It's been a humbling experience these past few years observing my ups and downs. As always a daily meditation practice has been great for evening out the highs and lows. It also has to be said that meditation brings greater awareness to intensity of feeling, so it can seem like we're feeling more, especially when the numbing addictions of busyness, shopping, wine or drama are not present.
When we stop distracting ourselves from ourselves and choose instead to meditate, we actually feel feelings fully in all their glory. This can be exquisitely beautiful and, at times, horrible.
In this period, because I had purposefully stopped all the busybusy expansion of my work, I began to notice more consciously the cycles of my mood as they relate to the cycle of my body, and it has been fascinating.
I started keeping a mood diary, and it became clear that I was a very different 'me' when ovulating to the 'me' closer to menstruation. Over time this lack of consistency has allowed me to relax the inner grip of judgement more thoroughly and surrender the belief that any judgement my mind can conjure is in any way helpful. Judgements of myself and others are simply unhelpful - full stop.
So when I stopped judging myself as crazy or unreliable, I became curious instead. I began to respect my cycles and try to learn from them. I didn't read any books about the moon or look for online articles and talks on menstrual wisdom, I just observed myself - my bodymind as it unfolds in my daily mindfulness practice.
I observed my inner fluctuations with loving-kindness, meeting every softness and rigidity with tolerance and equanimity. I tried to not side with any position; I just took it all in.
A black and white aerial view would say that I was a soft and cuddly at ovulation and a creative warrior towards bleeding, but there are variations and multicoloured areas in all the days in between.
It is said that men are on 24hr cycles and women are on monthly cycles. I have seen that to be true, and it is probably why men have, for the hundreds of years of their domination, said that women are crazy. But we are not crazy, we are just different, and that difference is something to be learned from.
Nature doesn't make mistakes.
What I have learned from observing and respecting my cycles is that I have two very powerful forces in me that each can be expressed in helpful or unhelpful manners. To me they are Love and Creativity, and they intermingle and peak at different times of the month.
In the soft, loving cycle of ovulation my heart can meet anything that comes along with acceptance and care. My sense of being a separate self dissolves and I feel deeply connected to all of life. I know that I am meant to reach out and be kind. But if I'm not looking after myself properly I can also be fuzzy-headed and indecisive, over-giving and people-pleasing.
In the creative cycle of menstruation I am more clear-headed and articulate. I know what I want to do and say and I try to move things along for myself, others and the wider world. I feel more activated and alive. And if I'm not looking after myself I can be too detached and intellectual, unkind and distracted.
This how-it-is-ness is to me is the secret of maintaining a steady flow of ease through all my ups and downs, my yin and yang, filling and emptying times. When I remember that my job is not to evaluate, fix or control anything I am free to do what is helpful - I can love and I can create meaningful change.
We are in a sea-tide of change right now where we are learning to respect the feminine as it expresses in women and men, in nature and her cycles, and in the spiritual aspects of existence. My wish is that we learn to respect and honour all the cycles, because it is in their spiralling that we will find the nourishment and wisdom needed for the journey ahead.