A guide to (re)learning cyclical living through your menstrual cycle

A guide to cyclical living through menstrual cycle awareness
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Through patriarchal shaming of women, a drive for results and productivity we have forgotten how to listen to our bodies. We have lost our cyclical nature as menstruating people. This guide will provoke a new type of living in line with your fluctuating energy throughout your menstrual cycle.

A woman’s body is an intricate system of shifting of moods and energy. We are cyclical beings and have the potential to grow life within us. It’s pretty incredible when you think about it. 

There is a space within us which plants seeds, holds and births life and is also our forgotten super power. A power center with the ability to release and transform so much in our lives.

But we have forgotten about this space as women. Thanks to the tyranny of patriarchal religion, which demonized all things woman and painted us as the original sinners. This has been used as a way to shame us and as a tool of control. For generations periods have been considered sinful, unclean and something to hide. 

A lack of education

Most of us are incredibly disconnected from our wombs. We haven’t been taught about them and the transformational power that is at the tips of our fingers. Many women I have spoken to share the same story of not really being taught about it at school. Heck, in my school our teacher didn’t teach us about putting a condom on because he was too embarrassed.

Relearning about our cyclical nature

There is a huge shift that happens when we learn to listen to our innate cycles. When we connect to our body and listen to the subtle messages that she gives us. It’s like an aha moment when everything clicks into place. We come back into a deep inner knowing within ourselves. (I totally had to throw a Deep Inner Knowing reference in there. This was the space where I started my journey into women’s work understanding of our menstrual cycles.)

When we heal our relationship with our cycles we are creating space to learn about our own inner guidance system. Understanding our intuition and fluctuating energy throughout the month gives us a view point of life from a different lens. Healing your relationship with your cycle allows this knowledge to be passed on to our future daughters and sons of what it means to be a woman with a menstrual cycle. 

Stop the stigma around same and start the conversation

Now I know to alot of people this can be quite a daunting and taboo subject. Many of us have been taught that our menstrual cycle and bleeding is a dirty, shameful thing. 

I can only imagine what it must be like to have your cycle cause you so much pain every month.

I invite you to do your own research into the power of the menstrual cycle with an open heart. There may be elements that could help you reframe how you think of your own cycle. Check the bottom of the post for some resources. You may find your own nuggets of gold within them. 

Menstrual cycles, the moon and magic

Have you ever heard of your menstrual cycle being referred to as the moon cycle? Well there’s a good reason for this. Just as the moon’s light changes in the sky, she sends messages to our hypothalamus and pituitary glands within the brain. This triggers hormonal release within the body and encourages our bodies to move through the cycle of menstruation. 

The moon has a cycle, the earth has her seasonal cycles and we too as women have our own cycle too.

The moon is the original time keeper and when we remember our connection to her and the earth we remember our connection to our own inner ecosystem. 

We are one and the same. 

The sacred retreat 

It is important to remember that in ancient times women would often separate themselves during their moon time. Red Tents would be set up for women who were bleeding to be able to come together. (In my ebook ‘A woman’s guide to cyclical livingyou can read more about romanticizing of red tents and both the bad history of them and the repatterning of them into an empowering space for women)

Let go of the unpredictability and regain control

It can feel like you’re being thrashed around by an unpredictable storm. With waves of emotions and energy ebbing and flowing as a woman. 

When you understand the different phases of your cycle, you will have a deeper understanding for your shifts in moods. This is due to an awareness of your fluctuating energies throughout the month. You will learn to recognise your cyclical changes depending on what phase of the cycle you’re in. You will understand your trigger points, what best serves your fluctuating energy and feel more in control of your life. 

It won’t feel like an unpredictable storm. It will be a (semi) predictable cycle where you get to learn about yourself and how you move through life. 

This knowledge is wisdom. 

Tracking your cycle paired with menstrual journaling allows you to look back on previous cycles. This helps you to identify recurring themes, emotional reactions and trigger points. We’re certain things, experiences or situations that put you into a state of overwhelm? Where did you have the most energy for being sociable? When did you need some downtime?

Doing this will increase your level of emotional literacy which is pivotal to nurturing your wellbeing. Not only that but it allows you to put boundaries in place for things that aren’t working well for you. You can thank your pre menstrual, autumnal phase for this.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next blog which is all about:

THE DIFFERENT SEASONS OF OUR CYCLES.

Make sure to share this blog with your friends, sisters and mothers. 

Resources

**Please note Affilliate Links are used within this blog. I only recommend products I use personally. No Spam here!

The Feminine Mysteries illustrations

Making art doesn’t just have to be about the final product, it can be a deeply meaningful and reflective journey that allows us to learn more about ourselves. Below I share how my inspiration sparked me to make body positive art.

The backstory behind the feminine mysteries illustrations. 

