Women’s Festivals 2011

Santa Barbara, March 4th and 5th, 2011

“How can we be empowered females when we don’t have power over the thing that makes us female?” This was my mantra this weekend at the Women’s Festivals in Santa Barbara.

I loved this conference. First off, how can you not love something that takes place in Santa Barbara? Could there be more perfect weather and natural landscape? The Santa Barbarians (as I heard them call themselves) reflect this exactly: warm and friendly people with a naturally organic sophistication who are easy to be around. We wanted to stay and we’ll be back for sure.

The event itself was bustling. Patty DeDominic and Mary Schnack are the visionaries behind it, heading up this thing for 4 years now, and from what I can see, work their butts off to make it happen.  Not only that, but they underwrite practically the entire event themselves. My “in” was through Patty—I had been introduced to her virtually by my buddy and SEO coach, Ed Taylor (Ed is also our Santa Clause in Ashland, Oregon, where I live). Patty and Ed are both in the big leagues of speakers and seminar promotion and go way back.

Patty reminds me of Martha Stewart, only warm. Not that I don’t like Martha Stewart—I do! I think Martha is, for lack of a better term, awesome. I even bought some of her stock when she was in jail at the chagrin of my investment guy who felt she and her stock were done. Not me. Just because she was temporarily halted doesn’t mean her super x-ray visionary brain died. I knew she’d be back. I may admire Martha for many things, but she’s not necessarily someone I’d want to know personally. She scares the hell out of me. Patty on the other hand, is passionate about supporting women and it shows. Her eyes twinkle when she’s on stage and when she talks to you. Her soul shows through. Oh! And did I mention that my Martha Stewart stock tripled at one point? Too bad I didn’t put more money into that!

The hall itself at the Earl Warren Showgrounds is less to be desired though. Everything was in one large room and the ambient noise made it so that no one could hear a damn thing. There were a lot of speakers there, but the focus tended to be on the exhibitor booths. Keynote speakers had very few people listening, even though all of them were very good. Let’s just say it’s much easier for a speaker to be in their zone when there are people listening. The screen available for power points and videos was flat-out inadequate. I don’t have any solutions for these issues, except to find a different location, which is something I know the committee is actively working on for next year. I was a Roundtable Discussion Leader amongst many others. We had to speak loudly at our table to hear each other, our collective voices raising the roof a little higher.

I can’t say enough good things about the organizers, the booths, the speakers, the attendees, and the location (city) of the event. I could go on and on about the great connections I made in detail. My experience was so positive in this regard that I’d like to participate again in the future.

But here’s the real reason I’m writing: I’m bored.

I’m bored to death with the idea of women entrepreneurs. I mean, I’ve been doing this shtick for a long time. We were talking about women being the fastest growing segment of business owners back in 1988, yet, I heard speakers talking about it this weekend as if it’s a revelation. Even then, as a president of Women Entrepreneurs of Oregon, I was asking the question of “why” we still needed a woman’s business club. We did still need a woman’s business networking arena, but I’m one of those people who feel that if we don’t know why, then it’s all for not.

It’s not enough for me to put more women in higher places if we’re not going to address the personal challenges that are different for women than men, helping them to improve their circumstances so that they can do business. This means talking about the things no one wants to talk about: taking back ownership of our female cycles and reproductive challenges, sexual abuse at home, relationship teamwork with our partners, and balancing work with caring for our children and aging parents, all while trying to make a living. Thank goodness that at least cute, comfortable shoes have finally been created.

I would like to acknowledge Gutsy Gals, who were out there videotaping women and their stories to inspire girls, which was inspiring to me.

So here I am, sitting at my, yes, round table with not a soul who wants to come to my table to talk about this ongoing womb and female soul challenge of ours. As we speak, we’re about to lose affordable family planning clinics in this country and from what I can tell, women, timid or powerful don’t want to talk about it. Sleeping Beauties, one and all, who just wish it all would go away while little boys in high political places (who have never as much had a period in their life) put our bodies up for vote as if we’re not in the room. Perhaps we’re not.

