Once upon a long time ago, we all sense that there wasn’t so much shame around our monthly bleeding. Although I have some serious issues about projecting the Red Tent movement into the past (like, if we all bled at the same time, who stayed outside of the tent and handled the women’s work for the community? The cooking, cleaning, gathering, mending, tending? Slaves? The elderly? I’m not comfortable with that and I think the social privilege of a Red Tent, whether modern or ancient, needs to be acknowledged.), I do believe that cultures all over the world at one time recognized the power, potency and magic that is present when we bleed.
At some point, Big Bad Patriarchy descended across the land and what was powerful and potent in women, became dirty and demonized. Under this new world order, women were removed from society when they were bleeding, not to rest and receive divine guidance on behalf of their community– that was now in the hands of “celibate” priests, or men who didn’t touch yucky women– but because they were dirty and cursed.
In this modern world, we are expected to bleed without anyone knowing. There are all sorts of hyper-feminine and hyper-adolescent products out there designed to help us bleed discreetly, while subtly reminding us that we are not powerful, not adults, and expected to be the same, day after day. I personally am sick of buying bright pink and green tampons. I’m not 14. (However! A few savvy business women have begun to create their own elegant and grown-ass tampon and pad products! Check out Cora for beautiful tampons delivered to your door.) You’ve seen those tampon/pad products that feature a woman dressed in white and playing tennis or something– the exact opposite of what she she probably feels like doing when she’s bleeding. Why?
Our bleed corresponds to the season of winter. It’s a time of turning inward, reflecting and resting. It’s a time to let go of the last cycle and to begin looking forward into the next cycle– what do we want to do? experience? It’s also a time to reflect on our life and the life of our community/family and think about what’s working and what’s not working and what to do about it. It is NOT the time to take action on any of this. It is NOT the time to work out, especially very aggressively (but hey– you do you. If you honestly feel like going to CrossFit everyday, even when bleeding, then do it. But I want you to have permission to rest for a few days if that feels better). Biologically, we are created to do this during this phase of our cycle because at this time there is more communication between the two hemispheres of our brain then there is at any other time. We are more capable of seeing a situation or a problem from many different perspectives (community) and coming up with a solution or plan of action based on these multiple perspectives. When we’re done bleeding and we enter into the GROWTH phase of our cycle, we would ideally have more focus, clarity and oomph behind our goals and plans because of the few days we spent resting, relaxing and receiving. This makes us powerful manifestors and creators. And a threat to the patriarchy.
(And now Jesus bleeds for all of us, thank you very much, so women please go stand over there and let the patriarchy get back to ruining- I mean running- the world.)
The truth is, we are ALL cyclical beings, men and women and everyone in between. Men operate on the circadian rhythm, or a 24 hour rhythm. They really are the same every day. The work day has been designed around men– hit the ground running in the morning, strategizing in a mid morning meeting, an afternoon break/ golf course time, winding down with a little socializing at the bar after work, going home to rest. Wake up and repeat. We women operate on a 28-40 DAY cycle, not hours. Days. And when we’re unpredictable and not the same as we were yesterday? We’re called bitchy, moody lunatics (luna= moon in Latin).
And yes, we women have a circadian rhythm too. It’s a micro layer of The Blueprint Cycles and is important to take into account as well (I’ll make is easy to navigate all of these layers, promise).
If you’d like to learn more, please join us for The Blueprint Cycles! Click on the image below to learn more. This virtual workshop is available on a sliding scale for a limited time.
The pre-menstrual phase of my cycle is my favorite part of my cycle.
Let me say that again: I love PMS. Yep. I really do.
But it wasn’t always this way.
For nearly two decades I suffered from intense knock-me-to-my-knees (in public spaces no less) menstrual cramps, embarrassing hormonal cystic acne and crushingly low levels of self-esteem in the week or so leading up to my period.
But not anymore.
Sure, part of it is just getting older and my body coming into itself and a more gentle rhythm. But a larger part of it has been intentionally developing and trusting my intuition and building a nourishing spiritual and personal practice that supports my intuition.
Today, as a 35 year old woman, my PMS symptoms include impatience and irritability– things I would take any day over debilitating cramps and painful, scarring, acne. Plus, I know exactly what my impatience and irritability are trying to tell me and what to do about it:
Seek more pleasure.
When you’re in the pre-menstrual/luteal phase of your cycle, your emotions are especially tuned. Each one is sending you a message about what is working in your life and what isn’t. If something is making you super grouchy, it’s a sure sign that that something needs to be addressed, changed or evicted from your life. If something, like chocolate and your favorite Netflix show, gives you pleasure, that sensation is telling you that now is the perfect time to indulge.
