‘for anyone who ever felt their periods were divorced from nature or was made to feel shame for such a natural process’ - The Festive Period, by Karen Zipkas 2020
As the saying goes – ‘You are a child of the universe, no less than the moon and stars’. (This is literally true, with the stuff of our bodies once being part of the stars.) But it doesn’t always feel like it. No matter how hard we work on cultivating inner and outer health, sometimes the world, our experiences, other people or our own inclinations, bring us down. It can be hard work navigating our bodies and minds through this life.
Chinese philosopher-poets Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu have described beautifully how we as human beings are inseparable from the Way of Life, or the Dao: the one Way separates into yin and yang, then yin and yang intertwine in a continuous ebb and flow to create the ‘ten thousand things’. Our spark of yang life energy animates our yin material body, and life itself passes through us.
Our job is to align ourselves with nature, in order to enable this cascade of life to be expressed through us. Openness to life brings the full magnificent spectrum of experience: bliss and pain, love and anger, longing and belonging, as well as the grit and grime of the everyday.
When our bodies seem to let us down, whether through chronic pain, struggling ovaries, messy discharges or bleeds, just not being pregnant still, or the multitude of other ways they can diverge from the ideal, it can be easy to treat ourselves harshly. We can feel disappointed, panicked, embarrassed, depressed, disgusted, or just so completely over it that we disconnect from our bodies in an attempt to distance ourselves from pain. These are completely understandable reactions, but never tell the full story.
Remember that we are daughters of the universe, no less than the moon and stars, descended in an unbroken line of women from the very first one; and life itself shines through us - even if sometimes it’s more of a tiny spark or glow.
· Find some physical joy. Enjoy the glint of light on your hair, the feel of sun on your skin, the flow of the sea around you, the warm touch of a loved one, the stretch and strength of muscles doing their thing, the dexterity of your fingers, the way music fills you and moves you, a laugh or a jiggling giggle
· Imagine a friend was going through what you are going through. Try and give yourself the kindness you would give to them
· Align with nature to nurture your spark: balance the inwards, gathering process of nourishment, replenishing, stillness and rest, with the outward movement of activity, expression, creativity and connection
· Respect the amazing things your body is doing all the time – breathing and digestion are alchemy; nurture these with good quality ingredients
· Breathe. We can do this together.