Luckily for me, sister Red Web Foundation member, Barbara Hannalore, showed up to the festival (just for me!), as did my “birthday twin” friend-from-Ashland, Anne Herrick, who had her Orenda booth at the festival. Thank goodness for friends. This lured others to come to our table and we ended up with a handful of women and a powerful discussion. One woman who wasn’t sure she wanted to be there at first, ended up saying she was very, very happy she stayed. I knew I like her from the beginning.

Ann Doyle, author and one of the first women sportscasters to walk into a men’s locker-room, gave an outstanding motivational keynote. In it, encouraging women to step past their comfort zones, perhaps even run for office, mentioned the Spanish term, “Te toca”, meaning, “It’s your turn”.

I hear you, Ann, and thanks for the inspiration. Celebrating Women’s History Month, as well as International Women’s Day (tomorrow, March 8th and my daughter’s Sweet 16 birthday!) I’m vowing to take a stronger leadership position. I’ve been talking about this womb business for a long time now, so I guess it’s “my turn” to help women and supportive men talk about it without fear. We’ve been bullied long enough.

Peace on Earth: The Symbolic Mary

Mary teaches us that even the everyday girl is a sacred vessel. There is no lesson for us and no point to her part in the story if we put her on a pedestal. Mary represents all women as Divine Mothers and Joseph represents all men as Sacred Protectors (not dominators).

In spite of  having many hardships and doors shut in their faces by the Inn Keepers (symbolic for those who defend war, excessive competition, bigotry, poverty, hunger, and homelessness), she delivers the Prince of Peace in a stable. The story shows us that anything is possible when we women accept the sacred wisdom that has been implanted in us, not as bearers of children but of unconditional love, asking us to step forward to deliver Peace on Earth.

The three Wisemen tell us that when we all follow the inner compass of our pure and clear hearts—our super nova or guiding star—we will find peace and unconditional love no matter how far-fetched the idea seems or no matter how far from it our minds are. The message I get from the story of the Nativity is that with the divinity and deliverance of women, the support and protection from men, and the courage of both, Peace will prevail.

Men That Honor the Sacred Feminine


Friday, November 05, 2010

Men That Honor the Sacred Feminine

It was many years before I finally attracted men in my life that truly understood what it meant to honor the Sacred Feminine. Oh I certainly knew men that loved me as a woman and enjoyed many aspects of my femininity, but that is different than deep respect for the spiritual essence of the Sacred Feminine. In my experience, in order for a man to truly respect the sacred within the feminine, he needs to, however he might define it, respect the Sacred Masculine within himself. He must see and know himself as a sacred being.

Honoring the Sacred Feminine is not something you can learn to do in order to be politically correct around women who are exploring this nature within themselves. Typically, a man treasures a woman’s decision to discover more about her sacredness, when he has, at some point in his life, committed to uncovering his own sacred nature. While there are tremendous intersections between Sacred Masculine and Sacred Feminine, and ultimately it is all One, there are distinctions between these two Divine energies. Becoming aware of the nature of these two energies helps us in understanding ourselves—our own inclinations and impulses.

Women enter the depth of their presence with the Sacred Feminine through their wombs—something that obviously, men don’t have. While men can still access the Sacred Feminine energetically within them, the direct physical doorway does not exist. When women explore the depths of the Sacred Feminine through their bodies, they relate to the sacred through the experience of being pregnant, giving birth, mothering, having miscarriages, their cyclic emotions, shedding blood for their people through their monthly cycles, and eventually experiencing a new power as their ability to have children ceases. These are aspects of a woman’s daily reality and spiritual opening that a man can only experience vicariously. Women’s bodies and cyclic emotions are doorways to spiritual awakening unique to women.

