wherever you are on your womb healing journey, I invite you to carve out the time and space to be with your womb space. A practice you can try is to place your hands in Yoni Mudra (thumbs touching directly below your navel, pointer fingers touching in a downward facing triangle. Visualize your womb and your ovaries. Soften your lower abdomen completely and take a long deep inhale into your lower belly and exhale through your mouth with a sound. Do this for even just several rounds of breath, allowing whatever sounds want to be released, and then journal about your experience. This clearing practice will immediately bring you out of your head and into your body.
It’s so easy to live from our minds, yet the intelligence of our bodies is far more advanced. Trust your body. And trust your timing. Miracles are real.