Category Archives: Guestposts

Cunt Love

 

Today’s guest post from Colette aka Lady Cunt Love is powerful stuff…

To really love your cunt is to take back what belongs to you.

It is to reconcile with the patriarchal bullshit we have had to put up with for the last thousand years and gain back all the wisdom that we had in a time when our cunts were revered with love and awe. It is to accept that the fear that men felt of our power and capacity for sexual pleasure and to also see that somewhere along the line, we have internalised that fear.

To reclaim the word ‘cunt’ and say with a smile on your lips is so fucking liberating. It is to strip yourself of the chastity belts and straight jackets once and for all.

It’s time for us to move on to a new place.

A place where we are no longer silent or shamed. A place where we see the beauty in ourselves and others.

It is time for us to stop comparing and competing with each other as women but to join together in a circle of sisters. It’s so much easier and liberating this way. It is the only way.

I learned all of this through talking to people on the streets. I decided one day that I had enough of the secrecy and silence. So I created an alter ego for myself named Lady Cunt Love. I wore a silk cunt headpiece on my head and a velvet, glittery cunt around my waist. I had a clipboard and a lots of handrawn cunts and colouring pencils. I had my two friends with me – Queen Clit and The Cuntess. We approached people on the street and in pubs and cafes and clubs. We learned so much about how people view the world, cunts, cocks, sex, porn, gender and language.

cuntlove

I then began to share my story in the form of a poetry collection called ‘The Healing Journey of my Cunt’. We created Cuntcraft, a craft where we sit in circle and use velvet, satin, silk, glitter to create our own beautifully crafted cunts. I facilitate these circles and perform and exhibit from my studio in Brighton, The Cuntquarters and all over the UK and Ireland.

I have witnessed so many beautiful moments where a sweet kind of magic takes over and women find the courage to share their stories with me. Sad stories are told about painful periods, rape, traumatic abortions, miscarriage, abuse and shame (lots of shame). Liberating stories are told too – about sexual pleasure, joyous births and pregnancies, premenstrual insights and happy bleeds. Once the stories are expressed, they are out in the world and can take on a new meaning. They are released and we can come to a place of love, forgiveness and acceptance.

cunt

I have now decided it is time to take this even further and am inviting women to join me on a four week online Cunt Loving Quest beginning on the 1st April. This is to give women the opportunity to explore their relationships with the cunts in the safety and comfort of their own homes.

You can see a video of me describing the course here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGEyvx6dYrY and join the quest on my website here. http://cherishthecunt.com/2014/03/06/introducing-the-28-day-cunt-loving-quest

Herbs – Healing Whole Foods for Women – Guest post

“One of the biggest tragedies of human civilization is the precedents of chemical therapy over nutrition.  It is substitution of artificial therapy over natural, of poison over food, in which we are feeding people poisons trying to correct the reactions of starvation.”

Dr. Royal Lee

red clover  The effects of moving away from our whole food diet and eating a refined, processed, and convenience food diet are very prevalent in our society.

As a culture, we have created the same scenario with our healing medicines, including those for healing the female body.  We have moved away from whole, natural medicines to the processed, refined, factory made pharmaceuticals that upset balance in the human body.  Just as refined, factory made food products upset the body’s natural balance.

Herbs, whether ingested as a medicinal infusion, taken as a tincture or in any other form of herbal medicine, are amazing healing tools because herbs are whole foods.

The nutrients in the herbs: vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, and the nutrients yet to be discovered, are utilized by the body cells to cleanse, nourish, and heal each and every body cell.  Herbs specific for the female reproductive tract are nourishing to the reproductive organ’s cells.

So often we get the message from main stream media and medicine:  Do NOT use herbs as they are potentially dangerous.  This is as crazy as saying that eating beets, apples, or any other natural, whole food is potentially dangerous.

When we eat a beet, an apple, some broccoli, or any whole food, our body digests and absorbs the nutrients in the whole food to nourish our cellular health.  The same process of digestion and assimilation of nutrients happens with herbs.  Herbs are whole food; herbs are healing medicine.

Herbs are plants (leaf, root, stems, bark, berries, seeds), like a beet or an apple, that have nutritional and healing properties with affinities for certain tissues.

Herbs for female health are many and each has its own healing purpose.  Used in combination, they create powerful healing energy in the female body.

Some excellent female healing herbs are:

  • Stinging nettles
  • Red raspberry leaf
  • Wild yam
  • Chaste tree berry
  • Motherwort
  • Red clover flower
  • False unicorn root
  • Passion flower
  • Don quai root
  • Wild carrot
  • Ginger
  • Blue and Black cohosh
  • Squaw vine
  • Yarrow
  • Pennyroyal
  • Mugwort

I recommend you read up on the herb you want to ingest for its nourishing, medicinal abilities.  Learn about the herb and its healing affinities before you make the decision to take it.  Contact your local herbalist for help in choosing the right herb or blend of herbs to add to your whole food dietary plan to promote personal health and healing.

