The four seasons of the year are such a beautiful thing. We witness the eternal cycle of life with the passing of each season and along with that, we experience the energy of each season.
Spring brings fresh and new life. It’s bursting with bright colors, energy, and it flourishes with creativity. Summer is about watching the spring sprouts grow into thriving plants and watching good fruit grow. Summer is usually a time of being productive with projects around the house and playing with the family. Fall is when we harvest the fruits we worked for all Summer. We spend more time inside, preparing for the inevitable Winter. And Winter is time for introspection. We are less social and spend most of our time indoors. We reflect on our year and create goals for the upcoming start of a new cycle.
This is all symbolic of a long, life well lived. Childhood is filled with energy, imagination, and creativity. When we are young adults, we work hard in school and create foundations for strong, life-long relationships. This leads into being an adult when we stop partying, spend our time raising our children and live a more balanced, steady life. When our children are grown, we spend more time alone. We are aware that our passing into the next life is nearing and we reflect on our life and God.
This symbolism can also be found in the phases of the moon. If we begin at a new moon, it is dark and quiet. Then, it waxes, getting a little bigger and brighter each night blooming into a full moon, full of energy. Once the moon shines at it fullest point, it then wanes back down into the dark and quiet new moon.
As women, the symbolism of the cycles of life is even found in our own bodies. When we menstruate, we are living the four seasons of life each month. It can be a beautiful process to witness and experience if you aren’t afraid of what it means. A woman's menstruation has been condemned by our culture to be a nasty, inconvenient truth that is best hidden and avoided as much as possible. Some would have it be more of a myth. It has been seen as a trial women must endure. Nowadays, however, we have birth control and other means, which can take the cycle away almost completely. If you opt to not use birth control or any other menstruation inhibiting method, no worries, because we have super convenient toiletries so no one (sometimes we pretend it’s not happening too) even has to know. We complain about physical symptoms such as cramps, orneriness, and extra sleepiness.
If we look at our menstrual cycles like we do the four seasons of life, we can see it more like the way (I believe) God intends us to see it. If we can recognize the week before our period and the week of our period as our internal fall and winter, we can be patient and kind toward ourselves. I suggest that instead of fighting those weeks and pushing through them, we consciously accept that our hormones are setting up for a time when we can be quiet, not do as many projects, be a little less social and a little more introspective.
Centuries ago women would gather in a special place during their menstruation week, away from the rest of their village. This was not seen as being “cast out” but as an opportunity to take a break from the daily hard work they do, to commune with other women and replenish their hormonal and energetic stores. In this day and age we don’t have the luxury of being able to do this and it can be quite impossible to cancel all our responsibilities that happen during our week. I see women everywhere who are suffering from being overworked. They are tired and barely surviving. Depression is no longer a rare disease; in fact, you are a part of the minority if you haven’t suffered with it for some time or for your whole life. Our body’s ability to grow humans, birth them, nourish them physically and spiritually is so beautiful and miraculous. But it doesn’t come without a price.
Society has forgotten the strength and energy it takes to be a woman. Our need for income and social standing has gotten in the way of our body’s need to heal and restart each month. I implore you to keep track of your cycle, (there are many apps out there that can help you) and give yourself a break when you need it. Maybe that means handing the kids over to husband one evening so you can take a long bath. Or maybe it means going shopping alone, going to bed early and sleeping in, or reading a book from cover to cover. Whatever you feel like you need during that time, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for a little extra from those around you. You owe it to them and to yourself. I’ve noticed that as I’ve been a little more careful with my scheduling and planning during those weeks, I'll allow myself to spend a bit more time on the couch or in bed, and my body doesn’t fight back like it used to. I haven’t had any cramps for several months now. When I feel myself spiraling into an emotional frenzy, I remember that it’s my body telling me to take some alone time. When my week is coming to a close, I feel excited to get back to my busy schedule and get to work on projects. As my energy peaks during ovulation (usually at the half way point in your cycle) I take full advantage of the creativity and energy I feel.
My oldest just turned 12 and I know that her cycle is on the brink. I hope I can teach her to not be afraid of her blood but to see it as the miracle it truly is and to respect the process. I have been brainstorming ways I can help her feel special when the time comes and here are a few ideas I came up with:
- A special piece of jewelry only to be worn while she's bleeding
- Red underwear
- A small calendar or journal she can keep hidden to track her days and emotions
- A free pass to play hooky from school (on the first or second day of her cycle)
I always try to keep the line of communication about this open. It's never a secret to her (or any of her siblings, really) when I am flowing. I also try to make sure things I say about it are positive. God made our bodies to do this very thing and it is good! Let's learn to work with our bodies and not try to fight them!
Photos for Foundation c/o Skye Amanda Photography
Chablis is a military wife, mother of four, and nutrition enthusiast. She is constantly learning ways to better not only her own wellbeing, but that of her family. Chablis is a Step and Zumba instructor and she also practices Kundalini Yoga and daily meditation. Being a military wife has taught her resilience and faith as well as made her an expert cross-country mover.