Ovulation: The Queen Bee

All are particularly peaceful at my abode this morning. The quiet reward for living a little more ruggedly in a rural environment is the welcomed sound of the winged ones: the birds, the flying insects, and even a couple of roosters in the distance.

It’s 5 am and I open all doors and windows to allow the heat to escape in exchange for the relief of a respectable temperature. The downside is that a mosquito or two rushes in, but I take that as a gentle reminder to create my mosquito traps.

I’m tired. Super tired. Not the kind of tired where there is something to worry about, but the kind of tired that happens after too many big events in a row. It’s the kind that is necessary; a survival mechanism triggering a person to now take time to rejuvenate and regroup.

I specialize in the hormonal lunar rhythm of women and how it applies both realistically and symbolically to our day-to-day lives in order to be in harmony with it. If you were in a workshop with me right now, you’d hear me telling you that when a woman is tapped-in and practiced, she can feel the day after ovulation.

Today, for me, is exactly like the day after ovulation.

Ovulation is the zenith of the whole female operation and basically a 12-36-hr. event. It’s the queen bee of the hive made up of female cycle days. It’s what the whole fuss is about: the party our bodies work so hard to prepare for every month. Symbolically, it represents full moon, full expression energy among many other things.

Once the event of ovulation is set into motion and parties in a raw and primal way all night, hormones dip as others begin to rise. This creates a dip in body energy that feels like “relief”, which activates reflection, as well as wisdom. One can also feel tired and not even realize why.

This scenario can happen metaphorically in one’s life as well.

Building toward a non-work-related production, I reached my symbolic ovulatory fullest expression yesterday and it came in the form of a dancing in Ashland’s 4th of July parade.

My friend, Wendy and I put a call out for fun-seekers and created a doable dance routine for people who dance well and who don’t dance so well in order to just have a great time and add our bit of spice to the parade. In 2007 we created the Firecracker Queens since our big local parade is the 4th of July. We hadn’t done it since then and didn’t have time to do it now, but we knew it was now or never.

Photo by Michelle Zundel

Photo by Michelle Zundel

Like ovulation, there is a tremendous amount of prep and build-up leading to the event. In many ways, preparing for the parade is a little like preparing for a half marathon. Training happens over several months and a huge amount of emphasis is placed on having the right personal set-up, hydration, and comfort to make it through without fainting. In our case, it was two months of dance practice in extreme heat temperatures, gathering and paying for the costumes and accessories, sound system, vehicles, etc., and constant communication with each other on our secret Facebook page. I personally got up at exactly 3:46 am yesterday morning to gather last minute items and race to get two vehicles in place at the front of our assigned street to hold our spot so as not to be at the end of the parade (first come, first serve is the short version of how this works).

A lot of thought was put into planning every detail of our routine, including what a dancer would do if she felt she was going to pass out. The morning graced us with cooler temps and a slight breeze. Judging always happens before the actual parade and we won 1st place in our category. Once out on the parade route, we had a total blast, the crowd responded, and we nailed it. It felt incredibly magical. Every dancer made it through and did really, really well. Like the female cycle, the preparation takes many days and the actual act it is supporting only lasts a few hours. In the case of our parade routine, we put an enormous amount of effort into it and were probably out on the parade route for a total of 25 minutes. Then it was over.

After that, some of us walked over to the after-parade festivities at the park and then trekked all the way back to our cars, which were at the beginning of the parade route, still in full costume. It was super hot and we were exhausted. I went home, literally peeled my dress off my skin, removed my wig, made a cold bath, got out, and fell onto my bed. Later I went to a pool party and then another party – both very sweet. I ate decent snacks, a good dinner, and drank no alcohol, only hydrating stuff. I finished the day with watching fireworks going off at various parts of the valley from the 3rd-floor deck of the pirate ship.

