Thank you to iPinion Syndicate for this great post:
Thank you to iPinion Syndicate for this great post:
April brings our Ashland Independent Film Festival to town which draws over 300 community members as volunteers to work the event. I’m on the annual staff. Here are my sister trouble-makers, Cynthia Salbato and Denise Ross. Then again with Natasha Sol. You’ll also see me handing the mic to Ty Burrell who was a featured guest.
My friend and colleague, Lea Bayles, invited me to be a part of a blog tour. How FUN! Her blog was posted last week, and now it’s my turn. Please see her blog here: http://www.leabayles.com/blog. Thanks, Lea! Beautiful.
Our assignment is to write about our writing life and process. This is a little tricky for me because even though I’m an author, I’ve never really considered myself a writer. My sister, Rose, and our cousin, Violet, were always the writers in the family.
It’s sort of hard to explain what I actually do—what my best gifts are or medicine for the world—which is the heart of the problem when it comes to writing. If I were truly a writer, I would have no problem explaining what I do! Writing is simply the vehicle in which I’m best able to deliver what I see in my head, but it is in no way fast, easy, or necessarily done well. I do, however, immensely enjoy the process of writing anyway. It relaxes and soothes my brain.
Ultimately I suppose, I’m a “messenger of conceptual systems”, which I will be the first to say sounds absurd. I will join you in the loud groan. The truth is though, is that’s the truth.
What it means is that every once in a while I’ll get a large vision that shows me the intricate details of a simple concept that is an easier and healthier version of a system our society currently acts out. It might show up in my head as a vast painting, a diagram or symbol, or an invention, and it will happen in seconds. I’m thinking it is similar to the way composers hear a melody or riff in their head, or how a person with Asperger’s might think in complicated mathematical equations.
What these images do for me is to put things into a much bigger context than what our human population tends to do. I’m thinking the right hemisphere of my brain gets triggered by something my left hemisphere is focused on and goes into super-expansion mode, telescoping out to encompass the entire world and dimensional layers, putting it into a whole different context.
As I’ve gotten older, the presentations in my mind have become stronger and seemingly much more important. In addition to having the system laid before me, I instantly understand specifically how it works, along with the personal and global importance of it. Once in a while there are details to it which seem counter-intuitive, but everything else is so clear that I’ve learned to just be patient and trust that eventually the reason for this anomaly will surface. And it always does.
Anyhow, this is a lot to write down or even put into words (especially when one isn’t a writer).
In the late 1990s, I received two such systems. One was a business system, and the other had to do with women’s power in the world and the societal taboo of the female hormonal cycle. I was shown the hidden secrets of the womb’s guiding sequence.
I first began to write about the business system because, after it came to me, I tried it out on my overly-stressed business. It was easy, fun, and it completely turned the business around! I discovered it worked for relationships as well. As I was writing that book, it was a male friend who would convince me to drop that temporarily to write about the women’s piece, because as a man, he finally understood the rhythmic sex drive of his wife, and the energy of his daughter.
At first it my writing was slow-going. The image in my head spread out in all directions because the female monthly rhythm affects every area of human existence. It ripples out from each woman’s core into society, politics, religion, living conditions, and the environment (so when a culture takes away the right for a woman to manage her own womb, the very thing that she is spiritually and communally responsible for it rips and destroys the fabric of the global community). It was hard to know where to begin writing about it, so I just began at random places. It was hard to have the images come through my fingers effectively. New information would start coming at me rapidly and I couldn’t keep up. The words felt like they were exiting my fingers like molasses.
I knew that to get the book done, I would need to get disciplined.
Once I decided on that, the rest fell into place. I felt I was woken at 3:30-4 every morning with a new batch of info to put into the book, or future books. So I sat up in bed, opened my laptop, and would proceed to document what I could. It would be 7 years before the book, 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks, was published. It’s not a masterpiece of writing—it’s actually a bit rough and raw, sometimes giving too much info and other places not giving enough—but it serves as a vessel for some pretty sacred stuff. My workshops and retreats have begun to polish the work up. It should be luminous by the time it goes to its second printing.
After the book was published, the writing didn’t stop there, nor was that ever the plan. I write every single day. I have a lifetime of offshoots for 4s4w to write (such as the Moon Maiden Manual), as well as the business series and an endless array of right brain telescoping. I’m still very slow, but I still love the process. Most of my mini-musings are posted on Facebook, not even my blog. That’s because I get the most interaction from others there. Interaction gives me energy and makes my writing feel alive. When my writing feels alive, I feel like a real, live writer.
