Alexandra Pope – What is Menstruality & Menstrual Cycle Awareness?



so hi Alexandra thank you for taking the time out just to be on this call with as you are aware I'm about to start bark on a journey with my PhD in wisdom studies equal to University and wisdom school University and I'm going to be meeting my teachers for the first time over the next few weeks which I'm really excited about cool and I just wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to teachers and not just yourself but the work that you've been doing over these past 40 years I would imagine now and with the community of women that you've built up over these years to and especially working shiny at red sore and me being one of your apprentice apprentice things as well I just wanted to introduce why I believe it's important that we do this is because I believe that the work that we're doing together as a community of women is understanding how to come into relationship with the Sacred Feminine an intimate relationship being incarnated into a woman's body and I know that this is a huge conversation and grow in many different directions and for the sake and intention of just this short call I wanted to just explore or talk about you know and introduce this term mentality through spirit moving through us and also the the practice of menstrual cycle awareness and you know speaking to all of those parts of the world as it is now the marriage of the sacred feminine and masculine you know political economic environment or like a sacred bone ie but if somebody's here in this term for the first time you know male or female man what these men stability the you Alexandra I mean we've all become terms but exactly what is better I would say what would you speak to firstly thank you Elaine I'm gonna put us on to speak of you because for some reason it's not switching Elaine thank you very much for inviting me into this conversation and to be able to share on a topic that has been working me most of my adult life yes so it is coming close to 40 years of attending to this and and this thing that has been working me we now give the term menstrual t-to so I'm going to feel into that word now in the moment with you because it's a it's a sort of living phenomena for me and I am sort of swimming in it all the time so I want to sort of feel into how it wants to sort of be articulated through me in this moment now um it is a way of talking about the unique process that is built into the female body that is initiated at the very first bleed what we call menarche and it is a process that then unfolds through our menstruating years and comes to a kind of fulfillment at menopause that launches us into what we like to call them mature years and and of course within that whole journey is also built the the journey for conception pregnancy birth and motherhood so that is held within this ground that I have just described the ground of the menstrual cycle process really from menarchy to menopause and then what it sort of awakens a woman to coast menopause and we've never had a word that would encapsulate all that experience because and the word monstrosity was actually proposed by a New Zealand woman so I just want to acknowledge that it's very important Jane Catherine's event there was a psychotherapist and an educator in Minster ality in 2001 coined this phrase now our understanding of read school is our own we have our own kind of dreaming into that word but it is in essence a word to describe that process that is built into a woman's body and this menstrual cycle journey this process is both a biological phenomena but there's a psychological and a spiritual phenomena unfolding for a woman and when those layers all those layers are not named and sufficiently careful it really does a woman's head in to put it it sort of scrambles our psyches it scrambles our souls and that once a woman awakens to the phenomena of her cycle and these different levels it's like she can step onto a path that is an initiatory pass for it is an initiatory journey Elaine that a woman goes on this is an initiatory journey when she awakens to the phenomena of her cycle she's stepping on to an initiatory path it is a spiritual journey in short and it it is ignited at menarche but we are completely blissfully ignorant because we are so young and then each cycle is like an a mini initiatory process in itself a kind of a journey through birth growth or some kind of fulfillment and then cooling in a contraction a death and then a rebirth and that death and rebirth happens every month at menstruation and then this journey reaches a fulfillment at menopause so menopause is a massive massive initiatory moment where a woman is fully undone ghosts mush ifs rewired and she's rewired for the world to utterly serve the world but she is a woman is growing into that great initiative moment of menopause through her menstruating journey so it's like I was always called the menstruating years.the it's like you have your training wheels on and then you kick them off with menopause so a woman is being through her menstruating hair she is being embedded in something very powerful she's being embedded in münster allottee cycle by cycle she's being embedded and that word menstrual atif or me is another way of talking about the Sacred Feminine it's it's kind of an initiation into ineffability each month at menstruation a woman has an experience a capacity to touch into the most exquisite holy place within herself we like to call menstruation the inner temple of women because there literally is a sense of being able to step into another territory that is not of this world how a woman does that I'll come to that in a moment because of course the average woman out there is not thinking oh wow I'm in the inner temple right now and having a cosmic experience plugged into the divine no no no there's kind of discipline to get there and once you practice that discipline and it's quite a simple discipline it is completely utterly real and powerful and very in-your-face and I would even dare to say that a lot of the suffering that women experience at menstruation and even in other part you know like premenstrual II and so on is directly connected to the suppression of this knowledge they lack of and that's not a judgment on in women at all it's just total suppression in our culture that lack of recognition our culture of what the menstrual cycle homes so just trying to