I woke up this morning not being able to move very well, but in a good sort of way, kind of. I got up and went into the bathroom. I had a blue sparkly heart sticker stuck to my chest (maybe someone hugged me who had it on them?), traces of long-lasting red lipstick on the edges of my mouth, a bruised knot on my forehead, and my hair doing what I call its ratty toddler thing, along with not only one bobby pin but a small French clip still embedded in its twisty layers. I removed those, as well as the sticker, and left the rest to deal with after breakfast. Oh, and the bruise came from moving a poolside lounge chair by the arms yesterday and having the heavy metal backrest slam forward and down onto my forehead.

Standing out on the pirate ship deck totally naked this morning, screwed up hair and makeup, taking in what coolness I know is not going to stay for long, I reflected on this morning-after day.

I’ve been going full throttle for 6-weeks or so: too many hours of travel but loved a family wedding, held a 4-day retreat at a hot springs resort, worked a 3-day festival and held a workshop in extreme heat temps. Normally I might be able to rest the right amount and keep going. But in the middle of it all was the inevitable decision to put my cat down, which was the devastating low for all of this high energy.

My sweet friend, Darryl pointed out that sometimes we have animals that become our right-hand person. Todd the Loverboy Cat was that for me (for too many reasons to list), so in the midst of all of these metaphorically reproductive references, I am really only aware of one thing: I’m grieving right now. I know many people can’t understand why you would grieve an animal like a person, but we do for certain ones, and I am.

So, I’m going to continue with my work-related commitments and meetings, but am going to lay low in all other ways for a bit. Now that I’m on the other side of my symbolic full-throttle building and full expression ovulation phases of my right-now life rhythm, I am going to take the time to reflect, honor, and go inward. Love and thanks for all of your beautiful messages and your always lovely support. I’m going to step away from posting for a bit and be back when I’m ready. ~ Suz

7 Wonders of the Womb

7 Wonders of the Womb: Discover the Powers of the Amazing Uterus

GUEST BLOG By Kara Maria Ananda

Emma-Plunkett-art-Uterus-15-67-1024x1024

Women’s bodies hold within them an incredible organ filled with sexual and creative power.

It is time that we celebrate the astonishing capabilities and mysteries of the fantastic uterus!

Every single human being that has ever been alive upon this planet, now and throughout all of history, has achieved this existence thanks to this very organ.

Thus, we have all been intimately acquainted with the uterus, since the dawn of our lives, whether or not you have one personally within your own body.

However, the uterus is an endangered organ. Hysterectomy (the removal of the uterus) is currently the #2 most common surgery performed in the United States. The #1 most common surgery in the US today is Cesarean Section, the cutting of the uterus to remove a baby.

The uterus is sensitive and permeable to the industrial chemicals now inundating our environment. Hundreds of toxic chemicals are now finding their way into the wombs of women, and thus into the amniotic fluid of pregnant mothers and detectable in the blood of newborns.

It’s important to raise awareness today about the power, purpose and potential of the amazing uterus, so we can focus more energy on the health, vitality and preservation of this amazing female organ.

#1: The Uterus is Super Strong

The uterus is the strongest muscle in the body by weight. The uterus has multiple layers of muscle tissue that run in every direction, spiral together, and are ultra-strong. A laboring uterus exerts incredible pressure to push a baby out into the world, and is the strongest force exerted by any muscle in the body.

The Guinness Book of World Records lists the jaw muscle as the strongest muscle in the body due to a biting contest that measured pressure, but that’s just because people haven’t thought up a good way to make measuring the power of a women’s uterus in labor into a contest. Some people don’t value the uterus as the strongest muscle because not everyone has them (ahem, men) but that doesn’t mean it’s not still the strongest. We know what’s up. Womb power, that’s what.

#2: The Uterus is Incredibly Flexible

A uterus is stretchier than Gumby! During pregnancy a women’s uterus goes from being the size of a pear and tucked behind the pubic bone, to being as large as a balloon and reaching all the way to the ribcage and stretching the abdomen outwards visibly. Then it shrinks back down after birth. That’s totally amazing! Not only is the uterus super strong but it’s super stretchy too!

