I am a woman and the mere thought, emotion, feel, essence, fragrance and beauty of it turns me on. Sisters, can you feel it too?
Focus on the word and feel the attitude as you say “wo”, isn’t the first half of the word “woman” as beautiful as the second? And that Martin Scorcese’s cop-like attitude inherent in it! Gosh!
Just like the two beautiful halves of the word “woman,” I see womanhood divided into two beautiful halves: post menstruation, pre-menstruation/menstruation.
Now, I’m really sorry but even if I think hard, I can’t really associate any romanticism with the way you’d say the word menstruation. Why? We all can understand!
Ever since adolescence this word has been conditioned in a women’s mind with pain, discomfort and helplessness and it’s hard to let all that go, even if you are a poetess. So, this was one of the reasons I started seeking a unique way of re-conditioning the word menstruation, the concept, the experience with something mindful, something valuable.
Another reason; all those specific diets, exercises, coping strategies, Ayurveda and aroma therapies which made handling the menstruation related issues such a big deal for a lazy person like me. These strategies are definitely useful but they require so much energy and how do I generate that kind of psychological energy and a positive state of mind?
I needed something convenient yet effective, and I was too paranoid about the usage of medications that frequently for my period.
I had researched earlier about the effects of prayer on human brain and despite of my skepticism the facts indicated changes in major parts of the brain while praying, aiding the release of feel good hormones which are 100 times more powerful than morphine. However, it wasn’t enough to trigger my lazy motivation and I kept on struggling with my PMS.
The journey of PMS took few comical turns as well while I explained a bunch of men equivalent to my grandfather’s age, all of us living in our third world country, that why I should be doing a research on relationship of PMS to existential themes. “So, who came first, chicken or the egg?” One of them had asked me as he sophistically ate his Pakistani version of French Omelettes. I had hard time figuring out whether existential themes were chicken or the eggs.
But, on a serious note, I did think that there must be something positive which our PMS are contributing to our personalities. And I am not saying this in a sense of wishful or magical thinking.
If you wonder rationally about a specie going through a lot of discomfort and emotional vulnerability every month for a certain period of time, don’t you think that the next logical assumption could be; a) how is it effecting them positively?, b) what are the negative consequences?
Women have heard a lot about the negative consequences of PMS and, please, let me take the liberty of saying this on behalf of all women that we are sick of the self-pity, public sympathy and sexist/misogynist media coverage associated with our PMS. Also, we don’t need irrational positivity or magical thinking.
Rather, we would like to think logically how our PMS make us stronger psychologically. How well it equips us with generous doses of genuine empathy every month of our entire life. How beautifully it connects all of the women to each other, for instance, all my women don’t you just love those moments of borrowing a tampon or sanitary pad from a completely unfamiliar woman? Ah, I can never forget all those women I didn’t really know yet borrowed tampons and favors from, gave PMS as an excuse for some behavior and felt understood.
Well, if all this doesn’t make a person spiritual then I don’t know what else will. For these very reasons and the scientific implications of praying, I always wanted to give praying a shot during PMS and menstruation, but, my lazy motivation!
It was not until when quite randomly a coworker had called me in the middle of the night. She was on verge of killing her husband, well, just because poor guy’s pubic hair was too brown!
“PMS?” I had instinctively asked. And her response was affirmative.
“Say a prayer,” she had asked me.
“Prayer? For what? For whom?”
“For my PMS, just say it! ” She begged with such a desperation that made all my lazy motivation go away.
And there begun my journey of collecting PMS prayers/mantras from my fellow women and even their men. Any prayer they felt soothed the PMS and made them mindful of their vulnerability. These prayers were all vocal and it had a positive impact on them because the vocal repetition of prayer or mantra stimulates Hypothalamus with just right intensity essential for the release of powerful hormones Endorphins and Encephalon (Google, Google, Google). This generally increases the body’s immunity and the impact can be further enhanced by incorporating Yoga or deep breathing exercises, the result will be similar to what you feel after a pretty good workout.
But, will you pray during PMS or menstruation just because science says so? Isn’t this more than testing the claims made by science? Don’t you think that the reason we pray during PMS or menstruation is not to seek solace or escape from our symptoms but rather remind ourselves that this is the most divine moment we are experiencing? Remind ourselves how important it is to be mindful and in control of your vulnerability even when all that science is causing it and you really deserve to act crazy; a reminder of how strong you are and how strong the rest of the women are, how all of you connect so deeply?
PMS in a nutshell, then, is a reminder.
With permission of my friends I’ll leave you and myself with prayers and mantras which help them with their PMS, by providing them an uncanny psychological strength, and which most of them recite in a frenzy and desperation around dark, lush green or silent corners of their habitat.
Feel, breathe, recite, repeat and heal:
1. Heal me and others like me!
2. Dear PMS, leave me in peace and I’ll feed you carbs!
3. God’s gift. God’s gift. God’s gift.
4. Marry had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb (she sang poems with her kids).
5. Jay, Jay, Jay (her husband’s name)!
6. Relax, take it easy because there is nothing that we can do (this and other songs by MIKA).
7. God understands.
8. I am grateful for ___________, ____________, _____________ (whatever she was grateful for and it went on until she felt better).
9. PMS: Protect My Sanity.
And the last mantra from my side:
10. I love being a woman! I looooove it!
What’s your prayer/mantra?
Author: ZauFishan Qureshi
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: Post Memes/Flickr