Category Archives: menstrual cycle workshops

chapter 4 – a morning at harvard with chris bobel and ecofemme’s ilana at brandeis university

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My meeting with Chris auspiciously aligned with the publishing of a very special edition of Newsweek. The April 29th edition with a red cover and a tampon on it; a joyous moment of celebration for menstrual activists around the globe! At last Periods had hit the big media! The Newsweek issue, called ‘There Will Be Blood’ reported in a very excellent article that in no uncertain terms….. ‘the crimson tide is turning.’!! Yessss!!

Having taken the train to Harvard (on the very aptly named ‘Red Line’ hahaha!) surrounded by hundreds of exceptionally brainy students, and forced to listen in to technical conversations about web-building, engineering and other such baffling-ness, Kyle and I made our way to meet Chris who had kindly made us time out of her massively busy schedule around graduation. Graduation sends everyone within the vicinity of a University into a frenzy of busy-ness and I remember it well. So a HUUUUGE thank you, Chris – I had a blast meeting you!!

We found her upstairs in an extremely crowded but very gorgeous coffee shop and we both had the pleasure of a wonderfully warm and rapturous hug-welcome from this fantastically bubbly and bright energetic woman. Chris is a VIP in the Menstrual activist world; president for the Society of Menstrual Cycle Research and a professor at the University of Massachusetts, author of incredible books such as New Blood – Third Wave Feminism and the Politics of Menstruation, and as if that weren’t enough, a mother…! How do you fit it all in, Chris?

We chatted a little about our work (Kyle with her Thesis on EcoFemme’s study about Menstrual Hygiene knowledge behaviour and practices among school girls in rural Tamil Nadu, India and me about my Happy Tour bumbling around this huge country with a back pack) and it was not too long before Chris pulled out a copy of the famous Newsweek and flicked excitedly through it’s pages. It felt VERY EXCITING to see a woman who has done so much as a menstrual activist waving around a copy of Newsweek in which she had been interviewed and which she ended up gifting me – utter glee! A breakthrough of sorts! Periods hit the headlines!

So happy to see her smile – this is what it looked like from the other side of the table!

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Kyle and Chris, both extremely knowledgeable and academic got into some deep discussions about issues around menstruation, eco-products, solving problems, breaking the taboo, politics, organizations like EcoFemme out there doing their bit for the environment, and sustainability around menstruation. I loved listening in, learning about the different articles they discussed, different points of view, and the different work they had both done. Kyle had read Chris’ book (link above) and a very interesting conversation soon sprang up around feminism, gender and the queering of menstruation. Since my session in Bluestockings Bookstore in NYC when we were invited to introduce ourselves as a name then personal pronoun (for example “I’m Jane and I identify with she/her”), my learning curve about using words like ‘menstruators’ rather than ‘women’ and not assuming that everyone coming to my events is female has been steep rewarding and interesting.

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Thanks to the Bluestockings event and some excellent conversations with Sarah and Ruby (Sustainable Cycles) Diandra (UnTabooed) and Rox (embodyperiod) I have started to use non-gender specific wording in my workshop literature, as I believe it is most important not to exclude anyone who menstruates. I want to be inclusive and try to deepen my understanding of people and how they relate to the menstrual cycle from many different personal circumstances backgrounds and societal conditioning. Like in every circumstance in life – to try to be open to listening – and not assuming that people’s backgrounds or the way the experience the world is in any way similar to my own! I have made a bit of a pact with myself to try to do this by using better language in my workshops but not to beat myself up about it if I get something wrong! Language is wonderful and needed for us to communicate anything and labels are needed to describe ourselves and how we see the world, but language is not infallible and can easily be misinterpreted.

So far I am happy to tell you that the response to this has been terrific! I have had feedback from people who see my facebook events and comment how glad they are written in a  gender-neutral way. In several workshops people who identify as she/her have often expressed their appreciation at my approach with gender issues. For me these are very encouraging remarks and are helping me to develop how I deliver my work in a more inclusive way.

