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

Posts Tagged health

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

 

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!

 

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

 

Still Using Tampons or Pads?

This is a great article from Collective-Evolution’s blog to help you sort out the products you’re using. When it comes to pads and tampons, 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks only supports the use of organic cotton products, including washable, reusable pads. CE gives good info on using a cup as well.

Still Using Tampons or Pads? You Should Read This.

By Alanna Ketler, January 13, 2013

What is something that every woman has to endure in her lifetime? You got it, a menstruation cycle. On average a woman will have her period once a month, for about 5 days, for around 40 years of her life! During this time, we need to use various products stay clean and fresh. There has got to be a market in there! The Tampon and Pad industry is a $718 Million dollar market, and tampons and pads are necessities. This got me questioning the production and ethical value behind these products. They are mass-produced, and heavily marketed and cheaply made, out of bleached rayon and plastics. Why is it that we never see ads for the much safer alternatives such as cotton products, reusable washable pads and menstruation cups? Any of these alternatives are much more economical and are about a gillion times safer for the environment. Up until a few months ago, I didn’t even know that there were alternative products, or even think that there was any potential risk from using generic menstruation products. Read More…

The Perfect Time for Attracting What You Desire

Now that we are one week into 2013, I hope this new beginning finds your various energy systems rested, rebooted, and ready to put into action your many visions for balanced success in the coming year.

New Year’s Eve and Day is always an auspicious time of the year and one of many phases in our cyclical calendar—the rhythmic time clock of our lives. The New Year, like the New Moon phase, is an end and a beginning, finishing the year with reflection and ideas—shedding the old to make room for fresh anticipation of what is to come with the growing winter light. New Year’s Day is one of rest and enjoyment. A ceremony and celebration of life with parades, footballs games, or perhaps organizing like crazy. Maybe it’s one of silence and relaxation or a hike in the woods.  It’s the day we reboot.

Today is January 7th and it feels different. We’ve moved on. We’ve transitioned, and we’re ready for action.

This is a perfect example of the beginning of what I call Week 2, Winter, of the female monthly rhythm. This logical and predictable pattern has ended its resting and rebooting week and has transitioned into the action week. Like Fall, the first week of a woman’s monthly rhythm finishes the former cycle by shedding the uterine lining in order to begin building a new one, just as a tree sheds its leaves, getting rid of one cycle of growth before beginning a new one.

Week 2, Winter, of the female monthly rhythm is the week of Love and Connection—home, hearth, and romance, as well as building projects and attracting those we wish to do business with. Hormonally, our estrogen goes from it’s lowest to it’s highest all in one week in order to build a uterine nest, making us as beautifully brilliant as a snowy mountain peak, growing more stunning by the minute. Mother Nature is primping and coaxing us to attract a mate as we approach ovulation (Week 3, Spring fever).  Just as Week 1, Fall, was compared to the New Moon, I compare Week 2, Winter, to the waxing, growing moon, heading toward our fullest phase. We are eager to take action on the seedlings of vision we had during our resting phase, and excited about communicating with our loved ones, building more connected relationships. “In the same way that the Moon is filling with light, you are filling with energy” (page 142).

Just as women can follow this January 7th advice during the 2nd week of their rhythm every single month, this time of year gives everyone the opportunity to set into motion all that one desires. Organize, connect, and take action to make things happen! Put on the music you love, dress well, and get out there to network, meet friends for coffee, or snuggle by the fire with your sweetheart. Have heart-to-hearts talks with your loved ones NOW to create a year-long environment based on love and good will. For women, these Week 2, Winter connections establish a solid foundation for a mindfully heartfelt month.

May you have fun carrying out your intentions and attracting good people into your life. I wish you health, good fortune, and the courage to continue making positive change in 2013.

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.

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.

http://www.babyhopes.com/articles/ovulation-conception.html

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.

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.

A very good place to start

It’s important to know why you do the things you do so that you don’t end up in a place you don’t want to be.
Understanding your natural female rhythm is a very good (and crucial) place to start.

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