The Whole Shebang

Ep. 19 - Honoring the Flow; Embracing the Superpowers of a Woman's Menstrual Cycle and Her Four Inner Seasons with Elizabeth Tidwell

January 24, 2024 Jen Briggs Season 1 Episode 19
The Whole Shebang
Ep. 19 - Honoring the Flow; Embracing the Superpowers of a Woman's Menstrual Cycle and Her Four Inner Seasons with Elizabeth Tidwell
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Today we learn how to unlock and harness the superpowers of the menstrual cycle. And may I say,  men - if you want to understand the women in your world more clearly and empower them, this is for you. Women - if you want to embrace vs. disown parts of yourself that hold power, this is for you. Basically, and as unbiased as I can be, this conversation is for everyone.

Our guest, Elizabeth Tidwell breaks it down for us with The Four Seasons Framework of the menstrual cycle, and it's a game-changer for how we interact with one another —from family to the workplace.

In our conversation, we explore the nuances and power of each menstrual phase, from the energetic 'inner summer' (aka Beyonce season) to the introspective 'inner autumn' where clarity and discernment are in full force. We investigate why it's vital to balance commitments with self-care, we contemplate the potential of aligning work practices with menstrual awareness, which enrich creativity and productivity. And gain and understanding of how empathy and information help raise the tide for everyone.

Elizabeth Tidwell is a holistic menstrual cycle coach who helps women and menstruators learn vital body literacy and facilitates a deeper relationship between menstruators and their cycles, bodies, and whole selves. She prioritizes nervous system regulation and personal agency, empowering her clients in a trauma-informed environment. She’s also a mom and the founder of My Club Red, a hormone-friendly period self-care subscription box designed to transform menstruators' periods into a time of self-nurture, radical rest, and self-connecting ritual.

Let's dive in and learn together!

Connect with Elizabeth
https://myclubred.com

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https://myclubred.com/pages/menstruality-magazine

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Speaker 1:

Elizabeth Tedwell, welcome to the whole shebang. It's been a minute for us to get here, hasn't it?

Speaker 2:

I've been trying for a while.

Speaker 1:

This, to me, is a really important conversation it's been I don't know how long ago it was that I ran into somebody that was talking about just hormonal cycles and how that impacts our work and every. It seems like such a basic thing, and I actually was having a conversation with several of my girlfriends the other day and we were like I can't remember. Oh, one of them was like I'm not sure if I'm ovulated, when do I? And we're like 40 years old and still I'm like these are our bodies and there's a lot that we still don't know. So I'm really excited to have you on today and have you kind of educate us on some of the basics, and I also do hope I'm just going to say I know that there have been more men listening to this podcast than I anticipated and I believe it is just as important for men in our world to understand what's happening in us.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely Because.

Speaker 2:

I mean whether you experience these particular hormonal fluctuations. One, it's important to know what's going on in the world of everyone around you. So everybody has menstruators in their life. They either have daughters or sisters or moms or wives or partners, or you know what I mean like it influences or coworkers right, like it's everywhere. Our menstrual cycles show up every single day and whether you are like kind of on the recipient end or the one like in the driver's seat, this is happening to me. It still absolutely is relevant context Context. So I love that you brought that up from the get go that, if you're a guy and this isn't happening in your body, it's still going to be really, really insightful for you to learn, and especially to us, obviously, if you do experience these natural female hormonal cycles, it's going to be. So many of us weren't ever taught this right, so we weren't taught this about our own bodies and we certainly weren't taught about the hormonal patterns and how they influence other people's bodies, and that is so important.

Speaker 1:

Oh, okay, I'm ready, let's jump in. So can you just start with some of the basics? We have sort of four phases right of our hormonal hormonal cycle. Can you help us understand what those are?

Speaker 2:

Yes, okay, so I'm going to share a archetype like a pattern. It's called the Four Seasons Framework and it's coined by my mentors at Red School, alexandra Pope and Shawnee Hugo Werlitzer. I studied with them in Red School and I love sharing this framework because it makes understanding the ebbs and flows of your hormonal pattern, which can seem really, you know, lots of information, and complex because it is, but the Four Seasons Framework makes it so intuitive and very simple. So the first thing, day one of your cycle, is when your period starts, and that is the beginning of inner winter. So this, if we think about what's going on in winter everything's slowing down, the trees are bare, everything's hibernating, it's winter rest time. So when you are on your period, that is when your hormones are lowest, and so we're in a rest phase.

Speaker 2:

This is recovery, this is energy's low, this is very inward focus, some of the really powerful superpowers of this phase in the cycle, because I mean, obviously every single phase is going to have some challenges and some superpowers.

Speaker 2:

So the challenges here are you know, we're tired, we don't feel good A lot of the time, we're not feeling as like outward, we're not feeling as social, we don't. We kind of want to just curl up and rest, right. But if we do give that to ourselves and we kind of clear our plates and we can lean into the need of that time, which is rest, then the superpower comes in, which is a highly intuitive big picture visioning time. It's really a sensitive tender, like you kind of like tap into the power of like I don't know, it's very. This is when I get like big picture visions. This is when I feel very dreamy. This is when I feel very intuitive. I know that what comes through in my ideas at this time are going to be just spot on and really nourishing to myself and everyone around me. So it's like very great capacity for vision and intuition.

Speaker 1:

It feels like so much power to me. It feels very like yeah, powerful.

