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Female Empowerment, Menstrual Cycle, nutrition, self-care

Nutrition

“In everything you eat – honour yourself. […]

In nourishing your body and soul with love and mindful awareness, you learn to truly   honour everyone and everything that your life touches.”

(From ‘Moon Time’ by Lucy Pierce)

Though it may often not feel like it at all, our body can be our biggest ally. It is the number one feedback system we have for what is going on inside of us (let’s call that our “internal life”, which includes physiology as well as emotions and mental states) as well as our interactions with the outside world and the people around us (our “external life).

That being said, how we treat our bodies and what we put onto and into them naturally has a huge impact on how well this feedback system can function; not even taking into account the challenge of listening for the feedback, when it is functionioning well! Hormonal imbalances — the greatest underlying cause of menstrual discomfort including PMS, PMDD and even some forms of PCOS and endometriosis — are directly related to the way we treat our bodies. [Sidenote: the #1 cause of hormonal imbalance in women is stress! What’s #2 you ask? Believe it or not: high blood sugar! #3: accumulation of toxicity in the body].

Since our bodies are complex systems, we need to understand that what works for one person is not necessarily going to help the next. Think about the trend in health care towards personalized medicine… Wouldn’t make much sense if all of humanity could be treated with one template, right? Therefore, the more knowledge you gain about HOW the things you put into your body (food, drinks, supplements) and the things you expose your body to (hygiene products, beauty care, living quarters, work place, etc.) can affect your own personal individual body, the easier it will be for you to figure out what works best to alleviate the symptoms or conditions you are working with.

There is a lot of information out there on the impact of nutrition on health and I encourage you to seek out the relevant information for you. For my part, I have put together two lists to help you specifically when dealing with hormonal imbalances.

  1. What to watch out for and possibly avoid
  2. Recommendations of foods & herbs when dealing with PMS and similar symptoms 

For any of this information, remember: try it out for some time if it resonates with you (give yourself at least 2 weeks to adjust to your new diet), and listen to your beautiful feedback system. If you find that cutting out caffeine, for example, does not help relieve your cramps but just makes you miserable because your cup of coffee by the window in the morning was the highlight of your day.. by all means, stick with it! Only YOU will know what’s right for you.

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Female Empowerment, self-care

I accept

I have been struggling recently with … well, seemlingly with everything.

But mostly, I have been struggling with and against myself.

So today, in lieu of writing the article on self-care I feel compelled to right but don’t have the energy for, I want to share with you a gift I received:

The student asks the teacher: “Why am I so rarely the person I long to be?”. The teacher responds: “Why do you so rarely want to be the person you are?”

~ Buddhist Teaching

In the spirit of this teaching, I invite you to join me on a journey of acceptance.

Because ultimately, self-love is the highest form of love we can experience.

(Even on Valentines Day!)

archetypes, Female Empowerment, Menstrual Cycle, Sexuality, Symbols

Symbolisms

Many of the processes in our body are cyclical. The circadian (circa= approximately, dies = day) rhythm underlies a whole host of physiological functions, including the release of certain hormones (e.g., testosterone) and our sleep cycle (which, of course, is also governed in part by hormones).

The menstrual cycle is just another one of these cyclical events in a human body. Curiously, this cycle is adapted to a monthly rhythm; a cycle that was modeled roughly around one full cycle of the moon. Though this may seem esoteric at first, the moon is actually responsible for a number of physical events, not least of all the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tides; a phenomenon which has been used variously as metaphor for menstruation.

Unsurprisingly then, the moon is an ancient symbol for the feminine and cultural traditions surrounding menstruation include the moon as symbol in many ways (moon time: time of bleeding; moon lodges: ; or, more recently, moon cups: reusable silicone cups used to collect menstrual blood). Interestingly, the different stages of the menstrual cycle and the fluctuations in energy associated with them can be mapped onto the different stages of the moon (new moon/ waxing moon/ full moon/ waning moon) quite well.

Over time, other symbols have joined the moon in describing the changes in a person’s physical and mental state as we move through our menstrual cycle.

Some examples of these are:

* The seasons (Winter/Spring/Summer/Autumn)
* The archetypes (The Wise Woman/ The Maiden/ The Mother/ The Enchantress)

I have decided to share with you, over the course of the next few weeks, the various embodiments or symbols of the stages of the menstrual cycle.

As always, not everything will resonate with everyone equally and that is perfectly fine! This is why it’s so wonderful and so important that there are many voices, offering different approaches and perspectives on the same knowledge.

I invite you to choose the symbols that work for you, and leave the other ones aside. Or, if you prefer, take the opportunity as you move through the stages of your cycle, too look deeply within yourself and discover your own personal symbols to support yourself through the ebb and flow of your hormonal changes.

If you find that you need inspiration or advice, do let me know.
I would be happy to work with you on this journey of discovery!

Female Empowerment

In Sickness and In Health

I have been at home with bronchitis for over a week now. My energy levels are low. My lungs feel heavy. My need for sleep seems endless.

I am also one of those women* afflicted with the ‘superwoman syndrome‘ — the feeling of needing to be super-productive, super-happy, super-beautiful and super-kind-to-everyone, all the time (check out Dr. Mary Pritchard’s Blog if you’re interested in learing more about what she calls the superwoman syndrome and enoughness issues!).

Cue: Bronchitis!

If you relate to the SuperwomanSyndrome, you may know how difficult it is to be limited to a fraction of your mental and physical capacities… For me, the first few days I was torn between wanting to crawl up a wall and being paralyzed by self-loathing for not being healthy (and able to be productive!). Because, of course, I was blaming myself for becoming sick. Even worse, my inner critic (who likes to rear her head at these kinds of occasions) jumped at the chance and suggested that I might only be “faking it”.

