Lisa Lister believes a woman’s menstrual cycle has the power to reveal superpowers that can be used to enhance relationships, build businesses, improve our sex lives and get the most from every month
It’s not uncommon for many women to have days when they feel on top of the world, days when they could do a pretty good job at organising world peace, and days when, quite frankly, it’s not worth asking them how they are because evidently they’re not feeling it at all.
It’s entirely logical when you think about it, but rather than battling our body’s menstrual cycle, we’d get far further by working in harmony with it – taking the highs and lows as a powerful internal indicator of how we need to respond to our body.
That’s the advice of writer, menstrual, fertility and reproductive health practitioner Lisa Lister who has penned a new title, Love Your Lady Landscape.
Lister’s own experience of female hormonal health problems and subsequent 11-year journey of healing led her to retrain as a health practitioner and to truly understand how our cycle can play a positive part in our wellbeing, despite the negative connotations of PMS, cravings and anger.
“For a long time I had debilitating periods,” says Lister. “I couldn’t leave the house and I think one of the worst moments was sitting on a sofa interviewing S Club 7 and leaking all over it. I was having a real problem but I didn’t really understand what was going on and I thought, as a woman, I just had to get on with it.
“Eventually I was diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis and it was only when a doctor suggested a hysterectomy that I thought I had to have a better understanding of my body and what was going on. Since then I’ve been on an 11-year adventure and exploration of my own lady landscape.”
In her writing, Lister explores spirituality, psychotherapeutic and shamanic teachings, movement, breath and sound work to help women reconnect with their body. As one of the book’s themes, she breaks down the 28-day menstrual cycle into ‘seasons’, each of which have characteristics which we can use to work in harmony with and get the most from the way our body is feeling.
“We all have a map built into us each month,” she explains. “Every month there are four phases which start with spring, when we’ve just stopped bleeding and are pre-ovulating. We are supercharged with energy, our hormones are rising and we can get sh** done, it’s the time we can say yes to a few more things.
“Then there’s summer when we are the queen of everything! Our hormone levels are at their peak and sex is most definitely on the table as an option.”
“It’s the time to socialise, make presentations at work and knock it out of the park. Our vocabulary flows perfectly and it’s a superb time go on dates and make things happen as we are feeling at our most confident.
“Autumn is the time that we’re pre-menstrual, and it has a really bad rap. We realise we’re not the queen of everything, and our energy dips with our hormone levels. We just need to rein it in a bit, not make plans and enjoy a period of introspection. Socially, it’s not acceptable to take time out for ourselves but it’s a complete necessity. It’s actually a really great time to get super domesticated. In fact the nesting urge usually highlights that things aren’t OK and we need to take some time out.
It’s the time of the month that if my husband leaves wet towels on the bed it drives me crazy! Our tongue becomes sharp and we’re less articulate but when you know that you’ll go, ‘OK!’
“Then in winter, as we menstruate, it’s time to shed things and let go. It’s a great moment to edit or clear out work. Your energy levels call you in and it can be a time when splits occur. It’s also a period of clarity and it’s a good idea to take a day out – it’s a big ask but even an hour dedicated to yourself is important, so ask your partner to cook dinner.
“Advertisements tell us to roller skate on a beach or go partying, but we need to tune into the cyclical nature of our bodies and do something for ourselves.”
So, with the body’s natural cycle mapped, how can we use this guide to improve our performance? “My husband and I use our cycle together to plan a date, have great sex,” says Lister, “but we also know that day 24 or 25 is not a day to start a fight! This work has saved our relationship and if you and your partner are involved it becomes a fantastic way to map and enhance your life.”
With Lister’s book informing us, women can reclaim their ‘she-power’ and let their bodies help them get the most out of each and every month.