In the Sacred Feminine, women’s bodies and emotions carry them into the vast and dark unknown, where all of life is held lovingly in its potential. This is the sacred in which all possibilities of life are honored without judgment. Imagine this womb of all life’s potential as the vast and dark night sky—an endless, cool, and wondrous place in which life explores itself through repeated acts of new creation. This dark and beautiful aspect of the Sacred Feminine is best depicted today in the statues of the Black Madonna. The mystery of these statues found throughout Europe is not a mystery at all when a woman remembers, through her own body and emotions, that the Sacred Feminine is the birthplace of creation.

On the other hand, men who choose to encounter the Sacred Masculine through their bodies have very different experiences. The Sacred Masculine principle is that of light bursting through the darkness—life longing to become and know itself. This light is hot, fast, explosive and blissful in nature. I believe most men can relate to this principle energetically as it pulses through their bodies. To know how to be with this energy is as vital for a man as it is for a woman to know how to be with her cycles.

Can a man experience the depths of the Sacred Feminine, or can a woman discover the passion of the Sacred Masculine? Certainly. In fact, in spiritual practice, this is part of the journey. Ultimately, especially if we age consciously, we embody the full expression of both sacred natures seamlessly. We become the Oneness. We become present to the One by first fully experiencing both.

One reason women like me have looked for men that could honor the exploration of the Sacred Feminine is that this sacred nature has nearly been forgotten on our planet. For thousands of years, we have recognized and held the masculine sacred principle as holy, while minimizing the very nature of the Sacred Feminine. That is perhaps why statues of the Madonna were painted black—to gently remind us that there is another aspect of the Divine nature to be remembered—the forgotten one—the Sacred Feminine.

In order for humanity to once again fully accept both the masculine and the feminine principles as sacred, many women today recognize that we must know and remember this Divine essence within ourselves. Only then will we give birth to sons and daughters from our deepest sacred awareness. Because we are remembering, we look to other women to help us rediscover the ancient practices that teach us how to be fully present to this vastness of loving space we can access through our bodies and emotions.

Men that honor the Sacred Feminine seem to somehow sense or know the significance of this exploration that their women are drawn to experience. They become our great supporters and protectors, perhaps because they have had the courage to explore the power of their own sacred natures.

When the women come to my home to experience ceremony in the Sacred Feminine, my husband has helped me get ready by honoring my need for extra meditation time, assisting me in putting the house in order, and adjusting our meal time to accommodate ceremony. He likes to be there when the women arrive to warmly greet them at the door. Then he quietly slips away, giving us complete and private space. If there is any outside activity that might disturb our space, he handles it. And when ceremony is complete, we call him to join us to share food. He never asks about our experiences out of respect for our privacy, but will gladly receive blessings from the women if it is appropriate.

The women often comment on how wonderful he is when they arrive, and how blessed I am to have such respectful support. I smile, knowing that he is embodying the powerful and loving energy of the Sacred Masculine. To every man that embodies the sacredness within him, I give thanks. Because in your love, support and protection, we are truly free to remember our most sacred selves as women.

Note to Self

I had a dream last night that I was the speaker and facilitator at an event. I had gone in earlier to set up the music which I would activate just before launching into each segment of my talk or activity. I would begin talking at a specific time in the music.

What happened though, is that someone else came in and hit the "play" button before I was ready to begin.  It threw me off and I walked over, stopped the music, and had to mess with the system to reset it. It was awkward and it might have been better for everyone involved if I had just moved with it, but I knew that I’d be off-kilter, so I did it my way.

Really, it was my "fault" to begin with. I made sure I was "set-up" but failed to communicate my plan or wishes to others.

Most of the time, if I’m mindful, I can make things happen for myself by thinking things through and considering how others fit into the picture. No victims here. When things don’t go my way, it’s important that I back up to figure out what I could have done differently so that I am successful the next time.

Being mindful is what our monthly female rhythm helps us to do. If we understand how to read our own unique blueprint and use it as a guide, this "heads-up" will help us to make decisions that we won’t regret later. It helps us to know when we’re super clear, and when we’re a little fuzzier and need to take another moment to stop and think.

One of the main things I’ve learned so far in my life is that no one is going to make my life happen for me – I’m the only one who can do it. Staying on top of my health and keeping my brain sharp is crucial to having the energy and confidence to manifest my dreams.

