I started bleeding at 4.30 am. I feel a familiar wetness coupled with some low intensity uterine cramps. I get up and slip a moon pad into my beloved black bleeding pants – so comfy and soft. I then snuggle back into bed and drift in and out of sleep till my alarm goes off at 7am. Then it was time to get up, fill breakfast bowls to the brim with cereal, wash grapes and make sandwiches for the children’s lunchboxes. Then a deep breath and the whirlwind of three children getting dressed, cleaning teeth, plaiting hair, doing school reading and eventually piling all three in the school bus along with bags, books and Easter bonnets at 8.30am. Phew!
At last peace and quiet, a top-up of coffee and back to the oasis of my bed, surrounded by wise women’s books so I can browse whilst I rest, allowing my womanly blood to flow out of me. I feel it spurt deliciously out of my yoni onto a washable pad, sewn by my own fair hands. Bliss.
I am thankful I have the opportunity to rest up today. There is nothing so urgent that I have to make myself get up and work. I have had a very productive month, so I can afford to take some time out. I am not always so fortunate every moon and I reflect on other bleeding women around the world who have little opportunity to retreat into the womb of the blood cave. I send them some love and healing.
In workshops and everyday life I talk to women about the value of retreating during our bleeding time. This gives us the chance to rest, to allow that which no longer serves us to flow out of us and away. We can simply ‘be’ rather than run the treadmill of constant activity. Womb bleeding is a time of inner cleansing, a time to compost the old, letting the previous month wash through us and away. This act of releasing on all levels – spiritual, emotional, mental and physical is health-giving. It allows us to wipe the slate clean. We need peace and quiet in order to do this most efficiently. The rhythm of menstruation actively helps us to disconnect from the outer world by making us feel naturally quiet and introspective.
This helps us to turn our focus within. This might sound like hard work but it is actually liberating to spend time alone snuggled under your duvet, reading, snoozing and dreaming. You can record dreams and realisations in a journal if you feel called to. The only difficult bit is organising life to make it possible by freeing up our diary as much as possible. In our busy real-life world, this is hard to achieve. We all have commitments – work, laundry, cooking, pets, children, hobbies, social life etc. The list goes on.
So how do you make space for yourself to bleed and release? If it feels right to engage with conscious bleeding in this way then the vital first step is to give yourself permission, promising yourself that you will only carry out the absolutely essential stuff next time you bleed. You can write it down as an affirmation “I promise to honour my next bleeding-time by giving myself time to retreat”. The next step is to mark your diary ahead when you are likely to be bleeding. Obviously this is trickier if your periods are irregular. Then start preparing. Go food-shopping, stash meals away in the freezer and avoid committing yourself socially. Plan ahead in terms of your work, avoiding scheduling meetings and deadlines during your bleeding-time. As you become pre-menstrual, finish off all the out-standing work and projects you can and clean your house. Begin winding down in preparation. Get lots of sleep.
When your blood starts to flow, withdraw. At work you can still be polite to colleagues and customers, but there is no rule saying you have to interact deeply with them. Being a little dreamy is not a crime.
It is trickier with babies and toddlers in tow, but you can still rest when they do and plan ahead to make your life as easy as possible. You could ask another mother for support and do the same for her. If all else fails, most of us can still manage a bath and an early night.
Well within our means to control, but more challenging to enact in reality, is taking a break from social networking. We are diverting energy away from ourselves when we constantly check Facebook, emails and our mobile inbox. Try a complete Facebook break for a couple of days. The world really won’t come to an end and it could do you the power of good.
As someone who has practised this way of retreating once a month for a long time, I can say that it really does get easier with practice. Sometimes weddings and children’s birthday parties do crop up on the first day of bleeding which is obviously not ideal. If you gift yourself with time in the blood cave for every month you can, then you build up a reserve of spiritual energy which carries you through these non-negotiable commitments.
Enough from me now. I’m feeling sleepy and fancy a little nap.