Body and Moon, Cycles and Rhythms

by Julie on March 4, 2013 · 9 comments

 

At the bottom of this post, I ask questions of you that I’d really love to hear your wisdom on. I hope you’ll share.

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In our current faced-paced, and growing faster each day, culture, for the most part we ignore nature’s cycles and rhythms. Most of the rhythms we do follow are man-made: our current-day calendar, 9 to 5, Monday thru Friday, and school to work to retirement, to name a few.

Yet, life moves in rhythms and cycles that are tuned in to each other. The tides follow the moon, birds sing wildly (like they are doing outside my living room window right now) each spring, and women’s bodies for much of one’s life have a cycle that allows it to be a receptive home to new life coming into being.

Painting by my Great-Grandmother from 1899

Somewhere, sometime a while back, I considered how my monthly cycle was tied to the moon. I’m not sure where I read it. I know I didn’t learn it from my mother or in school. And, after my surgically induced menopause at the age of 29,

I never considered, nor was I counseled to consider in my process of recovery, that as I no longer had a cycle, I could follow the moon’s phases instead. I wish I’d known this. Looking back over the past 27 years since my surgery, I can see how I’ve floated a bit, meaning I haven’t really been grounded in a rhythm.

Why is that important? Because as a woman, I am deeply in tune with the earth and with life, and when my own cycle ended with that big long incision, my deeper relationship with life and the earth was cut, too.

Of course, we don’t have to have everything removed to lose touch with our own connection to our body, and in response the connection between our body and the earth. Just living in a culture that no longer thinks of the earth as a living, breathing being causes us to not consider such things.

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Just yesterday, as part of Sara Avant Stover’s “I Heart My Moon Cycle” month, she shared a video I shot while I was on Molokai. For these 28 days, Sara is sharing stories from 28 women about their moon cycles. I wondered about participating, since I don’t have a cycle…technically, that is. But Sara encouraged me to share, wanting to have stories from women who are in all of the phases of life.

Last week, after years of knowing each other online, I got to spend time with Sara in the flesh. We took a leasurely walk, along with my dear friend, Tara Mohr, into the Presidio land, here in San Francisco. We talked of many things. What I loved, though, was getting to know her presence, getting to feel how she moves through the world grounded in her body. And, we talked about what it means to move with the cycles of the moon when a woman no longer has her own internal cycle. Thank you, Sara, for opening me to consider how my life might be more supported by moving with the cycles of the moon.

Since that day last week, I’ve been contemplating this for my life – what it would mean to move with the cycles of the moon. And, since Sara released my video, I’ve received inquires from other women on how I know when to rest if my body no longer has a cycle. And the answer is, I haven’t know when to rest. I keep moving through my days, as if there is no cycle.

What this brings up for me is wonder about how many ways are we tied to the earth and the moon even if we don’t know it. How are our bodies interacting with the cycles of life, even if and when we continue to move with the culturally constructed rhythms that most likely do not support our full health, full creativity, and full happiness?

I know that simply by being, we can feel our connection to all of life. Our bodies can guide us to remember and re-member. I know how important this is for me as I get older, to listen to the rhythms so that I don’t get so overtired from constantly moving, and just as importantly so that I fully embody the gifts of womanhood, gifts that I am hungering for, and that the world itself is hungering for.

The rhythms and cycles are important to my creativity and what I desire for my work in the world, as well as to the creativity of our world at large.

So my questions of you are:

How do you move with the cycles and rhythms of your body, and the bodies of nature?

If you are in menopause, what cycles speak to you?

If you had a hysterectomy and are not yet in age-related menopause, what have you discovered? I really want to know.

I want to hear your wisdom. I know it will help me to listen to mine.

 ::

I hope you’ll take a look at the stories that women are sharing on Sara’s site. And, I hope you take a few moments to listen to mine. I share a few intimate stories. And, if you listen closely, you’ll be able to hear the birdsong of the island all around me.

image: This image is part of a painting done by my great-grandmother, Clarissa Ruh. I sense she was in touch with the moon.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Andressa March 4, 2013 at 8:47 am

I love that painting, it’s so beautiful! I am also following I Heart My Moon Cycle program, with Sara Avant Stover, and loving it. The ways I connect to my cycle are mostly related to my yoga practice. During my period, I focus on restorative poses, seated poses, light pranayama, meditation, journaling and mantra chanting. I dont do inversions, even down dog, and avoid hard practice (no sweat!). I take this time to recover, to recharge and to connect to my intuition. I want to know how to honor my cycle during the other days of the month too, and hope to learn it in this program and future ones. Thank you for yout beautiful post and video. Namaste.

