Hasn't the full moon been just gorgeous this week? I feel a close affinity to that glowing nocturnal bulb. As she gracefully moves through different phases each month, I recognize a pattern in my own body and spirit. Every month, not just once or twice a year, she retreats into darkness before returning to the her fullest brilliance. As a woman, I need a similar reprieve every month to access the most brilliant parts of myself, spiritually, physically and mentally.
Wouldn't you love a monthly pause to recharge and renew your spirit, get a few extra hours of sleep and refocus your mind? Guess what? Your body's already got one scheduled if you'll just check the calendar! If you're past childbearing years, you simply need to create one for yourself.
In my family, strong women didn't need to seek solitude several days each month during a monthly cycle. I'm remedying that misunderstanding of strength by talking to my own daughters about our need as women for regular rest and I use the moon as a visual. When the moon is dark, my daughters believe that she is taking a nap, in preparation for the time she needs to shine her brightest. When she is full they know she has shown up for work. I love how they exclaim in delight at the way she shimmers in the sky. My four-year-old already knows that a monthly menstruation is more of a time of magic and healing that something to dread.
But, the moon is more than just a visual example of monthly rest for us as women. Before the invention of artificial light, women ovulated and bled according to the moon's phases each month. That's a lot of women having their periods at the same time. Whoooo-eeee!!
According to the history of some cultures, women came together in community during the full moon to enjoy friendship and reprieve from the duties of daily life. Seems like a good way to handle massive communal hormone fluctuation right? In short, it allowed them a break to contemplate, commune and return to their families and normal duties strengthened and refreshed. As a reminder of this history, we call menstruation a "moon-cycle" in our house.
I'm not suggesting you ignore the family and crash on the couch eating those illusive bonbons we stay-at-home moms are supposed to be munching all day. (Where do I sign up for that?) Obviously, we all have things we have to do regardless of when that mooncycle hits. I simply schedule less and shorten my to-do list to the absolute essentials like feeding the kids and basic cleanup. I stay closer to home, drink plenty of water or Raspberry Leaf tea, go to bed earlier and get some rest. If possible, I do something just for me - like a facial or foot soaks.
As a result of taking this time for myself, I'm gaining little bits of wisdom about my life and how to live it best. That endless "to-do" list stops playing itself over and over in my mind and I am able to listen to the quiet voice of wisdom. This month, I heard it in the form of two personal revelations that will influence my every day life in very practical ways. Just as importantly, I am rested and ready to tackle the world after a few days at a slower pace. Instead of dragging myself around feeling exhausted, I've begun to look forward to this time of the month as a kind of magical time of rest and spiritual reconnection.
We girls are generally terrible at slowing down to rest. We love to detail the long list of activities we've accomplished every day. If you don't believe me, just check Facebook to see which of your friends wrote theirs down today. We excel at accomplishment and it's something to celebrate. And along with that list of things we accomplish, we nurture, love and hold up those we love in that mysterious way that only women possess. That second kind of women's work requires that we take time to refresh our spirits.
Luckily, our bodies send us a calendar appointment each month for that very purpose.
Are you ready to take a lesson from the moon this month and make a monthly appointment for a magical time of rest and spiritual insight? It's on your calendar anyway.
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