Hello Self-Doubt!

Well, they say that in every challenge lies an opportunity to learn. So here is what I am in the process of learning:

Recovery is slow.

Recovery takes energy.

If I choose to throw that energy into hating myself, I have less energy to recover.

Recovery is a mindset.

And the most important one:

Slow is beautiful!

Constant availability has become the norm, but my body is simply putting a physiological limitation on that demand. I now take this as a beautiful gift. A gift which has made me realize how little activities fit into my waking hours, if I do them mindfully. And how rewarding it can be, to just sit on my couch, a cup of coffee in hand and know:

I have no where to go. Nothing to do. Everything IS. I can simply BE.

Female Empowerment

WE starts with ME

This is my mantra for the new year!

I invite you to join me in thinking about the following sentence for a minute. To let it sink into the depth of your consciousness:

**I have permanent permission to stop and determine how I feel about what I am doing at any given moment**

It is terribly easy — too easy — to drain oneself of all energy by pouring it freely into other people or tasks or objects. Especially in times like these, when constant availability has become a necessity not only in the workplace (bad enough!) but also in our social lives.

We deserve rest. We deserve to create nurturing and loving environments for ourselves. We deserve to be compassionate with ourselves and our limits.

I wish you a beautiful new year filled with compassion and kindness, firstly towards YOU. Then everyone else.

We deserve it.

Female Empowerment, Poetry

Imagine a Creature…

Imagine a creature in LOVE with it*s own body.
A creature who believes it*s body is enough, just as it is.
Who celebrates its rhythms and cycles as an exquisite resource.

Imagine a creature who honors the embodiment of the divine in it*s changing body. A creature who celebrates the accumulation of it*s years and wisdom. Who refuses to use it*s precious life-energy disguising the changes in it*s body and life.

Imagine a creature who embodies it*s spirituality.
A creature who honors it*s body as the Sacred Temple of the Spirit of Life. Who breathes deeply as a prayer of GRATITUDE for life itself.

Imagine a creature who loves it*s body
through the seasons of life…Regardless!

Imagine yourself as this creature.

This is my wish. For you. This Christmas ♡

 

[adapted & queer*ed from a post by @Wild Woman Sisterhood, on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WildWomanSisterhood/posts/555300314619557:0 ]

Uncategorized

On Anonymity and Authenticity

I’ve been having some interesting discussions recently on the concept that making oneself vulnerable is (equal to?) making oneself authentic.

While I believe that there is more to authenticity than being vulnerable, I do tend to agree that by shedding the walls and the masks that we put on to fit other peoples’ (as well as our own!) expectations, we come closer to being authentically US. Beyond this, I believe that a large part of our personal expression is shaped by the norms and customs of the society in which we are socialized (i.e. the culture we grew up in and the one we are exposed to on a daily basis).

That being said, menstruation is a topic seen as taboo in many cultural traditions. The physiology and physicality of bleeding is considered “unfit” to talk about, much less reveal, publicly. The slowly growing artistic movement of menstrual empowerment have shown this in an impressive way. In March of 2015, for example, Rupi Kaur’s photo depicting a woman* on her period was deleted twice from Instagram, claiming its content was inappropriate. Perhaps most famously, artist Casey Jenkins’ 28 day long performance piece “Casting Off My Womb“, in which she knitted from a cast of wool placed in her vaginal tunnel for a full menstrual period, was met with outrage and disgust by millions of viewers around the globe.

While I do believe that there is such a thing as oversharing, when it comes to menstruation, I think that bringing the daily trivialities people with periods into the light is a necessity for as long as cycle positivity has not reached the status “normal”.

It is for this reason that I have decided to step out of anonymity and add personal details to these pages. This does make me vulnerable. Yes. But it also is authentically me. And as far as I am concerned, the old feminist principle is just as valid today as it was the day it was coined:

The personal is political!

[Carol Hanisch, member of New York Radical Women and a prominent figure in the Women’s Liberation Movement]

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Queering Femininity

Red tent movements and menstruation empowerment activism often call upon a concept of (divine) femininity to reason for period positivity. This undifferentiated concept of femininity used in the attempt to empower women* who throughout much of history have been degraded and stripped of power by hetero-patriarchical structures, unfortunately carries with it a moment of exclusion. By conjuring the feminine imagery when speaking about menstruation, people who menstruate but do not consider themselves as feminine or do not identify as ‘Female/Woman’ are made invisible.

While I do believe that there is space for particular identity-politics and a need to recognize unique issues within (especially marginalized) sub-groups, I think there is a great chance in attempting to make our speech and our efforts as activists as inclusionary as possible. ‘The feminine’ and ‘the masculine’ have been recognized as aspects of human identity, regardless of gender or sex assigned at birth, by cultures and traditions ranging from Hinduism to greek mythology.

In addition to the silencing and degredation of non cis-male people, hetero-patriarchy has historically also led to the condemnation of being in touch with the inner feminine for those identifying and/or read as male. Beyond this binary, people who identify as trans*, intersex, or genderqueer similarly might experience menstruation but feel excluded by from a dialogue using this particular style of language, aimed (at least seemingly) towards cis-women. After all, there are plenty of people with a uterus that builds up and sheds its lining. A uterus, which is utterly oblivious and uncaring to the gender its ‘owner’ might be read as belonging to.

I guess this therefore is meant as a plea to foster alliances and cultivate awareness of whom we might (inadvertently) be excluding in our own efforts to fight against taboos, opression and marginalization.