“You’re not eating the right foods
You’re not exercising the right way
You don’t practice enough gratitude
You’re not spiritual enough
You’re not evolved enough
You’re not meditating enough
There aren’t enough positive thoughts in your day
You’re not reading the right books
You’re not listening to the right teachers
You’re not taking the right supplements or enough of them
Or on the other hand…
You’re not choosing to take medication, as honestly, you don’t need to be a martyr to pain…”
These are just some of the insidious words that can swirl around our heads when we’re on a healing journey, particularly a healing path with a chronic condition.
Next year, I will have spent a quarter of a century in the well-being community. We’re passionate about our craft, our skills, our knowledge. We’ve seen the wisdom we impart work beautifully with clients. We work from the heart, and we work as a force for good. All of this an absolute truth.
What happens, though, when we and our clients are surrounded by the vastness of wisdom and knowledge? With so many choices and avenues to head down?
Is it possible that there’s the potentially creeping message of not getting it quite right? If you’re not seeing improvements in health or wellbeing, you’re not doing enough? Or you haven’t found the right healing path? And that most insidious phrase of the inner critic…you’re not enough?
We are, of course, constantly evolving and learning, and sometimes the path that will be of most benefit, is still waiting for us. We need to be careful though, as that skulking message of not being enough, can worm it’s way into our pyche.
With my practitioner hat on, I direct my energies to the healing potential of womb work, the power of menstrual cycle awareness, and how to move through menopause in a conscious and reflective way. Yes, I’ve been evangelical about the modalities, staying true and authentic to the way I have seen the work change lives, my own life included.
Without hyperbole, the work has readied me for the challenges that I may or may not face over the course of the rest of my life.
How do practitioners and those around us respond to a condition that is also not curable. In fact a condition that is as hard to comprehend, as it is to pronounce, and therefore not easy to engage with.
I am a practitioner, but also someone with a chronic and incurable condition.
I have a cyst in my spinal cord, part of my Central Nervous System. The cyst is known as a syrinx, and those with a syrinx have a condition called Syringomyelia. In my case, it’s congenital so the syrinx formed while I was in the womb.
Strange terminology, and a condition that is considered to be rare (although I’m not convinced it is that rare, but that’s for another time!)
It’s interesting having a condition that is not only unrelatable, but hard to pronounce! Due to it’s “otherness”, the condition, by it’s nature doesn’t create a culture of general understanding. It’s a little too alien for that.
Although, to be fair, information available about it is very limited and, at present, not enough research in the UK has been put into it.
The added bonus of Syringomyelia is that many find that it’s not a stand-alone condition; it’s usually present amongst other syndromes and medical challenges for us.
I’ve been told I also have Fibromyalgia and have had Irritable Bowel Syndrome for as long as I can remember. Whether you’re in the well-being community or not, Fibromyalgia and IBS are more familiar terms; more relatable. More information and resources are at hand to share, and therefore to offer the possibility of help and support.
On the scale of how much these syndromes affect our lives, IBS can be anywhere between an annoyance and debilitating; a Fibromylagia flare up on the other hand is most definitely debilitating.
If you add Syringomyelia back into the mix though, what you have is a condition where there’s the possibility of the Central Nervous System being interrupted, that the body’s reactions and responses may not be as expected.
This makes so much sense to me after the many years of trying numerous modalities, and being confused why I seemed to respond in the opposite way. I always wondered why acupuncture exacerbated symptoms!
The moment of epiphany for me, was listening to a talk recently given by Anthony Williams, known as the Medical Medium. Much of his work is directed at those with chronic conditions, such as Epstein Barr, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and digestive issues.
He was talking about those of us walking around, trying to cope with chronic conditions, and not knowing WHY we have them. He has his theories, his belief systems and methods of improving health. He has a huge following, however his protocols don’t resonate with me personally.
My epiphanic moment though, was realising that I DO know the WHY for these chronic conditions I’m living with. My Central Nervous System has an interruption in it. I have a syrinx, a cyst in my spinal cord. Not a cyst ON my spine, but IN my spinal cord.