Speaker 2:

It is. It's so powerful and it's so like it's juicy, it's so nourishing, yeah, yeah, I think that's like a power that I think a lot of us wish that we could feel. More like we, I don't know. It feels so good to be tapped into your intuition, to be tapped into feeling like you're getting really great insights and just like you're feeling tuned in right, and then so to know that we have that capacity heightened every single month is really just so lovely.

Speaker 1:

I love it, it is, and I think it's just to. I don't want to speak on behalf of all women, but I think a lot of the women in my world what we've had to do or what we've chosen to do at every phase of our cycle, a lot of the times, is to push through it and to muscle through it, and so I feel like it's so common. I was just talking with again some women the other day that were like oh my gosh, I got my period and I haven't had a period like that in two years where I literally was like I need to go to the hospital, like what is wrong? And and instead I've got a meeting. Today I've got to pick up my kid from school, I've got. You know, there's just this push through where not not only are we not honoring, like what our body is telling us we need, but we're missing out on the powerful opportunity of what's there for us in those days that we're highly intuitive, like you said.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes, and again, I love that you're highlighting that culturally this isn't easy. Like we have been socialized to power through it. We've been socialized to not take time for ourselves. We've been socialized to kind of downplay our body's needs. We've been socialized that period pain is normal and you just get through it right. That's just how it is.

Speaker 2:

But it does not have to be that way. If you, yeah, honor the needs of menstruation or this inner winter phase, which all of nature must do right, all of nature has to rest if it wants to survive the winter right and if it wants to be able to go the rest of the seasons. So if we honor that nature in ourselves, we open ourselves up to receive not only this intuition but also the rest of your cycle is going to be better nourished, you're going to have more energy the rest of your cycle If you can actually give yourself really good rest. You're going to have less pain on your menstruation if you give yourself rest, because a lot of the time that pain is a signal to us that our body has a need that we're not listening to right, and a lot of the time it's in alignment with what those needs of the specific season is so pain at menstruation often is really relieved with consistent menstrual rest, really deep rest, giving yourself the permission and this attitude toward welcome rest.

Speaker 1:

I want to. There's so many thoughts I have right now and I want to. I don't want to derail us from the three other seasons, so maybe we can go through those and then I'm going to make note and maybe we can unpack some of this a little bit further when we come back around.

Speaker 2:

Yes, okay, great. So after menstruation, that's inner winter. You move into. So once your period ends, you have a little bit of a transition day and then you move into your inner spring. So this is when estrogen is rising and estrogen is a really great hormone for helping us feel more outward focused. This half of the cycle is when you're more social, you're gearing up for more productivity, you have more energy, you have all that stuff is rising with estrogen. And again, if we think about what's going on in your inner spring outside, this is when flower buds are popping up. This is when new life is starting. This is when everything has this rising energy and so we feel that too in our bodies because estrogen is rising.

Speaker 2:

So this is a great time to plant seeds of new ideas, start initiating projects, start the beginning steps of putting your vision that you were dreaming about administration into action, start seeing, start playing. This is a really playful, innocent time. Creativity is rising. So just kind of lean into that superpower that now it's like, okay, I'm ready to start moving forward.

Speaker 2:

The challenge here is it can be different person to person, but the kind of archetypal challenge is that often we rush out of menstruation, especially again culturally, we think, okay, I gave myself a day of rest, two days of rest, three days of rest. Now I've got a makeup for it. And so then if we do that again, it's just setting up the rest of the cycle to be burnt out so fast because it's spring, is not summer, right, spring is distinct, it's just starting. It needs a long time, like think about a garden it needs that whole spring to grow until we can harvest the, you know, the Vegetables from our vegetable garden. We have to have this long gestation period instead of coming out of menstruation and immediately feeling that we should be High productivity, high everything, expecting that of ourselves.

Speaker 1:

Everything you're saying is so like yes, I see that in myself, I see that in the women in my world that we, like you said, rush out of it like, okay, now I've got to make up for it. Now I feel guilty that I've taken time to rest. Now I have to overcompensate. And again, we're not pun intended, going with the flow.

Speaker 2:

All-nature lives. Yes, yes, all this we are not exempt, right, and I think this is why we see so much burnout, because we're living in Disalignment with what like is naturally happening for all of us. Yes, so hard, but again, like, culturally. This is why Just because we expect that we should be on all the time, okay, so after your inner spring, estrogen's been rising and then you come into your ovulation, which is inner summer, which is peak estrogen. So in Maisie Hills book period power, she calls estrogen the Beyonce hormone.

Speaker 2:

You are here and you've got all the confidence you've got, all the Like, appeal and allure. You're very outward-focused. I'm also like. I'm so generous in this phase. I'm generous with my time. I'm generous with my Like. You have so much energy. It's easy to give right I. This is the time in my cycle where I get everything done on my to-do list and it doesn't feel hard. This is when I feel like I can like you're just on right yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you're. This is peak fertility. So if we're thinking about Thinking about it in that terms, like Physically, you feel and look better, literally, your skin and hair are like glowing and healthy, and it's just like you are the most queenly awesome, powerful version of yourself. Yes, it's awesome and it really is, like it's so powerful, so potent. And again, thinking about what's going on in summer. This is peak of summer is when we're all going on vacations, we're all getting together with tons of people, our days are long, so we're filling it up, filling up our time with lots of really fun activities. And Again, thinking about what's going on in nature. The trees are full of fruit and leaves and they're generously Producing and it's not hard for them, right? This is when they're supposed to do that. So that's what our capacity is at this high summer ovulation time kind of the Cautions that I like to add here is a couple things.