Anyway back to Chris and the story – well, after that chat I have never left a coffee shop so enthused buzzing and excited! I immediately phoned Lee to tell him I had met Chris Bobel Supreme Menstrual Activist and that she had officially welcomed me to the “Menstruati” (a phrase coined by her’ friend and menstrual activist Chella Quint)

Oooh I must have babbled away for at least 10 minutes about it…!! Lee, (the most wonderful and supportive partner I could ever wish for in my wildest dreams) celebrated with me from Spanish shores and raised his glass from afar… Thank you Lee XXXxxxx

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So the workshop that followed this wonderful meeting (which ended too soon, but hey Chris is a busy woman and to have met her was indeed a bucket-list honour!) was at another Boston University called Brandeis….. Brandeis HERE I COME!!!!!

Hello Ilana!!

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Ilana is a fellow EcoFemme ambassador!! She had a room pre-booked at the University, which upon arrival appeared a little sterile compared with the wealth of homes and apartments I had given my work in before. However quickly, and with Ilana and my skills of serious creativity (proving ourselves to be interior designers extraordinaire); we got on the case and it soon became clear that this little room was going to be a very cool place to have the workshop indeed…. The group before us had left a lot of coffee and some snacks behind which we happily munched and sipped as we set up (how could one waste a GALLON of coffee?)

My cloth circle looked beautiful on the table; and when Ilana had finished laying out her EF pad range on the window sill we had a very cool looking room ready for the women to walk into complete with tons of snacks for everyone to munch on courtesy of Ilana! Thank you millions and millions for those tasty bits and pieces, it was very thoughtful kind and perfect. All in all I felt very honoured that there was a cosy warm room for us in the University anthropology dept surrounded by Native American artifacts like a hopi bowl… it felt very special indeed! And by the way, Boston was FREEZNG! I have never been so cold after deciding (in all my wisdom) to leave my warm clothing with Ruby in NYC..!

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And what a wonderful group stepped in through the door; average ages were little older than the workshop before. I think (from memory) these women were more or less experiencing natural body cycles as a result or either leaving birth control or having not been on it in the first place.

When I asked the general question ‘which part of the cycle do you feel least at home in’ there were very decisive answers! I felt these women knew their bodies reasonably well but they were still super-open to hear what I had to share. It was an honour to meet and work with these people; a super group.

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We whipped through the cycle work once more and then we did the visualization which seemed to have a great deal of impact on the women. They were all willing to share their images; many of which were the same/similar to other members of the group! I found this psychic link extremely interesting as it had occurred at another group too, seemingly with no suggestion or prompting and with very random images that everyone saw….The power of the collective mind?!

This time the Summer / Ovulation image depicted a huge vast space with a tiny person inside; like a glass dome kind of thing; people were feeling lost in their ovulatory phases. Interesting stuff, Ovulation to me is a bit of a dark horse; a time (archetypically) to be so ‘big and out there’. But what if our personality doesn’t like being big and out there? Just realising this kind of subtle info about yourself can help navigate the stages of the menstrual cycle so much…. and this is why I do this work – it REALLY helps people!

Again, the women were happy that they had given themselves some ‘me-time’ in hearing and experiencing this work at a very busy exam time, and I felt it had really been useful especially after all the excited supportive feedback. Ilana, the ever professional EcoFemme product demonstration expert did a talk afterwards about eco-alternatives to plastic disposables and one woman (who fell in love with EF’s cloth pads as I had done when I first saw them) was heard to exclaim “I cant wait for my next period cos I get to use these lovely cloth pads”!! Just hearing this comment made me happier and more committed to telling everyone about these wonderful products than I have ever been before. And that’s saying something!!

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Afterwards we drove into the city and Ilana treated me to a vegan meal at The Red Lentil, Boston. We sat in the restaurant eating fresh and beautifully cooked food with a chocolate dessert to die for – oh my goodness it was GOOD. We were almost the last ones in the restaurant and didn’t want to leave. There seemed so much to find out about each other, and life on the road is often like this – a series of wishing I could have more time with each and every person!