Cheers to the writing process.
Next week on June 30th, please visit the following two women on the blog tour:
I am an Mexican Indian born in U.S. America. I come from farm workers who lived close to the land and I now feel a responsibility to be a leader that empowers women to accept their own powers and assist men in relinquishing it to return to balance. I have a very innate sense of justice and use love as a skill, tool, and practice to walk this transition we find ourselves in. We are all in this together!
Jessica Vineyard was born in the wrong century. She should have lived during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign in the latter half of the sixteenth century so she could wear those amazing clothes, travel by carriage, and receive hand-delivered secret messages by knights on horseback. But as a twenty-first century woman, she wears solids, drives a RAV4, and texts multiple times a day. She occasionally tries her hand at writing, but more often she can be found editing other authors’ musings. When she’s not writing or editing, she can be found stargazing, reading historical novels, or playing her guitar.
Today, in addition to honoring all of the military warriors who bravely fought and sacrificed their lives while serving their country throughout time, I would like to honor the mothers, throughout every culture and throughout time, who endured a tortuous labor and died during childbirth. We don’t have a holiday to honor these everyday female warriors who shed their own blood in the taken-for-granted sacrifice to create nurturing circles for all of us and to keep the population of the human race moving forward. Nor do we give out medals, benefits, or any special burial of honor equaling the 21-gun salute.. So here’s to The Fallen, whether by war or womb – our brothers and sisters and ancestors who faced the fire and fought hard.
I honor you.
You are not forgotten.
Woke up feeling SO inspired and humbled by the company I carry ~ if I do say so myself. I have amazing friends who are doing truly amazing things for the world. We don’t see one another nearly enough anymore.
Last night, I threw a completely last minute, impromptu birthday movie party for Julie Pierce ~ world traveler extraordinaire ~ because it was unbelievable that she and other chronic-world-traveler-mutual-friends and I could all actually be in the same room at the same time. The bonus was that her daughter, Ariel Skelton, would also be in town. The planets aligned.
I wanted them to see the movie, “Ethel“, the story of the extraordinary Ethyl Kennedy documented by youngest daughter, Rory. The moral of the film drives home the message to never stop seeing where the suffering is – to see the wrong and “right it”. This is the legacy of Bobby Kennedy and what Ethyl whole-heartedly supported and taught her children to embody during, but especially after his death.
We laughed and cried. We all remember 1968.
A whole lot. I looked around the room and marveled at who sat there. So special because they are everyday people with brilliant minds and unending open hearts. Most people I know are this way but don’t know how to tap into it all in order to take the action they’d like to. I stay pretty tapped in, but it seems to take me longer to accomplish anything. While I hang out in the vision phase for way too long, these friends just get busy and “do”. They take action and make things happen right here, right now.
Georgene Crowe and Gretchen Lee, with their project, Great Shape! Inc. have been delivering dental, eye, and literacy programs now for 20+ years to Jamaicans, a country that has 1 dentist per 100,000 people and literacy in the schools they work at is 30-40%; For over 16 years, new friends, Joyce and Richard Stanley have been teaching people in Africa, Haiti, Cambodia, and Central America on how to make biomass briquettes for fuel and then selling them to create both an energy supply and a living; And then there is birthday girl, Julie, who is involved in one humanitarian service after another. When she first came to Ashland (when I first met her), she immediately saw a need and created a “bread project”, which took at-risk teens and taught them how to bake bread and deliver it to those in need.
These friends aren’t world famous for doing any of it, except by the communities they help and the government agencies who recognize them for their contributions to the local human spirit, providing hope for better economies and living conditions. They don’t have an ulterior motive to convert or change anyone’s beliefs or culture, but rather to support that culture’s ability to thrive. They just want to help other humans have their basic needs met.
These friends do so much because they care so deeply that people not suffer. They are all worthy of peace prizes in my opinion.
As an author and by virtue of my own choices, it’s too easy to get caught up in the marketing world of building one’s list and fast-paced technological marketing because that is what we’re told has to happen to make anything happen. The problem is that author after author, including me, spends more time on that aspect than the message itself. It drains me but I do my best to navigate it all and stay enlivened. Last night, by hanging out in my small living room with this remarkable pool of examples, I was reminded to just “do” ~ to see the suffering and contribute my piece to righting the wrong. The rest will fall into place.
