August 8, 2022
The Moon Cycle
Did you know that the LAPD creates staffing schedules based on the full moon calendar? And that emergency rooms increase staffing during a full moon? Or did you think that was the stuff of movies? Well guess what. It’s not. It’s real and my closest therapist friends will be the first to tell you when the full moon hits, their phones light up too.
I’ll never forget earlier this year as a member of the special forces told me, “If the ocean is impacted by the full moon and our bodies are mostly made of water, I believe humans are equally touched by these natural rhythms.” If one of the toughest men I’ve ever met accepts these realities, maybe it’s time we all reconsider our connection to the natural world.
We are so disconnected from nature and so effected by florescent lighting that we’ve lost touch with influences all around us. These influences, which every first nations and indigenous culture still understands, determine when seeds are planted, times of rituals for rites of passage and expected emotional upheavals.
It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties when a senior yoga teacher (literally in menopause by this time) pointblank asked me in a room full of other students why I didn’t acknowledge, honor or otherwise adjust my practice according to my menstrual cycle. I was stunned, embarrassed and at a loss for words. I grew up under the influence of a media which told me I should all but ignore the fact that I was a woman. That to admit weakness was to admit I was somehow less capable. I believed the message that I should forge ahead, take Tylenol, if necessary, use the appropriate products and continue my life and every physical activity as usual.
This didn’t seem like a big deal to me since my menstrual cycle has always been relatively easy to navigate but this teacher was quick (and stern) pointing out that the quality of my cycle was irrelevant. She said by continuing to push forward with my physical practice as usual, I was ignoring a natural rhythm of my life, ignoring a time each month that was asking me to slow down (even if just for a day or two), to turn inward, release and reflect before a new creative cycle begins. This is why we have teachers. This is why we need teachers. Insightful teachers are able to point us toward our blind spots. I realized in that moment if I could not honor the cycles of my own life, I would be unable to help my students do the same.
When I became pregnant, I was literally speechless as I watched my body in awe. I felt like a superhero! I was growing a HUMAN BEING inside of my body! And it was incredible. I spent much of my time wondering, “why was I never told what women are capable of? Why was this never celebrated?” I felt sad for the part of me that never fully understood the true depth and specialness of my humanity.
Then Disney and Pixar released a movie called Turning Red about a young girl entering adolescence, starting her menstrual cycle and literally becoming a monster. Upon the arrival of her period, she turns into an embarrassing creature as her mother humiliates her at school with sanitary pads. Once again, I was horrified and saddened at the messages being sent to our young people about this precious moment in life, as if this beautiful transition were something to be afraid of, something to dread.
Scientific research shows what indigenous cultures have always known and celebrated – the onset of puberty is a time of spiritual awakening. As young people begin their journeys of individuation, they are also entering a time of spiritual inquiry. The clinical research shows, without a shadow of a doubt, if an adolescent person is spiritually supported there is literally NO greater protector against destructive behavior, drug and alcohol use, depression and anxiety. NONE. Nothing supports a young person more, no other education, medication or intervention, then supporting their spiritual questions and quests. Don’t believe me? Checkout the work of Dr. Lisa Miller.
So here I am, inching closer to 40, and I am desperate to create something different for my daughter, for her friends and for our collective future. I am desperate to help people everywhere acknowledge and honor the beautiful, inherent rhythms they are moving through each and every month without ignoring or denying parts of themselves that are begging to be seen. No matter your gender assigned at birth your hormones fluctuate every 4 – 6 weeks. And they are great teachers. If we pay close attention, we can learn how to maximize these natural rhythms and tap into them for great insight, direction and power. The better we understand ourselves, the more capable we will be of utilizing our creativity and energy. The better we understand these ebbs and flows, the better able we will be to accept and embrace times when we need deep rest, meditation and inward reflection.
We need to normalize conversations about menstruation, puberty, menopause and the shift into the second part of life. These are powerful times for spiritual practice and as we continue to evolve and change throughout the course of an entire lifetime, we will all be better supported by making these topics less awkward to discuss openly. My newest class Moon Cycle Flow is designed to do just that – to help you address the symptoms of a monthly cycle by honoring them intentionally as you connect with the rhythm of your body and reconnect with your inherent steadiness. And our work this year with The Cycle is aimed at doing just that. So flow with us. Literally. And let’s change the future together, one conversation, one practice at a time.