#3: The Uterus Heals

Menstrual blood is rich in stem cells which are found to be adaptive within the body to heal a wide variety of diseases. Each month during her fertile years, a woman’s body creates a rich endometrial layer in preparation to grow and nourish a whole new human being. When a baby is not conceived the body releases this extremely valuable and nutritive substance during the menstrual cycle.

The abundance of stem cells in the menstrual blood are being researched to treat a wide variety of conditions from stroke, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s, diabetes, wounds, neurodegenerative diseases and more. Women create the most abundant free source of stem cells during monthly menstrual flows, which is much more ethical to harvest than from cord blood of newborns or from aborted embryos, yet it is slow to catch on because of cultural taboos still surrounding menstruation.

#4: The Uterus is Orgasmic

When a women orgasms, she experiences not just pleasurable and euphoric sensations, but waves of contracting muscles throughout the uterus, as well as the vagina and pelvic floor. The whole uterus has waves of muscular contractions which helps to facilitate the movement of sperm from the vagina into the uterus.

Some women also experience deep pleasure from their wombs during orgasm, and say that relaxing and deepening into the feeling allows a whole body orgasmic release.

#5: The Uterus is Connected to the Universe

A women’s menstrual cycles and stages of life are intrinsically linked to the cycles of the Earth, Moon and Sun. The moon cycle is 29.5 days, and the average woman’s menstrual cycle is 29.5 days. Women who’s cycles are closest to the 29.5 day cycle have higher rates of fertility.

In addition, there are 13 moon cycles in a calendar year, and the average age of menarche (a girl’s first menstruation) is age 13. The average age of menopause is 52, which is also the number of weeks in a year. There are an average of 4 weeks to a women’s menstrual cycle and 4 seasons in a year.

Women’s ancient menstrual calendars consisting of notches carved into bone or stone are said to be some of the earliest forms of calendars known. Women’s wombs hold a powerful connection to the astronomical cycles of the Earth, Sun and Moon.

#6: The Uterus Can Grow a Placenta

The uterus is the only organ that can grow a whole new organ within it. The placenta is absolutely amazing, and is an organ that is grown within the uterus when a woman is pregnant that nourishes and feeds the fetus with exactly what it needs every moment for the entire pregnancy. The placenta connects the mother and baby, through it’s attachment to the uterine wall of the mother and to the baby through the umbilical cord. It’s a physical manifestation of the nurturing of the mother for the child and is released after the birth of the child.

The placenta and umbilical cord have a pattern visible in the arteries that looks like the tree of life and is an ancient symbol of life and vitality. Placentas have been highly honored by cultures around the world since the beginning of humanity. The word “placenta” comes from Old English and actually means “a round flat cake”, and the tradition of honoring our placenta continues today as we celebrate around a birthday cake each year on the anniversary of our birth.

#7: The Uterus Can Grow a HUMAN!

It’s totally mind-boggling but true. Within the womb of a woman it is possible to conceive and gestate a whole new human being! WOW! Every single one of us is here alive on the planet today because we we started life growing within the womb of our mother, and we come from a long-line of ancestors born from the wombs of their mothers.

The first time I ever attended a birth as a doula, I was totally amazed at the power of a woman to birth a baby, and walked around for days in total amazement at every woman I saw, thinking how miraculous it is that women have wombs and that we can grow other humans within us. AMAZING.

Now you know why they called her WONDER Woman! Right?

The Universe Within the Uterus

Women can use the power of our wombs not just to grow babies but to tune into the creative potential of the Universe and birth great ideas, businesses, projects, art and more. The womb is a women’s unique connection to a primal source of creativity and can be used for not just procreation but conscious co-creation with nature and spirit.

Let’s honor and celebrate the wonders of the womb and keep our uteruses healthy and loved!