The wrongs in the world that I see and attempt to right ~ the global purpose of 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks (#4s4w) ~ are the frightening circumstances that women, globally, live with and the very real threats to their survival and happiness: poverty, domestic violence, sex trafficking, rape, and having to ask permission, to name a few, with the biggest wrong being the legal system that does not protect them and the societal acceptance of these wrongs. I feel clear that I hold a major missing piece to women’s empowerment and am working to help them remember and re-embody this rhythmic feminine power knowledge that is within them. Although marketing is a crucial piece to getting any message out, last night I was re-reminded by my friends and muses that the only way to make things happen is to, well, make them happen! The marketing will flow ~ not without effort, but without distraction and in the right direction. Feeling happy about this.
What is your piece to the peace puzzle? What wrongs do you see in the world that you could take action on?
In good nature and spirit,
Let’s Talk. Period.
A post from http://www.thedailystar.net/lifestyle/lets-talk-period-20824
In 2009, a UNICEF report showed that “in countries where menstrual hygiene is considered a taboo, girls going through puberty are typically absent for 20 per cent of the school year”*. Societies across the world still treat menstruation as an unmentionable topic. With so few people willing to broach this subject, most of the information being passed on is based on myths, superstitions and false beliefs. Girls are taught to stay a little afar, especially from religious practices or partaking in public/social events if one is menstruating.
Dealing with menstruation is challenging enough, especially for young girls who are still getting accustomed to the turbulence that is puberty. With limited to no space to talk about menstruation openly, these myths and half-truths are constantly perpetuated, which leads to many women feeling isolated and baffled by what’s happening to their bodies. Not to mention continuation of unhygienic practices leading to severe health problems perpetuated by these myths and half-truths among adolescent girls and women**.
At a social level, increasingly, girls are expected to compete with their male counterparts. Whether it’s in education, sports or their careers, women and girls are breaking down barriers and showing that whatever boys can do, they can do equally well, if not better. This is all being done with period cramps and other discomforts that are well hidden from the public eye.
Women and girls attend school, college and the workplace often without usable toilet facilities; not to mention the non-existent sanitation options for women while travelling long distances or in public transportations such as trains and launches.
With health and social issues directly and indirectly connected to issues of menstruation, we still do not talk about it, address it, and educate our daughters about it. If every girl gets it and every girl knows about it, why not talk about it?
Why is it important to talk about periods?
Looking at it from a medical perspective, there are hundreds of health conditions and diseases related to menstruation (the period) and menstrual cycle (the time from the beginning of one period to the next), so dealing with periods in a clean and smart manner is imperative.
It is very important for a woman to have regular periods, especially if she is trying to conceive. During each menstrual cycle, levels of the hormone oestrogen rise, resulting in an egg developing and being released by the ovary (ovulation). The womb lining thickens in preparation for a possible pregnancy.
The egg travels down the fallopian tube and if it meets a sperm and is fertilised, a pregnancy can occur. The egg lives for about 24 hours and if it isn’t fertilised, it will be absorbed into the body.
The lining of the womb will come away and leave the body through the vagina mixed with blood. This is a period.
So by now you should be able to understand that if there are no regular periods, there won’t be regular ovulation and no pregnancy.
If the period doesn’t start by 16 years of age, it’s called “delayed menarche” and needs medical attention. If the period starts and then stops it may be due to stress, extreme weight loss, medications or even conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
If the period starts on time, but is too heavy or happens too often, it may cause too much blood loss which can eventually lead to anaemia if supplements or adequate nutrition is not given.
Periods may be irregular in the beginning which is normal but it can also be caused by unsuspected pregnancy, PCOS or thyroid problems. Periods can often be painful (the pain can range from mild to severe), due to the uterine muscles contracting to remove the blood, but in few cases this may indicate an underlying disease such as endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory diseases, etc.
These are few examples of the diseases related to periods. Maintaining proper hygiene alone can get rid of many complications and infections.
What are the dangers associated with poor hygiene?
It is extremely important that the girls are taught about the importance of hygiene and the potential risks if hygiene is not maintained. The risk of infection is higher than normal during menstruation. A plug of mucus normally found at the mouth of the cervix is dislodged and the cervix opens to allow blood to pass out of the body.
This creates a passage for bacteria to travel back into the uterus and pelvic cavity. In addition, the pH of the vagina is less acidic at this time which can increase the chances of gaining yeast infections such as Thrush (Candidiasis). Some examples of poor hygienic practices include unclean sanitary pads which can cause infection; infrequent change of pads that can cause local skin irritation and rashes; and wiping from back to front, which can lead to bacteria from the bowel to move to the vagina.
Teaching our daughters, helping the future
Parents, guardians, older siblings, especially sisters play a crucial role in teaching girls about their bodies particularly on this important rite of passage. Girls who were taught about their bodies, menstruation cycles and how to hygienically manage their periods, are found to be more confident, able to participate in school and other social events.
