Melissa Gonella | Neuro-Training | Kinesiology | Natural Fertility Education
As a culture we have been denying the connection that our monthly hormonal changes have to women's power. We have been largely influenced by a patriarchal culture for thousands of years. Masculinity has been viewed as superior and femininity as weakness, roles which are predominately female are often viewed as inferior to those that are predominately male orientated.
For centuries now, women have been fighting against the oppression of their basic human rights. During the 20th Century, women fought oppression powerfully, defining and establishing equal political, economic and social rights. Women have strived to earn this equality, but in this effort I question whether we have inadvertently suppressed our innate feminine strengths viewing them as signs of weakness.
Shame around our very biological functioning is rampant among girls and women alike. Women are afraid or embarrassed to discuss in the workplace that she may need some time off because she has endometriosis or is going through menopause and can't sleep. These things are hidden away as our culture has categorised them as weaknesses.
The problem is that denying ourselves access to the power that is available to women when they are in sync with their cycle creates these very symptoms of weakness that we so want to hide.
"As women we must demand equality whist remaining completely
unapologetic about our biology".
Whilst I am eternally grateful for the achievements women have made, such as the right to vote. I also acknowledge that it has come at a price. To fit into a dominantly masculine world that is run much like a machine in so many ways, the female gender has had to adapt in order to be seen as equal.
Much of women's power has been surrendered in the process of equality. Mum's think of yourself at a social dinner and someone asks you what do you do.... if you are a stay at home mum, you can feel yourself think or say 'I'm just a mum". Is this not just the most important job in the world and the word 'just' should not come anywhere near that sentence.
As women we must demand equality whilst remaining completely unapologetic about our biology.
Men are not nearly as hormonally influenced as women in their fertile years are. A woman will menstruate for roughly 40-50 years. Even though we share this unique gender experience, menstruation, and the menopausal time are viewed with disconnection and distain. Without the same fluctuating hormonal influences men naturally have more stability.
Men produce testosterone which maintains stability to such things as their energy levels, emotional states and appetite. Where as these things are greatly influenced by the production of oestrogen and progesterone, hormones that men don't produce. Within the patriarchal paradigm, we are expected to operate like machines. Even technology has taken over so many human roles because we value the stability of machine like operation to such a degree. As such, we have all been groomed to believe that changeability, variation is therefore a sign of weakness and to be avoided at all costs. This effects the very foundation of what it is to be a woman, when the natural ebb and flow of the cycle is viewed as a negative resource, the very foundation of health and wellbeing is compromised.
How does this affect women, for so many the menstrual cycle, the unpredictability or changeability energy and mood is seen as a drag. When we send these constant conscious or subliminal messages to ourselves and our daughters they have a huge impact on self-esteem, body-image, confidence, and our overall physical and emotional health.
As a woman, can you relate to getting through your period or pre-menstrual phase only to wipe away the sweat and tears from your forehead and say 'thank goodness, that's over'. You know your not alone in feeling distain towards your cycle but is there another way?
Yes. We can begin to share what's really going on, educate and support each other, to honour and respect our bodies, and demand healthy change in our communities.
Sounds too big a task? Demanding healthy change of attitude within your own mind, then bring that change out into your own household.
As an example, when I'm having a particularly challenging pre-menstrum, I will call my husband at work and say 'hey love, I need you home early tonight, my period is coming and I just can't manage the teenagers tonight (whilst all kinds of expletives are travelling through my head!). He appreciates the honesty and would much rather be supportive than clean up the carnage following a pre-menstrual outburst, not that they are all bad.
Another way I communicate with my family is I put something red on our central table, they know that this is my way of giving myself permission not to do ....., go to bed early etc.
In nature, there is natural ebb and flow; the seasons, the tides, the life and death cycles. The four weeks of the cycle align themselves to these energies of change, with fresh beginnings, the ability to grow something into maturity, harvest and cultivate then finally to recede back inward and reflect. Think about spring/beginnings, summer/maturity, autumn/harvest and winter/recede inward.
This is women's power and is a incredible strength that her male counterpart can not compare to. It provides women the opportunity to look at things from different perspectives.
In the first week (spring) following your period you are more in-sync with being busy or active in the world, but we will also be less intuitive. The second week (summer) you will be more giving towards others and more intuitive. The third week (autumn), the pre-menstrum creates an internal friction that offers the opportunity to make positive change where necessary, or invites us to begin to retreat into giving back to ourselves. The week of the period (winter) is a time of dreaming and rest. Its important to stop and reflect (aim for more than what is normal), which allows for healing and recuperation to occur.
The menstrual cycle can be seen like a kind of yoga practice, or Tao uniquely for women. There is deep intelligence within a woman's body that can only be expressed when she chooses not to suppress her cycle.
As a society, we are questioning more and more what in previous generations was taken as status quo. We are becoming more aware of the injustices which are being imposed on humanity. We as women have the opportunity to step up into our power, move beyond the disconnection and denial of uniquely feminine biological experiences. Through this understanding we have the capacity to recognise, acknowledge and celebrate our the weekly-stages and life-stages of the feminine experience.
Believe me when I say, the world is ready and waiting for us to step up and more forward as leaders, connected to the truth of our feminine power.
Melissa Gonella is a qualified kinesiologist and Neuro-Training practitioner who specialises in women's health and wellbeing.
Melissa has been working with women, their partners and daughters for 15 years. She has worked with women during all of the major life transitions, such as; pregnancy, childbirth, post-partum, menarche (the first period), puberty, menstruation, fertility and menopause. She offers her clients an integrative professional, empowering and grounded approach to health and wellbeing which is refreshing and gentle in its approach.
Melissa Gonella is fully trained and licensed to practice with the Australian Institute of Kinesiology.
Disclaimer: This blog information provides general information and discussion about health and related topics. The words and other content provided are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. The reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed health care worker. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials.
Originally published - 5th May, 2014