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Our Inner Terrain

Every one is on a unique journey in these times. Some of feeling calm, others grieving, others numb, others scared, others uplifted, others rageful.

All of these feelings are valid! All are not pleasant or easy.  But all these feelings want to be embraced and accepted and expressed and heard.

Many of us are feeling different every day, perhaps every hour, as our situation changes, as we hear news of others' losses or victories, as we reflect on what's happening for those less fortunate.

Let us treat ourselves and others with fierce compassion.

Let us aim to tenderly and completely accept what is arising in Self and Others.

This does not mean holding others and ourselves accountable for our actions. This means loving. This means opening. This means being courageously vulnerable.

Being present, open and vulnerable can be a tall order in any situation. But it is immensely freeing and strengthening and grounding.

Without being present our feelings, we may spend an immense amount of energy pushing down our feelings and projecting our feelings onto others (resulting in stress and disconnection).

Being present with our feelings frees up that energy. That energy is then available to nourish our inner terrain, which includes our psyche, our soul, our Creative Spirit. Our inner terrain also includes our bodies, our hearts, our lungs and our immune systems.

Our inner terrain is key to our well-being, to our joy, to our capacity to serve our families and communities.


The virus's gift and the virus's demand is to open up to our vulnerability, to open up to our feelings, to open up whatever is present. This goes hand-in-hand with offering love and compassion to Self and Others.

The result is a positively reinforcing cycle of love, strength, openness, and groundedness.

Keith L'Amour

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Virtual Red Tents, Ovaries and Uteri

Women around the globe gather for topical presentations and rich dialogue in our Virtual Red Tents, one of the fabulous options included in our Mentoring Girls Training.

A recent juicy conversation focused on how to help girls understand, honor and connect to their uterus and ovaries. (If trans girls are in the group, they can still learn about these organs and connect to their Womb Centers.)

 Sharing with girls how the menstrual cycle aligns with nature’s cycles is an inestimable gift. 


Here are some fun facts shared by JOYW Grad and Certified Fertility Awareness & Reproductive Health Educator Caitlin McMurtry of cycle-wise.com:

  • The uterus is the strongest muscle in the human body by weight.
  • The moon cycle of waxing and waning is 29.5 days on average. The average young menstruator’s cycle is 29.5 days.
  • The average age of menopause is 52 years old. There are 52 weeks in a year.
  • The average menstrual cycle is 4 weeks long. There are 4 seasons in a year.
  • There are 13 lunar cycles in a year. 13 (well, just under) is the average age of menarche.
  • Menstruation is the only type of human bleeding that does not signify injury or sickness, but rather a normal healthy body full of vitality, fertility and life.journeyofyoungwomen.org/menarche-preparing-for-her-first-moon/​Menarche: Preparing for the First Moon​​​


For ideas on helping young people understand and honor menstruation, check out these blogposts:

... as well as Toni Weschler’s Cycle Savvy, a fantastic menstrual literacy book for teens.

To join as many of our Virtual Red Tents as you wish - and to enjoy the Red Tent Video Library with dozens of titles - join the Mentoring Girls Certificate Training.  For lower tuition, check out the non-certificate version of the training.  Fine out more about our Virtual Red Tents including upcoming Red topics here.


P.S.  Registered students are also invited to the JOYW Special Topic groups.  In our Cycle and Body Literacy group, we've been talking about pills bleeds, welcoming trans girls into a Girls' Circle, and whether there is a purpose for ovulation other than simply fertility.  Lara Briden talks about two of those topics in her book Period Repair, and I recommend it.

What's on your mind about helping young menstruants connect with their bodies and their cycles?

P.S.S.  This is my first blogpost in a LONG WHILE!  For the past year and a half or so, I've been intensely busy caring for my ailing father who passed away sweetly and knowing he was loved last summer.  It was a life-changing honor and privilege to help him live well and then die well.  

And I'm so glad to be back here, writing to all of you.

~ Katharine

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Making Childhood Sacred

Making Childhood Sacred

Is not about filling up children's schedules with every type of fabulous activity.

Is not about permissiveness ... or authoritarianism.

Is not about being a so-called perfect parent.

Is not about always putting our children's needs above our own.

Making childhood sacred is about ...

CONNECTION AND LOVE

Humans are built for connection.

By loving ourselves, our children and the Earth unconditionally, we model reverent and mutually nourishing connectedness with All Beings - with our own self-love as the foundation.

childhood

Art by Elisabeta Hermann

Making childhood sacred is about ...

COMMUNITY

Parents are not meant to go it alone. Children are meant to be surrounded by a wide caring adults, each with their own wisdom to share, skills to teach and beingness to model.

community

Art by Molly Costello

Making childhood sacred is about ...

FREEDOM

Children who are free to experiment, to take risks, to master skills, and to follow their interests and passions are children who discover the strengths of their minds and bodies.

free range children

Photo by by Jean-Paul Loyer

Making childhood sacred is about ...

DAYDREAMING & PLAY

Solitary reflective time.
Positive constructive daydreaming.
Hapless mind-wandering.
Unstructured free play

Teaching children to be constantly productive and filling their schedules with endless activities is the antithesis of a sacred childhood.  

Children need unscheduled alone time. Time when their cognitive functioning can rest. Time to tap into their deeper selves. Time for imaginative play and exploration.

daydreaming

Art by Laimonas Šmergelis

Making childhood sacred is about ...

A PATH TO PURPOSE

Children who are held accountable - non-judgmentally - for their actions discover their own power to create a life worth living rather than one focused on shame, blame, and external standards and expectations.

Children whose gifts and contributions are acknowledged naturally assume a purposeful role in their family and community.