Herbs are whole foods.  Use them wisely for healing your female energy and whole body healing.

 

YoumellPaula Youmell is an RN, author, holistic healer, and blogger who thrives in northern NY State, USA.  Learn more about her healing lifestyle at www.HandsOnHealthHH.com or http://www.wholefoodhealer.com

Purchase her new book here.

Gather the Women

“We are a global sisterhood that connects women through circles. We create a safe place to share our true selves. Meeting in circle, we find our voices, claim our power and celebrate our self-worth, leading to personal and planetary transformation.”

Gather the Women – Vision Statement

Circle Mindfulness
Three years ago I read Jean Shinoda Bolen’s book Urgent Message from Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World and felt compelled to act within reading the first page! I contacted the organisation, Gather the Women, who encouraged me to create my own circle in Liverpool.

For the first time in my life, competition dissolved when I read this book. Collaboration, something that I was conditioned against, arose deeply and urgently. I felt compelled to collaborate, to help, to be part of something that I know, deep, deep down inside, will make a difference to the imbalance of female and male in our world.

At the time, I had no previous experience of circle and no idea what a circle was… Almost everything I’ve learned has been from my own experience. I’ve matured and grown with circle, learning a huge amount along the way in how to create a safe, nourishing space. I used social media, word of mouth and posters in local shops to gather the women of Liverpool: I found that social media is the modern word of mouth!

Today in Liverpool we have around 50 active members and have created a genuine, loving, supportive sisterhood. We meet monthly in our city centre and all of us value our time spent together.

Circle Whats the Story 20142

We live in a world created by and dominated by men, where women are not equal in decision making. Since I was a very young girl I’ve noticed this imbalance; in my school life, my home life, in the media, in the working world… I always wanted to be of service in the rebalancing even from a very early age. Until I learned of Gather the Women I didn’t have the appropriate medium, that suited me and who I am, of taking part in this rebalancing. I knew from my own observations as a child and adult that the media representation of women is that they are not leaders, they don’t make decisions or choices that affect others on a local, national or global level. Why? Because from when all women are little girls their minds are imprinted with images of men in power, men calling the shots, men in control, women being submissive, women being praised for looks over all other qualities, women having to fit in to a structural system taking a long time to change. I realised that girls were growing into women having a deep feeling of dis-entitlement whether they recognised this or not.

So why Gather the Women?

For me, it means real change. We can tell women and men until we’re blue in the face that they are equal but what use is telling someone something if they don’t internalise it and discover from it? Real change and transformation, real wisdom, happens within a person, they must reach that realisation on their own. What I instinctively knew about circle (even when I didn’t know anything about it!) was that through coming together in circle women would learn about themselves, find their voices, be truly heard (sometimes for the first time), forge a sisterhood, dissolve competition with each other, feel compassion for others and hear what other women have to say… She would transform herself, her conditioning, her beliefs, come to KNOW she is ENTITLED and at the same time gaining a sisterhood and nourishing support system along the way.

Circle is a beautiful and safe space where each woman can explore the totality of who she really is… She is not just feminine nor just masculine, we come from beyond a duality… in circle we can be angry, protective, sexual, strong, rebellious, open, soft, emotional, quiet, sensitive… We can be who we really are, beyond the stereotyping of female and male, because that’s our authenticity.

Circle Shame
Ultimately, we must reach balance within ourselves before the world is rebalanced.

Setting a safe, still space in circle is important to me; when women walk into the room I want their hearts to feel held. I wish for every woman in my circle to feel that she’s sitting on her mama’s lap having her hair stroked and being given undivided, unconditionally loved attention… that it’s okay to be honest, okay to cry, okay to laugh, okay to say nothing. I pay attention to the atmosphere of the room and how it feels and looks… creating beautiful circle centres (sometimes hugely elaborate ones!) and ensuring the space looks and feels calm and relaxed.

When I first paid attention to the look and feel of the room, women walked into the room and gasped. Some contacted me afterwards to say as soon as she walked into the room she felt held and safe and I began to consider that how the circle looks can have instant impact before people have even sat down. This combined with my many years of serious meditation and working on increasing my self-awareness, dissolving knots and troubles deep within me, has led to ever deepening self-knowing, expanding my heart and allowing me to act from a place of true service and compassion. I bring this to every circle… I spend time in the room alone before circle begins, asking that each woman feels heard, held, connected and loved. That’s my only intention with the circles I facilitate.

It is such an honour to hear women’s journeys, stories, truth… I am inspired by each woman who attends our circle, by her courage, her honesty, her capacity to love. I’m blessed, so very blessed, to know these sparkling women!

Only when women know the fullness of themselves will men know the fullness of themselves also. That will be the time when we bloom into our full potential as human beings. Through circle, women can come to be aware of her conditioning, release her conditioning and discover the fullness of who she really is.