And if you don’t menstruate? No worries. That’s what we have the waning moon for.
When I was younger my body was trying to tell me that I wasn’t being true to it. I was running around trying to perform for a masculine world in a way that would garner male approval– and for the most part it worked. But it wasn’t until I started intentionally cultivating more feminine ways of being, and ending a few toxic relationships along the way, that my body started to calm down and give herself over to the pleasures of being a woman. No more cramps. No more acne.
What is your body trying to tell you?
If you’d like to learn more about the Pleasure Cycle, including how I used the macro and micro layers of this cycle to turn my sex life around (yep! PMS saved my sex life!), check out my upcoming two-part workshop on The Blueprint Cycles by clicking on the image below.
When I was younger I CRAVED social interactions and situations. I loved being around my peers, traveling and trying new things. But each time I went out, I found myself wondering if this event would be one of the rare and magical ones where I just felt on fire . . .
You see, I’m actually quite shy and reserved, especially in groups and especially when the people I DON’T know out number the people that I do know. Classic introvert with a Leo rising. Love the socializing. Hate the party. Or something.
But. Every once in awhile, I’d have a rare night where I could dazzle the crowds. I could take center stage and tell witty jokes, have everyone laughing AND rip it up on the dance floor. These nights were exhilarating. I loved connecting with the crowd and I actually fed off of the energy versus being drained by it, as most of us introverts often are. The problem was, I never knew when I was going to have an “on fire” time or not. I couldn’t predict the circumstances that allowed me out of my shell and into the spotlight. I knew from one to many embarrassingly failed attempts that I could not fake it until I made it. I could not force myself to act a certain way– it didn’t work like that. I was either “on fire” or I wasn’t.
And while I wasn’t keeping an exact journal I now suspect that those “on fire” moments happened while I was ovulating. These ovulation phases were extra magnetic because they were coinciding with the Creation phase of my life.
During the Creation phase of The Blueprint Cycles, your body and it’s wisdom take center stage. You’re more magnetic, friendlier and open to socializing. People are more drawn to you and intuitively want to help or sympathize with you and your causes. This is THE time to plan meetings, say yes to social engagements, ask for favors and even to batch task social media posts.
This cycle corresponds to the Ovulation phase of a woman’s menstrual cycle and is all about drawing what is good and right for you– to you. It’s about receiving attention, blessings, support, resources and other good stuff.
When you’re in a cycle of creation it’s not like you’re walking around with a big neon sign pointing at you and shouting “entitled!” It’s more about being in a feminine state of receptivity and flow. The practice is in actually allowing yourself to receive.
How many times has someone complimented you and you immediately compliment them back, down play the gesture or rush in with a “oh thanks! I bought them at XYZ boutique!” instead of just smiling and saying thank you? I am VERY guilty of this game myself. But the challenge and the gift of this part of The Blueprint Cycles is to open yourself to receive.
BUT the cycle of creation is also about firmly standing in your own wisdom and declining that which is not good or right for you– owning your sovereignty, taking up space and making swift decisions. It’s about receiving your own wisdom and trusting your own intuition as much as anything else.
If you’d like to learn more about The Blueprint Cycles and how to identify when you are in the Creation cycle how to manage it, plan for it and use it to your advantage, check out The Blueprint Cycles two-part workshop by clicking the image below. Registration is open with a sliding scale for a limited time.
Learning to identify when I’m in a GROWTH cycle has changed the way I relate to my body. I know this phase is largely about the mind, but mindset and belief has a lot of affect on the body.
In my teens and 20’s I was always “the fit one.” Exercising was my hobby and showing restraint around food was my superpower. When I became pregnant in 2012, the year I turned 30, I was shocked to gain more than 60 pounds with my pregnancy. After my darling Cuen was born, I began biohacking my diet and exercise habits and lost 50+ pounds by my son’s first birthday— only to become pregnant again. I kept up a healthy pregnancy with my second son and staved off most of the weight gain– only to balloon up again during the last trimester. It’s just what my body does when it’s pregnant.
After my second son was born, I was eager to get back to biohacking my way back to 125 pounds . . . but something was different. I no longer had the morale or motivation to stick to a diet program. So I tried another one. And another one. I’d do well for awhile but inevitably I’d rebel against whatever restrictions I was trying on and end up gaining more weight rather than losing weight.
It took many bathroom floor breakdowns and “failed” attempts for me to release control entirely and stop trying to get back to some manufactured “ideal.”
I came to realize that having two babies was A LOT different than having one. That while I could easily manage my diet and exercise with restriction and dedication after my first baby, I was now in a different life phase– one that didn’t respond well to those rules. In fact, I was in Blueprint Cycle No. 4– Relaxation.
