Category Archives: Self-Care

Treat Yourself!

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How do you treat yourself?

My treats of choice are soft fruit. cake… and BOOKS!

I’m doing a Midsummer Sale – so that you can treat yourself (or a sister, friend or daughter).

So if you’ve been waiting to grab a paperback or e-book copy of:

  • Moon Time,
  • The Rainbow Way,
  • Reaching for the Moon,
  • Moods of Motherhood
  • Or a moon dial…

They are all 20% off till this Sunday night.

(The discount is applied direct to your shopping cart, no coupon required!)

And whilst we’re on the subject of treating ourselves, my ultimate way has always been with CAKE!

But unfortunately I’ve have had to rethink this recently for health reasons.

I have talked to many women over the past couple of months who have also realised what a big impact wheat and sugar have on their energy levels, weight, mental health, mood and menstrual cycle… Today’s post over on my other blog, Dreaming Aloud, is about my reluctant journey to low sugar, gluten free eating …

Read more

Womb Wraps

Have you come across womb wraps? I hadn’t… until only two weeks ago.

If you suffer with any of the following:

  • menstrual cramps
  • lower back pain
  • symphysis pubis
  • pelvic pain
  • chilled kidneys

either during menstruation, pregnancy or postpartum, then you will know how you long for comfort and support… but that it’s hard to find.

When Claire Taylor of  www.cherishingwoman.org contacted me to tell me about her womb wraps, I was so excited to hear that there was even such a thing, having struggled with all of the above problems over the years. Womb wraps sounded so comforting, I just had to see one for myself. Having been sick for weeks, with monster PMS and chronic lower back pain, I needed some comfort and love… and fast.

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It arrived in a flash. Ripped open by my daughters who demanded to know what it was. I didn’t lose a second in trying it on – the details that come with it are super clear. It is like a mini wrap skirt of softest fleece, with long ties. It reminded me a little of wearing a wrap sling – only much simpler and lower on the body – but it is the same feeling of being hugged. My daughters and son immediately started stroking it, whilst asking what it was for, saying that they could stroke it forever it was so soft. They each demanded a try (my daughter instinctively slinging her doll in it!). It is soothing and warming like this and gives gentle support to the whole belly, womb, kidney and pelvis area. You could wear one round the house or out and about without anyone looking twice-  they come in maroon, chocolate and leopard print.

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But that’s only half the magic! We then we heated up a hot water bottle and popped it into the integrated pouch at the back – worn one way the heat is held over the lower back, the other way and it’s over the womb. We had to readjust the tension a bit to support the weight of the water bottle.

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Holy mama, it was divine. So, so soothing. Pure heaven.

Soft, stretchy, warming – like having a perfect hug around your belly and lower back. These fleecy wraps are so nurturing. Beautifully made by hand, you can tel they’ve been stitched with love – as there’s even a little heart stitched into the back.

As you know I love supporting women in business, especially women creating and selling products to support and empower other women. These tick every box for me.They get my absolute seal of approval for a well-designed and -made product especially for women – for happy wombs everywhere – they should become part of every woman’s self-care kit.

Womb wraps are £25 from www.cherishingwoman.org

Red Tent Rising – A Resource-Full Post

I am just getting the supplies ready for our very first red tent gathering… a box of womancraft books for the red tent library, a piece of embroidery for the centre piece, a welcome sign, some futons for resting and reading…. It will be the first I know of in the south of Ireland… I am very excited.

Held on the dark moon, a red tent is a women’s circle which is open to all women in the community and offers a place to rest during menstruation, to connect with other women, share wisdom and be held in every stage of our female unfolding.

(Want to know more about what a red tent is? Watch my short video which I made for the red tent summit or grab a copy of my free red tent booklet – Password= love.)

