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.

The Duality: Grief and Gift

Many of you have been following my recent, challenging journey. The book that took me 7 years to write, 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks, showed up at my doorstep the day before Thanksgiving. My mother fell ill that same week. What my siblings and I thought would result in routine medical care turned into a major thing-gone-wrong and to our shock, she was sent home on hospice care. Two days later I was to have my book launch celebration which was in full activation with many volunteers helping out and ready to roll. I lost my focus and mojo and began to take action to cancel, but a family decision was made for me to stick with it and then travel to Southern California the day after. The launch seemed “meant to be” as they say. It was far more successful than I had anticipated and felt right. I made it home to my mom and she passed away 5 days later on Dec. 17th.

Less than a week after that, we pulled together a funeral service with her 8 grandkids and which many of our high school friends came to—very beautiful and heartwarming—then had Christmas, and then flew her body to Nashville to be buried in a little town outside of there, next to my dad in the most gorgeous little cemetery with many ancestors.  We’re now back to my mom’s home to continue organizing and settling affairs—I’ve yet to make it back to Ashland, Oregon, where I live. I have no car here since I flew down, but my brother has been gracious in loaning me his enormous and luxurious truck to use when I need to get away (parking is a challenge but so far, so good). I’m grateful to my daughter’s boyfriend who is house-sitting and taking care of my cat.

Book-wise, my son, Ian, and I were able to ship out many books since they arrived, but if I needed to sign them, those readers have patiently waited. Luckily the book is also available on Amazon and in Ashland bookstores: Bloomsbury Books, Soundpeace, and Treehouse Books. It is also on eBook in all the various formats. Plans to sell through other stores had to be put on hold.

But here’s the thing: Grieving is a strange thing. I’m feeling strangely unplugged, disconnected, checked-out; yet continue to be motivated by the book, perhaps because it feels so solid. The things that nurture me the most right now are organizing the many ideas and plans for my book touring (rather than taking major action on it), being alone, and being present for the gifts that surface after losing my mother (and actually feeling closer than ever). Perhaps this the place where the duality of grief, the suffering of what is now gone, and gift, the recognition of what is present, come together in passionate forward motion and alignment.

I also can’t help but notice how I’m being supported and gifted with fantastic connections without me really doing anything. Even my brother and sister marveled, while on our trip to Nashville, at the ease in which doors continue to open for this book. It’s been that way from the beginning. On the trip and under the most unusual circumstances, one individual after another seemed to get plopped into my lap for a short exchange that produced the possibility of a long-term association. Since the book has come out, I’ve been invited to speak or do a book reading in Salt Lake City, Santa Fe, Nashville (surrounding area), and up and down the entire west coast. On one of the short air hops, I sat next to a collegiate coach for women’s soccer and he was all over it. He wants me to come and speak at their university, which also motivates me to get my act together to continue with plans to do a college speaking tour. He gave me focus and encouragement. He must be a very good coach. 🙂 Anyhow, it’s wonderful to make connections with new, cool people, and be supported by friends and family I’ve known forever, especially at times when I’m not that strong on my own.

If you’ve tried to reach me or something went whacky with your order during this time and it was not somehow resolved in a timely manner, please forgive me. I continue to check the emails for your communication and want to serve you well. I am finding my center, gathering my wits, and feeling stronger than ever with this work. Every time I lose someone close to me due to old age or illness, I become clearer and clearer that it is important that we all do and give what we love without fear of failure or criticism. The message of this book seems to be mine. I look forward to knowing what yours is too.


Women, It’s Time to Stand Tall

Women, the time is now for each of you to become the director of your own life. Turn the corner and awake! Dig deeply and embody the whispering of your female ancestors, urging you to fulfill a higher destiny for yourself and therefore the entire human race. The time has come for you to take your rightful place in order to activate the much needed healing of our beautiful planet. Create wise and peaceful relationships by trusting your inner knowing of what you deserve. Stand tall in your courage and beauty. ~ Suz ♥

Women’s Festivals 2011

Santa Barbara, March 4th and 5th, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace on Earth: The Symbolic Mary

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

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

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

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 for this article.

