Medicinalmeadows

the place within…..


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Menstrual Matters in the Current Climate

The vaccination roll out has seen menstruation reports to the yellow card scheme, which is the system to report adverse effects of any medication or treatment in the UK. “Common side effects of covid-19 vaccination listed by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) include a sore arm, fever, fatigue, and myalgia. Changes to periods and unexpected vaginal bleeding are not listed, but primary care clinicians and those working in reproductive health are increasingly approached by those who have experienced these events. “More than 30 000 reports by 2 September 2021, across all covid-19 vaccines currently offered”. (1)

The Science Media Centre on the 21st June 2021 stated that “It is vanishingly unlikely that vaccination, including Covid-19 vaccination, would have this effect, and women should not be worried that vaccination might cause problems with their periods” (2). Another report from the International Journal of Epidemiology suggests that menstrual disorders are extremely common, in its explanation to the yellow card scheme.

I have no doubt that there are “challenges”.  “Studying menstrual cycle features is challenging. Normal variation exists within women over the lifespan and between women in relation to characteristics such as history of infertility, body mass index (BMI) and exercise. In addition, menstrual cycle features such as volume, pain and PMS symptoms are subjective “(3). But my concern is that women do not go to their healthcare provider about their menstruation cycle unless they are experiencing a different pattern. Women know.

One report from the School of Medicine in Chicago found that “More than half of respondents to an online survey reported changes in their menstrual cycles during the pandemic, including differences in premenstrual symptoms and in the time between cycles and the duration of their bleeding”(4). Changes can be accredited to stress of the pandemic, as “It is well-known that stress can cause changes in menstrual cycles, and these changes range from shorter or longer periods to heavier or lighter bleeding, and may cause women to skip or miss a period altogether,” said study author Nicole Woitowich”.

There has been more media coverage, that may highlight menstruality to all with campaigns such as #periodpoverty, the Scottish product free provision, Red Tent Movement facebook groups and resources for online education. The University of Edinburgh has highlighted that when women have irregularities or “problems”, they know. They know the difference between ‘Typical and problem periods’ (5). The author and obstetric Doctor, Michel Odent writes in Primal Health (Ch9) that our bodies and our cycles are also intrinsically linked to our external world as well as the internal. Our stresses and strains are influential to our cycle. How can you measure tiredness as a quantity measurement? One person’s levels of tolerable activity are different from another. This is why comparisons are not as scientific as science would like. This is why we have not engaged in parameters of normal Michel Odent says, “what is normal health and how is that measured?” (6).

More recently the American Society of Gynaecologist rate the menstrual cycle as a “vital sign” in health. “ACOG and supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises health practitioners to consider periods as the “fifth vital sign” — meaning menstruation is as important a health indicator as changes in body temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure (7). Other countries are participating in further investigations, such as The Institute of Public Health in Norway. They monitored 6000 women, and are now going on to research a cohort of 60,000 participants.  In this study they state that in most (vaccine) cases, the changes were transient and returned to normal in the next cycles. Here in Norway the reporting system has gone on to formulate a research study. The findings of this study will be vital to all pharmaceutical companies and all countries rolling out programmes in the future, as well as Women’s Health around the world. (8). (Menstrual changes following COVID-19 vaccination – NIPH (fhi.no)

1.(www.bmj.com/content/374/bmj.n2211).

2.(www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-mhra-yellow-card-reporting-relating-to-periods-after-covid-19-vaccines

3. http://www.academic.oup.com/ije/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ije/dyab239/6447179

4 .www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-10-04/pandemic-stress-altered-many-womens-menstrual-cycles

5.www.ed.ac.uk/centre-reproductive-health/news/2021-news/menstrual-health-animation

6. Michel Odent 2007 Primal Health Chapter 9

7. http://www.elemental.medium.com/doctors-think-your-period-should-be-a-fifth-vital-sign-5b882c864783

8 (Menstrual changes following COVID-19 vaccination – NIPH (fhi.no)


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The Menopause, the Matrix and the Moon

For Christmas I gave myself adrenal fatigue. This feeling of minimal activity and maximum fatigue is not a new thing for me. I am well versed in how this goes. I am also well attuned to deep rest, hydration and good food to begin with, from a well oiled radar to the early signs. The “Holiday” in deep winter has me thinking that I am not as attuned to the seasons as I thought. My preparation for Christmas was not at all prepped appropriately. My inner vision was covered. I did not see the wood, literally, for the trees and here is why.

