A Sabbatical of Sorts

moonI’ve got a handful of things to tend to here within this screen staring back at me and then I’m closing up my laptop and putting pause on the internet for a 9 day sabbatical of sorts.

It’s quite common for me to step away from the internet for a lengthyish period of time and I typically incorporate a couple breaks into the year; however, it’s been a good while since I withdrew in its entirety.

I don’t do this because the internet is a bad place and I need to abstain from it. I do it because it feels right to step away from it and step more fully into myself.

magnolia

Sometimes all the consumption the internet offers creates confusion with my instincts.

I’ve just spent weeks facilitating She Cycles and I’d like to pull back and clarify what’s next.

My birthday is happening during this sabbatical and so I’m looking forward to freshening my spirit as I begin a new orbit around the sun. I plan to do all my normal self care-ish tasks with more presence, journal more, spend a lot of time in the kitchen meal prepping/jam making/tomato preserving, hike, enjoy some fun spontaneous outings, spruce up the garden, finish a painting project, read extra chapters aloud to the kiddos, read myself for long passages of time, take my daily walks without a podcast in my ears, declutter (because, well, that’s who I am), gather some clarity on the many ideas of my blog, hash out August’s budget and meal plan, and generally have a distraction free nine days with my people.

Basically all my normal things, but without the lure of the world wide web.

passionflower

Essentially I’m withdrawing to regroup and recalibrate this precious being of mine.

I share to encourage you to do the same sometime soon. I know it seems impossible to walk away from the internet. I’ve spent the past few days (and today) preparing in different ways so that I can do this and I understand for many people this isn’t possible for work reasons.

However, perhaps you can consider breaking from the internet in all ways but the critical ways…work only. No social media (gasp!), no browsing, no aimlessly clicking or using your phone as an easy distraction from something that’d be much more richer. Consider a day or a weekend if you feel that’s all you can make happen currently.

In today’s world, one of being always and forever connected, I truly believe that withdrawing into yourself and the things around you with a greater presence can spiffy our spirits in a powerful way.

Do consider, lovely lady, and I’ll see you on the other side!

Mwah!

falan sig

 

Feel like you belong here? Sign up for heart-full inbox hellos and blog post updates. To say thank you I'll send you a 'new moon intentions' sheet to help you make the most of each new lunar cycle.
* = required field

Talking About Death

talking about death

Death moves me. Staying close to the reality of it is one of the ways I truly feel the aliveness of my breath. To remember that breath leaves our bodies, in traumatic ways, in shocking ways, in slow ways, reminds me that I am alive now.

We will all face the loss of those we love and the loss of our life as we currently know it. This fills me with so many feelings I misplace and massage my way through, but mostly it fills me with a truth.

It’s something I must think about and make space for because I’m leery of a life lived in denial or detachment of it – waiting until it’s staring me down with no way out. It’s a path I feel like I must walk toward so it doesn’t sneak up on me like an unfathomable cavity that I fall into.

This book felt like it was written for that pulsating and persistent longing in me that simply must remain close to the reality of death. Reading it has been a mix of can’t-read-it-fast-enough and a very tearful, tender and slow digestion of such soul written words. Highly, highly recommended for everyone, but definitely for the kindred spirits that are drawn to death.

“Unlike our ancestors, who knew death intimately and were reminded of it regularly, we are so insulated from death that we sometimes forget it even occurs and are stunned when confronted with it. But we need this knowledge, that death is real and unavoidable. Futile battles and the awkward silences often occur simply because something in us refuses to believe that death can happen, that we don’t control it, and we can’t stop it. We have to accept, in whatever way we can, the reality and randomness of death, before we can change the way in which it occurs.

There is no need to obsess about death or sit in constant dread of it. We simply need to be aware of it. Not just as some biological fact, but as a deeply felt truth, as a part of our lives and who we are. We need to be aware that we will die and that all the people who are important to us will die. Aware that even as we color our hair and tone our bodies and try to smooth out our wrinkles, that this is a game, a pretense. We are mortal. All of us.

This awareness, present in the background of our lives, will enable us to think and speak more easily about death. It will help us to be a little more prepared, a little less surprised by it when we are confronted with it. And it will help us to change the way we die because it will change the way we live. It will affect all that we are, and all that we bring to the experience.

This is the bonus of this work, the magic we never expected; for studying the art of dying teaches us a second lesson, ars vivendi, the art of living. The reality of death – if we can see it, if we can resist the temptation to shut it out, close our eyes, and plug our ears – awakens us. It reminds us, loud and clear: This is your life. Whatever you are going to make of it, do with it, get out of it, is happening right now.”