In it’s simplest form, the Central Nervous System is the part of us that tells our body what and what not to do. It’s the communication hub for everything we do, from breathing (communicating with our autonomic nervous system) to urinating, to moving.
It’s therefore a crucial part of the human body to not be firing at full capacity!
For those of us who have been supporting ourselves for years, spending probably thousands of pounds, trying to find foods, exercise/movement, spiritual guidance, and modalities to support us, somewhere along the line, the message has popped into my head – “I’m getting it wrong”.
This has called for me to take an about-turn in perspective, and in the process, ease of my own mental health.
How might it feel to be at peace with NOT trying to get BETTER, but instead focussing on ways to have BETTER DAYS? Suddenly meeting Syringomyelia becomes less of mountain to climb.
In our “fix-it” culture, though I’m not sure how well that sits.
My question is, who’s with me?
Who’s on their own journey with a chronic condition and simply wants to enjoy better days?
Or just as potently, who, as a practitioner can support those with a chronic condition to enjoy better days, rather than looking to fix the condition?
What does it mean, living with an incurable condition such as Syringomyelia? Yes, there’s the possibility of it not getting any worse, however, it’s clear my symptoms have worsened. Yes, there’s the possibility of it progressing, that’s a fact, but absolutely NOT A GIVEN.
However, bear in mind that straining when doing a poo, or picking up an object that’s too heavy are ways that a Syrinx can worsen. It’s not necessarily hard to create situations for deterioration and progression.
Perhaps it really is as simple as relinquishing to knowing that I will NOT get better, but I WILL feel better on some days.
Some folks use the term “warrior” when it comes to fighting chronic conditions.
For myself the “warrior” term, and “fighting” is counter intuitive. If I’m chronically fatigued, why would fighting be a congruent and effective way of approaching these conditions?
What if “being” with the condition, listening to what it’s asking of me, conversing with it, playing around with what might help, my nervous system can be calmed rather than over-burdened.
This approach really is born out of the menstrual cycle and menopause awareness work: listening to my needs. Not necessarily conforming to societal and linear expectations for health conditions to have a beginning and an end. There’s so much more in between.
The possibility that following the path of least resistance, can lead to a more soothed soul.
I do though, also understand the need for others to step into warrior mode, it places us in a stance of action, not taking what we’re being faced with lying down, it’s something to overcome. I get it, I really do. It’s just not my chosen direction for this situation.
If I was looking at a condition that was curable, had an end point, yes I subscribe to standing as a warrior. In fact, it was how I approached having ankle surgery last year. With one foot in surrendering to the length of time the recovery would take, and the other in warrior mode; working diligently and valiantly, seeing the ankle healed and holding me with certainty and strength. Little did I know that my Central Nervous System was choosing a different path for me.
The reason I feel compelled to write this piece is as a support to those of us living with chronic conditions; that we’re not getting it wrong, whatever healing path calls us.
Not getting it wrong to be looking to create better days. It’s not fatalistic, it’s calming and a relief to stop the quest for health perfection.
And lets face it, trying to perfect anything in these Covid times, with all the outside pressures of living during a pandemic; it’s just a pressure too far!
If you’ve sat with me as I’ve held space for you in a treatment, led a meditation for you, held space in circle, heard your words; you know that I always invite you to meet where you are, that all is as it’s meant to be in that moment.
The message always is – you are not getting it wrong and that you are enough.
I’m not getting it wrong; I am enough.
It’s been so insightful hearing other’s experiences who have been kind enough to read the piece. The words of a wise yoga teacher have stayed with me. She shared the yogic perspective of the Warrior; that of strength, courage and resilience, rather than of fighting.
It made me take a breath, and acknowledge how all of the warrior aspects have kept me moving, learning and even supporting others in the work I share.
At the beginning of the year, I set an intention of TRUST for 2020, you know, a word of the year kind of thing. Nearly every day I’ve spoken a mantra of ” I welcome TRUST (yes upper case TRUST!) into all aspects of my life”. Dear goddess, has it held me while symptoms have worsened, other challenges have come my way, and in the outside world, living through a pandemic!
