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.
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.
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.
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.