How Soon After Ovulation Will Conception Occur?

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Standing on Your Own Two Feet

“A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle:"

What did Gloria Steinem mean when she uttered this controversial quote?

Was she putting men down? NO! Was she saying that men are useless or worthless? NO! Was she saying we don’t emotionally need or want a man in our life? NO! Was she saying we should stay as far away from men as possible? NO!  Was she saying we are weak if we succumb, or even choose, to have a man in our life? Of course not! Who doesn’t love to have a wonderful partner?

When I was growing up in the 60s and early 70s, my dad used to tell me to be sure to learn how to type so that I would have something to fall back on should my husband die. He told me I didn’t need to think about setting myself up with life or health insurance because my husband would provide that.

My dad truly thought he was insuring that I could survive independently by telling me to learn to type. Even though he had a patriarchal and chauvinistic perception, my dad was always teaching me how to be strong, including how to be a critical thinker. He was a good and extremely loving father.  He’d teach me, for instance, how to change a tire or my own oil. The problem here again though, was that his reason for the training was “just in case” my husband died.  Fortunately for me, even as a young woman, I thought his thinking was somewhat scary. I did not trust that I’d be taken care of like a princess and besides, I have a very creative mind and wanted to participate in life, not be an observer. I felt I was being groomed to live a long life of being at the mercy of another.

As a child I felt free to be my own person and the boys who were my friends treated me like one. When I grew up, I wanted the responsibilities and benefits of an adult, but the freedom of a child. I thought it was perfectly reasonable to marry the guy of my dreams and have him treat me like his best friend and only woman on the planet. My plan was to get married at 19, have a bunch of kids (6 is the number I had in my head), have a farm, and be a team mate with my husband with whatever business we decided to have. I’d stay home and nurse the babies, but probably do the books or manage the business from home and he’d be out in the world doing the leg work and creative marketing. All the while I’d have an incredible soup on the stove and a massive garden in the back (which we both tended on the weekends). He’d come home, we’d put the kids to bed, stay up to enjoy a super connected conversation about the business, world politics, the family – brainstorming and debating solutions, and then go to bed and have incredible sex.

Well, it didn’t turn out that way. My life took a much different journey. It was colorful and it had it’s ups and downs, but my path, ultimately required that I find my own true strengths and wholeness.

What I believe Gloria Steinem meant with her famous quote was that a fish can swim on its own and you can stand on your own two feet.

Having the right partner can be the greatest thing on earth. It’s wonderful to have the security of another being to walk beside us and nurture us, to create a life with.

But it’s not a requirement for survival or happiness. Women, as a group, have a history of being told otherwise.

Even as a very independent woman, I have had to work on this. I easily confused wanting a partner with needing a partner.

I’m a pack animal. I am happiest when surrounded by beautifully-hearted people – men and women both. I love companionship. I prefer having a romantic partner over being single. I also found that being with the wrong partner can actually get in the way of my survival – my quality of life – my ability to live the life I desire. I’m always great at supporting my guy’s dreams and enjoying it, thinking I’m being promised the same in return, only to wake up one morning to not recognize who I am anymore, feeling lost, completely off track, unsupported, and too dependent for comfort. I seemed to give my personal power away for the sake of the relationship.

Now though, I understand the difference. Being in a relationship is a choice and I have the ability to survive on my own. Not being in a relationship is not always the option of choice or preference, yet one still has the ability to survive on her own. And must.

I am appreciative now of my father advising me to learn to type, but for different reasons. Rather than being something to fall back on "just in case",  it is the very thing that keeps my feet firmly planted in solid ground.

The ManGuide

Working away on The ManGuide, refrigerator magnets, and “her rhythm” card for his wallet, and of course, finishing the book!