Is it possible to be a Warrior of TRUST!
In her midlife, every woman deserves a chance to go travelling alone; just to test the possibility of rolling with “fuck it”
The teachings of Red School tell us that there are psycho-spiritual phases of menopause that we move through. This knowledge is gold, and a way to keep us anchored and sane on the uneasy path of midlife shifting. The first phase we enter in perimenopause, is the chamber of separation.
What does that look like? Probably the most disquieting time of the menopause journey, because the call to be separate from, well, sometimes everyone and everything, can be extraordinarily strong.
This summer I was blessed to have had the opportunity to travel to Bali and Australia. The trip to Bali was to complete my teacher training in Womb and Fertility Massage Therapy. Then on to Australia to spend time with my beloved aunt and cousins. Circumstance meant that I was to be travelling alone, as my family wasn’t able to join me on my adventures.
As I hugged my darling ones tight at the airport, and walked through passport control, this midlife traveller was oozing excitement. The prospect of heading to the other side of the world, only having to look out for myself, was actually quite exquisite. I was fully embracing separation.
Travelling while in the phase of separation felt utterly easeful. I didn’t have to worry about anyone else’s needs but my own.
Flying to the other side of the world and back did, of course, mean spending time in the company of the same group of people for an entire day each way. But, I was able create my own travel bubble, so that I would only chat if I wanted to. In reality, “fuck it” I really didn’t want to! Small talk with those around me was kept to a minimum.
The freedom was there to observe parents, often with an exhausted look in their eye, as they had to navigate the challenges of long-haul travel with their little ones.
Before perimenopause, the yells of other’s young children would have yanked at my heartstrings, but with perimenopause, there’s a shift. “Fuck it”. There’s no need to take on the screams and yells of the intensity the children felt at take-off and landing; I knew they were safe in their parents’ arms. I was simply able to offer the parents a supportive nod and understanding smile.
Mapping out my own space in the small, tight environment of an economy class plane seat even felt unproblematic. Sitting next to a couple of women chatting about Love Island, again I could phase it out and concentrate on my book, choose a film, do a bit of writing. “Fuck it”, there was an element of joy connected to only choosing self-care. Just to switch on relaxing meditative music to drown out the constant rushing sound of the aeroplane so I could try and sleep, was bliss. There was no call to think of anyone else’s sleep needs.
Travelling through I don’t know how many time zones, and only having to take care of my own discombobulation was a huge relief. The brain fog of perimenopause was going through several multiples of intensity. Could I have taken on anyone else’s jet lag? Phew, I didn’t have to!
That said, I was travelling with an injury, which pricked at my vulnerability. Severe ligament and tendon damage to my ankle, meant a countdown to whether or not travel was even going to be possible. The vulnerability sat in opening myself up to accepting assistance at each airport.
The experience of sitting in a wheelchair, being pushed around by various strangers, was a true lesson in surrender. Surrender is the next chamber of menopause after separation. This meant dipping my toe quite deeply in this phase.
Not simply the practicalities of surrendering to my inability to walk long distances, but to the vulnerability that I found myself steeped in. The discomfort of being in a wheelchair was immense. Accepting help in this way, when in my heart surely I’m an independent, vibrant and very mobile person. It was a challenge.
The wonder and upside of airport assistance, though, was being whizzed through customs and passport control at each of the eight flights I took!
Of course, there was the physical side of perimenopause; the odd hot flush, interesting experience on a plane; insomnia; aches and pains; and a crazy-ass short 18 day cycle, all came with me on my travels. But I could breathe through each menopause manifestation, without having to concern myself with anyone else.
Before I went away, a male friend asked me if I was nervous about going? I was quite shocked to be asked this question. Would he have asked my husband the same question? Did I give the impression that travelling alone was going to be a nerve-wracking experience? Was it a misogynistic expectation that I needed a man to make me feel safe when I travel? Was it other women he knew who may have been genuinely nervous about travelling alone, being projected on to me?
Was I nervous? Absolutely not. Even with the injury, I was only excited. “Fuck it” hey, we have Whats App and Facetime to stay in touch with loved ones now! Separation was firmly holding me.