encapsulate this briefly so at menstruation a woman has the capacity to enter into the most exquisite altered states of consciousness and where she can experience this feeling of being plugged into herself literally he plugged in and line up and then in that moment feeling this extraordinary wash of love come over it is the most exquisite feelings of love and bliss and this real sense of belonging like oh my god yes oh I'm here yes I have meaning my life is meaningful and then from that can burst out this vision the sense of how well are calling this is where your calling comes through so this is deep connection in to a spiritual dimension into your like your holy self and with that it invites in your calling your calling can speak it's a natural channel in this moment to be able to tap into your calling and it's an extraordinary moment of union there's a huge amount packed in and I can only give just the sort of slightest indications of what is possible and then from that moment a woman is birthed back out into a sort of normal life again as I like to say and I now have the delightful sound in the background of the garbage truck it's the collection day and they are coming so I'd love to acknowledge the shadow sign the garbage and we will come to that moment in the cycle process allayed so thank you very much for reminding me I would have got there so the first is so really when we come on administration we are now taking this essence of who we are and we're learning how to lift that in the world so the first half of the cycle helps you to to grow into who you are to be able to stabilize in that and bring that expression out into the world and the summer of the cycle is just a huge full flowering of that like highly high summer we locate the seasons in the cycle and this full blossoming of ourselves and then the wheel turns and we are then drawn back down into ourselves again and so the premenstrual phase of the cycle is this stepping down it's a of preparation to return to the Inner Temple of menstruation actually and we have to be undone so I think of this summer is the full glorious egoic expression of ourselves and then the second half of the cycle is its dismantling of it this is the initiation at work where we are Slyke we are undone the ground is taken from us and then of course there is that moment just before menstruation when we feel the ground completely go we call that the death moment the void and then we are restored to ourselves again administration so that is just a very kind of brief summary the name of the journey that a woman undertakes each minstrel month and essentially what she's doing is she is firstly learning to inhabit herself and to claim usually is and then she's being undone and awoken to something larger than herself so it is this journey from a kind of narcissistic self to to our holy self to an ending interdependent self an ecological self a self that knows the world and myself as one so we're in a sense being made permeable to life we're being made permeable for revelation for what the world wants of us what the world wants us to step up and do in service of the world and menopause is really the kind of final working out of that whole process and post menopause then there's a whole other country it's fabulous so that is a little bit of coloring to fill out that word menstrual tea for you Elaine and what I'd like to briefly describe is how women can start to awaken that because of course I'm saying not the average one walking out there is probably experiencing the shadow side of not having that knowledge and it is this practice of menstrual cycle awareness which you named in the introduction and what that means is it's what's the art and practice because it's an art but it is about knowing what day of your cycle you are on at any one moment and respecting and honoring the mood and energy and needs and so on of yourself in that moment because each phase of the cycle is necessary and meaningful it's like our ecology our inner ecology and if you abandon any part of the cycle you're abandoning a part of your ecology and inevitably this tend to be fall out when the ecology is not balanced so it's learning to just the simple act of going on I'm on day five today or I want day 21 whatever it is it greets you in to yourself so it's an active connection to yourself and your cycle is yourself in action and it's coded with your calling it's it is trying to take you home to yourself that's what it's coded with and so as you step onto the path of cycle ends and you pace the energy of your cycle as best you can within the demands of the culture that is not is linear does not acknowledge this cyclical consciousness or cyclical consciousness in general but the menstrual cycle in particular so you do it as best you can there is a kind of magic that unfolds for a woman a woman starts to feel more in herself there's like a layer of stress that falls away and she starts to feel more whole and integrated in herself and much kinder with herself this light actually self-esteem builders like it's in a sweetness growth and we're starting to build an interior and interior tea an interior space a presence it's like mindfulness for women it is a form of meditation for women that builds an interior spaciousness and an inner presence that allows you to hear and feel and listen to yourself and life and to be able to encounter life in a new way it really exercises us psychologically cycle awareness it's really this psychological workout and what we're doing is we're building a vessel a psychological spiritual vessel to be able to channel the spiritual forces that are available to us and menstruation and also to be able to serve our calling in the world incredible and your skillfulness and wisdom and embodied practice as you articulate this word meant reality I can't help but as you are speaking to that going oh oh this is in me and this this is a my natural cycle my natural connection and I've been disconnected from yes it's a huge untapped resource Elaine and I want to really emphasize that each woman has her own relationship with this her own expression on it her own articulation of it and what we teach is the archetypal pattern this archetypal initiatory pattern that is undeniable in all of us it's in everything whether you have a menstrual cycle or not it's in everything we're negotiating that great archetypal cyclical process but for a woman it is so