women's stories and why they matter

menarche“I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.”Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

YES. I literally want to high five Clarissa - she’d totally let me call her Clarissa, she seems like that kind o’ lady - every time I read this quote. Women have been trained/conditioned/forced to speak softly, be polite, and not swear. Thank fuck those days are over. And you know I'm shouting that, don’t you?

I’m currently in a month-long deep heart convo with a circle o’ incredible women who signed up for the Explore Your Lady Landscape programme. There is so much unfolding and unravelling of what it means to be a woman happening through the stories of these women that I virtually chest bump each and every one of them for their courage and fearlessness. Last week we spoke about our menarche. Our first bleed. A time when a girl is initiated into womanhood. A time that in so many traditions and cultures, is celebrated. Except, in the western world, we’ve forgotten. So instead, that moment when we first discovered there was blood in our knickers, has become a time that we pretend didn't happen and now, when we bleed each month we don't talk about it and would rather it wasn't happening. My first experience of bleeding was less than celebratory, but what I know now that I didn’t know then, is that by not marking it as a special occasion, by not celebrating the moment I became a woman, I remained a girl. In lots of cultures around the world a girl’s transition to womanhood is celebrated in ritual and ceremony; it’s the time of coming into her power, yet so many women in the western world have lacked that celebratory entry into womanhood, and this has effected everything from their attitude to their menstrual cycle, how they parent, how they do business, how they view the body they reside in and how they show up in the world. I see how so many of my actions in love, in relationships, in business, in life have been informed by a 13 year old me who’s mumma wasn’t there for her and refused to talk about this with her. In fact, I didn’t fully come into my power as a woman until my 34th year, 21 years later, when I had my very own menarche ceremony. (Yep, you can totally throw yourself a menarche celebration at any time in your life, in fact I actively encourage it on the programme!) I invited the women in our circle to start excavating their SHE power, the truth of who they are, through story telling. These are OUR stories, and in sharing them, we can find our truth and reclaim our power.  I am in total wonderment staring at my screen as woman after woman steps forward to share that moment for her. It’s not clean, it's not edited, it’s not polite, it's raw and vulnerable and there is definitely swearing. I especially love when they come back to the story days later and add a delicious revelation that has occurred since they first shared it. Or a fellow circle member has seen their own story in the one being shared. In the sharing of stories, if we dare to delve deep enough, we will be offered our SHE medicine. This is where the healing happens. This is where the truth is revealed. For ourselves and for all ladykind.

I am obsess-o with women’s stories. Not necessarily 'first bleed' stories although I do really dig those. Not the 'she said' bullshit kind you read in trash mags. The kind of story that a woman experiences in her body, that’s been lived through her entire being. The kind of story that isn't filtered and edited by the mind, that hasn’t been tainted by fear or judgement. The story that a woman dares to allow to roll around her heart for a while until it busts wide open and the words are courageous and fearlessly spoken from this place o’ truth.

Tell me THAT story. Woman to woman, heart to heart. I dare you.

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FYI: If this has inspired you to delve deeper into your own stories and to create space for your own truth to be revealed, I would love to invite you to join me this April for SHE Stories: a write-your-freakin'-heart-out, story sharing and truth telling circle o' ladykind launching in April 2014. Sign up below for SHE Stories priority mail - you'll receive all the deets as soon as they're released and a sneaky I-signed-up-first discount, because I'm good like that.

Send me the SHE Stories deets, Sister Lister...