Using your Inner Seasons - Winter
Inner Winter - The Season of the Mind
If you've been reading my blogs, following me on instagram, or facebook, you may have heard me talk about my #innerseasons - and maybe you know what this means? Or maybe you're like ummmm WTF is that?
So because I've had a few lovely ladies with the later experience, I thought I'd jot down some notes covering each inner season - starting with Inner Winter.
If you missed it, I talked in a previous post about fractal patterns, and how these can be seen in nature - both in the macrocosm of the universe, but also in the microcosm of our bodies. What can be seen in nature - can also be seen in us.
What am I talking about?
Well just as the planet goes through the different seasons, women go through seasons too, we have our own Inner Seasons, of Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn - with each menstrual cycle we go through.
But before I get into telling you about Inner Winter I want to remind you, the most important thing for you to notice is, what I say about each season might not be the truth for you - I encourage you to pay attention to your body - what does your body say? How you feel, and your experience may be different to what I say. All I'm doing is drawing your awareness to the fact that you have seasons.
So because I'm in Winter here in NZ, Soltice is just a few days away! And because it makes sense.....lets start at the beginning - and also the end - INNER WINTER
When does Inner Winter start and end?
Inner Winter usually starts 2-3 days before you actually start to bleed. So lets say you have a 28 day-ish cycle, Inner Winter will usually arrive on about day 26 or 27 of your old cycle. Typically Inner Winter will last for about a week, so by about Day 4 or5 of your new cycle you'll feel that shift, out of Inner Winter and into Inner Spring.
Lets look at what happens in the natural world, during actual winter......
During this time in nature, it's cold and dark, there's less life, it seems like everything's dead or decaying. (but the death and decay is also part of what nourishes the soil). The trees are stripped bare. No animal babies are being born, (except human animal babies, and animal babies born on farms - where people are controlling the natural rhythm of life). There isn't the abundance of flowers and colour, that there is during the other months. The grass hardly grows. The nights are long, the days are short.
Essentially, during winter, it looks like nothings happening. But that's not true. During winter, (and I'm not a plant specialist - I struggle to keep my house plants alive), everything slows down, there's hardly any growth, trees don't expend extra energy on anything that isn't necessary - they need their energy to survive winter. The trees may look bare and dead, but under the soil, the roots can be growing in search of water and nutrients - essential growth. Seeds lie dormant waiting to be activated by temperatures and sunlight. Animals hibernate.
It's a time of being - not doing.
What does all this mean - how does it relate to a menstrual cycle?
During our bleed it might seem like nothing is happening - all we're doing is waiting for it to be over - waiting for summer. But actually this is the time when the soil is rich, the falling of the uterine lining is (on an energetic level) nourishing new life, making room for new possibility - we can connect to this physical phenomenon of cleaning out, and let go of other things too . During this time, our root system becomes crucial for our survival, things that can't be seen, or even explained in words, are going on beneath the surface for us - we can use this time to connect to what nourishes us, what is essential for us. We're being called to go deep, to be still, go to ground, connect to our essential selves.....and to support this our bleeding encourages us to stay close to home, and to do things that require little energy from us.
NB: Just so you know - you can also water down your menstrual blood and use it on your garden and house plants... nurturing actual life!
Naturally our own Inner Winter, is a Yin phase, (which basically means feminine phase), this designed by nature to encourage us slow the f down. The feminine is all about being, not doing. It's not a time for growing, going out into the world and being energetic or making things happen. This is a time for you to regenerate, to restore, to rejuvenate. This is a time for us to consider what it is we'd like to let go of, while at the same time connect to our essential vision of what it is we want to create in the world. It's a turning inwards to your deepest desires, needs and truths.
Ok what about the moon - tell me about her inner winter.......
When the moon comes into her winter - the new moon, the sun and the moon are in alignment in the sky, the moon is between the sun + the earth. During this time there is darkness in the night sky. When the sky's dark like this, it's often the best time to see the planets, meteor showers, or star clusters.
What does this all mean - how does it relate to a menstrual cycle?
