Back to Nature for Women,
by Barbara Hannelore
There is an aspect of getting “back to nature” that is uniquely valuable for women; getting back to the rhythms of nature. and building more of that rhythm into the way we approach our lives and care for ourselves.
Women have an internal rhythm that closely reflects the phases of the moon or the seasons...this can help us to pace ourselves, and to take that time to “refresh and renew” that we so desperately need in order to avoid burnout.
We’re not used to thinking of our menstrual cycle in this way - as being a helpful influence in our lives! We haven’t been told anything good about it - and yet it operates at the center of our bodies and our lives for decades! What a difference it would make for women to know a better way of living with our monthly rhythms!
What if we knew how to work WITH our cycle, all month long, instead of trying to distance ourselves from any of the changes that it might bring? When we try to ignore our own phases and changes from week to week, or when we resent them and see them as a weakness, we are literally fighting ourselves! How could that be empowering or healthy?
Even those of us who have done a lot of healing work are often not in touch with the possibilities for an entirely different way to relate to the rhythms of our own bodies!
What if there were a model for menstruation that was based on positive associations and images? Instead of being a joke, a burden, or an embarrassment, what if your monthly cycle could be a personal rhythm, a meaningful experience, or even a blessing?
This is what we can gain by looking to nature for inspiration and guidance.
Everything in nature has a pulse or a pattern of expansion and return. This is how all of nature works! This pulse is what causes movement to happen, as the flow of energy circulates, from the tiniest waves of light and sound, out to the largest galaxies in their rotation.
The moon and seasons are easy models for us to consider, because we are familiar with their predictable changes: the Full Moon that follows New Moon, the brighter days of Summer that wane to Winter again. We don’t think of one phase as being “better” than the other.
It’s easy to see how the phases of the moon or seasons balance each other, but this can be harder to appreciate for ourselves! We expect ourselves to be going at full speed all the time - we consider it a waste or a failure when we can’t keep up, and we often feel ourselves falling behind. This is an exhausting and discouraging way to live, and this is why reminding ourselves of the predictable patterns of nature can be so reassuring, and can offer us such guidance and insight.
I call it a “Nature-Based System of Self Care,” as we begin to see how all of the phases of our own month work together for our benefit, too.
We have our own time of growing “light” or energy, as we approach ovulation, which is like our own Full Moon or Summer. Ovulation is when we are most likely to feel radiant and bright; estrogen is at its peak now, and estrogen like to make us appealing! Our attention is focused outward, like the radiant Full Moon; we feel more social, energetic, and engaged with our community.
Then begins our “waning” time, our own seasons of Autumn and Winter, as we move toward completion and integration of the month. We, too, begin to draw inward again after our fullest phase, as we approach menstruation. The waning time of our month is when our attention turns back toward ourselves, toward our own feelings and needs. The waning light is the time of release and evaluation, of doing things we may have neglected, and of shaking off what no longer serves us.
Our premenstrual time is our own personal Autumn, and this is a time of month when we may need to slow our pace, become less social and available to others, care for ourselves, do things that fulfill us, or have some time alone to decompress and recharge.
Then the darkest days of all, our own personal Winter, are associated with our menstrual phase - a time of renewal, intuition, gestation and deep dreaming. It is a restorative time, for pausing to nourish ourselves on many levels, before we charge out into the next cycle of busy activity!
When we take this step back - when we DO these things - we can emerge into the next month feeling refreshed and deeply fulfilled instead of tired, resentful and unconnected.
We can easily catch up for the time we spent away from our regular routine. It is a real “Aha!” moment when women realize this simple concept: the fact that certain times of the month invite us to care for and replenish ourselves!
The final half of our month is the most challenging part of our cycle, because, like the moon, we change, but our culture does not welcome that change. Modern culture would prefer for us to remain busy, approachable and agreeable ALL the time, but self-care requires us to follow that inner wisdom that knows when we need to take a step back.
This is timeless women’s wisdom that has been passed through generations for thousands of years - only recently has this natural pace of life been lost and forgotten. When we reclaim it, we come home to ourselves in a deeper way; to be truly empowered is to feel comfortable with our own biology, our own unique abilities.
This acceptance of ourselves, or lack of it, affects our health over a lifetime! Imagine what a difference it will make in the lives of our daughters, as we share these new traditions of self-care, based on the rhythms of nature around and within us.
You can begin this practice by using personal calendar pages to approach your cycle in a new way, with curiosity and interest. As you start to track your weekly changes and anticipate your needs in the weeks to come, you’ll be treating your month as a whole, with downtime when you need it most, followed by renewed energy and new insights as your new cycle begins. You’ll find a whole new comfort and appreciation for yourself, a way to optimize your time and give yourself love and support, with benefits that you never thought possible!
“Understanding my cycle changed everything.”
“I only wish I had known this easy system sooner.”
“It’s in your very stature - you don’t even need to say a word.”
Download your free Personal Calendar Pages, with instructions,
Barbara Hanneloré is founder of Women's Way Moon Cycles, sharing a new paradigm of the menstrual cycle for women who want to develop radical new habits of self care and self love! She has supported women to re-discover the power of their inner rhythms for over 20 years. Barbara is author of the award-winning book, The Moon and You, a Woman's Guide to an Easier Monthly Cycle, and hosts her talks and courses both locally and online to a growing global community. She is a Wellness Coach with training in Expressive Arts, and has studied many healing modalities and sacred traditions throughout her life. Barbara lives in Southern California and can be reached at www.womenswaymooncycles.com.