Image by Carli Jeen

Menstrual Cycle Awareness

Photo: @carlijeen

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Menstrual Cycle Awareness is the simple yet profound practice of coming to know, accept and cooperate with your cycle for mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

It is the simple act of learning to understand, accept and cooperate with your cycle.

 

To realise we are not mental but elemental can bolster self confidence and provide a powerful sense of inner knowing and inner strength.

 

Knowledge is power and self-understanding leads to self-acceptance & maybe even self-love and if there are three things people with periods need more of in this world it's power, acceptance and love!

Menstrual Cycle Awareness invites us to step into harmony with our bodies and nature and in doing so we are gifted entry to a note so secret club where the entry fee is self-acceptance and it feels like a homecoming.

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Life isn't meant to be a continuous uphill struggle and periods aren't supposed to be a thing of shame and suffering. 

When we are taught to suppress, deny and ignore our menstrual cycles, it serves only to reinforce the feeling (ever-present within so many of us) that something is wrong with us. That suffering and discomfort are a normal part of being a person with periods and should be expected and endured.

Rejecting the menstrual cycle is a rejection of ourselves, our bodies and our emotions and acceptance of a lack of congruency as our status quo. It perpetuates the idea that our needs don’t matter. To ignore and deny a natural menstrual cycle is to accept suffering as a normal experience, to suppress it with medication is to feel that numbness is the only option.

Well we have accepted the shame, the silence and the suffering for too long and now the time has come to bring menstruation out of the dark and to reclaim our power.

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Why Menstrual Cycle Awareness Matters

At its core, Menstrual Cycle Awareness is the practice of coming to know, accept and cooperate with the menstrual cycle as a practice for mental, physical, emotional & spirital wellbeing but it is so much more than that. It is also…

A Culturally Rebellious Practice 
To begin living in sync with our natural cycles is to reject the established paradigm of productivity over all else. It explores a blueprint for a more sustainable rhythm of life, one that allows space for rest and activity, growth and abatement, ebb and flow. To practice Menstrual Cycle Awareness is to reclaim our rhythmical birth rite, remember the joys of swimming downstream and learn how to flow with the currents that guide and inform our very beings. 

Connection to Nature and to Ourselves 
We are cyclical beings and we ebb and flow with the ever-shifting rhythms of our inner and outer lands. The menstrual cycle is our inner timekeeper, our connection to Earth and the rhythms of nature. It holds the keys to our true nature and shows us the way back home. Each phase of the cycle offers an opportunity to explore and grow different aspects of ourselves and our lives. Menstrual Cycle Awareness is a self-enquiry tool. 

Congruency and Options 
To reject the menstrual cycle is to reject ourselves, our bodies and our emotions. To accept a lack of congruency as our status quo. It perpetuates the idea that our needs don’t matter. To ignore and deny a natural menstrual cycle is to accept suffering as a normal experience. To suppress it with medication is to feel that numbness is the only option. All people with periods deserve access to up to date, complete and unbiased information so that we can make informed decisions that are right for our individual circumstances and situations. 

A Therapeutic Tool
Self-understanding is a precursor to self-love and until we understand our wild and cyclical ways, it can be hard to accept and cooperate with them let alone love them. Learning to understand and embrace the menstrual cycle is to understand and embrace ourselves. Menstrual Cycle Awareness is a therapeutic tool that builds self-confidence, self-acceptance, self-love and self-confidence.

Body Literacy 
The menstrual cycle is an invaluable tool in monitoring health and wellbeing. It holds a wealth of wisdom about our physical and emotional state. Every symptom is a messenger, carrying information about issues and imbalances in the body, mind and spirit. Learning to decode them is to be empowered with the knowledge needed to be able to choose 
appropriate action.  

I had no idea when I started off Menstrual Cycle Awareness, as a preparation for coping with a life shift into menopause, that it would lead to such potential in terms of whole self-awareness.

 

Through 1:1 sessions with Carly, I have realised that a key to finding a sense of inner integrity is listening to the wisdom of my body and that living without that listening was a disconnection from mental and spiritual integrity that I was looking for: an amazing resource literally under my nose!

 

As a result of Carly's mentoring, I have felt truly re-energised and more settled in my skin and in my bones. Through paying attention to my cycle and using it as a focal point of how I feel physically and emotionally, I have paid attention to the things that truly bring me pleasure and energy and have begun to let go of old habits that were fake pleasure props; an example of this is that I haven't had any alcohol over the past month and where this may once have seemed like a deprivation, it now feels like a freedom. Menstrual cycle awareness has given me time to acknowledge and honour what I am feeling and to take care of those feelings rather than override them. Instead of seeming a lockdown 'indulgence', time given to appreciating the cyclical rhythm embedded in my body has become a key to wellbeing, confidence and a deepening sense of self-awareness. ~ Emma

Know, Grow, Flow

I like to break the practice down into three parts...

 

1. Know

Get to know what is happening in your body through learning about the menstrual cycle and charting your own.

 

2. Grow

Grow to understand, accept and cooperate with your shifting and changing hormones, moods, energy levels, behaviours and tendencies throughout the cycle.

 

3. Flow

Learn to flow with your unique experience of the menstrual cycle, discover how to harness and support yourself through each phase, and uncover the wild and cyclical life of your dreams.

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Starting Charting

Menstrual Cycle Awareness can promote a deep sense of self-awareness, which is one of the many incredible benefits, as you are invited to pay quiet, close attention throughout each day to your physical changes, symptoms, moods, emotions, energy levels, needs, wants, behaviours and tendencies.

 

Over time you may begin to notice patterns and discover the parts of your cycle that you find more enjoyable or challenging than others and so much more!

What you'll need

  • Pen and chart/journal

  • The date of the start of your last period or to be on day 1 today!

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'Filling out my Menstrual Cycle Awareness Chart day 3, thank you Carly for teaching me that periods don't just happen TO US we can actually work with those sassy stripper days and comfy toad days, exciting revelations.' ~ Robyn