What shall I wear? What shall I do?
I have had a deep fascination for healing for the last 15 years but I only became familiar with working with my menstrual cycle 3 years ago. At this time I had received therapy for the past 5 years and had worked through issue after issue. Although I felt in part better I still felt uncomfortable with who I was, disconnected to people around me and that I had no place in the world. Therapy helped me find the difficult things that I needed to let go of but working with my cycle helped me find the good bits – the amazing things, the wonderful things, the things that had become hidden under the difficult stuff – the things that really make me who I am.
How did I do it?
Quite simply every morning I got up I asked myself 2 questions:
What shall I wear today?
What shall I do today?
What shall I wear?
When we go shopping for clothes why is it that sometimes we are drawn to a bright orange sexy sequined fitted top and sometimes to a wonderfully comfortable pair of brown trousers? I suggest that it has a lot to do with our hormones. Shopping in the first half of your cycle you‘re going to be drawn to clothes that make you feel more sexy and ‘with it’ and in the second half, as you feel more intuitive and emotional you will feel more in tune with arty flowing clothing. In your menstruating phase you may feel inexplicably drawn to the comfort category of your wardrobe.
Whatever we believe about colour – whether we believe different colours vibrate at different energy frequencies or not – we can certainly use it to nurture and nourish ourselves. When you are drawn to a certain colour to wear and just put it on automatically and then forget about it, it’s not the same as consciously choosing that colour and knowing why you’ve chosen it. When you know why you are wearing a particular style or colour you can feel it nurturing you all day.
Colours we might choose and why
At some point in my healing journey I always wanted to wear warm colours. A lot of my clothes were red, pink or purple. Blue I could tolerate but I didn’t like having yellow or green anywhere near me and I couldn’t stand to wear white. I remember someone saying that I needed warming up – that I needed some fire in me. As I look back now, this person was definitely right. I was like a little waif with very little in energy in my upper body – frightened to give to people and frightened to receive. The only love I’d allow myself to feel was from my bright red jumper!
Now I choose warm colours for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is because I’m having a day when my energy is less dynamic and I want some warming up. Other times, though, it is because I already feel the fire and want to make it burn brighter. I often want to wear warm colours when I feel most like connecting and engaging with people or deeply with myself.
I tend to wear cool colours on the days when I need to let go or open to something new in the ‘conceiving’ phase of my cycle. Then there is a day in my ‘expanding’ phase when I feel extremely outward and giving but to my surprise want to wear cool colours. On that day I feel as if I go beyond the need for colour to keep me warm or fire me up – as if the greater force of love and connection is all I need.
I feel drawn to muted colours on the day when I need to let go at the beginning of my ‘birthing’ phase. Different to the letting go to something new of the ‘conceiving’ phase, this is a letting go to clear the old. My hormone levels (oestrogen and progesterone) are starting to drop and I feel a bit phased and less connected with myself and the world. Reflecting this fuzzy phased feeling I choose to wear muted colours. On this day I often question my choice especially if I am going to be out with other people. Fleetingly I think I should wear brighter clothes to cover up my fuzzy edged feelings but usually my need to be authentic and true to myself wins out!
Blues / Whites
Up until recently I always wore either warm or muted colours at my time of menstruation. Now however I feel drawn to blues and white. My relationship with white has never been a good one. I always found it too glaring and blatant and I seemed to hate seeing it on myself contrasted with other colours. I don’t have any white walls in my house, white flowers in my garden and up until recently didn’t have any white clothes in my wardrobe! Now, however, when I’m in my birthing phase I sometimes feel I must wear white. I have come to experience white as the colour of being happy to shine your light in the world and have realized that my fear of who I am and what I have to say forced me to try to dim my light down with colour.
Choose colours that really suit your complexion and colouring. I still don’t wear green or yellow because it just doesn’t work for me. However I have a little boy who can. My son has a reddish tinge to his hair and looks great in green, yellow and orange so if those are the colours of the day he can wear them for me. Of course when he’s old enough and wants to choose his own clothes I won’t insist on his dressing according to my rhythm! The clothes your partner wears will affect you too. We have in our home what is called ‘the wrong shirt’ syndrome started to my mother with my father as the ‘the wrong trousers’ syndrome! Many times my husband has come down the stairs only to be greeted by “Oh no you can’t wear a brown shirt today. It’s the wrong day of my cycle.” He does protest by saying that he’s on a brown cycle day but inevitably changes it to make me happy!
One strange thing you might experience is days when you want to wear cool colours but like those around you to wear warm colours and vice versa. For me this occurs just before I bleed and feels as if it is related to the contradictory nature of birth – that it is a very outward process and yet deeply inward and private. When you hide you are longing to birth and when you birth part of you is longing to hide and recognizes a need for protection.
What shall I do?
On waking in the morning I always ask myself what I really feel like doing that day. The answer may not arrive immediately so I ask myself some more questions.
1. Where do I want to be and who do I want to be with?
Do I want to stay in or be out with people?
Do I want to be with people I feel close to or part of the bigger community?
Do I want to be in a town / countryside / sea / other place I feel drawn to?
