“Christiane Northrup describes the pre-menstrual stage as the time when “inner wisdom,” sensitivity, and awareness to emotions and their messages are most available to work this way. In the course of the menstrual cycle, levels of LH and FSH, the hormones that stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs, are low in the first half of the menstrual cycle. They gradually rise and then peak on day fourteen. Although we don’t know where LH and FSH themselves bond to in the brain, we know that estrogen, which is controlled by them and therefore also increases in midcycle, bonds to the limbic areas of the brain, which plays an important role in intuition. Thus ovulation appears to prime the intuitive network and open up the channels so that women can hear more clearly.” Mona Lisa Schulz “Awakening Intuition”
A couple of months ago, I received an email from a woman, we’ll call Carol, who asked if I’d write about premenstrual syndrome (PMS), especially the metaphysical causes. Carol, age 38, wrote concerning her PMS emotions, worried why she acted like a raving lunatic before her period was due. There were certain days before her period where she was unable to control her dreadful tempers, rages, tearful scenes and irrational behaviors. On really bad days, she’d been known to scream, yell, threaten, slam doors, throw frying pans across the room, cry, sob and/or suffer from depression. Carol told me all these intense emotions were so out of character from her ‘normal’ days. She was frightened by what was happening to her and felt at a loss as how to discuss this with anyone.
It’s no coincidence that Carol’s explosive nature seemed to happen just before her period was due. At this time of the month, we can all become the proverbial bitch lol. Some of us go literally bananas and absolutely crazy in a very fiery dramatic way. Like menstrual blood, women’s anger is red, hot, active and potent, and once a month it has this opportune moment to surface. The deeper the repression the hotter the flames! In fact these flames can get so hot, they can burn everything standing in their way. Oh yeah, I knew exactly what Carol was going through.
“Anger is a reaction. When we feel angry, it is because something in our background or personal value system has been challenged. That something tells us we ought to react by being angry. But anger, like love is a choice, a choice we make on the basis of our subconscious values and attitudes. Thus, we can choose to change it by changing the values that lead us to feel it.” Linda Joyce
When I asked Carol about her physical symptoms with PMS, she wrote back ‘now you sound like my doctor, it’s not my physical symptoms I’m worried about.’ Sometimes, it can be hard to decide whether it’s the physical or psychological symptoms that bother us the most—usually it’s the psychological symptoms that tip the scale.
“PMS is characterized by so many different symptoms, it’s important for us to know which ones are affecting us, psychologically and physically. Our hormones constantly rise and fall throughout our lives; they are an important indicator to how we feel all the time. As well….The effects of the mind, emotions, diet, light, exercise, relationships, heredity, and childhood traumas must all be taken into account when treating PMS.” Christiane Northrup Eastern Body Western Mind
After a few emails back and forth, Carol agreed to take the time to listen to and jot down her physical and emotional PMS symptoms, especially before and just after ovulation. I asked her to add some comments and brief descriptions to each one, noting any tensions, frustration, memories, or feelings she observed at that time. When stressed did she turn to comfort foods or foods high in sugar and carbohydrates? If she did have arguments, or fights with someone, how significant and important were they during this period. Did she recall any dreams during that time? Did one or more standout in her mind that was especially striking or dramatic? Were there any dreams that repeated from times before? I told Carol that persistent dreams had a message she needed to hear. Did she have any inspirations, great ideas before or after ovulation? I asked her not to write too much at this point. Sometimes something we’ve never noticed before can excite us to the point that we want to keep writing on and on. The problem with this, is we lose the momentum of the whole exercise and our attention to it. What we want to do is look at various phases, changes and challenges we encountered during this period.
“Women need to believe in the importance of the issues that come up premenstrually. Even though our bodies and minds may not express these issues and concerns as they would in the first part of our cycle—on our so-called good days—our inner wisdom is clearly asking for our attention…..One husband reported that in the follicular phase of his wife’s cycle, she was great, was always cheery, kept the house in order, and did the cooking. But after ovulation she “let herself go” and talked about wanting to go back to college and get out of the house more. I told him that these issues that arise premenstrually should be treated seriously, and I asked him to consider what his wife’s needs were for her full personal development. I pointed out that her difficult behavior premenstrually was her way of expressing those needs.” Christiane Northrup, Eastern Body Western Mind
Deep inside us, we all carry around inhibiting beliefs, thoughts and attitudes that were instilled in us when we were children. Being very young, we weren’t able to reason things out and were totally at the mercy of our environment and the people in it. More often than not, what we learned about the world and about ourselves conflicted with the natural rhythm of our body/mind and soul. As we grew, we also started to carry around all the people who hurt us, with words, with actions, even those disapproving glances. Fear of not being loved or worse being abandoned we tried to please and pretzel ourselves to what others wanted us to be. We learned to ignore the things that bothered us, carrying on the role of little girl dress-up with the hopes of gaining approval from others. At this point we didn’t even realize our lives were not our own. At least not until puberty approached and our bodies started to change.
