Many of us have been conditioned to believe that our periods are something to loathe. They are posed as an inconvenience, a burden, or something to hide and avoid. We grew up hiding our menstrual products up our sleeves as we slipped away to the bathroom. Some of our biggest fears lie in the risk of “bleeding through” our pants.
We’re expected to push through and carry on with our regularly scheduled days despite how we may be feeling.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Our periods are the physiological marker of a fertile body. A reminder of our ability to create life. They are something to be celebrated. Or at least looked at as a tool for transformation.
When we change how we view our periods, often much of the pain and discomfort we feel with it starts to dissipate. It becomes less about suppression, and more about embracing the gift of being in a human body.
The Gift of Alchemy
Women, by nature, are alchemists. We take seed and soil and create new life from it. We have the ability to grow and nourish new humans. To make medicine with what the Earth so generously gives to us. We turn sorrow into smiles with the energetic touch of the feminine. Our periods, are one of the many gifts we have to use for alchemy.
It’s pretty incredible, that our bodies have these built-in mechanisms for shedding and renewal. These are the basis for regeneration and the constant of change in nature. We must let go of things to make room for new opportunities to come in. That’s exactly what your period does. Between the changing of menstrual cups, cramps, and fatigue, lies the opportunity to dive into a sacred time for alchemy.
Many people experience PMS before their period, or irritability and sensitivity during it. While this can be an inconvenience when you find yourself crying in the middle of the grocery store while trying to decide which non dairy ice cream to buy, it’s also an incredibly useful tool.
Being hypersensitive, means that you are that much more in tune with your inner workings. This time of the month often forces us to come face to face with emotions that we have been working hard to avoid. While anyway you choose to cope is beautiful (we totally support curling up with said ice cream over a rom-com and crying it out), why not use this enhanced intuition to create magic in your life?
Create a Practice
One way to honor your cycle, is to create a ritual around it. Something that you can come back to again and again. Being able to revisit the same tools over time allows you to see just how much you’ve grown with them.
Having a journal practice is one way to allow the messages from your period to come through in a concrete way. Take the time to sit with your body, letting your hands rest over your womb and your heart. Ask your body “What have I been holding on to that I’m ready to release?”, “What do I want to alchemize in this next cycle of life?”, and “What steps can I take between now and my next period to do so?”.
Listen to the wisdom of your body, and let it flow from your pen onto paper. This practice supports action. Action to create change in your life.
Often, the intelligent messages that our bodies send us, are difficult to translate into words. One way of harnessing the power of your body’s communication is to create art. Art gives meaning to things we can’t identify with language. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artistic person, this practice is for you and you alone.
So give yourself the space for non-judgemental artistic expression. Whether it be doodling with a pencil, swirling watercolors, or letting wild with finger paints- making art is a way to transform the inner workings of your psyche into something tangible. It is incredibly therapeutic, and allows for huge breakthroughs.
Mantra is another powerful tool to use during menstruation. If you are experiencing painful or uncomfortable symptoms, try “The only way out is through”. For someone who is just getting to know their cycle, try “I trust in my body’s wisdom”. Use these, or come up with your own mantra. Look in the mirror and say it to yourself over and over, or any time where you need some support.
Honor Your Needs
One of the most important pieces of your period ritual, is to honor your body’s needs. Rinse, rest, and retreat. Rinse usually signifies a bath- try pouring epsom salts into your bath to relieve any aches and pains. As for rest, give yourself the rest you need. There is no need to push and shove, when your body is asking for stillness. Retreat. Just as with rest, if you need to take time for yourself, please do so.
Use these practices to deepen your connection with your body and it’s cycles. The more you understand your own fluctuations, the more you can use them to create change in your life. It’s important to note, that not everyone who identifies as a woman has a period, and not everyone who has a period identifies as a woman. These practices can be used by anyone as a marker for the seasons and shifts within us, and how to create transformation in our lives during these powerful times.
Natasha (she/they) is a full spectrum doula, reproductive health content creator, and sexual wellness consultant. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more pleasure, softness, and sensuality. You can connect with Natasha on IG @spectrumoflovedoula.