I have always been a little jealous of those rare Earth Mother types who truly revel in their femininity, whose Moon Cycles are a source of joy, who are brave enough to embrace their bodies in their natural states and not force themselves into the impossible boxes the rest of us spend our lives trying to fit. I wonder how these women are able to find such self-acceptance in the face of the sea of voices telling us we are wrong at our core. Whether its how we should dress, who we should sleep with, how fat/thin we should be, what our boobs should look like, how we should age (or, rather, not age), how we should hide our periods, how hairy we should be, when/if we should become mothers, what jobs we should take or what our sexuality should look like, everyone's opinion seems to be valid except for the individual woman. And, to be quite honest, it really gets me down some days. I can be quite unkind to myself sometimes, echoing these sentiments of a diseased culture that tells women their natural bodies are an abomination, and that sort of self-talk does nothing but make me feel chained to my body, instead of comfortably settled in it.
When I need to snap myself back into a place of gratitude for the gift of a female physicality, I get into a pose of strength like the Warrior Pose followed by a position of submission like the Extended Puppy pose, repeating them and similar poses to be reminded of my own power and the collective power of all women to nurture and heal. I also do everything I can to support my feminine health throughout the month to make my Moon Cycle less unpleasant, mostly with tea like Woman's Energy and Raspberry Leaf from Yogi brand teas and dietary supplements like powdered cranberry to keep my urinary tract healthy and a garlic-based supplement to keep my natural flora in balance.
Two cups of raspberry leaf tea make my debilitating menstrual cramps completely disappear without nasty painkillers (thanks to my friend, Kacie, for suggesting it). I was skeptical, but it actually (miraculously) works. Also, drinking a cup of Woman's Energy, which is Yogi Tea's take on the ancient Dong Quai formula, every night throughout the month greatly reduces my PMS symptoms when its about that time. When all of my systems are running smoothly, it is certainly much easier to appreciate woman-hood.
Kali, fierce Hindu goddess of time and worshiped by some as the redeemer of the universe, or Demeter, the ancient Greek goddess of growth, fertility and the changing seasons. In a society overwhelmed with images of male warriors and deities, it is comforting to remember the ancient belief in the feminine divine within all of us.
Today, I am most thankful for the women, both online and in my personal life, who I can turn to with my concerns and self-doubt. Without these wise women, I would be lost. I have been blessed with truly great female presences in my life.
*To my female readers, what makes you most thankful to be women?*