I planted the seed of this red tent when I wrote Moon Time I had never been to a red tent, and there was little information out there about them. I was hungry for knowledge… so I reached out to some of the movement’s leaders, gathered all the information I could lay my hands on, and shared it in the book. That’s how I roll! Mine was the first print book to explore the phenomenon and support women in setting up their own. I have been told that it has inspired and supported the creation of red tents in the UK, Canada and Australia as well as an online one which I am a member of.

And now we will have our own real one, in our community.

My stomach is churning and I am being a little short with my family as my brain goes into tables and chairs mode. But the excitement is overriding it… the fact that this long held dream is being born, that so many women are curious about it, that this work, and a dedicated women’s space is opening up for our community… I just think of the growth, love, support, magic, empowerment, connection and healing that will emerge from the very existence of this space and shivers run down my spine…

More women sitting in circle together than ever have before in our community. Learning to speak their truth openly and be heard. From learning to listen with an open heart and without judgement. In having a place to come and be held, to rest and recharge. A place where new ideas can take seed, new books found, new friendships formed. Where women can learn to understand and trust and even celebrate their bodies.

How it came about…

I set myself a challenge out loud – which meant I couldn’t go back on it, by promising the proceeds of the e-versions of Moon Time would go towards establishing a local red tent! And since then I have researched and reflected and waited. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own, I was waiting for conspirators… and when I met them I knew right away… I did not say anything to them at all about it –  I was in the midst of launching The Rainbow Way and I had only just met them… I just held the vision consistently affirming it, and gently released the women’s group I had run for 5 1/2 years which had run its course. Numbers were dwindling and we couldn’t find any more new participants…

And then two months later, the time was right for us all.  One of the women asked on Facebook if anyone knew of a women’s group or red tent in the area… and the flame was lit. Within an hour we had a FB group. And the other woman jumped right in as an admin, unbidden. Within a week we had a date and venue. In a month we have gotten over 100 women to our group, organically. We only invited 35 between us… the rest were just drawn to us.
We have had minor bumps in the road naturally, including our first venue cancelling only days before. But we have a new, better space now.

And our first meeting tonight and are expecting about 25 women…. many of whom I know personally, some I have only met online, one I taught blogging to, and others are completely new to me. For some it will be their first time doing women’s work with me… others have done much before having been part of our long running women’s group … there is an excitement tinged with deep nervousness, as no one knows quite what to expect. What is a red tent any way, they wonder… will it be for me? Will I be expected to sit around talking about their periods, will I know anyone else?

I try to allay the nervousness with information – links to the red tent summit which I have just spoken at, my booklet on starting a red tent, with reassurance and love…  but this is new, uncharted territory… of course there is apprehension.

Some are travelling nearly an hour to join us… others are following by Facebook – we hope to inspire them to start their own in their own community.

Are you ready for a red tent in YOUR neighbourhood? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have one in your city, town, village, or community?

Imagine not having to wait any longer…

Imagine knowing exactly how to create a Red Tent, monthly, where you, and your women friends, can simply BE, rather than DO…

DeAnna L’am who created the Red Tent Summit has created an Online Class designed to inspire, motivate, support and equip you, to start your own Red Tent.

The Global Tele-Tent Class starts on March 12, but you can register today.

I believe that the vision of a red tent in every neighbourhood – is possible in our life time!

And I want to help you make it a reality in YOUR neighbourhood!

Please join me, and women from all over the world, to make it so!

If you are looking for more resources I would recommend:

 

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.

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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.

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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.

Grab your copy of The Rainbow Way for just pennies!

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I know many mamas are stuck for cash right now. I get emails telling me how much they want to read my new book, but it’s just not affordable for them at the moment… I wish I could give every creative mama who contacts me a free copy – as I KNOW how much transformation it’s bringing to the women who have read it already.

Well, this is as good as I can do, and very nearly free! The Rainbow Way is currently just 99p/ 99c from Amazon on Kindle… so grab your copy fast, and read it at your leisure, as this offer only lasts until the end of January. Grab it here Amazon.co.uk Amazon.com and regional Amazons around the world. And tell your friends!

