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.

****

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.


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


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


A New Earth

“The path into the New Earth
is simple.

No guilt.

No shame.

No regrets.

So be it.” *

 

Who would you be if you shed all shame, all guilt, all regret?

What would our world be like if all of us did this… or even attempted such a task?

~ It is worth taking some time to really sit with this and consider and imagine this. ~

I want us to do this, clear away the shame, the guilt, the regret. I can think of no better task, at heart, than this.

Let’s start with shame. Perhaps it is the foundational piece and the toughest one. So much internalized, especially as women. So much conditioning here, stories and belief and shit tossed upon by other people in an effort to manipulate and control. Like there is something wrong with you in the eyes of another.

It is easy to shame another. It is something else entirely to stand up and be good and clear with all you are. Accepting warts and all because none of us is perfect. And we are perfect in this imperfection.

No hiding.

If stopped by shame or anything towards the action we know we should take, we have regret. What does regret feel like to you? For me, it feels like a huge hole, a vacuum that sucks hard from within my spinal channel, like it wants to suck my soul in. It’s a tightening of my heart; a knowledge of opportunity lost that maybe only I know about. And that’s enough.

Regret leads to guilt. I should have stepped up, said something, done something and ….didn’t. Head hangs low. Sick feeling stomach.

This is a vicious circle perpetuated to have kept us prisoner for a long time. And as far as I can see, we don’t have the luxury of being in this gross and unnecessary place any longer.

I filmed the video below this past summer as I began to drop some of the shame I had been carrying for so long. For me, much of it was around my sexuality. I didn’t have any healthy messages around it growing  up. In my house, it was a punishable offense to say the word and I’m not kidding. Spoken and unspoken messages, deeply felt, have a way of worming their way in and settling in places far out of sight and out of awareness. In truth, it’s a deep and ancient conditioning. Parts of me would like to blame my parents but actually they were victims in the same way I was without the means or aptitude to break the pattern.

I won’t be a victim so the choice and time is mine.

No shame.

No regrets.

No guilt.

Speak, shout, declare it all. Stand naked. Be seen. Spill your secrets. Shame can’t exist where there is truth and the strength to stand your ground. If this seems impossible, find the support that will get you there. Every step counts.

Are you with me?

I spoke to a dear friend about this the other day and what she said was she was literally fucking the shame away. That sounds about right.

What will it take for you?

 

*This quote is attributed to a channeling of Mary Magdalen via Tom Kenyon in the book ‘The Magdalen Manuscript.’

Whether you are someone who puts their trust in channels or not, it doesn’t matter. I want you to consider deeply the message itself which has a lot of merit.


I am beautiful when I sing

Its-her-soul-singing-by-sonja-ljubicic

‘It’s her soul singing’ by Sonja Ljubicic

I walk along the seaside on a beautiful fall day. It feels great to be out by the water and in the bright sun but I’m also not quite feeling full-on sparkly. Nothing really wrong but a few too many little things nagging at me.

But I’m walking, still admiring and appreciating all the blessings being bestowed on me on this day.

Then I catch a glimpse of my reflection. Full body. And what my attention is drawn to is the shape and size of my thighs in the tights I’m wearing.

Oh no.

This image reflected back to me is not at all what I had in my mind. I didn’t look like this before I left the house when I did a final check, did I? What happened in the meantime? How did my thighs now end up looking so chunky and stocky? And God, my skirt is too short.

Not on solid footing as it was, my mood dives despite my ‘knowing’ better.

Look, I have tools and I use them. Probably it is over the next hour that I deal with this. Because though my thighs are the catalyst, it’s not about my thighs. It just opens the floodgates to all of this other stuff. Questions about my purpose, judgment about not knowing, about not being further ahead than I am (whatever that means), and so on.

I have so many tools so I begin to pull them out one at a time. I sit with my feelings. I notice what’s whirling around in my body. I breathe. I appreciate my surroundings. I appreciate things about myself. I let the warm sun bathe me. I take my time. I allow myself to be moved.