BUT, just as we have different life phases, those phases have micro layers at the monthly and even daily level. The thing is, I LIKE exercise. My body is hungry for it. So I learned to identify the daily and monthly slots when I was temporarily in Cycle No. 1: GROWTH, the ideal time for putting new habits and projects in motion. I harnessed these micro-cycles to get my mindset and habits aligned with where I wanted my health (not weight). I also learned to identify where I was overly in a feminine way of being and how to balance that with a little masculine juju to maximize the results of my efforts, and vice versa: I learned where I was being overly masculine and how to soften my approach with a little femininity.
And it’s working. Three years after my second (and last!) son was born, I’m still chubbier than I was when I became pregnant with him. But I’m also a lot healthier– in mind, body and spirit. I don’t even want to get to 125 pounds again– though 135 would be nice! But, at this time of my life, I know there’s only one way I’m going to get there: by following my Blueprint Cycles– not someone else’s and I’m staying the course.
I also realized that the world of biohacking is actually the attempt to “hack” the circadian rhythm– the rhythm that dominates men’s lives but takes a backseat to the menstrual and moon rhythms of women. Once I started following the right rhythm– The Blueprint Cycles– things started falling into place with more grace and ease.
I’ve bundled the wisdom of The Blueprint Cycles into a two-part workshop, which will be recorded live on December 12th and 13th at a special price. I’ll be talking in-depth about how I apply this wisdom to diet and exercise (which is really about habits). I’ll also be talking about energy management, identifying your own cycles and how the moon and seasonal cycles reflect and work in tandem with The Blueprint Cycles. You can learn more and join the workshop by clicking the image below– it’s available on a sliding scale for a limited time and includes a 50+ page PDF transcript and notes!
All cultures have a history with ancestral reverence and tending to the spirits of the dead– if you go back far enough. Some cultures have a living and breathing ancestral reverence practice to this day.
There are a lot of reasons tending our ancestors has fallen out of style: the busy modern lifestyle, globalization, intense focus on the development of the individual over the collective (no judgement there– it just is), organized religion creating fear about communicating with the spirit world, etc.
On top of it all, we’ve created a culture that fears death. Death (and physical ageing) is to be avoided at all costs and all expense. Elders are often removed from society in part because they remind us of our own mortality. When it is time to die, few of us know how to do it correctly and peacefully. We fear it, the unknown that comes after and we cling to life– sometimes causing long and unnecessarily painful deaths.
When a loved one does die, the body is often whisked away as quickly as possible and prepared for burial or processed for cremation by strangers. In some families the public expression of grief can also be stymied by social convention– blocking an important part of the dying process for the dead. It sounds a little strange, but our tears and our wailing help the dead find passage to the other side.
Complicating things further, when someone dies their soul can sort of “shatter.” Trauma, rage, grief, addictions and other unresolved emotions and situations can’t crossover. While the soul at large may crossover, imprints of these unresolved or unexpressed emotions stay earth-bound are are often responsible for hauntings, psychic disturbances and even the transference of issues to the living.
For example: Old Uncle Bill passes away of liver disease. He became an alcoholic early in life as a result of PTSD from the Vietnam War. His generation, and perhaps his culture, didn’t encourage therapy or the processing of emotions much so he died a very haunted man. Upon death, part of his soul shattered– the traumatized parts. The shattered piece of Uncle Bill that was addicted to alcohol happened to lodge itself in his grandson, Tom. Tom is young at 22 and hasn’t yet developed a firm sense of self or of personal boundaries, making it easy for spiritual attachments to form in situations like this. Further, Tom is at a stage in life where he frequently goes out to bars and clubs and drinks with his friends. Tom is far from an alcoholic but the alcoholic and traumatized part of Uncle Bill’s soul recognizes an opportunity to “stay alive” and to keep feeding the addiction (it really can be parasitic). A few weeks after Uncle Bill’s death, Tom is beginning to wonder what’s “wrong” with him and he’s starting to feel a bit out of control: He’s drinking more often and more heavily than usual. Instead of drinking to socialize he’s finding himself craving the drink even when he’s alone. He’s also experiencing some frightening nightmares that he can’t make sense of and finds his nervous system is always on edge, as if he’s waiting for an attack . . . until he takes a drink.
(Please note: if this explanation of death and dying doesn’t resonate with you, just let it go. You don’t have to be on board with this cosmology to continue with the course, although I do encourage you to keep an open mind).
And in my course: Become An Ancestral Flame Tender, we’ll return to Tom and Uncle Bill with some suggestions on what to do to prevent this situation and how to clean up the mess if it’s already been made.