Mindful living takes, well, mindfullness; attentiveness to ME so that I can make the proper decisions for my life and those who depend on me for leadership.

Banana Leaf Pads from Rwanda

– Elizabeth Scharpf , founder of Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), is partnering with networks of women in Rwanda to make and sell sanitary pads made from banana leaves. Eighteen percent of girls in Rwanda miss, on average, 35 days of school every year (and up to 50 days of school or work each year) due to their periods and ineffective pads and the embarrassment and ridicule that ensues. SHE, in effect, builds confidence, education, and income—and even creates jobs for women in the cheap pad-making franchises.

"Menstruation is one of those things that people don’t really want to have anything to do with," Scharpf tells Fast Company . Most of the population is "left hanging after donation supplies run out."
In all, Scharpf expects to reach a million women with the she28 program.  http://www.sheinnovates.com/ourventures.html

Read more: http://jezebel.com/5652457/banana+based-pad-maker-elizabeth-scharpf-wants-rwandan-women-educated-period#ixzz11RKCBJfG

Ovulation: a Moving Target

Ovulation only happens for an approximate 24 hour period, which means you can only, really, conceive during this short window of time, with the exception of something rare happening.

However, ovulation can be like a moving target, being very unpredictable as far as when it is going to happen exactly. And then there is the fact that sperm can live inside of you up to around 7 days before, waiting to be the one that gets to merge with your beautiful egg when she makes her showing. This increases the number of days you are contributing to the conception process. If you do not want a pregnancy at this time and are not on some sort of the Pill, then you need to learn as much as you can about this. If you end up ovulating on Day 11, let’s say, then you’d better start using birth control around Day 4!

In my upcoming book, Four Seasons in Four Weeks, I talk a great deal about the symbolism of ovulation. Some of the best articles on the biology of ovulation and the natural monthly hormonal rhythm of women are found online at fertility sites.

Here’s one that I found today when doing some research on ovulation that helps to explain why ovulation can be difficult to pinpoint.

Thank you to BabyHopes.com for this article.


How Soon After Ovulation Will Conception Occur?

Technically speaking, it is extremely unlikely for conception to occur any time other than during ovulation. Once ovulation is over, there is not generally egg for the sperm to fertilize. Having said that, it is important to understand exactly how the process of conception works, and how it relates to ovulation.

Conception occurs when a sperm meets up with an egg and fertilizes it in a woman’s fallopian tube. That fertilized egg then travels into the uterus, where it implants in the wall of the uterus several days later. The only time during a woman’s monthly cycle that there is an egg in her fallopian tube is, by definition, when she is ovulating. The egg can survive for only about one day when it is in the fallopian tube. For some women, it is possible that an egg could survive as many as three days after ovulation, and thus conception could occur. This is extremely rare. For conception to occur, the sperm has to meet the egg pretty much immediately when you ovulate.

Still, there are things that may make it seem like conception occurs after ovulation. For example, during a given month, it is possible that ovulation would occur later than it usually does. Any number of factors can cause this to happen, including illness, dietary changes, increase in physical activity, and even stress. Ovulation can sometimes occur as much as a week after it normally does.

In some extremely rare cases, it may be possible for it to seem as though you conceived while you are on your period. For example, if you have an extremely short menstrual cycle, it is possible that you could begin ovulating right as you are done menstruating. Another possibility is if you tend to bleed for a long period of time during your period. If this is the case, it could be that you are still bleeding long after you are actually done menstruating, and while you are actually ovulating.

If you are trying to conceive, there are certain times surrounding ovulation that you will want to try to conceive. Sperm can often survive as long as one week in a woman’s body. Thus, trying to conceive on the 10th, 12th, 14th, and 16th days of your monthly cycle are the optimum times for conception to occur. This assumes that you have a regular 28-day cycle, and it allows for later-than-normal ovulation.

Everything I Need to Know I Continue to Learn from Walking the Labyrinth

The whole scene is always quite marvelous.

