Woman, art by Helen Claira5, smallHow many times you have cycled with the moon?
Here is some quick math: I started bleeding when I was 12, and stopped at 55. This is 43 years of cycling every month! Multiply 43 years by 13 cycles per year (there are 13 lunar cycles every 365 days. Women cycle with the moon!) The answer is: 559!! Really?! Even after subtracting 9 periods for my pregnancy, and a couple of years for breastfeeding, my body went through more than 500 cycles … It’s hard to imagine I had this many periods…

How about you? How old were you at your first period? Take a moment to think about this: Your current age (or the age you were on your Last period) minus your age on your First period, gives you the number of years you have been cycling. Now multiply this number by 13, and you’ll get the number of cycles you have had so far in your life, or during your entire bleeding years (if you have already Paused). Surprising, isn’t it?

What else in your life do you repeat this many times? Wouldn’t anything you experience this much become a topic of conversation, a theme of exploration, a field of support? What else do you do with such repetition? Food and Sex, probably… Indeed both food and sex are discussed interminably! There are talk shows, magazines, advise columns, therapists, healing modalities, support groups, forums, and whole industries devoted to food and to sex, not to mention their feature status in day-to-day conversations.

The silence we keep about Menstruation is loud and clear given the number of times we cycle during our lives. The absence of menstruation from cultural forums of discussion, and from casual daily conversations, breeds alone-ness and isolation for women worldwide. Each in the privacy of her own bathroom, women “deal” with their menstrual blood — quickly, quietly, and efficiently. There are no traces, no voice, no images, no waves. It is as if this was an event so rare, so negligible, that it warrants no attention whatsoever!

We need to start making menstruation visible! We must reflect the abundant presence of this phenomenon in our lives. Lets start talking, painting, photographing, documenting our monthly experiences: the onset of our Flow, the years of cycling, and and the waning of our internal clock into full Pause. The image accompanying this article is a lovely example of what’s possible. It is only “shocking” to those who are not used to seeing menstrual blood on a monthly basis. And it is only “gross” to those who are treating it an an enemy rather than an ally.

Yes, our blood IS an ally! It is a source of inner guidance and intuition. It’s an emotional thermometer. It’s our compass for rest and renewal. Yet in the absence of connection with it – our blood becomes alien to us…

This is a chicken-and-egg proposition, since you have to connect with your blood first, in order to become comfortable with it. Imagine your feelings toward a cousin you hardly ever see. You will obviously feel distant, and when you meet one another, once in a blue moon, there may be awkwardness and discomfort, which stem from lack of familiarity. Now imagine this cousin moving to live in your own neighborhood. Imagine seeing each other often, taking time to chat, sharing cups of tea and intimate conversations. Wouldn’t this create a level of familiarity, comfort, and trust between you, which will make your time together relaxed, flowing, and full of ease? Well, it could be the same way with your menstrual blood! The fact that it’s already not only in your neighborhood, but inside you, every month – makes for a great start!

How many periods DID you have?
Find out and post in a comment below…
Lets make menstruation visible!