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.


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 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


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


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


Working together remotely

Art by Jules Louis Machard

Art by Jules Louis Machard

I’ve put together this post to explain what I mean by working remotely and my experiences with this way of doing energy work.

When we are doing work on an energetic level as in Womb Healing/Blessing or the Gift for Men , it isn’t actually necessary for us to be in physical contact or proximity. (Provided, of course, that there is sufficient knowledge and experience in how to provide this service.)

I have even found remote work to usually be more effective than an in-person session and there are several reasons for this.

One, is that you, the Receiver, can experience the session from the comfort of your own home. You can set yourself up in your bed or in your sacred space with all of your comforts, and in the environment you love because you’ve crafted it for yourself.

You don’t have to go anywhere afterwards as you are already snug in your home which allows you to extend the blissfulness and effect of your session. Consider for example being able to stay in your bed or take a bath or just mellow out in whatever way you wish after a session versus having battled traffic or transit to come see your practitioner in their space and then going back out into the world, back out into traffic, into the noise, busy-ness and pollution, etc.

Furthermore, I’ve found that when we remove the physical proximity and the physical contact, there is less distraction. We don’t have to worry or tend to the physical because it isn’t getting in the way. You aren’t distracted by my hot or cold hands, by my breathing, by being touched, etc. I don’t have to worry about your physical comfort or responses. So both of us can simply focus on the energy.

Lastly, there is less cost to me in doing remote work as I don’t have to rent a space and take the time to assemble it properly. I’m already set-up in the space I do the energy work in. So while not every practitioner does this, I think it’s only fair to pass that savings on to you.

When we book a session, I send you an email in advance with (optional) suggestions on how to prepare yourself and your space in a way that will allow you most joy and benefit from our work together. So you don’t have to worry about that.

Remote work offers more flexible scheduling options and allows us to connect from wherever we are in the world.

If this is something that you are interested in exploring further, please connect with me via lana @ sistersawake.org (omit the spaces when you enter in the address line) to book an appointment or for more information.


Romancing Self

Photographer: Carl Warner

Photographer: Carl Warner

I’ve been in somewhat of a swoon these days. And last night, I had an insight that allowed me to name it.

I’m in a romance with myself.

(I just giggled writing that, like in the most delightful way.)

I’m in pursuit of romancing myself.

And this realization came about in particular the other night as I was walking a beautiful tree-lined street near my current home in downtown Toronto. How beautiful are trees at night in the summer time? The slight rustling of the leaves, the wide canopy overhead, the gracious and tremendous presence they hold.

It thrills me every time. And reminded me in an instant of many years before being thrilled by the same thing but also somehow negating the joy and the pleasure of the experience because I was alone. I felt lacking in romance because nobody was there with me to enjoy it with and so the setting (which is also ultimately my life) was lacking. I was missing what I didn’t have and consequently missing all that I DID have.

So it was a sweet moment of embodied realization to come to; that I was deep in romance with myself. What better person could there be for me? Who else is so uniquely equipped with the key to what turns me on? Who but me can be the ultimate authority on my wants and needs?

So why not give it and appreciate it, fully and completely.

And, don’t get me wrong.

I love sharing moments with other people.

(And I love being swept off my feet by a lover, and swooning over loving, generous gestures.

I love long, hot, deep kisses.)

And…

I still come back to and take responsibility as being the ultimate source of romance and ‘swoonness’ for myself. I swoon at the beauty of the moon, in savouring the feel of warm breezes on my skin, on creating beauty in my life in all sorts of different ways (from tending to my altar on a daily basis to changing all my passwords to phrases that bedazzle me!).

I cultivate romance through womb space practice and meditation (which I’ve shared about in other pieces here) and continually bringing myself back to a grateful state. Continually appreciating and growing gratitude for my life and all that features in it, allows me to look for the diamonds, allows me to see with different eyes, allows me the openness and curiosity and receptivity for new things to arise as well.

Look, I get that these are challenging times. (Myself, I’m typically overcome with some intense despair or grief and cry at least once a day. But even that is a kind of romance, holding myself and allowing emotions to move through me without judgment.)

But what I have been coming to understand is that the way we take care of ourselves, the way we fill our cup, the way we ensure we are lit up and nourished with enough pleasure is the only way that we will collectively find the healing needed for our families, communities and our planet.

I’m not kidding.

If we as women aren’t nourished, pleasured, happy in as much capacity as we can be, no one else around us will thrive. So I’m calling on you (and we’re all depending on you) to make your own joy, make your own romancing of yourself your priority.

What does that mean to you? What special gifts can you begin to give yourself today?

PLEASE. Start now.

Image: Carl Warner