Women of the Sacred Water: Please join Suzanne Mathis McQueen, Kearsley Schweller, and Laura Carmody for this lovely afternoon of sacred circle, water blessing ceremony, lunar-rhythmic embodiment, and herbal elixirs!
Where: Goddess Temple of Ashland
When: Monday, Oct. 10th
Wear: Layers and be comfy!
Want to have an easier hormonal journey? I’ll be holding a 1-hour presentation on Saturday from 3-4. Please join me in the luscious lounge during this wonderful festival!
Identifying Your Lunar Rhythm:
The 4 phases every female must align with for an easier hormonal journey
(this class for women only)
Based on her book, 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks, Suzanne Mathis McQueen is helping women globally to discover a homecoming to self by aligning with four distinct phases of their natural hormonal sequence (even beyond menopause) to create optimal experiences in health, business, love, and leadership.
Please join Suzanne and like-minded sisters for this interactive workshop to learn how to use the fuel and wisdom of your sexually lunar-rhythmic body, a remarkable navigational system within for taking charge of your daily experiences in order to build the life of your dreams with clarity, joy, direction, and purpose.
This course is FULL for this round. To receive updates on future courses, please sign up for the email newsletters at 4s4w.com home page. Thanks for checking it out!
Does your cycle get in the way of your life?
Do you feel:
- Misunderstood? Embarrassed?
- Put down? Angry?
- Cursed? Resentful?
- Confused? Hopeless?
- Overwhelmed? Scared?
- Do you often feel that your cycle is something that you just have to tolerate?
You’re not alone.
Few of us were given the right information and tools.
Help is HERE.
Hi. I’m Suzanne. I wrote the book, 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks to help you understand that you don’t have mood swings, you’re not unpredictable, and you’re not crazy. As a woman, you’re lunar rhythmic. What that means is that you cycle thru phases throughout the month in pretty much the same way each time. This is not something most of us have been taught.
And…the good news is that your natural monthly hormonal rhythm is very easy to understand and follow. Your hormonal cycle is not something to get away from, but to learn from and to follow. It’s a remarkable navigational system within that will help you make optimal daily decisions in health, business, relationships, and sexuality. It’s incredibly accurate, especially when it comes to your sex drive.
Please join me for a 13-Week online book study circle to discuss the book. Each week I will ask you to read one chapter, reflect on some questions, and then attend a video conference to discuss that chapter.
You really can master your monthly hormonal cycle with ease and skill pretty quickly. It’s amazing how fast you’ll begin to discover more clarity and direction for your life, as well as joy. Just understanding your rhythmic sex drive can be a life-changer. This is not going to be a cycle-tracking course, but will prepare you to do so.
We’ll meet once a week via Zoom Meeting, a video conferencing platform that is super easy to use. We will be on the video call for 2 hours. This may sound like a long time, but because we’ll do “talking circle” style, it will go by very quickly! I’ll send out course assignments the week before each gathering. At the moment, I plan to meet on Tuesday evenings @ 7pm pacific (pdt), but it will also depend on where attendees live and I will adjust accordingly. For now, our first gathering will be on March 29th @ 7 pm pdt.
The Course Outline
Course Week 1: Opening Circle and Intro
Welcome! Here we will set our circle and get acquainted. I'll talk about what to expect for our time together and give out the first assignment here.
Course Week 2: Societal Rhythms
The Female Rhythm & Living in Sync with Others
We'll begin our study circle by exploring the lost language of the Feminine, women's history, and indigenous wisdom.
Course Week 3: Universal Rhythms
The Female Rhythm and Living in Sync with Nature
We'll discuss Sacred Geometry, being in sync with nature, and how they relate to the female hormones.
Course Week 4: Primal Rhythms
The Female Rhythm and the Land of Milk and Honey
In this chapter we'll get into the relationships and triple purposes between the cycling, sexual, and pregnancy bodies.
Course Week 5: Intro to the Four Weekly Seasons
Here is where we get into the 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks approach to the hormones.
Course Week 6: Cycle Week 1, Fall
Here we will discuss the first week of the cycle, which I identify with Fall and the New Moon. I also consider it the "resting" phase, and yes, we'll talk about why!
Course Week 7: Cycle Week 2, Winter
Also known as the Venus Week®, we'll have a great time talking about this intoxicating phase!
Course Week 8: Cycle Week 3, Spring
Ovulation kicks off this week---so many things to talk about here! Can't wait!
