Notes on women, creation, and cycles

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

We live in a world where time and expectation follow a straight and linear path. One where we rise from bed, wipe the exhaustion from our eyes, work until we can work no more, and sleep to forget the day is done, and repeat, repeat, repeat.

"Dreams are for sleeping", we say. Grind. Hustle. Slay.

Women, by nature, are not linear. Women are cyclical. Their bodies speak this truth in every menstrual cycle. Their desires, tastes, energy - our very souls, even - ebb and flow like the ocean. Their bodies and capacities wax and wane like the moon.

Discordance comes when women ignore their natural seasons and phases. For example, the world at large sees menstrual periods as a gross inconvenience. Its easier to pretend it doesn't exist. Except, menstruation is an essential, integral characteristic of being women. Why scorn and shame it to the corner of existence?

How about pregnancy weight? Moms around the world are convinced that any remaining weight, any visible sign of pregnancy and birth must be dropped. Quickly, like its baggage instead of part of creation. Why must the evidence of miracles be hidden or lost?

This rigid, linear path gives no allowance for variations, no grace for change. By the insistence upon custom, rules, and acceptable society, creativity is discouraged and diminished.

But, a woman's body is a creative space. Her very nature is creation. This is how women shape the world - with their unapologetic, dynamic, and soul-infused presence. Given the correct ingredients, she makes magic.

What's that? You don't believe in magic?

Allow me to show you. After all, in the words of author Joan Gould, "what is magic except the operation of laws on a level our minds know nothing about?"

With correct ingredients, woman creates life.
With correct ingredients, she makes milk.
With correct ingredients, she bakes bread.
She molds a home.
She shapes a child.
She touches hearts, mothers instincts, births books and art and careers.

She does this all in her course of life. Perhaps at different times and ways from her sisters, but she creates all the same.

I think I have found a solution to the discontentment, the self-loathing, and the pressure that plagues me as a mom and as a woman. I have stepped away from the fractured, male-centric idea of an everyday grind. In its place I have embraced the acceptance of seasons, of cycles, and the wholeness of life.

Approaching life cyclically has changed me.

Instead of pushing myself to constant perfection (which is truly fruitless work), I know there are appropriate times for rest. I expect them. I take vacations like it is my God-given right to feel the ocean's cool kiss on my feet and breathe her salty air.

Instead of becoming angry or discouraged that old issues like self-worth, fear, and hate come across my path when I feel they should be behind me (path = totally linear thinking, btw), I learn to expect to see them again - but next time, without resentment and shame. I know their faces. I know their names. This is how I defeat them - with mindfulness, acceptance, and grace. How can they be enemies to me when I welcome them as guests and guides? (Reference: The Guest House, by Rumi)

I am begging women to honor their cycles and seasons. Right here, right now.

If you are in the winter of your life - barren, cold, and dark, remember that the most essential growth happens in composting, as my dear friend calls it. Sort and gather the nutrients of your experiences and use them to nurture your progression, like Psyche sorted seeds and grains.

If you are in spring, with thirst for rain and hunger to bloom with wide eyes - soak it up. Soak up love. Seek knowledge. Bask in the wonder of a world in blossom. Dream, stretch, and honor the place inside you that runs toward growth and change.

If you are summer, shine. Give. Glow. Feed. Create and master. Share and serve. Breathe in joy thick as humid air. Sing the song of beautiful, ordinary existence.

If you find yourself in fall, sit and rest in the colors of creation. By the embers of summer's fire reflect. Enjoy the fruition of spring's desires. With grace and gratitude, recognize peace. Embrace heartaches. Gently welcome the death of futile habits, attitudes, and relationships until winter's blanket comes to renew.

Whatever your current struggles - whether they be body shame, illness, heartache, discouragement, or sorrow - surrender them to your season and let the magic of cyclical nature run its course through them.

Be gentle with yourself. Confident in compost. Brilliant in blossom. Generous in giving. Reverent in reflection. This is what it means to be woman.

© Channing B. Parker. Design by FCD.