Why, as a menstrual cycle educator, do I talk so often about self-love? Afterall, isn’t the menstrual cycle simply a biological function to enable women to have babies? And if so then what on earth could loving yourself more possibly have to do with anything cycle related?
Ooh so glad you asked sweetie! Here's why:BECAUSE
Our menstrual cycle doesn't just take place quietly inside us...it is us.
It pulsates and flows through us, inside us, with us, for us.
Guiding us gently.
Sometimes pushing harder to be noticed. Wanting us to see that it is there, that our rhythms are just waiting for us to acknowledge and claim them as our own.
When self-love is not a part of our life, we stop noticing.
We dull our senses. We ignore the calling within.
We grow uneasy with these deep rhythms that reside within us and may even begin to battle against them. To remove them altogether...so that instead of a rhythmical ebb and flow we live our lives in a state of flatline...one size fits all.
When self-love is not a part of our life we suffer from dis-ease and live in our heads rather than our body and soul. Pre-menstrual syndrome/stress becomes our constant companion and default setting as our cycle begins to behave like an unhappy child desperate for attention and doing anything to get it.
We turn to the wrong things seeking comfort and try to blot out the pain of the ever growing feeling that things are not quite right.
We don’t like ourself or our body,
We decide that we are not enough.
We ignore our own intuition and listen ever more to the incessant noise outside our soul.
Instead of being guided by our menstrual cycle and feminine rhythms we become locked into a cycle of negativity and disconnect further and further from our true nature. From who we really are.
This is not the way.
We deserve more.
You deserve more.When self-love is part of our everyday life things change.
There is a shift with each day that we go deeper into the practice of self-love. We notice ourself more, how we feel, what we really need to feel nourished, cared for, alive. We embrace a more mindful way of living. Paying attention to the now and hearing everything our body wants us to know.
We tap into our true energy, listen to our intuition more, reconnect with the voice inside. We eat better, sleep better, live better and our menstrual cycle stops shouting for attention.
Instead it basks in the knowledge that it is loved.
That you are loved.
PMS eases as we take more care of ourself. Moodswings disappear as time out
becomes part of every day life; aches and pains are relieved by nurturing our body and soul with exercise and time in nature. Bloating and irregular cycles are a thing of the past when healthy eating and cycle charting
become a natural part of life.
So why do I talk so much about self-love?
Because self-love is the foundation for a healthy menstrual cycle.
It is the foundation for a balanced life.
It is the foundation for everything. Jo ♥
When I was a little girl I didn’t have to think about how I felt I just knew. I felt it in every part of my body and responded to it with abandon. If I was happy I danced around with glee and if I was sad I threw myself down and wailed. I didn’t know it was meant to be complicated, that I was supposed to second guess myself or worry about what others would think about me. I didn’t have drawers of labels for myself I was just me.
I was happy.
Life was simple.
But then it got more complicated.
Maybe I am the one who complicated it.
I reached puberty and began to feel less sure of the body I was in, of who I was growing-into. I gave myself labels like ‘friend’, ‘teenager’, ‘angry teenager’, ‘lover’, ‘woman’, ‘daughter’, ex-lover’, ‘mother’, ‘wife’. These labels each came with their own set of rules and baggage. Some of these rules and baggage others gave to me...and some I gave myself.
Life was getting complicated.
I was second-guessing everything.
What if…I asked myself all the time.
What if they think I’m showing off/too quiet/slutty/frigid/not good enough/too good/too smart/too stupid….and so it went on and on in my head until I drowned out my own voice. I had covered myself in so many super sticky labels I couldn’t be seen anymore…by myself or anyone else.
I had become invisible.
I had gone to sleep.
You know that bit in ‘Runaway Bride’ where Julia Roberts' character doesn’t even know what kind of eggs she likes…that was totally me. I had no idea what I liked, what I wanted, who I was. I was just a bunch of labels and other people’s perceptions smashed together and wrapped in celllotape so tightly I couldn’t break free. (And the truth is that somedays I can still feel like that...but now I always carry a pair of scissors to cut myself free!)