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Deb Convener

Deborah Zaher is the Regional Coordinator for Liverpool, UK as well as the Communications Convener (our Conveners are our Board of Directors).

“I’m the one tweeting and updating the website and Facebook! My aim with the role of Communications Convener is to really bind our global sisterhood together and I enjoy coming up with creative ways as to how to do this! A few years ago, circles around the world each created a patch that was lovingly sewn into a sisters quilt and most recently I’m asking Regional Coordinators one at a time to shine the light on her circle in an article on our website blog so we can discover more about our sisters around the world… My goal with this is to see all of these articles combined into one big gorgeous book of Gather the Women amazingness!”

Gather the Women has been gathering women all around the globe since 2001 when Carol Hansen Grey had experienced numerous women contacting her describing the same vision that we needed to begin to gather the women of the world. Though these women came from diverse backgrounds, all shared a deep passion for awakening the power of women in service of a better world. Since then, Gather the Women has continued to expand, drawing new individuals, Regional Coordinators, and partner organisations into the matrix. We now have Regional Coordinators spread around the world, each Coordinator gathering local women into circle.

Gather the Women website: www.gatherthewomen.org

Gather the Women Global Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/Gatheringthewomen

Gather the Women Liverpool Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/gatherthewomenliverpool

 

Light at the End of the Tunnel: Pregnancy and Depression

Today’s post comes from Laura Wright and is on a topic close to my heart. I struggled with depression during one of my pregnancies and after two. Please do also see my articles on pregnancy/ post partum depression in the free resources section, here.

pregnant meme

Last year, someone very close to me became deeply depressed while pregnant. In fact, it was my little sister. After coaxing her through this tough time with the help of her wonderful partner and the rest of our family, it got me thinking about what advice or information to give prospective mothers who feel depressed during this time.

I am aware just how lonely and isolated women can feel when the world expects them to be blooming. While I have two wonderful daughters of my own, my experience of depression had been purely academic until my sister’s experience last year. Now, I feel called to write more on this deeply personal topic, so that women who find themselves in this situation can find the support and resources to help them, and to know that they are not alone in this and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Exploring the Treatments Available to Treat Depression in Pregnancy

While a diagnosis of depression during pregnancy is usually a shock, you are not alone; as many as a fifth of pregnant women suffer from low mood. It’s also important to remember that your diagnosis means that you will receive treatment, which won’t just protect your well-being, but also that of your developing baby.

Receiving treatment

Your doctor will advise on the treatments available to you, which will depend upon the severity of your depression and other factors in your medical history. In cases of more severe depression, they may suggest antidepressants as an option. However, as some of these drugs may pose a risk to your unborn child, they are usually not recommended in cases of milder depression, as the benefits are not sufficient to outweigh the risks. There is still plenty of help available though, as a range of treatments are effective when low mood is mild to moderate. These therapies can also be used in conjunction with antidepressants to enhance the outcome. Here we give an overview of some of the alternative treatments for mood disorders available to pregnant women.

  • Taking regular exercise during pregnancy is recommended to keep up your fitness to prepare you for delivery. However, keeping physically active is also beneficial for your mood when expecting, as it triggers a number of positive changes within your body that promote feelings of well-being. Exercise such as brisk walking, low-impact aerobics, swimming and yoga are all good activities, but check with your doctor about other suitable forms of exercise.
  • Psychotherapy can take the form of one-to-one counselling, where you may receive help you to build on your relationships or to change negative thought patterns. However, support groups designed to help people with depression may also be useful if you are comfortable participating in group activities.
  • The complementary therapy of acupuncture is an additional option to ease the symptoms of depression, as certain pressure points relieve feelings of low mood. Indeed, research has shown that this is a suitable option in pregnancy.

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Laura Wright worked in nutritional science and health provision before turning to writing for a new career. Now she combined ghost writing for a wide range of businesses and organizations with spreading the word about a number of health guides she’s personally invested in. When not writing, she likes spending time with her family and going for long hikes.

Woman’s wellness (an interactive post)

Today’s guespost comes from Sile Walsh. We invite you to read this and experience it, grab a cup of your favourite warm drink, hide away in a quiet spot and prepare to explore …

Image: sparrowmagazine.com

Image: sparrowmagazine.com

What do the following words conquer up for you?

WOMAN’S WELLNESS

Stop and take a breath a moment, and notice what impact these words have for you.

Take another breath and notice the images that come to mind.

Breathe again and notice what emotions come forward.

Lastly take a breath, what thoughts do you have when you focus on the term ‘woman’s wellness’.

Sit for a moment and soak up whatever these words bring you to.

Did anything surprise you when you did this?

Did anything show you where you may be out of sync with your own wellness as a woman? Did your mind conquer up excuses or did it conquer up images of what looks like a fairytale in comparison to your current life? Did you even have a space in your life where your wellness is even on the agenda?

