Women are the most beautiful embodiment of empowered awakening. We breathe life into the world with the heave of our body, sing the sacred into song with our soul, and heal the deepest of wounds with our boundless heart. Our time has come. Love is calling us all to remember the eternal ecstasy of Being. Now is the time. Now is the place. Love is here pressing itself into the moment. Love calls us to remember the universal creative pulse. Love calls all of humanity to its embrace. Love calls for women to claim their deepest truth, to create their greatest gift, and to rise from the ashes of a yesterday gone, to rise to fulfill authentic self. We women are awakening. We women are empowering. We women are rising. I am a woman rising.
~ Ani Kaspar
This past weekend was the La Leche League of Missouri conference. I absolutely love these conferences and always learn so much, usually things I can use instantly. At this conference, I gave two presentations. The first was about miscarriage and grief and was sparsely attended, but pretty powerful. The second was about Moontime and it was really crowded! The participants were a diverse crowd and I felt a little unsure of my ability to connect with all of them without being excessively “woo woo.” Though, I expressed that concern in a comment on another woman’s blog post and I got this wonderful remark in return: I was just listening to an online interview with Sonia Choquette where she said that “woo woo” should be “where it’s at,” meaning that when we’re “woo woo,” we’re actually connecting to our authentic self, being in touch with our intuition, etc.
I’m going to remember this in the future—woo woo is where it’s at! ;)
Anyway, one of the things I shared during my talk is that mothers of small children are more likely to have PMS than anyone else—it is partly because our bodies call out to us to rest and be alone and we often can’t be when we have little babies that need us. It really, really does help with all pre-menstrual symptoms to be able to take some time to yourself to rest and rejuvenate rather than staying “on” all the time. Several women emailed me with follow-up questions and so here are the links and resources that I suggested for them:
Check out Miranda Gray’s website, particularly her free handouts. Deanna L’am is another favorite resource and she has resources for pre-moontime daughters as well. Oh, and Tisha Lin’s Pleasurable Periods is another good resource as well as The Happy Womb from Lucy Pearce which has a free ebook about having a happy, healthy menstrual cycle. I’ve been digging into this subject a lot over the past year—any posts I’ve written are here. I’m also really liking the book I recently got called Honoring Menstruation by Lara Owen.
Bringing it back to the Wild Woman, I also shared a quote previously shared here:
“…Could it be that women who get wild with rage do so because they are deeply deprived of quiet and alone time, in which to recharge and renew themselves?
Isn’t PMS a wise mechanism designed to remind us of the deep need to withdraw from everyday demands to the serenity of our inner wilderness? Wouldn’t it follow, then, that in the absence of quiet, sacred spaces to withdraw to while we bleed — women express their deprivation with wild or raging behaviors?…” –DeAnna L’am via Occupy Menstruation
And, this book project recently caught my eye: Blood Sister, Moon Mama: a Celebration of Womanly Ways – submissions for a new book
Less related, but cool, I also just downloaded The Creative Joy Workbook (free!) from the incomparable Jennifer Louden.
For me, honoring moontime in my own life is very much about taking it to the body and listening to myself in the way in which I learned to do during pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and lactation. So, I loved this quote I spied on Facebook late last night:
Your body is your own.
This may seem obvious.
But to inhabit your physical self fully,
with no apology, is a true act of power.
This sovereignty over your body may need to be cultivated.
Most of us have been colonized; other people’s ideas, desires,
and expectations have taken hold in our flesh. It takes some time
and effort to reclaim our own terrain.
Own yourself. Say no when you need to.
Only then can you say yes…
– Camille Maurine, Meditation Secrets for Women (via TheGypsyPriestess)
I have read this book and actually have used part of the quote on my own before, but it spoke to me again in this different medium last night.
I’ve also written about the thoroughly embodied act of motherhood and likewise enjoyed this snippet via Facebook as well:
Nitty Gritty Motherhood | Theresa Martin
Motherhood came as quite a shock to me. It was just so… physical. It was often messy and gritty. Without motherhood, I probably could have lived my whole life without being truly present for any of it.
But as I reflect, it seems so much of a female’s life is just so physical.
Take menstruation for example, that first initiation into womanhood. It’s holy and sacred, a reorienting of our bodies from girlhood to womanhood, a constant preparation for the possibility of nourishing new life within us.
Menstruation is that time when we are called to change our focus from “doing” and “completing” to just being and reflecting. We are called to rest and to reevaluate our priorities and to ponder how our lives are going. So while this time is special and sacred, the shocking physical reality remains. I think my girlhood reaction to first learning about menstruation sums it up well: “We bleed?! From THERE!!??”
All of motherhood is no different. There’s that act that causes motherhood in the first place. It’s carnal and messy. Then there’s pregnancy. Like menstruation and sex, it occurs inside my body. I have the experience of housing, protecting, and growing my children until they can breathe for themselves. After that comes labor and birth. Once again, messy, gritty, carnal reality.
~ Theresa Martin, excerpt from “Nitty Gritty Motherhood”
And, yesterday, I went on my own wild woman adventure picking wild raspberries with my kids. I wrote about it on Pagan Families and included a bonus recipe for wild raspberry sorbet:
Wild black raspberries are ripe at my Missouri homestead and this morning I went on an expedition with my three children to gather what we could. As I returned, red-faced, sweating, and after having yelled much more than I should and having said several things I instantly regretted, I was reminded of something that I manage to forget every year: one definition of insanity is picking wild berries with a toddler. In fact, the closest I ever came to spanking one of my kids was during one of these idyllic romps through the brambles when my second son was three. While still involving some suffering, today’s ramble was easier since I have a nine and a half year old now as well as the toddler. This time, my oldest son took my toddler daughter back inside and gave her a bath and put her in new clothes while I was still outside crawling under the deck in an effort to retrieve the shoes and the tiny ceramic bluebird I’ve had since I was ten that my girl tossed over the railing and into the thorns “for mama.”
While under the deck, I successfully fished out the shoes (could not find the tiny bird) and I found one more small handful of raspberries. Since the kids were all safely indoors, I took my sweaty and scratched up and irritable self and ran down to my small, sacred space in the woods. I was thinking about how I was hot, tired, sweaty, sore, scratched, bloody, worn, and stained from what “should” have been a simple, fun little outing with my children and the above prayer came to my lips. I felt inspired by the idea that parenting involves uncountable numbers of small, wild adventures. I was no longer “just” a mom trying to find raspberries with her kids, I was a raspberry warrior. I braved brambles, swallowed irritations, battled bugs, sweated, swore, argued, struggled, crawled into scary spaces and over rough terrain, lost possessions and let go of the need to find them, and served as a rescuer of others. I gave my blood and body over to the task.
When I returned and showered, my oldest begged for me to make homemade raspberry sorbet with our findings. I’ve never made sorbet before and wasn’t sure I should dare try, but then I gathered my resources and said yes to yet another small adventure…
via Small Adventures (sorbet recipe included there!)
I’ve also been enjoying the wild, riotous blooms of summer: