As I reach the peak of my inner summer, my heart is fully blossomed. I feel as if I’ve reached the summit of an uphill climb: my energy is no longer surging upwards but is now contained in an inner presence. It’s from this place of open-hearted Love for the world that I write to you.
True Love – the Love worthy of a capital L – is unconditional. It’s neither offered under any particular circumstances, nor is it taken way under any circumstances; because there isn’t anything to be offered or taken away — true Love just is.
This is a Love that we can cultivate for ourselves. Your body and all of the many layers that make up ‘you’ in this form are already endowed with this Love. This means that you do not have to try to attain, gain, act, attract, or otherwise reach and strive for the presence of this Love within. You have only to notice it, and by noticing it and being in it often, you will ultimately exude and become it. It is a high spiritual practice to notice everything that arises and falls within you and to meet absolutely everything with this Love. That means even our depressions and our anxieties are met with this Love; even those instances in which we said something or did something that we feel ashamed about, are met with this Love. It’s an all-inclusive thing.
The menstrual cycle is ripe with so much creative and positively charged energy; it’s also charged with erratic, sometimes chaotic energy; and otherwise very ineffable, ethereal energy. Our experiences throughout these shifting energies, when met with Love, hold the potential to transform, nourish and ripen us on all levels – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Through Love, we start to truly see the many different shades of our being, and the sanctity inherent in each of them. Like different angles on a single diamond, all are but one face of the whole. Like the thousand petals of a single lotus, we unfurl one petal at a time under the sweet sunshine of Love.
But when we regard the shifting energies of our menstrual cycle with disgust, shame, annoyance, fear, or when we attempt to disregard it altogether (which is a quick way to experience some very ‘loud’ symptoms), we not only miss out on a very intimate relationship with ourselves, we also open ourselves up to the possibility of dis-ease and physiological ailments.
Such is the importance of looking at your menstrual cycle through the lens of Love: the all encompassing, all-inclusive, fully open kind of Love frees us.
Filtering our awareness of the menstrual cycle through this lens of acceptance doesn’t mean that the practice will always be comfortable & blissful. It just means that no matter what passes through that lens – whatever arises within you – is met with an open heart. It’s time to stop running away from yourself and ignoring your inner calls. It’s time to embrace the myriad forms that you take and the many aspects of who you are. There are aspects to our being that we are taught are not socially acceptable, and so we tuck them away into the deep recesses of our mind, where they fester.
This lens of Love, however, dares to look into those dark corners, to regard those shadowy aspects of ourselves with the same respect and honour we would regard the more socially acceptable parts (more on these inner shadows next week). As we know, things and creatures that are nourished with Love grow to be healthy and open to joy.
My body called to me for many years through intense menstrual cramps. I was being called to pay attention and trust myself when I could intuitively feel that I was in need of retreat in the second half of the cycle. When I didn’t answer that call, and instead proceeded to start new projects or pick up an extra class at the studio, the cramps could become debilitating and my mood explosive. After years of numbing with painkillers, I finally just decided to answer the call to retreat, whenever and however possible during my bleed. I now try to schedule my work around my cycle, rather than attempting (and often failing) to force my cycle to comply with my relentless work schedule. This was a simple shift in perception — to one that honours my inner rhythm — that has created space for so much magic to arise in my life.
My instincts and intuition called to me – loudly – through high anxiety and mild depression in my pre-menstrual phase, inner autumn.
My need for self-Love called to me loudly through people-pleasing and approval seeking in my fertile phase, inner summer. This people-pleasing in my inner summer led to feelings of exasperation & resentment in autumn (a pattern I only began to see last cycle).
Each of these shadow aspects I notice in myself can be perceived through the lens of Love, to explore, to be with and to know. The most beautiful part of it, though, is that when we look at these aspects of ourselves through this lens, it’s as if a little light reaches them and they lighten.
Like any spiritual practice – like any relationship – this is a practice. Perfection is never the goal, because there isn’t any goal to be achieved. It’s a mindfulness practice. There is no way to do it wrong; you’re simply becoming more mindful. With that mindfulness, we naturally develop the capacity to act in ways that are in harmony with what we are being mindful of (i.e., the menstrual cycle). It’s not about relentless self-improvement following our mind’s expectations. When we develop a Loving mindfulness about our menstrual cycle, we naturally develop the necessary trust and courage to act with it, because we know it is going to move us either way. And this leads us to self-realization.
As you move with the beat of your own rhythm & notice how your intimacy with yourself deepens, the womb becomes your greatest teacher. As you allow the waxing & waning energies of the little moon inside to create deeper and deeper grooves into the soul of the world, you naturally hold ‘broader designs’ of Love in your heart. Don’t we ultimately desire to live in peace and harmony? Living in peace and harmony with ourselves and our bodies is like opening the door to joy and connection with all of life. That inner peace and harmony are then extended outward and the world becomes a better place due to our very existence.
So those days when you feel so full of energy and confidence, welcome the abundant creativity that you discover within. Savour it because you know that it is temporary. Our vitality ebbs & flows. As any artist knows, self-expression and productivity are not bottomless wellsprings to draw from. Every living being requires time to rest & to be in the void of nothingness. The earth knows this very well and she is re-teaching us the importance of this cyclical wisdom.
Those days when you feel empty of shits to give and you’re wondering where your energy flowed off too, savour that, too because you know that it is temporary.
Love everything and watch what happens.
All my Love,