Well, don't you think it's interesting, that you can see all the sparkly, beautiful, less obvious stuff, only when the sky's dark, and the moon is new - we need the darkness to see this beauty that we don't usually see. Also it's interesting to note that the moon is considered the feminine aspect of our night sky (also known as th Yin aspect ) and the sun is considered the masculine aspect in the sky (also known as the Yang aspect).
The new moon is a time when these two aspects - yin and yang, moon and sun - are in alignment with each other.
You could think about Inner Winter (or even the new moon) as the time when you're naturally aligned with both aspects of feminine and masculine self, the time when you get to observe things about yourself and your life you may not have been aware of during the rest of your cycle.
Ok what about hormones - tell me about the body's Inner Winter........
Well hormonally just before you get your bleed, your hormones (all of them involved in the menstrual cycle) start to decline. So that on the first day of your bleed, you're experiencing the lowest level of hormones you'll experience in your cycle, which according to Alisia Vitti means, you have the greatest levels of communication between the left and right hemisphere of the brain........
.......are you putting these dots together? The left and right brain - the "logical" side and the "artistic" side - the masculine and the feminine......kind of like the moon anyone? Do I need to spell it out?
And lastly - what about the night and day - are there seasons to the day?
Well, have you ever tried to stay awake for 24 hours? What about 48, or 72?
The night-time is the Winter season of a 24 hour cycle.
Any mother will tell you we can survive on small amounts of sleep - but not none! And even then it's like torture not to have sleep at night!
What does this mean - how does the night-time relate to a menstrual cycle?
We know if we don't sleep well, the days are much harder - so it makes sense that if we don't rest well when we bleed, the month ahead is typically harder.
If you don't believe me, I dare you to try it as an experiment!
The days are the Yang aspect of life, designed for us to be out in the world, doing things. The Nights are the Yin aspect of life, the time we are supposed to rest, reconnect, and snuggle up into sleep so we can regenerate and restore our bodies.
Alright, I've got a few questions for you.......you might want to grab a pen.
- How does winter feel to you?
Lifeless, dull, stormy, chaotic, long and drawn out - never ending? Heavy, empty, depressing, hard?
Or maybe it feels enticing, you can't wait for it to come, so you can feel warm, snuggly, comfortable, luxurious, comforted and cocooned....?
Or something else?
What do you love about winter - and what's not so great?
How does winter affect your mood, your energy, your relationships, your life?
- How to do you deal with Actual winter?
Do you love it or resist it - why?
Do you find some sweet slow rhythm there, or try to carry on like it's summer - what are you winter habits?
Now with the things you've written down, take a look and see if you notice a pattern?
Are there similarities to how you treat actual winter, and the way you treat your Inner Winter?
How is actual winter teaching you about Inner Winter?
- How do you feel during your own Inner Winter?
Some women feel a warmth, a softness, even a feeling of bliss and excitment - is that you?
Maybe you feel dull, tired, stretched, or foggy?
Do you feel sexy and in your power?
Do you feel like being intimate with your partner - this may mean physical intimacy, or just being held, or even emotionally intimate with or without any physical touch?
Maybe you don't want to be at all intimate - with anyone?
What's the energy that moves through you at this time in your cycle? How does it feel, what does it encourage you to do? What's it asking for?
All of your answers are for you - they're there to move you towards something.......what is it?
They aren't right or wrong, they're just clues for you to follow.
How can you use your Inner Winter?
I've got to be upfront here and say, using your seasons, is more about connecting to the energy that's there, and moving with that rhythm, the things you feel called to do......it seems like hard work, at first, like a task or homework that's pointless, and you really just want to get onto the next level - you probably feel like you get it (at least thats how I felt about it)! But the thing is, your cycle will only start to weave magic for you and through you, as you start to live it as a daily practice.
Here are a few things you can do in your Inner Winter........
- First of all start to track it, notice when you start to move from one energy, into the next, when do you notice Inner Autumn coming to an end, and Inner Winter starting? Clock it, and write it down.
- During Inner Winter, you're being called to go inward......you know that physical discomfort you feel, the heavy bleeding - that tiredness, the headaches, your shitty, short temper - those are part of the call - and these symptoms can get worse when we don't deeply listen and follow the call. The call is to be still with yourself, to do without doing. To give yourself space.
