PERIOD PRIDE: IT’S TIME TO LOVE YOUR LADY LANDSCAPE

Lisa Lister is the British witch and all around goddess at the forefront of the period pride movement. Ruby Warrington hears all about her new book, Love Your Lady LandscapeArtwork: Merakilabbe

The Numinous: Love Your Lady Landscape is a call to action for Now Age women. Tell us about it…
Lisa Lister: Well there was a time, roughly 5000 years ago, when the space between a woman’s thighs was considered a power portal with a direct hook up to Source. But for over 2,000 years now, the potent powers of our wombs, our cyclic nature and our menstrual cycles have been disregarded, and we’ve lost our daily connection to mumma earth, to the Moon, to the seasons and their cycles.

As a result, we often ignore our deepest needs as women because we no longer trust ourselves and our own body wisdom. We apologize for our tears, suppress our anger, and self-medicate with whatever will numb the pain of not being heard or telling our truth.

Worst of all, we have an epidemic of ‘down there’ pain and dis-ease—PMT, polycystic ovaries, endometriosis, fibroids. Overwhelm, anxiety and infertility are at an all-time high and we manage our menstrual bleed with synthetic hormones, denying ourselves the experience of living fully in our power.

So, Love Your Lady Landscape is about exploring, navigating and loving your lady parts. It’s about how to care for them, how to trust them and how to reclaim them.

TN: What is the number one thing a woman needs to understand about her period?
LL: That we are cyclic, not linear. Each month we try to maintain the same level of energy and productivity as our male counterparts throughout our whole cycle, so we can ‘compete’ and ‘keep up.’ But our energy, hormone levels and sex drive ebb and flow each month as we cycle through the four phases of the menstrual cycle—pre-ovulation, ovulation, pre-menstruation and menstruation.

Each of these phases hold super powers and hot spots and when we understand that we show up differently in each phase of our cycle, we are then able to use our menstrual cycle as a map to understanding ourselves better each and every month.

TN: Your previous book, Code Red was all about periods too. Why is this your pet subject?
LL: My entire 20’s were ruled by my menstrual cycle. I bled more days than I didn’t every cycle, I had to cancel social engagements ALL the time because I was too scared to bleed through my clothes, the pain was debilitating at times.

I also got myself a reputation as a total flake, because I was too embarrassed to say: ‘I can’t come out/to work/to the meeting because I’m bleeding through industrial super-size pads and my bed looks like a scene from the movie Carrie.’

So, when at 25 I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, there was a moment of relief. I had a name for it. Except in the very next breath the doctor said: ‘Endometriosis means that babies are no longer an option, so it makes sense that we whip out your womb and ovaries so you can function normally again.’

What???

For a moment I considered it, but, and I didn’t know the incredible power that we hold in our womb space at the time, this woke a fierce rage in me that meant I simply wasn’t going to let this happen. Instead, I read about other women who have endometriosis – each case was different – and most importantly, discovered that it didn’t necessarily mean I couldn’t have children. I then got extra mad at modern medicine’s quick fix ‘whip it out’ mentality, and for the last ten years I’ve been on an adventure to explore, navigate and most importantly, love my lady landscape.

And that work starts with the most powerful game-changer of all—knowing ourselves through our cycle.

 

TN: Why are periods a feminine ‘super power’?
LL: Our blood is GOLD. The actual act of bleeding used to be considered sacred and it was honoured by both men and women, from the first day you bleed through to the day you stop bleeding, you are a witch, a sorceress, an all powerful woman. You are a lightening rod for the divine, your womb is an oracle.

And when we work WITH our cycle and not against it, we have access to a series of feminine super powers all month, all of which can be leveraged and used to create a bloody amazing business, relationship and life. A concept I go into in detail in Love Your Lady Landscape!

Book

TN: So many women have irregular cycles. Why do you think this is?
LL: Many reasons, but some of the top ones are:

– As I said previously, when we try to do life in a linear way, we work against our cyclic nature and we suffer for it. Sometimes that will manifest instantly in the form of PMS, irregular cycles, cramps, heavy bleeding (all of which are our body’s way of trying to slow us down and pay attention) or over time in the form of anxiety, stress, depression and ‘lady-parts’ dis-eases like Endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids.
– We’re not listening to the wisdom of our bodies and our monthly cycle because we’re medicating her with synthetic hormones—the pill, implants, coils.
– We’ve not been taught what a ‘regular’ flow looks and feels like because menstruation is still seen as taboo subject. It’s spoken about in hushed tones and advertising teaches us to ‘stuff up’ our bleed with tampons so we can ‘carry on as usual’ partying, riding on boats and rollerskating in white jeans – this is shown as ‘normal’ when it’s anything but for most women.

