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Firewalking – a different perspective on women’s menstrual cycles

Do you experience a severe attack of PMS the week leading up to your period? As if your world is completely breaking down and everything seems exacerbated? Things are falling apart, people are pissing you off, and nothing seems to work the way you thought it would.

Mine is so bad that my husband has talked about developing an iphone app designed to set off red flashing lights in our house, a reminder for him to duck and cover when the earthquake hits.

You’d think I would have learned by now. But after a pregnancy, breastfeeding and a miscarriage, my body has not found its rhythm in a couple years.

So when it hit a few weeks ago, it felt like a bomb went off in our household, practically destroying everything in its vicinity.

Yesterday, someone recommended that I try Prozac in a very small dose during that week to take the edge off.

While this is the typical Western medical response, my gut tells me it’s not the answer.


Because our female bodies have so much wisdom and power, and so taking any medication would shut down my ability to feel and appropriately respond.

You see, that time of the month, the week before our period, something very potent is happening. Our bodies are prepping for a big release, a big shedding. It’s what Suzanne Mathias McQueen calls The Firewalk in her book 4 Seasons in 4 Weeks; when all that doesn’t serve us gets illuminated and ready for us to deal with. We are face to face with our shadow.

While I believe that Prozac can be extremely helpful, in my case, it feels like a numbing agent or a bandaid for me to not face what is really going on inside. And while I understand that the person who recommended it saw how beneficial it could be to take off the edge, I’m actually a woman who lives on the edge.

What if PMS was not a problem and a curse that you had to get rid of, but instead a tool for feminine power and transformation?

When we think of PMS as a curse, we are buying into the idea that being a female is wrong and who we are as emotional creatures is bad.

When we change Premenstrual Syndrome to Premenstrual Sensitivity, we change it from a time when there is something wrong with us to a time of greater awareness.

There is nothing wrong with our emotions. It’s one of our super powers. It’s what makes us empathetic, supportive and connected. It’s what makes us women.

If it feels like PMS is too much, perhaps it’s a sign that something isn’t in alignment and something needs to shift. And instead of ignoring, numbing, or avoiding it, to face it head on and take a courageous firewalk toward transformation.

Slow down

When we try to control everything and force life by the reins, we tend to fall into a pattern of doubt, fear and stress. We want things to look a certain way and so we overdo, overwork, overdrive and overachieve, pushing our bodies past capacity. When our energy levels start to tank right before our period, we keep trying to push through instead of hitting the breaks. Slowing down by taking a walk in nature, doing yin yoga, breathing, taking a bubble bath, letting go of having too many social engagements or taking on less of a workload can help ease the tension.

Tell the truth

Maybe there is a person in your life who you are having some issues with. You are either fighting with him/her or avoiding a truth-telling conversation. When the heat comes to the surface during the firewalk, the problem starts smacking you in the face. Or maybe because you buried it and it keeps eating away at you. This may be the time to have that difficult conversation, make amends, or get closure.

Say no

If you have a tendency to be too nice and say yes to everyone and everything, you may become resentful, stressed out and overcommitted. Pay attention to where you are saying yes out of obligation. Does this decision to say yes align with your core values? With your goals? With your desires? Start to get clear for yourself what feels like a hell yes and lights you up instead of draining you.

Sister love

I noticed that when I’m overheating, I tend to get contracted, angry, and my whole body tightens. In those moments, I know I need to soften, and one of the best ways is to receive a hug, an acknowledgement or a back rub. Your sisters are the ones who can help you get back into your sweet, soft feminine when you are feeling hard and protective. But you need to let them know what to do to support you before the heat gets turned up. Let them know that when you are in that space, you’ll probably contract and this is how they can love you up.

While it may feel like you are the only one when you are in this space of rage, tension, and upset, you are not alone. We all experience the rhythm and cycle of the divine feminine. It is what keeps us connected and alive. It’s what makes us women. We are being called forth to embrace our shadows and step into the fire to transform into powerful feminine leaders. To lead our own lives in truth.

This is the path of harmony. This is the path of inner peace. When we embrace all of who we are without trying to numb, suppress or dampen our emotions, we expand our capacity to be the powerful leaders who we are meant to be.


2 Responses

  1. Though I firmly believe in managing emotions and in making self-care a priority by listening to our bodies needs-wants-desires I also take a supplement which has been effective by Lorna Vanderhaeghe called Estro Smart Plus.

  2. OMG Tanya, thank you for writing this article! This is soo relevant to my current situation!! I actually wish to hear your husbands point of view here as well. My man(now soon to be ex unfortunately) has said to me: “I cannot deal with your emotions as they affect me too”. Also, he sees me taking time off during my period to rest(for a week) as a weakness. I believe that is one of the major reasons that he decided that he cannot trust me. And not to love me either. I feel that taking the stand to be who I feel I want to be and resting, sleeping, reading during this time is who I have to be now. I had enough of pushing myself to work work work and being exploited when I was younger. Not anymore. I want to discover what being a woman truly means.

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