I have to admire the women around me, always giving, doing and caring but if I am really honest I have felt let down in the past by this image of a female role model, I have seen a double standard. I have watched smart, empathic, intuitive and loving women give every ounce of what they have to the world until they have no more to give but seldom have I seen these woman turn this kindness inwards.

This kindness is deserved as much by us as by anyone else we love and it can only be given to us by us! Where did we learn that it’s all about giving?

What happens when we have no more to give?  Why do we wait to be worn out before we are willing to say no?

Again take a moment, a breath and see what this is stirring within you? Mull it over, feel it and acknowledge your thoughts…..

There is another way, another way you can be more available, be more present, feel better with in your-self and live in a way that honours you and the ones you love equally ( it is not a case of one or the other). It starts with a slight shift in perspective, gentle self-care, internal dialog and an offering of basic kindness to your-self.

It’s this thought process that inspired a conversation which led onto a woman’s wellness morning, for woman by woman. It would be beautiful to have you and some friends join us on the day to explore these areas. Information can be found at  http://www.silewalsh.com/womans-wellness-workshops.html

sile

Sile Walsh is a wellness coach & holistic practitioner in East Cork, Ireland, specialising in the release of emotional blocks, mind-set work and restricting or reoccurring patterns in your life.

Sile is passionate about empowerment and believes that’s the key to true change in any area of our lives. She can be found on Facebook or at www.silewalsh.com

Event Details

Woman’s wellness relaxation morning

7th November, 10am-2pm

For tickets contact info@silewalsh.com or 0870660688

Your Story is Sacred: 5 Steps to Find your Sacred Path

Today‘s guest post comes from Leanne Chapman

sacred story

“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.” 

Joseph Campbell

 

What if everything you had come to believe about yourself wasn’t true?

What if the person you thought you were was built on the stories of others, projected on to you by their own untended wounds, their lack of understanding, their confusion?

I have let go of one story after another over the years – the story that I’m invisible, the story of being second-best, the multitude of stories about how I’m not OK as I am, the stories that told me to change so I could fit in, be OK, be enough.

Without clear guidance, how easy it is to fall into step with the rules and expectations of others – rules which don’t feed or nurture our souls. Who guides us into womanhood when those around us are asleep and don’t see or know us as we are?

Here are 5 suggestions for finding your own sacred path:

1. Step back and see the bigger picture

When you stand in front of a tall building, you can’t clearly see the whole structure. It’s difficult to get a clear view of the floor you need to get to from this viewpoint. But when you stand back further, your view  is much broader and you can see all the way to the top.

Our lives are the same – when we’re in the midst of transition and upheaval, we get up too close and our focus becomes very narrow. This is exactly the time when we really need to be taking a step back so we can see the whole story. Our momentary discomforts are often leading to longer term growth and learning, we just can’t see it when we look at them from a micro perspective.

2. Look for the answers inside you

Research psychologists have discovered that when behaviour is uncertain, such as when we try something we’ve never done before or go to an unfamiliar place, we are more likely to copy the behaviour of others. So when we’re feeling lost and confused about our life direction, we tend to go looking for answers from others. We ask friends what they would do, we check in with psychics, oracle cards, astrological forecasts, and still we can’t decide our next step.

That’s because the answers aren’t out there. The only way to find your true north is to look within. Our heads are so full of ‘what ifs’ and ‘yes buts’, while our heart usually has only one answer – the real one. Our heads are so busy sorting through all the external advice that we don’t learn to go to the source of our own wisdom. Our intuition, our ‘gut’ feeling, our inner knowing – this is where the real answers lie.

3. Focus on your progress, not your stumbles

It’s easy to focus on what we haven’t achieved yet and what didn’t turn out the way we hoped along the way, but we can do this to such a degree that we filter out our successes. It’s important to notice what’s working for us and celebrate our accomplishments so that we keep a balanced view of our journey.

One way to do this is to compare ourselves only with ourselves. For instance, when you started learning a new language three months ago you might’ve only known three words. Now you’re able to hold basic conversations. Of course there are times when you use the wrong word or misunderstand something, but you’re using a lot more of the right words and understanding far more than you were three months ago. It doesn’t matter if other people are fluent, you’ve made progress – celebrate it!

4. Recognise that this is a journey with many segments

Our life path never takes a direct route to success, healing and happiness. The trail follows a winding course, disappearing around corners, dipping into gullies and climbing mountainous terrain. There are sunny days but there are also wild stormy days that almost knock us off our feet. We can’t judge our footing by looking at any of these single points in the road.

The path is made up of many segments which twist and turn in numerous directions. We can only tell if we’re moving forward by taking a series of measurements over time. You’ll have good days and days where you take three steps back. But if the overall trend is in the direction you want to go, you’re on track.

5. Realise that you can create your own path rather than following ready-made ones

The mythologist Joseph Campbell said “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.”