Speaker 2:

One, culturally, again, we're going to exploit that. Don't exploit yourself, don't feel like you should give away all your energy to everyone else, or to work or to anything like. Reserve some of this energy solely for pleasure, and that will again fuel so much of the rest of your cycle. It will fuel so much of how connected you feel to yourself and how Like your relationship where yourself with yourself will be so much better.

Speaker 2:

If you realize, I deserve Absolutely to capitalize on this just for myself, because, again, in our culture we want to exploit women's labor and like we expect women to be in Superwoman week, beyonce week, all month long, but we're not. And so when it does come around, we have the tendency to be like I will say yes to everyone and everything, and then by the time you're in your Inner autumn and inner winter, you're like what have I done? So don't let your inner summer woman be in charge of your calendar, because she will say yes to everything and you will not have the Energy, you will not be the same capacity next week, right? So just keep that in mind.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, well, in this, awareness is super important. It seems basic, but just to have this conversation and then therefore be more aware of oh, this is when I want to say yes, and this is when I have a tendency to over commit or whatever it might be, is, yeah, really important in this.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes and like getting to know what your own Personalized like superpowers and challenges are. How it how these apply to you personally is really the magic of menstrual cycle Awareness but, this is just like the framework that most of us are going to have, sure guidelines.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so after your inner summer, estrogen is totally at its peak. Then you move out of that ovulation phase and into inner autumn, which is your luteal phase, which is characterized by estrogen has lowered and Progesterone is the star of the show in the second half of your cycle. So progesterone is a hormone that is like the nesting hormone. This is the hormone that helps prepare your body and your uterus for if you do Get pregnant that cycle. So what it's doing is keeping us safe and keeping that potential for a new life that you would need to grow safe. So, instead of being all outward focused and risk and social and like attracting and magnetizing it's now the second half of the cycle is okay, let me slow down, let me focus on me, let me go a little slower, let me be a little more discerning, because I'm going to need to your body is like thinking in these really awesome, intelligent terms of like, if I do, you know, get pregnant Again, whether we personally, as humans, are wanting to that or not. This is what our body is, is doing every single cycle. So it is just preparing for that chance that we would then need to, you know, manage our energy differently, manage our time differently, manage our tasks differently. So, yes, we withdraw a little bit, we Slow down. If you think about what's going on in Seasonal autumn, this is when it's like okay, we're shifting to a lower gear, the nights are starting to get darker earlier and we don't want to be doing the same types of things that we were doing in high summer. Right, we're tired, we've we've used all that energy now and now it's kind of okay, I'm getting ready to recover, I'm getting ready to release. So this is when trees are dropping their leaves, they've spent all their fruit, it's now time to get down to basics so that you can prepare for winter. So this phase is often like the most undervalued and totally overlooked phases, because we know that we like the feel of estrogen, but a lot of people don't realize that, like just again, culturally, the experience for other people of Progesterone superpowers is it's a little sharper, it's a little less like, it's a lot less generous, it's way more discerning. But those are superpowers like. This is the phase in your cycle where you are less afraid to Be worried about how other people are receiving you and you're just gonna cut right to the point. I call this the no bullshit phase. It's just like I'm just gonna say the thing and we can deal with Ramifications a little bit later. Right in ovulation You're way more like worried about how people like it's just easier to Just sooth things over socially in the luteal phase it's like I don't, I don't have time for that, I have to. I'm very discerning.

Speaker 2:

The clarity in your Luteal phase is intense and so powerful, incredibly insightful. This is when you really feel like you know if your actions or desires are in alignment or not, like that is so heightened. Right, then that clarity of this is the direction we need to go or this is totally not the direction I need to go. I do. I'm gonna share a little story here, because it can be a little bit a lot. It can be a lot, and the superpower of your luteal phase is not necessarily to know the answers, it's just to point to problems. So an example is About a year ago, every luteal phase for like I don't know, three luteal phases in a row I would get to this point and I was like, oh, my gosh, oh, how great would it be if I got a divorce and split custody Because I wanted more time to myself. That's it.

Speaker 2:

The answer was not get a divorce and split custody. It's not good at showing answers, it's just good at pointing to problems. So the problem was I needed more time and space to myself. I have a million different ways that I can serve that need.

Speaker 2:

So that is the tricky part of your luteal phase is don't necessarily listen to the solutions coming there. That's just like the fastest, most kind of. A lot of times it's like really extreme. But what is the deep, deep need underneath? That is the supercar, that's the clarity that's coming up for you in your luteal is what is it showing me in this fall phase that I have to let go of so I can survive the rest of this cycle? Well, that in that example was I need more time to myself to nourish myself. The tree has to drop the leaves. If it doesn't, by the time the snow comes, the leaves gather the snow. They're too heavy, the tree breaks. So in my example, I needed more time to nourish myself and space to do that. Otherwise I wasn't going to like eventually I would snap. So again, not the solution, definitely pointing to problems.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so this is the phase, then, typically, where we're like I have PMS and I'm irritable, yes, and I don't want to take anything from anyone.