And I continue on my path. I acknowledge. I accept. I forgive. I breathe some more. And I allow myself to be engulfed in the beauty of my surroundings. Why would I lose that because of a reflection of my body. My body is what she is and she is magnificent in fact. All of these strong, working parts.

I am nourished by the waves and the sun and the trees and warmth.

I release and surrender and just enjoy myself there, where I am

I walk into the park washroom to pee. As I’m washing my hands I look up at my face’s reflection in the mirror and gasp. Because again the mind’s image and the one now being presented to me don’t match. Only this time I had been convinced I was unattractive and now the image being reflected to me was so beautiful – tanned, glowing, framed by sweet soft curls.

What the fuck, right?

But what’s very apparently so in that moment is already ‘known’ but now cemented a bit more in my being and it is:

The work we do inside shows will bloom externally. There need to be no struggle about it actually. We need to find the path to love ourselves, freely, deeply and unconditionally. That sweetness shines forth.

Outside external images are so utterly illusory. There is no solid happiness to be found looking there.

Affirm. Forget. Repeat.
And, of course…
Love Love Love


On Pussy, On Naming

Art is vagina liz darling from Project HOPE Art

Art is vagina liz darling from Project HOPE Art

I read an article today that censored the word PUSSY.

It was written by Regena Thomashauer who just weeks ago published a book titled ‘PUSSY: A Reclamation.’ What timing!

If only we could use the word and…
feel it come out of our mouths.
** PUSSY **

It’s been censored a lot these days as mainstream news has no choice but to cover whathisface’s depravity.

Regena says that PUSSY is arguably the most powerful pejorative word in the english language. I would suggest that it is actually ** CUNT **

but you will notice what the two have in common.

Our society refuses, chokes on, is offended by our intimate female parts. We won’t even name them!! And this is a problem. Regena writes of this eloquently and I will quote her here yes, (from PUSSY):

“We can learn just as much about a culture from what it’s missing as from what it embraces.

One of the greatest pieces of unconscious conditioning we have in our Western culture is that we do not teach our children the name of the source of our feminine power. Ask my students at the School of Womanly Arts what they were taught to call their genitals as a child, and you’ll get a parade of colloquialisms: Wickie, Cuckoo, Privates, Down There, Pooter, Pee Wee, the Fine China, Name and Address, Venus, Noonie, Miss Kitty, Purse….the list goes on. Those who were taught a more direct word were often taught to call it “vagina,” a clinical term that is also physiologically incorrect.

But what’s worse, the majority of women were taught to call it nothing at all.

When we have no common language to describe that which is most essentially feminine about us, we have no way to locate and own our power as women. As my dad used to read to us on Friday nights, “In the beginning was the Word.” When there is no word, there is no beginning. How would you talk about an interconnected global computer network providing information and communication facilities via standard technological protocols if you did not have the word *internet*? Yet our culture gives us no way to talk about the place where our power – and, in fact, all of life – comes from.

It’s this very feminine power that is missing from all the success stories we hear. It’s what leaves Sheryl Sandberg, one of the most productive women in America, revealing in a New Yorker profile that she’s felt like a fraud all of her life. It’s what has fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg admit on CBS This Morning that she wakes up every day feeling like a loser. It’s what has Gayle King, who was interviewing von Furstenberg, reply that she wakes up every morning feeling fat.

It’s what has Shonda Rhimes observe in her book, ‘Year of Yes,’ that she and every other woman she knows push away compliments and are unable to receive appreciation and
approval.

It’s what has so many female grad students settling for assistant teaching, while their male counterparts head their own classrooms.

It’s what has men initiate salary negotiations four times more often than women do. It’s why when women *do* negotiate, they ask for 30 percent less than men.”

~ ~

It’s provocative but it makes sense. We can’t (which really just means we won’t) name PUSSY or CUNT

AND

we’re indoctrinated to feel so very wrong and inferior about Her and

her smells
her hair
her blood
her lips
her juices
her existence.