We often find ourselves on paths that are influenced by the wishes and expectations of others. This works for many, especially those who might otherwise feel directionless, but if it’s not working for you then it’s OK to get off that path. Your own path might take a different route to existing ones, and you might have to beat your way through the undergrowth with a machete to find it, but it will be there and it will be waiting for you.

You’ll know you’ve found your unique path when time slows down. You’ll no longer be lost and unsure or feel as though you’re running out of time. You’ll be caught up in the moment and your future will light up in front of you. All the previous challenges and detours into the unknown will suddenly make sense because they were bringing you to this, your sacred path.

 

leanneLeanne Chapman is an art therapist, writer and founder of Claim Your Treasure, a place to discover your sacred path, reclaim your lost treasures, and connect with who you really are through self-expression, creativity and intuition.

Leanne creates Treasure Maps and Sacred Stories to help you unlock the true meaning of your journey, uncover new pathways to success, and intentionally take the next steps on your sacred path. You can also find her on Facebook.

Blood and Milk – Self-Care for Breastfeeding Mamas who are Menstruating

I don’t know about you, but I rarely see anything written about breastfeeding and your moontime, I mean how mamas cope with the ups and downs of their cycle while giving to their little ones 24 hours a day? Is it just presumed that if you are breastfeeding then you don’t have a cycle? I know this is true for many women (I’ve known women not bleed for 2 years!) but for me, my bleeding time has always returned after a few months, despite exclusively breastfeeding. 

Most days breastfeeding is such a joy, I love the oxytocin high I get when I snuggle with my little one and feed all night long- BUT the days and nights just before my moontime, I feel touched out, wound up by the constant demands and I JUST WANT MY OWN SPACE!

So many books, blogs, articles give us moontime advice (myself included) about how important taking time out is, giving to ourselves at this sacred time- but how do you do that when you have a baba swinging from your nipples??

I tend to focus on my first bleeding day- I have just found over the years if I can have a smooth first bleeding day (or first 2 days ideally!) then the run up to my moontime next month is so much easier. So I try- its hard, but they can spend some time with daddy, or grandma- just while I soak in the bath (with lovely oils, petals or a herbal preparation for ‘that time of the month’) even if its the middle of the afternoon- I grab any opportunity I can! And when baba naps- I nap too, and sometimes I just have a duvet day and keep baba close by while I read something nurturing from my women’s book collection, drink soothing herb teas, eat yummy simple foods, massage my belly with beautiful scented oils and generally give to myself while not doing much at all!

These days, he’s a bit bigger and on the move (and on solids as well as mama milk- so that makes things a bit easier) I just pop him in the sling (on my back- “AWAY from the boobs boy!”) and head out for a nourishing walk in the woods or up to the stone circle behind our cottage. Usually this puts him to sleep so I get a bit of ‘me time’ on our return.

I have some ‘rules’ that I adhere to on my Sacred 1st Bleeding Day- I DON’T cook, clean, wash or do any ‘housework’, I DON’T work (although occasionally you might find me peeping in on Facebook!), I DO eat simple nourishing foods, I DO some gentle exercise- sometimes a bit of yoga, more often a walk in nature, I have a period of SILENCE to listen in to my inner wisdom- sometimes that has to be a few mins with my eyes closed while feeding.

I know- I’m lucky to have a supportive husband who accepts this- I think because I would take ‘Sacred Days’ when he first met me, he knew the score! So he is happy to take on household duties and extra childcare on these days to support me- and in the bigger picture, by supporting me on these few days I am able to be there for him and my family the rest of the month! (This is possible as we both work part time, so we can support each other, share childcare and housework)

I tune into my blood when I rinse my cloth pads, I consciously give away any negative emotions that have come up during the month, and ask Mother Earth to transform them (I pour my blood and rinsing water on to my garden) while softly chanting ‘I give away this blood of mine to all my relations…’ or ‘blessed be the blood…’

I have started charting my cycle again too, after my last baby (yes he is my LAST baby!) who popped in to my womb space after taking part in Miranda Grays first World Wide Womb Blessing last year, I got a bit worried that my cycle has changed – I’ve spent years regularly ovulating around day 12 of my cycle so I knew when to take precautions, but now I’m getting older (over 40) AND I’m breastfeeding – both of which a have an effect on your cycle, I have decided to use the temperature method, which is one I haven’t used before, but I have been assured its THE most accurate way to know when you ovulate. I used to rely on my cervical position (high and open when ovulating, low and closed when bleeding) and mucus- but after birth my cervix was so soft and squishy it didn’t feel as if it was moving at all- and breastfeeding effects the vaginal secretions (low oestrogen) so mucus charting wasn’t working for me either. Also my cycle didn’t return to its usual ‘regular’ pattern, so charting gave me a chance to focus on it and get an idea of when my moontime was coming- I was so used to knowing exactly when it would arrive, having an irregular cycle was quite a lesson for me!

