Yes it's Hormones & No You’re Not Crazy
A year ago
Our culture occasionally talks about Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS but in a language of limited detail. Often with a vocabulary that is judgmental and medicalizes and problematizes our symptomatic experiences as things that need to be fixed. Our culture tells us that our symptoms are abnormal; it tells us we are broken.
These changes in our hormonal nature are not problematic, nor are they limited to the few days before we bleed. To enter the conversation of hormones, we must broaden our minds.
Hormones are the driving force of life for both men and women. They manage our growth, manage our blood sugar, keep us upright and mobile, and are one of the languages that our body speaks. We are bound to these cycles inextricably. They will always exist, but our experiences around them can and do shift.
To move our experiences forward in this way, it is imperative that we begin to live synergistically in these cycles. The first step is to learn them, bear witness to the nature of cycles, and observe without judgment.
We won’t be giving you a formula to erase these fluctuations. They drive the evolution of our species. Lucretius the Epicurean said,
“It is this discontent that has driven life steadily onward, out to the high seas."
I want to help you bear this discontent, study the different flavors, lighten the feelings and embrace, or at least tolerate them. These cycles so often hold just the lessons we need, even unexpectedly so.
Our job as women is to change this narrative that tells us to show up exactly the same every single day.
Rules to Cycle by:
1. Bear witness.
Take copious notes. You can use an app, a piece of paper or a special cycles journal, but notes you must keep. Track headaches, track bloating, track cravings. Pay attention to your breasts, your cervical mucus, your digestive tract. This is your body communicating with you.
2.Fuel up. Hydrate. Move.
Your body requires certain things. These are food and water and movement. You can move slowly, you can stretch in your seat. This isn’t about exercise and it isn’t about a goal. It’s simply about gently cooperating with your body and putting it into motion. Don’t worry so much about what that movement may look like. Just tune in and listen. And always come back to water.
3. Make space for your needs.
If you are tired, rest. There is time to be found where we choose it. Put down the laundry. Close your eyes on the subway. Consider skipping the 10 minutes spent on social media (replace it with breath). Find even tiny pockets of time you can claim as your own. Draw on your willingness. Prioritize your body. We are human beings, not human doings.
4. Change your language.
The system that were are ensconced in tells us our feelings are wrong. We reiterate these words daily and put ourselves down for the sadness, the moodiness, the feelings. Each feeling is revealing a different layer of our complex being.
If you stop long enough, you might hear your heart beating. You might notice the subtle movements of your breath. If you fight less and begin to listen to the feelings of fatigue, sadness and anxiousness, if you tune in and listen, you might change your mind about how you speak of your body.
You humbled me
...when you shared your story. My interest was piqued. How you could one day feel adept at climbing mountains and the next day barely make it out of bed?
I heard your stories daily, and I heard more when the tears softened you. At some point, I sat back, and I watched as you broke open and allowed your deepest body wisdom to carry you forth.
I arrived in the space where I am today simply by listening to the stories offered to me. As I listened, it became clear that something about what we were all believing must be askew. If we collectively feel like we can't get it right, then the expectations of right must be misleading.
Instead, I started wondering what we could know if we began again the ancient art of listening to ourselves and our bodies in the language they know to speak to us.
In that place of listening, we might begin to rediscover the rhythms and cycles that are actually true to us. And this body wisdom might be able to support and guide us as we move through our complex modern lives - and even help us to create new systems and expectations that are in line with our potential.
This dance with hormones is the song of the ancients - these are the chemical talismans that will shift and change humankind if we only begin to listen.
We're so grateful to Hannah Garrision, founder of Calm A Mama for this powerful and important message.
Hannah is an entrepreneur turned mama, turned herbalist, turned hormone and stress junkie. Find her during office hours every Tuesday from Noon-1pm EST. She’s got open phone lines at 401-484-8845.