It’s only taken me nearly 20 years, but I can finally recognize the first day of my period as an oddly wonderful gift.
For this one day, I am completely unable to ignore my body.
A good half of my attention, or more, is incapable of being diverted from what is going on with me physically.
I find there is a complete lack of desire to do anything quickly or extend myself in any way, which is quite the opposite of normal.
I move around slowly, at some small percentage of my normal speed, shuffling my feet and watching myself go about everyday activities almost as a bemused observer. My eyes want to close, my body to rest its activity—to be able to better focus the attention inward.
All unnecessary energy from every other part of me is rerouted to support this hidden demonstration of strength. It’s like I’m all wrapped up in a thick blanket, blinders on, senses drawn in and muffled around the edges so that the clearest thing is only what is directly in front of me.
It takes a concentrated effort of will to go to work and have to repeatedly yank my focus back to the task at hand instead of the natural inner process where it is wanting to go, and will unerringly go if I do not keep myself constantly on point.
And it is so interesting to me to notice this happening. To feel this natural physical event trumping even the strong determination of my mind. To witness all these normally quiet inner parts remain unwaveringly firm for this day by the usual dominance of the mind over their voices.
Sometimes it happens that the pain is so great that it takes all my focus to just remember to let the breath out and draw it back in. To force myself to stand upright and even to move around instead of curling up into a ball on the nearest horizontal surface. Trying to think beyond that is a task in itself. Other times it’s just a constant ache in the background that only takes a part of my attention and leaves me a little more room to feel what else is going on.
I think we have let ourselves perpetuate this ridiculous archaic notion of menses being a thing of punishment for too long. It has taken me even this long to realize there is some hidden beauty in it, and that is rather sad that this experience is not something honored or even cared for.
Look at this wonderful awareness this woman’s body allows me. To be brought back to the caring nature of things, to be sharply reminded every month of it’s power to bring forth life. I don’t know that the other half of us so often has this opportunity to immerse themselves in such a deep and full sense of the corporeal.
Right now I can feel how this soft animal of the body is like a blanket wrapped around the soul, and that to me is an amazing sense of things that should not be kept silent.
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Apprentice Editor: Amani Omejer / Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Phillip Campbell