But the point is: the consequences of forsaking our dead have never been more grave or more clear: intergenerational pain and trauma. Patterns of addiction and even death that jump from generation to generation– waiting to be resolved. And, to solidly place myself even further down the rabbit hole, I believe (and I’m not the only one) that the world’s current political climate and even global climate change are in part exasperated by the unresolved issues of the dead. These issues hang around, polluting the global consciousness.
If you join Become An Ancestral Flame Tender you are stepping up as part of the solution. Every little ember stoked by ancestral flame tending has a butterfly effect in this world and in the spirit world. And I haven’t even told you the best part yet! There are rich gifts that come along with being an ancestral flame tender: fierce physical and spiritual protection, blessings, guidance and trans-generational healing included.
But hurry, this course begins this Sunday, October 1st and enrollment closes Sunday morning.
Learn more here.
I believe that everything, everything, has spiritual DNA. From the tiniest of newborn humans to the oldest of ancient rocks. Encoded in your cells and in your soul you will find your spiritual DNA.
What is this spiritual DNA? I imagine it is made up of this lifetime’s ancestral heritage as well as major events and trainings your soul has undergone in between lifetimes and perhaps even in other lifetimes. I imagine stamped along this DNA is your soul’s contract for this lifetime: what you’ve agreed to do, learn and give in this lifetime to this world.
I say “imagine” because I don’t really know. But I do know we do have spiritual DNA. I do know that we have undergone specific trainings in between lifetimes to help further the development of our soul and the gifts and challenges we will face while incarnated on Earth. I do know that we have a soul contract for each lifetime and that it makes sense that this would be stamped into our DNA.
Your spiritual DNA expresses itself in the tugs and nudges that we call “intuition” or “women’s knowing” (though men have it too). Your spiritual DNA leads you to dabble in this and learn from that– leading you to remember or awaken to mysteries within.
For example: Say you’re a red-blooded American but have an inexplicable draw to Eastern religions. That’s your spiritual DNA speaking to you. There’s something in the Eastern religions that you’ve learned in a past life or that is in someway fundamental to this life that you need to remember. So you go there. It doesn’t mean you need to spend your life as a Buddhist nun and it doesn’t mean you have the right to culturally appropriate traditions and ideas you don’t know enough about. But it does mean that you need to sift around. Open your mind and your heart. See what’s making your blood sing and what you need to do about it.
I also believe that many of the ancient Mystery Schools were established to protect spiritual DNA and to carefully awaken the secret codes within initiates. Even the Bible says: “We speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden … No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him, but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit” (NIV). 1 Corinthians 2:7-10.
Has this secret wisdom been hidden in our DNA? I think so.
Genocide, war, immigration, colonization and assimilation are among many of the reasons we have forgotten we have spiritual DNA, much less are able to access it. But I also believe that part of what’s encoded in my spiritual DNA is the mandate to help others reconnect to their spiritual DNA.
From growing up on my ancestral homelands, to spending my life as a cultural insider-outsider, to becoming a journalist with an activist streak bent on portraying cultural and racial minorities in a living and breathing light, to spending five years studying how we create and sustain our cultural identities and legacies intergenerationally (and earning a M.A. in the process), to unexpectedly becoming an expat in a foreign land . . . my entire life has insisted I return to my spiritual DNA in order to ground myself and my soul in this life and in the multi-layered cultural identities I have taken on. Half-breed. Mixed Race. Okanagan. Expat. Foreigner. Insider-Outsider. Racially ambiguous. White-passing. Chameleon.
I believe that for those of us who have been separated from our heritage and traditions by space, time, genocide and/or oppression, the first step to discovering and reconnecting to our spiritual DNA is to reconnect to our body’s DNA. Where did our people come from? What stories shaped their experiences and are stamped in our blood? Were they alive spiritually? How were they alive spiritually?
In the Northern Hemisphere we are approaching the Thinning of the Veil: the veil between this world and the spirit world will be it’s thinnest from October 31-November 2nd, also known as Halloween/Samhain/All Saint’s Day/Day of the Dead. It is a time of the year when cultures all over the world have traditionally honored their spiritual and physical DNA in the form of ancestral remembrance and reverence.
If you would l like to meaningfully participate in this ancient observance, but perhaps avoid making a more long-term commitment to your ancestors (you know– dip your toes and test the waters so-to-speak) I have created a 60-minute workshop that will guide you through everything you need to know to situate yourself in a healthy relationship with your ancestors and to create a seasonal reverence practice.
Learn more here.
Hope to see you there.
In love and sacred darkness,