Menstrual Cycle = Magic

[7 minute read – 1626 words]

Introduction

For many women, the menstrual cycle is a taboo subject; we may feel ashamed of it, actively dislike it, or we may feel indifferent toward it. From a young age, we’re taught that PMS is a normal part of our life and that Periods = Pain. To varying degrees, this results in psychological and physical stress which feeds back into the PMS loop. All of this subtly perpetuates the narrative that there is something inherently wrong with us and we grow up consciously or unconsciously thinking that we’re broken. This is an untrue narrative and toxic for our psyche! 

Becoming aware and tracking our cycle can help us to innerstand our cyclical nature and deeply feel the intelligence of our body. Hearing other women speak of their cycle in a more positive light and by learning new vocabulary to express our experience in a different way can help us start to change our perspective and experience of our cycle. I managed to step away from Periods = Pain and moved into the new narrative of Menstrual Cycle = Magic. I pray my words will help you to feel inspired that in time, you too could do the same.

Leading up to cycle awareness

At the age of 18, I started taking the Pill for contraceptive reasons and remained on it until I was 32. Only after coming off the Pill did I start to experience what it was like to have a real cycle and of the fluctuations that come with it. After two years of being pill free, I had been experiencing extreme highs and lows – to the point where I thought I may be suffering from Bipolar Disorder. In one moment I would be certain about the direction of my life and would be making plans for the future, and in the next moment, I would be in a heap on my bedroom floor feeling depressed and stuck in the past. Even though I was traveling and creating a life that I actually wanted to live, it was a very confusing and stressful time and seemingly would happen out of nowhere which was even more disconcerting.

I brought the topic up with my family and talking honestly about my feelings, explaining our views and listening to one another was helpful. While they acknowledged that I did have very high highs and very low lows, none of them felt that I presented as Bipolar which helped me to see that this may not be the right diagnosis for what I was going through. I had always felt deeply and put the extremes down to me being a sensitive and empathetic person. Accepting that these extremes were just a part of my personality, I decided to lean on all the resources I had acquired over the years and when those moments of struggle would appear, I would have a myriad of tools to help me cope.

Cycle awareness, where have you been all my life?

Upon attending an Inner Yoga workshop with Bex Tyrer, I was introduced to menstrual cycle awareness and within minutes of Bex talking about the two different energies that lay in our cycle, it was as if an internal light switch had turned on. Listening to her speak of each season felt like she was explaining to the letter how I had been experiencing life. As the tears formed in my eyes, Bex instantly clocked that her words resonated with me deeply and she gave me the most sincere and heartfelt look and said ‘I know”.

That same day, I started to track my cycle and began learning everything I could about my body to help me innerstand and hopefully change my experience of my cycle. Within three months of tracking my cycle – writing my daily observations in my diary – I identified very clear patterns month after month after month. The extreme high and lows I had been suffering from coincided with the rising and falling energy of the two parts of my cycle. Initially I was shocked because I honestly never thought that my cycle affected me in any way, and then a wave of relief ensued because I could finally make sense of what was happening to me. 

At that moment, I knew I was being called to dive deeper into my cycle to innerstand the root cause of why these extremes were happening. I soon realised that the lifestyle I was living was a non cyclical one so I was working against my inner nature rather than with it. I began to take more rest each day, and especially during my bleed which allowed me to focus on myself more than on others. As I started to go inward more, the extreme lows began to loosen their grip and I was given the opportunity to sit with these challenging feelings when they arose. 

My inner critic is my greatest ally

I soon came to learn more about my ‘Inner Critic’. As it sounds, our Inner Critic is the voice within us that criticises who we are, what we do and for most women, it appears during our inner autumn – the week or so before we bleed. Once I started acknowledging my inner critic and giving her space to express herself, I soon heard the underlying message she had for me. The message was that I wasn’t living my soul’s purpose which was negatively affecting both of us. Her words resonated with me as I knew that I wasn’t being the full expression of my soul. A passion of mine had always been empowering myself and others to take control of their lives, but I wasn’t fulfilling this passion to the extent that I really wanted to. 

Over the months, as my self care increased, I began listening to my inner critic when she would come to me. Rather than ignoring her like I had done in the past, and allowing her words to build up inside which caused my extreme lows, I took her feedback on board and started using her as my inner mentor to help guide me back to my truth. Not only did this change my experience of those extreme lows, but it rippled into the rest of my life and changed my behaviour in small yet tangible ways. So much so, that other women started to comment on the change in me and asked me to share what I had been doing. It was through my sharing of menstrual cycle awareness that others wanted to learn from me which led me to apply for the Menstruality Leadership Programme with the Red School in 2020.

Menstruality Leadership Programme

When I initially applied for the Menstruality Leadership Programme, I was placed on a waiting list as they were full. Thinking it was too late to join, I put the idea out of my head, but as divine timing would have it, there was a last minute cancellation and I was offered a spot on the programme one week before it started. I spent the whole of 2020 working intimately with my cycle to help me innerstand myself on the deepest of levels and to learn how to best support other women during their cycle journey. 

It’s been a journey of revelations, recognition and reverence and the practice called me to face myself in a way that I had never done before. I took responsibility for my own healing and subsequent growth and expansion which is why I’m able to share and guide others in the way that I do. Teaching, sharing knowledge and wisdom has been in my being since birth, but due to fear of not being good enough and being too much, I played small for much of my life. Not any more! 

Where I am now

Today marks 12 months of tracking my menstrual cycle and also the end of the Menstruality Leadership Programme. In our closing circle, Alexandra asked us ‘What are you feeling right now?’ Closing my eyes, I dropped into my body to feel and listen. The word that came to me was peace. Finally at peace. Not just today, during my inner summer, but at any time during my cycle. Even when I’ve not practiced enough self care and my inner critic has reared her head, I now know that she’s passing me a message in order for me to live in alignment with my truth. If I’m not being authentic to my Soul, she will let me know about it! 

My cycle of transformation

Having transformed my extreme highs and lows into a more stable energy, I wanted to show others that this is entirely possible for you to achieve too. Days 18, 19, 20 and 21 were the days that would reduce me to that heap on my bedroom floor each and every cycle. Comparing 12 months of tracking shows what we can achieve when we accept and love our menstrual cycle and believe that magic can lie within it.

Cycle of transformation
“Cycle of Transformation”

My inner critic is always there. Always waiting to pull me back into line if I’m not living in alignment with my truth. But the difference between now and before tracking, is the way in which she presents herself to me. No longer does she scream at me to get my attention. Now, she speaks to me with a kind, yet firm tone, helping me to refine my life. She’s my own inbuilt life coach whom I would never want to leave my side. I no longer subscribe to the narrative Period = Pain and only experience my Menstrual Cycle as Magic.

If you feel called to dive into menstrual cycle awareness and start to experience your cycle in a more positive and supportive way, please do check out Discover Yourself – my 7-week, self-study cycle awareness course. You will learn grounded teachings from The Red School Menstruality Cosmology formed on 40 years of deep commitment to the cycle. Discover Yourself will help to awaken your senses, heal yourself and expand your consciousness.

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