Period+s discomfort

RGyure rgyure at
Sat Sep 2 08:44:12 EST 1995

I know this is not a "scientific" response, but thought I'd offer it
anyway. For years I have been a practitioner of Native American spiritual
practice under the guidance of Dhyani Ywahoo (Etowah Cherokee lineage).
Since she is a woman, and often gives special workshops for women, many
questions are asked of her regarding traditional approaches to particular
women's issues like childbirth, menstruation, etc. I recall specifically
asking her once how she recommends dealing with the discomfort/anxiety of
PMS-- as it interfered with my meditation practice. She told me that it
might be wise to go with the feelings rather than to fight them.
Traditionally, Cherokee women retreated to a special place when they
menstruated, and were considered to be especially receptive, spiritually,
during that time. The women were not expected to do their normal work at
this time-- others did it for them. Instead, the women in the village who
were menstruating sat together in a menstrual hut, and others brought them
food, snacks, etc. They visited, did crafts, and meditated. It was
considered a valuable and important thing for them to do. Whether or not
they took special herbs or medicines to relieve physical symptome-- I
don't know, Dhyani didn't mention it. She did say that it is normal for
our moods and body state to change throughout the month, and it is best to
adjust our activities accordingly rather than to try to force ourselves to
feel "normal."  Of course, in this age, it is almost impossible to do
that-- we are all on a hectic schedule, and little allowance is made for
the fact that women CYCLE. I know that when I am not working, and have the
luxury of being able to pamper myself just before and on 1-2 heavy days of
menstruation-- I feel a lot better. I rest a lot, eat well, and do artwork
and quiet activities.

Here's my two cents. I wish that at the workplace, women were ALLOWED to
have a comfortable retreat area-- and use it as needed without feeling
guilty. I am talking about a lounge with appropriate bathroom area
(perhaps bidets as they have in Europe), place to keep supplies like
tampons, pads, etc., shower area and changing room (we all have
accidents)... I think we still all suffer from the old stigma that
menstruation is something to keep hidden and secret-- that we can all work
right thru it without blinking an eye, and that we have no special needs.
Whereas I am a strong feminist, as I get older, I am more comfortable in
accepting the fact that women and men are NOT the same in every way. 

Well-- hope this contribution is interesting to some of you. I will enjoy
comments and opinions!

Ruth Gyure

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