Menstrual Hygiene Day – Let it Flow

Menstrual Free Bleed

Menstrual Free Bleed!

Did you know there is such a thing as ‘Menstrual Hygiene Day’?

Yep, it’s today May 28th. And my womb, bless Her, is bleeding. So I thought I might offer a little something to mark the occasion…

It’s extremely important to highlight, talk about, de-stigmatize and, yes, celebrate menstruation.

The inclusion of the word ‘hygiene’ in this instance — as in ‘Menstrual Hygiene Day’ — implies that the bleeding is unclean and/or a bio-hazard and the focus appears to be on making it clean and disease-free. None of which is actually true. The word hygiene etymologically refers to a state or, let’s even say, the art of health but most likely most of us don’t know this. It’s ceased to mean this actually.

And let me tell you, there is a lot that is unhealthy about the way we ‘manage’ our blood and our cycles.

I have well over 30 years of bleeding experience. By my calculations, in that time just over 5 years of my life have been spent bleeding!!! I’ve bled a lot is what I’m trying to say. I’ve used a lot of different products to ‘manage’ my bleeding. But, wow, right? That’s a profoundly lot of bleeding time.

I’ve used many different things to soak, sop, plug up, and collect my blood. All sorts of different pads starting with ones that were inhumanely and grossly thick that had me walking like a duck and crying in my bed in the morning before school, pads with wings, scented pads, unscented pads, tampons with applicators, tampons I stuck up my cunt with my finger, a menstrual cup made of rubber, one of silicone, reusable cloth pads of various design, old t-shirts, specially-designed period underwear.

The only thing I haven’t had a chance to try are sponges (as far as I know anyway of what’s currently available; do tell me if I’ve missed something).

It’s been a progression that tells the story of a bleeding life and how I’ve learned to stop worrying and love the bleed. What I know now took decades of discomfort, pain, and failure, I so wish I knew what I know now, back when I started.

One of the latest, ‘greatest’ things to have come out is period underwear designed to hold up to 2 tampons worth of blood. After hearing the raves, I bought a couple. I don’t love them. For me, they don’t live up to the hype and they leak on me. Even as backup.

This is the thing though that is important to consider and know: disposables — which is what many of us use — are bad for our bodies and our health. There are toxins in them. We place them against or in one of the most sensitive and absorbent parts of our bodies. They fill landmines and pollute the oceans. It’s a terrible legacy for a natural, life-giving process.

Re-usable options are unaffordable for some people, that’s a problem. Also, harder to find. If we don’t know something exists, we don’t know to look for it. Also we need people to tell us in some cases how to use them. It can be intimidating to try.
You may not believe this entirely but the experience of our periods — whether good, neutral, awful — is going to be impacted by how well-matched and served we are by our choice of menstrual products. Including even the level of pain we may feel.

And after all of this time I’ve spend bleeding, I gotta say this — whereas once tampons were an amazing discovery, I never want to use one again (and haven’t in over 15 years). I actually don’t want to insert anything in me when I’m bleeding. What I most want to do, what is most comfortable to do is to allow the bleeding. Not plug it, not stop it, not control it. Just allow it to flow.

We have a decent array of options — it wasn’t always the case for menstruating people (and still isn’t for people in many parts of the world). We’ve bled on moss and leaves, on rags, on newspapers, and sometimes… straight down our legs, just free flowing.

In the summertime, off from work without obligations and in my apartment, I’m going to say this — free bleeding holds a lot of appeal for me. So I tried it, on my heaviest bleed days (and do know, I’m a heavy bleeder).

If you are expecting me to tell you it was a free flow down my legs creating pools of blood around my apartment, well guess again. Over the course of the day, the blood never made it past my knees. It could have if I let it but when I felt it start to trickle down my thighs I just pressed them together. This had the blood smear and stay on my thighs and also created a pretty rorschach pattern on my legs, like a butterfly that I could read as my own personal oracle. So divine.

The skirt I wore (black) ended just past my knees and easily concealed the blood on my thighs allowing me to go outside. Yes! I went free-bleeding out into the world, no one the wiser. #liberation

Sitting down, a different beast. When I sat, I did so rather on my side so that I wasn’t making direct contact with my bleeding cunt to the seat. (But, ahem, If one wanted to, one could discretely carry a dedicated cushion for this very purpose. I’m serious, it doesn’t have to be big and if in black, wouldn’t show up bloody. Just toss in for the wash post-bleed with the other bled-on items..