 

xx,

falan sig

 

 

Feel like you belong here? Sign up for heart-full inbox hellos and blog post updates. To say thank you I'll send you a 'new moon intentions' sheet to help you make the most of each new lunar cycle.
* = required field

insta glimpse/update July ’16

Periodically I am sharing a few of my Instagram photos and captions/quotes in a single blog post for the lovely ladies who read my blog but do not follow along on Instagram…Oftentimes, I use Instagram to share many of the in-between moments of blog posting…

home

My son made it home early this morning from Scout camp. We were really late to the ‘sleepover club’ and, at 13, this was the first time I spent more than two nights away from him. I thought it’d be really hard on me – there were definitely tears – but what I’ve learned is that, in many things, when your child is ready to do something than you have to be ready too, or you risk holding them back. I find strength to let go in that. After four nights of camp they offered a parent’s night. It was all kinds of heartwarming & bittersweetness to show up and witness him in his independence, confidence and capacity. It was this mix of grief and absolute pride. This holding on and letting go. This feeling that as a parent you’re doing something right coupled with the overwhelming reality that the unfolding of time is happening and that you cannot stop it. The passage of time is often scary, but I try to trust that if I stay present then I can fully enjoy each phase before it morphs into another. Because when my sensitive heart wanders to the reality that for all these years my kids have been *my* life and, suddenly -for him- I’ve gotten the first lesson that really it’s *their* life and I am simply a part of it (thankfully, a very important part) it’s a big meal to digest.

animal love

Animals teach us about a whole other layer of love.

motheringself

“You have to find a mother inside yourself. We all do. Even if we already have a mother, we still have to find this part of ourselves inside.” -Sue Monk Kidd

love text

Over 15 years and I can say – with all the sincerity I’ve got – I love him more. Not because it’s inevitable. Not because it’s simple. Or easy. Because anyone who has ever truly loved knows it’s hard. So flipping hard. But when you share that much story with someone, that much life, that much depth & death, the love has no choice but to deepen.

snailmail

Slowly and lovingly preparing the She Cycles swag bags for my ladies! Snail mail is so so good!

river

“Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising us the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.” -Seneca

feather

I often exist in a bubble, avoiding news, keeping all avenues of entryway possible closed. Because my own tenderness and sensitivities make it hard to stay soft and present in such a beautiful and yet deeply harsh world. I am broken open by the news of the Orlando shooting and am both softened and hardened in heart, and deeply confused at such pain. Love is love is love, no matter who shares it, and stories like this – held within the walls of life and politics and separation, and within the battles of beliefs and countries and dividedness – break us in their ugliness and their sheer void of love. But, like always, humans come together and rise in love, because love is love is love…the heartbeat of life and the lifeblood of continuing life woven in such overwhelming grief and trauma and hatredness. May we grieve the bloodshed of this story, holding hands in spirit with all who are broken by such coldness…and then choose love, because it is clear that holding love in our hearts for all those on their knees in pain today – because they are the lovers and sisters and brothers and mothers and fathers and grandparents and dear family & friends of those whose lives were taken – is what they need. And we need it too.

honeyface

I’m a long time fan of using coconut oil as a daily moisturizer and honey as an occasional face wash/mask, but a couple months ago I discovered mixing the two…and holy edible goodness – it is an exquisite moisturizing face cream wash!
Make sure your coconut oil is at that perfect soft temperature and then mix 1/8 cup of it with 1 Tablespoon of honey. Wipe on moist face, let sit briefly and then rinse with warm water.
Lick fingers. Feel radiant. Thank the bees

perfectionism

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life…I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.” -Anne Lamott

riverbed

Spent most of the day on the river yesterday. With a whole gaggle of homeschooled friends. These days are hardcore reminders of what a blessing homeschooling is. It means everyday is like summertime. It means we play and plan and learn by our own rules. It means fresh air and sunshine is greater than (>) closed windows and chalked numbers. It means a full life and a loved life. It means more than any math could add up. It’s a good life. And literally one of the greatest mothering decisions I ever made.

daisy

“…it is during that time that we bring all aspects of self to bear at one point in time, and we poll them, inquire of them, finding out what they/we/soul wishes right now…There are many aspects of our lives for us to assess on a continuing basis: habitat, work, creative life, family, mate, children, mother/father, sexuality, spiritual life, and so on…The measurement used in this assessment is simple: What needs less? And: What needs more?”  -Clarissa Pinkola Estes

xx,

falan sig

 

 

Feel like you belong here? Sign up for heart-full inbox hellos and blog post updates. To say thank you I'll send you a 'new moon intentions' sheet to help you make the most of each new lunar cycle.
* = required field

Interview with Faith Evans-Sills

This is one of a series of interviews where women share about their relationship with their menstrual cycle. I am entirely grateful and humbled that they’ve not only taken the time (within their busy lives) but that they’ve let us in, so that we may all find ourselves somewhere in connection with the many stories shared. Thank you!