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My time with Ilana was short but sweet and she kindly drove me back to Fairmount and my bed on the sofa at Kyle’s. I was sadly about to leave Boston (after a few more free meals at Tufts University and getting ill with a fluey cold…) and in truth I didn’t want to leave – it a wonderful rich and fun time with new and very cool friends.

Soon I would be in for the overnight bus ride from hell and living, for a while, in a commune in Washington DC… all in the next chapter :)!!

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chapter 3 – boston with the fairmount ladies

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Blinking at the new day and having sunken deeply into the folds of my ever-deflating air-bed(!) I was woken by excited chattering and an invite to a house brunch! My first morning in Boston with new undergrad room-mates started with a pleasantly surprising Champagney bang! Corks flew, it felt like Christmas.

Today was the day that Kyle Rachel Hannah Harsha and Michelle were to celebrate the dawn of the hugest party day of the year for graduating students – a huge Spring bash, shots of vodka for breakfast and an afternoon gig all put on by the University (illogically just before the exams!). The Fairmount Ladies giddily left the house laughing swaying and explaining that this isn’t normal(!) for them and if I heard shouting and general mis-behaving around campus not to be surprised… I was intrigued and excited to see what debauchery unfolded when students of Tufts University let down their hair and was more than happy to be left in such a great vantage point for people watching! At this year’s gig  it was none other than Shaggy playing centre stage – yes Meeeester Lovva Lovva himself was in Boston!! I was intrigued to hear how Mr BoombasticShaggyMan went down with the students. As it turned out not so well; poor 50 year old Shag was only known for his most famous tunes by the students, which he ended up… erm… repeating… owch. Love goes out to you Shaggy Man – if it was a bunch of 40 year olds we would have gone WILD!

How to describe my hugely loveable room-mates; put it this way from the minute I walked into the home of the Fairmount ladies it just felt fun. Despite being hugely in the stress zone with their various exams and papers I felt welcomed cared for and incredibly nurtured by these energetic lively friendly welcoming women.

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Kyle, a fellow EcoFemme ambassador was the reason I had the fortune to be there, and had coordinated this whole thing with me months back. Kyle is one of the most incredible people I have ever met. So gifted ethical mature and sound. And sweet and funny and relaxed chilled and so hospitable… A very cool woman.

Graduating this year from an intensive sounding degree and having written a Thesis on EcoFemme’s study about Menstrual Hygiene knowledge behaviour and practices among school girls in rural Tamil Nadu, India, she has also lived studied and travelled solo in places like India Cuba and Mexico. Thank you Kathy and Jessamijn from EcoFemme for connecting us – we had a great time! PS Contact me on womanswheel@gmail.com if you would like to read Kyle’s thesis (I have a copy).

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Kyle had arranged for me to run my workshop at Michelle’s place down the road and was encouraging people to be there despite their many commitments. Tufts has many events at this time including numerous free lunches (that I benefited from several times, with chickpea salads sprouted salads and numerous slices of cake – woo hoo!)

Actually the end of the Magical Menstrual workshop clashed with a one day  FREE Fun Fair with free food vans including hummus from the Chubby Chickpea truck (genius). I have much respect for the women who chose their periods over such such sensual delights! Thanks Kyle, for being you. You are incredible and I wish you much joy and success in a full and wonderful life I know you have ahead of you. Keep Rocking!

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Harsha, one of the most genuine sweet people in the world made me laugh and feel touched straight away. At breakfast brunch she showed such interest in my work; asking me all kinds of questions. Harsha, I am still sorry that I was too ill to run through my work with you ‘one to one’ on my last day. (I caught a fluey cold and slept for about 14 hours on the couch). What I loved about Harsha was her ability to laugh at herself, not take herself too seriously, her sweetness, gentleness, and enthusiasm for everything. Also she was just as excited as me at the free food and whooped in delight when I gave her the fridge tour of all the left-overs we had managed to score after attending a lunch about microbiology.

