How A Minimalist Mom Deals With Menstruation

Someone once said, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”

I think the same can be said about our periods. How you do menstruation is how you do life. Or rather- to take it a step further- how you view and experience your period is how you do life as a woman. That is to say, it reflects your relationship to yourself.

Many years ago I chose to live a more simple, minimalist lifestyle. What that looks like for me has evolved and changed from year to year, but overall it is nothing like my former lifestyle.

I have gotten rid of everything I owned a few times over and I am really good at never buying anything brand new (90% of the time…except food).

I love living this way. It has enabled me to move through the world more freely as I don’t feel weighed down by a big house full of stuff. Simplifying my needs and not chasing luxury items to attempt to make me happy has it be that I don’t need to work as much to afford all the extra things. I have more time for myself and my son. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy some luxury indulgences, but for me they are a byproduct of living the life I truly love, not a means to it.

Reduction of stress is a natural result of simplified living. My health has improved exponentially, and I have become more connected to my body. I eat more food from the earth, spend more time with the earth, and absorb more energy from the earth.

So what does this have to do with my menstrual cycle?

Since I shifted my lifestyle, I noticed my relationship to my period shifted as well. That’s what happens when you slow down and get connected to yourself. I eventually came to realize that my period was not something to be loathed, pushed away, or dreaded.

Can I tell you a secret? Neither is yours…

It’s a tragic story that has been fed to the women in our culture, and it’s not true.

Periods are supposed to be empowering, and connect you to higher states of intuition and creativity. Menstruation is not meant to be painful. At one time, this was understood, and a woman’s cycle was seen as a gift and honored by everyone in the community or tribe. Much of this wisdom is lost on today’s woman as she tries to keep pushing on in a society founded on masculine principles. Principles that are not conducive to women. Bleeding women.

I talk about this in much more depth in my FREE webinar, ‘Heal Your Menstrual Cycle.’

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HEALING YOUR PERIOD AND PRACTICAL WAYS TO ACTIVELY LOVE YOUR PERIOD, SIGN UP FOR CHANTEL’S *FREE* WEBINAR ‘MOON CYCLE MAGIC.’ 

I didn’t know it at the time, but saying no to a system that I intuitively knew my body couldn’t healthily function in was saying YES to my period. Today, I have a radically different perspective on my period than my 19 year old self did. The wisdom and power of our periods is some of the most valuable information a woman should know, because her relationship to how she bleeds is her relationship to how she leads.

So what does menstruation look like for me now?

I bleed freely.

Gone are the days that I try to stop my flow with toxic tampons and avoid the messages of my pain with pills. As a minimalist, I use my son’s old cloth diaper inserts to get me through my days.  I wash them with some Castile soap in the sink and hang them outside to sundry in the summer. When I am at home in the evenings, or relaxing, I like to allow myself to free bleed with a towel wrapped around me so that I don’t get blood on my bed. Not wearing tampons has greatly reduced my pain that I used to experience at this time. I have even gardened on my period without anything on and allowed myself to bleed on the earth. Which leads me to…

I bleed for the earth.

Quite literally, I bleed so that humanity can continue on. Women’s bodies are amazing like that. Maybe that is more like bleeding for my species than it is bleeding for the earth, but I digress. Blood also doesn’t have to be seen as waste. It is a great source of nitrogen for your herb and vegetable garden and paint for your feminine artistic expression. I have even bottled my blood in a small vile and used it as a tincture for iron drops, love spells, and lubricant.

Get Regular Charcoal Bamboo Mama Cloth/ Menstrual Pads/ Reusable Sanitary Pads here on Amazon!

I feel it out.

I know now that my pain is my body communicating to me. I don’t think it is bad or judge it. I understand that periods are not meant to hurt us, so if it is hurting, I know there is something that needs my attention. I welcome my pain. I feel it all the way through. I lay back in goddess pose and meditate, letting the emotions wash over me. Sometimes, the only way out, is through. I see this time as a reminder to take good care of myself. That my body is my temple and not something to be ignored or abandoned.

I rest it out.

Creating a more simple life means that I have time to take care of myself. Self-care and relaxation should not be seen as a luxury, but a necessity. Our cycle is a monthly reminder of the importance of rest. Just as the cycles of the moon waxes and wanes, so do our energy levels. Rest is vital for the upswing. Energy does not work in a non-stop upward motion. It comes in waves, and your ability to take the down time will determine how well you come back up. Masculine ideals have taught us to bust ass to come out successful. The feminine knows the importance of emptying out and shedding the old in order to take on a new phase. Not to mention, lack of rest leads to a weaker immune system, so take a seat.

I ceremony with it.

Just as the Christians commune with Jesus’ “blood”, I commune with my own. I honor its power and respect that time of the month as something sacred. My perception is different and so is my body. What does it want to communicate to me? What messages will I receive if I slow down enough to hear them? People have ritualized many things since the beginning of time. Ritualizing my period makes me feel empowered by it and in partnership with it, rather than being a victim of it. For me, ceremony looks like candles, incense, meditating on my bed and journaling whatever comes up. Moon bathing under a bright moon is special, too. What does it look like for you?

Get Blossom Small Clear Menstrual Cup in Reusable Period Cups here on Amazon!

I treat holistically.

Like I mentioned above, I don’t wear tampons or synthetic products. I don’t treat pain with synthetic pills. I opt for herbs, heat (hot baths, hot rice sack), massage, yoga poses, etc if I am feeling pain, but ultimately, my lifestyle change is what is most effective. I don’t trick my body with chemical hormonal contraceptives and instead balance them naturally. This is good news for a money saving minimalist, as recycled cloth, hot baths, yoga poses, and a healthy diet are a much cheaper alternative to the mainstream period “care package.”

I love deeper.

I was not truly able to love anyone until I loved myself. I remember my mom would always tell me that when I was younger and it made sense in my head, but not in my body. I knew it philosophically, but not experimentally. Today, I can say I know it with every fiber in my being (thanks, Mom) and for me, I couldn’t truly love myself until I really loved my period. Because my period is one of the truest, most raw and natural things about me. If I rejected her, how was I rejecting me? Loving me means loving ALL of me. Even the messy parts.

My hope is that all women can remember the power of menstruation and begin the healing process that will enable you to fall in love with it. How has over complicating our lives led to difficult menstrual cycles?  At its core, menstruation represent our feminine essence. Are you ignoring your needs in life by ignoring her? If you already love your cycle, how do you celebrate it? I would love to hear from you!

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HEALING YOUR PERIOD AND PRACTICAL WAYS TO ACTIVELY LOVE YOUR PERIOD, SIGN UP FOR CHANTEL’S *FREE* WEBINAR ‘MOON CYCLE MAGIC.’ 

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