A: Today’s episode is called: How the f*** do you live your cycle in a non cyclical world? And in it you’ll get to know your four undercover agents for a cycle savvy life. Learn practical ways to create a cycle-centered life. And hear us talk about the crucialness of women gathering together to change the world.
A: We’ve been on quite an adventure with this series, haven’t we?We’ve declared that the menstrual cycle process is a spiritual practice in and of itself, we’ve explored the different seasons of the cycle, the different energy currents, the different types of powers that we’re negotiating within the cycle and we’ve spoken about the inner temple of menstruation.
S: And have also shared the tool to support you to access the powers and the possibilities of the cycle, i.e. menstrual cycle awareness.
A: How the F*** do we access all this amazing power in a non-cyclical world, in a world that is not recognizing this yet? There are some changes happening, but the cycle process is not yet recognized and named as a spiritual practice, or the amazing self-care tool for women that is in our inner guiding system, our rhythm of power, our way of being connected to ourselves.What are we going to do about this? How are we going to bring all this out?(Alexandra mentions Sjanie being an example of a woman who is fully busy, and fully claiming this work, being a mother of 2, a partner, full time self employed and this work of the cycle is non negotiable. How does she do it?)
S: I’m the living experiment. I’m figuring it out and discovering all kinds of things that have made it possible. I don’t see the cycle as something in competition to my life, something to fight against. I feel it as a support, genuinely as an ally, the thing that allows me to parent in the way that I want to, to work in the way that I want to, I have the creative life that I desire. Doesn’t mean it’s easy. There’s this tension between what my cycle is inviting me to, the way its guiding me and leading me, and the mood and energy of any particular day/phase, AND the world around me. This is the tension that we’re negotiating: that your cycle is not necessarily (or seemingly) in-tune with life around you. There’s a real reality to this: that cycles are not respected, cyclical life and the menstrual cycle is not respected, full stop.
A: Despite the fullness of your life and the fact that when you have children they come first, how you have built this relationship with your cycle and see it as an ally, that you trust in it, even if you can’t always go with the flow of it, still you feel supported by it. I’m curious, can you drill down into what is really happening? What are you doing?S: The first thing is that I’ve really learnt the value, the power of just giving my cycle attention. The power of being mindful of where I am in my cycle and just that, in and of itself, is priceless. Its like it just helps me to locate myself, to connect with myself, it’s my ground. So that is huge. And is something we can all do no matter what is going on in the world around you, you can simply tune in and connect with your cycle energy in any given moment in any particular day.
A: I hear two things: One is that your cycle awareness is building this quality of presence, so you’re actually more present to the stuff you have to do, and that in itself changes things. But also I get the sense that you have real kindness with yourself, or much more kindness with yourself: as you are going through this active cycle awareness you have built this presence and this quality of kindness with yourself and I suspect those two things are pretty crucial.
S: Yes, it’s this awareness of where I am in my cycle, it’s a way of tapping into my deep self and I can access the whole of myself and I know the truth or how I am and where I am and that’s part of the kindness.And the second thing, when you ask me how I do this, is that whilst I can feel the full potential or the ideal possibility for where I am in my cycle, the tendency, the direction and what would be the most magnificent way of responding to my cycle’s … the needs that I feel and desires that I feel, I also know that small shifts towards that have profound effects. I don’t live with this idealized perfection on how to live my cycle. I have that going on the in the background of course, I know what’s possible, what if I could at menstruation completely disappear for 5 days, be on retreat in nature, but I also know that even just honoring that need at menstruation, in the smallest way, builds this relationship of kindness with myself, builds and allows the power of that time to come through and supports the whole flow of my cycle and supports the continue building of this ecology, this resilience, this momentum, this creativity, so I think those are the two things and yes, this ingredient of kindness is crucial
A: You introduced one of our key strategies
S: This whole question of how you live your cycle in a non-cyclical world I think of it as a bit of a covert operation. Until our entire planet is really honouring cyclical life, we kind of need to slip in the back door and call on what we call undercover agents to really support this cyclical life.
A: I was referring to our other strategy. But we should talk about undercover agents first. The four named framings to hold, and then we’ll bring some of our other little strategies. The four undercover agents are:
We have a whole vision at Red School, we’re using imagination to begin to change cultural consciousness.
S: Those are the ingredients that I’m calling on that allow me to negotiate my cycle in every day life and the realities of my life and help me to keep it real.
A: They’re really significant. I particularly love intention, especially when a situation looks impossible, I think to myself, how would I like to experience this and to actually just put that out there and to really use your menstrual cycle around this intention setting, and to deliberately set an intention when you’re bleeding, that seems to sort of amplify the power of that intention, by doing it when you’re in the depths of menstruation. Set an intention for how you’d like to be with your cycle process. What you’d like to be experiencing. You don’t have to worry about the practicalities of it, just name it, and we’ve got some lovely examples.
S: And if you don’t really have a sense of what that might mean for you, imagination is another agent that can be so freely available when you’re menstruating. At menstruation if you can really stop and take some time out from doing and from the distractions of our modern world and really give yourself some private space, it’s a beautiful time to let your imagination, your dreaming take flight and to really see what’s possible for yourself in your life, to really think outside the box of what you might have been believing is possible up until now and then your intention can arise out of that dreaming, out of that imagination.
A: For those women who are really creative you might want to create an image around that, almost like imagination comes first. Dream, and this is immensely powerful, I can’t emphasize enough how powerful that is. Then to set an intention.And also of course acceptance is crucial. If you’re fighting your cycle and seeing it as the enemy, which we can certainly understand if you suffer, but if you can start to just step towards it more and more and accept it, that is enormously powerful and then comes that sense of entitlement. You are actually going to feel it in the swagger of your hips, this walk down the road when you know where you are in your cycle at any one moment, you’re going to feel your spine straighten, you’re going to feel a rightness about this work and that feeds the field consciousness as well.
S: And we’ve done this jokingly before, but it’s a really fun thing to do for yourself ‘cause if you’re waiting for somebody else to come along and say “right, you’re entitled to have a menstrual cycle and to follow it” … I mean, aside from us, nobody is probably going come along and say that to you, so you might want to just take a moment, create a little ritual for yourself, or find some formal way of claiming that entitlement, saying “I have a right to follow my cycle, I have a right to claim this as the rhythm of my life, as my rhythm, as my pace, as my tempo, as my way, and that is a really good thing to do as well if you feel like that’s something that you’re struggling with.
A: That’s so good, Sjanie. Shall we move on to another amazing and important tool. Don’t know if its quite a tool, but we always have this phrase Don’t go it alone, don’t we?
S: Well, we talk about connecting with other women, that this is everything, community is everything. Not to be alone with this.
A: Even having just another friend, with whom you can talk about this work and you can just, as you’re passing them you can say “oh, I’m in my inner autumn”, and they’ll totally get where you’re at.
S: Yeah, Being alone with your cycle experience and living in a little bubble where it’s just you and your menstrual cycle, can feel incredibly lonely and you can feel completely crazy quite honestly if you don’t have allies who get it, who share their experiences with you and with whom you share your experiences. So finding people that you can talk to about this or building a community around you or bringing this work into your community or into your work place is going to make such a difference.We always find at our workshops that women come away saying one of the things that’s had a huge impact on them is being able to talk freely about this and to hear about other women’s experiences. What a support that’s been, what an affirmation that’s been and how much that strengthened their sense of entitlement for one thing, and also their courage to be able to follow this more and more because this does take courage, you are really going against the current status quo.
A: Indeed that is so important that word, courage. This brings to my mind the phrase we say: plant the menstruality mean and what we mean by that is to just start to talk about menstruation, just drop the word menstruation in a conversation and before you know it you’re going to have others talking to you about it. Something happens, suddenly the field starts to change. It might just come out with one colleague at work cause you’re just feeling a little bit low in energy cause you’re close to your bleed or something, and you just mention the word menstruation, and then suddenly it comes out in another context in a different way, it’s extraordinary how it happens and before you know it there’s a bigger conversation happening around you and you’re actually talking to a few people at work about it…I’m thinking of a lovely story that we share in our book about a teacher in a school who was really concerned with “how am I going to honor my menstrual cycle when my life is governed by school bells, not by the texture of what’s happening with my menstrual cycle?” She was an English teacher in a class teaching on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The father was saying of Juliet something referring to menstruation/menarche, and this woman took that opportunity to walk through that door and say, “You know what they’re talking about here?” And so they then had a conversation about menstruation, and a boy wrote about it in one of his essays. But then before she knew it, because she was charting her cycle, she had teachers asking her for charts to chart theirs. She found herself teaching a biology class, it was a male teacher and he had to teach on the fertility cycle of women and this woman came in and taught the class for him. And then she had another male teacher talking about how he was struggling with one girl, while she was behaving much better now, she always lost it once a month and this woman explained to him what might be going on, i.e. that it was close to her bleeding, she was in her premenstruum, and she gave him strategies to think about how to do this; and then she jokingly said “by Christmas I’ll be running menstrually inspired school assemblies”!So don’t underestimate the power of just dropping that word into a conversation.
S: Part of what you’re doing with that is you really are building the field and there’s huge spring that comes in numbers, there’s huge momentum. And woman gathering together around this knowledge is going to really support you, is going to support this field, this consciousness to flow through more and more strongly and be more and more really available to each one of us. So it’s a very, very powerful thing building this new energy field and speaking about it as we atune to our own cycle.The other piece of this which I think is good to mention and we’ll get you to think of this for yourselves as well … is how you make the leap from where you are now in your relationship with your cycle and to be able to live it more to be able to really enjoy the full pleasure and power of your cycle. We’ve got a good tip here, don’t we Alexandra? Actually the UK Cycling team uses this as well, don’t they, to great effect.
A: yes this was a policy that was used by the UK team before they were Olympic champions. This was the strategy that the trainer used with them…making small changes, or 1% changes, in all sorts of ways, like for instance the shape of the seat they sat on, or the type of material in the clothing that they wore or the pillows they slept on at night, it was all those tiny 1% moves that he made and this took the UK team from nowhere to being the world champions in the Olympics, winning the Tour of France, etc.
S: So this can actually be our way of becoming Olympic menstrual cyclists.
A: Exactly, with the power of small changes to have big effects. I always think of one woman, we use her story in our book, she is Spanish but lives in Macedonia, married to a Macedonian. She comes from a very conservative cultural background where the women do all the family stuff and they don’t really have a life of their own, they’re serving everybody else, and she lives in within a culture that’s like that now. She has children. And so for her to take time for menstruation was a huge edge to cross. And she just started by taking an hour and then before she knew it she was taking a whole day off when she bled, like her whole life was re organized. And then, about 6 months after that, the loveliest of things happened. It was just the beginning of the New Year and her husband turned to her and said, “why don’t we organize the family calendar around your menstrual cycle”. Because he saw how powerful it was, how things had shifted in the family, how she was happier, how the whole energy of the family was different, I get some goose bumps saying this actually. It was very touching because he said that quite spontaneously without any kind of pushing from her, and she was so touched. And it may not be an hour first, it may be you taking half an hour with a cup of tea when you just simply don’t answer the phone, don’t look at anything, but you give yourself that zone of half an hour. And then that grows. So we talk about the 1% move or the homeopathic dose, so the power of small moves to make big changes. It is one of our most powerful tools.
S: So potent and it’s always doable. When I feel like there’s nothing I can do here, for example I’m bleeding and I have to host my daughter’s birthday party, classic, no getting out of it. The thing I can always reach for is ‘what is 1%’? What is 1% that I can do to really honor this time and how I feel and what my deep needs are. And there’s always 1%, and there’s always 5% I find, and then when I give 5 I go like oh there’s another 10% there, and it makes such a difference. It builds that sweetness with myself is like I’m always listening to myself, when I give myself that small % I really feel like my needs are being heard by myself, by me, and it’s a beautiful thing. So we’re going to invite you to do just that, as our sort of final practical exercise for this online series. We want to ask you to just take a moment now to think about what your 1% is, of what could you do today, tomorrow, lets do it now, why wait? What is the 1% you could do today or tomorrow that would really honor your cycle or where you are. Something so small, so small that it’s just imminently doable. Something so seemingly insignificant that you can’t help but do it, that 1%. We’d love to hear what that is, please come and share it with us on our fb page. It’s really good first if you say out loud as a way of commitment to yourself, but also for us to hear, what sorts of things you’re doing, it will give us all ideas for the next time we’re reaching for our 1%
A: And we should warn you here, it’s so powerful that 1% gets 2% and then 4% and you know where this is leading. Before long you’re at a 100% …the power of how you’re living your cycle is so potent.
S: This is how we change the world, it’s from the inside out. By us making small moves towards ourselves and towards honoring our menstrual cycle we’re changing the consciousness, we are changing the field, we’re changing how we as human beings engage with life and with nature and with each other. We’re really changing something so fundamental. It is an incredibly powerful thing to do, we call it the Wild Power Revolution and as an inside job starts right here with you.So this is the last of our Wild Power series, we’ve come to an end! It’s been such a joy to share all these little nuggets from our book and we have so much more to share. We really hope that you’ll stay in touch with us so that we keep this conversations going in one way, shape or form, and also remember that next week we’re opening the lines to your questions. We’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, questions, at the launch party happening next week in time for the book.
A: It’s so exciting.
S: Thank you everyone for being a part of this and letting other people know about it. Please do keep sharing this knowledge in your way, it’s going to make a big difference. Thank you.