While in Bali, as my fellow sisters gathered for our Womb and Fertility Massage teacher training, we did experience a few of the earthquakes that claimed far too many lives in Lombok. As the effects of the earthquakes emerged and the number of lives lost rose, my soul was rocked. But during the earthquakes, there was a definite feel of “fuck it” in me. If my life was going to end, what a beautiful place to transition; surrendering to mortality.
I would absolutely love to go back to Bali with my husband and children. For a different experience of family togetherness in a country that took my heart. And without the support of my husband, who took over full parenting while I was away, I could not have taken the trip, and for that I will always be grateful. But the gift of travelling while in the phase of separation was truly liberating, and an experience I will treasure as part of my menopause journey.
To explore your own perimenopause journey through a self-directed program, Perimenopause Unwrapped is available to dive in.
Where’s my cave?
Searching for warmth and enduring comfort as winter solstice falls upon us, the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s also a time to gently sow seeds, ready to emerge as spring begins to arrive.
What’s the nature of your internal landscape? Does your menstrual cycle match that of the yearly cycle? Are you menstruating in sync with the shortest day? Are you within your inner summer, ovulating and craving an expansiveness that is hard to reach on a wintry day? Breath in to where you are at this winter solstice.
To ease you through the winter months, please enjoy a selection of essential oils that will nourish and offer you comfort; your very own blanket of essential oil care…
Cedarwood – cedrus atlantica
Atlas cedarwood is a woody, sweet, slightly balsamic and deeply nourishing oil; it offers a softness in it’s aroma that you just may want to welcome with open arms during the winter.
But, don’t underestimate the softness of this healing oil, it’s one that offers solidity and stability. According to Valerie Ann Worwood “It has qualities which are often needed when the spirit is weakened by living too much, loving too much, and being unable to forgive” (The Fragrant Heavens, Valerie Ann Worwood)
It’s the perfect oil for menopause “It encourages the strength we need to continue on our pathway, and urges us to hold fast to our dreams, helping bringing our hopes to reality” Valerie Ann Worwood
As a physical support, winter coughs and colds can also be supported by atlas cedarwood, with it’s warming expectorant and anti-spasmodic actions.
It’s considered a powerful tonic, according to Gabriel Mojay “The oil is tonifying to the kidneys and spleen-pancreas and may be used for general lethargy, nervous debility, lower back ache and poor concentration” (Aromatherapy for Healing The Spirit ,Gabriel Mojay)
Delicious oils to blend with cedarwood for winter nurturing are, frankincense, petitgrain or orange.
Ginger – zingiber officinale
Spicy, pungent sometimes sweet tones, but ever so warming.
Ginger is a perfect companion during the festive season, with its digestive qualities; useful for nausea, bloating and flatulence.
With ginger’s ability to stimulate circulation, add it to a massage blend over the abdomen to relieve not just digestive, also menstrual disturbances.
This is another oil that encourages strength, according to Valerie Ann Worwodd “Ginger is a fragrance of valour and courage”. (The Fragant Heavens) P Holmes agrees “It is recommended for conditions associated with loss of motivation, will or inner strength, especially when these present apathy, listlessness, indecision, confusion and disconnection” (The International Journal of Aromatherapy)
When blended with sweet orange, you are gifted with a warming chocolate orange aroma. One you may quite happily envelope yourself in all winter!
It blends beautifully with all other citrus oils, or introduce some fun into the long wintry nights with aphrodisiacs such as ylang ylang, rose or patchouli.
Geranium – pelargonium graveolens
As Valerie Ann Worwood proclaims: “Geranium resonates with Mother Earth. It signifies the archetypal energy of goddess culture, and encompasses the energy of the feminine, of reproduction, of birth and rebirth” (The Fragrant Heavens)
As you can imagine, geranium is an oil I turn to frequently.
With an aroma that is sweet and floral (even though it’s the leaves of the plant that hold the essential oil), it is soft, green with ever so slightly citrus notes.