I timed my arrival to my town’s annual New Year’s, 24-hour Labyrinth Walk just perfectly, completely by chance. The live music that was playing in that particular time slot happened to be two harpists creating a doorway onto the candlelit canvas maze which had been carefully laid down on the floor of a church sanctuary. Angelic.

The labyrinth takes up most of the floor space in one gigantic circle. Four alters are set up along the sides to recognize the four directions, north, south, east, and west, or the four sacred elements—earth, air, fire, and water, which together brings balance and harmony to our planet. Chairs and benches for meditation are scattered around the outer rim. Community members of all ages and philosophies/religions come and partake in silence and at their leisure. I got there when there was plenty of room to walk, but in no time I could feel the swell of the masses descending around me as I went deeper and deeper toward the middle. It’s all good.

What to do:

Everyone has their own way of walking a labyrinth. If you don’t have any idea what to do with it, just follow the lines as they wind you in and around until your reach the center (where you’ll pause, pray, acknowledge, whatever) before coming back out, a little like walking the Yellow Brick Road. That’s usually enough to provide a nice, meditative walk. For me, it’s a journey into my core being and then back out again; a way to access and take a look at my past year as well as visualize and set intentions for the upcoming year.

No matter how many times I’ve done it, I experience profound awakenings within me. Even though I personally acknowledged specific situations from this past year, I am always reminded that a reverent communal labyrinth walk is also an exercise in humanity.

I learned:

1.    To notice when and how many times someone irritates me because they are not “doing” the labyrinth the way I think it ought to be done.

2.    I’m getting faster at immediately changing my attitude on this

3.    To be careful with judgment, as I don’t know others’ stories

4.    My “way” is not the only “way”

5.    It’s good to try someone else’s method in order to experience something new

6.    If I let go of expectations, I allow myself to be open to new insights.

7.    That one step at a time leads me to my destination

8.    I can slow way down for more deliberate and careful action and still get there

9.    If I stop at the hairpin turns, I can see where I’ve come from and where I’m going.

10.    to stop and review what I have learned more often

11.    I can stay on track

12.    It’s OK step outside of the lines sometimes

13.    It’s OK to cut across and skip ahead on my own journey

14.    That children have unique and good ideas too

15.    To remember to be childlike at times.

16.    Some roads are short and some are long.

17.    Some things still make me cry when I think about them

18.    It’s important to acknowledge those feelings of loss and be gentle with myself

19.    It’s important to honor and recognize myself for the things I have done, and maybe even done well.

20.    To forgive and give grace to myself for things I’m not happy with about myself

21.    The path is shared by many and its a two-way street

22.    Cooperation between walkers is crucial for everyone’s personal peace.

23.    It’s important to move out of the way and let someone pass

24.    To allow others to move out of the way so that I can pass – accept the gift.

25.    That others are on their own journey and to give them space and respect

26.    Everyone is allowed the same opportunities.

27.    It doesn’t matter what anyone is wearing.

28.    It’s my journey and the choice is mine on how I walk it – no body else cares.
29.    If it is right, gently acknowledging others or giving a squeeze on the hand can be a powerful spirit lifter.

30.    That life is a labyrinth which we all share but experience differently. We enter, and until we exit, there will be short and long roads, twists and turns, familiar and unfamiliar faces.

After exiting the Labyrinth, I was drawn to sit and meditate. I deliberately sat near the gong and brass singing bowl where a guy was “playing” them. How fortunate I was, I thought, to be able to experience this. The various and powerful tones vibrated at a different level or place in my body, and I had the realization that they were actually balancing my chakras. I imagined each of my cells healing and recalibrating.

Note to self: seek this out more often.

What a way to begin 2010. Not only was I able to get my head on straight for the upcoming year by going deep within myself and out again, but received the added bonus of sound medicine — my kind of healthcare.

Coming together for individual and common purpose is what makes a community. While improving ourselves we contribute to the highest good of all. I’m fortunate to live in a town that values such things.

Libido and your cycle

copied from: http://www.menstruation.com.au/periodpages/libido.html

The female libido or sex drive changes throughout the menstrual cycle as do many other aspects of life. For example, consider energy levels and emotions. Libido often peaks at mid cycle and premenstrually or just before bleeding, and the experience of these separate peaks is different.

Many women experience pre-menstrual / menstrual sex as rawer, more urgent and more primal which is not surprising considering our heightened intuitive and emotional states at this time. If we have been feeling disgruntled or irritable with our lot and those around us, sexual expression naturally takes on this aggressive edge. Moods aside, in their natural state female humans have an “inordinately high drive and orgasmic capacity”(1) at this time.

Through history and even now, there are many taboos around sexual expression before, during and just after menstruation. Menstruation which was once thought of and used as a power source for women and their cultures was debased as the world evolved into masculine rule. When it became important for men to know who their offspring were, it became important for female sexuality to be limited and controlled. With these taboos firmly in place, it is often a brave woman who dares explore her sexual nature menstrually.

Biological these sexual peaks, like many behaviours in the human body are thought to reflect the action of hormones. Not surprisingly there is still much that is unknown about hormones and female libido so it is difficult to conclusively evaluate what chemical does what and when.

Two of the hormones linked to female desire are testosterone and estrogen. Testosterone is the sex hormone most often associated with men, aggressiveness, lust and masculinity. Women produce testosterone too, (in the ovaries and adrenal glands), albeit at much lower levels than men – women have about one tenth the volume of testosterone that men do.

Both estrogen and testosterone levels peak at mid cycle They seem to combine interactively affecting the brain in different ways. Whilst testosterone may work to boost libido and energy, ensuring that the nipples and clitoris are sensitive to sexual pleasure, (whilst also maintaining muscle mass and strengthening bones) estrogen’s “basic behavioural strategy is to hone the senses.”(2)

Estrogen “pinches us and says, Pay attention. A number of studies have suggested that a woman’s vision and sense of smell are heightened at ovulation. So too do the senses shine at other times of high estrogenicity, such as right before menstruation, when your progesterone levels have dropped way down and left estrogen to act unopposed…”(2)

Men and women are different – whilst a woman may experience lust and desire, we are less likely (on the whole) to act indiscriminately. We tend to weigh up the sexual situation (using all our senses including our sixth sense) to determine the risks and benefits of sexual coupling – Is the potential suitor a good catch? Is it a safe time? Are there predators about? Are the children awake?. To put it coarsely we are less likely than men ” to think with our sexual organs” and this could be due to the influence of estrogen.

All this contributes to the difficulty in categorising female libido. Our sexuality is no longer tied to our fertility and we don’t just have sex to get pregnant. We can become aroused and desire sex at any time during our cycle – not just when we are fertile. Alternatively because we can think and are sensitive to our culture and those around us, our libido is also affected by outside factors – at times negatively.

So to sum up, many factors affect the female libido – biology, thoughts, culture and emotions to name a few.


(1) The Nature and evolution of Female Sexuality by Mary Jane Sherfey

(2) Woman An intimate Geography by Natalie Angiers page 201

Hot Flashes: Young girls get them too

One particularly warm evening in June, I observed my 12-year-old daughter having, shall I say, a cranky moment?  No, it had been a cranky day – maybe two. Not that she wasn’t the cranky sort, or didn’t have it in her to be cranky, but her “spells” generally did not last long. She had always been a child with “bounce back” ability, meaning that if she got mad or upset at something or someone, it didn’t last very long. I always admired her greatly for this (actually marveled at this) as it was something I didn’t necessarily possess. It always took me longer to straighten out my attitude. Fortunately, she had always been a fairly upbeat and even-tempered person which is a joy indeed. She had also been raised to “talk it out”; in other words, if something was bothering her, she learned how to discuss it or process the situation.

