Not a luxury

Recently, I was told to enjoy the „luxury“ when taking my menstrual break. While I don’t believe this came from an ill-intended place, the comment stirred me up a little. So, I decided to dig deeper.

I’m aware that doing less during my bleed is a privilege and not an option for many menstruating people around the globe. Many of whom merely live to survive.

Now, there is a difference between privilege and luxury. Luxury is something we gain on-top. Something we can afford to do or have, but not necessarily need. The icing on the cake.

Taking a menstrual break is a key measure I implement to recharge my energy so I don’t burn out. As it’s paramount to my well-being, I don’t consider it a luxury .

Slowing down my pace during my bleed and allowing my body to rest is vital for my emotional and physical health. Living in tune with my cycle makes me strong and not only benefits me, but also my community.

Just like our bodies require sleep, food and touch, a menstrual break is not a luxury but a need. While not everyone may feel this way about their bleed, I’m convinced the majority does.

From many conversations I’ve shared with women (cis), one thing really sticks out: it’s the guilt. The guilt many feel at the thought of carving some time out for themselves prior to or during menstruation.

Even when they feel the need to. Even when they know not doing so is detrimental to their health. The guilt of not being „productive“ or being less available to their friends and family weighs heavy on their shoulders.

I’m familiar with this kind of guilt and the shame it entails. It runs deep in our bodies and is the product of a misogynist system that is constantly on the go. A system that exploits people and the earth we live on. A system deemed to fail.

We all know this. And we all fear the consequences of this way of life. And still, when it comes to initiating even the slightest change, we freeze.

We fear possible social repercussions of swimming against the stream, the judgement, the ridicule, the ignorance. We shy away from the discomfort of standing up for our bodies and holding our ground.

I have been honoring my menstruation for many, many years and know how real all this is. So I have compassion when women share their worries and concerns about attempting this change.

It’s possible and we can make it happen. I know from experience that by communicating our premenstrual or menstrual needs, we can create awareness and understanding.

While our circumstances may not permit to fully withdraw during this time – very likely – we will be able to find a compromise.

In a society where the menstrual cycle is largely invisible and menstruation still a taboo, implementing this into our life takes courage.

You are your body’s advocate. If you don’t give yourself permission to honor your menstrual needs and make them a priority, no one else will.

Menstruating or not, a regular breathing space to recharge is vital for anyone. How we treat our bodies matters. Let’s not exploit the gift that allows us to experience the wonders of life.

Hence we should stop labelling menstrual break a luxury or finding excuses as to why it’s impossible. Let’s start finding ways to make it happen!

If you’re in the privileged position to provide a break for your body when it bleeds, please: do not feel guilty about it. You are worthy of this. I’m convinced your choice will have an impact. For the better.

dear mainstream society, go fuck your toxic narrative around productivity. yours truly, body.

we are more than our minds. we are matter.
our bodies enable us to experience life and i believe it’s our responsibility to pay attention and tend to their needs. our bodies are gifts we must honor.

we live in a culture that is always on the go and doesn’t value leisure. keeping busy and being productive is such a toxic mantra that it requires us to swim against this mainstream current, if we want our bodies to stay healthy. this applies to everyone, not just people like me with a cyclical body. all bodies need rest in order to stay balanced.

one thing i love about my cycle is that it has taught me exactly when my body needs to rest and recharge its energy. but in order to integrate this knowledge into my life, i first had to learn to listen to my body. to become aware of my body. since i’m cyclical, this meant getting to know my four cycle phases.

body literacy wasn’t passed on to me or something i learned at school. in 2002, i was lucky to stumble across a book that changed the course of my life forever and led me on the journey of cyclical living. next year, it will be 30 years since i had my menarche (first menstruation). that’s three decades of being cyclical!

when we start paying attention to our bodies and give them what they need, we do so much more than simply benefit our physical health: we give them a voice and become their advocates and thereby also foster our mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing – which allows us to live life to the fullest.

shortly before i menstruate, my body gets less energetic and i feel the need to slow down. i usually try to finish projects and prepare for my menstrual phase, so that when it’s time for my uterus to shed its menstrual blood, i can relax into this natural phase of renewal.

if i were to submit to mainstream culture’s non-stop productivity beat and ignore my body’s monthly need to recharge and withdraw from the outside world – such as my relationships, events, obligations and social media – my body would suffer from lack of rest and regeneration.

this suffering would not only affect my physical, but also mental health. by following the beat of my cycle and allowing my body to take up space in my life, i’m not just doing myself a favor, but also the society i live in.

so, you’re welcome, mainstream society! you’re welcome that i prioritize my body’s innate wisdom over your toxic live-life-like-a-busy-bee-mantra. if i were to live my life according to that lie, i’d be overwhelmed, exhausted and probably struggling with health issues.

is that what you want? a powerless, drained and eventually sick woman? are those the attributes that make me a strong member of society?

dear mainstream society, i know… you don’t value my life style and i can almost see you rolling your eyes at the thought of me taking a few days off when i menstruate. how dare i be – what you consider – unproductive.

well, let me tell you something: you don’t get to define the terms of my productivity. we do: my body and i.

and by golly, we do this well!
in sync with my body and every month anew, i become the empress and alchemist of my cyclical energy, witnessing its transformation, when it ebbs, when it flows. when it’s a trickling stream whispering course corrections, or a clear and quiet pond revealing pearls of wisdom, or when it rises to an ocean, majestic and powerful, full of outward-directed intention.

ohhh, and when it rises, you better watch out! because that energy becomes a fucking tsunami! which, worry not, i have learned to harness and channel into… you wouldn’t have guessed… productivity.

or actually, do worry!
do worry that one day, millions of us – no matter what sex we are – will be honoring our bodies again. and in honoring our own bodies, we will begin to value and protect the biggest body of all: the earth we live on – our mother – who nourishes every single one of us. when that time comes, your toxic narrative that only causes greed and suffering will finally be: a thing of the past.

