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…


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


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


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


Healthy, Blessed Wombs

Bosmat Niron. Family Womb, 2005–2006

‘Family Womb’ by Bosmat Niron

I have had the incredible privilege, as a Moon Mother, of doing Womb Blessing & Womb Healing work with many women for well over a year now.

I didn’t know what to expect when I began. The women who come to see me have no idea what they are in for. It is unknowable. No two Womb Blessings or Healings are the same (even for the same woman).

The feedback I have received has been incredible, humbling, remarkable. I wanted to share some of this with you. After Womb Blessings & Healings, the women I have seen have experienced:

~ regular menstrual cycles (in one case, for the first time in her life).

~ a greater connectedness with their partners (also multiple reports of incredible sex right afterwards, and their partners noticing something ‘special’ and ‘different’ about them).

~ resolution & release of trauma that had been long forgotten (by the conscious mind) but was still residing in the womb.

~ post-abortion healing and peace

~ relief from menopausal symptoms.

~ (wanted) pregnancies!

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. Every woman’s experience is unique to Her and precisely what She needs (though not always the same as what She wants…)

There are no guarantees AND anything is possible… And the love and warm embrace of the Feminine is available to us all, at any time.

Some have become regular devotees, treating themselves to the wonderful energies and transformation of a Womb Blessing & Healing every Moon cycle.

We were all birthed from Womb. This is a sacred space. And our remembrance and honour of that is what holds the key to the future of life on this planet.

Do you want to know more about Womb Healings & Blessings? Feel free to contact me for more information or click here for a list of authorized Moon Mothers around the world.

Art: ‘Family Womb’ by Bosmat Niron.


Of Men and Bleeding

Art: by Alain Bonnefoit

Art: by Alain Bonnefoit

I was 24 and just a few weeks into a new relationship. When my blood started, he rented some videos for us to watch. He went to pick up supplies and comfort foods. And he held my hurting belly and rubbed my aching back as we curled up and watched the kind of rom-com movies I only enjoy at this time.

It was like a dream come true. His loving gestures made for the most exquisite experience of a period I’d ever had up until that time. It was probably that day I really fell in love with him…

A few months in, it got even better. He wanted to make love to me on my period and get as intimate as he could with my blood. I was reluctant, squeamish, concerned, self-conscious.

Not him. It was a level of intimacy that he craved. And I did too but maybe never dreamed believe it was possible.

See, the guy I had been seeing right before was the polar opposite. He was squeamish, ignorant, judgmental about blood. He would comment on it being that time of the month if I was standing my ground. The one time he dared experiment with sex, he ended it about after a minute when he saw my blood on his belly. I knew from the start it was doomed…

But I stayed longer than I should have. I didn’t have a lot of experience with more enlightened males. I had no brothers so very few male figures in my life save my father. And that man was a relic from an older time. One time I got into SERIOUS trouble when I forgot to toss out a pad and my father went into the bathroom after me to discover it there. Lying there. Exposed and offending his eyes and his maleness. As if I did it deliberately. As if it did personal harm to him. Like, no kidding.

So it’s how I grew up. These things were not to be mentioned! And if and when they were, there would be scorn, mockery, derision. No wonder my periods growing up and for much of my adult life were so excruciating and painful.

So it was such a gift to encounter this man in my adult life. He allowed me to see that there could be beauty and joy during my bleeding. I felt loved. I felt that this blood was sacred, beautiful. This gift changed the course and experience of my life and I am so very grateful.

It’s the manner in which men have impacted my experience with menstruation. How has it been for you?

Art: by Alain Bonnefoit


Our Bodies Are Not Pathology

thevoyage by Terje Adler Mork

“The voyage” by Terje Adler Mork

In the news today is Angelina Jolie’s announcement of having had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed in order to prevent possibly,maybe, perhaps experiencing cancer in these parts (as was the fate of her mother and her mother before her). This is a couple of years post double mastectomy for the same reason. (She shares here)

I can’t imagine being faced with a scenario such as hers and opting to do these radical surgeries. I am fully supportive of every one making the choice they deem right for themselves.

At the same time, I am deeply troubled by a society and a medical system that takes the approach that our feminine parts are a ticking time bomb and continually instills a panic about the inevitability of disease, like of the worst kind.

I appreciate the courage it requires to speak so openly about her life and her choices especially as an icon of femininity in this present time. But I also kind of resent it because I know many will emulate her in this choice even if it may not the best one for them. They likely will not even be aware of other possibilities. They may not be aware of the risks of such a choice.

I mean, what would it be like to truly love and honour and worship these parts of ourselves and our femininity as a whole? How many of us reach a place of that kind of experience of reverence? For our breasts, our ovaries, our ovarian tubes, our wombs, our intuition, our wisdom, our strength, our power, our vulnerability… all that we ARE.

In this life we have the opportunity to cultivate a relationship with our Selves, to develop an intimacy with our Selves, AND to share fully and completely. Sometimes, it is fraught with pain and fear. We are not helped by denying or suppressing our feelings (or cutting them out) but by going deeply into it. We are often actually so afraid of these parts. (I have been. I can feel so vulnerable about this mass of tissues sometimes…And it doesn’t serve. It merely brings that which is feared so much.) What, though, might be available on the other side of this?

Both of my parents have passed on. Both had cancer.

This isn’t something I don’t consider, this legacy of cancer. Especially at this tender time, when their loss is still so fresh and I’m forging a new path for myself.

In times like these, I am so very grateful for all that is available to us and to be able to share with the world. Because I know that another experience is possible. A world of reverence, love and peace. Of learning to love and appreciate all of ourselves and of others.

A world of experiencing and knowing wholeness and completeness….

I want that for Us.

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

Art: ‘The voyage’ by Terje Adler Mork