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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 daughter

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 beginning in 2017. 

Deeper partial scholarships are now being funded by the Mary Krueger Scholarship Fund.

JOYW Girls' Circle by JOYW artist Karen MacKenzie

Join the Change Her Story Movement

The Change Her Story crowdfunding campaign is raising $100,000 to create more resources and outreach for mentors and girls.

Together with 1100 JOYW Mentors and 73,000 supporters, we invite you to join us in making this essential work more widely available.

We need everyone to give a little - and to help us get the word out!

Help us help girls thrive. Join the Change Her Story Movement. Give today.

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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!

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A Moon Basket!

A Moon Basket is bestowed upon a someone when they reach menarche, their first moon. It is part of celebrating and honoring this rite of passage. It is full of beauty and perhaps lovely aromas.  Its contents invite self-care, slowing down, expressiveness, ease and joy in one's cycling.

Sometimes parents and children will make the Moon Basket together. A delicious activity, and a beautiful time to share stories and wisdom.

Here is a guest post from JOYW Mentor Rebecca Woolley on creating a Moon Basket.

moon basket

Moon Basket by Rebecca Woolley

A Moon Basket for my nieces, ages 10 and 12

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Their Moon Baskets have lots of goodies:

  • beautiful journal
  • calendar
  • affirmation cards
  • agate stone pendant
  • flax & lavender womb warming pillow
  • sweet orange essential oil
  • homemade cloth maxi pads,
  • Hormoon chart
  • chocolate

I sat down with both my nieces, 12 & 11 (cousins) and gave them their baskets.

They were were wowed! The 12 year old loved it and showed her Mom the next day and asked her to show her Dad (my brother).

The 11 yr old was more giggles and blushes but was asking where I had put her basket later that evening.  She wanted to make sure she had it.

My sister and sister-in-law felt very supported by my gift to their girls and loved that their girls had received something initiating them into this stage of life.

I'm glad I put in all the work and walked through my own feelings of vulnerability in making this for them. It went as well as I could have imagined.  I know they will always remember it.

I hope they will feel the arms of support wrapping around them as they walk through any awkward or unfamiliar feelings. I think they wilI.

~ Rebecca Woolley​

What else might one include in a moon basket?

  • necklace with a red ruby
  • cycle tracking bracelet
  • moon calendar
  • red candle
  • red crystal or any healing crystal
  • moonstone
  • art supplies
  • raspberry leaf tea
  • Cramp Bark tincture
  • a mirror that is only allowed to reflect kindness and pride in oneself

Please share your ideas!

cloth menstrual pad

Homemade cloth maxi pad by Rebecca Woolley

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Join the Change Her Story Movement

The Change Her Story crowdfunding campaign is raising $100,000 in October to create more resources and outreach for mentors and girls.

Together with 1100 JOYW Mentors and 73,000 supporters, we invite you to join us in making this essential work more widely available.

We need everyone to give a little - and to help us get the word out!

Help us help girls thrive. Join the Change Her Story Movement. Give today.

(The campaign doesn't officially launch until October 1, but we'd love a few early donations!)

Mentoring Girls Certificate Training

JOYW's Mentoring Girls Certificate Training  is open for enrollment!

You'll enjoy new content, new resources and new collaborative opportunities in addition to an extensive interactive resource platform offering post-graduate support beginning in 2017. 

Deeper partial scholarships are now being funded by the Mary Krueger Scholarship Fund.

Learn more here.

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Are We Breast-Shaming Our Daughters?

Are we breast-shaming our daughters?

... if we insist she wears a bra when her breast buds start to come in?

... if our first bra-shopping trip is to a mainstream bra department, mainly populated by padded, cupped and underwire bras?

... if we insist she wears a bra around the house?

... if we tell her she'll get saggy breasts without constant bra-wearing?

... if we tell her that she's "asking for it" if the outline of her nipples shows through her shirt?

... if we comment about the size or shape of her breasts?

The above are all very common mother-daughter interactions.

Keith L'Amour

What would happen if we let go of the cultural notion that breasts need to be hidden? 

​Breasts are emblems of nature, little buds that grow into unique flowers. These flowers are part of a woman’s body for the rest of her life, and will change as she gets older.The impulse that these flowers should be tamped down, that breasts should be hidden by bras from a young age, is the same impulse that drives humans to disconnect from nature.

​... writes Meagan Murphy of The Breast Archives.

[While wearing  bra] is necessary to work within societal norms in some contexts, the home you share with your family can be a place of growth and comfortability.

So let's open up the option of going bra-free at home - and wherever else it's not absolutely mandatory.

Normunds Braslins

Breast-positivity for daugther and yourself

Here are some suggestions to help you avoid breast-shaming and embrace breast-positivity:

  • ​Listen to your daughter.  Respect her body's wisdom as the source for her wants and needs.
  • Encourage your daughter to experiment with different types of bras - and with being bra-free.
  • Support your daughter's choice whether or not to wear a bra at home and other times when it's not socially mandatory.
  • Encourage her to try different types of bras.  Avoid padded bras and underwire bras since they are designed to disguise breasts.  They are inherently breast-shaming.
  • Have you heard of Nippies, silicone nipple covers? Until we've evolved past believing that the nipple outlines are socially unacceptable, these covers allow one to go bra-free but without wearing a loose or thick top.
  • Speaking of tops! Help her try different types. Although we may reject the notion that breasts need to be hidden, we may find tops that allow for free breasts without trodding on cultural norms.
  • Cultivate a relationship with your own breasts, and pass this on to your daughter.  A very connecting and healthy practice is to massage one's breasts daily.  Learn more from Meagan Murphy here.
breast-shaming

Agnès Baillon

What's your experience with breast-shaming and breast-positivity?

What did you like (or loathe) about what your mother said or did about your breasts?

How did your father respond when your breasts "arrived"?​

What are some positive ways to respond to a girl who does not want to wear a bra? Do you believe that it's "Her body, her choice"?

How do we help our children honor and take charge of their bodies whilst navigating any trauma/shame that we may carry about our own bodies as well as the humungously negative cultural messages about breasts and bodies?

Faiza Maghni