Different girls become women at different ages and the first period can start anytime and anywhere, so it is good to start preparing yourself early on. Once she starts her period explain to her what is happening and slowly answer her why’s and how’s.
Most parents avoid talking about periods because of the uncomfortable topic of sex and reproduction, but these topics can be better handled in a culturally sensitive way if you start preparing yourself to have the “talk”.
Given cultural barriers, sometimes it is easier for an aunt or an older sister/cousin to talk to your daughter. Reaching out to close female confidants will show your daughter that she has a community, a support system. Teach her how to manage her first period, and whom she can go for help with how to use a pad, how often to change it and the importance of maintaining hygiene.
Show her how to dispose used pads. Help her to be prepared for leaks, unexpected irregular period dates and stomach cramps.
Take her shopping. Let her decide what kind of sanitary napkins she wants, and what form of undergarments she might be comfortable using. If she’s uncomfortable shopping with you, give her some space. Instead of giving her a list of dos and don’ts, take her out and celebrate the day. Boost her confidence with some compliments. Let her know that what she’s going through doesn’t have to be scary and that she always has someone to talk to.
If you think you still have questions of your own, remember, as a parent, there is nothing wrong in admitting that you don’t have answers to everything. Mothers please remember that realities of today’s girl children are far different from what you had experienced during your adolescence. If you are unsure about any topic related to menstruation (irregularity, cramps, sanitary napkins and feminine products, etc.), you can find important and culturally relevant information on the web at sites like Maya. If you are still unsure, make an appointment with a health professional to have a candid conversation that will be beneficial to both you and your child.
If mum isn’t around, your daughter should be comfortable asking you — the Dads — to get her a packet of sanitary napkin instead of wearing the same dirty one. Braving an uncomfortable moment now can help your daughter from avoiding major medical complications in the future. For her health and happiness, be as supportive as you can, be as open as you can. You will raise a more confident and self-assured woman if you acknowledge her new womanhood in a positive manner.
For more information on menstruation, please visit www.maya.com.bd. For medical advice, ask your question to our doctors on “Maya Apa Ki Bole”.
By Dr Kazi Mashfia Fardeen, Medical Specialist, maya.com.bd
Published: 12:02 am Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Last modified: 1:42 pm Tuesday, April 22, 2014
by Suzanne Mathis McQueen
Monday, November 18, 2013, I’ll be speaking at the Southern Oregon University Fem Fest at 4:45 pm. The title of my talk with be: The Missing Link: The Lost Language of the Female Way, based on the work I do with 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks and evolving, sacred feminism.
At 7 pm, Melissa McEwan will deliver the keynote. She is the author of this outstanding essay on Rape Culture. It’s difficult to find any better description anywhere and I encourage you to read this piece.
This day long, interactive event involving workshops, presentations and performances delivered by campus and community members, will celebrate and explore intersectional feminist practice, research, activism and creativity. The intention is to create a space where people of diverse identities, with a wide range of interests and passions will be able to explore how feminisms connect to their personal, academic or professional lives.
Stand in your core power, Ladies. Within our political and societal power structure the rape issue is getting worse, not better. Today, you must not only protect yourself, but you must protect what women deserve. SAFETY.
This means stepping forward with courage and speaking out.
What does this have to do with 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks (4s4w)?
The female, monthly, rhythmic cycle (which is what 4s4w is all about) is an internal guidance system that helps each woman navigate her strengths and weaknesses in order to make powerful decisions in the moment. It’s the best tool you have for being super present and sharp. Our cycles help us to assess whether we are bringing our authentic selves to our lives and the planet. When we truly get to know our own unique lunar rhythm, we are better able to wisely observe and absorb our surroundings, speak out with grace and surety, or step forward and roar – fiercely.
Right now, more than ever, it’s important to be attentive to this rape issue. Know thyself. When you truly value yourself and know that you deserve to live safely (doing your part to take precautions like any human should), you, in turn, will truly value other women and know that they too deserve to live without threat. The value of women in society is invaluable. Our society needs to learn this.
The stats show that 1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes and 1 in 4 will be victims of domestic violence. I’m not OK with this. Are you? We already shed enough blood naturally.
To learn more about tuning into the phenomenal wisdom of your female cycle blueprint, keep following 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks, buy the beautiful book, join a circle (more on this soon), or sign up for the eLetter here at www.4s4w.com.
In good nature and spirit,
My commentary is in response to this article: