June 15, 2014

The womb is a physical metaphor for consciousness itself, the void, the place of nothingness, from which all life emerges, the emptiness which is actually the fullness of all life. A place of pure potential, formless, yet the essence of all forms.

Menstruation, that monthly bleeding that all women share, unites us no matter what else sets us apart. At any one time on this planet, millions of women are bleeding.

Conscious menstruation refers to the profound awakening that is possible when we embrace our monthly bleeding with deep awareness and self-love.

It’s interesting that many women have their menstruation either around the full Moon or new Moon. Menstruation is also called “moontime” in some ancient cultures. There is a great connectedness to the natural cycles in nature and we are all synced in.

Just as the Moon waxes (or grows outward into the night sky) until it becomes full and then wanes (or gets smaller) as if moving back into itself – so do we. Sometimes she shows up fully, open, bright, reaching out. Other times – she covers her face, retreats, falls back, quiets herself. We can be in the same pattern as the Moon. I find it really beautiful.

The moon is the most feminine planet. It is changeable in the same way as us – ever changing women. So what happens during the New Moon is exactly what happens with us when we bleed – we hide and internalize. And Full Moon corresponds to the time of ovulation – the time when we are at the peak of ourselves, feeling energetic and social.  As the Moon uncovers her face we uncover ours. We get more and more active, putting things into action.

As we come closer to menses the natural tendency is to become more quiet, go into retreat. This is actually the most receptive time of the whole human experience. We are the most open then. As we come to that time we are more and more impressionable. It’s important to be quiet, aware of what kind of energy we draw into ourselves. This is the time of contemplation.

We are very powerful during menstruation, our ability to feel and sense is increased. The best thing to do during a period, and especially on the first day is to rest as much as possible, stay internalized, meditate and journal. Rest is especially important on the first day because that’s when we normally lose the largest amount of blood, and the body receives a certain signal that may change your period a lot. I observe a really significant difference in the length and abundance of my menses when I manage to rest on the first day of my cycle. Sometimes my period is as short as 1 day.

Surround yourself with things that nurture you.  But by all means DON’T EAT CHOCOLATE! Seriously, not only it will make your period heavier, but it might also take you away from the rawness of emotions that you are experiencing.

It’s lack of understanding that brings mood swings. If you deny the natural need you have to slow down and turn inward, feelings of resentment, frustration and anger find a way to surface. The great news is that once you are more in touch with yourself your mood swings will diminish or even disappear! I promise! Because that’s what’s happened to me. Before I really understood what happened to me during my period these were the times when I would fight with my loved ones and overall make it terrible for anyone (including myself) to be around me.

If we allow ourselves to be quiet and internalized during our period we may get filled with vision and ideas, and later on, closer to ovulation time –  bring these things forth. On the contrary if we are unhappy, and restless during our period – that’s what we put out in life. You could even consciously ask: “Moon, show me what I need to see, then I will put it into action”. It’s very powerful to perform a ritual during menstruation.

You may have heard people say: “women are dirty during their menses, that’s why they have to retreat,” – and that’s a bunch of foolishness. Women knew that to serve in the best way they needed to be quiet during the powerful time of menstruation. We shouldn’t be working and cooking, not because our energy is bad, but because by not taking time off we are taking something away from ourselves and thus – our people. If we rest and internalize during this time we can bring back something powerful.

In tribes women were asked to report their dreams during their moon time to medicine people, because it was considered that women have increased psycic abilities during this time.

Please understand that there is absolutely nothing dirty about your menstrual blood.Actually it is full of nutrients and power! If you experience a bad odor from your blood – this is perhaps because it has been in contact with air for too long or it has mixed with the chemicals contained in commercial pads or tampons.

In Tantra it is advisable to diminish the volume of blood women lose each month. Because with menstrual blood we lose significant amounts of the very essential non-physical component of our being – ojas. If it doesn’t speak to you, there are also some statistics that every woman can relate to, for instance: menstrual blood contains 7 times more calcium than normal blood and 30 times more iron, and millions of women are complaining about lack of calcium and anemia…

There are lots of practices in Tantra and Taoism that assist in diminishing menstruation, also there are lists of foods to avoid. With this knowledge some advanced tantric yoginis even manage to stop their menstruation, so as not to lose their ojas or power. I never recommend my students to push it to such an extreme, unless they are very serious tantric practitioners.

Consciously embracing our menstruation asks us to break some taboos in our culture. There are unspoken rules that we must not rest or take our time, especially to know and care for ourselves. There is also an unspoken rule that we must not acknowledge the abundance in our lives. Instead we are conditioned to see lack and insufficiency around us, which causes us to rush about constantly seeking more. As we break these taboos by resting deeply and acknowledging our inner abundance, we gradually come to a still point within; a luminous presence.
If you liked this article I have good news for you – there are 2 more related posts on my blog. You can learn about 4 phases of our cycle and some great natural alternatives to commercial tampons and pads.

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