As someone who has always enjoyed feel-good quotes, inspirational quotes, a sometimes sharer of such quotes, I have recently found myself questioning more and more of what I read.

It feels as though there is an immense pressure on us to always be positive, always be happy, no matter what; and as much as creating a good sense of self and well-being is an integral part of my professional intention, it’s also important to recognise that this is often a huge burden. I mean, what happens if you’re not feeling upbeat? If you can’t always see the joy in everything around you? Have you failed the positivity test? It sometimes feels as though in the feel-good world, we’re setting ourselves up for a fall.

It’s just as important to hear those feelings where self-doubt, uncertainty, irritation, sadness or maybe resentment, amongst others, are also present.

In fact the likelihood is they form part of a monthly pattern.

Such feelings can be eased with the right therapy or practice, but acknowledging them is fundamental, rather than sweeping them aside and pretending they’re not part of a thought process or deeply entrenched belief.

But how is this linked to your monthly cycle?

Well, our cycle moves through the following phases or seasons:

Menstruation/winter – a time to find your cave and simply stop

Pre-ovulation/spring – when energy may rise, as may ideas

Ovulation/summer – possibly the highest energy you will experience in the month, when you may want to take on the world and possibly be your most creative

Pre-menstruum/autumn – this is the time to start slowing down and become more thoughtful about plans and sometimes the people you spend time with.

I started writing this in my pre-menstrual phase; a time of deep discernment, frankly a time when you don’t take any shit. It’s often an uncomfortable phase, but once you have formed a friendhsip with your cycle, my word when those emotions can be harnessed in autumn you can put them to the kind of use you could never believe. By the time I publish this I will have started settling in to winter and I may want be gentler in my writing.

With the intention of giving you a helping hand to cultivate this understanding of your cycle, here are some simple suggestions:

Chart your cycle

If you are menstruating, your menstrual cycle holds such gold. Seeing the shift in emotions and feelings as you move from season to season.

If you are no longer experiencing a menstrual cycle, try tracking the lunar cycle as see how aligned you are with the phases of the moon.

While charting, notice a pattern forming over the months. When are you most active? Most creative? Most discerning or impatient? When are you craving slowness or stillness?

Get to know your inner critic

Give her a name, it truly helps, particularly when “she’s” not playing fair. Earlier this year I had a nasty run in with my inner critc, here’s how it panned out! This relationship is really rather crucial in the process, as the inner critic tends to have a field day in our autumn phase.

Get yourself a gorgeous journal

Then write, write, write! Working alongside your charting, it’s an opportunity to allow the space for the flesh to be put on the bones of the shifts occuring. Be as self-indulgent as possible. Your journal can be a place to vent, explore, get sweary if it feels right, get real about anything and everything you feel in the moment. When you look back at your entries, chances are it will also hold some gems.

Set aside a small amount of time, preferably daily, for self-care

Why not give self-abdominal massage a go? Become acquainted with this sacred area of your body, the area where our deepest emotions are often held, our deepest history. It’s also a window on how our digestive and womb health responds to our inner and outer world. You may be surprised at the level of self-knowledge that might arise, plus it feels rather yummy once you’ve got the hang of it!

Practice gratitude

Even if life feels utterly shit right now, write down one positive each day. You might consider it negligible, but pop it down in your journal. That little nugget of gratitude may have a longer term benefit even if it doesn’t improve your mood in the moment.

4625826997There you have it, 5 simple suggestions. Isn’t that great! The pressure is off! Gently recognising your shifts as you move through the month, seeing the patterns that begin to form; who knows as your knowledge of your inner landscape grows, an ease of the goddess within may just emerge. I would take that any day over enforced feel-good positivity.

So, as 2015 exits and 2016 makes its entrance, why not make the decision to use your cycle to recognise when you’re firing on all cylinders, when to throw yourself into a project, when it’s time to slow down and when it’s time to actually stop?

If you feel you would like some support or guidance working though these points, from January I am offering complementary 30 minute Skype or phone consultations, you can contact me here.

In February Kate Codrington and I are holding our first Love Your BellyWorkshop of 2016.

We are welcoming another group of women to learn how to harness self-care and a whole lot more. If you would like to reserve a seat/cushion and make the most of the early reduced price you can click here.

Wishing for a peaceful entry into 2016 and a year full of blessings.

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