ONE BODY SYSTEM IS PART OF AN ENTIRE BODY
I made the period-plant cheat sheet that went out in this week’s newsletter.
I thought about three things when I made it:
Periods aren’t a problem - If they’re a problem at all it’s to systems that want to control our bodies. A small act of resistance is taking care of the parts of us that people and systems want to manage (is a kind word for it). This is for real.
Our reproductive systems are part of our bodies.
Each body is unique - This should be celebrated often. Each body is amazing amazing. Take time to pay attention to it.
If we are experiencing symptoms of our period that are especially debilitating or annoying we can use the cheat sheet to help us get a grip on ourselves. Additionally, being able to mix and match symptoms (I know that mine change every month) makes me feel less like I'm doing a bad job at having my period.
But the thing about plants is, they don't work like Motrin or Advil. Lots of plants don't even act like other plants. Each plant is a whole unique system, just like our bodies. This means that while certain actions they create might be particularly helpful in certain circumstances, they are not a direct solution for a problem. They are not what we commonly refer to as a "cure." That language doesn't really exist in the plant world, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense that it persists in ours. Plants are skilled at helping us get back to a place where we can think about ourselves again. Instead of just: “uuugggghhhhh, these cramps”, or “sugar sugar sugar”. To work with a plant means to work toward balance, so that we can find a spot where we are able to think about whole health, how we might achieve it, and then we try to do the things that make whole health possible.
Since plants are whole systems and we are whole systems, meaning each system is effected by what every other system is doing, if I'm working with plants then I can also think about how I can support my entire system so that my body and the plant can do the best work together. When I’m thinking about getting back to a place where my period doesn’t feel like it’s completely consuming me, on top of taking motherwort for my anger and vulnerability or drinking ginger tea to support some kind of regularity, I also try to consider the following:
How can I eat more whole foods? I’m not even saying stop eating french fries. I’m saying what if I made broth for myself every week and I tried to sip on more of that?
Am I drinking enough water?
Have I exercised today? This could be as simple as going for a walk or riding my bike or taking 15 minutes to stretch my body quietly.
Could I pump the brakes on alcohol and caffeine? Always the answer is probably.
Sugar maybe isn’t always the thing that will make me feel better. If I'm being honest, it is never the thing. But man is that addiction strong.
Am I sleeping enough?
What kinds of things am I doing that qualify as “being nice” to myself?
Sometimes I'm in a place where I'm able to think about and act on these things, sometimes I'm not. But, I can’t go on living my life all bonkers and expect that if I put some plants together my reproductive system will cool out. Sorry. Plants aren’t designed to go straight to my cramps or my headache, they go all over my body to help support a return to balance and that is what treats the symptoms, I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. So, if the plants are thinking about my whole body, then I should be too.