Rachel, a very funny bright lively and very generous person was so caring of me when I was ill (a natural nurse who I am certain will be amazing in such a wonderful career). Rachel left me notes on the refrigerator to check I was OK, gave me some of her bananas when I was too ill to go to the shops, and let me use her Mac when I was in need and had an article to write about eco-products for menstruation for the Barefoot Vegan magazine. (Check out the article in the July/August 2016 magazine by clicking here and choosing either to subscribe or download the magazine as a PDF) Rachel is such a kind person! She is also a dancer and I was honoured to watch her perform Burlesque at the university theatre – Rachel choreographed the dance – it was so cool – legs kicking into the air like waves – she and looked amazing strutting her stuff to some booming beaty tunes; a talented woman.

Hannah, last but defo not least. A completely energetic and funny person; bouncy, full on, full of energy, a ‘life and soul of the party’ kind of woman but also into mindfulness and meditation which I thought was COOL… Hannah was always busy as a bee; working in the University coffee shop, studying for her dreaded Geology exam (I feel your pain), socialising with her boyfriend and her many friends. One night we had a phone call and it was Hannah inviting us all to join her and a group of rebellious students determined to keep the banned university tradition of ‘naked jogging in the freezing cold’ alive. Needless to say we declined. When she came home great big grin on her face and shivering and thankfully reunited with her clothes (she had forgotten exactly where she had thrown ’em off in the whoping excitement of it all) Hannah entertained us with stories of police presence at the impromptu event and the unbridled joy of not being body conscious. I loved that these women didnt have the hang-ups I used to have in my early twenties.

Truth be told when it was time to leave Boston I didn’t want to.

The workshop experience was so GREAT! There were about 10 or so students who attended; the majority of whom were on birth control and didn’t feel they had a deeper understanding of the cycle or alternative eco-friendly menstrual products. I felt it was a perfect opportunity to discuss everything I knew with them and soon the workshop was up and running, fast paced and squeezed into about 3 hours due to the prospect of an annual free food / fun fair event afterwards.

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I think I talked for just over an hour in a whirl about the dynamics of the menstrual cycle and the energies of the four ‘seasons’ which was related to well by the women. I went though some tips and tricks with them about the different phases of the cycle, and then we shared some stories about our own menstrual experiences, discussed the visualization and I explained to them how to chart the cycle to encourage them to find their own pattern to work with.

It felt very much that the Birth Control used by the women dampened down their cyclic dynamics and made the cycle less obvious. But there were still some physiological and emotional things that showed through despite the drug. Many of them reported premenstrual anxiety and feelings of overwhelm which was helped greatly by discussing the purpose of working with the ‘inner critic’ in the pre-menstruum.

There was also a midwife at this workshop who gave me an interesting insight of her experiences of birthing in the USA. These particular hospitals and woman’s stories that follow might be extreme examples but nonetheless are worrying to me.

She told me that a particular hospital in Boston has a 85% caesarian section rate. Yes, 85%!!! When I asked why – was it an emergency hospital where women are sent last-minute? – I was shocked to discover that no – it is apparently a ‘normal’ hospital. Scary!

I learned about this whole generation of women who want to have a surgical birth to avoid pain / changes to the size and shape of their vagina. There are also women who want a vaginal birth but are persuaded by the doctor to have a C-Section due to minor (and I mean minor) complications, delay or long labour. And they are so scared and vulnerable they accept the ‘help’ and their baby is born by surgery. I was amazed that doctors would do this, but apparently the reasons are it’s a lot easier for them, being able to schedule in births to daytime hours instead of unpredictable night-shift births and that the birth process doesn’t take so long the C-section way.

If this is true I am completely disgusted with the hospital. Denying the woman an empowered birth, disrespectfully cutting the precious womb organ open, denying the baby the normal flora and natural immunity by passing through the vagina, for schedules and efficiency? It shocked me and I felt saddened by this narrow view and lack of respect of this primal and sacred process.

