“Why are you so irrational, are you PMSing?"
“Urgh, what’s with you these days, are you about to get your period?!”
“I’m so emotional, why am I always like this during my cycle?”
Do you recognize yourself or someone you know in one of these phrases? Do you view your menstrual cycle as a pain in the *#*$!*?
If the answer is yes, it is no surprise, as the mainstream Western culture (along with many others) views the monthly bleeding almost as a disease to be controlled, manipulated, and medicated. Many of us have grown up to view our periods as something bad, shameful, and even disgusting.
The collective consciousness attitude towards women's monthly bleeding has been impacted by inadequate sex education, distorted media representation, and the menstrual product industries' advertising campaigns focused on making you buy their bleached, toxic products to hide the dirty little secret that you are bleeding. "No one will know," if you use this product, they promise, "even if you wear your white pants."
How many tampon commercials have you seen, where they brag about how small and discrete this particular brand is, encouraging us to think our period is something that should be hidden?
Thankfully, the discourse around period-talk is changing over time as women embrace our bodies as wise vessels for creative power, but there is still a long way to come.
In this article, I will share with you an embodied way to harness the changes our bodies go through during our monthly cycles. One that celebrates the power we have.
You probably know what menstruation is, physiologically speaking. But I want to shed light on the emotional and spiritual aspects involved in our cycles as well.
Taking some time to tune in during “that time of the month” can give you important and valuable insight on your current life.
Furthermore, I will explain how you can use Reiki as a self-healing practice to connect with your inner self more deeply and attune to your life path.
Maybe after reading this, you will look forward to your next chance to slow down, rest, and release.
What is Healing and Optimal Health?
Your Blood Knows —The Truth Behind Moodiness
You might be fine with working full-time, cooking, cleaning, and bringing kids to school most of the time, but then once a month it all goes to hell. You can’t take it anymore. And your partner complains that you are PMSing.
Or, you are in a super competitive university program. You overload your schedule with studying, wanting to keep up with the pressure. You ignore the little voice inside you that tells you that you are taking on too much.
But once a month, everything seems to go wrong. You cannot concentrate, maybe you have a harder time with your exams, or simply become aware of the extreme exhaustion you feel in your body. You then find some sort of comfort when you realize that you are about to get your period and that soon you will revert to your "normal self."
Or perhaps, the week before your moon, you seem to get into arguments with everyone who crosses your path!
Sound familiar? At different degrees, many women experience mood shifts during their cycles, including premenstrual symptoms.
Most clinical sources refer to the Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) as a combination of symptoms women get 1 or 2 weeks before their period. Symptoms can be physical like bloating and headaches, and emotional like “moodiness.”
Women are marginalized in the therapeutic model of health, and our bodies are often pathologized. This means that events like giving birth and menstruation are treated as abnormal, instead of as natural.
What many call “moodiness” may actually be a healthy process where we have an opportunity to assess what is working for us in our lives and what may need adjusting. During our period, we are more in tune with what we need and are less emotionally available to others.
Your body may be telling you to slow down and pointing out aspects of your daily life that might not be in alignment with your deeper truth.
Connecting to your inner world during your menstrual cycle can give you deep insight into your life path. It uncovers the hidden messages your body is sharing with you and allows you to flush out that which is no longer needed, along with your blood.
Unleash Your Sacred Wisdom
The womb is an extraordinary and mysterious life-giving place. Your womb is a majestic and powerful vessel of creative force and ancient wisdom.
Honoring this enhances our power and contributes to a society that holds our body and life as sacred.
Menstruation is a time that can be made into a monthly ceremony of shedding what is no longer working for us in our lives as we dive internally to connect with our divine source.
For example, the women of the Yurok nation, an indigenous tribe from the northwest coast of the USA, used their menstruation as a time for purification. They conducted a series of rituals each month, leading them to what they described as their most “heightened spiritual experience.” In some parts of Ghana, families pay homage to young girls beginning their menstrual cycles (menarche). They sit under beautiful ceremonial umbrellas and are given gifts.