So, that was one revelation, how incredibly contained the flow of the bleed could be. Honestly, I’ve had messier times with all of the aforementioned products than merely free-bleeding.

It actually is very easy to privately and modestly free-bleed.

A most vital revelation — the blood doesn’t have a smell at all. I free-bled down my thighs heavily and wetly and didn’t smell a thing. It felt so clean and pure to do this.

Lastly — there is no irritation happening when there is no block and no artificial anything touching the vulva. There is a great deal of material online in support of sleeping without underwear and giving yourself a break from toxic materials or really materials of any kind. We need air to circulate. Vulva needs to breathe.

So many of us have very serious conditions affecting our reproductive and sexual wellness. I feel very clear and strong in suggesting that a significant amount could be reduced with just allowing the womb and cunt to do its thing without imposition, however much is possible.

Perhaps there are times and places where you can start and try it out….

Like at home. At night. This is the best time anyway to take some time for yourself. Maybe it can be playful, experimental. We take things so seriously. What could open up and release if we could be playful with our period?

Are you grossed out? Ah, I hope you can get over that. Menstruation is pretty natural and this is something amazing to discover here, my words can not ever do it justice.

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I want to acknowledge the privilege I hold in having all these options. In some parts of the world, the onset of menstruation can lead to ostracization, the end of education, even death.

In any and all ways that we can continue to talk about, de-stigmatize, and honour menstruation, it is vital that we do so. If no one else will encourage you and have your back, I will.

Happy Art of Menstrual Health Day.


As Maiden begins to take over from Crone…

Anthony Delanoix via unsplash

Anthony Delanoix via unsplash

Happy Spring!

(Though it may not feel like it for some of us…)In the language of our feminine archetypes, the Crone (winter) is transitioning to the time of Maiden (spring) here in the northern hemisphere where I’m writing from. Most people I speak to about this are happy and excited at the prospect of warmer weather, more outdoor time, and all of that.

I am that person too!
however…

Nature won’t be rushed…

And I think there is huge value in remembering this and taking it on in our own lives. Things are going to take the length of time they need to take. More often than not, I’ve discovered that rushing to make something happen works primarily to increase my stress, sap my joy, tire me out and somehow still not happen as I had hoped and anticipated.

We can’t rush the warmer weather or have it happen sooner than it will. Yet, I hear so much complaining, wishing, yearning over things so far beyond our control. Yes, the Maiden’s energies are to begin with vigour and enthusiasm. She is dynamic and can be a whirlwind. But the Crone isn’t finished with her wisdom yet, so…can we work with these energies in this liminal time to make the very best of it?

I invite you – the next time you are running late or trying to jam in a bunch of things in a limited time period (which is actually our lives, for a lot of us) – try taking a pause and a breath and eliminating the feeling and energy of ‘rush’.

Stop hurrying.

Stop rushing.

There is one thing we can be doing in any one moment – what happens if you can give that one thing your entire attention, complete what needs to be done, and move on to the next thing?

When I remember to do this – take the rush and frazzle out of my consideration and just take things one at a time – I’m usually able to complete more than I thought and I’m left feeling amazed, happy, and energized (versus zapped and tired).

This is some of the Crone’s gifts – the focusing, the slower pace, the wisdom, the presence, and the ease in what we’re doing. There can be some tension present when we wish for her to hurry and leave already as we see the Maiden standing at the doorway whose energies are so different and whose presence we’ve missed over the long months.

Can we stay present to it all as it is and rest assured that everything is well and happening in its proper time and proper way?

May seem too simple but as I was recently reminded:
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication (Leonardo da Vinci)
Happy Adventures in Springtime Transitions!

 


Are Paradoxes Conflict for You?

certificate(1)Most of the women that I know are intelligent, independent, conscious women. We believe in equality of all people and we highly value our sovereignty, that is, our own personal authority over ourselves.⠀

At the same time, I know many of us are deeply longing for love and a relationship. For many of us in relationship, we are not quite finding the fulfillment and juiciness we yearn to have with a partner.⠀

While we fiercely guard our independence and sovereignty, we may also deep down just want someone who will take care of us. Someone, I daresay, who will cherish and even worship us. These needs and values can appear to run counter to one another and create unresolved conflict for a lot of women.⠀

How can I value myself as an independent and sovereign woman and still have this incredible yearning to be taken care of and cherished? ⠀

It isn’t the paradox that needs to be resolved. It won’t be resolved because it’s not supposed to be. It can’t be.⠀

What we can do is find that place of tension in the paradox and dance in it. Breathe with it. Allow it. And discover what becomes available in that space.⠀

How do we do this, dance within the paradoxes?

My life has led me to seek out, explore, and work with Feminine energies. This is where I have found I can return to, to dance in the tension of the paradox. There, I can allow all aspects of my experience and my feelings to exist at the same time. They no longer battle one another. I can honour and begin to love it all. I can find a space of freedom and possibility.⠀

The Feminine is a space that allows for it all.⠀

You can be a successful, independent, intelligent, and powerful woman.⠀
AND your heart can yearn for deep love and fulfillment.⠀
Also, you deserve to be worshipped by the one you love. You should have someone who lights that beautiful heart on fire -if these are things you want, it is holy and perfect that you want them.⠀

If you are stirred by any of what you just read, I invite you to consider joining me in exploring more.

And if it isn’t the yearning to be cherished and worshiped by a partner, I would guess there may be something else of a conflicting, paradoxical nature showing up. Our lives are full of them. To be continued…


The People Who Hold You

Painting by artist Varsha Kharatamal

Painting by artist Varsha Kharatamal

For many people, the expectation exists that friends and family (especially our partner) are going to be able to provide all the emotional support we need and we rely on them for such. Often though the people who we’ve known the longest are the most reluctant and unwilling to see us change. Are unable to see us in a new light or support us in the transformation or explorations we need to make in life.

This does not necessarily mean that we must cut people out of our lives (though sometimes that may be the appropriate thing to do). What it does mean for people on a path of growth and transformation is that we find other spaces and people who can hold us for the new possibilities we are living into. It is important that we find like-minded souls who have no baggage or history with us to entangle us in past patterns.

I’ve heard it said by a lot of people that it is hard to make friends as adults. I have found the opposite to be true. Many of the most substantive and beautiful friendships I have right now are with people I met when I was in my mid to late 30s. And as I expect meaningful connections to continue, they have done so.

The more I am able to expand my circles and be witnessed, held and supported in transformation the better I am when I return to those challenging scenarios with people I love but who are invested in seeing me in only one way from a long time ago.

This is some of what we get in the Art of Feminine Presence circles (if this resonates, please check it out and fill out the form for a chat or come visit us at an introduction).

Whatever that space is for you, I hold that you find it and that you flourish.

Painting by Varsha Kharatamal

P.S.

Have you heard the saying that ‘blood is thicker than water’? Did you know that it was cut down from the original?

The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb


The Ghosts of Lovers Past

Roses via ShutterstockYour Yoni deserves pleasure and love in the form of plentiful, delicious sex.

(pussy or cunt or vulva – have you a name you love? I hope so)

Sometimes we try people and experiences on and they just don’t quite fit.

Recently a client came to me with a wish to clear her womb of the energy of past lovers. She didn’t have any traumatic instances per se, but a lingering and nagging sense that there was an imprint left behind from one particular lover and she had no use for that!

Many of us girls and women have been conditioned from a young age to view sex and our bodies as something sinful and shameful. These feelings are often lurking deep in our subconscious so that they operate at levels affecting our lives and we aren’t even aware of them.

I’ve also come across some spiritual teachings which assert that the energies of our sexual partners linger for 7 years post-encounter. For some of us that is a lot of people to be carrying around and connected to!

What is a woman to do?

While I think it’s vital that we are discerning about who we let into our bodies and the reasons why, I’m not into shaming and shunning sex. I would argue that more sex not less (of a quality kind, a whole other post in the works!) is what is needed for our world and our relationships.

And it’s not a one-size fits all solution. For some of us who have grown up so conditioned to be shamed and repressed around our sexuality, it may be that you need to fuck around (consciously and conscientiously!) the most.