Faith Evans-Sills

Faith is someone I “met” in my early days of joining Instagram. She’s a painter, mother, traveler, teacher, and thoroughly beautiful woman.

We have danced around the idea of meeting up in person a couple times – she has family that lives in my neck of the woods near Asheville, NC, but at this point in time we haven’t met yet.

If you don’t yet know Faith, find her immediately in her online world. You’ll be so inspired by her gentle nature and beautiful art.

Faith Evans-Sills
Blog
Instagram
Facebook
Pinterest

What was your experience of your first menstrual cycle? Were you prepared and how did it make you feel?

I was not prepared at all for my first menstrual cycle and it was a pretty traumatic experience. Prior to having my first period my mother had once pulled me aside and showed me some menstrual pads and how to put them in underwear, but she had not at all explained what would happen. So, it came as a scary surprise to wake up one morning a few weeks shy of my 12th birthday with blood covering my underwear and pajamas. I vaguely knew that this was my “period” and I felt deep shame, like I had done something wrong. My family was living in Argentina at the time and we were on a trip in the countryside, staying on a farm and riding horses. I didn’t know what to do, and I thought that the blood would go away, so I just stuffed my underwear with lots of toilet paper and hoped that the blood would finish that day. Obviously it didn’t, it kept coming for days, and the flow got heavier. It was very stressful to keep stuffing more and more toilet paper in my underwear and try to hide it from my family. It started to leak onto my underwear, and began to leak onto my pants despite my efforts. That was when my mother noticed, after a few days. When she asked me about it I showed her the pile of blood stained clothing that I was hiding and didn’t know what to do with, I felt such fear and shame and she was angry with me for not telling her right away which made it all worse. Such a sad memory for me to look back on. I felt shame about my period for years.

 

What has your experience of menstruation been as a woman?

Ever since that first time I have had a super regular cycle, every 28 days sometimes to the very hour. So, that’s 30 years of menstruation, bleeding every month except those months when I was pregnant and nursing (my period resumed at about 11 months after each of my babies). Menstruation felt annoying to me as a teenager and young woman. Just something to get through, an inconvenience and something to manage. I also struggled with strong cramps for years, so that was an enforced rest time for me, I didn’t have to miss school but I definitely would feel sluggish and had to honor that. When my husband and I started to think about have children I began charting my cycle and that opened my mind wide open to the amazing complexity of what my body was doing each month. As I paid more attention to my body I began to honor my cycle more.
 

How do you currently feel about your menstrual cycle?

After I had my first child in 2004 my attitude towards my cycle changed. I just felt such awe for what my body had done with growing and delivering my baby, and I couldn’t help but see the beauty and magic inherent in the cycle that had led to the growth of my child. I started to see also that there was a feeling of deep magic that I had touched or tapped into surrounding menstruation and childbirth…the idea that I bled every month but didn’t die, that it actually made me feel more alive as a woman, all of that started to feel powerful once I began to really think about it and feel a connection to women throughout the ages. I had my last child in 2012, knowing that he is my last has helped my attitude change towards my body again, I now feel an attitude of thanks towards my body and I care for it as such. I am 42 now and I understand that my body is all that I have, it has birthed my three beautiful children, it loves my husband, and in many ways I try to show my body how thankful I am. This extends to my current feeling about my cycle, which is still regular as ever. After having babies I no longer suffer from menstrual cramps but I still make an effort to go slower at that time, to offer myself more self care and to be gentle with my body and emotions.

What is one way you currently try to respect your cycle?

As I mentioned I go slower, I allow myself to “feel” things deeply as I tend to at that time of the month, and I give those feelings a place of honor. I take time to notice, both what I am feeling and thinking. I see as I get older that every signal from my body and mind are messages, and I am choosing to pay attention.
 

If you are a mother how do you honor your own body rhythms alongside of the pace of motherhood?

The pace of motherhood is relentless, I feel it especially these days while I still have a toddler (my youngest son is 3) and also a pre-teen with my oldest son getting close to 12! Then my daughter just turned 9 so I am really conscious these days of the messages that I am giving her about menstruation and how to help her navigate these years as she approaches early womanhood! So, I do work to integrate my own needs, for relaxation and mental space, in with motherhood but it is a constantly evolving process. As most mamas I tend to always put my children’s needs first, so there is a constant dance of coming back to and remembering my own needs. When I am feeling more tired and emotional in the days surrounding my cycle I work to honor and pay attention to that, to sit down longer with a cup of tea, to give myself more time to paint, to say yes to sitting with my children and reading.