Along with deeply feminine qualities, geranium is regenerative and an anti-depressant, as Gabriel Mojay shares: “Clearing heat and smoothing the flow of Qi, geranium, like lavender is able to relax the mind, calm agitation, and ease frustration and irritability”. (Aromatherapy fo Healing the Spirit) It has PMS support written all over it.
Geranium blends well with citrus oils, but as a menstrual support it’s beautiful with clary sage and lavender.
Each of the oils I have shared, offer warmth, hope and that glimmer of light we may look for in the darkness of winter solstice.
Now, imagine being holed up in a cave with these delectable oils, comforting soups, your favourite book and the comfiest of blankets! You might just find me there all winter!
Winter solstice blessings to all.
To enjoy your own exploration of how aromatherapy can support your menstrual cycle and menopause book in here.
Top image – Hernan Sanchez
Ooh, so far, this has been a defining year.
Once I was accepted on to Alexandra Pope’s Women’s Quest Apprenticeship, it was clear that, life would never quite be the same.
The training, (although seriously, “training” doesn’t even begin to describe the experience!) was a series of beautifully crafted processes, transformations and wisdom sharing, such is the like I’ve never encountered.
Essentially over two separate residential weeks we were invited to truly meet ourselves.
And not just a polite shaking of hands kind of meeting. No, this was getting down and sometimes oh so messy with our psyches. Delving in to the different stages of our lives, from menarche (first period) to menopause and beyond.
All under the immensely skilful and watchful eyes and guidance of Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo-Wurlitzer, who run Red School Online, with the huge hearted Laura Tonello and Laila Torsheim to support. I must acknowledge how the teaching team of women working together was so inspirational; the celebration of each others skills, only lifting each other. All utterly powerful to witness. And how each of our teachers shared their authenticity was deeply moving.
By the end of the two residentials, each of us had relived our experience of menarche, traversed our menstrual cycles in several different forms, gone toe to toe with our inner critic, dreamt in to how we can serve the world, met the future wise woman within us, culminating in a pure celebration of ourselves.
And how we celebrated!
Every exercise was searching and challenging, as was the immensely courageous opening of hearts within the circle of sisters I’m sharing the apprenticeship journey with. We listened to one another’s moments of self-awareness, witnessed each others pain, celebrated the emerging joy coming from the healing wisdom, all with such love and compassion. We sang, we danced, we lovingly held space for each other.
My own journey was often painful, but deeply transformational, and allowed me to ease out of the comfiest of comfortable life sofas. In fact, not long after the first residential, with some acknowledgment to where I was standing in my menstrual cycle (my inner summer of ovulation), I found myself calling in to a national radio station to voice my feelings on medication to reverse the menopause. Never done that before! You’ll see why this was such a big deal…
…All my life I’ve had issue with my voice, with projection, with allowing myself to be heard. But even more transformation was to occur. Nearly two years after being gifted a recording studio session by my children, I broke through a whole heap of resistance, started seeing a vocal coach and stepped with confidence in to that recording studio and rocked my way to recording the perfect song choice. It was dedicated to my husband for his daily acceptance of every part of me. I also realised that it was unknowingly a 90s head tip to menstruality!
Please do enjoy the recording of “Bitch”, which would not have materialised were it not for sitting in circle with my Women’s Quest sisters and teachers.
Well, some real gifts have been borne out of the apprenticeship, so grab these while you’re hanging out in this blog post:
1) First is the ever so simple act of introducing cycle awareness in to your life. That’s menstrual cycle awareneness in your menstruating years, or with the lunar cycle, if you’re post menopause, breast feeding, not having menstrual cycles, or post hysterectomy.
Keeping a track of your feelings along with your cycle can be a treasure trove. To help you get started, download your chart here.
2) If you are following a menstrual cycle, really listen to what your body, emotions and psyche are telling you in the different inner seasons (more info on these in number 5). And for women journeying the menopause, the listening is paramount. What is your body asking you to do in this moment? What are your emotions saying to you? What is your intuition nudging you to do (listen ever so carefully to your intuition in your inner winter, especially when you are bleeding, the potential for insight can be staggering).
