How to adore your menstrual cycle and find your flow
I’ve just come to the end of Winter in my menstrual cycle (otherwise known as my Moon or phase of Menstruation).
If you’d told me a year ago I’d be openly talking about my cycle, I would have politely told you you were nuts!
Don’t get me wrong, I cherish my cycle and am so grateful for the incredible potential it holds to gift life. But this hasn’t always been the filter through which I’ve viewed my cycle.
I’ve spent a couple of decades feeling some level of shame around being a woman and having a menstrual cycle: bleeding (and the worry of maybe leaking onto my clothes, the sheets, a chair, a towel); appearing erratic or out of control; and experiencing strong (sometimes otherwise out of character) emotions and changing moods.
The fact is that our cycles are a completely natural part of life and one of the sole reasons that we exist as a race!
It’s nuts right?! Anyway, I’m not willing to unquestioningly accept shame in this area of my life anymore.
We are the only ones who can allow shame to exist for us, we have to keep the shameful thing hidden for it to remain shameful.
To have a rich and deep love of our bodies in all their glory, and our womanhood, is such a great gift. There’s also a certain level of resilience and flexibility we learn as women by riding our ever-changing cycles.
Why I’m talking about it now is that I was recently referred to a pretty life-changing resource in this area – Claire Baker’s Adore Your Cycle eBook and it’s something I feel called to share with you (and anyone else who’ll listen really!). If you want to dive deeper into this work, I highly recommend you check it out. [I’m not in any way affiliated with Claire, although I would love to be!]
I can only think how amazing it would be for all young women to understand their menstrual cycles as the gift of nature they are and to feel comfortable talking about and sharing freely with their family, friends (both male and female) and partners about this.
So for the ladies who wish to understand (and love) themselves better and for the men who’d love to better understand the ladies in their lives, this is for you!
And those in relationship (where at least one of the partners is a female) – wow! The possibilities for greater compassion and harmony are unreal!
The Seasons of our Cycle[Source: Claire Baker]
Claire describes our menstrual cycle as being like the seasons where every 28 days, we experience a spring, summer, autumn and winter and in each of these seasons the tides within us are changing in relation to:
– Our hormones and moods
– The desire we have for food, exercise, sex, intimacy
– Our energy, creativity, intuition, spirituality
– The type of work that comes most easily to us and our motivation to do it
– Our ability and desire to be active, social and extroverted in the world
I’ve been pretty aware of the ebbs and flows that happen with life and of course moods and emotions. But up until I read Adore Your Cycle, I’d never been quite so clear on matching those ebbs and flows to what is happening throughout the 28 days of my menstrual cycle.
There’s a remarkable amount of predictability and with that comes possibility. The possibility to honour the wisdom of what we know is likely to come up for us and to plan and schedule our lives accordingly.
I find this framework feels easy and fun to integrate, I love it!
“Find your flow, work your menstrual magic & change the way you live your life — forever…” Claire BakerFor example, choosing to do as little as possible on the first couple of days of Winter as we begin menstruation, planning a steamy weekend away when we’re in our Spring / Autumn, being understanding and forgiving of ourselves in Autumn when our appetite is likely to be at its highest.
I’ve been tracking my cycle for the last few weeks according to the information Claire provides and it’s been spot on.
How the Seasons play out in 5 Key AreasClaire goes into wayyyy more detail in her eBook and I can’t recommend it highly enough but here’s a quick and dirty overview of 5 key areas and common experiences of them during the different seasons.
Appetite can be low, warming, cleansing foods and dark chocolate
Reduced appetite, desiring whole, healthy foods
Time to plan meals and cook in advance for the coming season, salty cravings
Increased appetite, cravings for sugar and carbs
Low energy, this time is for gentle movement
Energy is increasing, building momentum
Feeling strong with increased energy
May feel a little less energised thought exercise may help with PMS
Can feel a lack of motivation and passion, good time for intuition and planning
Great time for starting projects, yang (masculine) energy for taking action
Energy is high, schedule meetings, clients, workshops
Time for reflection, editing and refining projects
Not likely to be feeling it, lay low, say no, chill out, energy is likely to be inward
Light energy, more desire to socialise and connect
Very social, plan catch ups with family and friends
Starting to withdraw, comforting social experiences are ideal
Inward creative expression. Calmer, clear energy
Fresh energy, plant new seeds for the coming cycle
Expression is full and outward, creating and manifesting
Full, truthful and wild creative expression
My Self-Care Pack Recommendations
[Source: Food / Energy / Work / Social / Creativity: Adore Your Cycle eBook]
Tracking our Menstrual CycleOne small thing I’ve done so far is map out my seasons in google calendar so when I’m planning workshops, meeting, weekends away etc, I can do so considering how I know I’ll be feeling at the time. You’ll see here the beginning of each week says the season and they’re colour coded too.
The 7 days for each season is not a set thing either, it’s a matter of tracking our experience for a little while and seeing what’s true for you, some could be shorter, some longer.
The more we come to understand, appreciate and work with our menstrual cycle, the richer our lives become.
Sharing this WisdomI’ve started the conversation with my partner, Tom about all of this as you can only imagine how useful this could be for the male folk in understanding us better! My plan is to provide Tom with my calendar of seasons above and the one page shortcut sheet from the eBook which is an expanded version of the table above.
The way I see it, armed with this information, we can all be a whole lot easier on ourselves. In understanding ourselves better, we can also manage our lives in a more congruent way, doing what feels best to us and when.
I’m super passionate about all this and would LOVE to hear any success you’ve had in this field. Don’t hesitate to shoot me an email and let me know.
And if you think this information will be useful to your friends, family and ESPECIALLY any young women, please do share it with them and help to diminish the shame and stigma that exists around a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Hope this has been interesting and helpful for you.
P.s. I’ve created a downloadable guide for you below to get you started on your journey!