Many blessings,
Kara Maria Ananda

 

http://karamariaananda.com

Art by Emma Plunket: http://www.missplunkett.tv/tagged/womb-art/

Go Raw – Find Your Primal

let your hair down ~ forget your mask ~ find your primal ~ answer your indigenous

Release Your Raw.

Does your body image, the lumps & bumps, the out of shape, the in-shape-but-not-happy, visible flaws, hair, skin, etc. keep you from getting into water or showing your vulnerabilities? We understand. This is a retreat where we invite you to forget about it and allow yourself to just enjoy. You don’t need makeup or your hair done at this place (it’s also OK if you do want these things).

Breitenbush is a clothing optional retreat center and often there are other retreats happening that have male attendees. We’ve never found it to be a problem—only freeing. The pools are serene, discreet, and separated out into different locations. We suggest bringing a bathrobe and towel. Disrobe, get in, get out, and cover-up. All shapes and sizes take in the healing waters.

Women’s Annual Retreat @ Breitenbush Hot Springs, June 9-12, 2015

Corkscrew Jungle

Release Your Raw.

The Archetypes are Here!

The Archetypes are Here!

Hello Friends!

Well, at long last, the Archetypes are here!

SIGN UPhttp://4s4w.com/13days13archetypes/

It’s FREE!

This is simply a fun gift from me to you as a THANK YOU for hanging in with me as 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks develops its products and courses. I so appreciate you—more than you can imagine!

I’m very, very excited about the many things in the developmental stage as we speak. I talked about some of them in the last newsletter, but much, much more is happening. I think  2015 will be an explosive year for 4s4w in terms of reaching and helping more women and couples find harmony by following the female’s lunar rhythmic wisdom.

Even though I use symbolism to convey this wisdom of the hormones, the 4s4w system is very real and tangible. Based on the BASIC and GENERAL science of the hormonal landscape, I talk about something that most medical practitioners DON’T talk about: how the hormones RELATE to our daily experiences as women—the psychological and societal journey of it all and how our individual happiness and ability to manage ourselves influence the world.

It’s been a long project, but one I’ve never wavered on. NOT ONCE. I’m so clear that this is the missing link to our empowerment as women, and something simple, yet life changing. It has been for me. I’ve been tracking and aligning with my cycle for 17 or so years now, and because of it, I understand the super subtle changes in my approaches to my passions.

http://4s4w.com/13days13archetypes/

FOR INSTANCE: In making these Archetype “cards”, I experienced two different creative forces. One, sort of obsessive, and the other, where I had to force myself to sit down and finish. Nothing crazy, just noticeable. And I knew it wasn’t because I was tired of making them. I LOVE THESE CARDS!  I knew it was due to my natural rhythm because it happened over the course of a couple of weeks.

When I first began creating them, i was in my first week, a very internal and creative time. I didn’t want to crawl out of my self-indulged, artistic, visual cocoon. All I wanted to do was create these cards from a very connected, ancient place. But because there are quite a few of them (12 archetypes), the project ran into my 2nd week, which is the ACTION week—an extroverted week. When estrogen rises, life gets very colorful and one wants to be moving and shaking. I needed to get back to the cards, but I wanted to be taking care of home, friends, and business in all kinds of active ways. I had to finish but I COULD NOT COMPROMISE the quality of the cards still left to complete.

Sooo, because of my 4s4w system, the template of my female lunar rhythm, not only did I know what it was, but that I needed to bring tools in. And I knew what tools to bring in for finding that sweet creative spot again, even during my active time. I implemented and got right back into my creative ancient zone. loving every second.

The entire 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks “understanding” is about COMFORT and BALANCE. In our day to day lives, when we know it is cold outside, the tool we use for finding comfort and balance is to put a coat on. The fact that winter feels different than summer is not something we think of as crazy! And needing to access a tool for our comfort, such as putting a coat on is not considered crazy, it is considered smart! In the same way, we women experience different seasons in a month’s time because of the radical design of our bodies. It’s smart to understand what tools we need to bring in for our comfort and balance in order to have a smooth experience! We can feel great everyday and be in love with our lives.