Speaker 2:

I highly sensitive to criticism. We just want to do our thing and everybody get out of our way. It would be hard for other people and also like experience that in yourself. Like you know, we know that we have more capacity than that, but at that phase a lot of time. The best way to like quote unquote deal with this is know ahead of time, plan around that, build yourself these buffers of space and time and, whatever those needs are for you personally, support your body and communicate with the people around you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's a. I'm really glad you said that. So I've got three daughters, so we have a lot of this happening in our household and, you know, as they started to enter the phases of going through purity and into menstruation, I remember them running into a luteal phase and them not wanting to acknowledge that that's what was happening, just because I think that's part of it is like no, I don't have PMS, I'm fine, you know, just like no, like no, don't tell me it's that. And me just saying hey, first of all, like it's not a bad thing and it's empowering to be able to recognize I, this is what's happening in me right now. And so, hey, mom, I'm feeling a little touchy right now.

Speaker 1:

I hear what you're saying. I'm going to go to my room and take a minute and I think it's so important. I I don't know that it's appropriate to do this in a workplace, and I do want to come back to talking about how to function in the workplace with this. It's so interesting to me because, because all of this is so real, and until you feel what it feels like to be really irritated for no, for no, seemingly no reason, it's like there's something underneath, right, yeah, and you're like, I don't like how this feels either, but I really love how you're pointing out that the superpower there is, that it's pointing out things that we maybe wouldn't notice in our Beyonce phase.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and again, culturally. I love that you brought up this point of like how we don't want to acknowledge oh, I'm, you know, pmsing. Here's the thing. Yes, our hormones do impact us. That doesn't mean we can dismiss what's happening, right. That doesn't mean we can dismiss the importance of what we're going through and the superpowers right, because when we dismiss the impact that they're having on us, we also dismissed the capacity for superpowers, right?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

We're not willing to listen to the clarity that's coming through in that luteal phase. We're also going to be obviously way more prone to dismiss somebody experiencing PMS as irrelevant or just like totally push them aside and be like well, you just go take your time out because we don't want to deal with you.

Speaker 2:

But it's like you are missing all of this deep capacity for clarity, for, like, the heart of the issue, for discernment, for voicing problems that maybe other people have missed, like that is so important. But if we just keep saying, oh, it's just your hormones, that means it doesn't matter, that's the wrong message of knowing how your hormones impact you. It is, that's your hormones. So what can we learn here from your unique position in your menstrual cycle? Because you're showing up differently today and that has meaning, right? That is the context that we want to work from every day.

Speaker 1:

Gosh, it's so powerful it just to be able to go. Yeah, I don't. I mean, I feel like I'm repeating myself a little bit here, but I think the way that you're saying it is a way I haven't heard it before. So to understand that there is the power of clarity and that it's a time when things surface, so, and again, just taught to dismiss it and go, oh well, I'm just irritable right now, so this will go away in a week, but to go, okay, this is magnifying anything that maybe I need to look at. So let's go. If we go back to your example, or use an example where something surfaces during the luteal phase and you're like I'm irritated by this or this is really, I'm really feeling sensitive to this thing, how do we? How do we? What do we do next with that? Do we wait until we're in our intuitive phase to start really processing that? And, as we're having our period or what, what do we do with that stuff?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I love this because sometimes it's like, okay, so do I have to align my life so perfectly so I could only tap into intuition at menstruation? I can only tap into clarity in premenstrual Short answer. No, right, we always have the capacity for all the things, it's just that they're amplified and other things are lessened. It's just like the levels right, you can always tap into your intuition. So, going back to my example, okay, my luteal phase. I'm so irritated I want all the time alone, and it's communicating that to me. My body's communicating that to me through being annoyed that my adorable four-year-old daughter, who I love to know and has needs too, that I need to like serve right, or that my husband has plans that kind of like are at odds with the things that I wanted to do, or whatever you know, like just little things that any other time in my cycle would be normal. This is life, but at that point very magnified.

Speaker 2:

So again, you don't have to wait, I think, since menstruation is just around the corner, a good, maybe, approach is take a step back right, remove yourself from the triggers, whatever those triggers are. So like for me in that instance, it's grab a babysitter for the next couple hours and I can give myself some space to like sit with, not make any changes yet, just sit with what's coming up for me and maybe take the opportunity to like journal or reflect on, like okay, what do I think? Why is this bothering me? So just like examine our experience and sit with. Our experience is so powerful and it's like you already know, like your body's having this response because it knows what it needs.

Speaker 2:

So don't feel like you have to wait for menstruation, but know that that's coming soon and it can maybe add another layer of insight or another, a better solution or more you know, intuitive depth, that kind of thing. But right now, the best thing you can do in the luteal phase is take a step back. Like go for a walk If you're at work and you're like fighting with a coworker. Just like go take a 10-minute walk If you're it's at home. Grab a babysitter or put on a show and take some time to yourself. I think that is what is most often the like. Best approach in snap moments is just like remove the thing that's prompting a very strong response, even for 10 minutes, right.

Speaker 2:

And that can just I mean, it's not like it's going to go away in 10 minutes, but that time can just let you acknowledge, because that's what the luteal phase is doing we haven't acknowledged this, it's not being solved. So take just that time in that phase, acknowledge it, sit with it and say you know what? I'm not sure right now what the solution is. I'm going to sit with this longer, but I see that you are calling my attention to this need and I'm committed to figuring it out. And again you can communicate with people around you that like hey, listen, I'm just not showing up with as much capacity for this as I would on another day. So can we return to this conversation or situation or whatever?

