Has anyone else ever taken ‘sick leave’ due to period symptoms?
Out of conviction I did this for the first time this month. Whilst I could have pushed myself, there was a niggle inside asking me to take this time. It would have been much easier to simply down extra supplements, and to ‘put on a show’: I’m a strong and reliable woman after all! 💪🏻 But…
…during the day as I sat with my anxious mind I realised how easily we can feel overly responsible. For example; the fear of judgement for not being available, the guilt for not doing one’s part, and the shame for uncontrollable cycles. How interesting, I pondered, I never knew I felt all of these so deeply. It seems to me there is still a guilt and shame within us: that we are not enough. And when we do take time to rest, we somehow still feel guilty for doing so. Hence, many of us rarely truly rest.
I believe action, output and work are sacred, and I love to contribute. The odd aspect is the never ending cycle of feeling one needs to keep going, keep up, or someone will judge you as inadequate. The feminine cycles shift and change, often unpredictably, and whether we admit it or not, we are affected by these. To me it seems that we have undervalued the sacred movements of the female essence. Even as women we shun them and try to toughen up. On a bigger scale this looks like constant outgoings but little in-comings…overproduction and little reflection. Perhaps that is mirrored in the way we have over polluted our environment, without stepping back for consideration. We easily do, but not so easily stop. Doing and getting are highly praised and we get all sorts of awards for this. Being and abiding with self and surroundings is rarely mentioned in the mainstream, nor sought out. Perhaps now that we have the ‘mindful’ trend it is more in the public eye. Yes, things are indeed changing. In this progression, I feel the calling to bring awareness to where I/we have thrown out our own inner feminine, and where we can make space for her externally. This subject is so full and large that one could write books…
It is present everywhere: the imbalance and return to harmony is throughout our culture and society. I love my masculine strength and enigmatic ideas for action, I love others’ (especially Jonny’s, my fiance), and the successful businesses, infrastructure, organisations that we can enjoy across the globe. I have been considering, however, the idolisation of our masculine. We love him, but at the cost of our feminine?
When I mention the feminine I am thinking of; women, men, nature, earth, animals, well-being, stillness, seasons of life, life and death, rebirth, change, transformation, mysteries and the unknown, the darkness.
I feel we have neglected our natural engagement with her. Whether it be through understanding how nature supports us, and receiving from the healing in plants for example, or embracing change as a wonderful part of existence: often we try to avoid ‘mishaps’ by sticking too rigidly to plans and security measures (note that these are useful but not a sole guide in my opinion). And what about death and the unknown? We have become so separated from this integral part of human life. We try to avoid the topic at all costs, because essentially we view death as bad. In a similar way we often treat the mysterious. In other cultures less western like our own, death can be embraced as a passage to our next phase of life, as a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. Both in a metaphorical and actual sense death is a doorway. We have brutalised death through war, and branded it as a curse when it occurs. I believe this is because death can represent something out of our control, and reminds us of our primitive, human bodies. And, because we have allowed separation to come between us and our primal, abundant earth, we feel this is all alien and wrong. Consequently death and the unknown of consciousness and worlds beyond us seem terrible. I feel this is because we have become unacquainted with this reality. She, our feminine essence, is the earth and all of our cycles both within our bodies and without. She is the Mother, the eternal embrace of love, and there truly is nothing to fear.
Getting to that place of experiential peace can be hard though. For me this involves letting go of trying to control my understanding, and of trying to be something. When we feel we have to correct, or protect ourselves from whatever may happen…then this is what I feel disconnects us from the heart beat of life, the raw and wild pulse. This is not to say that there isn’t lots to be done, but to illustrate that the action comes from a place at rest and in trust.
You may be thinking, if like me you have a Christian or similar background, what about our Heavenly Father? And that’s a great point. This is another chunky part of my journey and prayerful contemplation, which I will briefly comment on, because I feel it is so significant for understanding our feminine:
To put it simply, if you read the Bible and pray, then try changing Him/He every now and then to Her/She. Try communing with your Eternal Mother, or She the Holy Spirit, as well. I use both Father and Mother in my devotions, and have been gradually integrating more ancient feminine expressions into my holy inner place of worship and prayer. This is because over the past 7 years or so I have felt moved to research our Christian history, to experience mystical and Gnostic Christianity, as well as middle- and eastern wisdom. I found, simply put, that a historical patriarchal hierarchy (as still generally remains today) created much of the Biblical structure and doctrine we know today. The history is vast, horrific and moving. It has taken me, and still is doing so, years to uncover hidden truths and forgotten aspects of ourselves, and our spirituality. The feminine aspect, in Her purity, holiness and beauty, was virtually erased and done away with by organisations who valued power and control. But She has always remained within us, around us, and as our Mother.
I spend time contemplating Jesus and asking to see in purity, beyond what I have been told or read. Not because everything we are told or read is wrong, but because much of it has been so overly translated and changed, that I have truly felt I want a heart to heart experience for myself. This journey has led me to where I am now: unveiling the other side to the coin.
Because our culture has experienced so much antagonism towards the feminine principles, I feel it is really important in this day and age, a truly freer and more abundant time frame than recent centuries past, that we embrace and voice the whispers of our feminine expression. Ways of developing connection can be, for example; through wisely relinquishing control for a (safe) period of time just to see what happens, following one’s inner guidance to time alone for meditation, rest and reflection, practising awareness of the ‘darkness’ within and without, cultivating the wild, ecstatic side, doing something unpredictable or unknown, and allowing the death and transformation seasons to take you in and gift you with new treasures for the landscapes on your horizon. You might note I added ‘wisely’ above. This is where our connection with God and our own inner strong masculine presence of structure and boundaries is important. We cannot live without each other. It has been about coming into balance, for me, and allowing any pendulum swing to guide me back to the centre where I can walk the united, narrow way.
In conclusion, I’d like to say that whilst I have and do take extended periods of time away from society, I feel convicted that She is right in the middle of high powered, industrial sectors, we merely lack the sight. When we come into internal marriage of the heart, we can start to see glorious union around us, and take an active role of extending peace and love to others wherever we might be.
Returning to that long, reflective first day of my cycle: I genuinely wanted to head out and show a positive face. I am quite happy to go about a normal day whilst experiencing (painful) internal change, but it seems good to me to have the choice to go within should the opportunity be requested. Working environments and approach can be adapted to support a return to our own sovereignty of well-being. These times of inward focus and secluded stillness have provided me with essential recovery in a physical, emotional and spiritual sense, and allowed for raw creativity and awareness to emerge through me.
As women and men we can learn to dance between out and in, go or stay. Whilst we learn to embrace masculine and feminine within and around us unconditionally, we begin to notice how both are flowing in and out of one another eternally, and we, along with our animals and environments, return to our innocence as children of God.
With love and peace, thanks for joining me.