„come sit on my lap and tell me how jealous you are, baby!“

being <<my age>>, i was convinced jealousy was a thing of the past and certainly nothing i needed to worry about… oh boy, was i wrong! recently, when spending time with someone i like, i got hit by it so hard and unexpectedly, within a few seconds, my whole body was raging with fear and hatred.

i had forgotten what a primal and intense emotion jealousy is and how – not only it affects our thoughts – but is a sensation that takes over our entire nervous system.

at said moment, while trying hard to maintain a polite and fake smiley face, i felt like jumping the bitch, grabbing her by the throat and scratching her eyes out. pardon my misogynist and violent language but its crudeness mirrors exactly the feeling that was eating me alive on the inside.

instead of saying something, i bit my tongue, felt ashamed and missed an opportunity to reveal the truth of my heart.

unfortunately, being my age doesn’t mean a rat’s ass when it comes to experiencing jealousy. luckily, it does mean i won’t attack anyone.

of course there are situations where jealousy is justified, e.g. when your partner is betraying you. but if that isn’t the case and your jealousy is a product of your own fear and insecurity, it bears the risk of becoming a destructive element in a loving relationship and can wear your partner out.

so, when it comes to our partner, do we want them to feel like they can’t be trusted? do we want to make them feel constricted? no, we don’t. we want our partner to know that we trust them with all our heart and give them the freedom they need to thrive as a person.

what to do?
i don’t know about you, but next time ol‘ jealo sneaks up on me, i will own that sucker! which according to john wineland could sound something like this:

<< i’m so fucking jealous right now, i can’t stand it! the thought of somebody else touching you just makes me crazy… >>

now, if your partner is cool, they will understand that you’re not accusing them of anything, but that you are making yourself vulnerable by revealing them your <<gollum>>.

if jealousy is something you struggle with, check out john wineland’s thoughts below. i like that he introduces the concept of acceptance and element of playful eroticism 🙂

Source: John Wineland on YouTube

the gift of self-pleasure

ever since i was a teenager, masturbation became part of my "routine" and is something i do (almost) daily - whether i'm in a relationship or not. it always surprises me when people consider it cheating. unless you and your partner are not having sex, i don't understand why solo-sex is a problem. there is nothing wrong with experiencing pleasure in your body. and for all you singles out there with a yearning heart: there is also nothing wrong with craving embodied intimacy.

here is my take on self-pleasure: orgasms benefit your well-being! it’s a fact. no matter if you evoked your orgasm or someone else. and although masturbating when you’re single (or in a relationship with little or no sex) might sometimes feel a bit lonely, it still allows you to experience yourself as a sexual being.

touching yourself and letting your sensuality unfold, connects you with your body. it’s a beautiful way to practice self-love and i imagine it would be a healing measure for those who struggle with body issues. depending on your preference, you can let your fantasy take you wherever (with whoever) you want (without hurting anyone’s feelings) or you can imagine a certain quality of energy you would like to experience. i personally prefer no porn (and no or little toys) as i find the sensation to be much more intense & deeper.

i’m currently single without any interest in one-night stands. by self-pleasuring, i still get to enjoy the deliciousness of an orgasm, allowing the flow of sexual energy to flood my body. all the orgasms my body has experienced and the positive energy coming from that resonate in my body and are stored in my pleasure-treasure box!

next time i’m in a relationship, my partner will benefit from all the pleasure my body has already felt through masturbating. i’m offering him a juicy gift! once we get physically intimate – and even before – his presence will evoke pleasure from that lusty place. my body beaming with radiance and exuding sexual energy will also have a palpable, positive effect on him. plus, it’s also quite beautiful (=fucking hot) to self-pleasure with your partner.

oh yes, my body and soul yearn to be intimate with a man and being patient isn’t always easy. sometimes the desire can be excruciating, when all your heart and body ache for is embodied intimacy. nothing is ever black or white and so i also find there is a certain sweetness in this longing.

it’s teaching me to sit with my desire and everything that comes with it: feeling the pain of not connecting and being able to express myself in a certain way, of not sharing a loving, embodied experience. feeling this is a conscious choice because i don’t want to shut myself off from feeling this deep yearning.

instead of judging myself for feeling this way, i accept it as an invitation to shepherd myself – acknowledging my emotions and allowing them to be, keeps my heart soft and open. you can be simmering with (unmet) desire and still be strong.

i’m not afraid of my vulnerability because (meanwhile) i know how to look after myself and trust myself to make healthy choices. although that doesn’t necessarily mean i can always avoid a painful experience. instead of putting up a guard and hardening, i still prefer getting hurt over suffering from a cold and calcified heart.

no dating apps for me, i’m in no hurry. i have nothing against them and know that they work for a lot of people. but when i meet someone in person, i can feel them, sense their vibe and go from there. i have no interest to swipe through profiles and invest my time into writing to someone i haven’t met in person.

so, until i meet someone who i would like to become intimate with, self-pleasure is my gift to me. it allows me to keep the juices flowing and embody my sexual essence. everyone is different, libidos are different and some people don’t have the desire for sex at all. but if you do, enjoy playing with your own yumminess. one day, it will also make a great gift for someone else 🙂

cyclical living

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: