Decoding the 28-Day Female Body Clock for Health, Business, & Love

Posts Tagged 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks

Ask Suz: Getting Your Hormones Checked

Bonsall CHART EP4aAfter every workshop or presentation I give, I get many women approaching me with intimate questions. I always have at least one woman begin to speak in a low voice (so no one else will hear) about her cycle experience and it is always something that fills my heart with compassion. So many stories out there. All similar, but all unique to each woman.

Yesterday as I headed toward a book reading at the Southern Oregon University book faire, I passed a woman walking slowly. I asked her if she was coming to my presentation. She replied with something like, “Yes, I have to do something. I’m having a real hard time with my hormones. I saw your talk on the schedule and knew I had to come.”

The book reading was only 20 minutes. She stayed in her seat while others left. She was teary. We chatted for quite a while. She said she feels like she is in Week 4, Summer, (The Firewalk) all the time. It’s keeping her from living a fulfilling life and beginning to affect her marriage, even though her husband is as supportive and sweet as he can be. She’s trying to find a job but worried she won’t feel well or keep it together. She’s scared and absolutely exhausted.

First of all, I let her know that indeed, this is not how the cycle is designed to make one feel. Something was up.

She told me she had just started her moon, so she is in Week 1, Fall. This is the resting phase in the 4s4w model. I explained in no uncertain terms that she needs to be sleeping or resting more than ever this week. In her case especially, not resting or practicing self-care is only going to perpetuate the problem.

Secondly, I asked her if she had had her hormones checked lately. She said “No, I can’t afford it.” I advised her to check with Planned Parenthood or other clinic (or our state programs or whatever) to see if this service was available to her (note to self: I should really get clear on what’s available myself for this purpose).

I explained to her that I’m not a hormone doctor. What I do is help women reclaim joy and meaning, creating optimal life experiences by tapping into the primal wisdom of the monthly cycle and aligning with it each week. 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks (4s4w) shows you how your hormones are relevant to your daily experience and the essence of each week can be easily understood, harnessed, and counted upon. It’s incredibly accurate for predicting how you’re going to feel and react.

But if you’re not feeling good most of the time and are weepy, exhausted, and angry, it’s time to go the doctor (preferably a specialist with both West and Eastern medicine training) and get your hormones checked. My guess is that something chemical is off there. I thought perhaps that she is estrogen dominant, which can cause a woman to feel as she describes. As she spoke, she began to sob, and said, “See? I can’t stop doing this!”

4s4w helps women to understand why they are feeling the way they do from week-to-week, how they can draw on the super powers of the phase, and what tools they can bring in each day for balance. It has also been helping women who are irregular to become regular. When you align your mind and daily experiences with what your hormones are doing, you’ll find your clarity, direction, and core power.

But if you are suffering day in and day out with no relief, get yourself to the health practitioner  you see for your female stuff for some tests and protocol advise. Once you get that straightened out, implementing the 4s4w practice will have you feeling on top of the world

On the Sight of Blood

British Moon Sister, Rachael Hertogs (aka Rachael Moon) author of Menarche, a Journey into Womanhood, mentions 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks in her latest blog. But more than that, she talks about ignoring the old taboo: the sight of blood…stains. http://www.moontimes.co.uk stained-pads-1024x649

Blog Tour – A Real Live Writer

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.

Suzanne

Next week on June 30th, please visit the following two women on the blog tour:

Teresa Cisneros

http://mujerinthisworld.blogspot.com/?m=1

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

http://www.redletterediting.com/broken/

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.
.

 

 

Challenges and Purpose – an excerpt

Week 1, Fall, by Mara Friedman

Week 1, Fall, by Mara Friedman

When it comes to “Periods”, Mother Nature doesn’t care if you’re black, white, purple or polka-dotted, Republican or Democrat, straight or gay, as long as you’re a human female and somewhere between the ages of 7 and 55-ish. Minus pregnancies, nursing, hysterectomies, or some unusual health challenge, women cycle day-in and day-out for about 40 years of their lives. Yet this basic function of what makes us female is an uncomfortable, if not taboo subject. Due to lack of information, embarrassment, or violence against them, women worldwide often suffer in silence from its sometimes chaotic effects, which influence their lives in every way, including parenting, friendships, and sexual relationships.

4 Seasons in 4 Weeks: Awakening the Power, Wisdom, and Beauty in Every Woman’s Nature, page 30

 

Seeing the Wrong and Righting It

Suzanne-031_Edit_CropWoke 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,

Suzanne

Let’s Talk. Period

Let’s Talk. Period.

A post from http://www.thedailystar.net/lifestyle/lets-talk-period-20824

blog unicef articleIn 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?

Let's talk. Period.

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”.

Sources:
*http://changeobserver.designobserver.com/media/pdf/unicef_girls.pdf
**http://www.realising-rights.org/docs/monograph_menstruation_BRAC.pdf
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

Mountain Lion Medicine

Last night a mountain lion suddenly walked right into the middle of a dream I was having. I don’t remember the rest of the dream, but the cougar and its powerful presence has stayed with me all day. So of course (if you know me), I looked up “mountain lion medicine”.

My inner-indigenous does her best to see and acknowledge the symbolic teachings presented in the form of messengers, coincidences, and turning points. It makes no difference to me whether they come to me from the Great Outer Dimension handing this guidance to me on a silver platter, or an ancient ancestor surfacing from my DNA, or whether it comes from my focused brain scanning the landscape while open to clues, connecting to the good and the potential and the manifestations as I walk my own Heroine’s Journey. Life requires the courage to be brave and bravery to be courageous.

My minutes and hours and days are mostly consumed by staying embodied in the meaningful messages of my work, yet there is a practical end to this gig. Sifting through the plethora of online marketing option bombardment over the years has felt like walking through quicksand (please don’t leave any marketing suggestions on this post!). It’s a slower and more stressful road, yet I’m determined to only go with the few marketing paths that resonate in order to honor the work and it’s readers.

Enter, the gifts of the Mountain Lion.

From universeofsymbolism.com 

…Mountain Lion totem guides and teaches us that we must find our own way, be true to our own heart—our own journey of discovery, our own “space” of identity despite the difficulty along the way, or the time one must spend alone developing inner power and strength to embrace this path—this rite of passage to true freedom

…Mountain Lion teaches us about having the patience to develop our personal power and vision

… Mountain Lion roams far and wide…his boundaries are clear. No Mountain Lion is to enter the domain of another. Each must find his own space, and the journey may be very long getting there.

…. Mountain Lion shows the need to stay on course and maintain the quest. This is strong totem medicine

….the Mountain Lion is connected to the land and a great teacher of cycles and rebirth.

Aho to that.

Now…

WHAT ANIMAL HAS CROSSED YOUR PATH OR ENTERED YOUR SPACE LATELY? Try looking up its medicine~it’s message for you.

~ Suz

The New Goddesses

Happy Birthday to my BABY, Myan! (That’s MYAN not MAYAN as she points out). It means, “water from the spring (or source)”. I tell this story in the last chapter of 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks. 
The New Goddess

The New Goddess

 

Water that comes from the source represents the womb water of Mother Earth and the return of the Feminine.

Myan was born in the water at home. She was also born right in the middle of her due date, which just happened to be International Women’s Day. I love that, of course.

At the time of Myan’s birth, I would not have guessed that my life’s work would present itself in my 50s and would be about teaching an entirely different (new but actually old) way of viewing a woman’s monthly womb rhythm. Nor was it on my radar that a Lakota woman would have a vision about me and tell me I was to be the Keeper of an ancient stone medicine bowl for water ceremonies (and then actually gift it to me).

Also, the number 19 is a particularly auspicious number for the return of Feminine honor and rightful say on the planet. It has to do with the Celtic Goddess, Brigid, and interestingly, the sacredness of “wells” along with a host of other powerful and fascinating influences. It’s my feeling that the story of Brigid needs to be taught in history classes. She is the originating heart, soul, and force behind much of the British Isles symbolism, legends, and ways. If interested, there is much to know and many blogs about her: www.druidry.org/library/gods-goddesses/brigit

My ancestry is all British Isles at least as far back as 1505, Wales. I believe I must have some strong, early Celtic women in my DNA who have been surfacing and speaking for a very long time. I believe Myan carries strong Celtic women in her as well, probably stronger. At 19 years old, she’s just coming in to her own visions on how to best serve the planet as a strong woman. There are many young women in her generation (and the one just prior) who I consider to be the “New Goddesses”. Since I am teaching the ancient “way” of the female, they are coming to me and speaking their truth and knowings, so I’m experiencing this firsthand. It’s very powerful.

Life is so, so interesting. I’m grateful for the ever unfolding surprises that are put before me as I walk this Earth path.

~ Love and Thanks,

Suzanne (the proud mama)

shadow-ornament

 

Moon Lodge Celebration, May 24, 2014

I am “over the moon” about being asked to be the “pillar” for our local “moon lodge” created by the Goddess Temple of Ashland!

