It’s the end of the third day of my moon time. I find myself with the same slow tempo in my brain and body that I experienced for the last week or so, but the tune of my thoughts have changed. And the way my body feels, is lighter. It’s like tonight’s strong breeze, rattling the window panes and rushing from the trees, has helped to change the weather in my mind. After almost 20 years of experiencing this monthly cycle of hormonal changes and its resulting emotional roller coaster, I am finally beginning to come to some peace around it.
I knew, last week, that even though I wanted to eat every single thing in my pantry and refrigerator, especially the extra fatty, carby, sweet options, that I wouldn’t always feel this way [why do we crave the carbs so much before menstruation?]. I knew that the red tide would come in, as the moon grew dark, and all of a sudden I would feel differently. My hormones would swing back the other way, my body would loose its bloated hold on weight and water, my energy would begin to return, growing with the moon, and all of a sudden, my appetite would be gone. I would find myself poised at the fridge, ready to consume large quantities of food, only to notice that I wasn’t, in fact, hungry. That I felt satisfied, full, but not bloated.
A few years ago, when I was feeling particularly challenged by my goal of healing my emotional, compulsive eating self, I would find myself so disappointed at this period of my cycle. After a week or two of craving and giving in to my cravings and getting to binge and drown and numb myself in delicious treats, all of a sudden I would find there was barely room in my belly. That it no longer worked to substitute food for comfort because I didn’t want to eat. For a couple days after my cycle begun again, I would serve myself huge quantities of food only to remember, oh yeah, I don’t need to eat as much anymore – in fact, I literally can’t.
Dr. Christiane Northrup, in her book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, shares insight about the details of the menstrual cycle. She explains the way our hormones change throughout the month, and the way that these changes usually affect women during each part of cycle. I had already been tracking this change for myself for about five years before I discovered her book, and I no longer let it bother me when I found myself feeling low around day 7 or so, or when I was ready to cry at the drop of a hat and incapable of using my brain to form coherent sentences around days 23-28, but I hadn’t quite realized to what extent I could put the knowledge of my cycle to good use Now, after reading Christiane’s description of the changes, I can look forward to planning for creative and written endeavors in the first couple weeks of my cycle – the time from menstruation through ovulation. It is a great time to begin new projects (as we are very literally growing an egg), with mental and emotional creativity at its peak. This is also a time when I know I will feel connected to the world and the people around me. It is fun to plan to attend a party or gathering around the time of ovulation because I know I will feel beautiful and out-going.
A few days after the social butterfly feelings of ovulation have passed, I find myself slowly starting to draw inward. I begin to feel disconnected from my left, or logic, brain and find myself a little more emotional. I also find it is easier to go through my closets a few days before my flow because my thinking brain isn’t around to talk me out of getting rid of this or that wretched garment that I never wear, but “might need some day”. It is not a good time to communicate with others about complicated or touchy issues (I find myself very short on patience), or to write eloquent essays, or to design gardens. I remember one summer afternoon a couple of years ago, I had offered to help my mom work in the garden. She was looking for input on where to plant this or that, and I realized that all I could do was dig – I had no brain power for making any decisions whatsoever.
On the other hand, it does seem to be a good time to tune into and unearth the way I am really feeling about important areas of my life. I seem to have access to my deeper feelings and unconscious parts of myself. It is an opportunity to look at meaningful issues that I have not wanted to look at, a good time to tune in and allow myself to rest and reflect. I find that this tuning in doesn’t even take much effort – just space, an allowing and an intention to know my deeper self.
The moon is two days full of a fingernail crescent tonight. It’s 9:40 and I am ready for bed. I feel connected to the world around me, and trust that all things will unfold as they need to. Even with the wind whooshing restlessly outside, and my small apartment swallowed by the chaos of an imminent move, I feel at peace. I give myself permission to leave the dishes until morning and tuck myself tenderly into bed.