TN: I love your term ‘called girl’ for a woman who’s in touch with her cycle—can you give an example of how this looks from your life?
LL: The Called Girl experiences life moment-to-moment. She’s in tune with the feminine cycles, rhythms and seasons that allow her to fully own her divine power. She works in, not out. She trusts herself and thoroughly enjoys inhabiting a female body.

A Called Girl doesn’t hold on too tight to a defined and specific outcome. Instead she shows up, roots into mumma earth, listens to her pussy, trusts her gut, raises her heart and boobs to the sun and remains open to the infinite possibilities that occur when you collaborate with what I call SHE.

I trust my body’s wisdom and the way that SHE (divine/source/goddess) uses my cycle to work through me. Each and every month in each and every phase, I unravel and unfold more and more understanding about the woman that I am.

This means I can grow strong and powerful roots in the truth of why I’m here, what I need to learn, who I’m here to serve and how I’m meant to do it—meaning I can fully rise as a woman who trusts herself and is fiercely in her SHE power. Rarrrr!

Crowned ‘the defender of female awesomeness’ by Cooler magazine, Lisa Lister is the author of Love Your Lady Landscape and Code Red. She’s a menstrual, fertility and reproductive health practitioner and founder of the SHE Flow system; a personal invite to celebrate the fiercely feminine, sensual pleasure of being a woman through movement, massage, mysteries and magic. Discover more at www.thesassyshe.com

 

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: STORY MEDICINE AND THE GOOP MRKT

Getting my emo on at Story Medicine, and Gwyneth being Gwyneth at the Goop MRKT….

No column last week since it was Thanksgiving and, frankly, I was drunk. And it was so good to let my hair down and switch off for a day! It’s been a HARDCORE YEAR (any other life path 8s out there feeling it??) and I’ve been pretty much tee-total in the name of getting some serious inner and outer work done. But turns out a dose of “spirits” medicine was actually just what the doctor ordered 🙂

Anyhow, I’m back, and I’m also trying a new format for this column, mapping my week Mon-Friday. Lemme know what you think!

:: MONDAY ::
I got to see an advance screening of the new J-Law movie Joy, and entrepreneurial ladies, this is a holiday season MUST. It tells the story of legendary inventor Joy Mangano, and busts the myth of the “overnight success.” So many times building the Numinous I’ve been like, “oh man, this isn’t not working, it’s never going to work.” And then something DOES work, and I just keep going. Joy’s story is a reminder that making your dreams real and running a business is hard. You will feel completely vulnerable. You will encounter setback, after asshole, after humiliation, after enormous IT bill from somebody who didn’t even do what you asked, but it’s what it takes and it’s worth. Every. Minute. (watch the trailer below)

:: TUESDAY ::
I was reunited with my sweet soul sister and Temple of Venus co-creator Elyssa Jakim, who spent the past few months over in Portland (only meeting the love of her life…on Tinder!) She introduced me to two exciting things: a documentary series called The Quest For The Cures, all about one man’s search for the best natural cancer treatments (weekend watch-list sorted), and the fact she’s doing Akashic records readings from 12-5pm tomorrow at Species by The Thousands in Williamsburg. GO. She’s amazing.

:: WEDNESDAY ::
I went to meet Gwyneth Paltrow at the opening of her Goop MRKT – which is essentially the NYC version of our Astrolounge @ Selfridges, a high-vibe holiday pop-up decked with all things mysti-cool. A lot of people don’t like GP, but we say back-off bitches. As beautiful Alexandra Derby (who invited me) put it: “She comes from privilege, so her putting $1K sweaters on Goop is just her being her authentic self.” And isn’t that what it’s all about?? Enough hating on the sisterhood. Less envy of those who “apparently” had better breaks than us. How about just be inspired and go get yours.

Me + GP @ the Goop MRKT

:: THURSDAY ::
Story Medicine! So Alexandra and I cooked up this idea for a crazy-ass event, where YOU, our guests would create the content by coming to share your stories. And in the process get heard and get healed. The amazing team at lululemon’s HUB seventeen said “yes,” and we hosted the first Story Medicine event last night. There were tears, there was laughter, there were many, many hugs, and there was a vegan feast from Daphne Cheng (see pudding below). There were even three dudes! But best of all was hearing all the stories. Raw, honest, human storytelling is the BEST entertainment you guys. We’re planning the next one for Feb 2016.

Out of this world chia pudding by Daphne Cheng

:: FRIDAY ::
In the spirt of no such things as TMI (see Story Medicine), I got my period today. Now, I’ve been researching how to work with your cycle, and the wisdom all says “on day one, retreat from society and go within” – since this is when your intuitive powers reach their peak. Thing is, that would have meant no column again today. Also canceling four really important meetings this afternoon. Truly committing to working with my flow is totally on my to-do list for 2016, but since my cycle is really irregular it’s hard for me to plan for down days when my bleed begins. So period experts reading this, any insight on this one much appreciated!

