Last year about this time I was making hermitage in the Sangre de Christo Mountains in New Mexico.
Last week I found myself in the Cottonwood Mountains of Utah.
Autumn was in full color there with the various trees turning from green to yellow, orange, and red. It truly was marvelous to behold such beauty each morning in those quiet hills. At the peaks, winter had already set in.
During retreat like this, most of my time is spent in centering prayer. Everything slows down and even though I usually bring several books to read, I usually read very little.
This time it was no different. Rest for body, mind, and soul was primary.
It was no different except for one thing.
The first four days my body was in need of tremendous rest. In September I was diagnosed with a serious but not life-threatening condition. The health issue effects my ovaries and uterus and entire pelvic region. The symptoms can be severely painful, like a 15 on a scale of 1-10. Managing pain like that effects the entire body, mind, and soul. And so I’m working with a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor to heal my body. It’s clear that my body is out of balance. And I’m learning that herbs derived from plants have a gentle and effective way of restoring balance and supporting the body to heal itself.
As I felt led to write this blog post, I hesitated. “People don’t want to hear about my female health problem,” I thought.
In Western culture a woman’s monthly cycle is usually disregarded or even despised. The bleeding that takes place each month is often experienced as shameful, and is shamed by others. I can remember in Jr. High hearing comments like, “She’s on the rag!,” communicated in a way that suggested people stay away from that particular girl, she’s dirty, unclean, and in some cases emotional. It was spoken with disrespect and disgust. We girls internalize such things.
It was best to hide it when the monthly bleeding took place. And so I, like so many other women, learned to hide this most remarkable quality of being woman.
Many traditional cultures have a very different approach to the woman’s cycle. Cultures that are connected to the natural world learned early on that a woman’s cycle coincided with the lunar cycle. We women, wax and wane, just like the moon. And so, it is customary in those cultures to respect a woman when she is “in her moon.” The time of bleeding is sacred, indicating the power within the woman to create and give life.
The woman is a reflection of the earth in her capacity to create, just as a seed planted in the earth takes root and bears fruit. And her cycle is designed to synchronize with the moon cycle! Incredible!
The term “Mother Earth,” is so much easier to understand when we realize just how much the Woman and Earth resemble one another. There’s great wisdom here. Are you listening?
When the Western woman’s psyche is healed from the way she has been shamed and repressed, she can release untold healing for our world. Because Woman is so naturally connected to Earth, when she restores her dignity along with that earth-connection, she will find unlimited creative ways in which to cooperate with the natural world.
The repression of women has caused such imbalance in our relationships, society, and the earth. Climate change is one symptom of that.
It is high time we restore harmony to our world; for the sake of all creatures who live and suffer here.
That restoration begins with you and me. It’s about restoring balance; cooperating with the created world so it can heal itself, so we can heal ourselves.
And if you’re a man and still reading this post, thank you! You have a part to plan in all this! The way you choose to revere or despise women has tremendous impact, for you also hold great power within you. So, contemplate your role in helping to restore balance between the sexes. Our future as a planet depends on it.
And so here I am, on retreat, nursing and nourishing my wounded womb. Not exactly what I had planned, and yet, exactly what was needed.
I remember last year in Bear Hermitage, experiencing being in the womb of God. Such an enlightening awareness that rooted me in deeper knowledge that nothing can separate me from God. God’s got me.
And this year, in this Cottonwood Mountain hermitage, as I cried out in pain and discouragement, I realized…to my utter amazement, that God is in my womb.
Both are true at the same time.
For you see, as we rest more deeply in God, God can rest more deeply in us. And as our consciousness stabilizes in this union, we can cooperate with God in the healing of our world.
Unitive consciousness is for men and women alike. How we express that oneness is unique to each of us.
Remember when You hemmed me in
And we were alone
You and I
You helped me make my home in You
In your womb
There in the “Blood of Christ” Mountains
And your blood began to circulate
And discovered it could not freely flow
You whispered every so gently,
“What is hindering must go.”