Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances.
– Maya Angelou
The Greatest Story Never Told!
By Leslie Botha
Informative and relevant health care education is a fundamental right for women of all ages. Until now, women have been taught that our hormone cycle – the actual foundation of our being; the source of womankind, – is an idiosyncrasy that should be dismissed, ignored and denied. Believing in this damaging cultural myth has caused women, their children and partners great harm mentally, emotionally and physically. It is my hope that this web site and the information and the research gathered herein will provide you insight into the greatest story never told so that you will be able to claim your power as women of wisdom.
My journey has been inspiring, faced with challenges and obstacles -not unlike your own. Perhaps the difference is that I perceive life as a journey of becoming -and the only way to do that is to understand the cyclical order of the nature of life. When life is not viewed as cyclical, the same positive and negative learned behaviors are repeated over and over again -so that instead of a progression/cycle – always moving forward – life becomes repetitive, an enclosed circle -with a false perception of no way out.
The Dance of Life
Visualize a wave that crashes into the shoreline. As the wave approaches the shore it surges -rising to a peak – before it folds back into itself, releases, and then retreats back into the ocean body.
Watch the next lunar cycle. The new moon gradually fills the sky with light, becoming full then retreats back into itself, finally disappearing into the night sky.
Be conscious of the dance of your hormone cycle. Day four or five after your bleeding stops, your hormones, begin to rise, peaking with ovulation, before
they too, begin to decrease, releasing the uterine lining, causing women to retreat back into themselves to reflect; a time of great power and wisdom.
Understanding your cycle nature will assist you in understanding yourself. You will know when to move forward to create – to move mountains, make changes, and when you need to take time to reflect, to think about what was accomplished in the last cycle and what you want to accomplish in the next.
Many moons ago I read in a book on magic, “Women are known to be the
most psychic, intuitive and powerful during their paramenstrum”. (Premenstrual phase and period). So how is that we have come to become the most self-destructive during this phase? Statistics prove that during the premenstrual phase women imbibe in more alcohol and drugs, attempt suicides and have higher incidences of rape. If we try and tell a professional about what is bothering us, we are told to “take two Valium and go home, honey.”
What we do not realize is that during the premenstrual phase our hormones, decrease, our immune system drops, while our body tries to slow down to release the uterine lining. However, our lifestyles demand that we keep moving forward, maintain the same pace, no matter what. For many of us the stress that this causes mentally, emotionally and physically is damaging. And after cycle after cycle of this repetition, the damage to our system becomes greater and greater so that many of us act out of desperation and do drastic things; leave our husbands, partners, kids, jobs, or go off diets, drink too much and abuse medications.
Then the following week, when our hormones begin to rise, we look back and say what did I do that for? But for too many of us it is too late to look back and heal the damage already done.
Years ago, I taught my workshop at a local detention center. When I explained the different effects that alcohol has on the body during the pre-ovulatory phase and the premenstrual phase, five out of five women dressed in orange said to me; “Well, no wonder we always have our period in jail.” These women hung out in the local bars, thrown in jail month after month for destructive behavior
and disorderly conduct . Are they criminals? No! Have they been deprived of health education that might have made a difference in their lives and behaviors? Yes!
The implications are staggering. Think of how many women have been locked away either for a few days, or for good, because of lack of education about the changes in their hormone cycle. Could this happen to you? Yes! Are you aware that PMDD “Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder” is now classified as a mental illness? The padded cell could be closer than you think.
During my journey, I had the opportunity to develop a Health Education program for abused teen girls 13-17 yrs. old at an in-house treatment program. The course not only focused on hormonal education, birth control, STD’s but also included classes on values, self-esteem, choices and conscious decisions. Most importantly, I included a segment on women’s history. Why? Because many of these girls were angry at their mothers for not protecting them from being abused. When they understood their mother’s role and lack of choices in this society they developed a new perspective and often times vowed not to let themselves become victimized… which translates to sexual abstinence; not giving themselves away -creating a future of independence, not dependence.
Sad but true, during my tenure at the girl’s program, the joke for new girl’s entering the treatment facility from jail was, “Did you have your period in jail?” And the answer was yes, yes, and yes. These little girls were denied their right to an education that explains what is going on with their bodies – acted out, and after month after month of rages and running away – ended up in jail.
After learning how to chart their cycles, and seeing the repetition of mental, emotional and physical symptoms, they began to understand that they had control by learning ways to trust their feelings and emotions without acting out.
And if all of this still seems far-reaching, let me share with you a small article about a women’s health study reported in Glamour Magazine in 1990. Information that I believe should have been headline news. Since then, I have made contact with one of the researchers in the study and when asked why the results of this study did not make the news, she responded that the researchers could not get any media attention.
“Keeping in step with your body’s natural rhythms could add years to your life, especially if you are one of the 40,000 to 50,000 pre-menopausal women who will face breast cancer surgery this year. According to a recent Lancet study report on a twelve year study of forty-one women with breast cancer, those whose surgery is performed near the times of ovulation are four to five times less likely to suffer relapse and death than those who are operated on during or nearer their menstrual period.”
Why the dramatic difference? Researcher William J.M. Hrushesky, M.D., senior oncologist at the Albany VA Medical Center in Albany, N.Y., speculates that a woman’s immune defenses are likely to vary with her menstrual cycle and may become most potent with ovulation. So her ability to fight disease may be significantly higher that point of her cycle.”
McCall’s Magazine reported on the same study in a 1993 issue.
“While most women hardly need to be told that their hormone cycle affects their body; few of us suspected it could make the difference between life and death. But research with breast-cancer patients is starting to suggest that scheduling a patient’s surgery according to her cycle may increase her chances of being cured. And that’s just the most prominent example to emerge from a small but growing exploration of the relationship between women’s monthly hormonal changes and common illnesses, ranging from migraines to irritable bowel syndrome.”
It is time to start talking about this great mysterious; yet powerful story that has never been told!