I suppose I must accept that some women don’t see it as sacred and therefore why should they care? I still can’t help but think it is our very much patriarchal culture that is influential in this. Is it that women are being denied the opportunity to experience a process that is in reality nothing short of miraculous? Is our culture influencing us so much so that we favour these methods for looks and bodily comfort?

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It is with such feelings of disbelief I continue doing what I believe in – raising this feeling of empowerment around the cycle the process of menstruation and our physical and emotional bodies. Stories like this make me even more determined…

The Magical Menstrual tour continues…..

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(and this was my bed in Boston)…. 🙂

following my dreams… to the USA!

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The Magical Menstrual Tour (M.M.T) is heading out to the USA in just a couple of months!

The M.M.T is a menstrual cycle awareness workshop tour; with eco-activism demonstrations. It’s an opportunity for me to share what I have discovered about the menstrual cycle.

Take a look at this short video where I explain what motivates me to travel half way round the world to talk about menstrual cycle awareness / eco-activism… yay!

I’m a menstrual activist, graduate of Alexandra Pope’s, an EcoFemme ambassador (for more about me and these incredible organisations click here). I’m also an experienced backpacker with faith and trust that this experience is going to be very special!

TOUR VISION

“To throw on my backpack… be like a menstrual pilgrim on the road!
Hang out with menstrual activists, wise women, ‘red tent’ groups, ‘moon mothers’, and visit their Red Tents/Groups.
Deliver my menstrual cycle awareness workshop, give my eco-activism presentation in exchange for voluntary donations (a roof over my head, a bite to eat, travel money to get me from one place to the next) so that everyone can come and listen without financial pressure.
Trust that it can work, meet happy sunny open welcoming women all over the world…. and make it a pilgrimage of sharing and giving!”

TOUR DATES – I’m over the moon to announce my dates as follows:

First leg: N.Y.C-Chicago 21st April-14th May

Second Leg: LA-Seattle Dates to be confirmed 

So…

If you run a red tent or a woman’s circle and would like me to visit, deliver my menstrual cycle workshop/eco-activism presentation

or…

If you would like to support my journey by hosting me for a night

or…

Meet me for a coffee and a chat!

Please contact me on womanswheel@gmail.com, or leave a comment below! I can’t wait to meet you – Let’s connect soon!

PS – For a fuller juicier version of my vision please click here Xx

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the welsh shangri-la with alexandra pope and the doulas

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How could I ever have said no to the chance of assisting Alexandra Pope of Red School (my dear teacher) at her latest menstrual cycle workshop? Not only was this a chance to hear Alexandra’s funny yet sensitive down-to-earth delivery style of her pioneering work, but the work-shop was for ‘Doula UK’ a group of women I was very much interested in meeting… To top it all off the workshop was to be set in the quirky yet peaceful Cae Mabon described as a ‘Welsh Shangri-La’ and ‘UK’s No.1 alternative building project’ with hobbit houses and everything! I could not possibly have been more excited.

The journey….
Yesterday was the big day, and so happened to be my menstrual cycle ‘Day 2’ as well.… therefore on this extra special ‘big day’ I was utterly and completely off on another plane of existence all together…! (I think the technical term for this state of menstrual-induced driftiness is ‘away with the faeries’)!

Flowing with and trying not to be frustrated with this vague tired and dreamy state, I set out for Cae Mabon nice and early so I could honour that menstrual energy and take it slow. The directions took me off the main road and down a series of twisty side roads and finally onto an off-road style gravelly track that seemed to get narrower and narrower and appeared to be leading me down a very very steep hill towards Lake Padarn. Wah! There was no-one to ask if I was rapidly on my way to no-where, so I carried on, hoping I wouldn’t get stuck and have to reverse back out…. Finally and thankfully I reached the rustic-looking carved wooden sign of Cae Mabon car park.

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It was lightly drizzling as I started the steep descent on foot, downwards through the trees and maze of paths and eco-buildings at Cae Mabon. I was being drawn down towards a little community of cob, bale, hobbit-houses, a fairy-tale river and deeply enchanting trees. From that point on, I knew my day was about to get a lot more peace-infused.