Your body is strong and wise. Claim the power to be in touch with your moon time and the heightened sensitivity to knowing what is working for you and what isn’t.
Connecting within during your menstruation is a moment for you to decide to shed the BS along with the blood, no longer put up with toxic relationships you’ve been suffering through or roles you have grown out of. As we evolve to new levels of consciousness, it becomes necessary to reevaluate habits, pathways, and decisions.
For example, if every month before your period, you become exasperated with the same parts of your life (like the fact that you take on too much responsibility at home), this could be a powerful sign that this aspect of your life needs to be revisited.
Maybe you need to redistribute house chores more evenly across the family. Maybe you need some alone time to reflect, dream, journal, or take walks in nature!
Honor this healthy processing of emotions and let them reveal their deeper meanings.
How Can You Nurture This Sacred Wisdom?
Connecting with your menstruation cycle’s hidden treasure requires a slowing down, a quiet listening, and space for renewal and solitude.
Ideally, you could take a couple of days off work when you begin to bleed and give yourself this important Dreamtime to drop into what it is you really want in your life.
Obviously, this is not always a possible choice for our busy lives.
Start a monthly ritual of inner listening practices, like journaling and meditation, to attune to what you need and want. Take a few hours for yourself and do some of your favorite creative activities. Combine this with a pampering session (bath with flower petals) and give your menstrual cycle the sacred time it deserves! Give yourself Reiki during a restorative yoga session.
Lonewolf provides good examples of ways you can honor your moon time.
This moon blood can direct you to grow towards your own freedom and wildness and enable you to no longer tolerate a tamed self. Re-wild yourself.
An easy monthly ritual is to collect your menstrual blood with a menstrual cup or by soaking a cloth pad in water, and make this blood offering to the earth. One of my favorite recipes is to mix the blood with a small amount of pomegranate juice and this tea. Then drink the tea and blood with a nice hot bath. Drinking menstrual blood is nutritious and can mitigate some menstrual symptoms such as hormonal headaches, blood deficiency, and tiredness.
My Personal Philosophy: Reiki as a Feminist Healing Art
Using Reiki as a self-treatment during your cycle can enhance self-care practices. I personally feel called to spread Reiki because apart from its countless benefits, it also offers a diversion from a culture of consumerism.
Whether inside or outside the pharmaceutical industry, people spend billions on medicine, nutraceuticals, and vitamins. Reiki calls us to sit with the self and understand how to use our inner resources to heal.
Reiki is an art that demonstrates how the most subtle methods can often be the most radical. This is the power of Wu Wei or non-action. It is a meditative medicine that contrasts the busyness and chaos of our everyday lives with calmness, embodiment, and a slower pace.
In that way, it develops this trust of our inner wisdom and capacity to heal within ourselves. It empowers you to practice deep tuning in and to connect to your intuition. Reiki helps you listen to your body, and look for answers from within. Inner medicine healing is wonderful to pursue because it uses as a resource our own living energy, and explores how we use it to respond to all things. It is a non-action that leads us back to balance and awareness.
This is a radical concept against a backdrop of consumerism, cultural isolation, and body colonization. After witnessing and experiencing the number of ways women are dis-empowered from our innate wisdom, I am committed to nourishing the empowered feminine.
We need to de-pathologize the reality of the stress women are under. We also need to highlight that women's responses to misogyny are reasonable.
When the patriarchal rules of gender appropriateness dissolve, women are able to fully inhabit our bodies, our self-expression, our voices, our sacred dance, and our lives.
With a strong background in Feminist Theory and Feminist Therapy, I am particularly devoted to using healing forms of medicine and dance to empower women, heal our wounds, and reconnect to the wisdom source within us as our divinity. How do you feel about your menstruation cycle? Take a moment to think about it and share in the comments below!