I had charted my cycle in the 25 years of bleeding that I had under my belt. I had worn cloth pads and used a mooncup. I had watered my plants with my blood. What I had not done was follow the energetic dynamic of my cycle and used it as an opportunity to ‘practice’ forging a relationship to my-Self.
I came to learn that each month we are given the opportunity to practice being with the via positiva or masculine arc of our cycle. The ‘inner spring’ and ‘inner summer’ half of our month, which is punctuated by ovulation. Here we are forming and strengthening our sense of self in the world. This half of the cycle had long been the easiest for me to ‘be’ with and of course our culture also strongly values the qualities of ‘doing’, ‘getting on’, ‘growth’ and ‘achievement’. These visibly productive qualities are often associated with the masculine.
The second half of our cycle is the via negativa or feminine arc of our cycle, our ‘inner autumn’ and ‘inner winter’. This is where we learn to ‘be’ with the undoing of our inner confidence – the fall- so that we can build psychological strength. Here our culture shy’s away or visibly shames the qualities of ‘being’, ‘resting’, ‘liminality’, ‘dreaming’ and ‘allowing’. These fertile and nourishing qualities are often associated with the feminine. It is here that we meet our ‘inner critic’ and our shadow material begins to emerge.
I had spent my life desperately trying to extend my spring and summer energies into my autumn and winter. Expanding my productive ‘doing’ and ‘organizing’ self right across my monthly cycle, allowing little or no time for ‘being’, ‘resting’ or ‘allowing’. Subliminally I had tried to live up to the tampon advertisments ideal and in-fact ‘do’ more during my autumn / winter. ‘Beat Mother Nature’ never allowing myself to ‘Be with Mother Nature’ and at all costs remain at an even keel and certainly to not express that I am anything other than ‘coping’, ‘getting on’ and above all ‘busy’. Why is it that we greet each other in this way ‘how you keeping? busy?’ I had been so ‘busy’ that I was now 40 years old and felt that I had missed the whole point of what my cycle had been patiently waiting to teach me each month. What’s more I was also now a mother and frankly didn’t have a clue what ‘busy’ really meant up until this point. Now my life was full at every waking moment meeting the needs of my young sons, my work commitments, my husband and last of all myself.
I took it upon myself to practice ‘being’ with my bleed. Which meant deepening into my inner Autumn and Winter.