Speaker 1:

That's great. I like how you. I mean, I think, if you don't mind moving into kind of the how do we, how does this impact the people? I mean in more than one ways. Everything we do impacts the people around us and vice versa, right, but I'm thinking about the relational aspect of it and whether it's a partnership or it's a friendship.

Speaker 1:

I think sometimes, if people are keyed in on cycles male or female that they they may feel like well, this is where I walk on eggshells, this is where I am like okay, we get to have sex for a week, or this is, yeah, no-transcript. I really appreciate how you're highlighting the superpower, because I feel like for the for, for us, when we're having I don't want to even call it empathy, but just awareness to the people in our world to be able to show up and go hey, this is your week where you've got so much intuition, babe, like lean into that and just highlighting that. Um, so I don't know if you want to speak to kind of the relational side of it, but I know you're not a relationship therapist for a say, but as someone who's really diving into all of this, what would you say on that side for somebody on the other side of a relationship.

Speaker 2:

I love this question and because it is so relevant. But we're not taught this right and it's not intuitive because culturally we think it's all irrelevant, right, um? But it starts first with, um, knowing where you're at in your cycle, right, like, the very foundation of this is you've got to be tracking your cycle. It's a really quick few minutes a day of like checking in, knowing your cycle day and like logging what you experience, and then you could start to see your own natural rhythm, your own patterns, how these days show up for you, um, and then you'll know, right, and you can, if you're like already in a partnership, you can just be open about that and be like, hey, listen, I've I've heard about this, um, menstrual cycle awareness and I'm really intrigued, and so I'm going to start paying attention to my cycle and I'm going to share with you what I'm finding, because this is really impacting how I show up in our relationship. Right, this is really impacting when my libido is high. This is really impacting when I'm feeling prickly and I want more space. But that doesn't change the underlying foundation of our relationship. It's just how I'm showing up in our relationship that day.

Speaker 2:

So, right, like I think a lot of it.

Speaker 2:

I mean it's culturally.

Speaker 2:

It can kind of sound like scary when we're like, hey, I'm a different person every day and it's like I mean, underneath it all, we are still ourselves and we still have all that we have to offer.

Speaker 2:

It's just some things are heightened and some things are lowered at different times of the cycle. So this conversation, I think is the most important part, is hey, let's explore together, obviously also like partners are great mirrors of things that we don't realize about ourselves. So you can be like, hey, I'm looking at it for myself and what I experience internally. It would be really cool if and you can like set parameters around how and when it's shared, like if that's feeling threatening or whatever, like sometimes we don't want to be told things about ourselves, but if, as long as you're coming to this, as we are both learning about the patterns at play in our relationship, and you can obviously also take into consideration their hormonal pattern, right. So I mean the male hormonal pattern is different than the female hormonal pattern. That is why we are having this conversation, right, the whole world right now is built around the male hormonal pattern.

Speaker 1:

Let's talk about that. Yeah, can you unpack that a little bit? What is the male hormonal pattern?

Speaker 2:

So it is 24 hours. It's a 24 hour rather than the 28 day cycle, right? So their hormones are way more consistent. They can show up the same way every day, like our culture right now values productivity and consistency, and those are such male hormonal pattern abilities on the terms that our society wants Like they want. A nine to five is built on the male hormonal pattern of when their test osterone is rising. At five, they usually feel like the male hormonal pattern is more social at five pm in general, right, but that's not necessarily when the female hormonal pattern is social. It's a time of the month, not a time of day, right? So the work week is the expectation that you can just come in, clock in from nine to five and be done, do the same thing on the same time tomorrow, is a male hormonal pattern thing, because they have way less. They don't have any long term fluctuations. It's a 24 hour reset Is their 24 hour cycle.

Speaker 1:

Does it include the four seasons, like ours, or do they just because they have more testosterone and different? Do you know what the fluctuations are in their 24 hour cycle?

Speaker 2:

I'm way less familiar, way less intimately familiar with the male than the female, as I would expect. And also testosterone. I mean women have testosterone as well, but also like testosterone, it varies based on what you do in the day and what, like, your body responds and produces more testosterone based on certain things that elicit.

Speaker 1:

Activities Testosterone building Right.

Speaker 2:

But, yes, the basic of it's 24 hours, it's consistent, and you, you wake up with high drive, you wake up with high energy and then you get these peaks and valleys right. It's way more based on the circadian 24 rhythm than the infradient longer than 24 hour. Internal clock of the of the female cycle.

Speaker 1:

So I'm just going to be super unfiltered right now, If that's okay. Like as you're speaking, I'm feeling emotion coming up around this.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, talk to me about that and I don't even want to, I don't, I don't.

Speaker 1:

There's no one, there's no one person to like be upset at or resent or maybe be jealous of Like. There's a lot, there's a lot of feelings around that Like, and I'm in a position of leadership and I'm coaching people towards how to build habits and how to be consistent, and so I am not anti those things.

Speaker 2:

I have a lot of. I have a lot of habits.

Speaker 1:

I have a lot of that, but maybe what's coming up for me is that I don't know if there is an understanding, awareness or empathy towards what it feels like to not to not to literally not be that consistent biologically and to constantly have to be fighting against what is biologically happening in a very normal way, Like if I don't know what the equivalent would be for a male if I was like well, I know this is your circadian rhythm, but I want you to start your workday at 4pm, Right, Right and fucking crush Go crush.