On this afternoon and evening, however, there was no talking it out when asked. The not-so-subtle look of disdain shouted loud and clear, “Could you be any dumber, Mom? Leave me alone!”  Now, I don’t always claim to be the brightest light bulb in the socket, but I knew that not allowing a friend over when she had just come from a 6 hour birthday/swimming party and heading to a slumber party the next night wasn’t normally cause for such dismay.  After scanning my brain for any other transgressions I may have committed, I chalked it up to adolescence and the dreaded “roll-the-eyes-at-the-parents” teen phase. It started slowly the previous year or two, but had really gained momentum recently. “Oh boy”, I thought. “Here we go.”

I also had the distinct revelation: she’s going to start her period soon.

Now, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a 12-year-old girl is going to start her period at some point within the year or so. It’s inevitable of course. We had been preparing for this since 4th grade; she had done a couple of puberty classes and we did a Mother/Daughter weekend retreat. But it occurred to me that she is in major “summer” right now (summer is the week I equate PMS to in my Four Seasons in Four Weeks strategy).  She’s irritated; everyone else is stupid; it’s real to her, end of story. I wondered how long “summer” would last and when “fall” would begin.

That night as we tried to get to bed, she sat in the hallway, claiming the entire house was too hot and she wasn’t going to bed until I cooled down the joint. I explained we don’t sleep with the air conditioning on, but opened every window in the house and turned on the fan. I thought this all a bit overdramatic, as I’m the one with the whacky temperature gauge – the one that can’t handle heat anymore and can never get enough fresh air! And this evening I was fine. Yes, warm to the point that I would start out sleeping with a sheet only, but not miserable. She was burning up and mad about it. She was irritable and weepy.

The next morning, after letting her sleep-in for as long as she wanted, she allowed me to cuddle up, play, and talk with her a bit as she debated whether to get up or not. She seemed to be back to her normal self.  It was Saturday, and even though she had chores to do, I allowed her to watch a movie, letting the day unfold organically. However, the rolling eyes and bad attitude returned when she, after the movie was finished, wanted to keep watching TV rather than do her minimal chores and I was not keen on this idea. Never mind that we had a birthday present to buy and the slumber party to get to in the late afternoon.

After finally pulling it all together, we headed downtown to shop for the gift. Her cheery disposition returned and we had a good time. In the middle of the store, I found myself observing her – watching her pick out assorted bath items for her friend and noting her thoughtfulness in trying to find just the right thing. Several times she asked for my opinion.

On the way home, somehow our conversation turned to the previous evening and how hot and sweaty she got. She explained how it felt; that she just couldn’t handle it and just wanted to cry. The heat would hit her all of a sudden. Come to think of it, she (or we) had experienced many of these from her over the past few months.I somehow started telling her about hot flashes. Then it hit me. I think she is actually experiencing hot flashes! And why not?   We have them when we are leaving our menses, why not have them when we are starting?  These days we honor our girls after they start their moon cycle with a celebration of some sort perhaps, but I believe we are unaware of the “change” they are going through prior to the event. Of course, leading up to this we watch their bodies evolve. We all know so well the excitement and the humiliation that comes with this body altering. People can see it and there is no escaping it. The physical changes on boys are slow to show and not as noticeable, but a girl’s breasts betray her by “telling all” and is often the topic of conversation. Just as a woman has a 5-10 year phase of irregular periods, hot flashes, body restructuring and hormonal destructuring, culminating in no period at all, I contend a girl has a 5-10 year span or phase of body restructuring and hormonal building, hot flashes, and irritation, culminating in menses.  Both are going through “the change”  I’m now realizing the young girls deserve far more respect and patience during this phase than I had been giving in the past. Both are on opposite sides of the mountain. You can decide who is going up and who is going down.

After talking this over with a few friends, it was pointed out to me that men going through prostate challenges, as well as adolescent boys going through puberty also get hot flashes. Interesting.

Mother Nature’s Period:Fall is the time of releasing

Please read this phenomenal article by Reverend Cecilia Loving. It explains exactly what I am saying about the first week of the female cycle, which I relate to "Fall" or "Autumn" in Four Seasons in Four Weeks. You don’t need to be religious to understand the stories she relates. Thanks, Cecilia!