 

Thank you, dearly, Faith! xx

********************************************************************************************

Wish to change your relationship with your menstrual cycle? Check out She Cycles!

shecycles2016

Interview with Jessica Sparks-Mussulin of Moontree Apothecaries

This is one of a series of interviews where women share about their relationship with their menstrual cycle. I am entirely grateful and humbled that they’ve not only taken the time (within their busy lives) but that they’ve let us in, so that we may all find ourselves somewhere in connection with the many stories shared. Thank you!

Jessica Moontree Apothecaries

I had the pleasure of meeting Jessica through the Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference four years ago!

She is a gardener, herbalist, stonalist and the creatrix of the most beautiful apothecary allies. There’s something about her energy that drew me in the first time I met her!

Enjoy this interview and make sure to connect with her around the internet town!

Moontree Apothecaries
Etsy
Facebook
Instagram

What was your experience of your first menstrual cycle? Were you prepared and how did it make you feel?

My first menstrual cycle is now a classic story in my family. My parents were divorced and I was at my dad’s house for the weekend. I thought I started my period but I wasn’t 100% sure. Looking back, I don’t know what was so confusing about it! But rather than talk to my dad about it (I don’t know if I was more nervous of my potential embarrassment or his), I just kept quiet and made myself pads out of toilet paper. At one point my dad loudly asked my sister and I, “Why are we going through so much toilet paper? It’s like you girls are eating it!”. I kept quiet as to why the toilet paper was mysteriously disappearing. When I got back to my mom’s house on Sunday night, her best friend was over and I told them. They jumped off the couch, cheered, cried, and then ran out the door to the store to “get you supplies”.

I had talked to my mom about it years prior to starting my menstrual cycle so I had some idea of what to expect. I remember feeling very shy and quiet about all of it, and yet a bit relieved because my friends had all started their cycles.

What has your experience of menstruation been as a woman?

As a woman my experience of menstruation has been very powerful. I enjoy the rhythm of my body but the unpredictability is really difficult. I was diagnosed with endometriosis in my early twenties and before that I had already been in pain for years. Each month is different, with some being extremely painful to where I am unable to leave my house. From my knees to my neck, everything joint and muscle is inflamed and painful for 3-5 days. I have worked with Western medicine, herbalism, acupuncture, nutrition, and a list of many others in order to try to ease the pain, but with no success. The most relief I find is with stone medicine and I have been working more intensely with it to ease me through the pain.

How do you currently feel about your menstrual cycle?

I am trying to plan my life around my cycles, knowing that there will be days that staring at a wall and crying is all I am capable of, and that other days I will be vibrant and full of energy. I am just now learning to plan my projects and interactions with the world around my personal energy cycle.

Endometriosis is a tricky thing for me to wrap my head around. Normal endometrial tissue is acting exactly how it should be, thickening, breaking down, and bleeding each month. The problem is, it isn’t all in the uterus. It can accumulate in joints, form adhesions, and form scar tissue. Your body will leave the endometrial tissue alone because it is normal, just in the wrong place. So here I have a perfectly normal acting body and cells that are perfectly normal, some of them are just in the wrong places. Things are healthy, just misplaced. And that is what I am recently trying to wrap my head around. In trying to control the pain in my endometriosis, it feels like I am waging a battle against parts of me, my cells, that are perfectly healthy and doing what they are naturally programmed to do. It doesn’t feel like a natural battle to wage. So how do I deal with extreme pain for 3-5 days at a time, when no natural treatments have worked, and my body is perfectly healthy? I work with these feelings all the time and continue to evolve in this relationship with my body.

What is one way you currently try to respect your cycle?

At home I am an herbalist and artist. I also recognize that my Moontime is the most powerful time for me to make herbal medicines and dream up creative projects, infusing both with a magic I can only access during that time.

Out of my home I work a M-F, 9-5 office job. Although it is not always possible, when I can manage to, I take the first day off of my Moontime. I dream of the days of Red Tents and the quiet seclusion they would have offered. I try to create that for myself.

I work around my cycle without judgement. I love moving and being productive. To lay on the couch and stare at a wall, or watch a movie to distract me from pain, those acts of surrender are difficult for me but I am learning how that fallow time is important for my body and active mind.

