in my head, all my posts start in english, possibly because it's my first mother tongue. even though i grew up in germany - when it comes to writing, the linguistic part of my brain is instantly wired to the "english department". when i started blogging i opted for german because i wanted to reach the people in the country i live in. as much as i'd like to offer a german and english version of each post, it's not something i have time for. so, from now, i will switch languages once in a while. in order to have a menstrual cycle, you must be off hormonal contraception. condoms, nfp, diaphragma or a combination of both if you are not into condoms (assuming you're in a steady relationship), are safe methods to prevent pregnancy and much preferred among those who don't want to give up their menstrual cycle.
18 years ago, i started ritualizing my menstruation and living in tune with my menstrual cycle. a change so profound, its wave still ripples today.
one of the things i do when i menstruate is withdraw from society. when i’m on my moon, self-isolation is not something i choose because i (always and/or necessarily) feel the need to be by myself during this time. it is also not something i choose because i am in discomfort or pain. luckily, i was rarely plagued by cramps. most importantly, this choice is certainly not out of disgust or shame for my period. it’s something i do because it brings me back to my core, my roots, my power center, my inner knowing.
before and during menstruation, we are very susceptible and more in touch with our emotions, often the ones we most struggle with. this can sometimes feel raw and throw you off balance. still, there is much value in these feelings. if <<unpleasant>> emotions keep occurring around a certain topic, let’s say a relationship in your life, your work, some other issue – if it’s a pattern (not necessarily a one time thing), then you can be sure, something’s off.
so, instead of questioning or condemning these emotions or judging yourself, be grateful. you are being lead on to something! something you were unaware of, might not want to acknowledge or wish were different. many menstruators struggle particularly during the premenstrual phase and often experience a sense of relief once menstruation starts.
the ability to be by myself and stick it out when fear, regret, sadness, loneliness, anger, despair and doubt arise, has benefited me in several different ways. this practice has made me stronger & more resilient, softer & more receptive.
keeping pregnancies & period-free times after birth out of the equation, it’s been a total of 13 years that i’ve been actively engaged in this practice.
not living in a culture where it’s common for women to know much or live in tune with their cycles, let alone have a get-together place during their menstruation is something i have missed over the years. with this practice, i often felt lonely and a bit of a <<misfit>>. luckily, i have a friend who does the same and we have spent hours talking about this topic. although i usually choose to withdraw, there were occasions where i enjoyed some quiet, reflective and nourishing time with a female friend during my moontime. still, it’s more the exception than the rule since i appreciate the benefits from self-isolating.
in times where we are constantly on the go and with endless possibilities to distract ourselves, it is a healing and restorative measure that not only allows me to get in touch with myself on a much deeper level, but also brings me a boost of energy for the rest of the cycle.
the effects that a few days of rest and social withdrawal have on the rest of the cycle are undeniable: you feel an increase in energy in the following phases, which you can use to get a lot of stuff done – without going into the red. meaning, you can do all these things and won’t burn out because you retreat once a month when your body needs it most, allowing it to restore its energy. some cyclical beings already feel a strong need to withdraw prior to their bleeding.
if you haven’t given it a try, it’s hard to describe how deep & meaningful this time can be, how restored you feel afterwards. how, not only your body feels different during moontime (tired, heavy and grounded), but also, how you experience a shift in consciousness before and during menstruation, feeling much more permeable, deeply connected to your instincts & somewhat floaty.
besides following a certain diet while i menstruate – mainly vegan, so no dairy, eggs or meat, no or little coffee, no alcohol- some of the things i do include: socializing as little as i can, cancelling appointments or meetings if possible, not doing any housework for a certain amount of days (4 days), not cooking but prepping easy meals or letting my kids do the cooking, asking the father of my children to take over, only doing the minimum amount of answering emails, otherwise avoiding my phone and computer (unless i write for my blog, which is my creative outlet), getting off social media (5 days), not watching the news, netflix or movies, avoiding strenuous sports (in my case, thai boxing) as well as certain yoga poses that are detrimental during menstruation.
depending on your interests, it’s a good time to rest, relax, meditate, reflect, journal, do something creative (knit, sew, paint, write a song, you name it), read an empowering book, get in touch with your feelings, let go of old baggage, make room for new ideas and allow yourself to grow and expand.
if i am among other people, i imagine being in a cocoon, where i’m still present, yet somewhat removed and shielded. not always, but often people will pick up on the fact that i’m not in a small-talk or socializing mood. when the father of my children is unavailable and i take them outdoors, for example, i make sure to bring a blanket and lie on the ground. connecting to the earth feels especially satisfying and grounding when i’m on my moontime.
this practice isn’t about always <<getting it right>>. it’s about giving it a chance in the first place, allowing the cyclical nature of your body to take over. pay attention to your cyclical needs and reclaim the power that comes with this choice. over time, this practice will help you become more intuitive and assertive.
i understand it’s not <<practical>> – living in a cyclical body at this time in this culture is often a challenge, no doubt! but i’m convinced, not giving your body what it needs, ignoring or even surpressing its (cyclical) nature, will negatively affect you and leave its traces.
if you’re hesitant, but curious about taking some time out during your menstruation, start with small steps – really small steps. make the smallest change possible, just one. maybe it’s not drinking alcohol, not going to the gym, asking your partner to do the cooking, leaving work a little earlier or cancelling a social event or (not urgent) doctor’s appointment you had planned during this time.
i bet, if you stick to this for a few months, you will want to start taking more and more steps. there is so much to be gained from this – but, don’t take my word for it, see for yourself.
if you start this practice, it helps to write down your emotions, thoughts, changes in your perspective, new experiences or obstacles you might encounter. being disciplined about your practice always pays off. still, it’s all about staying soft and fluid, not rigid and headstrong (speaking from experience here). this is about connecting to your essence and getting out of your head and into your womb space!
once you’ve decided to establish a menstruation ritual of your own, make sure you apply the renewed energy for the remaining cycle consciously. don’t burn it all up right after you’re finished menstruating, use it gradually. feel your energy increase. you may also feel the change in the quality of your energy physically, such as a tingling in your solar plexus or sex organs or by having a very clear and focused mind.
the energy that follows after menstruation is all about playing with ideas, asserting yourself in the world, taking up challenges, getting stuff done and connecting with people. see how living in tune with your cycle and taking a break during menstruation serve you. after all these years, i still very much enjoy this art of living!
feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions or want to share your experiences: firstname.lastname@example.org