Speaker 2:

Do it every single day. Do it every day, because this is what we expect, this is what's built in and it's not built for you. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Or if it was like well, the first, you know, the second week of our month at our workplace is Beyonce week, so get all your work done that week, and next week I want you to do nothing, you know? Or just like. I mean I'm giving an extreme example because, because I just don't think there's a lot of empathy around what, how much effort and energy that takes.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely, and I think we can't have empathy and we haven't had empathy because there's no knowledge that we need empathy If women don't even know and men don't know. This isn't a men or women pitting against each other problem. This is a structure that we're expected, all of us, to just be fine with. This is the water we swim in, right? So we can't have empathy if we have no idea that it's hard. We can't have empathy if we have no idea that we're going against our biological superpowers. We have no idea that other people experience life differently. If you can't care about something that you don't know about right.

Speaker 2:

You can't change anything, you can't make accommodations, you can't have empathy without first understanding, without first knowing, without first awareness, right? So this conversation is awesome. This is the very first step. There's so many steps that we can take about. Like again, like workplace, it's like, okay, this is not a men against women thing. Just, all of us don't know that some of us have different capacities, right? Or like, yeah, like, is there a way that we can give more flex hours to people who are cycling, right? Is there a way that we can say you know what your menstrual phase? You're not going to be on right here, Like you're not going to be producing your best work. It's going to take so long to do a task in this phase that you could knock out in an hour in your spring or summer. Is this a priority this week or could we actually do it next week? A lot of the times there's more flexibility. It's just that we impose rigidity because that's the norm, right?

Speaker 1:

So well, and I wonder how it would impact if we, because our society has been historically built on production, how much can we produce? Yes, you know, I wonder how much more productive? And I think, honestly, covid gave it a chance to see some of that, because people had a lot more built in flexibility that we did see that in a lot of scenarios, productivity went up because people could work when it made sense for them to work and rest when it made sense to rest. And it's really hard to reconceptualize all of our working society right now. It's to me I'm going well, what, what could this look like? Like if I have a team of people that I'm holding production goals to? What if they just were monthly instead of daily? What if it was get this worked on this month, whenever and however, because I trust you and I'm hiring talented people.

Speaker 1:

So I'm just going to re rethink or reimagine how even how we hold people accountable is, and it's honestly and I'm saying this a little bit, I'm dipping my toes in the water and putting myself out on a limb even saying this because I'm like there's fear around that, because it it, it can feel like we have less control over ourselves, or if we're in a position where we think we are in control, quote unquote. I say that very hesitancy, hesitantly, of other people, but I heard a teacher say recently well, that is the patriarchy, and all of us, that we're all trying to unwind, women included, is this idea that we should control when creativity happens, when intuition happens, when feelings happen, trying to control that and dominate that is patriarchy.

Speaker 2:

Yep, absolutely. And exploitation, and so what it? I've seen this a little bit, because people come to menstrual cycle awareness with this whole patriarchal lens, because that's what we live in, right, we haven't ever experienced anything different. So again, we come to this, okay. And our immediate thought is okay, how do I exploit this, how do I capitalize on this? How do I make this work better than what I'm doing already? And it's like that's not really like to me, like I really am very hesitant to. I really don't want to propagate this idea that the menstrual cycle exists for us to exploit, right?

Speaker 1:

And our work in our labor, which we're already doing.

Speaker 2:

We already have that expectation.

Speaker 2:

That's not what this is. I love thinking about how the world might change, because this like since it hasn't happened yet, we're not all on this wavelength yet, we don't have this awareness yet it is all potential what we could totally create together with this awareness. I love thinking about work environments where you've got a team and you have some way of regular cycle check-ins and ways for people to be like hey, Jackie, you're in your luteal phase right now. What are we missing, Can you tell me? Or, like you, three people are in your menstrual phase.

Speaker 2:

So I don't want you to be taking on this big project. I just want you to like picture what else we could be doing or where we could go with this or different applications. Or just like think right, Use this like visioning power. Don't use your labor, Don't use your body right now to sit at a desk and try to hammer out fine details that you could be doing much better in a different phase. Let's just like you know what I mean. So, like I love thinking about, let's use the capacity that we have in the room, not only individually, but in the room, so that we can all benefit in this like replenishing way rather than exploitative way from the power of the menstrual cycle that we can all tap into and realize that that gives us so much more creativity right.

Speaker 2:

With space to create. We get so much more creativity. When we are confined and we are controlled and we are rigid, creativity has less room to flourish right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So I love this idea of like whoa, what might this look like? And I think there's so much capacity and potential for really beautifully changing how we even conceive of what work looks like, how we conceive of what working as a team looks like, how we conceive of what like instead of like. You have a defined role and you will never do anything else and you're supposed to do the same thing every single day, right? That kind of thing is like what, if we have team roles and then we bounce around who does what at what time? You know what I mean.

Speaker 2:

Like, just it's time for me to think about this kind of thing. What might this look like?

Speaker 1:

I love that, yeah, we do a lot of like. I'm big into personality inventories and like disc assessment and the six thinking hats and there's all kinds of ways that I teach. On that too, I go, if you know. I mean we all function in all of these. If you know the way the people on your team lean and they're wired to be more extroverted and decisive, then we're going to play to that strength. And, as you've been speaking we've been talking this whole time I'm like I don't know how this would work and, quite frankly, a lot of women probably wouldn't.