3) Once you’ve listened, then HEAR, I mean really hear what your needs are, this is as a means to truly support yourself. How can those needs be met? What do you need to do or perhaps more importantly, NOT do.
4) Self-care is key. Establish practices that feed you. This could be: self-care massage, yoga, meditation, your favourite exercise class, receiving a massage, meeting friends, spending time in mama nature, bringing health giving foods in to your life…the list is personal and endless. And if these practices are moved through with awareness as to how they nourish you, your self-care box is firmly ticked.
5) Intertwined with 2-4 is introducing the concept of the 1% in to your life. As Alexandra Pope also calls it, the homeopathic dose. Devoting time to self-care is deeply important, but when the time and frankly the inclination is just not there, what to do then? The 1% is a balm to your needs. What little kindnesses can you show yourself?
Here are a few ideas, working around the inner seasons of the menstrual cycle:
*That moment of slowing your step, if you can’t fully stop, while you’re bleeding in your inner winter.
*That moment of taking a breath when your inner critic speaks up in your inner autumnal pre-menstruum; maybe texting a friend who always lifts you when you’re down.
*That social event you duck out of at the last minute while you’re in your super sexy, inner summer, ovulation phase. Because actually its the 4th night on the trot you’ve gone out and suddenly you no longer feel super sexy and if you go there’s the very real chance of an energy slump that might really floor you – and…take a breath!
*That moment you bite your tongue, even though you want to tell everyone about your latest, greatest innovative idea in exciting, but still quite vulnerable, pre-ovulatory, inner spring. Knowing actually, its too early to share and any criticism might squash your precious idea shoots.
Find your own 1%s, your own small kindnesses that will ease unease.
I adore the simplicity, that the answers lie within you. All in your cycle guiding you to when and how to engage in the self-care, when to reach for a choco endorphin release, shift your exercise from Insanity to pleasurable yoga, make that presentation, write that blog post…yes my loves, it’s all there in cycle awareness.
If you would like to explore these gifts and possibilities of your menstrual cycle or menopause journey, you have options:
*Check our our latest Woman Kind offering here
*Opportunities for embodying these gifts with Womb & Fertility Massage,
*Simply having a consultation to explore how you can introduce menstrual cycle or menopause awareness as a support to your life. You can reach me at Leora@auraholistictherapies.com
*Red School, I can’t recommend enough, leads you on your own menstruality journey with Alexandra and Sjanie.
With heartfelt thanks and love to Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo-Wurlitzer and fellow sisters who sat in circle at the Apprenticeship.
I haven’t even mentioned PMT, just wait until that rears its sometimes hideously ugly head. Oh the frustration of our partner not throwing away the used tea bags or the irritation that woman in the office who’s chair wheels squeak every time she moves!
Perhaps it feels deeper than that, a critical voice in your head that once a month begins to shout a little too loud that you are not worthy of this and are rubbish at that and don’t deserve, well, anything that might resemble happiness.
If any of this sounds familiar, welcome to what feels like a harsh menstrual world.
But, here’s a radical suggestion. Your period, in fact, your whole monthly cycle is not the enemy you might think it is.
How do I know this? Well read on.
The relationship I had with my own cycle up to only a couple of years ago, was, quite frankly one of pure hate, resentment, and the will for early menopause. Yes I was literally wishing my life away, anything so that I wouldn’t have to struggle through yet another month.
I would bleed for about 10 days, with 2 or 3 days of the kind of pain that could leave me momentarily blind. Often I would be unable to get out of bed, as I would regularly manage to squeeze in a few disabling migraines. They would strike indiscriminately before, during and/or after my bleed.
Premenstrually, I would feel so horribly unwell that most months l would be on the verge of passing out. My joints would be painful, breast pain was off the scale, and the rage was, well, just frightening. And the self talk, oh yes, that critic, she was always on her worst behaviour. The whole world was against me…again!
Who would have guessed that actually that womb from hell of mine, would end up being a bestie? A source of creativity, a source of intuition and a source of trust.
All I had to do was care for her and the cycle that she was central to.