If you have just got a new Kindle/ i Pad/ tablet and are looking for great new books to feed it with, then snap it up at this incredible price…and please do leave me a review on Amazon when you’ve read it!

Not into ebooks? Well the cheapest place to get a paperback copy right now is from The Book Depository – they have it at 29% off – so £11.32 and FREE world wide postage. There are also copies for a similar price (when you include postage) from Amazon marketplace in the UK.

Want to know what readers are saying about it? Then let me share some of the incredible reviews with you …(PS If you’ve read it and haven’t reviewed it yet, I be really honoured it you took a couple of minutes to leave a review on Amazon!)

I particularly LOVE this one from a very wonderful sounding husband…

“I ordered this book for my wife, since having our children her creativity has been stifled as she has devoted her time to being a mother. This book has re-energised her and re-ignited her creative spark, there is a twinkle back in her eye it is wonderful to see. A great buy.”

seamps, Amazon review

“It is an amazing book with huge potential to change your life. It has dramatically altered by perception of myself as a mother … The Rainbow Way is an exceptional experience to read and follow. I highly recommend it.”

Amanda, UK, Amazon review

“I started your book last night, and I had a hard time putting it down. I’m feeling a spark I haven’t known in years bubbling to the surface- a drive that I buried. It’s a feeling of recognition and relief that others feel this way, too. It’s fantastic! Thank you.”

Julie, USA, by email

“Wow, I got my copy of the book today and I’m so excited! It’s so chunky and looks jam-packed full of amazing stuff! This is the first book I’ve read of yours Lucy and I’ve now read the first chapter and I think I’m in love with it already… I can’t wait to read more!”

Catherine, UK, by email

“I’m so f***ing glad Lucy wrote this book. I know that she wrote it because she was told to. I know it was dictated from the heavens. I know it because I can feel it when I read her words. When I got it, I consumed it whole within two days. I just couldn’t stop reading it. It felt like such a balm to my soul. I wish I’d had it at the beginning. I’m so glad it’s here now. Recommended for: Mothers. Every single one of them. Seriously. I mean it.”

Leonie Dawson, Australia

Also till the end of the month you can listen to my interview on Look and Feel Great for Mothers all about Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood – just sign up for free.

Shall I Drive You to the Red Tent? – Guest Post

I am honored to be joining DeAnna L’am and 29 other leaders in the field of menstrual education and women’s wisdom in the month of February for a free online red tent gathering. There are so many of my own real life heroines taking part I can hardly believe I am standing shoulder to shoulder with them. 

Today’s guest post from DeAnna explores a really important aspect of red tents, and one that has stalled me in my tracks in establishing one… HOW to make one and make it sustainable? There is so much emphasis on making a pretty space that we can get distracted from the main purpose – just making a space to nurture ourselves and the women in our lives.


How would the world be different if girls growing up today had a Red Tent to go to, in their own neighborhood?
Many of us would love to see a Red Tent where our daughters, stepdaughters, granddaughters, nieces, cousins, or any cherished girl in our life — could regularly find a haven.“Yes, but who would hold such Red Tents for them?” you may ask… and the inevitable answer is: YOU!

Imagine your girl coming home from school. She feels tired. She is actually crabby, and the sullen look on her face warns you to keep your distance. Throwing her backpack on the floor she runs into her room, not interested in answering any of your questions about her day. Her shoes fly off her feet, one at a time, on her way up the stairs, and land randomly on the floor. Her door is slammed shut, and you are not welcomed inside. You want to ask her about her feelings, to understand what is going on, but the door’s message is clear, and you know it will not open for a while…

Imagine, though, that you had a magical key to this closed door… Imagine softly knocking and whispering to your girl: “Shall I drive you to the Red Tent?” Imagine her door flying open, her eyes meeting yours, a sigh of relief rushing out of her mouth: “Oh, thank goodness! I’ve just got my period!” Imaging the two of you getting in the car, since it feels too cold to walk the otherwise pleasant road to the nearby woods. You likely wouldn’t talk much during the short drive, since your girl clearly wants to be quiet. She curls up on the passenger seat and closes her eyes. You arrive at your destination in no time.

