Blood and crocuses
So much of beauty and meaning is in the eye of the beholder.
One spring day, when I was studying horticulture, we were outside with one of my favourite teachers and he pointed down to the far end of the street:
“Do you see that big block of yellow blooms?” he asked. “It’s a bed of crocuses. Sunshine yellow crocuses. Aren’t they beautiful?”
We all looked, nodded, agreed. That bold patch of colour was, in fact, visually stunning, bright and cheerful. Beautiful.
“What if I told you that in fact, those are dandylions?”.
Dandylions! That lowly, pest of a plant we are taught to despise and seek to eliminate. He had opened our eyes to the beauty of a lawn full of dandelions.
Well, a few days ago, I was struck by how bright and vibrant my blood was. Had it been ink or wine, it would have been admired as a thing of beauty. It hit me: for 32 years, I’ve been seeing my menstrual blood and thinking: Gross. Ick. Messy. Disgusting. For 32 years now I’ve been carrying this disgust, this vague shame, every month, in my body.
Like so many women, I’ve inherited a lot of myths and shame around menstruation. It was a sort of weakness to hide. An uncomfortable, painful inconvenience. It was preferable to pretend it wasn’t there. Wasn’t important, except as it related to avoiding or seeking pregnancy.
It’s only in the past year that I’ve reached a better understanding and appreciation for my menstrual cycle and recognized it as a positive expression of my cyclical feminine nature. I learned about it from reading Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Dr. Christiane Northrup. It was empowering.
Do you know our cycle has four phases: menstrual, follicular, ovulatory and ludeal? They affect us physically and emotionally. In fact, our hormonal ratios change our brain chemistry, so we are in constant change over the 4 weeks of our cycle! Our bodies, brains, hormones, emotions and intuition are all connected.
What would happen if we saw our menstrual cycle as beautiful? Saw it as deeply meaningful? A door opening into a better understand of our deep nature, rather than a curse? What if we honored this part of ourselves, really knowing and trusting our feminine bodies?
Because how we think and feel about our cycle actually has an impact on how we experience it (cramps, ‘PMS’, bloating, etc.), getting to know this essential part of our femininity (even if you have gone through menopause, I might add) can help us lead healthier, happier lives,
Loving our feminine body means loving every part of ourselves, including our blood, our cycle – it’s a sacred part of our lives as women and how life comes into this world! Because body love goes deeper than loving the externals.
If you want to learn more, check out Alisa Vitti’s TED talk: Loving Your Lady Parts as a Path To Success, Power & Global Change, in which she talks about becoming fluent in the language of our biochemistry and our physiology, so we can access our energy, creativity, clarity and purpose and live in optimal flow.