It’s day 23 and I’m feeling more premenstrual than I normally would at this stage in my cycle. My womb is heavy, my breasts are tender and I struggled to sleep. But Christmas has been great. I lived off a guilt-free diet of large amounts of sugar, which I now think is the cause of that and some childhood eczema resurfacing on my knees.
December for me was about surrendering. Or trying to at least. In fact, it felt like the only option. And I did it - somewhat reluctantly.
In September I completed the Women’s Quest Apprenticeship training with Red School and very soon after, I felt compelled to create, finally, after several years of this work cooking inside of me.
I created a website. I started a YouTube channel. I opened a Facebook page with regular cycle updates. I recorded a webinar. I wrote a few blog posts and I coached my first clients. My intention for this work was to approach it spring style - playfully, trying different things to see what I preferred, inner-critic at bay. And it was fun!
However come December, when I was learning more about engaging on Facebook I began to feel tired and as if I was trying to push water uphill. I wanted to see results that in hindsight were unrealistic. It was only after talking it through with my business coach and friend and a listening partner that I could feel the uncomfortable feelings and hear the call to surrender what I had so far produced.
Pushing through wasn’t going to get me anywhere. It felt like my only option was to let go of control. To surrender to the work I had released into the world and to trust it was enough for now.
Since then, I’ve been reflecting on the art of surrender and why it’s so hard.
It’s hard because it means we step into the unknown. It’s hard because when we surrender, we face parts of ourselves we might not like, and we face difficult and uncomfortable emotions.
On this day 23, I can feel my body and psyche inching towards that place of surrender for menstruation too and with that come feelings of resistance and a racing mind. What else can I do? What else can I squeeze in this week? Have I done enough? And our friend the inner-critic takes the talking stick.
Sitting in circle one time I remember hearing a woman speak of feeling disentitled to time off during menstruation and that she felt she was wasting time when taking it. It struck a chord with me as she spoke and processed. I could relate to it.
When I surrender and take time to rest during menstruation, I’m often faced with feelings of boredom and restlessness followed by an urge to do and control.
But I’ve asked myself, what is underneath the restlessness?
I believe it could be deeper feelings of unworthiness, fear, perhaps feeling unsafe in my body and other unprocessed stuff. Talk about a heavy concoction at menstruation! Can you relate too?
The art of surrender takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight and as women, we are lucky to be given the opportunity to embody this as a spiritual practice every month. Each month, doing what we can, 1% at a time, peeling away very thin layers into our deeper selves, remaining compassionate about how much we can actually surrender in the context of a busy life and how much support we have.
When we practice the art of surrender with our menstrual cycle, we learn about ourselves and our vulnerabilities. We face ourselves. And that can be hard. But it can also be gold.
It is an opportunity for healing and an opportunity for insight into our vulnerabilities, which we can apply to our work, our creative projects and even relationships.
So, with that, I wish you a very happy new year for 2018 and I leave you with a talk by Tara Brach I listened to recently, which supported me as I sat with those uncomfortable feelings during surrender.