Category Archives: menstrual cycle

A slice of India nestled between the mountains of Wales

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Make the switch, join the revolution, save the planet, choose health, buy a cloth pad and in doing so GIFT one to a girl in India!

Wonderful people over at Eco Femme your positive messages are shining out loud and clear from the beautiful Trigonos Retreat Centre Boutique – how happy I am to see your beautiful pad collection in there.

Quite possibly the most colourful display in a boutique that I have ever seen, I was over the moon that the ethically-minded owners of Trigonos saw the value of selling Eco Femme’s products as much as I did. Thank you Trigonos!

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the bigger picture…

We have such potential to collectively stop plastic disposable pads going into the earth, prevent toxins seeping into our soft gentle bodies, make a stand for empowerment for women worldwide by opening up the cloth pad dialogue, help disadvantaged girls in rural India…. It just depends on collective action. We can make a change.

The kinds of women and men who attend retreats and workshops at Trigonos, prioritise self-development, self-exploration and open mindedness… I believe that’s all it takes!

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I didn’t know about cloth pads until I was 32 but it is never too late to switch. In the last 5 years I have saved 960 pads from going into the earth and saved myself £190!! WOW!!

How about you?

As usual, I’d LOVE you to leave a comment – when did you make the switch? How many pads have you saved?

If you are in the USA I will be bringing all the cloth pad information with me when I start my Magical Menstrual Tour in April-July 2016…. Look out for my route on a post coming soon…!

Contact me if you are interested and I will speak to you and your woman’s group and deliver you my menstrual cycle workshop!

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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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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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