So many of us are inspired to integrate the inherent wild wisdom of our cycle, and the practice of self-care, into our daily lives, but we may not have been raised with the tools and language to create this positive change for ourselves. We may ask ourselves, How do I teach my children, and those in my life, to honor me as I learn to honor myself?
The use of metaphor is powerful means of engaging our loved ones with the beautiful rhythm of our cycles. Depending on the age of your child(ren), your family's spirituality path, and your own resonance with your body's rhythm, you may find one of the following analogies a helpful tool in creating personal ritual around your cycle, practicing sacred self-care, shifting the awareness of those around you, and raising the vibration of your home.
For our youngest children, the analogy of the nest is a beautiful and accessible way to help them connect with the the purpose and rhythm of our womb. A nature walk with the intent of spying a nest (perhaps staged before-hand by you, if you aren't confident that you will be able to find one spontaneously; a squirrel dray would also work in a pinch), or showing our littles a found nest is a lovely opportunity to open the door for the discussion of our womb wisdom.
As with the mama bird, we can explain, human mamas create a nest for their babies, too. Our nest, however, is built right inside of our bodies where it is safe and warm. Each month, we build a nest just in case a baby is meant to come to us. And each month, if there is no baby, our body sheds the nest that is no longer needed. Building, releasing; this is the way of the woman's body.
We can explain to our children that the building and releasing takes a lot of energy, and that mamas need extra quiet and rest and gentle slowness during the releasing time of their rhythm.
If our children are old enough to understand the changing of the seasons, using the wheel of the year is a potent means of creating the connection with our monthly rhythm. Sharing the idea that each season represents a week of our (roughly) 28-day cycle allows us to deeply explore our physical sensations, emotional and energetic predispositions, needs, and strengths associated with each phase of or rhythm. Do we feel at times that we are in touch with our powerful potential, our outgoing exuberance, as in spring? Do we feel the power of shedding what no longer serves us in autumn? Sharing this with our children (and/or partners) helps them to connect to their first-hand understanding of the shifts in nature that our mirrored in our own female bodies.
This idea is described in beautiful and inspiring detail by Suzanne Mathis McQueen in her book
4 Seasons in 4 Weeks. I highly recommend this book for all women as a means of reconnecting to our inherent womb wisdom, and as a means of learning a new, positive language with which to describe our cycles.
Suzanne's analogy connects our bleeding week with autumn, pre-ovulation with winter, ovulation with spring, and pre-menstruation with summer. Her pairings may resonate perfectly with you, or you may find that you make sense of your seasons in a different way; rest assured there is no right or wrong way to use this analogy. The power comes from the knowledge that you have of your own cycle, and using that wisdom to map to the seasonal blueprint that works best for you.
Many of my dearest sisters feel a deep connection to the ocean, and are drawn to the beach or shore by the hypnotic rhythm of the tides. Our internal ebb and flow is palpable, as we too are bodies of water. For those with a strong connection to the sea, using the analogy of the tides is an engaging way to help our children understand our cycle. As predictable as the waves rushing in and then rolling back out again, our menstrual cycle builds powerfully during the first phase until it crests at ovulation, and then inevitably flows back out again. Energetically, physically, and emotionally, we are sisters to the sea in our mutual building and releasing.
Look to the night sky for another illuminating metaphor; the waxing and waning of the moon is not only symbolic of our monthly cycle, but indeed linked on a hormonal level to our rhythm of ovulation and bleeding. The word menstruation, in fact, is a derivative of the Greet root mene, meaning moon.
Prior to the use of artificial lighting, women the world over ovulated in sync with the full moon, and bled on the new moon. With the introduction of electricity, however, our natural rhythm was inexorably disrupted and disconnected.
We can still honor our inherent lunar legacy, however, by using the analogy of the moon with our nearest and dearest. Employing the new moon in her dark beauty to represent our menstrual blood, we can share with our children that this is the time for releasing the past and beginning the cycle anew, starting over; a time for resting and quiet. Little by little, the moon grows again each night, as our womb rebuilds herself for fourteen days, in anticipation of the egg - ovulation - symbolized beautifully by the full, round moon . . . when we are at our most brilliant and luminous. And as with the moon, our womb begins to wane, night by night, until we bleed again.