Course Week 9: Cycle Week 4, Summer
I get rid of the idea of PMS and replace it with the Fire Walk. Once I learned how to master this one, my entire life was changed. Looking forward to sharing many insights here!
Course Week 10: Challenging and Non-Cycling Rhythms
A variety of women share their stories with us. I'm betting this will trigger many stories from you as well.
Course Week 11: Daily Rhythms
Deciphering Your Personal 4s4w Code
Here's where we'll talk about how to track your cycle.
Course Week 12: Conclusion
Our last call, this is where we'll tie up loose ends and close the circle
Course Week 13: BONUS Gathering!
September 2016: Twelve (12) weeks after our closing circle, we'll gather together for a follow-up to our book study circle. This will give you three months to track your cycle with your new insights if you have a desire to do so. You may have been tracking for awhile or you might be new to it. This video conference will give you a chance to ask new questions and reconnect with your circle sisters!
Why Join This Book Study Circle?
Here's the Deal:
YES! You can certainly read the book on your own, connect with it, and track your cycle (or not) and need nothing more. Perhaps you've already read the book in its entirety, and perhaps even more than once! Many of you have told me this is the case. I am honored beyond measure. Thank you!
But for most of us, doing all of this is easier said than done. These days we have great intentions of following through. We swear WE WILL get to the book sitting in the stack of other books on our bedside tables and that we are also going to get to---someday.
However, I will say to you that this work is DIFFERENT. This work is IMPORTANT. It's important because getting a handle on your female body is probably the most urgent thing that needs to be done in order for you to gain control over your health, your wellbeing, and your relationships. When you go from loathing to loving your cycle and body wisdom, everything in your life changes for the better---I promise.
I know, it's easy to get depressed about your female body, when it feels unpredictable and confusing. When it seems to betray you right when you think you're doing everything right.
You want to feel good on a regular basis, right? You want to look in the mirror and feel like you've got it going on, rather than looking tired and overwhelmed, right? You want to feel like you have some sort of control over your day-to-day life, yes? In addition, how does it feel when you can't get in sync with your partner or pull up your sexy right at the time you need it to serve you and your love life?
I was given your book by a friend and have found it empowering and mind blowing. I hope you see an upkick in sales because I have pretty much told everyone to buy this. It is like a survivor manual. Thank you for writing it.
- Kerry J. Young, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
What it's NOT
This work is NOT about tracking your fertility or planning your contraception needs (which I highly recommend you learn to do too by taking a Fertility Awareness class of some sort. This work is about tracking your physical energy, your mental viewpoint, your sexuality, your beauty cycle, and your communication cycle in order for you to know your patterns. This adds a layer of understanding of your cycle that is practical and relevant to your day-to-day situations. You'll be blown away at how accurate this system is for helping you to gain knowledge and confidence. AND, it's VERY SIMPLE as long as you actually track every day for a few months. All you need is 5 minutes or less!
Creating the habit to track everyday for 5 minutes seems like it would be easy. But really, its important to change our mindsets about WHY we want to change the habit first. And that's why I've created this course. By studying my book, 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks in a group setting, you'll not only have read the whole book by the end of the course, you will have discussed the concepts with me, the author, and a sister circle, and be in a better position to make wiser choices for yourself in no time. No longer will your body be such a mystery! You'll recognize optimal times to act or receive, among other things. So many women continue to tell me that this is the way we need to be teaching our girls as well.
If you can be open to embracing the fact that you already have this natural rhythm within you---one that is waiting to be awakened and is so easy to understand, then you're so close to changing the way you view your female body---FOREVER. And when you change your view of yourself---in the most powerful way possible---you are helping to change the way the world views women, shifting the paradigm to a world that honors and respects women globally.
We will have 13 meetings all together. I want to make this as affordable as possible, so that as many women as possible can join if they want to. I expect this to be a small group of women because I'm not going to take the time to promote like crazy. I will be recording this class and using it for future courses.
30 Day Money Back Guarantee!
If you try the book study circles and don’t care for them, for whatever reason, just contact me through 4s4w.com and I’ll return your money (minus PayPal fees) without question.
- Feel great on a regular basis
- Master your cycle with grace and skill
- Understand your rhythmic sex drive
- Use the flow of your hormones to make great daily decisions
- Know how to align (have fun) with today and prepare for tomorrow
- Have more clarity and direction about your life's path
- Realize the healing medicine you have to offer the world
- Recognize that you hold a power that can change the paradigm for the good of all.
