As women, we are often ashamed of our menstruation and the burden we experience from her. Tampons are tucked into sleeves, we whisper when we talk about it at all, we ram on as if nothing was wrong, and take painkillers to maintain this. When you’re menstruating, the uterus is up to one and a half times as large and you can only concentrate half as well. In addition, research by the Radboud hospital in collaboration with the Menstrual Information Institute among 42,000 women has shown that 94% of the women indicate that they want to rest on their first day(s).
What we don’t know is that the menstrual cycle is actually an incredible blueprint of life that manifests itself in a woman’s menstrual cycle.
I didn’t know either. I had three weeks of “nothing” and a week of menstruation. Imagine there is an elephant in your living room, but you can’t see it. So something like that… The emotional, mental and spiritual changes during the menstrual cycle are there, but you don’t see them, you don’t experience them. We think there is nothing, except, well… a lot of trouble.
It reminds me of the story told in the movie What the Bleep Do We Know . When Columbus arrived in the Caribbean islands with his boats, the Indians could not see the boats. Their brains had no knowledge or experience that these ships existed. It wasn’t until the shaman could process this information and see the ships that he was able to point them out to the Native Americans so they could see them too.
Your menstrual cycle as a source of power
Four years ago I came across the work of Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer, the founders of Red School in England and authors of the book Claim your cycle, your menstrual cycle as a source of power , around age 46 . I had terrible monthly bleeding, the first signs that my menopausal journey had begun and my body was unable to cope with the hormonal fluctuations.
For 20 years I have been full in my personal and spiritual development. I even gave workshops in body awareness and to my shame I had no idea that behind those three weeks of “nothing” and the week of menstruation hides a mega world, full of pomp and circumstance, strength and vulnerability, the holy grail, a monthly self-care system, a personal development system that you say to yourself.
And as a bonus, the week of menstruation turns out to be the time where, under the influence of the hormones that are all at their lowest during these days in the cycle, our light shines deepest within, we are most deeply connected and aware of our to experience true nature and deep unity with existence.
Alexandra and Sjanie opened this world to me, and it has been my mission ever since. We have to be reminded of it, and then look for and find it in our own bodies. Every woman with her own nuance.
Our society is not designed for us to know and use this knowledge in our lives.
But I think it is high time that we appropriate this knowledge and introduce it into our lives. Why? Respect maybe? Respect for our body that has its own rhythm, just like the seasons of the year. We don’t go out in bikinis in the winter, do we, or do we get the sled out of the basement in the summer? Our bodies also have seasons. Each with their own strengths and challenges. Knowledge of these seasons helps enormously to go more with the changing movements of your body and energy. I explain them here:
The four inner seasons
A good start is to divide your cycle into four parts. Just as the seasons of the year are outside, so we find them within us.
Below is a rough archetypal distribution based on an average cycle length of 28 days. A cycle of 24 to 35 days is natural. Depending on a woman’s age, constitution, physical and emotional condition, stress and diet, this can be different. A cycle starts with the day the bleeding really starts, that it continues. That is day 1 of the cycle.
Each week of the cycle also has its own superpowers and vulnerabilities:
Inner winter: day 27 to day 5
Inner Spring: Day 6 to Day 11
Spring superpowers: learning new things, positive
Spring vulnerability: shouting over
Inner Summer: Day 12 to Day 19
Inner Autumn: Day 20 to 26
Autumn superpowers: insights, rounding up, speaking the truth
Autumn vulnerability: quickly flammable
Now you can start exploring your superpowers and vulnerabilities yourself. I explain how you can do that below.
Map your cycle
There are several ways to map your cycle. You can make a diary and put a day on each page and return several months to the certain page on the specific day of your cycle. This way you can see at a glance how you feel on a certain day in your cycle.
You can also open an Excel sheet and use a new tab for each month. I’m not much of a writer myself, so I prefer to do this myself.
For example, what can you write down? As an example I will take what I will roughly put in my map tonight. I like to do it at night so I can look back on my day.
Body How was your overall mood today, specific physical characteristics?
Example: I slept badly last night. Some tension in my neck today. No point in doing anything.
Feelings Of course there are different feelings going through us in a day, but sometimes there is a general line.
Example: Grumpy, short fuse.
Thoughts : There are millions of them but I sometimes recognize a specific one that comes back. Like today:
Example: I’m in the mood for apple pie with whipped cream. You might guess what season I’m in today 😉.
Charting a day out of your inner summer might look like this:
Example: I had a great day, had a hard workout in the gym and flirted with the employees.
Example: Happy, self-confidence, sex drive.
Example: “Come on, I want you raw”
I think this is a good start to start claiming your cycle.