I think the biggest thing I miss are my ovulation/full moon creative surges; I often suffered with insomnia around the full moons- which for me mostly coincided with my ovulation time, my brain would be buzzing with ideas so I would just get up and write or draw, even paint sometimes and then sleep half of the next day! These days I don’t have the luxury of being able to sleep in, nor even creep out of bed at night as baba is so firmly attached he senses my every turn in bed! So I have to make do with note taking and glancing at my ideas on my note paper occasionally though the month with a sigh that not much (if any of it) will get done. But having 2 older children I know ‘this too will pass’ -babies grow fast and before I know it they’ll be running out the door to school without a second glance and I will have some ME time again!

I’d love to hear how other breastfeeding mamas cope with the demands of your body and your baby!

Rachael Hertogs lives in the wilds of West Wales with her husband and two youngest children, bees, chickens and ducks, she is a mama of 4, the creatress of Moon Times Cloth Pads, and she occasionally blogs at www.moontimes.co.uk/blog

Moving Beyond your Childhood Pain

I am a big fan of the site, Tiny Buddha, it was my ambition, ever since discovering it to contribute to it.

I have now contributed to it three times (on Perfectionism, Anxiety and The Importance of Connection for Healing. 

So you can imagine my excitement when one of my pieces was selected for Lori Deschene’s second book: Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself which is published on 1st October this year by Conari Press. And if you pre-order it from her site for the month of September you get a whole raft of e-goodies, including my e-book The Creative Mama’s Soul Book!

So to whet your appetite, here’s some powerful words from it that touched me deep…

 

Top 4 Tips about Moving Beyond your Childhood Pain
1. Tell empowering stories of healing in the present instead of sad stories of hurting from the past.

When you live in the story of how you were hurt, you define yourself by your pain, and you essentially pick up where others left off in mistreating you. It’s hurtful and crippling to rehash these events over and over again (though it can be helpful in a therapeutic setting). When you find yourself dwelling on an old story, tell yourself that you’re creating a new one—a story of forgiving and loving yourself in action. Try to understand whoever hurt you, and recognize that their actions were prob- ably caused by their own pain. Then proactively choose to do something to take care of yourself in the way you wanted to be taken care of years ago.

2. Challenge the limiting beliefs that make you feel bad about yourself. You may be holding on to all kinds of limiting, inaccurate beliefs about your worth, your potential, and what you deserve. Realize these are not facts—you formed these beliefs based on difficult experiences and years of misguided thinking, and you can change your life by challenging these beliefs and forming healthier ones. When you start thinking the old belief, look for evidence to support the opposite one. It’s there—proof of your intrinsic value is in your choices, your actions, and your daily life. You just have to start recognizing all the good you do.

3. Shine a spotlight on your shame and douse it with empathy.

When people abuse us, disrespect us, silence us, or disregard our feelings or needs, we often internalize that and feel shame, as if we deserved to be hurt because we were unworthy, bad, or flawed. We then feel the need to hide ourselves to avoid the pain of being seen, but hiding just creates more pain. It’s not your fault that you feel shame—it’s a natural response to the way you were treated—but it is your responsibility to heal it.

Researcher Brené Brown wrote that shame requires secrecy, silence, and judgment to grow exponentially, and that it can’t survive when doused with empathy. Offer yourself that empathy by choosing not to judge yourself for what other people did to you or what you did in response; and let someone else into that process, whether it’s a friend or a professional.

4. Recognize the beauty in your journey.

You may not feel that all parts of you are beautiful, but there’s beauty in the strength and courage that have helped you get where you are. Whatever you did in the past, you were doing the best you could, based on what you learned and experienced. Shift your focus and take some time to acknowledge how amazing your journey has been thus far. How have you displayed grace and bravery? How have all the chaotic dots of your past shaped up to create something unique and inspiring? If your life were a movie, what positive message would viewers take away?

Lori Deschene has dedicated the last  four years of her life building a supportive online community for those seeking and looking to share wisdom. Since she launched tinybuddha.com in 2009, she’s helped more than 650 writers share their stories with over 17 million readers. In addition to writing her first print  book, Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life’s  Hard  Questions, Lori has self-published the Tiny Wisdom eBook series, and recently launched her first eCourse, Recreate Your Life Story: Change the Script and Be the Hero. Formerly a writer for nationally distributed ‘tween publications, she has also written articles for Tricycle: The  Buddhist Review, Shambhala Sun, and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A native of Massachusetts, Lori now splits her time between the Boston area and the San Francisco Bay Area with her fiancé Ehren

 

Celebrating Menarche

Many of us wonder how to mark our daughter’s transition in to womanhood, how to celebrate her first bleeding. I loved this article by DeAnna Lam in her recent newsletter, and wanted to share it with you (with her permission). She is hosting her 2nd Annual Rites Of Passage Tele-Summit next week, which I will be glued to.