WHAT IS A RED TENT ACTIVATION?

Your period is your connection to the divine. Learn to listen at a Red Tent Activation, says Alexandra Derby. Image: Emi Haze via Behance.net

We are all pretty down with the memo on self care and coming into a place of self-love. This is what all spiritual traditions come down to at their core, the fact that only once we can fully love ourselves can we fully LOVE – one-another, the planet, and all life. But as women, we have some murky territories to traverse on the journey of self-love and ultimate self-acceptance.

A pretty big one is our complicated relationship to our body, and especially the fact it bleeds once a month. Yup, our period is something associated with negativity in our current culture. Something to ‘hide’, ‘clean up’ and generally try and pretend we are not ashamed of.

We have been trained to ignore it, and at best be grateful for the modern pharmaceutical options to ‘deal with’ our individual and unique cycles. Just think of the language that has been used to describe it; ‘the curse’. It’s also been decided it’s a time women become ‘irrational’, and that we should disregard what they (we!) are trying to articulate as ‘just them being emotional’.

But what if there was a different story that got lost over time? What if our period was actually a powerful and potentially life changing event – one that we get to experience every single month of our menstruating years?

We bleed and yet we do not die – just think about the symbolism of that. We are capable of allowing our life blood to flow out of ourselves without any harm to us. And we do this month after month after month. It is literally a physical embodiment of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

In the past, men were likely intimidated and threatened by this female creatrix energy, and declared it ‘unclean’. But there was a time when women would all bleed together, at the time of the New Moon, and meet to honor their menstrual cycles in what is called a Red Tent.

A Red Tent (or Moon Lodge in the Native American tradition) is a place where women come together to honor their bodies as sacred, and celebrate the Blood Mysteries – what DeAnna L’am (recognized world expert on menstrual empowerment, and author of Becoming Peers: Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood) says is the ‘missing piece of the puzzle’ when it comes to women connecting to their sacred wholeness.

My life has been transformed by training with DeAnna.

My period used to be a time of pain and frustration that felt like an internal war with my body, coupled with a fear of ‘leaking’ as people would then know – shock! – that I was having my period. I did not want to get this messy (both physically and emotionally). Today my Moon time is actually my most powerful time – a time to retreat and listen to my body, literallyand do what it wants, not what my to-do list wants.

The reward? I get beautiful, spine tingling downloads from my intuition. Ideas come through, and my days are peppered with “aha” moments. I get clarity on exactly what is in alignment for me. And every single woman has this capacity too. We each carry our own Oracle, and each month we are asked to take the time to sit down and listen to what she has to say.

Because the voice that comes through while you are bleeding is the voice of the GODDESS, and if something is out of whack she is gonna let you know! Hence not being prepared to ‘put up and shut up’, like we often usually do. Your job is to listen to that wise voice and take heed, because the part of you that creates IS the Goddess. And she knows what’s best for you, your family and your tribe.

Now I hold Red Tent Activations myself – daylong events, where you get to completely and radically alter your perception of your own menstrual cycle, your creative potential and your body, and re-establish your divine birthright as being connected to all women on the planet in sacred sisterhood. Connected by blood to all women who have gone before you, and all women who will come after you.

A Red Tent Activation is a powerful and life-changing ceremony around telling the story of your first blood, and of letting go the judgments and prejudices you took into your precious early teenage self that have kept you from fully accessing your power and creative potential as a goddess Creatrix today! And, finally, of enacting the ceremony we never receive in modern society – that of a girl being welcomed into womanhood.

It is a deeply moving to take your place in your lineage of ancestors and as a woman on the planet with the capacity to birth LIFE – be that children, ideas, creative masterpieces, businesses, or a even a new Earth. Yes, it is that big! And we have been hiding from this part of ourselves month, by month, by month.

But just imagine each and every woman in NYC connected to their own inner guidance system. Tapped directly to the Source through their own body, listening to the Goddess within. What choices would women make in their relationships? Their work? Their family life?

Now imagine a whole WORLD of women operating from the true Source within, not longer carrying the baggage of negative self image, not swayed or influenced or manipulated by the external world, but living in complete alignment with their true values, their true desires. That is the world we can create. This is my vision for our new Earth.

Join Alexandra Derby for the next Red Tent Activation in Brooklyn, NY, on September 13 2015. Further information and tickets available at the link.

Have you re-claimed your monthly bleed as a sacred time for intuitive connection? Connect with the Numinous community and share on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!