“It [PMS] insists that you move into your own rhythm rather than staying within society’s time frame. Living for a few days each month from within your natural rhythm is a powerful correction to the culture’s alienation of nature. PMS drops you deep into your own being, and your own truth explodes forth. Whatever you have been successful at burying or denying to yourself bursts forth at this time of the month. It is a truth serum from which you cannot escape, and if you carve out space for it, as in the native “moon hut” traditions, PMS makes you wiser. If you do not, it can cause you to feel that you are going start raving mad.” Donna Eden, David Feinstein, ENERGY MEDICINE, Balancing your Body’s Energies for Optimal Health Joy And Vitality
Every month whether we like or not we have to go through our own lunar cycle. As Camille Paglia writes “Every month, it is woman’s fate to face the abyss of time and being, the abyss, which is herself.”
Donna Eden tells us that “PMS changes the body’s chemistry to clear or prepare a path for journeying to the domain of our soul.” Journeying is a word used by Shamans of the past and Shamans of today. Although the word was originally used for the Native American Indians and other native belief systems, I feel that anyone who has begun to seek deep within to find their place in the ‘great circle of life’, is a modern shaman. Being a shaman is not about great powers or great respect. Rather, it is a responsibility to ourselves and our world to heal and to teach ourselves and others to be in harmony with all things.
Through the centuries women have become more self-aware and independent, which has given them more control over their lives. No longer are we held back from expressing our talents, strengths and intellect. But this has not come without a cost. Breaking out from the ancient limiting beliefs of being the dependent good wife and mother has affected us physically, emotionally and spiritually. Working outside the home has tested our ability to alternate between being a wife, a mother and a career person. This has created a buildup of pressure causing wear and tear on our female organs. The greater the outer pressure to perform, the more likely bodily messages and needs will be ignored. Not only that, the more we fight to become more independent, the fiercer our struggle with nature becomes. Our female bodies, our monthly cycles are a part of nature. “…[We] alternate between receptive and active during each monthly cycle, like the ebb and flow of the tides.” Vicki Noble
“Before ovulation, the left hemisphere of the brain is in control. Most language function is supposed to be in the left hemisphere. But studies have shown that the left hemisphere is also chiefly primed to hear mainly positive words, such as “joy,” “happiness,” “love,” and “cheer.” After ovulation, however, the right hemisphere picks up the tempo and cycles into more control, while the left hemisphere goes into more of a down mode. In women, language can be in both hemispheres, but the language to which the right hemisphere is receptive is negatively charged words. Women can hear words like “rage”, “anger,” “sadness,” and “depression” more strongly premenstrually than the rest of the time. All at once in this period, their brain allows them to hear things they don’t usually allow themselves to hear. That’s intuition at work; it makes us able to acquire information and knowledge that are not usually present in our external environment, knowledge we don’t usually want to see hear or act on.” Mona Lisa Schultz Awakening Intuition
And we know these ebbs and flows also correspond with the cycles of the moon as well as the output of our sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone and even a little testosterone) produced by the endocrine glands. Our hormones are what make us uniquely female. And your genetics, body chemistry and life experiences are like no one else’s. Even before you reached your teens, your hormones were already having a major impact on how you felt each day of your life.
“The monthly period is a reminder to women that they are living in a largely masculine-dominated world; so PMT (premenstrual tension) brings up issues to with how we feel about being a woman and our relationship to our femininity. It is often very hard to be a career woman, perhaps to be running a business meeting, and to have a period; the two do not go together easily. We respond to our period with emotional and mental disturbance and reluctance, so something here is disturbing us, making us feel awkward and resentful. Do we resent being a woman: Would we prefer not to be working? What are our deeper feelings about these aspects of womanhood? DEP SHAPIRO The Body/Mind Workbook
It is out of your own life experiences that all seven glands of the endocrine system have documented and filed your habits, attitudes, perceptions, traumas, challenges, feelings, thoughts, memories, and unresolved issues or situations to help you become aware of what’s getting in the way of your health and progress. Pain is a built-in warning mechanism, a wake-up call, telling us something in our lives need to change. It is our responsibility to learn what our bodies are trying to teach us so we can avoid illness and continue evolving.
We all hide repressed fears deep down inside—some of these are unconscious currents that flow from past lives. We all know that when energy is blocked it can stir up trouble. When we repress our needs and feelings these will get lodged somewhere in the body in the form of hidden tensions and unhealthy habits. PMS can affect our entire metabolism and exhaust us. When our hormones become unstable, the body will use every tool at its disposal to re-establish balance.
