How I Discovered The Power of My Menstrual Cycle And Why All Women Need to Redefine Theirs
Plus all the reasons I’m celebrating the return of my cycle after 18 months
What is your relationship to your menstrual cycle? Do you have a relationship with it at all?
This is the story of the power that this sacred, primal relationship holds for all of us.
Because we all bleed once a month. Most of us had at some point.
Every woman has a story around her menstrual cycle and no matter what that story is, the most important thing is that women are biologically programmed to menstruate and create life every month.
Menstrual cycles are what unites us all and make us women. Yet so many of us look at our menstrual cycles as a hindrance. As a nuisance. As an inconvenience that needs to be eradicated and controlled.
So many of us don’t even think of our cycles as something that holds power.
However, in this quest to erase what is uncomfortable and annoying, we also erase who we are and what connects us to the source of being a woman.
For some of us, it’s a painful experience every single time. For others it’s easy-breezy — don’t even notice it. But for most of us, it is something that just comes and goes with a bit of pain here and there and uncomfortable sensations. It’s always been there and we take it for granted. We don’t really attribute any meaning to it or create a relationship with it.
And only when, and if, we’re trying to get pregnant — the magic of the menstrual cycle really comes to the front stage.
But until then — who cares?!
But what if I tell you that our menstrual cycles hold great wisdom and power? What if I tell you that being in sync and aligned with our cycle and nature hold great gifts? What if charting our menstrual cycle is a woman’s first and primal spiritual practice? What if I tell you that menstruation is the knowledge that has been passed from one woman to another in the family line but somehow has been lost?
If you’re like most women, you’re probably dreading those three to six days of uncomfortable sensations, messy pad, and tampons that hinder your productivity and your ability to achieve in the world.
Is your menstruation something even worth talking about? Are just a passive observer of something that happens to you?
I have discovered a new radical way of looking and working with your menstrual cycle — one that brings depth and clarity, self-awareness and alignment to a woman’s wellbeing and her life. And I wished I knew this since the first time I bled.
My Menstruation Story
I vaguely remember getting my first bleed — menarche.
I was about 14 years old and I was excited about finally becoming a woman. About finally becoming an adult. There was nothing more appealing to me than being independent and doing what I wanted without the constant supervision and the strict disciplinary eye of my father.
I also remember my mother showing my sister and I hand-made cloth pads with bloodstains on them when I was about six years old. I didn’t understand anything at the time but I found it fascinating.
I couldn’t wait for my turn. I couldn’t wait to be initiated into womanhood.
Unfortunately, I had to go through menarche all by myself as my mother wasn’t there anymore to guide me into this incredible world of monthly cycles. She passed away when I was eight years old during a train accident.
The world of menstrual blood was indeed incredible but also very shameful. Boys would make fun of us because they knew we were bleeding. Parents didn’t talk to us about it. Girls were always afraid of leaks and bloodstains. It was dirty and it was messy. This taboo subject was being hushed and talked about only behind gynecology doors.
In retrospect, I’m thinking how can something so natural be such a taboo?
So I always viewed my period as a nuisance. As something very uncomfortable to deal with every month and that no one talks about. The pains, the smells, the inconvenience of it all during sex, beach days, workdays and all the other days that I just wanted to do my own thing and my body was working against me.
Or maybe I was working against my body?
Fortunately, birth control in the form of a pill came into my life for a very short time — as a potential cure for acne (which didn’t help by the way.) Also, fortunately, I was jumping from one long-term relationship to another through my teens and adult life so condoms were my best friends.
As I marched into my adult life with a prestigious Bachelor’s Degree in one arm and a suitcase full of self-doubt in another — I was pretty much hating my period.
I wished it would go away.
I wished I could control it.
I wished it would stop.
Paired up with my intense drive to achieve, push and march towards my dreams of having a great career and independence — I basically wished I was a man.
I often had to launch big marketing projects and sit in big corporate meetings on the first day of my cycle. I often had sex during my bleed without having any regard for my womb or my vagina. I was treating my reproductive system and my cycle like something to be discarded and not cherished.
And of course, it did work for a while.
Until it didn’t.
Until my body started giving me signs.
I can’t push anymore. I better take a day off. I’m exhausted. I pushed and pushed like there was no tomorrow. And honestly, it worked. I was achieving and going for my dreams.
But I was feeling a disconnect deep down inside that was manifesting itself into feelings of loneliness, doubts and being out of alignment in my own being. It was also manifesting itself in the men that I was attracting: emotionally unavailable, afraid of commitment or in their feminine energy who would be happy to let me lead.
It was exhausting.
It was starting to get hard to push.
It was starting to become very clear that I can’t live my life like a man anymore.
This realization led me to the exploration of femininity, feminine energy, and womanhood. As I dived into research, reading and conducting interviews with women around the world on redefining female success I started diving into the subject of menstrual cycle awareness.
What?! My cycle has four inner seasons that ebb and flows every month? I have my own cross-over days, vias and various energy mechanisms built into my body? And I can use all these unique wisdom and knowledge to align my life with my cycle?
I’m still processing the information and a bit in shock how much we are misinformed and are doing a disservice to our girls, to our women and to the world by not teaching women to treat their menstrual cycles as something sacred and powerful.
Our cycles do not only hold the keys to our fertility and creating life but also to our innate wisdom and lessons that we can learn about your body’s natural rhythms and cycles that we can use in our daily lives.
And look, I’m not suggesting we start taking iPhone photos of our period blood and start posting them on Instagram. I hate that shit too. I’m all for embracing our cycles in a classy, feminine way where we align our life and our social media with where we’re at the moment.