First introductions to my womb were made during my Abdominal-Sacral Massage training and deepened in my Fertility Massage training. It turned out I was holding a whole load of trauma in her. Receiving massage treatments and allowing regular self massage, my cycle started to shift. Bleeds changed from brown and dark red sludge to a beautiful bright red flow; I was clearing healthily each month. But most gratefully, the pain eased.
So began my quest of self discovery. Over the last couple of years I’ve been educating myself, making changes and seeing significant, heart-skipping shifts.
The most radical change of all was deciding to commit to self-care.
After reading Alexandra Pope’s The Wild Genie, I knew I had to grab the opportunity to learn from the woman who spent 30 years developing a form of menstrual care that is both radical and hugely empowering. So I did, and I have learned that with care, kindness and most importantly, awareness, you can tap in to this source of menstrual creativity. Keeping a track of my cycle was a huge part of this, noting daily on a chart has allowed insight in to how I ebb and flow as I move from the winter of my bleed, to the spring of pre-ovulation, to the summer of ovulation, to the autumn of pre-menstrum, back to the winter of bleeding.
As I write this, it’s during the heaviest day of my period. I’m feeling pretty dreamy in mid-winter, but giving in to the feeling. Actually I am finding it hard to concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes, but it’s ok.
Look at that, no judgement or frustration, just kindness and understanding, and because of this, no pain. I haven’t pushed through.
I have invited my family to understand that I need to just “be” on this day and it’s made such a difference having them on board.
It’s about honouring each part of the cycle.
On Mothers Day this year I took my daughter to a one of my favourite crystal shops and we picked out a bracelet together that I wear only while I bleed.
I truly honour my cycle now and I chart to recognise when it’s necessary to show myself the most kindness. Long gone are the days where I was wishing for menopause. Instead at the age of nearly 45, I relish my final few years of bleeding, making the most of this gift until my time of transition.
What if you were able to gain access to a source of power, of creativity, of action; a place where your voice will be heard, usually taking different guises – sometimes with enthusiasm, sometimes with sheer glee, sometimes with uncompromising honesty, sometimes with tenderness? This place can also be a gateway for deep emotion, anger, revelation, but also love, empathy and understanding.
Could all of these dimensions be found in one place? Spend some quality time with the wise and inspirational Alexandra Pope and Uma Dinsmore-Tuli and all will become clear.
I did just that last weekend on Alexandra’s and Uma’s Womb Wisdom Retreat in stunning Stroud. Here, my head, heart and psyche were held, tested, at times turned 360 degrees by relinquishing to vulnerability, but most importantly nurtured.
Shared with other beautiful souls, we coupled with our source through Womb Yoga. We were taken through exquisite Yoga Nidra by the equally exquisite Uma Dinsmore-Tuli; we connected yet floated around our bodies. How was that possible?
And we were taught gently, purposefully and formidably, by Alexandra, how to access this source I’ve alluded to.
Ladies, it’s within us. Oh yes! It is held within us, in the form of our monthly cycle. If we can acknowledge the different seasons throughout our cycle, we can allow ourselves a freedom and most importantly an acceptance that what we experience on day 1 of our cycle, will be different to, say, day 8. Again by day 15 we will be experiencing a whole other force, and by day 24 we might not even recognise who we were a few days before. There is a sound and sensible reason for how and why we shift throughout the month. Each phase serves a purpose.
All this from the menstrual cycle? The key word here is cycle. Once you delve in to the powerful world of the menstruality, a theme becomes most apparent – as women, because we do cycle, we ARE not and CANNOT be linear. Ironically and sadly, many of us live and work in a fashion, where we are expected to perform to same level of ability, energy and clarity, day in day out.
Let me share a rather freeing concept, that at each stage of your cycle you will be able to harness a different kind of power. I look forward to sharing some of these ideas in later blogs.
All I know is since the retreat, since delving deep into my seasons, I have been an unstoppable force! The procrastination has halted; unexpected, unplanned conversations to clear old demons have taken place; future plans have been actioned; heck, I’ve written my first blog!