- Hold the light & be an example for women & girls all over the planet
Thanks and Love. I look forward to being in circle with you! ~ Suz
>>>PS: Please share this event with your friends!
You really can go from loathing to loving your cycle.
You really can have the life you desire and deserve by following the sequence of your hormonal rhythm and wisdom. It's real.
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.
Are you “at One” with your cycle? In a state of Bliss?
If not, it’s not your fault and you’re not alone.
The vast majority of women I speak with are struggling with their cycles (or their “not-cycling”), whether it’s physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually, socially, politically, spiritually, or relationship-wise with their partners.
You’ve probably researched for solutions. You might always be buying and trying out new supplements to fix the problem or looking for the magic bullet to make it all go away. You may have had your hormones checked and things are pretty much OK, but now what? You may be on the Pill to regulate the ups and downs, but it’s taken you even further away from your natural cycle and sex drive, and you have concerns about its long-term affects. You’ve bought books you haven’t read.
You may have even tracked your temperature and mucous for fertility or contraceptive purposes, which puts you ahead of most by understanding your cycle pretty well. But “Blissful” wouldn’t exactly describe how you feel after understanding this aspect of your cycle. “Competent & Knowledgeable” may be more like it. I congratulate you on that—it’s a great start and phenomenal tool to keep in your hip pocket at all times.
But here’s the real problem: The problem that you’re seeking solutions for is not the problem. So all of your searching is ending up at dead ends or taking you down the wrong path.
Your repeating monthly moon cycle is not the problem.
The problem is that we’ve been told it’s the problem and pretty much every culture in the world has it’s own version of why it’s a problem, which is based on major ignorance and arrogance from patriarchal understandings of the cycle and it’s desire to dominate it and women. These incorrect and denigrating understandings were deeply and generationally entrenched in our social fabric and over time, became the new truth. So again, the problem is not the cycle, but how we’ve been taught to think about it, and therefore, ultimately ourselves. We are deeply affected at the core of what makes us female, and therefore, keeps our formerly strong centers, in a state of off-balance, personally and as a gender.
But there’s an even bigger problem than this: We may have lost our equilibrium, but the ACTUAL problem is what we never learned, which is the powerful FEMALE VERSION—the incredible feminine lineage story of how to be in alignment with this monthly rhythm—the very thing that makes us female. It’s the tools we didn’t learn and the wisdom that wasn’t passed down from our mothers, aunties, and grandmothers because they didn’t know either.
As the author of 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks. I’m on a mission to change the way the world views women by correcting the self-destructive story that we, as a gender, carry within our minds and bodies on a daily basis about our minds and bodies.
It’s a self-defeating tale, one that keeps us vulnerable, as well as from reaching our fullest potential, no matter how seemingly empowered we are.
I talk to women every single day about this story (although they aren’t really aware that this is what we’re talking about) and it doesn’t matter if they are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, stay-at-home moms who kick-butt managing and overseeing the well-being of their personal tribes, yoga Goddesses teaching in Costa Rica, or students living in Small Towns Anywhere in the World. Women are not BLISSFUL about their hormonal bodies. Period. Nor do they have any sort of clue about what’s even slightly wonderful about them on a daily basis and in regard to their day-to-day experiences.
I’m convinced that what we haven’t been taught about our wombs (whether you still have one or not, and whether you’re still cycling or not) is the missing piece to our empowerment. And yes, when our gender is STILL experiencing high rates of domestic violence, sex trafficking, rape, poverty, not-equal pay, challenges over birth control (shall I go on?), we have a major problem with our empowerment. We have a major problem with having little power over how much power others have over us and our bodies.
No amount of fundraising, lobbying, protesting, or wearing the t-shirt is going to fix this one.
We can’t depend on the courts, politicians, and clergy to protect us—women or girls—from harm when they are the powerhouses who maintain the patriarchal machine. More importantly, even if they did protect us, we still would not be standing in our core power—being in Bliss about our femaleness until we learn the FEMALE VERSION of our cycles and hold the tools on how to walk in alignment with our lunar waves and reclaim and maintain our core balance. I continue to believe that we will never have political or cultural power over our bodies, and therefore our wombs until we fall in love with our womb’s power!
