“The psyches and souls of women have their own cycles and seasons of doing and solitude, running and staying, being involved and being removed, questing and resting, creating and incubating, being of the world and returning to the soul-place…” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes
I was 20 when I stopped getting my period. The combination of years of birth control and an overstimulating and stressful life triggered my health crises. Not bleeding was one of the many symptoms I was living with. “What a relief” I initially thought. The idea of not having to deal with my monthly “curse” sounded great. As time progressed and my symptoms got worst however, I realized something was off. Way off. It was a terrifying time. I looked outside for the answers yet quickly found out that traditional doctors in fancy white coats did not have answers. They threw around various diagnosis to try to make sense of what was happening to me. Deep inside however, I knew that what was was happening to my body was not only physical but emotional and spiritual too. I knew I needed to heal from within yet had no idea where to begin.
And then I met her. A dear friend invited me to sit in ceremony. I journeyed deep into myself and met a beautiful elder woman. She had long white hair, wrinkly hands and fiercely gentle eyes. She was healthy and strong and deeply connected to her body. I soon realized that she was me….the elder, wise version of Karina Maria. She looked into my eyes and whispered, “enamórate de tu feminidad / “fall in love with your womanhood.”
This encounter catalyzed my journey of healing from chronic illness and an ancient (ancestral) disconnection from my feminine body and Her wild ways. One of the most valuable “gems” that have come out of this initiation is that I’ve learned to reclaim and live in accordance with my natural rhythms, embracing that I’m a cyclical creature. Today, my menstrual cycle has become the centerpiece of my self-care. I organize my life around it and honestly, I can’t imagine my life without my monthly inner dance of death-rebirth, rest and creativity. I find that even when life is full and I have a lot going on, becoming aware of where I’m at in my cycle is enough to to foster a deep sense of connection.
As women, we tend to cycle through four inner seasons every month (hormonally, emotionally and spiritually). Learning to tune into our cyclical nature and planning our life accordingly is a key way to living a life full of vitality, creativity and an overall sense of ease. Inspired by the work of badass trailblazers Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Frances Goodall, Alexandra Pope and Lisa Lister, I’ve separated the four weeks into our four inner seasons (approximately). Think of each week being a particular medicine chest with treasures to offer (the days I mention here are estimates as each woman’s cycle varies). Before you read on, know that technology is a great ally when it comes to tracking your cycle. Apps like iPeriod, Period Tracker and Ovia are all awesome.
Your Inner Winter
Begins 2 days before you bleed and goes through day 5-7
Is the time of the month to rest, carve out space to be in solitude and dream
Our bodies secrete oxytocin, the love/bonding hormone, creating a sense of being cuddled and loved (relax into it!)
Cleansing Time. Your blood is cleansing (physically, emotionally, psychologically). Your body’s perfect intelligence composts whatever you might have been carrying that isn’t yours or doesn’t longer serve. Stillness and introspection support this process.
The veil between worlds is the thinnest and your intuition is loud and clear. Journaling, solo walks in nature and creating art are all helpful practices to help you stay deeply connected to yourself.
Your inner Spring
Time of renewal and inspiration
Natural rise in energy, an uplifting quality
Slow, easygoing awakening
A time of youthfulness and hope
Possibility of new beginnings and a new way. A potent time to nurture your intentions
Like the maiden, you arise from her winter cave feeling refreshed and restored
Time to envision your dreams and delight in your body
Time to allow for something new to be conceived and created
Your inner Summer
Time of expansion and creativity
Rise of energy
Peak of your cycle (sexually and creatively)
Ovulation time ~ Full Moon ~ Fullness of being
Time to bring your visions to life
Tending to others. Most connected to other people, it’s easy to love others
Time to give voice to your truth and share your ideas with the world
Time play and delight in your sensual and sexual nature
Pleasure, pleasure, pleasure!
Your Inner Fall
Energy turns inwards
Often gets the bad PMS wrap but really is an incredibly rich time to tune into our inner compass and deepest truths (pure insight!). Carve out time to FEEL it all.
The healer woman/shaman within awakens. Instinctual powers arise
Great time to assert boundaries
Potent time to discern and get feedback around what is working and not working in your life
Reality check. Time to check in and adjust accordingly
Time to shed and listen
Time to go inwards and commune with your inner world
Journaling. Journal prompts that you can use include: What in me is dying? What behaviors no longer serve? What am I ready to let go of?
Energy decreases, so slowww down
Prepare to receive your moon-time (blood-time!)
I hope that you find this helpful and feel inspired to dive deep into connecting with the magic of your cycles. Can you imagine the moon resisting the inevitable waning that comes every month? I sure can’t :).
Two books that I adore and will support this exploration:
Christine Northup’s Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. A classic!!