I got swept into the tangibility of it all. The Matrix was there with its all seeing eyes and I was lost to it. I got moved along with the to-do-lists, helped my elders with their food preparation, the lights and the tinsel. I colluded to buy and messy wrap the presents and all the time my energy levels waned and I knew it. I felt it, I recognised my bodily signs saying, slow down. I went out again and again when the fire side was calling with its soft golden glow and its warming invites. I left for one last trip with the Christmas cards.

All this was done out of love, but was it love for myself! And where do you draw the line with your loved ones at Christmas to say, I am done! I am menopausal, my instincts are saying I need to go inside and withdraw not do more. I am listening to my body and my answer is just one more thing! But the body knows the limits and has no cajoling from the mind, the body doesn’t say ok, let’s finish all this and high five. No, the body has a limit and when the limit is overstepped it shouts now, now is the time for rest and no more.

All this came home to me yesterday as we sorted, cut and piled the wood from the pruned trees in our garden. Here I was again, but this time the realisation was of my sacred rhythms with the trees and the land. As I over stretched once again I had this vision that my ancestors worked with the rhythms of the seasons. I thought I was doing so well with my menstrual practice cycling like the earth with my inner landscape then it occurred to me, what do we do when the cyclicity is gone.

Here I was without the clock, without the dial, the rhythms all gone. I was chopping wood in winter when this could have been done in preparation. My ancestors would have prepared for winter, just as I had prepared in the autumn of my cycle, my premenstrual phases, listing and smoothing things over so I rested in winter. My inner cyclicity had been musical even, never mind rhythmical…..and now as I arrive in this space of no cyclicity it began to look more like no-womans-land.

My world was not prepared for the winter. If I had looked, really looked at myself and my nature this would have been all in good timing. The cutting, pruning and gardening would have been put to bed weeks ago. If my body had been in a menstrual cycle I would have been prepared for this! But is it just me, or is the outer world out of sync? As I sit here typing, the window is open the hedges are green and it seems the earth herself is in a great flux of menopausal seasonal crisis of no-womans-land too!

When I close my eyes and think of my ancestry I see the high stocked wood stores, the jars of pickled fruits and veg, the importance of the harvest festival and the fire flickering and tended to day and night. Frosty mornings and sleet showers with streets of leaves piling up the brick walls. Houses with the lights on early and no more to do about the gardens but witness and welcome the returning of the light in weeks to come. Nothing kept for keeping sake and nothing needed but stillness and the flame.

My awareness is bringing up that familiar nervousness that all is not right with the world. I am aware of what has occurred on the inner landscape and I can accept that and find my path again. But what can be done about the outer landscapes, how do we assist the cycles of the season of this planet? Is this a greater task that we have as a collective? Is this a task for all women at menopause, as we sit in nature to nurture ourselves can we be in reciprocity at this time? Is it time to nourish both? If the earth is also out of cyclicity do we now look to the moon for our rhythms and reflect deep into our old ways, the wise and the well, the ancient and ancestral knowing once more?


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Red Tent Quest

The last twelve months I have been travelling with the Red Tent Collective into Birth Doula Training. I have sat in circle with the most amazing women, reading a stack of books, walking on and off the path to weave amongst the mystical ways of birth and cyclicity of menstruation and menopause. I am on a mission, the way of being woman, with all of this heightened awareness. I am seeing what is missing in society for women, health and equilibrium.

Some blog posts ago I was writing about Belonging to land space and place and this year I have come full circle to the place within. What a synchronicity….the place within. To me this equilibrium is the sense of calmness, where ever I Am, the Belonging is within. It is a deep rooted sense of assurity that no matter what I am rooted in the moment. It is the heart beat and the alignment to a feeling, not a place.

How did I get to Here? I got to this place of assurity from sitting in Circle with others, from a community of people who can sit and listen with total acceptance. By that I mean a listening circle, a circle gathering of others who have capacity of Heart to Hear. When we Hear and do not fixed, when we can Speak and are not held back, when we are Witnessed and not judged, we are Accepted. Total acceptance creates a feeling of Belonging to Self.

I will continue to blog more about my journey of Womenhood as my Path unfolds. For now, I leave you with a Womb Blessing, naturally spontaneous and unedited.