Speaker 2:

I don't know how many women would want to wear a button that says like I'm, having a period today, yeah, but but or you can even like just term it as like these are some of the things you might be experiencing at any point in the cycle, so you can opt in to which activities you want to focus on. You don't have to like claim it's because I'm menstrual. It's like. This is what's happening for me today.

Speaker 1:

You know, yeah, yeah, I love that. I love how you're talking about just awareness around menstrual. If everybody just has more awareness and we just start with that and knowing that when you have a colleague that shows up and you can tell she's more inward this week and maybe she's not as vocal in the meetings and she's taking, she's taking it in. She might be quiet for 45 minutes of an hour meeting and then go. You know what my intuition is saying blah, blah, blah. And, as a colleague, if you have awareness of the fact that, like, oh, that's during what's the inner winter.

Speaker 2:

Winter.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's my intuition. That's the menstrual phase, that, instead of asking, you're really quiet today. Is there anything wrong? Which is not a bad question if you're in tune with your colleagues, because maybe there is something going on, so it's not again. This is where it's like. We don't want people walking on eggshells, it's just going. Oh, this might be what's happening hormonally right now, because she's not on a 24 hour cycle.

Speaker 2:

If you approach it that way, like hey, I'm just checking in with you, that's different than walking on eggshells. That's noticing and that's checking in human to human, and then they are welcome to share cycle awareness with you or not.

Speaker 2:

according, to what they feel comfortable with and a whole other different moving parts. But yes, it doesn't have to be. I'm afraid of what's going to happen to me. It could be just like hey, I'm just checking in with you and I've noticed you were a little bit quiet. What kind of support do you need today?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, that's great, but you also had that really great insight.

Speaker 2:

So I know like I know we've got something going on. You know what I mean. Just checking in. We're just, we're humans, we're all figuring out together. We all have needs, and it is a good thing to acknowledge things that we notice and the things that other people are exhibiting as strengths and needs.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's. I was listening to a podcast yesterday and there was actually a man on. It was Rich Roll. He was interviewing and I'm going to blank on the guest name, but the guest was going through prostate cancer treatment and doing something. They're depleting him of testosterone right now for part of this treatment and he's in his fifties and he was saying I'm basically going through menopause, like I'm having night flashes or hot flashes and night sweats and going through a hormonal change. And then they started talking about midlife for all of humans, where, for men and women, all of a sudden hormones change again like they did during adolescence, but it's something that we haven't talked about.

Speaker 1:

And so, whether it's menstrual awareness and I know I'm on an aside here, but I do think it's important to note that men will go through hormonal changes too. And I'm entering a phase where I'm like am I in perimenopause already? I'm 42. And now I'm going to enter that and it's, it's really real. It would be nice if we could just be consistent for the hundred years that we're going to live, because it'd be easier to plan around in some ways, and I think a big takeaway from today for me, from you, is how juicy the superpowers are, and how would we lean into the changes instead of seeing them as a curse or, in the case of midlife, like as a crisis, that it's like this is beautiful and we're human and this is natural and this is nature. This is nature.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and also like there is so much opportunity. What am I missing? Like the reason okay. So when I first found menstrual cycle awareness, at the time I had an IUD, so I didn't have a period, I wasn't cycling, I wasn't going through these hormonal changes at all. Like that's what hormonal birth control does to you as it suppresses these natural hormonal patterns, right? So I wasn't experiencing that. And I read this book Wild Power by my mentors at Red School and my immediate thought was like, oh my goodness, what am I missing? What am I missing in my body's own wisdom that could make my life so much more rich, dynamic and spacious rather than flat right?

Speaker 2:

It felt like a huge opportunity for more connection and power. And just like it felt like, so juicy, like unexplored territory, because I had never conceived, never heard the message that my menstrual cycle itself had potent wisdom for me, just by its existence. If we could just learn how to tap into that, the huge potential for wisdom and dynamic experience of life rather than, Honestly, in some ways, yeah, it's nice to expect the same things of yourself or life every day, but also how awesome that we have the capacity for such different experiences all the time, and it's not just once. We don't get to experience things once over our whole lifetime. We get to experience things on this spiral, right.

Speaker 1:

Which is beautiful, and I love how we started with the analogy of nature. I mean, I'm in Minnesota and we definitely have very contrasting seasons, and so using that analogy is so poignant. Because I was actually it's very cold here now and I was sitting on my couch last night and I grabbed a fur blanket and I lit a fire, like I've got a wood burning fireplace, and I'm one of those people when I walk in the door I'm putting on sweatpants, like the second I walk in the door I'm wearing yoga pants. They're not soft enough, like I want the warmest, coziest things. And I literally had this thought last night of like wow, I love that we have seasons, because I wouldn't be doing this at 5.30 in the summer. I would be out on a patio somewhere having a great time, and when I'm doing that in the summer, I'm loving that. So, to your point, there's a lot to love. There's a lot of rich, a rich experience in the seasons that we get to have as administrators.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and actually I'm in Utah and we also have pretty extreme, not like Minnesota, but we've got like significant winters and I when I first moved here I had a really hard time with seasonal depression in winter, right. But actually this work that I've done on my own inner seasons and knowing the capacity for my inner winter phase, my menstrual phase, has helped me appreciate nature outside even when it's cold. Like I now have such a different relationship with outer winter too, like it is so juicy and so much more fulfilling and rejuvenating. I experience winter as more wondrous and rejuvenating than I ever have before because of my work with my menstrual cycle and my own inner seasons Is there?

