Go lie down and don’t try to puzzle anything out. You’ll not get any answers that are illuminating. On the other hand after you lie down for a while, a good long while, you may notice that you that’s what you needed most of all.
This is what I wrote to myself just after watching and doing the Psoas Release Party! (home edition in streaming video) by Jonathan FitzGordon, who I first encountered via the Liberated Body Podcast. It was about an hour on your back, after a longish talk about the psoas and standing and walking. He’s a self described psoas obsessive and a yoga and walking teacher. It was just what I needed. I needed rest. I really didn’t need to be learning about the psoas or whether or not to work with positive affirmations that were making me cranky as an exercise in week 1 of the Artist’s Way book/course that I had just started. I hadn’t slept well for a few days and I was desperately search for the simplest solution which I slipped into by accident. Just rest. Sometimes I have amnesia about what is good to do for myself when I need it most. And a benefit of the psoas release party, a great night’s sleep.
I started the Artist’s Way Course this week and that took me to Inglewood on Tuesday for an artist’s date and I bought a cute little sleeper for my new nephew, still unnamed, this sweet one. I also got my Japanese knife sharpened at Knifewear. It was simply a joyful thing to cut into a tomato and made my husband try it. I am in danger of thinking I need a new knife every time I visit that place. I also found a shop called reworks and felt like I found a kindred spirit in Solita who owns the place. At a bead shop, I also got two old buttons AKA ‘vintage’ buttons for my new hat that I reknit from an old hat that I had been keeping a corner of the yarn cabinet cozy, but nobody’s head.
I do love my first artist date. I felt so happy afterwards. It’s simply a play date with your artist self, alone. Not supposed to be shopping, but this one was. It’s not supposed to be anything but fun and a way to refill the well of inspiration, sights, sounds, textures… etc.
But this positive affirmation stuff. Hmm. It has value if for no other reason that it brings out the BLURTs which is what it is intended to do in part. Just trying to write out 10 times some statement like “I am a talented ____________ .” and the negative comments come flying out. The exercise is designed to bring out your negative beliefs around your creativity and then you record them and turn them into positive affirmations. Are we trading one set of stories for another set of stories? It is meant to bring safety to the creative process. It is interesting that the negative stories hang around in the woodwork and suddenly pounce and have the ring of familiarity and sound like an ominous truth.
On the one hand, why not go with it and fake it till you make it. And know that what you are affirming can come true. Choose your story. Choose your crazy. Know that what you are saying is as false as the negative one, but leads to a more interesting place. Yes, delude yourself in a positive way. One of my blurts was, “How do you know you are not deluding yourself?” Is it the worst thing to try out this form of deluding yourself?
Turning to google, I found a few more ways to work with affirmations or alternatives to affirmations. I value truth and so I need to find a way fashion an affirmation that is still true or is an encouragement rather than an affirmation, for instance, looking forward to failure. A saying that has come to my attention lately is “I’ve learned so much from my mistakes, I’m thinking of making a few more.” Another idea was to fashion a question to uproot a negative blurt. It’s made me cranky, so I’m still working on this.
This brings me to another book I am loving which is 28 Days Lighter, which I first heard about on Katy Bowman’s blog. There are great quotes in here. It happens to be a book about weight loss, exercise and the menstrual cycle, but I’m reading it for the information about the menstrual cycle. Truth be told I started looking for it in my pms week and flipped to that chapter. The Vixen is the archetype for this week of the cycle. That has passed and I am now in the wise woman phase or menstruation. When out of balance during this time, which is not often these days, I can be really unbalanced vata, the dosha related to air and wind. I am unable to focus and flit from one thing to another and I feel scattered and forgetful, sometimes anxious and I do better with solitude which is what this time is about. What I have learned to do is to put my head on a block and do other restorative yoga poses. When I am really out of balance, to see me trying to put my head on a block looked more like Jack-in-box-asana. But that has only happened once. A few rounds of more fiery practice and I was able to settle.
What would happen, for instance, if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not?
The answer is clear – menstruation would become an enviable, boast-worthy, masculine event:
Men would brag about how long and how much.
Boys would mark the onset of menses, that longed-for proof of manhood, with religious ritual and stag parties.
Congress would fund a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea to help stamp out monthly discomforts.
Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free. (Of course, some men would still pay for the prestige of commercial brands such as John Wayne Tampons, Muhammad Ali’s Rope-a-dope Pads, Joe Namath Jock Shields – “For Those Light Bachelor Days,” and Robert “Baretta” Blake Maxi-Pads.)
-Gloria Steinem, from a longer essay, If Men could Menstruate. (1978)
We live in a time when women are menstruating more than they ever have. Of course women have always menstruated, but 200 years ago, women had fewer periods because they had more children, 7 to 10 on average, and breastfed their children. There are some really interesting facts about the history of beliefs around menstruation and customs and practices. Today we seem to ignore the fact or see it as a curse. This book is about knowing the menstrual cycle and working with it harmoniously. The end of menstruation is in sight for me and it will begin any day now for my daughter. I hope to pass along some useful information to her right from the get go and see how that unfolds.
I’m on the look out for information about perimenopause as well as it will be the next phase for me. I have read Estrogen’s Storm Season, lent to my by a friend a few years ago. Funny how I don’t own most of the books I’ve read about the menstrual cycle. Most have come from the library.
My favourite books about the menstrual cycle
This fiction book begins as eight frustrated midlife women-from all walks of life-meet Dr. Kailey Madrona, a woman specialist. All are in perimenopause, the long and chaotic transition to menopause. They are as different as women can be-yet they share the mysterious experiences of perimenopause, night sweats, flooding periods or mood swings.
The female body changes from week to week, yet diet doctors around the globe never acknowlege this phenomenon. This easy-to-follow 28-day plan is an innovative combination of modern research and ancient traditions. It outlines a core program of dietary suggestions, fitness guidelines, specific exercises and lifestyle recommendations for each of the phases of the menstrual cycle.
Imagine you could predict virtually every aspect of your day-your mood, energy level, cravings, brain skills, chattiness, pain sensitivity, desire for romance and more-based solely on which week you're on in your monthly hormone cycle. You can-with the Hormone Horoscope, the world's only horoscope based solely on your hormones!
The book is called "28 Days A Daily Horoscope Your Hormones!: What Your Cycle Reveals About Your Love Life, Moods, and Potential".