Back when I was still asleep inside, my period would announce itself every month with a hiss and a roar, an explosion of pain and anger and tears. The depth of connection that is available during bleeding was so intense and terrifying that I would go to bed. Frankly it scared the bejesus out of me! I would pull the covers over my head and try to block out everything instead of exploring what was opening up to me. I wanted to silence the voice within...and so it shouted louder. I wailed ‘why me’ and ‘what is wrong with me’ and ‘I hate being a woman…it’s not fair’. The tears would roll down my cheeks. And the woman inside would keep screaming to make herself heard using every way she knew to make me pay attention…but I was still asleep.
I didn’t know that the only way to stop the pain was to wake up.
To Awaken the Woman within.
To BE that woman.
To be ME.
And then one day I started listening.
Just a little bit.
And I realised that she had something to tell me.
So I listened some more.
She wanted me to know that I was still inside.
I was still there.
The woman inside who wanted to play, to love, to create, to be who she was born to be…ME! Not anyone else’s version or requirement of me but the real me at soul level. Without the labels or rules that society or anyone else (including me) wanted to impose. The one who isn't always nice or good, who is still childlike in so many ways, who gets so passionate about things that she can forget to breathe, who giggles at inappropriate times, who gets so caught up in creative living that she forgets everything and everyone else, who loves the feel of the sun on her face and the naked earth under her feet, who loves to watch romantic comedies and read romantic novels and sometimes just wants everyone and everything else to f**k off! The more I listened the more I realised that I had to embrace who I really was. That it was okay to be that woman. It was okay to be me. And so...I gave myself permission to let go of everything else.
Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks.
Screw their version of me.
It’s exhausting trying to live up to everyone else’s idea of who you should be and how you should be.
Pretending to be one way when inside you are slowly disappearing.
I don’t want to be anyone else’s idea of me I just want to be who I really am…silly and funny and passionate and beautifully perfectly flawed.
Slowly the woman inside me has been waking up. She is still waking up. She grows stronger every day as I continue to go deeper and listen harder while I navigate my way around the continuous cycle that flows inside me. Using each part of my menstrual cycle to open my eyes and ears to all the different, complex, wonderful things that make me ME! The woman inside no longer has to scream to make herself heard, now she can just whisper a gentle reminder whenever I start to play the comparison game, to forget who I really am and start to lose my way and doze off. She reminds me that it doesn’t matter who does what, or has what, or says what. What matters is that I am true to myself. To my own rhythm. It isn’t my problem if someone doesn’t like me. It is only my problem if I don’t like me.
My job is to show up every day, honestly, with integrity and BE ME. My job is to Awaken the Woman inside me and let her SHINE. I’m not gonna lie to you. It can be scary. Pull the duvet over your head, hide from the world scary. It opens up a whole bunch of fears and makes you face vulnerability head on. It takes practice and lots of small steps to happen and even then it can still be freakin’ shit scary.
But…showing up in the world as me is sooooo much better and makes me feel sooooo much more alive than showing up as someone else.
I have ‘Awakening the woman within’ written here on my website and on my Facebook page so that everytime I log in I remind myself to wake up, not to fall asleep again, not to be squashed down by all the other noise in the world but to let my voice sing out loud and clear and true.
And I want you to be Awake too, to see your own beauty, hear your own voice calling to you and really listen to what she says.
Because just imagine…a world where every woman is truly awake.
To her own value.
Her own beauty.
Her own mind.
Her own goals.
And actually believed in them.
Knew 100% that they were right for her.
Because they came from deep inside.
That place where we just know.
Where we stop giving a crap about what anyone else is doing and do what we actually WANT and LOVE. Be who we actually WANT and LOVE.
What if you did that? How would your world change? What is the woman inside you saying to you that you need to hear? What can you do today to start Awakening the woman within you?
"Making the decision to become a mother is momentous.
It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body"
~ Elizabeth Stone ~
Me and my boy enjoying a cool drink after a very hot walk around Hobbitton, New Zealand (cue shiny faces!)
Today is my son's 14th birthday.
14 years since he came into this world.
14 years since I looked into his eyes for the very first time and discovered a new kind of love.
14 years since I first became a mama and my life changed forever.
And as he reaches 14 I am so very aware that our journey together is changing faster than I am perhaps ready for.
He no longer needs me to hold his hand as he explores the world around him...and sometimes I am afraid for him as I watch him go
A mothers hug doesn't always fix everything...even when I can see him hurting inside as he negotiates the path ahead
Sometimes he looks at me, no longer with the childlike adoration and love of days gone by, but with anger and frustration as he tries to push his way into adulthood...and I am the obstacle in his way
He has memories and experiences that no longer involve me and I only know about them if he chooses to share them with me...he doesn't always choose to...sometimes that hurts
Sometimes he doesn't like me...and the truth is there are some days when I don't like him very much either
I see the man he is growing into and my heart soars for I know that he is 'one of the good guys'.
A son to be proud of.
A son to cherish.
He has a big heart and feels things deeply.
He is brave and courageous and sometimes I am in awe of him as he travels the path to adulthood in giant strides whilst I tiptoe cautiously along in the shadows
One day he will make a wonderful boyfriend/husband/father.
And when that day comes I will still look into his eyes and remember the very first time we looked at eachother and became a part of eachothers story.
The day when I learnt that 'mother' is more than just a word, it is a life-changing event that will test you to your limits, teach you more than you ever thought possible, take you to heaven one minute and to your knees the next, teach you pride and humility, wrap you up in a tsunami of emotions so strong that somedays you can barely breathe.
The day when I truly understood what it meant to have a piece of your heart and soul walk outside of you forever.
Oh my goodness I have had the most beautiful 4-days celebrating for my birthday which is finally here today - HURRAH! A party with friends and family; dinner out with 3 amazing women from my women's circle; oodles of flowers, books & chocolate and endless amounts of love. I am so very grateful to have such beautiful souls in my life.
As I am 38 today I thought I would share 38 things about me, my life and what I have learnt...
10 THINGS I AM GRATEFUL FOR:
~ My beautiful husband, who has been a part of my life one way or another for over 20 years, and is a constant source of love, support and friendship. Marriage may be hard work but it is worth it!
~ Love and hugs from my 3 lovely children who teach me endless lessons about life and myself
~ The continued wisdom, words and love of my Grandmother (91 a couple of days ago)
~ Being able to do a job that simply didn't exist 38 years ago
~ The inspiration shared by so many incredible souls here on the Worldwide Women's Web
~ My women's circle and the friendships it has given me
~ Living in a time when women's voices are growing stronger
~ Mother Nature and all her beauty which gives daily joy...when I remember to stop and take it all in
~ Books, peppermint tea, walking barefoot & long naps in a hammock!
~ YOU, beautiful soul for walking this path with me
10 THINGS I HAVE LEARNT...
Sometimes you have to leap first and look later
Never regret anything that made you smile at the time
Artist dates really do help keep me sane
Sometimes you have to swallow your pride, bury your ego and ask for help
Vulnerability is a strength not a weakness
Living mindfully and in the present moment is damn hard work...but worth it when you can
My menstrual cycle holds the key to living my happiest, healthiest life
It's okay to make mistakes it proves you're really living
When women join together miracles happen
Taking time out can be the most valuable use of your time
10 RANDOM THINGS ABOUT ME...
*I broke my foot a few years ago and it still aches in the cold...I am so going to be one of those Grandmothers who predicts when snow is coming!
*I don't know how to drive
*I'm addicted to Romantic Comedies
*My favourite gift to give and receive is flowers...roses, peonies, tulips & gerberas are my favs
*If I won the lottery I would still teach and share about Mindful Menstruation
*I have rosacea...i'm not gonna lie, it is a bit sucky
*I once stood in as Enya's hand-double in a music video
*I have lived in 5 different countries (not including Scotland where I lived for 2 years) and in over 30 different houses
*I am a Book-aholic
*On my 18th birthday I got the outline of a blue elephant tatooed on my shoulder...whilst living in Hong Kong
8 DREAMS FOR THE YEAR AHEAD
1 Teach at least 20 workshops and connect with even more amazing women and girls
2 Write and publish another book
3 Have a week away with my hubby
4 Visit Glastonbury, go to Chalice Well and climb the Tor
5 go on a retreat
6 Hire an assistant
7 Create oodles of Ebooks, meditations, freebies and more for you
8 Start learning Spanish so I can talk to my 2 lovely nieces and brother-in-law in their own stunning language
Oh wow, how I love the sun shining every day again! Isn't it amazing how that emergence from cold, dark and so much snow, lifts your spirits and makes you feel alive again, as though anything is possible.
And you know, I think it is.
As long as you are clear about your goals and where you want to head then anything really is possible.
Where are you headed?
What does your soul whisper to you when you stop to listen?
What do you dream of...even if it is so big you can barely even admit it to yourself?
The hibernation of winter is great for slowing down and getting in touch with what is most important to us but there is a joy that comes with the birth of a new lighter season. In much the same way our intuition and deep knowing are heightened during menstuation which makes it the perfect time to slow down and really listen to what is surfacing. We have to learn not to ignore these messages but to pay attention.
Write it down.
Make a collage of images.
So often these deep whispers are coming from our most authentic and true self. They are the dreams of our soul.
Week in review
Watched my boy totally rock his part in a play with his Drama Group at a local theatre
Launched my new Ebook 'The Art of Dating Yourself - 401 Artist Dates'
Wrote 'May Dreams & Birthday wishes' for the blog
Had a magical progress report from a beautiful teenage girl & her mum who I am working 1-1 with and booked another session
Had a fab Artist date in the park soaking up the sun and diving into a new book
Floated the idea with the peeps on my Facebook page for an online book group where we can read great books like The Red Tent, Women Who Run with the Wolves etc and share our thoughts on them
Spent time with my girls in the park making daisy chains
Had a solo-business strategy session in order to clarify where my work is headed
Got all teary over some gorgeous heartfelt emails from last weeks workshop for girls
Filled 2 bin bags with junk as the decluttering continues - seriously why do we have so much stuff!!!
Lots of creative writing sessions
More work on my PMS Ebook...not long now!
Heading to a picnic in the park with a lovely big bunch of friends to celebrate my birthday (on Tuesday)
Being taken out to dinner by the totally amazing women from my circle on Sunday night
Helping a most gorgeous friend move house - so sad she is moving from my street, she is the most brilliant neighbour and friend ever :(
Lots of time reading and chilling
Oodles of dog walking and hanging with my family
Watching The Voice...I am so addicted to it!!!
How about you? What plans do you have for this lovely weekend ahead?
'Sweet May has come to love us,
Flowers, trees, their blossoms don;
And through the blue heavens above us
The very clouds move on'
~ H. Heine 'Book of Songs - New Spring'
The first day of my birthday month.
The first day of my grandmother's, my Dad's and my son's birthday month too. Four generations of wonderfully stubborn, earthy, creative Taureans. Food lovers. Peace loving souls. Ruled by Venus and deeply appreciative of beauty. I dream that one day I will be the grandmother to a fifth Taurean - a grandaughter to carry on the tradition, to sit on my knee, giggling as we welcome the blossoms as May arrives in all its Spring glory.
Today, this first day of May the sun is shining and I am having fun penning dreams for the month ahead. Celebrations with family and friends, special offerings for you dear reader as I share my birthday joy, and time to review the past year and plan the year ahead.
I love taking the time to write down what I want.
To plan the magic. Set dates. Get clear on what I REALLY WANT.
The year ahead will see me leave my home, friends, family and start a new adventure in New Zealand with my husband and children. I would be lying if I said that I didn't feel some fear and trepidation about what is ahead.
I wonder if I will make as many true and beautiful friendships as I have here. I have asked myself many times whether I will be able to continue this work or whether I will need to make big changes in order to support our new life. And, of course I worry about my children, will they be happy, will they like their new school, will they feel that they belong? So many questions.
wrapped around these concerns, these worries, is a sense of excitement. It is an adventure. An opportunity to take a blank page and rewrite the story, change the plot, the direction, even the ending. When I write I don't always know where I am going to end up but that is part of the fun of weaving one word after the other, painting new stories and allowing myself to be open to where we end up, those words and I. And so, as I sit here drinking in the sunshine, I ask myself, what dreams do I want to come true?
Have you made plans for the month ahead? What dreams do you have. Write them down. Sprinkle glitter and positive action over them and who knows where you might end up.
Don't forget that my super scrumbly new Ebook 'The Art of Dating Yourself - 401 Artist Dates' launched yesterday for just £1.99
So excited to launch and share my new Ebook with you 'The Art of Dating Yourself - 401 Artist Dates'
Every woman deserves time out for herself.
To explore...herself and the world around her.
But sometimes it is hard to find the time. Sometimes we feel guilty about doing something just for our own pleasure. Sometimes we just don't think it is important enough to make time for our own needs.
Well, I'm here to tell you that that is just Bulls**t.
YOU 100% deserve to make self-care the number 1 thing on your weekly To-Do List.
YOU 100% deserve to make pleasure, creativity and fun a priority in your life.
Not only is it a vital part of living a truly beautiful life but it is also a key part of living a truly HEALTHY
life. Time out for playing is a perfect way to reduce stress, to get in touch with our deepest soul needs and reconnect with what is and isn't working in our life. It creates clarity, memories, joy and cultivates self-love.
All of this is good for our life, our happiness, our overall wellbeing, plus lack of stress = lack of PMS symptoms.
Making time for myself is a key part of my life. In fact it is my number 1 priority and biggest self-care tool. I need to be happy and healthy to be a good mum, business owner etc. I can't just wait for someone else to give me time for myself and then complain if/when it doesn't happen.
I have to give it to myself.
Schedule it in and then commit to it.
And I always feel great afterwards, as though I have given myself a little bit of magic. I feel energised, sparkly, full of creative ideas for work and life and reconnected to myself on a deeper level. 'The Art of Dating Yourself - 401 Artist Dates'
gives you permission to take regular time out and is crammed full of inspiring ideas from getting out and about to creative play or pampering and relaxing at home and more. Whatever your budget, weather or mood you will find something to suit you.
So, start creating a more amazing life today and give yourself the gift of time to play.Click here
to grab your copy of 'The Art of Dating yourself - 401 Artist Dates'
right now for just £1.99
I have been inspired by the fabulous Kimberly Wilson
to start doing a regular 'week in review' post to help me keep track of what I am doing each week. Things are getting pretty busy with our move to New Zealand later this year and balancing everything that needs to be done for that along with mum duties and trying to keep growing this site and my work, it is easy to feel as though I am not achieving anything. It is also a great way to keep an online record of my life and journey, maybe you could do a weekly review on your blog or in your journal to help you see how you are spending your time.
Week in Review
Had a great weekend in London running a 'Celebration Day for Girls'
workshop for a wonderful group of girls and their mumsunpacked, emailed the mums from the workshop the photo of the beautiful mandala their girls made and spent time reviewing how the workshop went
Posted more forms for my New Zealand visa and chased up others that hadn't arrived
Enjoyed a beautiful Artist Date
Put the finishing touches to my new Ebook ready to launch on Tuesday 30th April
Continued work on another Ebook all about natural ways to beat PMS
Started work reviewing the website and changes that will need to be made so I can continue offering you the best service after I relocate
Spent plenty of 1-1 time with each of my children including ice creams and daisy chain making in the park
Had a great afternoon with some girlfriends planning some time together before I go
Prepared everything I need for my monthly women's circle tonight
Had a beautiful catch-up with my parents who dropped in on their way up-country and gave me a gorgeous water jug from an antique shop 'for being a lovely daughter'
got invited to run a workshop on my book 'Note To Self'
Plans for the weekend
Watch my son in a performance with his Drama Group
Start planning my birthday celebrations
Long walks with my dog
Time for reading, cooking and friends
Get ready for the plasterer who is coming on Sunday to fix up one of the bedrooms ready for selling our lovely house
'I think it's very healthy to be alone.
You need to know how to be alone and
not defined by another person'
~ Oscar Wilde ~
This weekend I was in London running a 'Celebration Day for Girls'
workshop with a beautiful group of girls and their mums. It is always such a pleasure to do this workshop and see the bond between mother and daughter as well as see girls realising how amazing they, and their body, are.
Having had a pretty busy weekend I decided to give myself a much needed Artist Date yesterday and enjoy hanging out with myself. I walked into town and browsed the second-hand book shops (buying a few of course); enjoyed a cup of peppermint tea in a new coffee shop whilst planning out my week ahead in my lovely planner pad; watched a movie at home (Before Sunset
- great sequel to Before Sunrise
with Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy) whilst having a yummy lunch
and then took my writing pad to the park where I spent an hour in the sunshine letting the words pour out.
It was a really beautiful day and, although I used my phone to take a couple of pictures and upload them to Facebook
& Instagram I didn't switch on my computer all day - going pc free is highly recommended for a truly stress-free day of self-connection.
And I couldn't stop smiling! I just felt so alive and free, free to enjoy my time and do only what I chose to do. To play, connect with myself, daydream, slow down and remember that we have a beautiful life to live that doesn't require endless hours on the computer.
When was the last time you took time out to just indulge in some favourite pastimes?
Could you schedule in an hour today, tomorrow or next week? How about more than an hour?
Taking some time out is the perfect way to recharge your batteries, reconnect with your inner self and desires and release your creative juices. It also lowers stress levels, reminds you what is really important in your life and can banish the dreaded PMS mood swings.*EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT*
~ My new Ebook 'The Art of Dating Yourself - 401 Artist Dates'
launches next Tuesday (April 30th) and is packed full of ideas for taking time out. Keep an eye out on Facebook and via my newsletter for news of the launch.
Me with my youngest daughter a few days after she was born
Some women love the fact that for 9-months their life has been period free whilst others are longing to get back to normal and return to their cycling ways.
I remember after the births of my children no-one ever mentioning periods and when they would start up again, leaving me floundering around slightly in the dark with only maternity pads and plastic pants for company. There were endless leaflets on breastfeeding and immunisations to wade through and an ever growing pile of shiny advertising material telling me all the (mostly expensive) things my baby couldn’t survive without and which if I didn’t purchase would see me no doubt branded as worst mother of the year. But, after 9 months of being asked how I was feeling and day-by-day accounts of how my body was being stretched/kicked/used-as-low-rent-housing now there was nothing on me and my new body, not even when I should expect to add pads/tampons/PMS-emergency-chocolate to my shopping list or even what I should/could use (answer: organic chocolate is always best – that is what you were wondering right!).
I had so many questions and so few answers.
So here are 10 things I think every woman should know about periods after pregnancy:
1 If you choose to breastfeed it is possible that you may not get your period again until after you stop breastfeeding or until you reduce the number of feeds. As you reduce the number of feeds and gradually wean your child you may start by experiencing some spotting until eventually your periods start again.
2 If you opt for bottle feeds then your periods will probably start about 5 weeks after giving birth although it could be up to 3 months – so be a good Brownie and stay prepared.
3 Following birth your periods may be heavier or lighter than before so it is a good idea to embrace shopping in the ‘feminine hygiene’ aisle and have a smorgasbord of products and absorbencies available. If after a few months your periods have not returned to normal have a chat with your GP.
4 You may find that your periods are more irregular after birth and, just like when you first started your periods during puberty, it can take a while for them to settle down again. Take extra care during this time to use contraception as it will be much harder for you to accurately know your fertile times.
5 Following pregnancy and birth your cycle may be longer or shorter than previously so you should start charting
in order to get to know your new rhythms.
6 The lack of sleep and increased stress that comes from having a lovely little person in your life can have a big effect on PMS
. Even if you rarely had any problems before childbirth you may now find yourself weeping at everything and suffering more with bloating, headaches, mood swings etc. Pay attention to how you feel and the days when you struggle most in the month and make sure you talk to your partner so you can get some time out to take care of yourself.
7 Opinion on Menstrual cramps following birth is varied as some women find that their cramps are better whilst others begin to experience cramps for the first time. If you are suffering with cramps then there are plenty of things you can do to ease the pain
8 If this is your first child (congratulations) and you previously used a menstrual cup
then you may well need to buy a new one in a larger size due to vaginal changes following birth. Make sure you check out the website of your favourite brand for more help and information.
9 If you are a tampon user
then please note that it is recommended that you avoid tampons until after your 6-week check in order to avoid infection. You may like to avoid using tampons until after your first couple of periods following birth as it can be hard to know which absorbency to use and some women find that they can be uncomfortable in those first few months. Using pads can be the best answer as it enables you to more accurately keep an eye on how heavy or light your flow is and whether you are passing any blood clots (blood clots are not unusual following pregnancy but if they continue for more than a few days and/or are larger than a 50pence piece you should talk to your doctor).
10 You can become pregnant again
even before your periods return because you ovulate approximately 14 days before your period. Unless you are planning to have back-to-back babies then it is advisable to use suitable contraception.