The only thing that is going to fix this is our sisterhood, helping each other to awaken within us what our bodies already know. What our ancient ancestors knew so well: that our wombs are powerful and remarkable navigational systems that follow a logical, predictable sequence, which guide us to make optimal decisions in every aspect of our lives, every single day. Just like all humans follow a 24-hour Circadian Rhythm, we women follow a 28-day body clock, which I call a Circamene (sur-kay-mini—circle around the month) Rhythm. We are lunar rhythmic beings and that’s super important to understand for our health, wellbeing, and happiness.
This is major.
This is womb wisdom: a well-rounded way of thinking, communicating, and bonding. As the human sources of creation, there is very little that is more important than getting this right within the psyches and souls of every woman on the planet whether she ever produces children or not. Within us lives the rhythm of “source creation” and every human on the planet has incubated in it and has been baptized into this world from it. It’s a pretty big deal.
The 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks understanding of womb wisdom is an easy template to follow which becomes more and more accurate as one aligns more fully with it. Here’s how it works:
When the cycle is broken down into 4 weeks, a pattern emerges. Like pretty much every rhythm in the universe, you’ll find a resting, building, expressing, and deconstructing phase within the month. It’s a rhythmic form of Sacred Geometry.
In the same way that the moonlight builds and wanes, we change slightly everyday as we build and deconstruct our uterine linings and all other aspects that support a possible pregnancy. If not cycling, this building and waning of energy is a support system our body knows very well and continues to practice beyond reproduction if we don’t abandon it.
This building and waning is not an act of being crazy and we’re not changing our minds. We’re staying on top of the ebb and flow of our rhythmic world and our thought processes. Our choice is to either learn to surf the waves really well or drown in confusion.
Is it possible to be in a state of Bliss with our hormonal rhythm? The answer to that would be, at times, YES. Always? Not realistically.The reason I use archetypes to guide you is to show where the alignment is, what it looks like, what to strive for. When in alignment with the natural rhythm of our cycles, we feel the Bliss. When we feel “at One” with our cycles, a calm and powerful centeredness takes over giving us clarity, direction, confidence, and know-how. Our world desperately needs women to bring this medicine to the planet right now.
I’ve identified 3 archetypes for each weekly phase, which brings us to 12 archetypes that we each step into and out of in a month’s time . Over time you might want to swap out one of my archetypes for something that suits the unique YOU more accurately.
Please accept my FREE GIFT of meeting each of these archetypes for 12 days in a row. You’ll receive an email everyday with a brief description of these archetypes. The 13th day will give you an opportunity to identify yourself as the 13th archetype through a mini, online workshop.
13 Days, 13 (Hormonally Blissed-Out) Archetypes are ready for your inbox. Sign up at the box below to begin receiving now.
With love and thanks,
13 Days, 13 (Hormonally Blissed-Out) Archetypes!
Each day, for 12 days, you’ll receive an email with a brief description of one Archetype within the 4s4w approach to hormones. On the 13th day, you’ll receive a video workshop that’s all about YOU (the 13th Archetype)!
We value your privacy and would never spam you
Please share this FREE GIFT with other women in your circles!
Many women are quietly suffering with their personal cycle challenges. This may be the answer they are looking for; the beginning to a new journey. xoxo
Let’s Talk. Period.
A post from http://www.thedailystar.net/lifestyle/lets-talk-period-20824
In 2009, a UNICEF report showed that “in countries where menstrual hygiene is considered a taboo, girls going through puberty are typically absent for 20 per cent of the school year”*. Societies across the world still treat menstruation as an unmentionable topic. With so few people willing to broach this subject, most of the information being passed on is based on myths, superstitions and false beliefs. Girls are taught to stay a little afar, especially from religious practices or partaking in public/social events if one is menstruating.
Dealing with menstruation is challenging enough, especially for young girls who are still getting accustomed to the turbulence that is puberty. With limited to no space to talk about menstruation openly, these myths and half-truths are constantly perpetuated, which leads to many women feeling isolated and baffled by what’s happening to their bodies. Not to mention continuation of unhygienic practices leading to severe health problems perpetuated by these myths and half-truths among adolescent girls and women**.
At a social level, increasingly, girls are expected to compete with their male counterparts. Whether it’s in education, sports or their careers, women and girls are breaking down barriers and showing that whatever boys can do, they can do equally well, if not better. This is all being done with period cramps and other discomforts that are well hidden from the public eye.