The Archetypes are concentrated examples of what most of us morph through every month, however, when we experience them ourselves day-to-day, they will be fleeting and super subtle. You see, it’s the subtleness that creates the need to become pros at detecting our phases so that we recognize what’s happening and master it with skill and ease.

Again, it’s FREE. Sign up to receive a new Archetype daily for 12 days. You’ll also receive 4 extra cards that show the seasonal overview of each week. On the 13th day, you’ll receive a video mini-workshoop to create your own archetype that’s all about you.

http://4s4w.com/13days13archetypes/

Please share the link!! If you feel that you might blast these out to your list, then think about becoming an affiliate (link below). You’ll receive commissions on future purchases of your referrals.

With love and thanks,

Suz
PS: If you’d like to become a 4s4w affiliate and earn future commissions from sales by the people you refer to 4s4w, here’s the sign up link: https://www.secureinfossl.com/affSignUp/5913.html
There is no commission for your friends signing up for this free gift, but if they buy something down the road, you would receive a commission of their purchase.

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

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

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

 

You are More than Your Cycle and Your Cycle is More than Your Period

By 4s4w Lover and Guest Blogger, Sheri Croy
Fall-low-res (2)Chances are, if you were raised in the modern Western world you’ve been conditioned to think of your female cycle at three distinct moments: the moment you have an emotional, passionate, irritable or angry response that someone else deems unreasonable for the circumstance; the moment you see blood, and the moment you don’t see it when it’s expected. Even if you have been raised in a family with a more human centered, body-conscious, healthy view of being a woman, if you are reading this, chances are you’ve been at least witness to the larger Western societal paradigm that has demonized the period — and women with it. If you’ve ever been asked “Where are you in your cycle?” In response to sharing your opinion or stating your feelings, you’ve experienced the demonization first hand. If you’ve ever posed that question to another, or discounted your own feelings and experiences as “PMSing,” you’re (at least a little) conditioned.

What our evolving Western society has done a very good job of with their pills and potions, perfumes and protocols over the last few decades is compartmentalizing the period. Women’s cycles have come to be addressed in terms of PMS and periods — with a focus on the inconvenience, mess and expense of “handling the problem.” Society’s evolution from a family and community centric model in which grandmothers, mothers, aunties and wise women handed down their wisdom to their daughters, nieces and valued young girls is all but lost for the majority of women today. I can sum up what my mother shared with me about my cycle in just a few words, “There are paper towels in the kitchen, just use those.” And when my little sister asked questions I needed my mom to help me answer, her response was, “Your sister can learn about it at school, just like you did.”

I’m not upset about these beginnings; I have tried to do things differently with my daughters — probably to the other extreme (maybe things will even out once I have granddaughters!) In my mom’s case, maybe there was a stigma about discussing “it” with me and my sister. Perhaps my mother had never heard it from her mother. Maybe she was bought in to the cultural idea that your cycle really is nothing more than an inconvenient show of blood once monthly interspersed with some cramping and a few mood swings. Perhaps she was just embarrassed. Or, maybe she just didn’t have anything nice to say, so she chose nothing at all.

The single thing that has made the biggest difference for me — not only in being able to have something nice to say about my cycle — but also having something to hand down to my daughters and help them rise above the stigma and demonization they are plummeted with hundreds of times daily through media, peers and even just interacting with other humans has been the new understanding that my “period” is only one aspect of a vital, dynamic, recirculating cycle. The 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks insights have facilitated such a refreshing and smooth transition for me in thinking and being, I wish I’d had access to this wisdom when I was emerging into womanhood, or at the very least when my girls were younger and I first noticed their mood cycling.