profoundly intimate we are held within it within a very intimate way and we are going to have our own version of it which is going to be predicated on our own nature our overall health you know life situations circumstances you know everything and it is it is where those two meet that the magic occurs it's that creative run that disturbs us if you like it's that work of encounter that allows us to that keeps us awake in the line and engaged and I feel it is profoundly the cycle processes like a is tuning us up for the feminine it is tuning us up for being able to encounter and become a worthy partner with the ineffable with the unknown and when you speak to archetypes it's happening whether whether we know it or not whether we want to look or not it's happening anyway and just as our awareness when we practice menstrual cycle awareness just as our awareness grows of that like you said in a landscape the intimacy with the mood the energy how I'm relating to the world how am relating to myself inward outward movements that are happening naturally it's J it just brings a part of my dimension of my life dimension alive if it's almost like I feel and sense the evolution happening this is evolution happening you know isn't something that I am remembering it's like this map if you like that I'm discovering and I'm right now and so for each time that I'm cycling it brings me back to all back or and to that space again of noticing relating responding to that wouldn't seen the spiritual aspects of life you know this incarnation of being what is this yeah so I just wanted to point that it's happening anyway and I think what you're bringing into the world and what you're offering through your work and the work that all the many women are doing now in the menstrual ality field is is inviting women to look at this in ourselves and it's not an external Authority this is an absolute internal Authority that we come into relationship with the divine with with the sacred and here we are incarnated into the feminine if you like through our wooden body and the qualities of that here yes it is a we don't do this spiritual practice a spiritual practice does us and the way that we can come experience it is through coming into relationship with it so it's a profoundly relational process so we are really exercising that relational muscle which is absolutely core for blessing the feminine for drawing the feminine in and which is missing in our culture and in our song right now yeah we can see the description that's happening so just this practice is a way that we can but being activists it's been so Alexandra thank you again but is there anything else that you want to finish on that you would like to share you know this is the opportunity to to speak to that but Elaine there is something I would like to add and it's quite a provocative statement but I feel very fiercely about this now because I do feel a fierce indignation of skål that this menstrual tea work isn't named and recognized as a spiritual way and practice for women by the way not all women are necessarily going to be interested in it but all women will benefit from it being named within the field but the thing I really want to emphasize here is that um that this is the original spiritual practice of women because it is inside us we don't control it that's what makes it so incredibly powerful and then all other spiritual practices are sort of outer ones that we do all fabulous and glorious and things that I participation myself ah ultimately derivative for a woman they are just that bit removed the menstrual tea process is so cool and it can take us to the core of something in the way that nothing else can because we are not in charge of it it is working us and it it can invite us into this most exquisite experience of Union but to get there we have to be utterly naked and that is given that experience is there every month for a woman right at the end of a cycle and I don't know any other private practice other than of course just life I mean a life can initiate us or the climb would make us utterly naked but this is happening month after month is an integrative process in us now other practice can invite in I believe that level of vulnerability that is touched upon in each woman just before bleeding it is the darkest hour and also at menopause when a woman is in the initial stages of menopause she is also in that most exposed of places and actually I feel tears coming me now especially for menopause women it just grieves me because it is so extreme sometimes it's so extreme because mostly women experience it as this muscle hauling darkness as anihilation and that is the initiation at work but if they don't know that this is the initiatory moment that annihilation is taken personally it is it is kind of self-destructive and can be literally enacted so you know women often will have thoughts of suicide at this point especially if they've experienced trauma in their lives but certainly huge self-rejection but the other side of that is the light because you have to go through that death and for the initiation to grow up basically but it is truly a death moment and you know this is extraordinarily powerful and and it pains me that this most holy of moments is not holy named and recognized so that women can have a dignity with themselves when they meet this moment each month and most particularly when they meet it menopause and deathless because like that psychic you don't think oh goody new life is coming mr. Foos rebirth follows but that dignity changes everything in how a woman meets that and that's where the really kind of holy transformation can happen so I am saying that there is something a woman can experience at menstruation but I didn't believe any other spiritual practice can ultimately give to her in this deeply coherent individualized exquisitely powerful and holy way that's the day I wanted to air Denis asking me so a deep thank you for your own journey and authenticity through life and death and rebirth a month and of course through your own menopause or journey as well just being that beam of light a beacon like the soul of life the spirit of light saying that there is another way for me and not just for me but if when were in our wee free men we absolutely in women claiming they're safe free men I just know that it would shift the whole dynamic thank you so much

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