It was an exceptionally hot and sunny day when the Magical Menstrual Tour came to Boulder area. The bus unceremoniously dumped me on a main highway intersection underneath the frazzling sun at around noon, and to be honest I didn’t really know where I was. A well meaning man asked me if I was waiting for the bus and I suggested I was waiting in the wrong place… I assured him I was OK and that my friend would be there any minute. Surely enough she was.
I was picked up in style. For those of you who have had the honour and privilege of meeting Hootie the Beauty, our old soulful set of wheels in the UK , I believe I found Hoot’s soul sister out here. Not a Peugeot, but an old well-loved car with the same brilliance, bright red and chugging happily away, with Ixeeya Beacher behind the wheel smiling at me; bright eyes shining.
Put simply, Ixeeya (who organises a lot of the events for the Boulder Red Tent) is gorgeous. If you ever get the chance, I encourage you to connect with this beautiful soul, attend her events and allow yourself to be touched by her light. Her work can be found by clicking here.
Ixeeya’s space in the countryside is magical and it is also her home, permanent retreat space and creative artistic space (she’s a wonderful artist too). As we were setting up, I was laying out my cloth circle (and we were wondering what numbers we might get for the gathering – you NEVER know!) Ixeeya shared with glee that whenever people ask her what she does for a job she tells them she is a professional cat-herder. When I asked why, she explained that women are like cats – they simply cannot be herded! All cat owners know this; even if there is a big full plate of delicious tasty salmon they will NOT be forced to go eat it…! I love the analogy; women’s gatherings are just like that!!
The space and the intimate group of 6 allowed us to truly dive into the work. I was thrilled to have a 13 year old girl and her mother within the group today; such a great opportunity to share and open up the story of menstruation with her.
The circle was opened by Ixeeya herself; who introduced me and then let me fly. I encouraged everyone to share a menstrual story to open the circle with; it could be a funny one, have happened to someone else.. anything to let the conversation flow. We had some great stories in this group…
One woman told of a time she was backpacking (I think in a small village somewhere in Latin America) with her period and the pain and exhaustion got too much under the weight of her heavy bag and she just collapsed on the side of the road, like an upside down ladybird…! A man came to her aid and asked her if she needed to see a healer to which the woman replied “Yes!”. She was taken to a woman in her home who started rubbing her belly, soothing it, stroking it and doing all these wonderful healing practices that made the pain go away. When it was all done the healer asked “Are you feeling better now?” The woman replied “Yes I am” and to her surprise the healer whipped off her top, jumped on the bed and said “OK, it’s my go. You do me!” We all laughed! The storyteller went on to explain how this had deeply touched her; how in this different culture there was no need to become ‘certified teachers’ in things, the community helped each other out and anyone could heal. In the act of the woman saying “You do me” she trusted that this foreign backpacker was already a healer just because she was a human; something very empowering that our culture with it’s allopathic approach doesn’t support.
Another woman told us a hilarious story that made us all cringe and roll about laughing. About her first tampon experience/possibly first menses experience too. She was on a dive boat of all places (don’t menses come at the most unpredictable/inconvenient times?!!). She noticed the first blood and didn’t know what to do; there were no toilets on board and there were a lot of boys around. She managed to find a tampon from a friend and then had to find somewhere to figure out how to use it, then insert it. I was cringing for her; I think we were all were actually!! She found a place at the very front of the boat, just about hidden behind a sail(!) Well just as the tampon was about to ‘travel North’ a wave struck the side of the boat causing it to get launched out of her hand and into the water…! On acquiring a second tampon she managed to achieve the impossible – balancing on the rocking boat, hiding from boys, and learning how to insert a tampon…! The things young women have to go through, huh? I was glad this young woman was there to hear us howl with laughter at these stories.
I shared my story of washing cloth pads out and then watering my house plants with the blood; quite tame in comparison but nevertheless a great story in that it opens up the conversation about using cloth pads (and passing my EcoFemme pantyliner and menstrual cup around), and gives people ideas on how we can give our blood back to the Earth. People are loving this practice and are loving the products too – a most valuable part of the work I do.
It was a wonderful lively humorous atmosphere, with incense smells and trickly water sounds, and I so enjoyed giving my workshop to such enthusiastic fun kind attentive people. Also I appreciated that many of the woman there were already ‘menstrual experts’ involved in teaching others about the cycle, but they truly listened to me and allowed me to speak – although I am certain they had a lot they could input and share with me. I really appreciated this and felt completely free to really let rip!!
I was in ‘Day 3’ of my cycle in Boulder, so I was actually feeling COMPLETELY exhausted from the bus ride; and having given a workshop the night before (and with one planned for the next day) I knew I was burning the candle at both ends too much. But how could it be any different this month? These workshops are planned out weeks in advance and menstruation happens at unpredictable times for me, with some cycles around 26 days and some 33 making it pretty difficult to plan! An acceptance of ‘it is what it is’ helps me in these situations.
So I decided to see it as an experiment – to see how I would feel when I payed menstruation no special attention and just pushed on through it like I used to. As I type I am on Day 28, and on reflection I have had the worst month for years in terms of energy levels and general feelings of buoyancy, and resurgence of some old pre-menstrual traits that feel very real and very uncomfortable, but I now know to be due to tiredness. I have been completely exhausted this month! To think that people are walking around drained all the time is what motivates me to continue sharing this work. It’s truly and utterly all about menstruation for me now; allowing rest and renewal – it’s essential to our health and well-being and it has been a great reminder for me to know that again in a physical sense.
Actually this workshop could have gone on for a very long time; longer than the time we had. The time I had allocated for discussion of the images from the guided ‘four seasons’ meditation was suddenly gone and I wished I had been able to give a little more. But the work had really ignited something and had inspired the people present, and so we closed our circle, cheered “Go team RED” and soon I was on my way back to Denver and the sky decided to do this over the Rockies….. it looked 100 times more amazing in real life but I couldn’t capture it fully on my phone!!
Ixeeya beautifully wrote in one email that in gathering together and sharing our wisdom stories we are healing and transforming ourselves and the planet. I truly feel the same way, and this amazing experience has filled me up from the inside in a way I have never felt before.
One woman said “Know you planted seeds that will continue to be nourished while you continue on your wonderful and magical journey spreading the beauty of our cycles and our blood.”
Another said “Please know that what you shared landed in so many life-giving ways”
Ixeeya said “Go team RED – lets keep riding the underground red river together!!”
I had so much fun with you all, thank you for being a full and vibrant part of the tour – Ixeeya I still have some of the rose petals and they have been present at many more Magical Menstrual Workshops since! Xx