Menstruation Is Power


Menstruation is Power

by Alexandra Pope

 

The stress sensitive barometer in women, the menstrual cycle is an exquisite system for sensing both physical and psychological well-being. Menstruation is an initiatory time, when women can potentially open to a highly charged altered state, giving them access to a singular kind of power.

The power of self awareness, deep feeling, knowingness, intuition. A power that matures over time with each cycle.

Cycles are the very basis of life, the means by which nature and humans regenerate. To go against them is a recipe for disaster. To listen to them adds a richness and connection to life. Women who medicate their menstrual cycle through the use of the Pill are in danger not only of harming their physical health, but also of cauterizing the depths of their inner natures. Something will never feel complete. In short, they can end up living a half life.

The tendencies in the ovulatory phase of the cycle are more outer focused, linear, left brain, feeling fairly clear (no messy emotion) and productive, with plenty of energy for others. As we move into the menstrual phase of the cycle women tend to become more inner focused. The transition to this inner state is often signaled by feelings of irritability, anger, overwhelm, greater dreaminess and vagueness. The people around us often feel more like an irritant.

Opposites are amplified. For example you may experience feeling driven one moment and then flip into its opposite, becoming drifty and dreamy the next. A feeling of purposefulness may fall away to be replaced by questioning about one's self and what one is doing.

This can also take the form of criticism of self and others, or simply depression. The single most dominant characteristic of this phase is sensitivity. We become more permeable both to our own depths but also to the world.

Ironically the power of menstruation comes from the one thing we usually condemn in ourselves at this time: this very sensitivity. It is a wonderful opening to feeling and spirit. If you can travel through this opening with greater acceptance, you'll experience over time an illumination and knowingness that will suffuse the whole of your life. Your deep feelings are an awesome intelligence, a form of knowing, sometimes prescient, that goes beyond surface realities. Without our capacity for depth of feeling, and, yes, it includes all the so called 'negative' ones, life would lack meaning and intimacy, ecstasy and joy .

The sensitivity extends the acreage of our souls, encourages us to examine and challenge ourselves and the world we live in. If the task feels too great, the sensitivity of menstruation too overwhelming, we should neither condemn ourselves nor menstruation.

That would be like shooting the messenger. Instead we must learn to value and harness the power that comes from our greater openness. Take a stand for more womanly ways of knowing that can track feeling, listen to gut instinct, notice synchronicities, catch the intuitive flashes and recognize the connections between all things. Intellect is immeasurably matured by such skills of knowing.

At menstruation we are being called to attend to ourselves and to matters beyond the mundane surface level of existence. True power comes from our capacity to travel in both inner and outer worlds, to experience emotional and spiritual depths along with our intellectual rigor. This is true for both women and men. Women are blessed with an inner process, the menstrual cycle, that reminds us of and supports these capacities. This is a wonderful gift. A kind of blessing.

Copyright 2002 Alexandra Pope




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