Actually, when I left later on that night I felt wildly ecstatic, like I was being ‘held’ by something; the land, the women, the ancient feminine…. I don’t know but it felt incredibly special and like being cherished on a deep deep level. I tell you, this menstrual cycle work is soul food and I LOVE IT.

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As soon as I arrived, I found everyone in the dining room, amongst a flurry of tea cups, toast, chatter and friendly smiling faces. Tea and breakfast was offered and I sat happily with the women, discovering a little about their group, while at the same time basking in their strong powerful (almost maternal-feeling) energies. Over steaming tea made from filtered stream-water I learned fascinating things, about homoeopathic remedies made from placenta and menstrual blood with powerful healing properties…. (As a serious dabbler in homeopathy, that’s my idea of a heaven conversation over breakfast!)

Alexandra and I then disappeared off to her wooden hut on the side of a hill. A short walk up a slate path, amongst little fairy tale squat-looking log cabins with bluebell-rooves surrounded by flower-studded long grass. Our energetic preparations for the day were set in this gorgeous location with morning sunlight and the soundtrack of birdsong and a gushing stream.

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The workshop…. I was happy to hear that the workshop was to take place back in the dining room, a bright light sun-lit renovated barn with a beautiful homely wooden floor; a place that was still infused with that timeless smell of toast, cosy from the heater. We entered the quiet empty space and started to create a circle with chairs. We lay out the ribbons and circle carefully and with mindfulness, honouring the powers of the menstrual cycle as we worked.

The women gathered, Alexandra started speaking and I sat back and listened with joy, occasionally wanting to pinch myself at my own good fortune(!) Woven beautifully into the day, Alexandra reinforced so many of the things that women know deep down, but are just not taught they’re okay or acceptable:

How many of us feel that we change every day? Probably all of us. Has anyone actually said to you it’s okay for you to change because “If you’re the same all the time, you can safely assume you’re dead!” (Thanks for great quote, Alexandra)!

And how about our so-called mood swings…? “Science has proved that men and women both have as many mood changes as each other, the only difference between the two is that women can predict their emotional patterns thanks to the cycle.”

So dear women, let’s celebrate! No longer should we be seen as unpredictable due to the cycle – we have the cycle to thank for our predictability. Now we know, we can organise our life around the cycle and achieve things because of the cycle (rather than trying to organise the cycle to fit in with our lives – hah, that would never work!).

We were further invited to blissfully imagine a society where we would gently say to each other “It’s nearly time for your menses. Let’s get things in place and arrange for you to have some time out. What can I do to help you prepare?’ Can you just imagine hearing those soothing words from your partner, family, or BOSS? To think that women and men NOW could help create that kind of change in society just by opening uo conversations about the cycle?! Ohhh it’s all music to my ears I tell you.

I also believe that this knowledge should be the birthright of every woman and girl. We should all have this explained to us so that we are aware of the forces driving us… at the very least we should be given some practical advice on how to live with the menstrual cycle, not against it to make early adult life a little easier?

Even if it’s just things like this:
1. Watch it! The pre-menstruum is not the best time to drink alcohol, because we are already experiencing an ‘altered state of being’ during the pre-menstruum anyway. The wild energy of that time + alcohol may cause us to say things or do things we didn’t mean to say or do…!
2. Careful, it’s a good idea to be aware of the sensual energy experienced during ovulation, especially if you are single and on a night out…
3. Slow down dear one, it’s best to get more rest and create some ‘me-time’ while you are bleeding.
4. Woah there, the time for social media is probably not when you are in a rage pre-mentrually!

What advice would you love to have heard? As usual, comments welcome below…

For more information and to sign up for Red School’s online courses, click here.

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After a full and fantastic workshop, many of the ladies disappeared off to the stream-fed fire-heated outdoor hot-tub(!) for a natter, and we had a lovely meal cooked for us by Alexandra (a different one!) I couldn’t quite believe my eyes when I saw her in the kitchen… I actually knew her!! We met at my house last year at the very Red Tent I delivered my first ever ‘practice’ menstrual cycle workshop! There’s a bit of synchronicity.

