Have I become an avid cyclist? No. I do not even own a bike. The cycling I am referring to is of course our menstrual cycle for those of us who have one.
I have been saying for some time now, to anyone who will listen and to many people who won’t, that women are not consistent, we are cyclical. By which I mean, all these messages about consistent daily habits are not particularly helpful to women, as we are not consistent daily people. Each day is not the same for us – our needs, moods, desires and priorities change. But they change in a pretty consistent and predictable way. So we absolutely can be consistent – just consistently cyclical.
I have learned so much about this cycle from Abi Adams of Project Woman. If you have a menstrual cycle, if you are perimenopausal or if you are menopausal, I highly recommend joining Abi’s Project Woman space. The first month is free so you can see if you like it, but it’s not a membership or a course of anything you have to do. It’s a space for discussion and a collection of resources, and it is a place where women are finding answers to their questions, finding a holistic approach and finding empowerment.
The most important learning for me has been that when we talk about our cycle we don’t just mean that bit where we get a bit ‘moody’ before our period. That is a minimising narrative that goes alongside the idea of women being ‘crazy’. In fact the truth is that we have four distinct parts to our cycle which are often referred to as inner ‘seasons’ – inner winter being our bleed, inner spring being post-bleed (or the follicular phase), inner summer being ovulation and inner autumn being post-ovulation/pre-menstrual (or the luteal phase).
Thanks to Abi’s fantastic meditations on each of these phases, I have learned how to literally ‘go with the flow’ and approach my days from the point of view of the season I am currently experiencing.
When it comes to inner winter, this has led me to create a little ritual that I am finding so helpful, and it gives me an opportunity for a fresh start. Not once a year in January, not every day with a ‘morning routine’, but every time I re-enter inner spring, roughly once a month, when I am naturally inclined to start afresh.
My inner winter ritual
- I go back through my calendar to remind me of everything that has happened since my last inner winter, and I write down everything I am going to let go of. Everything challenging that has happened, that can now be left behind in a previous cycle
- I go back through the photos on my phone since my last inner winter and any memories that bring me joy I move into my ‘Treasure Chest’ album, to preserve the good from that last cycle
- I write down my intentions for the cycle that is to come, so I can start my next inner spring with a new focus
Let go, preserve and renew. Every go around. Not to an externally imposed rhythm, but to my rhythm. I am finding it to be incredibly powerful.
Do you think you will give it a try?
The No Bullsh*t Coach