The only things that have ever helped the pain were Western medicines- birth control pills, and prescription hormone suppressants. It has been over 7 years since I have used any of those modalities for pain relief. I honor my body and respect my cycle by not subjecting myself to the side effects that those medicines cause. By sitting in the pain, going to deep dark places while in pain, and trusting that it can’t last forever and I will emerge from it.

If you are a mother how do you honor your own body rhythms alongside of the pace of motherhood?

Although I am not a biological mother, I have a dear husband, wonderful family, and snuggly cats. I have learned to voice my needs and set boundaries with respect to my body rhythms. There are times when I literally can’t muster up the energy to talk or take care of anyone else. Over the years I have kindly taught everyone how to take care of me and respect my boundaries and limitations during my Moontime. We try our hardest to make it a time of rest for both my husband and I in our home.

Thank you, dearly, Jessica! xx

**********************************************************************************************
Wish to change your relationship with your menstrual cycle? Check out She Cycles


shecycles2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel like you belong here? Sign up for heart-full inbox hellos and blog post updates. To say thank you I'll send you a 'new moon intentions' sheet to help you make the most of each new lunar cycle.
* = required field

My thoughts on THINX

THINX2

It’s not common for me to advertise things on my blog or to my readers, but, I recently jumped on the THINX bandwagon and they got a big ole’ thumbs up from me!

So, what do ladies do when they find an amazing thing? They share with other ladies!

Quite honestly, I’d feel like a turd to not tell you about such a cool product when I’m already on the menstrual cycle bandwagon with She Cycles circling again, and all the menstrual cycle interviews lately!

THINX  are known as ‘period panties’, and serve as a method of menstrual blood collection, or as a backup method to tampons and menstrual cups.

They’ll hold up to two tampon’s worth of blood, depending on which absorbency you choose, and they have a great variety of styles, from hip huggers to boy shorts to thongs (though the only time I wore thongs was in my twenties – now I prefer to keep things out of my ass crack :)).

I used mine to “free flow”, vs. as a backup, and it was lovely and liberating!

They’re pretty, comfortable and didn’t leak one bit!

If all that isn’t jazzy enough, many of you know how I feel about standard menstrual options (hello cramps and rashes and toxins and environmental baggage), and that I’m already a huge fan of cloth pads and menstrual cups, so it seemed quite natural to give these pretty panties a try and add them to my arsenal of menstrual goodness! I’m so glad I did!

THINX is not the first, nor the only, company creating period panties; however I love that they are committed to breaking the taboo around menstruation, hire women in Sri Lanka to make the panties, and also donate to AFRIpads – supporting woman entrepreneurship and helping keep girls in school!

What’s not to love!?

When you buy your first pair, by clicking here, you’ll get $10 off plus free shipping! Pretty groovy!

After you click the link it will say your pal (I’m your pal!) gave you $10! Click the sign up link and join, and you’ll receive a code emailed to you for $10 off! Woot woot!

{And in full disclosure I also get $10 credit for recommending them to you! After you buy and try and like you can recommend them to friends, and then you’ll both get $10 so you can keep the panty collecting going if you wish!}

Uncertain? No worries – they back them up with a risk free guarantee! Not happy with them? They refund yo’ money!

Let me know if you try them out and what you think!

Yay for healthier menstrual cycles!

xx,

falan sig

 

Feel like you belong here? Sign up for heart-full inbox hellos and blog post updates. To say thank you I'll send you a 'new moon intentions' sheet to help you make the most of each new lunar cycle.
* = required field
Posted in fs

Interview with Sophia Rose of La Abeja Herbs

This is one of a series of interviews where women share about their relationship with their menstrual cycle. I am entirely grateful and humbled that they’ve not only taken the time (within their busy lives) but that they’ve let us in, so that we may all find ourselves somewhere in connection with the many stories shared. Thank you!

sophiarose

I believe I first came upon Sophia Rose’s existence when she left a darling comment on my blog, and later had the honor of connecting with her through a woman’s circle of mine.

She’s an herbalist, folk healer, teacher, and creator of many beautiful offerings! A true beauty all around.

Do enjoy the interview and make sure to connect with her through her many internet nests.

La Abeja Herbs
Moon Medicine Offerings (I cannot even handle the beauty of her steaming stool!).
Facebook
Instagram

What was your experience of your first menstrual cycle? Were you prepared and how did it make you feel?

I began my period right before my eleventh birthday. I remember the moment vividly, though my reaction has mostly escaped me. I walked home from school without telling anyone and my mother left work to bring me tampons. There was very little explanation or fanfare to be had, though this was characteristic of what I recall of most of my childhood and adolescence so it did not seem odd. In retrospect, I wish that I had been offered more of a conceptual framework for even marking the moment in my own small way. All I can recall now though, is the cement walls of the playground bathroom and the cool scent of the oak trees and concrete.