Airing live every weekday, from October 22 to November 2, this  Online Event has inspiring new speakers that will focus on PRACTICAL WISDOM from various traditions to help you navigate your daughter’s or son’s journey to adulthood. This event is absolutley Free! Sign up here: www.deannalam.com

Leah’s First Period Ceremony

Leah called me to let me know she has just got her period! Being a heart-auntie to her I was delighted, and deeply touched that she chose to share this with me… Leah excitedly relaid the experience over the phone, told me of her Moms special attentions, and her bounty of gifts that included a red ruby necklace, a journal, fragrant bath salts, a red candle, a box of soothing teas, and many beautifully printed cloth pads. Leah continued to say that she chose to have a ceremony with only her Mom and myself present! I was lost for words…

The date was set, and Leah’s Mom & I were busy planning. We knew we wanted the ceremony to take place in nature, and chose a special grove of Redwoods, which we both love, as our designated spot. We explored what we would want to convey to Leah, and planned ceremonial activities to reflect each of the points we discussed. This was exciting!

The grove welcomed us with warm sunshine, a slight breeze, and deep quiet. We walked softly on the forest floor: a veteran cycling woman, a woman who stopped bleeding, and a girl who just started her first cycle…

We draped red fabrics over lower branches to create an entrance to our sacred place: a cave-like hollow at the base of a huge Grandma Redwood tree. Leah explored the surrounding while we prepared the womb-like tree hollow. We placed a large red fabric on the ground, and created an altar in the center, honoring each of the 4 directions and elements: Feathers in the East to represent Air; A red candle in the South to represent Fire; Sea shells in the West represented Water, and crystals in the North brought Earth to complete the circle, while red flowers graced the center.

Everything was ready. We called Leah to the opening of the tree hollow, smudged each other with pungent sage to clear the old and welcome the new, and asked each other: ‘How do you enter the circle?’ To which we each answered: “In perfect love and perfect trust!”

Inside our cozy womb space we started with a song, and then Leah’s Mom and I each shared with her the story of our first period. Leah then told her fresh new story for the first time in sacred circle.

Each of us adult women shared some of the confusions or questions we had as girls about menstruation and what we learned over the years, which in turn allowed Leah to ask us some of her own questions and receive answers.

We then each presented Leah with a gift. Her Mom gifted her with a Moon Calendar that shows all phases of the moon, for an entire year, on one beautiful poster. Leah marked her first MoonTime by filling in the full moon image with a red pen, as her flow started on the day of the full moon! I presented Leah with a red bracelet and a red rose.

To symbolize Leah’s transition from girlhood to womanhood, her Mom and I created a gateway with arms stretched up and hands clasped together. We invited Leah to ponder what she would like to leave behind as she moves through the gate, and what was she hoping to move toward.

When she was ready, we asked Leah to say Goodbye to an object she brought to represent her childhood, and to discard of it anywhere she chooses. Leah placed a stuffed animal, which she had since she was a baby, in a small cavity inside a nearby redwood, and stood there a moment, saying Goodbye to it…

She then turned toward the open gateway, which her mom and I were embodying, and regally walked through to ‘The Other Side’ representing Womanhood. Our cheers and hugs lasted for a long time…

The time for blessings arrived! We opened a pomegranate juice bottle and poured a few drops on Mother Earth, speaking words of blessing for Her well being. Filling our own glasses with beautiful crimson liquid, we each spoke heartfelt blessing to Leah, honoring her as a newly cycling sister. We shared yummy dark chocolate to enrich and sweeten the moment, which we dipped into our juice and devoured!

It was time to close the circle by thanking and releasing the four directions & four elements whom we welcomed at the opening. While we gathered and packed our altar, Leah was quietly communing with a redwood tree. A shift seemed to have taken place in her. She was still a girl, but a sense of depth seems to have settled in and around her, that will only deepen and grow through her many years of cycling.

(* Leah is a pseudo-name I gave my young friend to protect her privacy)


© 2012, DeAnna L’am, Red Moon – Cycles of Women’s Wisdom™

DeAnna L’am, (B.A.) speaker, coach, and trainer, is author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s guide to Getting Your Period’. She is founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls. Her pioneering work has been transforming women’s & girls’ lives around the world, for over 20 years.

DeAnna helps women & girls love themselves unconditionally! She specializes in helping women make peace with their cycle; Instructs Moms in the art of welcoming girls to empowered womanhood, and trains women to hold RED TENTS in their communities. Visit her at: www.deannalam.com

Nourishing The New Mama~ Healing foods & Herbs

“Drink tea and nourish life; with the first sip; joy; with the second sip, satisfaction; with the third sip, peace.”

I have discovered over the past few years that one of the most important things I can do for myself as a mother and woman is to focus on what I take into my body: the thoughts, the food and drinks. In my book, Moon Time, I write about creating a tea ceremony as a way of nourishing yourself with liquid, herbs, warmth and reflective time.

