Thursday, August 27, 2009

Knowing the Power of the Feminine cycle

By power, I mean, the kind that comes from taking charge of your life and asserting yourself.

Women have ignored, denied, and bullied their way through the menstrual time for hundreds, if not thousands of years, due to the denigration and fear of female processes. I think it is more than time that we reclaim this power, this unique connection to our inner healing and physical healing.

Getting in touch with the power of the menstrual cycle mainly comes from what you don't do, according to Alexandra Pope, author of The Wild Genie. Now that you are in the menopausal journey, your periods may be very erratic, longer or shorter, come early or late. There is a change in the rhythm of your body. It's harder to predict when it's coming. It's time to listen in carefully.

In our home and work lives, we are accustomed to struggling, setting goals, being heroines or supermoms, but in this case, we must face into what we experience and embody it, not try and rise above it.

"If you are willing to court the rhythmical life of your body you are given access to something Other that happens naturally. And the very act of courting the inner life of your body itself builds an inner sweetness, surety and dignity - a spirit of sovereign authority that is priceless." From The Woman's Quest, Alexandra Pope.

Sounds good, you say, how do I do that? It's mostly about slowing down, practicing surrender, and paying attention to your cycle. A good way to start is by keeping track of your cycle in a journal or even on your calendar.

It feels empowering to know where you are in your cycle, and if you look up at the moon, you will discover how close you are to a pattern of fullness, waning and waxing in the universe. You will begin to recognize the shifts of mood and feeling, see the patterns in your dream life, and also, by charting your cycle says Pope, you build self-acceptance and an intimacy with yourself over time.

"A deep process of awareness, the first task is to get to know your cycle," says Pope. This is also useful for contraception purposes - you need to know when you ovulate and when you menstruate; believe it or not, the first calendars were invented by women for this very purpose. Especially if you are not ovulating every 28 days anymore, (after age 40 your cycle starts to change).

How to deal with the aches and pains that do arise? For me, the best place on the first day of my period was in bed with a hot water bottle getting some extra sleep. And feeling my way through the pain meant I exited on the other side, feeling less achy, less fearful and tense.

Our need for rest at this time is higher, and it is not a sign of weakness to take care of yourself, it is a sign of wisdom.

"Allow yourself a dose of the thirteen allies - silence, solitude, stillness, surrender, simplicity, slowness, softness, self-interest, serenity, sanctuary, sacred, support and sleep however small, as you come into and during menstruation."

If you want to learn more, check out for more information on this workbook.

take good care,

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Menopause Quotes

“Orangutans do not go into menopause. Chimpanzees do not need extract of mare pee. …Only in human females does the fertility program shut down years before death.”
(Woman, An Intimate Geography, Natalie Angiers)

“In peri-menopause our brains are being rewired to live with more inner wisdom, to adapt to a more direct current (intuition); and we may experience insomnia, forgetfulness and depression. It takes a great deal of courage and faith to go through this change, and some women go through painful breakdowns before they are ready to relinquish the struggle for control.” The Wisdom of Menopause, Dr. Christiane Northrup

“All the emotional and psychological change of the peri-menopausal years are to the entire life cycle as the week before one’s period is to the monthly cycle. All the issues that have been occurring pre-menstrually and which perhaps had been avoided till now- should I quit my job? Should I stay in this relationship – now come up and hit us between the eyes rather relentlessly, demanding that they be dealt with at this time.” (Northrup, Wisdom of Menopause).

"Do not become alarmed when you experience yourself in totally new ways," sighs Grandmother Growth tenderly. "You are changing, getting ready to be initiated into the third stage of your life. Are you ready for the ride of your life?"Susun Weed, Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way

“In this culture we are told to set goals. We are supposed to know where we are going and then take specific steps to get there. But this is not always possible, or even wise. It is the male model of linear, rational thinking. But the life process of women…is more chaotic and disorderly, more circular and intuitive. Sometimes we can’t see the next horizon until we step out of the old life. We don’t yet know where we are going. We may not know the place until we arrive.” A Woman’s Journey to God, Joan Borysenko

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fine Art of Doing Nothing

received this today from Spent, a newsletter promoting a book by the same name about the most common disease in the 21st century, burn-out.

"It turns out that our brains need to have time out…or, as a recent brain study reveals…time in.

According to a study done in May of 2009 led by Stanford and Cambridge (UK) educated Kalina Christoff who heads up the Cognitive Neuroscience of Thought Laboratory at the University of British Columbia in Canada, letting your mind wander allows the areas of the brain associated with problem-solving become more active.

Until her recently, scientists believed that the brain would be busiest and most engaged when occupied with specific tasks – reading, writing, in conversation, focused thinking and doing. But Christoff and her team found that "Our brains are very active when we daydream – much more active than when we focus on routine tasks."

She goes on to say, "When you daydream, you may not be achieving your immediate goal – say reading a book or paying attention in class – but your mind may be taking that time to address more important questions in your life, such as advancing your career or personal relationships."

Or you may be doing some creative loafing, turning off the focus on productivity and letting the mind wander in to imaginations territory.

Summer days, heat finally wafting in, turns us into creative loafers. So hit the deck, or the hammock, or the lawn chair, with a cold lemonade, and turn on your brain.

cultivate the fine art of doing nothing....


Monday, August 3, 2009

I get a newsletter from in my inbox regularly and today's issue concerns me personally as well as my sister, because of the thyroid and gluten:

Here is an excerpt from it, and you can read the whole article on their website at

The connection between thyroid health, soy and gluten:

Some studies have shown that the isoflavones in soybeans can decrease thyroid hormone output by blocking the enzyme responsible for adding iodine to thyroid hormone. This means if you have low iodine in the body, the soy isoflavone may be taking what iodine you do have, leaving an inadequate amount for thyroid hormone production. The good news is, if you have sufficient iodine in your body, eating soy will most likely not be a problem. And I’ve seen soy help so many women with menopausal symptoms that it would be a shame not to consider it as an option.

Soy isn’t the only goitrogenic (meaning food or chemical that can interrupt thyroid function) food out there. The isothiocyanates found in the Brassica family of vegetables — broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and so on — can reduce thyroid hormone in the same way.

Goitrogenic compounds have also been found in very small amounts in numerous other foods — from peaches and peanuts to strawberries and spinach! But, again, if you get enough iodine in your diet, as well as other micronutrients essential to thyroid function, I would not recommend cutting these healthy foods out. Simply pair these foods with the iodine-rich and micronutrient-rich foods listed in the chart above, or consider steaming them to counter the negative effects.

On the other hand, gluten is one food that I would recommend avoiding if you have a thyroid condition. There is a strong connection between celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and autoimmune thyroid issues, and many of my patients find that when they remove gluten-containing foods, they feel much better and notice less of an impact on their thyroid. For more information on any of the above, see my article on goitrogens and thyroid health.

Also, some important news about Rest: Your thyroid deserves a break — sit and enjoy!

This is perhaps one of the most overlooked pieces of advice in our modern lives: sit and enjoy your food! As women in today’s world, we are expected to do and be so many things that eating while standing at your kitchen counter, while driving, or while seated at your computer seems like the norm. But as you may have read in my article on hypothyroidism in menopause, the thyroid is very sensitive to stress. Give your mind, your body, and your thyroid a break by sitting in a comfortable space while you eat. Enjoy your meals in peace with friends and family, and talk, laugh, and let the nutrition you consume feed your thyroid, too. You deserve this break, and your body will thank you for it!

hope you find this useful,


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