One of the greatest gifts of your menstrual cycle is being in touch with the cycles of life and death.
Each menstruation is a release, each ovulation an opportunity for creativity.
As you go through life many challenges will come your way.
There'll be failure and loss, accidents, injuries, heart-breaking shakes and shocks.
There might be mis-carriages, un-intended pregnancies, intended pregnancies, birth, post-partum, breast-feeding and abortions.
There's the grief of lost stories, rites, teachings and ways of being in your body - the grief of longing.
These are set to a back-drop of pandemic times, patriarchy, racism, climate change and the grief of the next generations future.
Somedays I’m amazed the world holds together at all - each of us navigating our personal challenges.
Encoded in your cycle is the constant ebb and flow of nature.
A time for everything.
You can learn to move with these shifts.
To make space for your own process, for creativity and for culling.
For commitment and letting go.
For joy and for grief.
Moving with the cycles of your body, helps you visit your woundings, your losses, your challenges and learn from them and heal through them.
Each cycle you can witness them healing and shifting as you show up to honor and to release them.
Remember how your cycle flows:
Menstruation is both the beginning and end of your cycle.
The loss of blood marks the release of the cycle before.
It’s an opportunity to let go anything you’ve been carrying that no longer serves.
This is where you shed your old skin.
The time after menstruation and before ovulation, is pre-ovulation.
Now your energy gathers, your inner-tide begins to rise again.
There is potential and possibility for you.
You set your sights on the future.
Ovulation offers you a highly creative energy flow.
This is your high-tide, your overflow, your brimming.
You commit to your wildest dreams and share your over-flowing cup.
Life is joyful.
As your inner-tide retreats you enter the pre-menstrum, drawing you back in.
You commune more deeply with yourself and spirit.
You reflect on and refine your process.
Emotions well up and you see what still needs tending and want is ready to compost.
Processing grief - a ritual.
Sometime during your pre-menstrum or early menstrual phase, you’ll feel it.
The depths of all your worries and sadness rise.
Their cloak lands on your shoulders like exhaustion, or anger or frustration.
Don’t shrug it off.
Find time in your week to be alone, in safe space.
In the bath, in the woods, in a garden, by a stream.
Once you’ve found a safe place you can be for thirty minutes.
Sit down with all your grief and sadness.
Allow it all to well up to the surface, the petty arguments, the little frustrations, the deep losses, the worry, the pure heart breaks.
Cry and wail and keen.
Give it all up, let it all go.
At the end of the thirty minutes, come back to yourself.
Let your breath steady, let yourself settle.
Thank your body for taking the time, thank the space around you.
Feel your shoulders lighten, letting the grief soak into the ground.
Now eat something, a favorite snack, a comforting cup of tea.
Take a deep breath and step forward a little lighter.
Do this practice once every cycle.
Create a container to process your grief and let it move through you.
Having allocated and boundaried time ensures you have space to process your grief and helps you feel not so trapped in it.
“Right now I need to show up for work / family / life - tomorrow afternoon I have time to process these feelings in a safe container.”
Each cycle you’ll notice your grief shifts.
Having a regular practice allows you to grieve the layers and unravel them as you are ready.
Processing your grief won't directly change the big stuff - the climate, the pandemic, the patriarchy, processing grief changes your capacity to cope under the circumstances.
So you can keep working for the changes you need to see in the world.
Remember - you don’t have to carry your grief alone.
Having a grief ritual and making time to process your emotions can be a helpful self-care strategy.
Sometimes though we need a little extra support.
Seek Therapy or Counseling from a trusted provider - remember a trusting relationship is essential to effective therapy - find someone who resonates with you.
Online support - Talkspace
Maine Crisis Line is a free-call 1-888-568-1112 and available 24/7.
They are committed to serving non-English speakers as well as the deaf community.
New Hope For Women - provides support to people suffering from domestic or dating violence and stalking.
Free Call Domestic Violence support - Mid coast Maine. 1-800-522-3304
Free Call National Domestic Violence Line 1-800-799-7233
I wish to acknowledge that Wirradjuri Elder Min Mia taught me the value of my tears and much more besides. If you can find a copy, her book ‘Under The Quandong Tree’ is life changing.
If you’re in Australia you can borrow a copy through the National Library. https://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/4236203
Gabrielle is a clinical herbalist and fertility educator in mid-coast Maine.
She provides holistic menstrual cycle care to help you reconnect with your body.