Last Wednesday I took the morning off and slept in!
I woke up gently, slowly enjoyed my cup of coffee in bed, read David Whyte's book The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self, and Relationship, wrote a for while, sat in meditation, moved really gently, and ate lots of nourishing foods. By mid-afternoon I was feeling completely held, intuitive, and Queen of my own little moon world.
I was indeed "on the moon" as I learned from the wisest Christiane Northrup. If you a woman, her book Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing is a MUST HAVE. It was from this book that I first learned that many cultures have viewed the menstrual cycle a sacred source of insight and renewal! A woman's inner moon cycle is very much governed by the outer moon phases. Women tend to bleed during the New Moon and ovulate during the Full Moon- which now makes so much sense to me. The New Moon, when it is dark, is a natural invitation to go inward, contemplate, and be still. It's a monthly homecoming to our inner knowing and our wise and wild selves. This is why I often lead my Wise and Wild Women's workshops during the New Moon, as it's reflective energy often inspires our feminine soul voice.
I had, until 2015, thought of menstruation as a time of pain, inconvenience, and burden. If I had any sort of cramps or discomfort, I would just take ibuprofen and get on with my day. I would push through the world, even when I felt tired, achy, and anti-social. This dishonoring of my natural ebb is what I believe to have caused a lot of my premenstrual symptoms, or PMS. Ever since I started being kind and gentle to myself during my moontime, I've noticed significantly less headaches and cramps and now I very much look forward to my period!
For me, it's a time to reset and start again. I often have creative ideas and strong insights during my moontime which I then take into the rest of my month. The time from menstruation to ovulation is an outward burst of creation and manifestation. I get most of my creative work done during this waxing time, as the new moon grows into the full moon. Mid-cycle, or what I like to think of as the full moon time, is usually the peak of vitality, sexual desire, and enthusiasm. It's a natural time to "give birth" to a child, relationship, or creative project. As the inner moon then wanes, I tend to enter a more reflective and quiet mindset. I start to see more clearly what is working and what needs to change in and around me. I don't usually get a ton of great creative ideas during this time, but I do clean, tidy, and get some more routine things done.
Tracking my menstrual cycle and being aware of the phases of the moon has entirely changed the way I experience and live my life. Ebb and flow, rise and fall, joy and sorrow, open and close- these are all parts of this world and we, and especially women, are deeply connected to these natural rhythms. Honoring my own ebb and taking good care of my body during menstruation gives me greater access to my spirit and wild magic- allowing me to be more energized, AWAKE, and resourceful in the world.
Resting is certainly a practice that our culture doesn't always value, but I can tell you that taking a moment, a morning, or even a full day off, is a more efficient and sustainable way to live. At least, it works for me! I'd be curious to hear your story and experience with resting and retreating for a a bit each month.
Will you try it and let me know how it goes?
And while you are at it, try this gentle movement practice. It's perfect if you are feeling fatigued, anxious, or low in energy. There are some grounding elements coupled with some more fluid and rhythmic movements designed to calm, energize, and inspire the body, mind, and soul.
May you find this practice as nourishing and spirited as I do.