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Sounds of the Sea

A moment spent by the sea can calm all the cells, water by water. We develop within the rhythm of water. No wonder the sound of water resonates deep within every part of me, even those places that are tucked away, hidden and protected.
“Deep peace of the running wave to You” (Celtic prayer).


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Self Love

Self-care is not a luxury, it is a necessity. It needs carving into the everyday. As ritual becomes daily practice we see that we are worthy, and we have needs to be met within the day as much as any other person around us. One question I ask is, what have I done of service today? And what have I done for myself? If the scales here are not so balanced then it is time for some self-care. I love to go for a walk by myself in nature. I notice that I walk mindfully when I walk alone. I walk slower and take in my environment. I hear, I see and I witness far more when I walk on my own. But are we ever alone? By that I mean to walking and witnessing animism in the everyday. This is to be in reverence that “Animism (from Latin: anima, ‘breath, spirit, life‘)[1][2] is the belief that objects, places, and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence.[3][4][5][6] Potentially, animism perceives all things—animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human handiwork, and perhaps even words—as animated and alive” (Wikipedia). Taking this view into account the things we self create, the small craft projects crystal bead bracelets that make me go into that no-mind space, are those distinctly spiritual act of communion with the self and the world round us. From the herbal teas we make, ceremonially, to a ritual of washing my feet, a daily cleansing ritual, aromatherapy oils and the best homemade foot cream.

So what are your self care rituals? What makes you feel cared for? What small acts of love do you gift to yourself?

When we talk about self-care and conception this is where a full spectrum of physical health, as well as emotion, environmental and intentional routines are put into the daily care.

For the full article on health and conception, self care rituals and full moon releasing take a look at the Red Tent Patreon Page, for this month only the newsletter is FREE. This is a GIFT from me to YOU. It is Published on the 7th June 4pm

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Conception of Guidance

Conception of Guidance

In the free dictionary the word Conceive means to“ form a mental image of something “. We must conceive of a multitude of things in a lifetime. We conceive ideas, plans, and processes. We also conceive all our thoughts and emotions. And so this leads me to consider that I have conceive myself to be anxious. This is a prospect I am learning to come to terms with. If allowing myself to feel anxious, when I am not in any imminent danger, I am robbing myself of inner peace? Could I be feeling free of anxiety? I have been on a spiritual journey since childhood. I grew up in fields and amongst the tress in a small rural area. I was aware of the spirit of the land and nature from a young age. A counsellor once called me a feral child having had no adult influential learning to model discernment for boundaries. Maybe she was right, but in recent times I have come to the realisation that boundaries are not always cultivated by adults around us in our informative years. Then there is the spiritual path, the awareness of the otherly, the unseen, the imaginal, that can actually provide a level of awareness of boundaries.

My perspective is that we all have a Guardian, a spiritual guide and when we allow, really surrender and allow the connection then the guidance is quite profound and present in the everyday. Many shamanic teachers describe an awareness within dimensions of the underworld, the middle-world and the upper-world. The middle-world being the here and now. Whether we identify with a physical knowing, a third eye inner vision of knowing or a deep listening to higher knowing, this is the guidance of the Guardian or Guide. When we have deep faith in this connection and relationship that is when the boundaries of the unseen can come to give discernment and assistance in this middle-world. Many spiritual paths have this unseen understanding, whether we call it the Nous like the Teachings of Mary Magdalene, the Spirit Guide, or the Guardian, the names are not so important as the faith that we are not navigating life here alone without inner perspective.

When I take this unseen into the feelings of the anxiousness and stress it brings in some calmness. This is where I can join mindfulness meditation and guidance. This is my perspective of allowing in some self awareness of the present and also connect to what is available for my inner knowing and a calmer way of navigating the here and now. A practice of mindfulness is exactly that for me, practice. It needs to be practices not just as a mediation but throughout the day of being mindful and not skipping and leaping ahead to the chaotic thoughts of the steps ahead, the to-do-list getting out of control or the diary full of overwhelming actions if clumped together. Mindfulness has been a way first to recover and establish some sense of calm. Making time and space for myself is difficult and don’t get me wrong there are days when life gets busy. A practice of meditation is a routine, as necessary as brushing my teeth, to cultivate a living “Way” of being in meditation and prayer, lets not leave that out either. For me prayer has come after years of meditation, the hearing of my body, my spirit, I completely forgot about the asking part of spirituality. It is hard to conceive a spiritual based life practice without acknowledging prayer. After all if all I do is listening and not talking, I am hardly going to have my needs met! I don’t mean that by asking I am going to get something but in relationship to spirit and the Guardian I mentioned, if all I do is listen then I am on the outside of this relationship to myself.