Working with your cycle also doesn’t mean that you stop and don’t do anything at work and in your personal life. It doesn’t mean that you’re just flowing through the woods like a fairy not being engaged and involved in the realities of being a mother, a wife, a girlfriend, a business owner or a housekeeper. It just means that you’re listening to your body and riding the natural wave of your being while being fully present in your own life.
If you’re not fully convinced, let’s look at Ally, Heather & Kate.
Woman Type 1: Meet Ally
Ally is your typical modern, strong, empowered woman.
Ally wishes her menstrual cycle would go away forever. And in fact, for some women like Ally, the cycle stops altogether. Allies are using contraception as a means to control their cycles just like they control their lives.
For Ally, menstruation is that time of the month that hinders her productivity, messes with her schedule and prevents her from freely doing what she wants: going to the beach, having sex, launching that product and so on.
When Ally hears women talk about their cycles or, God forbid, working with it in a conscious way and aligning their work with the cycle — she thinks it’s all woo-hoo and a total waste of time.
Ally enjoys being in charge of her life, being the man in her relationship and at being the boss at work. Ally likes competing with the boys and achieving, pushing and thriving. She is a woman who feels empowered by fully going for her dreams, marching forward and leaning in. Ally is quite successful by society’s standards: she makes the money, she climbs to the top and she lives a fabulous life.
But just like everyone, Ally’s life has cracks that she’s very good at hiding.
Ally has trouble dating and perhaps is even desperate and hopeless about meeting the man that she will finally settle down with. Ally thinks that she has high-self esteem and is a woman of value but deep down inside she’s still proving everything to everyone in hopes that others will notice how good she is at everything.
Scrolling her social media newsfeeds every day doesn't necessarily help her beliefs about men. Ally goes through life thinking that men are misogynists, that the patriarchy is keeping women stuck and that she, as well as all the other women, have to constantly fight for what they want and their place under the sun. Ally’s reality proves it to her every day.
Ally also has trouble establishing strong friendships with other women. Somehow she’s always on guard. She doesn’t trust them. Ally feels in competition with women just like she feels in competition with men.
Ally is sometimes thinking about the fact that the clock is ticking and perhaps she should freeze her eggs but she does have hope that someday she will meet a decent man who will become her husband and she can have a family.
Although she doesn’t want to admit it, things are hard for Ally and some nights she really feels lonely and desperate. She would have loved to have a companion to share her thoughts, dreams and her bed with, but that is somehow unattainable and she sometimes wonders what’s wrong with her.
If you’re Ally, keep reading.
Woman Type 2: Meet Heather
Heather is also your typical modern, empowered woman but she is different from Ally.
Heather has a neutral relationship to her menstrual cycle: it comes and goes without Heather noticing anything. Her cycle has always been easy. It has always been there. She just takes it for granted. Heather might be on the pill for convenience but she also doesn’t mind getting off the pill for the right reasons.
Overall, Heather’s menstruation is that time of the month that is like a distant uncle that you don’t really care much about. You know he is there and you call him once a year to say “Happy Birthday, Uncle” but you’re not too interested in his life.
Heather is curious about all this period talk and aligning with the moon but doesn’t really take it seriously — I mean, come on… Really? Does your menstrual cycle have power and wisdom? Yet, her spiritual side and intuition have left this door half open for ideas to come.
Heather is a creative type and enjoys her life. She has a great social circle and enjoys the company of her friends. Her dating life is not perfect but she can’t complain: there are men around, perhaps some decent ones but Heather can’t really hold a man down. They seem to come and go and be emotionally unavailable.
She doesn’t care that much about pushing through her career and building a successful portfolio because she knows that’s not what fulfills her. What she really wants is to settle down and have a family. Heather would love to be a stay-at-home mom, although she finds it hard to admit it to her emancipated friends.
Heather hasn’t really set a goal for herself and doesn’t really know what she wants besides the fact that she wants a family but she’s not very deliberate with it. She’s kind of cruising through life being open to receiving. Heather is approaching 40 and freezing her eggs also comes to her mind often but she doesn’t want to think about it. Not yet.
If you’re Heather, keep reading.
Woman Type 3: Meet Kate
Kate is the upgraded 2.0 version of Ally and Heather because she has been both. She still is both but with a very different base and flavor.
In her, 20s Kate has been cruising through life without much direction and didn’t really find that fulfilling. She has also pushed too hard to succeed and has burned out multiple times. Kate has realized that she was tired of trying to prove everything to everyone and also tired to just take a back seat in her own life. Neither worked for Kate.
One day Kate read Anna Rova’s article on femininity and womanhood and felt a deep resonance. She decided to explore further and through trial and error has come to discover the path to deeper meaning and fulfillment as a woman through her femininity and womanhood. She watched Anna Rova’s webinar of The Lie of Female Success and signed up for coaching. And part of that journey has been discovering the wild power of her menstrual cycle.
Once Kate started tracking her cycle and getting to know her inner seasons, her cross-over days, and her highs and lows during her cycle — everything changed.
Kate has become more in tune with herself. She listens and watches. She is present and knows how to say NO and when to say YES. She rides her natural cycle wave taking necessary pauses and working hard and playing hard when time is right.
Kate understands that this is a life-long journey of exploration and commitment but she is willing to take that road because she knows this is the gateway into a deeper, instinctual knowing as a woman.
If you’re Ally or Heather and want to be more like Kate, I invite you to get curious and get exploring and discovering your cycle wisdom.
Here are a few great places to start:
1. Listen to my interview with Claire Baker on Syncing Your Life to Your Cycle 2. Listen to my interview with Red School founders about why Menstruality is The Path to Feminine Leadership Part 1 (coming out Sept 12) and Part 2 (coming out Sept 19)3. Read the Wild Power book4. Start tracking your cycle with apps like Clue5. Start using reusable period products like menstrual cups, reusable pads and period underwear
What is your menstruation story? Share below.
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