இயற்கை முறைக் கல்வி

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Chumming as a doorway to spiritual renewal – III

I'm resuming this series after a gap of one year. I needed this time to sit with all the stuff myself and be ready to share further. And then, I decided to change 'spiritual awakening' in the title to 'spiritual renewal'. Though they mean the same to me, I realised that the word 'awakening' is commonly understood as 'enlightenment' (something that happens once and for all), while 'renewal' is seen as an ongoing process.

This post is in response to the comment posted on my first one. “As logical as it seems, the part about not feeling guilty or dirty or all the negative emotions associated with chumming, what are the practical implications of actually 'ideally stop doing everything at this time, sit with their emotions and work through them'? What do you do if you're working? Take 5 days off? How about household responsibilities? Could one stop taking care of one's child cos she was chumming?”


I have a three-year old daughter not going to school, and we take care of all the household work by ourselves. We do have a cook to help make things easier. All this means that our days are full as they are.

Until some time ago, I did go on with my life during chums as though nothing was really happening. Some months were more comfortable (and hence easier to ignore) than others. Even in those uncomfortable months, I'd do things that would make it comfortable for me to go on with life as usual. The more I understood what my body and spirit were going through at that time, the more I realised the need to rest; to listen to my body and honour my spirit, the feminine in me.

These days, closer to the date of my chums every month, Rajeev's online calender alerts him about the upcoming retreat. “Sweetie, my reminder came up today. Watch out!” he'd say. He works his schedule in such a way that it would be flexible and he can take off at short notice. Though he makes himself more available for me during those few days, on my most uncomfortable day he stays home and takes over completely. I get pampered with herbal tea at regular intervals. I get uninterrupted rest time, when he'd take Isha out to run errands or a fun evening outdoors.

All this means much much more to me than 'Oh! My husband just pitches in when I am unwell'. First of all, I'm learning to approach that time of the month as something sacred and to be lived with mindfully, and not something dirty and to be escaped from. I’m learning to actively ask for help. I'm learning to see ‘asking’ as an important aspect of my life-partnership: asking for my feminine to be honored, taken care of and healed. Asking from a space of love has been empowering.

My change in approach to cramps as being something uncomfortable to be done away with, to something I need to work with has been an exercise in mindfulness. I use it to bring my attention back to my body and its beautiful workings and connect with it. These days, I have some soothing herbal tea (brought to my bed) and I sleep it off. When I wake up, I not only feel physically rested but also spiritually renewed. When Isha demands my time, it is healing to watch Rajeev explain to her why 'Amma needs her time and space today. She needs to rest. Today, it's appa-Isha time together.'

In today's world, which is being run by a predominantly masculine value system, which has left the feminine assaulted and dishonoured, there is an urgent need for healing all our male-female relationships. There is an urgent need for the woman to stop feeling that she will be valued only if and when she acts like a man. There is an urgent need for the man to stop valuing the woman only when she brings in money, is famous or runs a successful organisation. What a better place and time to start the healing than when the woman most needs her space, rest and support; when her feminine self is in its most sensitive form of expression but sadly, when she hates that in her the most?

A collective community might be able to give us women more time and space than just one day in a month. But what’s stopping us from getting started with this 'one day' first?

Again, it is not so much about how much and what the husband, brother or friend does for you. It is a lot about the spirit in which it is done. If the man can say ‘I'm not doing this to help and heal you alone my dear sister / wife / friend / mother, I'm doing this to heal us both' he’d be healing life on earth in ways more significant than he can imagine!


My PMS and how I've been working on renewing my spirit is another story I'll post soon.


PD said...

Wow! Such a different perspective! Thanks for sharing it with all of us! I too went through similar emotions in the beginning....but have understood things better with time and yes, I do listen to my body more....I however find that exercise helps me feel better and do that more religiously at those times...and yes, I do ask for help and yes, there is more understanding and love now from my better half too! I have found myself to go deep inside of myself before those days and sometimes cry a lot or feel sad a lot.....and being with those and giving a way for those emotions to be expressed have made me feel better after......very insightful post!:)

Sangeetha Sriram said...

Thanks Priya. Good to know that you've been on a similar journey. My work with my emotions has been very similar to what you've written. Will write about it in my next post. :)

Anonymous said...

Always nice to chat about this and our various approaches to this time. Hats off for posting and I hope more people talk openly about this on and off line.

Sangeetha, I see the wisdom of your approach, and yet I seem to have done the opposite - nutritious foods (esp B-complex and iron), exercise, acupressure, anything to make the pain go away. At last when I discovered the cup, the transformation was complete and my period felt just like any other day. The only indulgence I enjoy during my period is all the extra eating I do on day 1, when I get hungry frequently.

Pondering what you wrote about asking for help... why is that so hard?

Sangeetha Sriram said...

Aravinda, I am inspired to learn more about taking the right kinds of food and doing the right things (that you have listed) that will help my body. And quite the opposite, I feel nauseous throughout my periods, so I eat much less than usual.

About asking for help. I've almost always asked for help only from a space of fear. This manifests as either 'demanding aggressively' or 'playing the victim' (They call it 'Tyranny of the Weak') To ask from a space of love is quite different and new for me! When I ask from a space of love, it feels empowering. When I ask from a space of abundance, it becomes an offering of an opportunity for the other person to be inspired, to give. Asking this way is not easy for me! I am a woman who's so used to feeling like a victim!

Anonymous said...

There is also some dialogue playing in my mind - like if I have to ask, then ...

This doesn't apply so much to requests for help in non-personal settings - like I freely ask people to help me set up a table for khadi products or help get the word out about our campaign to support real food and get false / illegal advertising for edible food like substances off the air, etc.
Please see http://aidindia.org/main/content/view/1534/340/

And I will think of it as an opportunity for more people to get involved, inspired.

Anonymous said...

Please share the good news with your readers that the menstrual cup is now sold in India under the name of shecup. Read all about it

Muthu Nagarajan said...

Recently have been researching on Natural raw food habits and found this interesting perspective. Have a look at this http://debbietookrawforlife.blogspot.in/2009/04/periods-they-may-be-normal-but-are-they.html and also here http://www.lovingitraw.com/debbie-took.html . BTW she is 50+ and looks to be in her 30s!!

Uma said...

Hi Sangeetha, I found this series very interesting. I too, grew up hating my period. Last year, I thought I was done with it when I stopped bleeding after May. But it came again in November, stopped again, and came back with a bang in May this year - a massive bleed! I opted for naturopathy and was on a pomegranate-only diet for 5 days, and it did the trick. It's been regular after that, and I'm waiting for it to go away again. But each month, I go on a pomegranate diet for those days, and try and rest as much as possible. I was intrigued by 'asking for help from a place of love rather than a place of fear'. How does one do that? Can you explain?