Had I known then, as a young mother, what I know now, I would have known that the predictable moods and behaviors I was seeing acted out in my 5 and 7 year old daughters were just their female blueprints coming into view. I would have been able to guide them better to find times that felt good for talking about the big things affecting their hearts and other times for the big things affecting their minds. I would have been able to show them there are some times that are ideal for playing with our friends and other times that we need to be by ourselves a bit. I would have been able to talk to them about the prime time for building relationships with all their important people and how that time can affect the entire rest of their lives. I would have been able to help them attune to their little bodies and recognize the times for resting and being still and the times for exuberant activity. I could have helped them better to identify the times that felt right for reading, writing or drawing as well as the times that felt right for tackling a big, important project or performing some great feat. I could have done all this in the context of the four seasons.

Even the smallest child can observe the changes in the seasons. The chill of autumn sending us to our cozy jammies and blankets to observe the leaves turning red and falling to the ground; the way the world becomes more quiet under the weight of the sky, the way the plants turn in to the earth, pushing their roots down to prepare for winter. The way winter sends us indoors to play and connect with our families, to snuggle close and watch movies or play games or do crafts activities; the feasts and family celebrations that define our holiday celebrations; the slow building of the light after the winter solstice and the way tiny green shoots appear signaling the approach of spring. The arrival of spring with its lengthening days and bursts of color, birds singing, flowers blooming, rosy cheeks and laughter, the return of shirt-sleeves weather and the joy of spinning and spinning in the sun or rolling down grassy hills. And summer, with its hot, sticky don’t-touch-me, she’s-breathing-my-air days, grass that’s browning with too little water and too harsh of sunlight, flowers in need of dead-heading, and all around, too-hot-for-too-long uncomfortableness. Mother Nature’s seasons, so easy to observe and interact with in my little girls’ lives would have been so easy to translate to their own miniature rhythms, their personal 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks, just as they have been for mine as an adult.

I am finding it easier and easier to navigate my own ebbs and flows, to recognize Week 1, Fall as a time for inward focus, for drawing, writing, resting and recouping; to feel the pull of Week 2, Winter to strengthen my relationships with my spouse, my children, my friends and coworkers, and have the deep heart-to-heart talks at a time when I am closest to my own heart-truth and ability to express myself; to embrace the burgeoning fullness of Week 3, Spring, to acknowledge my inner and outer beauty and allow myself a few indulgences with my partner, to allow my world leader to step forward and offer my truth on the mind-to-mind level; and to steal myself for Week 4, Summer, to face the personal hot-spots head on, to take note of the areas in my life that are breathing-my-air this too-hot week. Instead of pushing off my emotions and passions as a symptom of “PMS,” I’m seeing them through the lens of my pre-menstrual truth telling — journaling and processing in anticipation of releasing what no longer serves me, and taking note of the things I will need to bring up later in my heart-to-heart talks. There is an ease to this way of being, a flow. And every month, every cycle it becomes a little more a part of me. My own rhythm is revealing itself in the most beautiful and powerful way. I’m glad to be finding it now, even at 40, it’s making all the difference for me.

4s4w Week 1, Fall, artwork by Cecile Miranda, 2012

 

Friday the 13th, 2013 – an Auspicious Day

12+1Terrific article by Donna Henes in from 2012. Worth the read and repost.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-henes/friday-13th_b_1418812.html

Why Friday the 13th Is a Very Lucky Day, Indeed!

Posted: 04/13/2012 7:37 am, Huffington Post

Fear of the number 13 is the most prevalent superstition in the Western world. We even have a name for it: triskaidekaphobia. It is quite common for even the most ordinarily rational and otherwise exemplary person — Winston Churchill, for example — to refuse to sit in row 13 in the theater or on an airplane.

J. Paul Getty and Franklin Delano Roosevelt suffered from triskaidekaphobia. Napoleon was also plagued by a dread of 13. Christopher Columbus, too, seems to have been afflicted. In the 1950s, the Columbiana, a group of Italian Columbus experts, concluded upon careful study of his ships’ logs and notes, that Columbus actually landed on the Western Hemisphere on October 13, 1492. The date, apparently, was deliberately changed to October 12, to avoid the imprint of such an evil omen.