Whether you agree or not to the concept of a spiritual life, in the believe of spirit, living energy, consider yourself as spiritual being for a second. If all we do is listen , we do not have a two way conversation, we are only present half the time. For me the act of both listening and speak had come at a cost. I was always the keen helper, I am a nurse by trade. It was in my coding to be the willing helper, but after my stress and anxiety lessons I now develop and grow my own voice within my Way of Being. My stress is lessened when I am seen, heard and witnessed. By this exchange of inter-communication with myself with others if feels there is more of a balance in communication. We all have stresses and for me some of the stresses are from giving and not receiving from myself. Sometimes I do tasks that I just don’t feel up to doing, for others and for myself. So when this happens my self talk has to ask directly, “what is it you really want to do?” establishing some positive self talk can negotiate some boundaries and solutions for myself.

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The Pain of Anxiety

Anxiety has lived with me for many years. I have read a mountain of books on the subject from psychology, self help to spirituality and akashic records. As well as a Master’s degree in CBT I started but didn’t finish.

The emotions of anxiety include emotional pain. The pain of being stuck in a holding of “I can’t”. ” I can’t tell them how I feel, I can’t express myself enough, I can’t put myself up for that speech and so I can’t do that job”. These were not feelings brought about by others they were limitations of myself. I felt held and stuck and in pain. The moment I felt a change was when I took a small step. “I can’t  do the speech in front of so many people, but what if I took one small step towards speaking up. I can’t be heard in the team but what can I do to establish my boundaries”. Small steps to the land of becoming created a small success in belonging. In my own way I  experimented with challenge (with some anxiety) and saw success of achieving movement out from within the pain.

The phrase you can’t eat an elephant in one go was my mantra. What smaller steps can I make? In the words of Sandra Ingerman, “taking small steps to climb a mountain will get you there just as surely as taking giant leaps. And the steps will also allow you to climb the mountain consciously as well as in your comfort range, keeping you in a state of balance and harmony” (Soul Retrieval 2011).

For me, the smaller steps were still challenging but manageable, they also required  marking, like a reward to celebrate a new threshold reached. Celebrating myself for making the steps, however small where all part of the bigger journey. Marking these achievements was key as well as repetition. The advantage I see is that repeating the small steps creates a new perspective, a new development, a new wider comfort zone. And so the repetition becomes a habit and a routine from a new challenging moment some time ago. It gives me time to focus, refocus and repeat and do-over and so the competency develops into a competent confident skill. Small steps can be seen as wise steps where a repeating pattern creates comfort as well as individuality in the endeavour just like water wearing its way over rock to carve isn’t own way forwards. It may be a slow process but it becomes a less messy one. Nature shows us over and over that repetition creates growth. Think of that old oak tree every year discarding its leaves and reaching higher with new branches.

Rushing towards goals still has me sliding into the pain of anxiety. Knowing myself, within a relationship to myself, is also about knowing how I relate to my natural way of being in this life. It has also cultivated a compassionate approach to others and how anxiety feels when it is outside in the cold causing stagnancy and misunderstandings in all areas of life and relationships. Bringing anxiety into the inner circle of a compassionate relationship has become a way of reconnecting and understanding pain. Pain is not just a physical symptom, it is also emotional.


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Menstrual Cycles

I have cycled for 35 years. What else in life do we repeat this many times? It is still a topic of conversation not mentioned so much. Compare it to films, food or work. This repetitive experience doesn’t get much air time does it!

We are all aware of the stories of red tents and lodges within our ancestral history. Women gathered, they talked, they shared, they would bleed and be supported . And I imagine they laughed and they cried…..together. These are now just that, stories, the inter-generational support, the experience and wisdom from Grandmothers is no longer passed down. Our ancestral roots and rituals of women gathering as family, community and tribe are lost.

What does this silence repeat to our younger generations? What does the silence do to our bodies? What patterns get repeated?

How would visibility around menstruation change the nature of womanhood? Imagine a culture of cycle awareness and respect for women in their bleed time. It would possible look something like this, flexibility in the workplace and receiving space to nurture your body and emotions as you bleed. Imagine a generation of elder women supporting you and answering all your questions about your bleed.

So my question is, how does our next generation benefit from our silence?