The red flaps of the Tent are hanging down to keep the warmth in, and you lift them to allow your girl to walk in first. It feels like walking into a different world. It is blissfully quiet. You start lighting a few candles while your girl walks up to the pile of red blankets and grabs three of them. She sinks onto a mattress in the corner, and huddles under the blankets, letting all the air out of her lungs. She knows you are busy making her a cup of herbal tea. This is a familiar routine… You’ve been here many times before, and the roles have changed back and forth between you: barely two weeks ago it was you who flopped gratefully on a mat and curled into a ball under a pile of red blankets, while your 13-year-old was skillfully brewing a cup of Raspberry Leaf tea to soothe your womb and soul.

This is an easy reality to imagine… And, as surprisingly as it may seem to you, it is also an easy one to live! This can become a reality for you, and for your daughter, stepdaughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, or a cherished girl in your life, since it is up to You, up to Each Of Us, to make it so! A Red Tent in your neighborhood is only as distant as the limitation your mind puts on it. It is as close as your belief in its possibility!

We can make this a reality in our life time! You can create a Red Tent in your living room, in your back yard, in a friend’s home, in a nearby forest, meadow or beach. It can be made of anything: you can pitch a camping tent, or raise a tipi. You can drape Red cloths from tree branches, or build a yurt. The outer structure is not nearly as important as the space it holds inside — a space in which permission is given to simply BE…

Nothing is more essential than this: we need spaces where we can BE when we flow, either alone or in the company of other women. Anything beyond this is luxury (and we can create luxury, of course we can!) but lets not make luxury become the reason for not having a Red Tent right now. Lets remember the bare necessities: Space and Permission. And these, my sister, you can provide for yourself, for your girl, for your community – right now!

© by DeAnna L’am, All Rights ReservedJoin me to get inspired by the Red Tents In Every Neighborhood World Summit
A Free Online Event featuring women leaders from:

USA, Spain, Germany, U.K, Italy, Ireland (that’s me!), New Zealand, Australia, and Israel

Airing February 1-28


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DeAnna L’am, 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™, and of Red Tents In Every Neighborhood Global Network! A pioneer in Menstrual Empowerment, DeAnna has been transforming women’s and girls’ lives around the world for over 20 years. She teaches women how to love themselves unconditionally; how to dissolve PMS symptoms and draw spiritual strength from their cycle (rather than be at its mercy); and how to hold Red Tents in their communities. Visit her at: www.deannalam.com

Must Read Woman-Craft Books of 2013

I regularly get emails from women asking for book recommendations. So here, hopefully just in time for last minute Christmas pressies, are my pick of the best women’s books that I have read this year.

Sweetening the Pill: or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control

This is a superbly researched and written examination of the Pill, how it is marketed, why we swallow it and what it does to us.

“The pill is intrinsic to Western, patriarchal, capitalist culture as it is to the lives of many millions of women.” This line shook me hard. It was a terrifying truth, but one that I had never considered before. In order to be the stable, efficient, fully productive economic units of society that our culture requires, women need to take the Pill!

Over the course of the book she unpacks this statement. Women who take the Pill tend to feel numb and have less emotional response to their surroundings, both ups and downs. So women who are less passionate in all senses. Less angry, less outraged, less excited about whom they love, and have a lower libido. Women walk around who cannot get pregnant, who can have sex whenever, wherever without thought or repercussions – the stereotypical male fantasy of a living sex doll.