Women and girls attend school, college and the workplace often without usable toilet facilities; not to mention the non-existent sanitation options for women while travelling long distances or in public transportations such as trains and launches.
With health and social issues directly and indirectly connected to issues of menstruation, we still do not talk about it, address it, and educate our daughters about it. If every girl gets it and every girl knows about it, why not talk about it?
Why is it important to talk about periods?
Looking at it from a medical perspective, there are hundreds of health conditions and diseases related to menstruation (the period) and menstrual cycle (the time from the beginning of one period to the next), so dealing with periods in a clean and smart manner is imperative.
It is very important for a woman to have regular periods, especially if she is trying to conceive. During each menstrual cycle, levels of the hormone oestrogen rise, resulting in an egg developing and being released by the ovary (ovulation). The womb lining thickens in preparation for a possible pregnancy.
The egg travels down the fallopian tube and if it meets a sperm and is fertilised, a pregnancy can occur. The egg lives for about 24 hours and if it isn’t fertilised, it will be absorbed into the body.
The lining of the womb will come away and leave the body through the vagina mixed with blood. This is a period.
So by now you should be able to understand that if there are no regular periods, there won’t be regular ovulation and no pregnancy.
If the period doesn’t start by 16 years of age, it’s called “delayed menarche” and needs medical attention. If the period starts and then stops it may be due to stress, extreme weight loss, medications or even conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
If the period starts on time, but is too heavy or happens too often, it may cause too much blood loss which can eventually lead to anaemia if supplements or adequate nutrition is not given.
Periods may be irregular in the beginning which is normal but it can also be caused by unsuspected pregnancy, PCOS or thyroid problems. Periods can often be painful (the pain can range from mild to severe), due to the uterine muscles contracting to remove the blood, but in few cases this may indicate an underlying disease such as endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory diseases, etc.
These are few examples of the diseases related to periods. Maintaining proper hygiene alone can get rid of many complications and infections.
What are the dangers associated with poor hygiene?
It is extremely important that the girls are taught about the importance of hygiene and the potential risks if hygiene is not maintained. The risk of infection is higher than normal during menstruation. A plug of mucus normally found at the mouth of the cervix is dislodged and the cervix opens to allow blood to pass out of the body.
This creates a passage for bacteria to travel back into the uterus and pelvic cavity. In addition, the pH of the vagina is less acidic at this time which can increase the chances of gaining yeast infections such as Thrush (Candidiasis). Some examples of poor hygienic practices include unclean sanitary pads which can cause infection; infrequent change of pads that can cause local skin irritation and rashes; and wiping from back to front, which can lead to bacteria from the bowel to move to the vagina.
Teaching our daughters, helping the future
Parents, guardians, older siblings, especially sisters play a crucial role in teaching girls about their bodies particularly on this important rite of passage. Girls who were taught about their bodies, menstruation cycles and how to hygienically manage their periods, are found to be more confident, able to participate in school and other social events.
Different girls become women at different ages and the first period can start anytime and anywhere, so it is good to start preparing yourself early on. Once she starts her period explain to her what is happening and slowly answer her why’s and how’s.
Most parents avoid talking about periods because of the uncomfortable topic of sex and reproduction, but these topics can be better handled in a culturally sensitive way if you start preparing yourself to have the “talk”.
Given cultural barriers, sometimes it is easier for an aunt or an older sister/cousin to talk to your daughter. Reaching out to close female confidants will show your daughter that she has a community, a support system. Teach her how to manage her first period, and whom she can go for help with how to use a pad, how often to change it and the importance of maintaining hygiene.
Show her how to dispose used pads. Help her to be prepared for leaks, unexpected irregular period dates and stomach cramps.
Take her shopping. Let her decide what kind of sanitary napkins she wants, and what form of undergarments she might be comfortable using. If she’s uncomfortable shopping with you, give her some space. Instead of giving her a list of dos and don’ts, take her out and celebrate the day. Boost her confidence with some compliments. Let her know that what she’s going through doesn’t have to be scary and that she always has someone to talk to.
If you think you still have questions of your own, remember, as a parent, there is nothing wrong in admitting that you don’t have answers to everything. Mothers please remember that realities of today’s girl children are far different from what you had experienced during your adolescence. If you are unsure about any topic related to menstruation (irregularity, cramps, sanitary napkins and feminine products, etc.), you can find important and culturally relevant information on the web at sites like Maya. If you are still unsure, make an appointment with a health professional to have a candid conversation that will be beneficial to both you and your child.