Speaker 1:

any parting kind of thoughts that have been on your harder mind that you think that either you feel compelled you know sometimes when we're deep in our work we're seeing themes or there's something kind of surfacing for us that we feel compelled to share. Is there anything along those lines for you that you think needs to be heard?

Speaker 2:

I think we've touched on this a lot, but really recently, the most important thing coming up for me is that this isn't a men against women thing. None of my work is when anyone is benefiting. We are all benefiting collectively, right? So understanding each other's needs, understanding each other's capacities, benefits all of us together, right. Your relationship with coworkers will be different and better. Your relationship with spouses and significant others will be different and better right.

Speaker 2:

Regardless of which hormonal pattern you have, like that. I think that is the main thing that I've been really focusing on today. A lot of the like, I don't know. There's a huge big movement right now that is beautiful, about women's empowerment and the divine feminine and all these things and I feel like lately for me, it's been coming back to. We all have divine feminine energy and characteristics.

Speaker 2:

And we all have divine masculine energy and characteristics and they, culturally, we've all inherited wounds of the divine masculine and wounds in the divine feminine and that whenever any of us heal them, they all help. That helps.

Speaker 1:

So, so glad you said that I've been really in the upcoming weeks here I have a couple of men coming on the podcast. I've had more than I expected and I've also had more men listeners than I expected, I guess. But I just want to pause and acknowledge like throughout my life, throughout my career, I've been fortunate to have some really great colleagues and male friends that have been really empathetic and really aware and seeking to learn and very supportive, and they have. Some of them have shared with me how it is difficult to be. They're like I know that this is not even the thing to say but like it's difficult to know how to be a man right now, because we want women to feel empowered, we don't want to get in the way, we don't want to say the wrong thing, and so they've got like some confusing landscape to navigate right now, to navigate in our society too. But I definitely am on the same page with you.

Speaker 1:

I don't think this is like well, men should understand us more. That is not where I'm coming from at all. I think and I started by saying we women, there's a lot we don't understand and so we're like all in it together and, just like you said, when we're when we're all doing our individual work, but when we're all open to the natural evolution, the process that we're each in. We all rise together, we all evolve together. We're all interconnected, just like all of nature is interconnected. So I'm really glad that you pinpointed that, because that is definitely a space that I want to be in, where it is. It's not pitting genders against one another, nope, no.

Speaker 2:

I just barely finished reading this book. Called For the Love of Men, and it's about how men are in this tough spot because of patriarchy and how that harms men too. Right, so like. But we're all subject to the systems because this is just the way we have been taught and it's been ingrained in us socially to function and we have been under this illusion of more separateness than we need. Like, yes, I teach on this overlooked aspect of part of our human family, but we're all part of the same human family and when you grow compassion for yourself through this deep self-awareness, you grow the ability to have compassion for more, more for people that experience other things. Right, it doesn't have to be this you only have compassion for people who are exactly like you. No, it's your capacity for compassion and empathy in general grows and leaps and bounds right. Coming home to yourself helps you come home to the rest of the human family and really, yes, again, we all rise together.

Speaker 1:

I think that's a perfect place to land. I like that, elizabeth, in terms of your work, because we didn't touch on that at all, and if people want to get in contact with you, can you share a little bit about what your work is and how they can get in hold of you?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I am a womb guide and a holistic menstrual psychocoach. I work with clients one-on-one and my work is highly personal. I don't have like a program that everyone goes through. It's not cookie cutter, it's very much. What are the ways you would like to grow your awareness and understanding and knowledge and as well as the integration and incorporation of how this works in your own life?

Speaker 2:

So, whether that's you and your business, how can I use cycles in that? How is trauma stored in my body? A lot of it is very much deep. Let's listen to what's going on in your body and stop engaging everything from just our heads. So I do a lot of nervous system regulation, that kind of thing. So one-on-one work there.

Speaker 2:

My website is myclubredcom. I also have a whole bunch of other offerings as far as products go, as far as making your period something that you can look forward to and have a nice winter's rest. So, yes, all of that is found at myclubredcom. The last thing I want to mention that everybody should do right now the best way to harness this, all this wisdom that we've just been talking about, the whole cycle archetypes, all of that is by applying it personally to your own experience. So the how of that is daily menstrual cycle tracking. If you go to my website, myclubredcom, there's a pop-up that will offer you a free download of a menstruality magazine that I wrote that has articles on how to chart and what to chart so that you can and deep on these four seasons too, so you can kind of visually see those as well.

Speaker 2:

if you're a visual learner, so yeah, go grab that download and that will help you immediately start implementing this and see how it applies to you personally.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for being here. This is so great, this is so important. Such an important conversation. Obviously, we've got a lot of women and young women in my life that I am pointing your direction.

Speaker 2:

Yes, good.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for joining me today, Elizabeth.

Speaker 2:

Thank you so much. This was so great.

Understanding Menstrual Cycle Phases
Understanding Hormone Impact and Superpowers
Biological Differences in Relationships and Work
Exploring the Power of Menstrual Awareness
Menstrual Cycle Awareness and Gender Equality
Importance of Women's Role in Conversation