Today I went through my old art work and came across a draft piece I designed for a potential illustration job. It was for womens fitness community where they wanted body positive art with accompanying affirmations and uplifting quotes. 

One of my intentions this year (2021) was to learn how to paint and draw faces, portraits and the body. In particular the female body. I didn’t really understand why I wanted to draw portraits and bodies at the time but as we are over half way through the year now it is landing deeper for me. 

Body image and how we view ourselves is such a huge thing to accept for a lot of women (and i’m sure men too but I’m just talking from my experince as a woman). Body positivity can be challenging when many women objectify themselves, and as women we get objectified too. Our beautiful bodies used to lure people in to buy products. Women’s bodies are sexualised in order to sell. 

I mean it works right, but not for the right things. 

My relationship with my body and my relationship with my appearance has become more of a noticeable issue since becoming a mum. I never really knew how much some women’s body change post birth. Some spring back and some, well, absolutely don’t. 

I had never seen a diverse range of postpartum bodies so it’s been quite a journey coming to a space of body acceptance, hence me making body positive art.

Adventures at uni and not caring for my body

When I was younger I was tiny, I was a skinny winny and never thought about my size other than I was often told I was tiny. I was a size 8 at university, I partied and didn’t look after my body (or emotional wellbeing) very well and looking back at photographs JEEEEEEZE I was tiny. Almost to an unhealthy size, which I was blissfully unaware of at the time.

Seeing photos of how tiny I really was is a little confronting and it really shows how my partying impacted not just my emotional health, but my physical health too. Late nights working till 5-6am in the morning then partying on into the next day was a regular occurrence for me whilst at university. I guess it didn’t help that I was doing event’s management so actually being at events till that time in the morning I was building relationships and connecting with all sorts of people within the industry. The links I got through those connections for working at festivals were pretty incredible. But honestly, I had no understanding of my health, wellbeing and how to look after and love my body.

The effect of a nourishing relationship

Enter into my life my wonderful northern man and father to our little wildling. It’s funny how getting into a loving, connected relationship affects your safety (in a good way) and so all the date nights we had pushed my skinny winny ass to a size 10-12. 

Though it wasn’t massive in hindsight, it felt like it at the time. It  was the first time my body weight weighed heavy on me. Pun absolutely intended. 

My weight slowly increased and yet I would still buy clothes that fit my old skinny body, then would be really upset that I looked awful. I had no experience of how to dress a more curvy body and it took me a while before I found pieces of clothing that would fit my now larger body. 

Welcome the post partum body

Now moving forward to my pregnancy I started putting on even more weight. Thanks to a healthy dose of pregnancy hormones and a total lack of self control, pizza and chocolate were my loves. I’m kind of not surprised though as Jazzybean was a whopping 9.8lbs. Apparently 14lb babies run in my mans side of the family, which they didn’t tell me until after he was born.

Seeing my body postpartum was a really interesting process. I felt this immense power for what I’d just been through. Not only growing a human baby child with eye balls and everything, but also going through quite a traumatic birth ending in an emergency c section and 6 day hospital stay. 

In my recovery I go up close and personal with the silvery stretch marks that adorned my belly, boobs and thighs. I explored the new feeling of soft, wrinkly, stretched skin on my belly. The mum belly. The one that’s been stretched so much there’s no way back. 

Looking at my body I didn’t hate it, quite the opposite. I was in awe of it. The stretch marks reflected to me just how much I expanded to be able to hold and move through the extreme birth experience we had. 

A change in perspective

The great thing about becoming a mum is that you don’t really have time or energy to worry about what your body looks like because your so absorbed in new born baby life and adjusting to your new role and identity. Plonk a traumatic birth on top of that and you REALLY don’t have the energy to worry about stretched skin and silvery expansion marks. 

Fast forward 2 years into motherhood and my body has levelled into a weight its comfortable at. I have been more intentional about nourishing myself with good food, lots of fluids and a healthy concoction of apoptogenic herbs and supplements. 

My relationship with my body is of appreciation and I now feel more of a woman than I ever have with curvy hips and bigger boobs. I feel like one of the Willendorf figures, a mother goddess of fertility.

The feminine mysteries series was my exploration into accepting my new body as a mother and all that it has been through.  This is how I used my creativity to make body positive art and to support my relationship with my ever changing, squishy body.

Starting a Creative Business- The journey part one

I thought it was about time I shared the story of how I started my creative business. From moving through anxiety to where I am today. Starting a business is no easy feat and I believe in sharing our stories as small business owners and creatives. It gives you a window into our world, which lets face it, we all love a peep into.

It started with a panic attack, though I didn’t know what was happening to me at the time other than I thought I was dying.

The first thing I felt was a sudden drop in energy and a tingling sensation all down my body. In a split second it felt like I was going to collapse. I was sweating, dizzy and suddenly scared for my life.

Then the panic started.