“Premenstrual Syndrome (P.M.S.) – Anger, confusion, anxiety, fear, self-doubt. Holding back your ideas because you believe they will be rejected. Not being listened to. Frustrated, impatient, annoyed. Feeling trapped, unsafe, blocked, disrespected, unhappy. Holding onto past hurts from men. Feeling inferior. Denying your feminine energy. Wanting to be more masculine, to which you attribute strength and power.” THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF YOUR BODY: The Essential Guide to Health and Wellness ~ Inna Segal
As you can see PMS has many different faces. There is a large percent of women with PMS who psychologically undergo anger, confusion, depression, memory loss, fatigue, and severe changes in mood, and uncontrollable food cravings—especially sweet or starchy foods. Physically the symptoms can produce as many as hundred and fifty or more different symptoms, ranging from breast tenderness, cramping, headaches, acne, restless sleeping, swelling of abdomen, ankles and fingers, bloating and weight gain as much as fourteen pounds! Some woman have an idea of what their symptoms will be on the day they ovulate, experiencing mood and appetite changes that last a few hours but don’t actually form any premenstrual patterns for a few more days.
“All the activities of our sexual body—menstruation, intercourse, conception, pregnancy birth, and menopause—involve streamings and swellings and transformations we have little control over, even though they take place in the very core of our body. At puberty, our breasts grow and angles become curves. Blood streams from our vagina. Our moods soar and plummet, carried on strong, billowing waves of hormones. When we make love to a man, we are penetrated to the core, while a man remains more or less his compact, contained self. In pregnancy and brith, nature takes the ball entirely out of our hands. We swell like balloons. We are nauseated or ravenously hungry. In birth, we crack open like eggs, and that is just the beginning of decades spent in service to our offspring. Then menopause hits, and again, we are buffeted by the winds of hormonal changes. Jalaja Bonheim
In the next segment of this PMS series, we’re going to learn what Carol discovered from listening to her body. We’re going to look at solutions, herbs, supplements, as well as emotional, mental and physical healing. We’re also going to look at changes in appetite and especially those food cravings (one of Carol’s main problems).
Foods that are rich with unusual tastes, colors and textures are really based on pleasurable tastes (past memories) that we wish would repeat in our lives again. When a woman is feeling low, eating sweet starchy foods seems the fastest and easiest way to temporarily relieve the tensions and unpleasant feelings associated with PMS. Unfortunately when we don’t eat wisely, we lose more energy processing the food than gaining from it and thus a low-energy cycle is created.
“Stop feeding your ancient shame, stop telling yourself you are ugly, stop analyzing your physical imperfections. Your body is exactly as nature intended it to be. You genitals are perfect and beautiful. You are worthy of all the love in the world, and your story matters.” Jalaja Bonheim, APHRODITE’S DAUGHTERS
This is such a great song to finish this article, I hope you enjoy it!
Because I am a Queen by India Arie
Sometimes I shave my legs and sometimes I don’t Sometimes I comb my hair and sometimes I won’t Depend on how the wed blows I might even paint my toes It really just depends on whatever feels good in my soul I’m not the average girl from your video and I ain’t built like a supermodel But, I Learned to love myself unconditionally Because I am a queen
I’m not the average girl from your video My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes No matter what I’m wearing I will always be India Arie When I look in the mirror the only one there is me Every freckle on my face is where it’s supposed to be And I know our creator didn’t make no mistakes on me My feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes I’m lovin’ what I see
I’m not the average girl from your video and I ain’t built like a supermodel But, I Learned to love myself unconditionally Because I am a queen I’m not the average girl from your video My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes No matter what I’m wearing I will always be India Arie Am I less of a lady If I don’t wear panty hose? My Mama says a lady ain’t what she wears but what she knows,
But, I’ve drawn a conclusion, it’s all an illusion. Confusions the name of the game A misconception, a vast deception Something’s gotta change Don’t be offended this is all my opinion ain’t nothing that I’m saying law This is a true confession of a life learned lesson I was sent here to share with ya’ll
So get in where you fit in go on and shine Free your mind, nows the time Put your salt on the shelf Go head and love yourself Cuz everything’s gonna be all right I’m not the average girl from your video and I ain’t built like a supermodel But, I Learned to love myself unconditionally Because I am a queen
I’m not the average girl from your video My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes No matter what I’m wearing I will always be India Arie
Keep your fancy drinks and your expensive minks I don’t need that to have a good time Keep your expensive car and your Caviar All I need is my guitar
Keep your crystal and your pistol I’d rather have a pretty piece of crystal Don’t need your silicone, I prefer my own What God gave me is just fine I’m not the average girl from your video and I ain’t built like a supermodel But, I Learned to love myself unconditionally Because I am a queen
I’m not the average girl from your video My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes No matter what I’m wearing I will always be India Arie