What has your experience of menstruation been as a woman?

I love my Moontime. It is the most precious few days of each month for me. It is the time when I am able to turn my gaze inward and and take time to replenish my inner reservoirs. Without this cyclical time for rest, I find my energy and focus waning and my interest in the outer world beginning to feel like an unnatural burden. When I take time for rest and introspection and for just doing me, each time I bleed, my life comes much more naturally into balance and my work takes on a quality of excitement and joyousness rather than feeling as a burden.

How do you currently feel about your menstrual cycle?

I am longing for more time to devote to my personal Moonlodge. I have been living in Austin, TX – my hometown – for the last nine months and my life has been more full and busy than ever before. am so grateful for the increased interest in my work, my business, and the opportunities I’ve had to connect with my family and friends while I’ve been here, however I am looking forward to this Summer when I have to find time and space for some deep rest and inner listening. I want to spend more time in hot water and hot springs, bleeding upon the Earth alongside the plants and flowers I love and which sustain me. I am longing to give back.

What is one way you currently try to respect your cycle?

Currently, I take time away from email during my Moon. It is a small thing, but I have a specific Moondloge Auto-response that lets folks know that I will be taking longer than normal to get back with them and why that is. I do what I can to respectfully educate my friends, my family, and my colleagues in a way that they can understand that I hope will give many of them permission to take their own time for much needed rest – whether they are in bodies that bleed or not!

Thank you, dearly, Sophia Rose. xx

**************************************************************************************************

Wish to change your relationship with your menstrual cycle? Check out She Cycles

shecycles2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel like you belong here? Sign up for heart-full inbox hellos and blog post updates. To say thank you I'll send you a 'new moon intentions' sheet to help you make the most of each new lunar cycle.
* = required field

Interview with Tracy Puhl of Gladrags

This is one of a series of interviews where women share about their relationship with their menstrual cycle. I am entirely grateful and humbled that they’ve not only taken the time (within their busy lives) but that they’ve let us in, so that we may all find ourselves somewhere in connection with the many stories shared. Thank you!

Tracy GladRags

Next up on the interview series is with this gorgeous gal! Tracy, the owner of Gladrags!

I placed my first order with Gladrags eleven years ago! I originally found them through an ad in an issue of Mothering magazine (anyone else remember and miss that beautiful magazine??).

I’m a true fan(!) – not only of their products, but of their mission. I am all for supporting small women owned companies over big corporations run by men 😉

Tracy is also a contributor to She Cycles!

Connect with Tracy below and enjoy the interview!

GladRags
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest

What was your experience of your first menstrual cycle? Were you prepared and how did it make you feel?
 
I was a smart kid, but I didn’t really understand menstruation. For a while, I thought it was called a period because it left a small spot like the punctuation mark in your underwear. When my first period started, it was brown and streaky — not at all what I had expected! I put on a pantyliner (my mom and my sister had supplies in the bathroom) and went about my day, not realizing that I would need much more protection than that! It took me a while to get used to menstruating, and I had a very heavy flow as a young woman. I don’t remember how I felt about my period other than the physical sensations of feeling heavy, sweaty, bloated, and uncomfortable.
 
What has your experience of menstruation been as a woman?
 
As an adult woman, I am much more comfortable with my cycle than I was as a young woman. My period became less heavy after I started taking hormonal birth control in early adulthood, and has remained lighter and less painful even after transitioning off of hormones (I think due in part to better physical health overall). I now appreciate my cycle more. For a while, I didn’t have it due to the type of birth control I was using, and was surprised to find that I missed its routine appearance in my life.
 
How do you currently feel about your menstrual cycle?
 
It’s an important part of the ebb and flow of life. I certainly don’t always love it (tender breasts and crampy mornings are not my cup of tea) but I absolutely appreciate its existence. I am glad have my health, and to see my health reflected in my cycle. I am grateful to be a part of something that unites all potential life-bearers, whether or not I ever actually bear a child. My cycle also grounds me and connects me to the rhythm of nature. I know I’ll miss it when it’s gone.

 

What is one way you currently try to respect your cycle?

I intentionally avoid putting down my cycle.  I don’t call it “the curse” or say I can’t wait for it to end. It’s so common to hear women say they hate their period or denigrate their bodies, and I think that can be really damaging to our sense of self. I might not like cramps or bleeding, or it might be inconvenient, but usually if my cycle is problematic it’s because it’s telling me something about myself. So I try to listen.
 

If you are a mother how do you honor your own body rhythms alongside of the pace of motherhood?