Dinner time was my last chance to listen and absorb and be in the presence of Alexandra and the Doula wonder-women, and I was making the most of being amongst their fabulous energies absorbing information, listening to incredible life stories. I learned some new songs for women’s circles (thanks Sophie) and I heard for the very first time about ‘closing the bones ceremonies’ and placenta smoothies(!) There was so much more I would have loved to hear, and so many women I would love to have sat with, but it was time for Magical Storytelling in the round-house by the fire instead.

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When I snuck out from the fireside to start my journey home just before dark, I was sensing a feeling of collective contentment and lots and lots of love (whether this was ‘Day 2’ taking to me or was actually going on in the round-house, who knows! Hahaha!)

The Doula Summer retreat was coming to a close but everyone seemed incredibly nourished and peaceful. I hope everyone managed to get home still basking in the spirit of natural communal living and sharing and still feeling renewed.

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A big thank you Alexandra for inviting me, and dear women from Doula UK for welcoming me with such open arms into their group for such a beautiful day.

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taking the menstrual movement on the road ~ my vision

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About jane‘ speaks of my personal story, but let me introduce you to my vision of the first ever Magical Menstrual Tour!

The Plan in a tiny nutshell….
I’ve got the basics down; I’m going to travel to America in April 2016, and the first leg of the tour sees me travelling from N.Y going East to Chicago! The second leg of the tour in June 2016 takes me from L.A to Seattle (and maybe flying out to Hawaii for a while!) I will be visiting menstrual activists, red tents or woman’s circles along the way, giving my menstrual cycle awareness workshop/eco-activism presentation in exchange for donations which will help me continue my journey. The rest depends on you, dear ones; and whereabouts you are based! I love travelling and am an experienced backpacker, so I don’t mind not having all the answers at this stage. One thing I do have is enormous faith that it will work out for the best; that I will meet incredible people, and that my travel route will spread and grow organically as soon as I get on the road, and word of mouth spreads the message…!

My Story
Why go on a menstrual tour?! Well I believe we are not taught how our cycle works, I mean really works. Yes the biology bit is taught to us at school, or maybe by our parents, but as for the emotional side of the cycle? Menstrual Cycle Awareness? Embracing the whole of the self no matter whether we are on a ‘so-called high point’ or a ‘so-called low point’?!! It’s NOT! And how about the other people in our lives? What messages are they taught about the menstrual cycle? What about the message that normal natural menstruation is somehow negative?

A while back, I participated in ‘The Way of the Menstrual Cycle’ – an epic apprenticeship training course by Alexandra Pope, teacher of 30 years experience who has, in her own words “pioneered a ground–breaking approach to women’s physical, psychological and spiritual well-being based on the cycle and the journey from menarche to menopause.”

I believe this ‘new’ approach to viewing and talking about the cycle should be common knowledge to all people!

Being the founder and a facilitator of Red Tent Gwynedd, Wales, UK, I truly understand the power and potential of these kinds of circles to help transform both the person and their relationship with the world around them.

I see these kinds of groups as being the perfect environment for the Menstrual Cycle Awareness workshop I would like to share. Knowing how incredible the women are back in Wales, I just can’t wait to meet new people on the ‘other side of the pond’ who are all into eco-activism menstrual empowerment and community – the same thing as I’m into!

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My Quest
I decided to start my own personal journey into delivering menstrual cycle workshops and have loved the experience running them in my home towns – the wise women of the valleys; one with Alexandra Pope and the Doulas!

Menstrual cycle awareness workshops start with a demonstration of the energy dynamics of the cycle, then a question and answer session, a guided meditation, a discussion, and an exercise for people to pin-point their next steps to live in more harmony with their menstrual cycle…. who knows, maybe even identify life/lifestyle changes!

The menstrual cycle awareness workshops for men are about explaining how the cycle works conceptually, giving men a deeper understanding of the cyclic process. There will be a question and answer session/discussion, the ultimate aim of which will be to strengthen the relationship men have with the women in their lives.