If mum isn’t around, your daughter should be comfortable asking you — the Dads — to get her a packet of sanitary napkin instead of wearing the same dirty one. Braving an uncomfortable moment now can help your daughter from avoiding major medical complications in the future. For her health and happiness, be as supportive as you can, be as open as you can. You will raise a more confident and self-assured woman if you acknowledge her new womanhood in a positive manner.
For more information on menstruation, please visit www.maya.com.bd. For medical advice, ask your question to our doctors on “Maya Apa Ki Bole”.
By Dr Kazi Mashfia Fardeen, Medical Specialist, maya.com.bd
Published: 12:02 am Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Last modified: 1:42 pm Tuesday, April 22, 2014
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!
By 4s4w Lover and Guest Blogger, Sheri Croy
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
A goodie from Gloria Steinem’s Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, NY: NAL, 1986. ~ (thanks to Occupy Menstruation’s facebook post for this great reminder)
So what would happen if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not?
Clearly, menstruation would become an enviable, worthy, masculine event:
Men would brag about how long and how much.
Young boys would talk about it as the envied beginning of manhood. Gifts, religious ceremonies, family dinners, and stag parties would mark the day.
To prevent monthly work loss among the powerful, Congress would fund a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea. Doctors would research little about heart attacks, from which men would be hormonally protected, but everything about cramps.
Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free. Of course, some men would still pay for the prestige of such commercial brands as Paul Newman Tampons, Muhammad Ali’s Rope-a-Dope Pads, John Wayne Maxi Pads, and Joe Namath Jock Shields- “For Those Light Bachelor Days.”
Statistical surveys would show that men did better in sports and won more Olympic medals during their periods.
Generals, right-wing politicians, and religious fundamentalists would cite menstruation (“men-struation”) as proof that only men could serve God and country in combat (“You have to give blood to take blood”), occupy high political office (“Can women be properly fierce without a monthly cycle governed by the planet Mars?”), be priests, ministers, God Himself (“He gave this blood for our sins”), or rabbis (“Without a monthly purge of impurities, women are unclean”).
Male liberals and radicals, however, would insist that women are equal, just different; and that any woman could join their ranks if only she were willing to recognize the primacy of menstrual rights (“Everything else is a single issue”) or self-inflict a major wound every month (“You must give blood for the revolution”).
Street guys would invent slang (“He’s a three-pad man”) and “give fives” on the corner with some exchange like, “Man you lookin’ good!” “Yeah, man, I’m on the rag!”
TV shows would treat the subject openly. (Happy Days: Richie and Potsie try to convince Fonzie that he is still “The Fonz,” though he has missed two periods in a row. Hill Street Blues: The whole precinct hits the same cycle.) So would newspapers. (Summer Shark Scare Threatens Menstruating Men. Judge Cites Monthlies In Pardoning Rapist.) And so would movies. (Newman and Redford in Blood Brothers!)
Men would convince women that sex was more pleasurable at “that time of the month.” Lesbians would be said to fear blood and therefore life itself, though all they needed was a good menstruating man.
Medical schools would limit women’s entry (“they might faint at the sight of blood”).
Of course, intellectuals would offer the most moral and logical arguements. Without the biological gift for measuring the cycles of the moon and planets, how could a woman master any discipline that demanded a sense of time, space, mathematics– or the ability to measure anything at all? In philosophy and religion, how could women compensate for being disconnected from the rhythm of the universe? Or for their lack of symbolic death and resurrection every month?
Menopause would be celebrated as a positive event, the symbol that men had accumulated enough years of cyclical wisdom to need no more.
Liberal males in every field would try to be kind. The fact that “these people” have no gift for measuring life, the liberals would explain, should be punishment enough.
And how would women be trained to react? One can imagine right-wing women agreeing to all these arguements with a staunch and smiling masochism. (“The ERA would force housewives to wound themselves every month”: Phyllis Schlafly)
In short, we would discover, as we should already, that logic is in the eye of the logician. (For instance, here’s an idea for theorists and logicians: if women are supposed to be less rational and more emotional at the beginning of our menstrual cycle when the female hormone is at its lowest level, then why isn’t it logical to say that, in those few days, women behave the most like the way men behave all month long? I leave further improvisation up to you.)
The truth is that, if men could menstruate, the power justifications would go on and on.
If we let them.
(c) Gloria Steinem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions. NY: NAL, 1986.