I’m not a mother :)

Thank you, sincerely, Tracy! xx

***************************************************************************************************
Wish to change your relationship with your menstrual cycle? Check out She Cycles.

shecycles2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel like you belong here? Sign up for heart-full inbox hellos and blog post updates. To say thank you I'll send you a 'new moon intentions' sheet to help you make the most of each new lunar cycle.
* = required field

Interview with Lydia Luna L. (a dear reader)

This is one of a series of interviews where women share about their relationship with their menstrual cycle. I am entirely grateful and humbled that they’ve not only taken the time (within their busy lives) but that they’ve let us in, so that we may all find ourselves somewhere in connection with the many stories shared. Thank you!

Lydia Luna

 

This second interview is with Lydia, the sweetest blog reader and circle participator a gal could have! I simply adore and appreciate her!

What was your experience of your first menstrual cycle? Were you prepared and how did it make you feel?

My first moon cycle came in Mr.Lents’ class.  I was 14 years old and I had a strange pain in my low belly.  I knew I needed to go to the bathroom.  I asked Mr.Lents if I could go to the restroom. I immediately followed this with, “yes, it’s an emergency” and gave him The Look.  I’m smiling now, because he probably had so many girls over the years give him that same look!  When I got into the bathroom stall and pulled down my underwear, I saw blood.  I was in shock for a moment. I thought to myself, “I can have a baby now … I can have a baby now … I can have a baby now.” I made my way down to the nurse’s office and don’t remember much after that.

I first learned about my cycle in girl scouts. I was a Brownie, so I must have been pretty young!  They showed us what a pad and a tampon were and how to use them.  My mom and I never really discussed it.

What has your experience of menstruation been as a woman?

For a long time, I had very very painful and heavy cycles.  Thankfully, they would usually only last about 3 days.  A few times, I was in such pain that I accidentally took too many Tylenol and ended up getting sick and vomiting.  That all changed when I started using the Diva Cup. My cycles got tremendously less painful and less heavy as well.  I’ve read that your cycle is an expression of you … Once I started being kinder to myself and listening and honoring myself, i think that was reflected in my cycle.  Falan, you’ve been a HUGE help in that department.  I reread your little booklet sometimes. I feel inspired by your reminders to slow down and listen.

How do you currently feel about your menstrual cycle?

I still dread it.  I still get bummed out and feel burdened but it.  But I’ve come a LONG way.  As soon as I hear myself complaining about my cycle, I try to stop and reword it.  Our words are so powerful!  The words I use in my head and with others.  When I hear another woman complaining about her cycle, I just listen.  At least we are talking about it, right!?

What is one way you currently try to respect your cycle?

I plan my life around my cycle!  I have it on my calendar.  I always give myself permission to cancel commitments during that time of the month. And If I have to be somewhere or do something, I let people know that I am on my first or second day of my cycle and I am unable to exert much energy.

If you are a mother how do you honor your own body rhythms alongside of the pace of motherhood?

Not a mother.  One day I hope!

 

Thank you, dearly, Lydia. xx

***************************************************************************************

Wish to go deeper into your own relationship with your menstrual cycle? Do check out She Cycles.
shecycles2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel like you belong here? Sign up for heart-full inbox hellos and blog post updates. To say thank you I'll send you a 'new moon intentions' sheet to help you make the most of each new lunar cycle.
* = required field

Interview with Asia Suler of One Willow Apothecaries

This is one of a series of interviews where women share about their relationship with their menstrual cycle. I am entirely grateful and humbled that they’ve not only taken the time (within their busy lives) but that they’ve let us in, so that we may all find ourselves somewhere in connection with the many stories shared. Thank you!

Asia Suler

I first met Asia a few years back when I participated in her Wise Womb class. She is a herbalist, a teacher, a sincere delight, and has a way with words that makes you hungry for more (as you’ll see below).

She offers a number of in person and online classes and contributes to many collaborative creations – gratefully including She Cycles.

Enjoy the interview and make sure to connect with her through her many online homes!

One Willow Apothecaries
Facebook
Instagram
YouTube

What was your experience of your first menstrual cycle? Were you prepared and how did it make you feel?

The day I first began bleeding stands out very strongly in my mind. I was just a few months past my eleventh birthday. As soon as I woke up and went to the bathroom I noticed that I was bleeding and I remember thinking, “so it begins.” My feelings about it was somewhere between resignation and slightly dizzying expansion. I knew this was a kind of threshold, and that there was no going back from this experience of growing older, flowering, coming into being a woman. I didn’t know exactly what that meant, to be a woman instead of a girl, but even at that age I was aware that the journey was one I would now need to begin turning my heart towards. I was always a bit of an early bloomer and, at the time, none other of my friends had gotten their first cycle.