Children who are offered mentorship and an adolescent rite of passage have the best chance of finding their authentic selves in service to community, the world and the Holy.​

rites of passage

Photo by Ly Huong Long

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Share the magic of menstruation with your child

Magic of Menstruation: Discover It

Our cycles are more than blood leaving our bodes.

Yes, it's very important for menstruating youth and adults to understand the biology of menstruation, and overall, the structure and function of our entire reproductive system.

magic of menstruation

Art by Alberto Seveso

But our moon cycle is more than biology. It's magic. It's an alive, responsive, ever-changing magic that is there for us every day.

Our moon cycle a constant reminder of the cycle nature of life and of our cyclic nature as women. Our moon cycle is a barometer of our health and overall well-being. Our moon cycle, if we're open to it, brings us deep insight.

It's the nudge to be present with our entire body-mind - our Whole Sacred Self.

Our cycle begs us to be curious and tender with ourselves

Each day, let us ask ourselves:   
... What's real for me now?
... What am I receiving?
... What am I giving?
... What am I ready to release?
... What seeds shall I plant?
... Which seedlings need tending in order to ripen?

Art by Ronnie Biccard

If this sounds good - but is new to you - try this:

Simply tune into your cycle.  Each day, pause, breathe and tune into your body for 3 to 5 minutes. Gently, with devotion, patience and love. Simply be present and curious about what you're experiencing in your body, physically and emotionally. What would your body like more or or less of?

Over time, notice what happens. How does your body respond? Does it appreciate the attention? What are its needs?

You may find that the shift in you is flat out amazing. Joy and empowerment and insight and health and, well, a book of poetry's worth of goodness.

Magic of Menstruation: Share it with Girls

Another lovely tuning-in practice is to chart your cycle, noting how your emotions, intuition, and activities change through your cycle. This is a lovely mother-child activity.

Mom and her young menstruator may each have her own chart. Or if the child has not begun to bleed yet or does not yet have a regular cycle, the child can help with their mother's chart.

If you begin charting your cycle, your daughter will inevitably become interested. You and she together can discover the magic of menstruation.

magic of menstruation

Art by Anne Dewailly

​There are plenty of apps for cycle tracking, but all you need is a piece of paper. I prefer paper because one's spirit shines through - and one can pick up shifts over time visually.

Magic of Menstruation: Chart Cycles on Paper

On a large sheet of paper, write a series of well-spaced numbers in on the left. These are the days of your cycle, Day 1 being the day you begin to bleed. Across the top, label what you'd like to track, such as Physical and Emotional (for what you're experiencing physically and emotionally).  You may also like to track food, activities, and the phase of the moon.

Then each day, record how you're doing. Post this on the fridge if you're feeling revolutionary - if you're tired of hiding menstruation and would like the people in your life to know how you're doing. 

Here is a chart with the cycle days listed across the top and emotions, physicality and activities listed down the lefthand side.

Cycle Chart courtesy of Leslie Carol Botha of Holy Hormones Honey

This teen is fascinated by menstrual-lunar synchrony, so her chart is organized by the lunar cycle and explores how her body, moods and activities respond to both lunar and menstrual cycles.

menstrual chart

Lunar Menstrual Cycle Chart from a JOYW Mother-Daughter Circle

How do you talk about menstruation with your children? 

Cycle Literacy and Body Literacy for Youth

cycle literacy

JOYW Mentor students and graduates meet in a Facebook group to support one another in developing ways to share Cycle Literacy and Body Literacy with children of all genders and their parents.

Our current project is creating a detailed chart of conversations and activities that will nourish children ages 2 to 16.

Join us!

Learn to mentor girls & lead Girls' Circles

Do you feel called to mentor girls?
Learn about JOYW's
 Mentoring Girls Certificate Training.  

You'll enjoy new content, new resources and new collaborative opportunities in addition to an extensive interactive resource platform offering post-graduate support.  Our aim is to stand with all our current and former students as they plan, launch and lead their Girls' Circles. 

JOYW Girls' Circle by JOYW artist Karen MacKenzie

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Moods of Motherhood by Lucy H. Pearce

motherhood

Moods of Motherhood by Lucy H. Pearce

In Moods of Motherhood: The Inner Journey of Mothering, Lucy H. Pearce delves unreservedly into the heart of the mother-experience, a vast and enigmatic realm of emotional complexity.

While sharing the myriad of emotional revelations of her own journey, Lucy not only enables readers to identify with her experiences, she masterfully provides a space for all mothers to connect to and honour their own truths of motherhood.

The stunning accomplishment of Moods of Motherhood resides in its power to gather mothers into the unseen circle of shared maternal consciousness.

Poetically written and evocative with its empowering messages from the Wild Feminine, this collection of magazine articles, columns, and posts from Lucy’s Dreaming Aloud blog becomes more than a gathering of personal reflections; it reaches deep into the soul of motherhood and its influence upon the women who are living, breathing, and surviving it.

~ JOYW student Kirsten Popovic

Honored to have Lucy H. Pearce supporting the Change Her Story Movement fundraiser.

As a thank you to donors, we offer the e-book versions of "Reaching for the Moon" and "Burning Woman" by Ms. Pearce and published by her Womancraft Publishing.

We also offer The Heroines Club by JOYW student Melia Keeton-Digby, published as well by Womancraft Publishing.

Together, let's help girls take charge and thrive.

Help mentors help girls thrive!

Two of Lucy Peare's books are offered as thank-you gifts to donors to the Change Her Story movement - Reaching for the Moon and Burning Woman.  

Please watch this short video!

Learn to mentor girls & lead Girls Circles!