An ex-boyfriend once suggested I come with a 'Danger! step away from the pre-menstrual woman' warning siren, mainly because in the third week of every cycle, I had a sharp tongue, (read: no edit switch) a wicked temper (plates, vases and even a TV at one point) + everything he did (mostly breathing) would make me want to gouge his eyes out with a spoon.None of which I'm proud of by the way, but when I hear 'pre-menstruation sucks big ones' from nearly EVERY woman I work with, I get it. The good news is, it doesn't have to be this way.
What I know now that I didn't know then is that up until this point in our menstrual cycle, we are playing by the rules of the dominant dude-culture, yep, the first half of our cycle pre-ovulation and ovulation are dude-powered. Our energy is directed externally, we can get shit done and we can use the fiery solar power to fuel our confidence and boost our self-esteem - basically, it's all good. Except as we move into the pre-menstrual phase of our cycle, the logical, linear and practical traits that served us so well in the previous two weeks now become a really freakin' limited tool kit as we enter the feminine, more yin-led phases of our cycle. There’s a good chance that as you go into this part of your cycle your masculine, do-er, achiever self will want to remain in control, and that's perfectly understandable, it's what we've been told is 'normal' - whatever THAT is - but there's actually a shift from ‘doing’ to ‘being’ in this phase. Unfortunately, this shift is often ignored by the super-woman that we cultivated in ovulation. She thinks she can just keep on pushing through and functioning at the same levels of high energy that she had been for the past two weeks, but it’s just not possible – at least, not without some serious side effects. These include everything from: irritability, frustration, confusion and sadness right through to depression, anxiety and addiction. Sadly this is not a unique story and one that is wreaking havoc throughout ladykind.
The thing is, this phase can get a little messy and as modern women we learn very early on to keep the ‘messy’ aspects of femininity under wraps. Our emotions, should they spill out, get squashed down and we apologise for them. A LOT. We worry that we’re being seen as too much, while struggling with feeling that we’re not enough.
We have been tamed and censored and never is it more present than in this part of our cycle, because it here that our womanly wildness – our truth, our voice, our very essence in all its messy and imperfect glory – demands to be untamed and uncensored, and if that actually happened, if lady-kind took life by the ovaries and actually spilled their heart, gut and womb out without censorship, a heavily patriarchal structure, like the one we currently live in, would be scared shitless.
Because, quite frankly, we’d be dangerous.
Except we wouldn’t be, not really. We’d simply be living in our truth. What’s more dangerous to me is that we’ve disowned the second half of our cycle. If the first half is a deep inhale, this half is the exhale, the let go, the opportunity to stop doing and to be. To let our heart, gut and womb lead us into a different, deeper way of being, and yet we’ve been totally disconnected from it. Until now that is.
On Sunday I invited eight big-hearted, wonder-full women to take part in the sacred act o' being, not doing. I asked them to drop the to-do lists, to turn off their phones and for four hours simply show up in all their messy imperfectness, enter into ceremony by drinking sacred cacao, allowed me to guide them in deep radical rest, make a nest from pillows and blankets, dance, colour-in, write in their journal or just sleep. (Yep, it's basically a super-sacred, grown-up girl sleepover.) I love this work for many reasons, but the main one is watching women begin our time together by resisting the urge to 'just be', and understandably so, we've been told that doing nothing is 'lazy' or 'weak', but then slowly, during our time together, they begin to realise how totally delicious + totally necessary it is to give yourself over to the feminine. To trust, to surrender, to allow + to receive. To be nourished, to be nurtured. To remember who you were before you forgot.
Sadly, I know you can't all come hang at the SASSram with me on a dark moon each month - although I'm working on a way to make it happen virtually, stay tuned! - but I wish more than anything for you to experience pre-menstruation as a chance to connect with your divinity, your intuition, the big SHE. If you have Code Red (high fives + chest bumps to you) you'll know when you're moving from Ovulation into pre-menstruation, but if pre-menstruation feels like a major bitch-slap, really get to know this part of your cycle for what it is, a chance to explore your natural instincts as a woman, because when we choose to acknowledge + connect with pre-menstruation as a time of wild + wise knowing, we can begin to hear the call. The call home to ourselves.
FYI: Who you were before you forgot looks a li'l like this: You were a powerful freakin' woman. A witch. A wild, wise woman. A creatrix. Your womb was an oracle, your intuition was revered. You were badass. You were divine.