But none of us need to carry around the ghosts of lovers past. And it warrants being said, none of us need nor deserve to feel punished for any choices.

The Womb Blessing and Healing is one such means of clearing out the energetic muck and guck of old lovers. And what better time than fall to be clearing out and releasing this energy as the trees shed their leaves and the earth begins an inward re-focus…

Here are some words from my aforementioned client:

“I surprised myself on this night by going home with a man I had just met. Trust me when I say I NEVER do that kind of thing. But on this night, I don’t know, I just decided to say yes. There were things about him I liked and I guess I wanted to just ‘try on’ a one-night stand.

It was a fun night, not quite what I expected. As I was coming home though, I was aware of this mix of energy that had just happened and that I wasn’t into seeing him again and also I didn’t want him hanging out in my body or psychic space or anything.

Your protocol and the womb healing I got were just the thing I needed to feel really clear and light and free!”

For a womb healing & blessing, contact me for the next available opportunities. I offer this work around the days of the full moon. It can be done in person (Toronto at the moment) or remotely.

Alternatively, stay tuned for a follow-up post on some things you can do on your own at home to clear the energies of these unwanted ghosts.

Much love,

Lana


Rumbling, Eruption, Disruption

'Madame Pele' by Rachael Ray

‘Madame Pele’ by Rachael Ray

The lava flowing, the eruptions…the pictures and the knowledge of what is happening in this place I love from deep within my soul…is stirring. up. so. much.

This Big Island, and my experience living in lower Puna, reflects both the most beautiful and the most fierce aspects of the Feminine. There is so much richness and wisdom to be gleaned there – not from the head, purely soul, womb, heart (on offer to ALL, who are open).

Last week as I mourned the terrorist act carried out in my city targeting women, I let a lot of sounds out. At one point, without intending or planning to, my held note in a song became a scream. A really loud, wild scream, amplified quite a bit as I had been singing into a mic.

It was loud and, also, I held back.

I mean, what if the neighbours heard and called the police because they thought someone was being attacked?

Fair. And also not fair because sometimes I need to scream.

How much are you holding inside? Where are you feeling the rumbling?

What I’ve noticed today has been a strong and recurring desire to let sound out but EVERYWHERE I find myself. To sing wildly and loudly. To make noise, to stir up. A quick and easy way to get one’s self tucked away in an asylum, isn’t it.

This is Pele for me right now. Letting it all out.

She rules. She’s erupting the boiling hot from within. She is paving over what we’ve built. Detached.

It isn’t a new thing at all but given all that’s been happening in our collective reality, I offer that it would benefit us to pay attention. Truly, to see with vision, to see symbolically, to see deeper and farther. What’s on the horizon?

To the beautiful people of Puna, please stay safe. You are in my heart.

Art: ‘Madame Pele’ by Rachael Ray


Why ‘Sisters Awake’?

I enjoy that it’s both a command AND a noun.

A thing. A powerful clan.

Sisters Awake!

and a call: Sisters, Awake!

When sleeping women wake, mountains move. ~ Chinese Proverb

And, my Sisters Awake. What piece of the magical puzzle are you? I want to know, and more importantly the world needs you.

A woman has the power to light up the world. She always has. Now what would it be like if we were all doing it?

Join Us. Sisters Awake!


What is Truly Knowing the Feminine

Art: 'The Mirror of Venus' by  Edward Burne-JonesWhat I’ve been hearing lately when I ask women what the ‘Feminine’ means to them has changed quite a bit over the past 5 years. We are more likely to use words like:
powerful & sensual & wise.

Which is great. It wasn’t always so clear or the language so powerful and affirmative.

However, this stands in stark contrast to what most of us heard about what it meant to be a woman or a girl or feminine being as we were growing up.

And therein, the challenge and difficulty.

While we may ‘know’ and be reading and understanding and appreciating more about the Feminine these days, it doesn’t necessarily unwind and heal the hurtful and painful messages so many of us received (and continue to receive) which tend to be something along the lines of:
*women are weak and need protection
*we are not ‘enough’ whether it be pretty, worthy, or whatever – fill in the blank
*women can’t be trusted; we’re crazy and irrational
*being a woman is dangerous
and it goes on.

Can you relate?