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Ash March 4, 2013 at 8:49 am

A friend of mine recently released her book “4 Seasons in 4 Weeks” and in it I have found a beautiful way to view my cycle, which I have been tracking since I was about 27. Suzanne writes alot about women who have no cycle or altered cycles or various reasons. It’s a brilliant gift for this time as many women are reclaiming their cycles with power and grace! Thank you for your daily wisdom too!! It’s so lovely to be a part of this Unfolding together!!! ~ Ash (Ashland, OR)

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Kimberly March 4, 2013 at 10:02 am

Hi Julie! Thank you so much for this article and for adding in Hysterectomy. I went through my hysterectomy when I was 30 (I am now 43) and it has been a wild road! Connecting with the lunar cycles had to become a very conscious action since I was not intrinsically tied to them anymore. Eventually, I found that my body did respond to the rhythms just in different ways – more energetic ways. I also have become far more conscious of my body’s messages and what it needs and wants. Thank you again for posting this – I look forward to MORE! :)

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Alexandra Telluselle March 4, 2013 at 10:14 am

Julie,
I am so sorry for your loss but perhaps this is a call to remember that we are spiritually connected no matter what and that your daugthers is a loving reminder of your power to create.

When it comes to living in the flow of our cycles, I am so grateful that I have learnt how to, but struggle with how to fit it into society’s demands. My period governs both my energylevel and sexuality and comes when it is full moon. The week after it started, I see it as a good time to prepare for new things and get physically active after giving myself more sleep for a couple of days to recuperate after becoming energized by full moon. Sexually I want joy and discovery, sensual touch.

During my ovulation I am at my most beautiful strongest self which is when I schedule painful physical procedures and times of dealing with inner healing as well. And sexually this is when I have more lust, craving physical intensity. This is new moon.

The third week calls for more intellectual work and a higher sensitivity approaching the period. My body detox itself and I become more depressed, less concentration and sentimental. Sexually calls for more cuddles and reassurances of safety than all nighters.

During my period I try to relax more, reflect, take a breather, reorganize and follow up on previously started tasks. Luckily I don’t bleed very much except for three days, pain for one. Sexually focusing on my partner or making it short and sweet.

Interestingly enough I didn’t feel connected while I was on the pill but only after quitting.

Take care,
/Alexandra

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Alexandra Telluselle March 4, 2013 at 10:28 am

PS. If I would compare my cycle to building a house. I would draw the sketches and gather all material and people the first week, build and assembly the second, paint and decorate the third, moving in and celebrate the completion at full moon.

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jenn March 7, 2013 at 9:49 am

this is such an interesting topic. I did not really get interested in my cycle and its meaning for me until after I hit menopause. I’ve been reading The Wild Genie by Alexandra Pope, and wrote a blog on menopause, which lead to all kinds of other readings on a woman’s cycle. I even have a rough draft of a book for girls about the myths surrounding menstruation. But do I follow the moon? Mostly I just notice it, I always need to see it, especially at the new moon, and its crescent beauty. The full moon pulls my eyes towards it. They saw we have more energy headed towards ovulation, and the two weeks headed towards menstrual flow are downward, inward. I know I have a cycle of ups and downs, but couldn’t say what pattern, if any it follows. thanks for the reminder to pay attention. I do know that we can’t be ‘full on’ 100% all month long, and that daily periods of rest are necessary as I get towards the end of my fifties….

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Verleen December 6, 2013 at 7:28 pm

I am brand new to the idea of living my life with moon cycles. I had a hysterectomy at age 28 and menopause followed within a year. I am 64 now and still having some hot flushes and mild mood swings, but no pattern to any of it. I still have not grasped from reading the article and replies, how I should fit my self to the moon cycles. I have also been healing from a shocking marriage problem that arose 2 years ago. It has me soul searching and trying to be present and and put the past behind me. I get BodyTalk here, and it was my facilitator that lent me sara’s book, to see if I would resonate with anything in it. Have you had any more insight since this was initially posted? Can you recommend a book that would directly link me to my specific issue? I live in a very small city and have never heard of a support group for anything like this and I am hungry to learn more. I just recently read Sara’s book “The Way of a Happy Woman” and a lot of her advise probably will be difficult to fit into my life with a husband . There isn’t a lot of opportunity for the solitude and alone times. But I am going to do what I can. In the meantime, further information would be much appreciated.

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Julie December 10, 2013 at 8:22 am

Hello, Verleen,

It sounds like we’ve had similar histories. I understand how hard it is to find quiet time of solitude. And, those times are really important to come down into the body, into the places where you can feel the rhythms and cycles happening in your body and soul and heart.

The body will guide you.

I have a wonderful meditation that is a beginning. Send me an email, and I’ll get it to you. We can chat more that way.

With love, Julie

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Candace May 14, 2014 at 9:20 pm

Hi I had my hysterectomy on 10/11/12. I was 26 years old. I am looking for someone to converse with about women who have had hysterectomies as I feel like I am the only person on earth who knows what it feels like to have a hysterectomy. – Thanks.

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