So, as far as I’m concerned: Fuck that.

I’m over it. This matters.
And I *dare* you to get over it too.

Share This.
Name Her.
Read PUSSY
Read CUNT (a great book as well)
Read VAGINA (another great book as well)

Own Your CUNT.
Love Her.
Honour Her.

For fun, I offer this terrific clip from Samantha Bee (with a content warning as she discusses assault and pussy grabbing):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gk72KC4jWc

And more, MUCH MORE
coming….

Art is vagina liz darling from Project HOPE Art


A Consent Story 

Art by Irina Vitalievna Karkabi

Art by Irina Vitalievna Karkabi

Once upon a time, I was fooling around with a friend. We were playing, exploring the expansion and the limits of pleasure. We were in a place of getting to know one another, enjoying one another, having fun.

He liked to play rough and so did I… sometimes. At certain times maybe. Not at others. Nothing serious or heavy.

So we were playing. Slowly. Easing into a bit more pressure, a bit more pain. I was curious. Present. What does this feel like? And this? The different expanding sensations that arose. The anticipation of the next move. Was it going to feel better than the last?

It was fine and good and consensual. Until it wasn’t. Just like that. Until one movement that was too much, that felt violating, hurtful. Not good.

In that instance, I understood consent in a new way that up until that moment, I hadn’t experienced or considered before.

In that moment, I understood consent as a dynamic exchange that actually has to be occurring at every moment which…

may sound strange

may sound impossible

may even sound stupid

I don’t know.

What I saw was the need to being and staying present. Being present with myself in the moment. Being there with the other person. Keeping tuned into the pulse, the breath, the expression, the energy as it shifted and flowed.

To be and STAY in the yes, hopefully opening up into more yes and yes and yes and yes and yes…

Do you see what I mean?

Because this was the thing for me…

My friend is a lovely man. Very respectful and attentive. I wouldn’t have been with him if I had felt otherwise.

But here we found ourselves. In this instance, I see how both of us were lacking a presence in the somersaulting, and everflowing and expanding yes. It stopped somewhere, our minds caught up in one yes. Stalled in our own thoughts, in our own heads or …wherever.

And I hold us both responsible. He lost his attention and presence to me. Perhaps he missed cues that were there as to where I was at and that I was close to my threshold.  And, I didn’t step up to speak for myself and keep myself safe when I sensed my threshold was being met. Communication was out.

And this is also the thing….

Physically, I felt pain in the moment and it wasn’t serious. Nothing persisted. Great. I don’t even remember what we were doing exactly. What I do remember is the feeling of violation. I can recall that very easily.  And that’s enough for me to know that it is unacceptable for such a thing to ever occur again.

I was not taught anything about these nuanced possibilities. I knew consent to mean ‘yes.’ And a ‘no’ meant a ‘no.’ And I heard it said sometimes that a ‘no’ means ‘yes’ and that was clearly wrong (and infuriating to hear). But sometimes a ‘no’ could turn into a ‘yes.’ I experienced taht. And if you agree with me there, then logically we have to respect and understand a ‘yes’ can become a ‘no’ or a ‘maybe’ or a ‘I don’t know.’ And this can happen at anytime.

Few of us are really taught this. Much we learn through experience and ‘the hard way.’ I’d like us to do better. The conversation is opening up more and more and my hope and request is that we stay open and listening to each other. And not shutting it down because we may feel threatened or judged. How well do we respect ourselves and each other?

Because at the end of the day, sex can be an ecstatic gateway into another realm; it can be a transformational, spiritual experience. But never without true consent.

~~ At any rate, this is how it all occurred to me on this day ~~

Art by Irina Vitalievna Karkabi

P.S. Some of the work I have done within the Art of Feminine Presence and Womb Healing/Blessing has been some of the most powerful. If you struggle with boundary issues or holding your ground, please contact me for a complimentary 15 minute session, I would love to connect with you.