The ultimate goal in all this is to empower everyone in their understanding of this monthly process, for couples to have happier times together, for there to be happier families and positive social change.

I will soon be contacting co-ordinators of Red Tent groups and women’s circles in USA and Canada. So if you are reading because you have received an email from me, then a huge and happy WELCOME to WWW and thanks so much for checking this out.

If you would like me to add your town to my travel itinerary, please email me details of roughly where you are! If you would like some more information about this project to distribute round your woman’s group please send them the link to woman’s wheel and also click here for my bio and flyers.

To leave a comment about this vision, the plan, or anything in this article, please do so beneath this post, email me on womanswheel@gmail.com or contact me!

I so look forward to hearing from you.

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I hope to meet you soon! Xx

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birth of the magical menstrual tour and the power of menstruation

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Hello lovely people!

A warm welcome to Woman’s Wheel Worldwide! Here I’m going to explain what I am hoping to do with the work I am passionate about, and how the dream of the Magical Menstrual Tour became reality…

The story…It was a particularly warm autumnal day, and I was lying in the field outside our little cottage in Wales, listening to the grass-hoppers and watching the skylarks, pondering and dreaming to myself about how I was going to spread my ‘menstrual message’ to women beyond my local red tent. As my thoughts drifted contentedly away like the little clouds above me, I started imagining (as I often do) unexplored lands far and near. Then I suddenly came up with an idea that is now completely changing the course of my life!

Here’s how it went, roughly in this order, in my head: “Ahhhhh, I loved giving that menstrual cycle workshop to the women of Red Tent Gwynedd the other day… I so love red tents and the sacred spaces that are created by women just gathering…. travelling to new places is amazing, I would really love to travel next year. What if I could deliver my workshop to more Red Tent groups? What if these groups were overseas? Oh Wow!!

Then this idea hit me and I knew in a single heart-beat that it was the right thing to do and that I was going to make it happen! This chance for me to give, to connect to expand and grow, to learn, to listen…

I sat bolt upright and grabbed my notebook, and my plan very quickly became this:

“To throw on my backpack… be like a menstrual pilgrim on the road!
Hang out with menstrual activists, wise women, ‘red tent’ groups, ‘moon mothers’, and visit their Red Tents/Groups.
Deliver my menstrual cycle awareness workshop, give my eco-activism presentation in exchange for voluntary donations (a roof over my head, a bite to eat, travel money to get me from one place to the next) so that everyone can come and listen without financial pressure.
Trust that it can work, meet happy sunny open welcoming women all over the world…. and make it a pilgrimage of sharing and giving!”

It felt GOOD.

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Since the original idea that day in September 2014 I have felt a calling to travel to the USA; the Red Tent movement is huge, and there is a community of incredible women already working to spread the positivity. I am hoping to leave the UK in April 2016 starting in America!

I also decided to do these things too: Speak about menstruation to the men in a separate workshop (partners or friends of the women’s circle), experience some of USA’s big red tent or women’s events, continue with the eco-activism work I do (raising awareness of alternatives to disposable menstrual products)…. oh and to learn how to play my little ukulele in Hawaii….!

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I’m sure it comes as no surprise to hear that I was menstruating at the time of all this joyous inspiration! It just came flooding out of me, like I had tapped into a deep well of creativity. The way I typically experience menstruation is that the beginning part is dreamy and drifty with no ability to concentrate whatsoever and very few thoughts – here it is easy to spiral into a menstrual low of dwindling energy and crabbiness. But if I rest well and I am fortunate, this thing happens (especially towards the end of my period) and it becomes a hot time for inspiration, writing, thinking and certain forms of communication. My thoughts become focused and clear, and I have new ideas, exciting day and night dreams.

Every woman is different in what she experiences during her menstrual cycle, but currently (and in indigenous past) menstruation is being seen once more as a rich and deep time for the woman to listen out for something. As babies come from the fertilization of the egg during ovulation, so can come ‘idea children’ during menstruation. Both can be life changing….!

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