My antidote and access to healing and bridging the distance between knowing the Feminine to be wise, powerful, and beautiful and relating to myself and to others in this way has been the Art of Feminine Presence.

My experience has shown me that we can’t just think or positively affirm away the messages and the hurt we have internalized in our very bones. We need sisterhood, connection, reflection and validation of our very Goddess natures. So that we begin to relate to ourselves and get this knowing deep in our bones.

The feminine is rising, we see that all around. And it doesn’t necessarily mean we know how to rise alongside her.

This is my holy and special offering to women (of Toronto, ON at the present time). If you are feeling a stirring or strong pull, I hope you will heed the call. Click here

Art: ‘The Mirror of Venus’ by  Edward Burne-Jones


Love Yourself

Vintage Valentine Cards

Vintage Valentine Cards

My love of Valentine’s Day peaked somewhere around the time of grade 2 or 3. It was such a fun arts and crafts occasion to create a little mailbox for my desk, to spend the time choosing out and writing the cards for my friends then to deliver and read all the ones I received. My 8 year old self loved the silly puns and the colourful cards.

I don’t know where my enthusiasm and interest died for it. I guess as we grew older our curriculum didn’t make space anymore for the ‘frivolous’ and by the time high school rolled around V-Day had definitely become something else. Instead of love shared between friends it became the day to flaunt and distinguish between the haves and the have-nots in the romance department.

I see this sentiment still operates for a lot of people beyond these teen years as though it is a flaw and a failing to be single particularly on this day.

As though a gesture one day out of the year will prove something about someone’s devotion, love, and ultimately worth.

Please understand me: there is nothing wrong with celebrating your love on this day. We can also celebrate and exalt love with reverence and exuberance any and every day of the year.  And the best place, seriously, the BEST place to start is with the expression of love of and within your own self.

The extent to which we love and honour ourselves is the extent to which we can love and honour another person. It’s a full-time gig and for many of us there is a lot to unlearn, to heal, to acknowledge, and integrate.

It’s not a rational, conceptual activity but there are many, many ways…and from my experience is what they have in common is being PRESENT and EMBODIED.

That’s what this work is all about…

Big, loud love.


Formed in Womb…it is still Home

Art: Bridget Nielsen

Art: Bridget Nielsen

One woman spoke at a workshop I was participating in last week about the importance of breath and breathing. Getting into the sweet spot, the zone of bliss.

She described for her this happened when her breath was able to reach deep into her abdomen but actually…below that…into her…lower belly.

She paused as she spoke as though searching for the words and the right location in her body.
My mind, naturally, went to ‘womb.’ You get there by breathing deeply into your womb. That’s what I saw her attempting to describe.

To me it was an illustration of how we collectively lack the language, understanding or appreciation of womb and womb wisdom.

Often when I tell someone I perform ‘womb healing’ what they hear is ‘wound healing.’ Well, there may be some truth to that too but no, it is ‘womb’.

Womb… it’s kind of quaint isn’t it? Poetic to my ears. We could say ‘uterus’ but it doesn’t hold the same energetic quality and does, after all, share an etymology with hysteria. Uterus is a word one might hear in a hospital (never womb) as a hysterectomy is recommended (one of the most common, elective surgeries for women in the USA, Australia and Canada and likely more).

Given that, it isn’t much of a surprise that many women aren’t keen to take ownership much less a level of pride in their womb. It is useful to us if we want to have some babies; a nuisance, or worse, if it pains us during menstruation. Potentially deadly if it holds a threatening dis-ease or dis-function. Let’s just get rid of the fucking thing.

It’s also embarrassing and shameful to many of us, in ways small and large. Having a womb, speaking of it. To many women, having worked hard to ‘make it’ in this world, it is a diminishment of them to speak of something so very feminine, and intimate, in its nature. There’s so much about it we don’t know…

What if before, in spite and through all of the above, we got to connect, understand, commune with ‘Womb.’ (Because I’ll let you in on a little secret too; removing the physical organ doesn’t diminish its energetic presence and power.) We know it’s powerful right? It grows a human being!

And given that we all grew and formed in a ‘womb,’ in a very literal sense, womb is home for us.

What might it be able to do for you, right now, in your life? I mean, aren’t you even curious to know?

Art: Bridget Nielsen