And women pay for this dubious privilege, both through their prescriptions, (which whilst free in the UK, it is paid for elsewhere.) but also with their health. Healthy women take a powerful medication daily for years, and often decades. A medication which UN polls has shown would be unpalatable for men to take. And it is a medication which promises so much – not just freedom from the constant fear of pregnancy, but also clear skin, bigger boobs, no PMT, lighter bleeding, less cramps, and with some, weight loss… There are few young women who wouldn’t want all that it promises: the ability to transform from a flawed human woman into superwoman.

For me this and The Pill: Are you sure it’s for you? by Alexandra Pope should be required reading of all girls on their 16th birthday.

a body Body of Wisdom – I just took delivery of this last night and I have read the first few pages and WOW! it is the the book of women’s wisdom I have been yearning for every moon time… I am SO excited about reading it. It explores nine hidden spiritual powers within women’s bodies which have been overlooked by patriarchal spiritual systems. Let me share a quote with you… “The powers described in this book are natural to women. They are integrated into our bodies and energy systems, and coordinated with our hearts and minds both…They are not how most women actually live, as most of us have curtailed what is natural in order to survive or thrive in a patriarchal society. But because they are natural they are always with us, like an invitation that is never withdrawn.”

Alchemy for Women: Personal Transformation Through Dreams and the Female Cycle has been my book of the year. I have learned so much about how not only my, but also my partner’s dreams are affected by my cycle… as well as so many other blood mysteries which no one speaks of. This is a follow-on title from the same authors as the classic book The Wise Wound: Menstruation and Everywoman – and thought it is much smaller, but equally as valuable, it never really established the same reputation. It is a funny mix of the scientific and esoteric written in quite a bitty way – almost like a notebook of discoveries many of which have yet to be fleshed out. It is influencing my ideas for my next book and comes highly recommended.

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And of course if you’re wanting to learn more about your cycles may I point you in the direction of my on book on the subject – Moon Time: A Guide to Celebrating your Menstrual Cycle – which hundreds of women around the world have described as life changing.

 

I also gained a number of really interesting insights from Wild Feminine: Finding Power, Spirit & Joy in the Female Body (don’t you just LOVE the cover!) I found the exercises in it a little repetitive (I have a short attention span!) and it’s a long book – but if you’re looking for a book to help you get in touch with your female body and especially the pelvic bowl, Tami Lynn Kent is a loving insightful guide.

 

 

My Mother, Myself is a classic, written in the 70s, before it was even acknowledged how much power on a girl’s psyche her mother has. It is a book that I have bought for myself three times, but never gotten past the second chapter. The same happened again… so I skipped a few and got great insight from it. In truth I’m not mad about her writing style, and it feels a little dated as she is talking about the previous generation of mothers and daughters. But ouch her insights cut like a knife. She says what is now a classic took a while before really taking off, as women admitted to throwing it across the room or hiding it in cupboards before taking it out and finishing it, then recommending it to their friends, or buying a copy for their mother. So I guess I’m not alone!

a secret

I have just ordered her other classic My Secret Garden: Women’s Sexual Fantasies which arrived last night and is an eye-opener – it both documents hundreds of women’s sexual fantasies as well as reflecting on the how and why of female sexual fantasy in our patriarchal culture!

a cunt

Whilst we’re on the topic, lets talk Cunt: A Declaration of Independence which I discovered when I was invited to a Facebook group of the same name – well actually it’s called “That book with a daisy on it” because Facebook don’t allow the word cunt in a positive context. Only for misogynists. Anyway. It is a feisty book which explores women, their bodies, their sexuality and independence with sassyness, verve and packs a punch.

Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything. For god here read whatever you see god as… but the title would have put me off buying it myself. Don’t let it! It is basically all about mindfulness and eating, written with great compassion and humor.

a dance

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine is another book I avoided for years because of the title – not being into either the Christian tradition or the Sacred Feminine. Really it is a powerful book about a woman’s journey into herself, breaking away from what she should believe and feel and discovering her own truth. It has become one of my all time favourite books, which I know I shall come back to again and again.

art birthThe Art of Birth: Empower Yourself for Conception, Pregnancy and Birth  offers a radical new approach to conception, pregnancy and birth using expressive art for self-development. It is a beautifully illustrated book which will also inspire women who are yearning to express their sense of being a woman through art. Packed full of art exercises, relaxation, positive affirmations, inner work, emotional support and pleasure, where the dream of a natural, empowered journey to motherhood and a positive birth experience can become a new reality.

Leonie Dawson‘s 2014 Create Your Amazing Year in Life and Business Workbook has changed how I live my life and do business over the past three years that I have used it! It is powerful transformational life and business stuff carefully presented in a non-threatening, feminine way with girly pictures and gorgeous colours which make me feel so happy and safe whilst I’m doing the big work inside!

I get the wonderful printable PDF version free on her Life and Business Academy (you can buy the Life and Business versions individually for $9.95 here which is what I did last year). BUT I wanted a lovely bound copy to hold in my hands. And this year for the first year you can buy a printed copy of both versions together from Amazon. I ripped mine open last night and started the life planner the moment the kids were asleep… and then first thing at work this morning I did some of the business part. I LOVE this book. I’ve spent the morning taking stock of the mammoth year of dreams that has been 2013 and looking forward to an even more glorious year next year – oh the things I have in store already!!

Obviously The Rainbow Way has been the book I have spent most time with in every way this year. I turn to it myself when I am feeling creatively overwhelmed, burned out or in need of reassurance. There is a lot of woman craft in it – a focus on the womb and its connection to women’s creativity, our menstrual cycle and how it affects creativity, lots about women’s circles in supporting creativity and lots of self care guidance. (I am so honored that Leonie named it one of her top 20 books for 2013!) I was SO excited to see that it is number 10 on Amazon.co.uk’s most wished for book in the Motherhood genre at the time of writing!

For girls

Blueberry Girl A dear friend gave this very special book to Ash for her third birthday and it is SO beautifully written and illustrated. It is a lovely non- religious blessing of power and strength for a girl. Watch the beautiful animated reading of the book here.

Reaching for the Moon was my first book release of the year, and is, of my three self-published books, the quickest seller. It seems to really resonate with mothers and daughters and is spreading like wild fire. My 5 1/2 year old begged to be able to read one of my books, brandishing this one in her little hands, knowing that it was for girls, but I have put her off for a couple more years! I was so honored to hear that it is being taught in a local school and have been invited in to talk to the girls on the topic.

And in brief, other exciting looking new releases still on my Kindle which I have only had a chance to read a few pages of, but have enjoyed thus far include:

Conversations with EVE: Women’s TRUE power – where it came from, how we lost it, how we can get it back!

Conversations with EVE (Every Vagina on Earth) is an eye-opening, inspiring, and motivating book. It shares a fascinating account of how the “Myth of Male Superiority” took away EVE’s rights and freedoms.

Menopause: a Natural and Spiritual Journey

This book is personal journey into the time of menopause looking at it from a spiritual point of view first and how spirituality can help with physical, mental and emotional symptoms. It seeks to show it as a natural part of life.

Ripening Time: Inside Stories for Aging with Grace

Sherry Ruth Anderson, the bestselling author of The Feminine Face of God presents a new perspective on aging. She guides us beyond our culture’s mind traps and shows how growing into old age can be a fruition, the genuine grace and gift of human ripening.

The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality dismantles the notion of what it means to be a “good mother.” This collection of essays takes a realistic look at motherhood and provides a platform for real voices and raw stories, each adding to the narrative of motherhood we don’t tend to see in the headlines or on the news.

Spiritual Pregnancy: Nine Months of Spiritual Transformation Before You Give Birth (out Jan 2014) is a really tender, insightful book about pregnancy especially the spiritual aspects, and is written by a husband and wife team of doctors!

What have you read and loved this year?

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

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