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.


Receiving the Worldwide Womb Blessing

The Worldwide Womb Blessing happens five times per year with an ever-growing number of women (& men!) participating each time.

The Womb Blessing is an attunement and an evolving journey welcoming the energies of the Divine Feminine into our lives and allowing this sweet experience to guide us ever closer to knowing, appreciating and living our unique selves.

Whether this is your first time or whether you are a returning participant, I’ve prepared this blog to make participation easy and clear. You can participate on your own or you can invite your friends and create a circle.

First things first: remember to register at your chosen time (listed are UK times, so do the calculation for your region). Men can find out more about their gift and register here.

Things to have beforehand:

  • 2 bowls (per person), one should be water-proof and the other non-flammable
  • 1 tealight (per person)
  • 1 main altar candle (can also be a tealight)
  • a lighter or matches (to light the candles)
  • a shawl
  • a small snack
  • the meditations/instructions (a link to these is sent to you when you register for the blessing)
  • flowers (optional)
  • altar items (also optional, can be anything that is special to you or reminiscent of the season or reminiscent of divine feminine energies or all of the above)
  • For the October Blessing in the northern hemisphere you will also need a doll & some white string/thread – this is optional and depends on whether you plan on doing the season’s ritual/meditation (which I recommend). This can be a simple thing you create such as a stick with ribbon tied around it or it can be a doll that you already have.
  • Time blocked off (30 minutes before the blessing time, 20 minutes for the blessing itself and I like at least 30 minutes after the blessing’s end)

On the day of:

  1. Begin to prepare about 20-30 minutes before your chosen time. Set up the space where you will do the meditations and receive the blessing. Set up your altar if you are choosing to do this. You will set 1 bowl to the right (of the altar if you have one or to the right of where you will be sitting if you are not creating an altar) with the tealight in it. The other bowl you will place to the left and put some water in it.  (see pic below for an example, this can be so simple, nothing fancy required!)
  2. Get comfortable on the floor on a cushion or sitting in a chair. If you are on a chair, make sure that your feet are flat on the floor.
  3. Read or play the audio of the pre-blessing meditation & visualizations (there are two: the ‘Stirring the Waters’ and ‘Womb Tree’)
  4. At your chosen time, prepare yourself to receive the blessing. Set a timer if you wish for 20 minutes. Use your shawl to cover yourself or your head to create a bit of a sanctuary. Get comfortable either sitting or lying down.
  5. Receive for 20 minutes and delight in the energy.
  6. You can end here and drink the water in your womb bowl and have a snack to ground yourself. Thank the Goddess for her blessing

OR

You can participate in the post-Blessing meditation and the season’s ritual:

  1. Come back, stretch a bit and get comfortably seated.
  2. Read the post-blessing meditations (these are the ‘Ray of Light’, ‘Sharing our Sisters’ and ‘Honouring our Ancestors’ meditation for Oct)
  3. Drink the water in your womb bowl, and eat your snack to ground yourself. Thank the Goddess for her blessing.

 

As an Advanced Moon Mother, I am privileged to participate in the Worldwide Womb Blessings by sending energy with my sisters, and by answering any questions you might have. Please feel free to connect with me.

I encourage you to participate each time and to share with your friends. It is all too easy for the day-to-day grind to wear us down and each Womb Blessing is a chance for renewal and rejuvenation. The experience is unique each time and always what we need.

Much love

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A Gratitude Ritual

'Giving Thanks' Frank Polson

‘Giving Thanks’ Frank Polson

In the year I did my first Reiki training, I began a routine of gifting this healing energy to myself as I lay in bed, drifting into sleep.

Somewhere in the practice of laying my hands on my body with this loving intention of providing myself with Reiki energy, my gratitude practice was born. My thoughts would drift to the day’s events and I naturally found myself pausing to express and feel gratitude for them deeply in my body because it felt joyful and blissful to do this.

Some days were filled with so many wonderful things and it was easy to summon so much to be thankful for. Other days weren’t so spectacular and yet, it was still easy. I start there where I am. Because I am grateful every night for having a warm bed to sleep in. I’m grateful for the body that allows me the experience of this life. I am grateful for this breath.

And what happens always is that one grateful expression will lead me to the remembrance of another. And then another. And another.

Most nights, I am filled with tremendous awe and humility at how beautiful life is, how wonderful people are, how many gifts are so freely and generously given. (Of course, this isn’t to suggest that there aren’t difficult people and painful moments in my life; it just isn’t where I put my attention especially before sleep.)

My nightly ritual has become this. I no longer intentionally giving myself Reiki though it’s all kind of become the same thing. I place one hand on my belly above womb (about 3 inches below belly betton) and one on my heart centre. For me, this creates an important circuit and connection between hands, breath, body, and awareness. A way for the energy to flow through me.

Continuously connecting with the experience and energy of gratitude in my body allows me to find my way back to it quickly and easily when things go awry and when it would otherwise be hard to come to be in a thankful state. Like any place I’ve often travelled to, I know the terrain and how to find it without thinking about it, without worrying and without a map.

So as I run through my day and feel the deep gratitude for the special moments throughout, I float off to sleep feeling happy, relaxed and as a result, I sleep soundly and restfully. I never have a nightmare. I wake up in the morning in a grateful, excited and humble place. Ready to start and experience another miraculous day.

Do you have a gratitude practice? What is it?

What are you grateful for?

Or perhaps you are looking to experience reiki, contact me for an in-person or remote session.

Art is “Giving Thanks” by Frank Polson