Never is this more important than when you are a new mama. New mamas need all the love and support they can get.

This guest post from Jen of Love and Tea really resonates with me. Jen is based in beautiful Vermont, which is where my American family are based, so I felt a natural affinity with her. She is an artist and trained herbalist who creates the most beautiful herbal teas which nourish every level of a woman’s body and soul. From the names, through the packaging and blends, they are made with a mother’s love and a woman’s wisdom. (Be sure to read to the end for a discount for Happy Womb readers!)

Becoming a new mama takes a tremendous amount of energy. After birth it is especially critical to receive proper rest and nutrition. It is crucial that you focus on…

* A balance of meals; Three full meal & nutrient rich snacks throughout the day are key to proper nourishment and keeping up the supply of breast milk. When a meal is skipped our bodies automatically produce an abundance of stress hormones. Stress hormones inhibit milk production and can lead to reflux in the infant.

*Nourishing grains include: Barley, Oatmeal, Corn Meal, Buckwheat, Brown Rice, Quiona and Amaranth.

* In Ayurvedic post-partum care, it is stressed to avoid cold/raw foods during the post-partum stage. This helps reduce gas, bloating for both mama & baby.

* Proper fats. Yes FATS!!! Healthy fats play a crucial role in the body. They are used as building blocks to create cell walls, nerves, tissues and hormonal balance. They can also stabilize blood sugars – which help protect against mood swings. EFA’S or (essential Fatty Acids) play an essential role in brain & body functions. What we eat, literally affects how we think and feel!

*Sources of healthy fats include: Organic Coconut oil, cold pressed & traditional veggie oils. Also avocados, sesame seeds, raw nuts and oily fish (avoid deep water fish such as tuna due to heavy metal toxicity). 

* Eating organic & chemical free foods not only supports your entire body, but your baby’s health too.

* Water and proper hydration: Getting enough water into your body helps heal and rejuvenate at the cellular levels. Herbals teas are another way great way to keep properly hydrated. Ayurveda recommends avoiding iced drinks.

There are a vast array of herbs to nourish, re-store and re-vitalize mamas after giving birth.

*Nettles: High in Vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting, Nettles is especially useful with post-partum bleeding. Used traditionally to increase and enrich breast milk.  The minerals and vitamins found within Nettles provides an excellent support in restoring and rebuilding the energy levels following birth.

*Dandelion: This little yellow flower is packed full of essential minerals and vitamins. Dandelion is very beneficial for new mamas!  Dandelion is high in Vitamin A, Calcium and rich in Iron. Dandelion also aids in exhaustion and fatigue.

*Lemon Balm: Relaxes and calms the nervous system.  Lemon Balm has been used traditionally for depression and insomnia. Lemon Balms add its hint of lemon aroma and flavor to uplift and refresh the new mama.  Lemon Balm is said to help one cope with new life situations, IE: Motherhood!!!

* Lady’s Mantle: Revered as an herb for the entire female system, Lady’s Mantle has an affinity to regulate and decrease post-partum bleeding.

* Jasmine Flowers: Have an affinity for the entire female system. Energetically these flowers increase compassion and love. Jasmine flowers are said to make the mind receptive, aid and receive while radiating vibrations of mantras.

“Lactation is the nutritional equivalent to running 10 miles a day!”

My Ayurvedic post-partum teachers would remind us this statement each class and I have never forgotten it! For those of you breastfeeding, here are some foods and herbs known to support and increase lactation:

* Roasted Cumin seeds

* Dill seeds

* Anise seeds

* Caraway seeds

* Coriander Seeds

* Red Beets

Foods to be aware of (Limit consumption)

These Anti-Lactogenic foods- these foods have been know to decrease the mother’s  milk supply and can cause reflux and other issues in the infant:

* Soft drinks & carbonated beverages; these not only decrease milk supply but rob your body of calcium.

* Coffee & Caffeinated beverages

* Chocolate

* Citric Acids in foods & juices (tomato, citrus fruits etc)

* Aspartame  (should be avoided in any case as it is highly toxic)

Potentially Anti-Lactogenic herbs:

(These herbs can potentially decrease and dry breast milk)

* Parsley

* Sage

* Rosemary

* Thyme

* Mint

Jen Lashua is a Certified Herbalist, Artist and Mama to four little sweet beings.

She is founder of Love & Tea Company, which features handcrafted organic teas, including a line of specialty teas specifically formulated for Women & Children’s Wellness.

A fusion of her two passions, Tea & Art, you will find Jen’s original paintings on her tea labels. Love & Tea Company promotes the Art of Tea; engaging the mindful art of loose leaf tea while promoting artist’s creative works. She is offering at 10% discount  at  www.loveandtea.com to all Happy Womb customers, for the next 7 days. Enter code “happy womb” to avail of this wonderful offer.

Connect with Jen via her blog: http://artfultea.blogspot.com/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Love-Tea/153226064491

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LoveandTeaCo