When the 13th day of the month lands on a Friday, the culturally unfavorable attributes of each are multiplied by infinity. Friday is heavily charged with guilt and pain and death in the Judeo- Christian tradition. It was on a Friday that Eve served forbidden fruit pie at her legendary garden soiree. Friday was the day that Adam was expelled from Paradise, the day he repented, the day he died and the day he was cremated. And it was on a Friday — Good Friday — that Christ was killed on the cross.

Friday, the day of original sin, the day Jesus died, the day of public hangings, in combination with 13, the number of steps on a gallows, the number of coils of rope in a hangman’s noose, the number of the Death card in the tarot deck, is indubitably designated as a day of portent and doom.

The pitiful suicide note of a window washer that was found with his body in a gas-filled room at his home and quoted in a 1960 issue of the Yorkshire Post, underscores its powerful, popular reputation, “It just needed to rain today — Friday the 13th — for me to make up my mind.” Poor sod.

Ironically, and in definite defiance of the laws of probability, the 13th day of the month is more likely to fall on a Friday than on any other day of the week. The precisely aligned pattern of our calendar — days, weeks and months — repeats itself exactly every 400 years. In that 400-year period there are 688 Friday the 13ths. 2012 has three Friday the 13ths. “Just our luck!” some might say.

And, though they would mean it facetiously, they would, indeed, be right. For up until the patriarchal revolution, both Fridays and 13s were held in the very highest esteem. Both the day and the number were associated with the Great Goddesses, and therefore, regarded as the sacred essence of luck and good fortune.

Thirteen is certainly the most essentially female number — the average number of menstrual cycles in a year. The approximate number, too, of annual cycles of the moon. When Chinese women make offerings of moon cakes, there are sure to be 13 on the platter. Thirteen is the number of blood, fertility, and lunar potency. 13 is the lucky number of the Great Goddess.

Representing as it does, the number of revolutions the moon makes around the earth in a year, 13 was the number of regeneration for pre-Columbian Mexicans. In ancient Israel, 13 was a sanctified number. Thirteen items were decreed necessary for the tabernacle. At 13 years of age, a boy was (and still is) initiated into the adult Jewish community. In Wicca, the pagan goddess tradition of Old Europe, communicants convene in covens of 13 participants. Thirteen was also auspicious for the Egyptians, who believed that life has 13 stages, the last of which is death — the transition to eternal life.

Held holy in honor of Shekinah, the female aspect of God, Friday was observed as the day of Her special celebrations. Jews around the world still begin the observance of the Sabbath at sunset on Friday evenings when they invite in the Sabbath Bride. Friday is the Sabbath in the Islamic world. Friday is sacred to Oshun, the Yoruba orisha of opulent sensuality and overwhelming femininity, and also to Frig, the Norse Goddess of love and sex, of fertility and creativity. Her name became the Anglo-Saxon noun for love, and in the 16th century, frig came to mean “to copulate.”

Friday was associated with the early Mother Creation Goddesses for whom that day was named. In Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, Icelandic, and Teutonic cultures She was called variously, Freya, Freia, Freyja, Fir, Frea and Frig. Friday is Frig’s Day, Frigedaeg, in Old English, Fredag in Danish, Freitag in Dutch. In Mediterranean lands, She reigned as Venus. In Latin, Friday is the Day of Venus, Dies Veneris; Vendredi in French, Venerdi in Italian and Viernes in Spanish.

Friday the 13th is ultimately the celebration of the lives and loves of Lady Luck. On this, Her doubly-dedicated day, let us consider what fortuitous coincidences constitute our fate. The lucky blend of just the right conditions, chemistries, elements, and energies that comprise our universe. The way it all works. The way we are. That we are at all.

That, despite whatever major or minor matters we might think are unlucky, we have somehow managed to remain alive and aware. This Friday the 13th, let us stand in full consciousness of the miraculousness of existence and count our blessings. Thank Goddess! Knock on wood!