I had never experienced panic attacks or anxiety so I didn’t know what was happening to me. I was a confident bubbly woman with a pretty straight forward, comfortable life. Why would this be happening to me?

That day I left work after breaking down with my team leader because I genuinely thought I was having a heart attack. As soon as I left the building the panic stopped. My dad was waiting in the car and drove me to the doctors. I got there just to be told that it was “probably a panic attack”. I was given no real information on how that could have happened and why It came on so suddenly. 

The Trigger

The trigger for the panic was a culmination of things. From working in environment that didn’t nourish my soul to having a bit of a traumatic experience at the dentist. The previous week I’d had a failed root canal. The dentist tried his hardest to finish the job, he even brought another dentist in but it wasn’t happening. They put a temporary filling in and sent me on my way till the following week to see how to proceed. 

The pain from the failed root canal had me in such a weary state all weekend. By the time It came to the next appointment I just wanted the tooth out, to be done with the pain. We all know how bad tooth ache can be, well failed root canals when they have been wrestling around in your mouth are intense.

After the tooth was out the effect of having that much intense pain stayed with me in the form of anxiety and panic attacks. It was almost as if I had left my young care free self and adulthood had kicked in. Being quite a sensitive soul and a big thinker panic and anxiety are not a good combination. I got a few more panic attacks and to this day I still occasionally feel that tingling sensation like I’m about to collapse. I made sure to equip myself with self care practices and tools to be able to manage the anxiety and panic when it flared up. It includes of a whole load of lovely self talk and telling myself everything is okay.

The thing I did notice though was that the anxiety seemed to flare up every time I went into work. The tingling sensations would come back and I would feel like I was going to faint. I would have to take myself to the bathroom to calm down.

It’s time to leave

After being off work a couple of times for illness I ended up being laid off for “lack of attendance”. Although I was gutted at the time, my “stats” were great and I was hitting my targets. I knew there was something about that work environment that was killing my soul. 

I had stopped wearing colourful patterned clothes to conform with the people at work. I was in the rat race of 9-5 working and although the pay was the best I’d had it clearly was not working for my nervous system. The stats and targets, the amount of people in one office and the never ending phone calls (of course, it was a call centre) we’re all indications that this was NOT the job for me.


Break down to break through

I was a creative bubbly woman in a call centre office amongst a sea of grey. It was vanilla, repetitive, stats and target driven and had no soul.

I felt extremely out of place.

At university I had studied Creative Arts & Events Management and had been around visual artists, photographers, musicians and decor crews. Those were the spaces that inspired me and sparked a love of interactive experiences. Id spent the last four years galivanting around and working at festivals as decor crew, stage management and other jobs. Being submersed in the events industry meeting a whole array of colourful people with incredible skills and creative talent. Of course call centre work was a shock to my system.

After university I had been on a soul searching mission trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Though working the festivals was great, my partying needed to settle down and I wanted to look after my health and wellbeing. What I needed to figure out was what work did I really want to do and what would I have a lot of energy for. I had never really had a plan of sorts, I just cruised around from festival to music events, partying, exploring and submerging myself in creative settings. 

I knew that I wanted to live life on my own terms, to create something for myself that nurtured my creativity and thirst for learning. (see how far I’ve nurtured my creativity here). It had to be something where I could connect with others, learn all things business but also allow me to express myself.

It had to be something flexible that would allow me to have bursts of productivity but also allow me time to rest and play. I live life connected to honouring my cyclical nature as a woman and that means working cyclically in my business too. Making meaning, having deep connections and owning our humanness in life is are my biggest values. It was important for me create that for myself and the people I worked with.

I knew it was possible, I was seeing people all over the internet traveling around the world so I knew I could do something similar. What I needed to find was my niche.

How could I create that for myself?

It started with a cleaning job something I could do whilst listening to all the podcasts about mindset work and business. It was something I could do straight away with the connections I already had. Start off small and go from there.

I split my time, half cleaning, half working online and eating up everything I could about social media management and how to run a business. Learning about other creatives and virtual assistants with what products and services they were offering and also, how they were marketing themselves. This involved a whole heap of learning strategies as well as planning and organisation tools to start to cultivate a healthy work balance. To be able to build goals for myself and see my progress.

I suddenly had drive and commitment to cultivating a work life balance that was on my terms. After my adventures at arts based events I knew that my business in the end needed to be a creative one, there was no way that creativity wasn’t going to be a part of it. I needed to learn all the small biz tips and creative practices I could to create a business that brought me joy and play.

Little did I know that what I was creating for myself would fit flexibly around becoming a mother (more on that to come).

Thank you for reading about the start of my journey into running a creative business you wonderful human. In part two I will share my business journey post motherhood as it all ramped up from there. Think of this as the first year of learning before diving right into running a creative business online as an artist and virtual assistant.

Keep your eyes peeled for part two!

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