2. What is moving me?
Am I feeling creative and intuitive or happy to do the more mundane?
Am I feeling achievement focused or do I enjoy going with flow?
Am I feeling mentally sharp, reasonably switched on or positively dreamy?
Am I feeling emotionally charged (vulnerable/tearful/ feisty/angry/sad) or more emotionally calm/ resilient?
Am I feeling that my energy will be constant and dynamic or dynamic in bursts or not dynamic at all?
I will likely feel a combination of these things and as I let myself feel what it is to be myself on any given day a picture starts to form showing me how I could best feel happy and fulfilled.
Even if your day has already been planned or your work is routine it still helps to ask yourself these questions. Then you can try to incorporate a little of what you really want if it’s not already there. Should this not be possible at least you will know why you feel cranky and out of sorts!
Where do I want to be and who do I want to be with?
When I first started working with my cycle in this way I discovered that there were very few days when I actually felt like going out and being with people or leaving my home at all. I was a bit shocked and thought that maybe I was just a reclusive visionary type. I didn’t try to force a change and spent many cycles feeling deeply inward after about day 13 and generally staying there for the rest of the month. Looking back now, this was a season when I needed to use my more creative/intuitive energy of the second half of my cycle to make deep discoveries about what it is to really be me and where I might fit in the world. This continued for 2 years.
Everything changed with the birth of my son. After the birth I was expecting to feel very inward and that I would want to hide away but the exact opposite happened. I felt that birth had blown me wide open along with the doors of my heart. Since then I have experienced my cycle in a very different way. At the start of my ‘conceiving’ phase I feel at times a little vulnerable and that I really prefer to be engaging deeply with people close to me. I like to go off the beaten track and walk in the countryside with just my family. Once I have let go and feel more open I am ready to engage with the world. I still crave deep connection and plunge my energy into my relationships and my passions. This leads into my ‘sustaining’ phase where I feel that I want to be very home based and spend time doing homey things. If I go out I want to be somewhere I feel very safe where the environment is more contained than wild. Favourite places are the fields and hills near where we live and if I’m in a watery mood, a serene lake surrounded by beautiful woodland. From this place of safety I start to feel more expansive and where this used to take me more and more inward now I find it takes me out into the world. At this time I become more community minded and just love to be with people. This leads into my ‘birthing’ phase which starts with a retrospective inwardness but then for the 4 days before my bleed my energy is very dynamic. I instinctively become in touch with the tidal nature of my cycle and feel my energy as surges taking me from feeling very inward to very outward. I might visit the sea at this time to feel the tide and enjoy the open wild expansiveness just before I birth my bleed. My ‘nurturing’ phase takes me inward once more as physically, mentally and emotionally I feel a bit depleted. Then I arrive at Day 7 feeling refreshed with a new confidence, tenacity, clarity and desire to take my newly birthed self and ideas out into the world.
What moves me?
At the onset of my cycle work I had days when I felt that nothing moved me. I always felt extremely low around Day 19 and my husband knew this time as ‘The Day 19 Blues’. As my energy felt that it had drained away over night I mostly just sat, mindlessly watched television and waited for my energy to pick up which it invariably did on Day 21. Now I know that this low spot had to do with my need to be a mother. This is my nurturing homey time of my cycle and I didn’t have enough people to nurture. I wasn’t really connected with my purpose and I felt this disconnect as anemptiness. Now I have my little family I feel enriched and fulfilled at this time.
Another low spot for me was Day 10 and 11 and for a long time I was puzzled at this knowing that hormonally speaking I should be feeling good. Similar to day 19 I felt this sudden lack and disconnection with myself and the world. Rather than finding that something was missing I learnt to accept the feeling as an indication that I needed to let go to something new.
These days I experience my cycle as something very complete. I always feel that I am being creative whether I am being active or not. The days when I catch up with the washing are usually days when I have an overwhelming urge to create order. The occasional times when I iron are those when I feel mentally fuzzy and enjoy rhythm. The days when I prepare meals and snacks are those when I feel nurturing, or the need to run a tight ship. Then I have those days as I enter my ‘birthing’ phase when I know I must rest, ponder, clear the old and my interest in the home starts to wane. Around the time of my bleed I really know I must keep homey things to a complete minimum as my more actively creative energy is buzzing. I feel if I don’t express, I may explode! And there’s no time to wash up – I must express now whilst I feel the full charge of my energy! These days can become a bit chaotic. I try to be organized and prepared for them and ask for more support and yet they still feel ‘messy and uncontrollable’. Birth, though is messy and uncontrollable but we manage it and muddle through and some semblance of order is eventually regained.
There it is…2 simple questions which can result in a wealth of information and wisdom pouring into your life from somewhere deep within. The wisdom is yours alone. It heals you, reminds you of who you are and leads you to find your greater purpose and your place in the world.
Thank you for reading my cycle story. I hope this inspires you to create one of your own!
Jennie Williams works as a healer, specialising in helping people with auto-immune disorders. For more details please contact Jennie on 01460 78285 firstname.lastname@example.org www.healing.jenniewilliams.com