A moon lodge is basically the same idea as a “red tent”—a place where females can go to rest when on their moon time. This is a tipi. To be clear, although I am a trained indigenous ceremonialist and a medicine carrier of a sacred stone healing bowl, this moon lodge follows no Native American tradition. We simply honor the practice and what it represents. Our moon lodge will be expanding on the concept.

WHAT IS GOING TO BE VERY DIFFERENT about this moon lodge:

I’m very excited to announce that instead of honoring one “phase” of a female’s monthly hormonal journey, that we will be honoring all 4 phases, following the 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks practice. The space will have 4 alters instead of one. When a girl or woman goes inside, she will sit in the area that reflects the “week” she is on in order to support, at that time, her own greater self-care while also  preparing for the next. Because 4s4w holds the idea that this 4-phase cycle is the imprint of being female and surfaces during our reproductive years to show us the “blueprint” of it, it is held that it is a supportive rhythm that is still available after menopause, sans the reproductive challenges.

Right now we have a very small tipi which would result in 1 or 2 women going in at a time. I’ll know more soon if a larger one is going to be loaned to us. If you have a larger tipi sitting in storage or on your land that you don’t use anymore and would like to donate to us, please me at: 4s4wContact@gmail.com.

We will erect the lodge mid-May and then hold a celebration from 1:30-6:30 pm on Saturday, May 24, 2014. We’ll have a moon labyrinth and live archetypes to help everyone embody the natural lunar rhythm of women, and a ceremony to officially open our Moon Lodge.. Event is open to women, men, and children of all ages. Please join us!

 

A Thief in Summer

Guest post by Jessica Vineyard

I hated it every time it came. It stole in like a thief in the night. A dark cloud of gloom accompanied by a horrid surge of adrenalin. A sinking feeling of dread. A sense that I would never feel like myself again.

I had recently experienced a terribly painful breakup and, while it had been several months prior and I now felt pretty good for the most part, I still experienced a periodic, gripping, gut-wrenching, mind-numbing pain. Perhaps I couldn’t really pin it on the breakup any more.

Then I had the good fortune to read 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks. As I read the bullet points in each seasonal chapter I recognized some of my symptoms. I started tracking immediately. Since I’m way past my physical cycling, I tracked by the Moon phases. In other words, my monthly Day 1 was the day of the New Moon.

It didn’t take long to discover that these times of feeling immense hopelessness, enormous sadness, and the loss of something I could no longer put my finger on came most often during my Summer week, the last week of the Moon’s monthly cycle. I thought I was on to something.

In the beginning, although I was tracking regularly, I didn’t actually look at the monthly rhythms that I was experiencing. More frequently, I found myself having a “gloom attack,” racing to my 4s4w book, and madly skimming through the chapters to find descriptions of my symptoms. It took a while, but I eventually started looking ahead to see what seasonal rhythms were coming. What I discovered astounded me.

Before I describe what I learned, let me say a little more about what I learned when I would look back at what had happened during my cycle. I found that these gloom attacks occurred very predictably—nearly always in my Summer week. When I’d have them, I would feel as though I always felt down and depressed, that I never felt good. So when I did feel good, I didn’t pay attention. I began to spend all my time worrying about the next attack. Weeks would go by, but I knew one was always just around the corner. When the despair descended, I could once again confirm that it happened in week 4. This was getting old. Where was the benefit?

A light came on out of the blue one day. How about looking ahead and putting the 4s4w philosophy to work, girl? Since I knew these attacks came in my Summer week, and I intellectually knew they weren’t indicative of my constant state, I started to bring more of my awareness to the teachings of the other weeks. Week 1: oh, relax? Rest? Right. I’m just crawling out of a hole, for goodness’ sake! Hey, stop fighting it. Just try it. Read the Fall chapter, lady. That’s the point. Oh, right. Okay, fine.

I started to notice that I felt better than good—I felt great!—in Week 2, Winter. I had tons of energy and wanted to move my body. I started to enjoy looking and feeling good. During Week 3, Spring, I made a point of connecting with friends I feel good being around. And by the time the horrible Summer week was upon me, it wasn’t so horrible any more. I still felt the sinking feeling, but instead of fearing the worst, I just allowed myself a few days in bed, quiet and alone, with a good book, a cup of tea, and my phone nearby in case I needed to talk to someone.

And you know what? Those gloom attacks are almost non-existent now. I realize I was feeding them by not caring for myself the rest of the month. Now, when I have a particularly fabulous day and I haven’t been tracking for a while, I’ll whip out my Moon calendar and my 4s4w book and confirm the best instead of the worst. Hey! No wonder I feel my very best today! It’s the Full Moon!

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