- This is the time to use your logical brain (left side - masculine) and connect with your creative brain (right side - feminine) to come up with things you haven't thought of or noticed before - what I mean is, it's the time you'll find ideas just pop into your head, you might be watching something on netflix and it makes you think of something else, or maybe you read something, or perhaps you see something in nature that inspires you or sparks a shift.
You may have noticed a pattern or relationship habit you're not thrilled about (usually we notice these things in our Inner Autumn). Using the energy of Inner Winter, you can just ask yourself, or bring your awareness to noticing what a solution to this particular situation might be.......solutions and inspiration come with daydreaming, letting your mind wander off on you.
You can use this in your intimate relationship, your relationship with your kids, the way you spend your time or organise your life, You can use it to look at how you eat or exercise, and obviously you can use it in your career!
- This is a great time to ask yourself what you want to let go of......hint - our hard stuff often comes up in Inner Autumn.
What are the habits, patterns, thoughts, situations, things, relationships, conversations, possessions - that are no longer useful or supportive of you?
- At the same time, it's also the perfect moment to notice what you want to create?
Remember, while this is the end, it's also the beginning! Where are you NOW and where do you want to go?
What are you deepest desires and needs? What would you like to see happen in your life - or what would you like to use your life for? What are you longing for? If you could change anything what would that look like? Who do you want to become?
- Physically this is the time to be on the go-slow.
I give you permission to rest. Rest deeply into your bones. Drop the guilt and treat yourself.
You deserve to feel like a queen.
Nap, go to bed early, take a few days off your normal exercise routine and do something that feels restorative like, yoga nidra, kundalini yoga, yin yoga, and walks. Don't push yourself during this time.
Use your slow cooker, cook in advance - or better yet, get someone else to cook for you.
Create your own ritual around your bleeding time or your Inner Winter......Here are a few ideas
- Take some time to journal.....if you're wondering what to write you can take your cue from any of the above questions.
- Think about and feel into, the things you're letting go of. - write them down - ask for help from the universe, god, your angels.
- Do the same for the things you want to achieve, your intentions, and goals. You may want to take this a step further, and bury your paper with intentions and goals in the garden - as if you're planting a seed. Or maybe you plant actual seeds and think of your intentions every time you water them. You could whisper your intentions to your house plants, and water them. You can pray over your intentions, light a candle for them, sing for them, or put them into a special tin or box.
- Bring your Values to the party. What are they? Are you living them? How can you embody these more deeply?
- Visualise yourself in the future, conjure up the feelings you want to feel, imagine where you'll be, what you'll be doing and how you'll be, imagine yourself as the type of women you'd like to be - see yourself there, and trust in the power of your cycle to carry you through.
- Make a playlist for your Inner Winter
- Decide on one habit you'd like to break or create and focus your intention and energy on that.
This is the season of letting go of the old, and breathing life into the new.
It's can be an incredibly creative time, when you'll find yourself filled with inspiration and ideas, while at the same time an incredibly restful time, when all you need to do is stare at the ceiling or the ocean or take a walk on the beach or dance and listen to music.......you get the idea.
Giving yourself space during this time allows the creative ideas to come through you.
It's the time to do without doing.
How you spend your winter will have a flow on effect for the next 28 days.
Here's what it can look like for me.......
Personally I find that the a day or so before I get my period I start to get very reflective, this is usually the time I start to ask myself what am I letting go of, I feel restless and heavy. Then during the first day of my bleed I notice I feel a deep sense of bliss - sometimes even if the day doesn't go my way - but I must admit it's a wonderful luxury to just be alone, to turn up the music, light candles, lie on the couch, eat nourishing food, read books and notice what thoughts or unformed ideas pop up. (But they never come when and how I think they will!) I journal and generally spend the time just being - it's taken a lot of practice to get to this point - I can't always do it either, kids, work and life are real! But if I have to DO during my bleed, I always try to do it as slowly as possible, and let the grounded feelings of my menstrual cycle move me through my day.
Phew - That's absolutely enough from me!
Tell me about your Inner Winter.......?
Looking forward to seeing you next week, in Inner Spring.
Lots of love