I didn’t feel ashamed, but I was very private about my experience. I remembering telling my Mom and begging her not to tell my Dad, which I immediately knew was both silly and futile, but somehow it made me feel better to think that I could keep the information as contained as possible. Looking back, I see that this was a reflection of a deeper need. That the child in me felt a bit overwhelmed by the gateway that was opening; I wanted to keep this bourgeoning, this flowering that felt so out of my control, as safe and manageable and contained as possible. Even though I didn’t have a word for it then, there was a part of me that wanted to feel like the process of becoming a woman was a part of my self-empowerment. That it was something I could find empowerment in, a transition I could have an active role in facilitating, rather than something that was just happening to me. My Mom was incredibly understanding, understated (which is exactly what a pre-teen wants from her Mom in this situation) and nurturingly kind. At the time I had this beloved black skirt with dragons on it. I remember laying out in the sun on our back deck for the better part of the day and feeling the warmth of it heat my legs, my womb, my core. It was a moment of recognizing something like transformation, a small flame starting. The very first nudgings of inner power, like a dragon feeling fire in its throat and just beginning to breath smoke. Not quite a full tip into flame, but an undeniable spark of beginning.

What has your experience of menstruation been as a woman?

I’ve gone from having a very basic and normal interaction with my cycle, from just “managing” and “dealing,” to embracing my cycle as a deeply transformation and foundational aspect of my journey of self growth. I’ve always felt in awe of my period. Even when I was quite young, and unduly burdened by the need to wear pads to elementary school. Even then, I remember coming home and gazing at the ruby hues of what my body was creating every month and feeling a stir of improbable wonder.

In my late teens I began having chronic health issues surrounding my vagina – ongoing yeast infections that led to chronic muscle and nerve pain (vulvodynia). It was during this time that my entire life transformed. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t heal, and so I began having a dialogue with my yoni, my womb, this feminine center of myself. Part of that dialogue was shifting my practice of bleeding. I began using cloth pads and sea sponges. I stopped using birth control and began fertility charting. I collected my blood to feed my plants and gave myself healing stiz baths. Interestingly, when I was bleeding was often when I physically felt the best. My chronic pain would lessen and something inside of me would feel released. I began to love bleeding. I looked forward to it. It became a deeply important practice to me. Now, as a Fertility awareness educator and herbalist, I consider my moontime some of the most sacred time of the month for me.

How do you currently feel about your menstrual cycle?

My menstrual cycle is the most major way in which I track my moods, my inspirations, my needs and desires. Learning to honor and connect into my cycle has been vital to my self growth and personal development. On my path I often feel like I am a navigator out on the high sea. A wide expansive of horizon in all directions. I can understand the deeper intuitions that are driving me when I learn to read the waves, the weather, the tides. There is a reason why ancient navigators learned to read the moon’s cycles. As women, we become more adept voyagers in the journey of our life when we become intimately familiar with our own tides.

My blood is a direct conduit into understanding the wider picture of my health, and my deeper needs. If I can tune into how I’m feeling during my moon, and really honor what it is my body is expressing and asking for, I always emerge from this week with a renewed understanding of myself.

What is one way you currently try to respect your cycle?

Honoring my fertility. As a woman of child-bearing age who is actively looking to not get pregnant at this time, it can feel overwhelming and complex to engage in health intimacy without fear. There is so much worry, anger and annoyance surrounding fertility. I have been off birth control and fertility charting for ten years now, which is the right decision for me and my body, but not choosing to control my fertility with hormonal supplementation necessitates a whole new level of awareness and sensitivity. To put it briefly, one of the ways in which I respect my cycle is to allow for it to happen. To let my body ovulate and to give thanks for my fertility! I know so many young women who bemoan the fact that they have the possibility of getting pregnant, and I think this is a common way to express one’s frustration over something that can feel out of our control. But, in truth, to be fertile is a GIFT. When I am fertile, and need to take extra precautions because of that, instead of feeling put out I choose to feel gratitude. I am woman who ovulates, I am a woman who can conceive and nurture a child in my womb and for that I am deeply, unreservedly, grateful.

 

Thank you, dearly, Asia. xx

*************************************************************************************************

Wish to go deeper into your own relationship with your menstrual cycle? Do check out She Cycles.

shecycles2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel like you belong here? Sign up for heart-full inbox hellos and blog post updates. To say thank you I'll send you a 'new moon intentions' sheet to help you make the most of each new lunar cycle.
* = required field