“Nothing will change as long as women say nothing.” ~ Cynthia Blynn
“We are the torchbearers of truth, the tellers of tales of beautiful birth, the weavers of courageous empowering visions to set before the women and families we serve. Our stories must be told often, until they become more compelling and convincing than the horrible […] myths people hear all around them.” ~ Judy Edmunds
I loved these two quotes from the most recent Midwifery Today e-news. And, some quotes via Pagan Families showed up at just the right time, as I had already saved several other menstruation-related quotes to share.
“Honouring our menstrual cycle reminds us how sacred we are.” -Jane Hardwicke Collings in Becoming A Woman
“Childbearing is a form of power, one of the greatest powers in the world, and menstruation is a sign of that power.” -Valerie Tarico
“We are born into blood and with blood.” -Chandra Alexandre, at The Conference on Earth-Based Spiritualities & Gender
via Pagan Families
Something that has been coming into clearer focus for me lately is the emotional and creative cycle of the menstrual cycle—there is a natural outward directed phase of the cycle and there in an inward directed phase. I’m trying to be more mindful of scheduling my commitments and my expectations for myself to coincide with the rhythms of my body. As I wrote in response to the quotes above, I’m only recently making the connection between birthing body wisdom and menstrual cycle wisdom….how do we honor this naturally “shamanic” time and inward connection in the midst of the swirl of daily life. What I’m finally figuring out is that there is a cycle of energy that goes with our moontime cycles and that life “flows” much more easily when I plan around those natural cycles of energy. For example, during ovulation I feel energetic, outward directed, focused, and creative. During this time, I compose new blog posts, work on articles, and do, do, do–and, finally, I’m realizing that I can do stuff during this time in advance preparation of the reduced energy and inward focus I feel during bleeding. I can take care of my future self, by focusing energy in powerful ways when I have it and then gathering in and being still when THAT is what I need instead. This is a new understanding for me, one that is still developing…
In the Moods of Motherhood, Lucy Pearce discusses this ebb and flow of energy as well, first with respect to children:
This is a little discussed subject. I remember reading in The Wise Wound the fact that there was no research anywhere on the impact of women’s cycles and PMS on children… and yet an effect there must be! We joke about women on the rag. Those around us suffer too, but we do not discuss it, or re-think family life at these times. They also see and feel the effects of our enhanced creativity, libido and need to retreat within. The whole family sails the seas of a mother’s cycles…
I am recognising in myself, my husband, and my kids the pressure valve, the thermostat which rises to boiling point, the markers that say: Please stop the overwhelm I CAN’T COPE. I am recognising that this is essential for our happy, healthy family co-existence. It is not a sign of weakness or manipulation. It is very real: it is how we function and who we are. Pretending it is not the case, getting angry that it is, blaming others for our feelings or trying to ignore it does not work. It is at the point of overwhelm our instincts emerge, the reptilian brain literally takes over the show – we lash out, scream, yell… now is not the time for moralising, for punishments, for anger… now is the time for de-compression…
I think the most important thing any person can do is to know themselves and try to find balance amongst the various strands of themselves. And for a woman to know her cycles and her energy levels and work to these rather than against herself. This is absolutely what I try to do. But most often I fail on the balance front – I do too much and then burn out. In our culture this is seen as a good thing… but really it’s a form of ego driven insanity.
Via Journey Of Young Women this quote also caught my eye:
Women’s mysteries, the blood mysteries of the body, are not the same as the physical realities of menstruation, lactation, pregnancy, and menopause; for physiology to become mystery, a mystical affiliation must be made between a woman and the archetypal feminine…
Under patriarchy, this connection has been suppressed; there are no words or rituals that celebrate the connection between a woman’s physiological initiations and spiritual meaning.
~ Jean Shinoda Bolen, “Crossing to Avalon”
On Valentine’s Day last week, I helped host a One Billion Rising event in my town. Even though we didn’t have much time to prepare, we danced anyway. When I got home, I saw this quote on Facebook and thought it connected nicely with my Tuesday Tidbits theme this week: