by Sara Harris BHSc, Cert. NFE, Melbourne, Australia
To meet with women is a very beautiful thing – there is something very ancient about gathering and being together to support one another.
Recently, this February, we had a gathering such as this in Melbourne. It was a presentation for women titled: “Nurturing the Woman Within: Reclaiming Your Natural Rhythm within our Modern Times” presented to us by Natalie Benhayon.
This presentation was also the launch of a new ‘tool’ that is now available as an App from iTunes called ‘Our Cycles – Period and Full Moon Diary’. The creation of this app and what we can use it for is nothing less than revolutionary. We now have the opportunity to record our period, menopause and full moon cycles in great depth, all at the convenience of our finger-tips!
Generally, the other cycle apps available are used and targetted to those who want to achieve (or avoid) pregnancy. The ‘Our Cycles’ app, created by Natalie Benhayon, is far more complete and offers us something that is pretty amazing! With this tool (a reflection of our modern times) we have the opportunity to understand and connect to our bodies and know ourselves in a way that we may have not seen as possible before.
During the presentation we had some discussion about our cycles and considered how a ‘period tracking diary’ would benefit us. Some suggestions were:
- It can help us access a deeper awareness of what is going on in our body and thence the opportunity to make different choices.
- It can be an opportunity to see / learn so much about self – and then work with it.
- It could offer us more of an understanding of others and where they are at.
- We can nominate something e.g. exhaustion or unsupportive patterns with eating, and track this to see if there is a pattern and a possibility to break the pattern.
- Using the period and moon App could be a time in the day to just be with ourselves… to reflect.
So, our cycles are here for a reason… a very good reason: more than just about our being capable of carrying and birthing a baby. In fact, our periods are a gift and a blessing… and when we can begin to see them in this way, we can experience having a sense of control over our bodies and our monthly cycle rather than being at the mercy of something that is just happening to us, and is way beyond us.
Our period cycle is not beyond us and it is not some out of control function that we are cursed with, like many of us grow up learning to think. What if we were taught from young that our period is actually about connecting to our bodies? Natalie asked us to ponder on this question. And what if sex education was more than just ‘sex ed.’ that most experience at school, which doesn’t give us much more than the anatomical and physiological basics, leaving many embarrassed, confused and often hesitant and anxious about what is inevitably ahead of us. What if, when we got our period, we weren’t just given a pad, but also a period diary? It seems obvious that given the opportunity to deepen our relationship with ourselves by understanding more about our body, our experience of becoming a woman may have been a very different story. There was a resounding agreement in the room of 100+ women, when we considered the possibilities here.
The fact is, every month we are ‘cycling’ – even those who are not bleeding – going round in circles! Therefore we have the opportunity to learn and develop by reflecting on our previous month and choosing another way for the next time round. Of course, this requires some extra awareness and attention to begin with to become familiar with our period cycle in its entirety. Yes, in its entirety! We don’t just bleed for 5 or so days and nothing else goes on for the rest of the month! There is so much happening, so many intricacies and hormonal interplays, so with a little more awareness, we can learn so much about where our body is at.
If we have the same recurrence of a particular symptom, emotion or behaviour, then with this awareness we can make a choice to do something about it. With more of a loving understanding about where we are at or where we are coming to in our cycle, we may choose to do something a little differently, and over time we may see that our body is responding to the new level of care and love that we are choosing. For example, we may always find ourselves exhausted after our period finishes, so in preparation for that we may look at how we are with ourselves whilst we have our period. It may be that living at the same pace for the rest of the month is simply not what our body is calling for. If we chose to rest more and honour what we feel, our body then has an opportunity to heal itself and to help us to connect deeper to what it is truly asking.
A period diary is the awesomest and perhaps only way to do this. And now, with the creation of the ‘Our Cycles’ app we have easier access to making this part of our daily rhythm, and recording in depth the ebbs and flows of the inevitable cycles that we are a part of. We are constantly cycling. So there is always the potential for amazing awareness and amazing healing… OR we can just keep living the same patterns and behaviours over and over again… It is our choice. As Natalie shared with us, with more awareness, we may even uncover how we can tend to focus on ‘the bad’ and make ‘it’ everything, rather than appreciating what has been lovely and beautiful throughout the month, and giving this the focus.
Just as women who have their period cycle month to month, so too do menopausal women, and also men. Their cycle is with the full moon, so yes, in effect, they have a period too! So not only can menstruating women use ‘Our Cycles’ – it is for us ALL.
I am inspired by the amazing potential we have to heal by connecting more with our body, and also by sharing our experiences with each other, as we did in this Women’s Group. The richness that was shared and the opportunity that we have with ‘Our Cycles – Period and Moon Diary’ has the potential to be incredibly healing for us all.
Thank you Natalie Benhayon.