So, what do you do when faced with a never-seen-before global crisis, the ensuing waves of fear, hideous confusion and unknown unknowns?
Who knows? I didn't know. But I kept faith with my lil ol’ menstrual cycle. And it drew me deeper in, right into the eye of the storm, to face it, feel it, be undone…. and then it put me back together and delivered me to a new ground within.
There is something curious and magical that happens when you practice menstrual cycle awareness.
You start to wonder if life is colluding with you, working on your behalf, to deliver you exactly what is needed, when it is needed. Even as it may not always seem that way at the time, looking back you see - "wow! there IS a divine orchestration that has been holding and guiding me".
Here’s a snap-shot of my recent cycle experience during the UK emergence of the Coronavirus...
News of Covid-19 overtook the media. My daughter counted 9 mentions of coronavirus in a 5 min radio news segment. Every media channel pumped it out.
Day 17: Bouncing around in my bubble of goodness.‘What is all this corona hype anyway? C’mon people stop with all the dramatisation. Anyways, I’m healthy. I’ll be fine.
Oh the joy of the invincible me, I was in my inner summer, buffered and protected by my wholesome innocence.
Day 19: Pop. I felt the fear enter me today. Suddenly my mind has gotten hold of all the news and is imagining where this could lead, how far this could go, how bad this could all get. Shit.
I was crossing over into my inner Autumn.
Knowledge of the cycle, understanding cyclical life - is soothing and stabilising. Although there is disturbance, we understand the place in the cycle where this BELONGS and we know what the instructions are for managing this disruptive power. We know what is required because we have been through a version of this every month.
Day 23: Spinning out, so frightened…. Am I really this fragile? Are we really this easy to destroy??’ Shock. Shock. Shock.
I wanted to shut down and disappear. But I remembered my instructions for the inner autumn. Slow down. Give myself more space to be with what is arising in me. Take exceptional care of myself. Love, love, love the heck out of myself.
Day 24: Psychic fever. Delirious. Nightmares. Can’t sleep. The World is penetrating me. I’ve been swallowed by the tsunami of chaos.
My years of conscious cycling reminded me - ‘Sjanie, be with it all, stay present. Keep opening to life. It’s a spiritual discipline, witnessing and holding it, allowing it to complete itself so that the new can arise. Stick with it, something is wanting to be known.’
Day 25: I am so confused. What is true? Is everyone lying to us? Maybe there is a conspiracy…. Oh my god… we are in a fucking dystopian movie. I mean seriously people, every man for themselves, this shit is about to get heavy.
Every month my cycle brings me to my edges, to the frontier of the unknown and then leads me right into it. I’m reminded that I can trust in the unknown, that new possibilities emerge from the unknown. If I can stick with myself through this - without needing to come up with a quick fix solution - extraordinary things may just come from this. Things can, and will, evolve.
Day 26: Stillness. I’ve separated from the noise of the world. Retreated into the deep abiding stillness. Dreamlike. Slow. Knowing without knowing. Sensing that love is here. We’re all in this together.
The bubble of menstruation silences the world, if you can honour the inner impulse to retreat. Menstruation stops the world and that is how things open up within.
Day 1: Blood falls. Outside the world has gone quiet too. For the first time ever in my bleeding history, the world is stopping with me. I cry. I feel how much I need this retreat and wonder if the world feels the same. Stopping. Giving myself back to the earth.
Menstruation is Medicine. For us personally and collectively. Giving ourselves a ‘big bleed’ (a really good retreat from the world during menstruation) opens us up to the spiritual forces, a power from beyond that fills us with Love.
Day 2: The earth receives me. I remember that I am held. By the grace of love, I am soothed, repaired, reminded that all is well. My mind could argue with that but my deep self FEELS it, receives it.
Day 3: Recalibrated. Caught up with the new world we are living in. Softening into it. Resting in a deeper trust in the creative magnificence of life.
When we bleed, we bleed for ourselves and we bleed for the community of life on earth. We have vision beyond our everyday consciousness. We are connected to the evolutionary impulse of life itself. What new possibility can I feel? What have I remembered?
Day 5: I’m here. Awake. Ready to meet a new day. Curious about the new order that is emerging. Feeling a renewed appreciation of this precious, precious life.
During this time of global retreat, there is a gap in the fabric of the old way - a great Void - and within this space, there is a great possibility for visioning. Visioning a new world into being.
What, dear one, are you calling in?
I’m holding a vision of rhythm, cyclicity, and sustainability being restored to our ways as humans. And I believe the menstrual cycle can be our most intimate teacher in restoring cyclical life back into the collective consciousness and back onto the planet.
May it be so.
** This writing grew out of a conversation between Alexandra and me (Sjanie) about the power of cycle awareness for these times.
We'll be discussing further what the cycle can teach us about how to navigate fear, anxiety, and grief in the face of global crises, in an upcoming interview series called; Emergence & Empowerment in an Age of Uncertainty, which starts on April 8th.
Our topic is "The Menstrual Cycle: Your Gateway to Connection in Times of Crisis", and we'd love you to join us.