Self-exploration of your cyclical experience: three starting points you might find helpful
Written on cycle day 28, pre-menstruation phase (inner autumn)
Cyclical self-exploration means observing your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self in a cyclical manner, in order to better connect to and understand your menstruating body and cyclical experience. Through self-exploration you may discover how your cyclical experience influences your day-to-day life, be able to identify and interpret patterns within your cyclical experience, and adopt that knowledge to create a cyclical experience what works for you.
If you're new to cyclical self-exploration, here are three starting points you might find helpful:
1. Self-reflect + set an intention:
Self-reflection is the process of examining your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in order to gain insight and better understand yourself.
So get curious and ask yourself:
How do I want to feel in my cyclical experience?
How does my current cyclical experience look and feel?
How do I want my cyclical experience to look and feel?
What supportive actions can I take towards creating a cyclical experience that works for me?
Set an intention; intentions serve as an anchor point, guiding and grounding your decisions and actions as you strive towards your vision for your cyclical experience.
🌀 For reflective prompts and guidance to set cyclical intentions, read blog post ‘How do you want to feel in your cyclical experience?’
2. Understanding your cyclical experience
Consider what is your level of understanding of your menstruating body and cyclical experience?
What information, insights or experiences would you like to learn more about?
Where can you go to learn more?
How will this knowledge support you and your cyclical experience?
Worth noting, as there is an abundance of information out there, I suggest being discerning of the information you seek out. Points you may like to consider are who wrote the information and who it is intended for; does it align to your values and ways of being and doing; and does it support you and the cyclical experience you are wanting to create? I trust that you know yourself best, so when seeking out information to better understand your cyclical experience, as always take what you need and leave the rest.
🌀 For an introduction to menstrual cycle awareness and its benefits, the four phases of the menstrual cycle and the inner seasons - download ‘Embrace Your Flow - a beginner’s guide to menstrual cycle awareness and cyclical living'.
🌀 Explore a collection of cyclical resources, including books, podcasts, and articles at the Cyclical Library.
3. Observing your cyclical experience
Observing your cyclical experience, commonly referred to as menstrual cycle awareness is the "practice of paying attention to where you are in your cycle each day, what you are experiencing and how to care for your changing cyclical needs.”* To better observe your cyclical experience, you can try menstrual cycle tracking. This involves daily noting of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual state. Through this practice, you can gain a deeper understanding of your cycle, identify patterns, and create an experience that suits you.
🌀 For more information on what is cycle tracking, what to track and how to track down ‘Embrace Your Flow - a beginner’s guide to menstrual cycle awareness and cyclical living’ - also included is 3 printable cycle trackers for you to choose from.
Points of interest 📍 along my own path of self-exploration
I experienced my first period (menarche) at 11 years old and have been menstruating for 27 years so far. Upon deeper reflection (in my 30s), the experience of my first period felt messy, uneventful and at the time, subconsciously I know I felt shame.
I started tracking my menstrual cycle about nine years ago. This was influenced by my chronic illness (Graves Disease) diagnosis at the time, and I came to learn the importance of tracking health information to support me in my specialist appointments.
I started exploring how I feel in each phase of my cycle about five years ago, as I immersed myself in all thing’s menstrual cycles, I embraced the knowledge that my cyclical needs change throughout my cycle. I learned to adapt to those changing needs for optimal wellbeing and happiness.
In the past two years I have been cultivating a deeper, more intimate relationship with my womb space. This level of depth however has brought with it intense emotions as I discover more of my maternal lineage, the trauma and unresolved grief that my womb has inherited. One day when I have the words I hope to share more with you on the insights, reflections and lessons gained, until then I will continue to surrender to the experience.
What I have gained so far on this path of self-exploration:
developed a deeper appreciation for my menstrual cycle and my cyclical experience,
learned to treat my body with compassion, especially during moments when it has felt extra hard to be in a menstruating body - intense period pain and heavy flow, I am looking at you on this one,
created a cycle tracking practice that is devoted to exploring and understanding my cyclical strengths and vulnerabilities,
created a cyclical self-care practice that tends to my changing needs, and
gained an understanding of my menstrual story through exploring my experience of menarche, menstrual conditioning and have leaned into creating more empowered beliefs about my cyclical experience.
As a menstrual cycle coach, I am dedicated to supporting people to create a deeper connection and understanding of their cyclical experience. Through my 1:1 coaching I meet you where you are at on your path of cyclical self-exploration, and provide support, guidance and accountability as you explore the different phases of your cycle and learn how to apply that knowledge in a meaningful, sustainable and accessible way in your daily life.
If you are already on your own path of self-exploration and are looking to take your exploration to a deeper level with the support of a menstrual cycle coach, learn how at my ‘work with me’ page.
* Quote reference: Alexandra Pope & Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer (2017), Wild Power - Discover the Magic of Your Menstrual Cycle and Awaken the Feminine Path to Power - access reference here.