The Menstrual Cycle and Eating Disorder Recovery: 3 Things You Need to Know

Anita Johnston with text that reads food & the menstrual cycle

Dr. Anita Johnston is a pioneer in the field of eating disorders and eating psychology. She believes working with the menstrual cycle is key part of the recovery process. Fluctuations in your mood, body image, and food behaviors can leave you feeling like you’re on an emotional roller coaster ride. If you can relate to these uncontrollable rhythms, keep on reading and subscribe to The Recovery Warrior Shows for eating disorder recovery wisdom in less time.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Music, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.

Key Takeaway #1: Work with your menstrual cycle, not against it

Go with the flow when it comes to your flow. Just as the moon goes through phases, so does your energy, focus, and cycle. The ovulation phase is a time of heightened creativity. It the time to be out there and, and creating your life connecting with people and doing things.

On the other hand, the menstrual period is a time to kind of rest, renew and get ready for the next. The egg has been sloughed off. It’s come and it’s gone. It’s during the menstrual period when you have the greatest access to your intuition. Instead of running around like a chicken with your head cut off during this time, its best to be still. Dr. Anita Johnston recommends that you “firstly, give yourself more time to sleep, that’s really important. Secondly, withdraw from some of the busyness. This is the time it’s totally appropriate to isolate a little bit. There’s a time to not isolate and to be out there and to be connecting with people during. But there is also a time to be still and go within and honor that we have this natural rhythm. It’s in our bodies. And it’s amazing if we can appreciate it.

It’s amazing when you start to pay attention to this natural rhythm of renewal. Ovulation is a time of heightened creativity and connection to the outer world. Menstruation is a time of heightened intuition and connection to your inner world.

Key Takeaway #2: Premenstrual sensitivity is a superpower

Dr. Anita Johnston refers to PMS, not as premenstrual syndrome, but premenstrual sensitivity. It’s true that we become more emotionally sensitive at this time. You know, it’s often during this period of time that you can have a volcanic eruption of emotions that feel uncontrollable and uncomfortable, your body image can become much more distorted in an area of pain and discomfort as well.

For example, when someone is struggling with an eating disorder, one of the things that really freaks them out is what happens to them and food when they’re premenstrual right? It’s like, “Oh, my God, I just want to eat chocolate all the time, or I can’t stop eating or, or that’s the time it gets the worst”. Dr. Anita Johnston explains, “it is an inexperience that we’re having on so many different levels. And if you don’t know how to respond to it, if you don’t know how to handle it, you are going to turn to food behaviors, or eating disorder thoughts as a way of trying to contain that and as a way to try and get a handle on things.

The problem is our culture, has painted emotional sensitivity as a bad thing. According to Dr. Anita Johnston, it works something like this…”If you’ve been holding back your feelings all month long. When you’re premenstrual, you’re not able to do that any longer. And those feelings that you’ve been, you’ve been holding back come bursting forth. They become disorderly. They come out really, really strong and people don’t understand why you’re having such a strong reaction. Because they don’t know you’ve been holding back your feelings for so long.

Before and during menstruation is the time during the month when your access to your inner guidance system is the greatest. Dr. Anita Johnston explains, “your inner guidance system is made up of the feminine principle, which is instincts, emotions and intuitions. But you see, we’ve not been taught how to work with any of those powers, and they really are powers so we try to stuff our feelings or we try to ignore our instinct to rest or or to move. We certainly don’t even pay attention to the intuitions. Because we’ve not been taught that this is the time that that is most available to us most accessible, but we don’t know how to work with it. It just freaks us out or disgusts us, or we just dismiss it like it’s no big deal.

Your inner guidance system is made up of instincts, emotions and intuitions and is not to be dismissed or dissed your intuition is a precious superpower. And the more you honor and trust it, the stronger you both get.

Key Takeaway #3: There are two kinds of secrets, sacred secrets and shameful secrets

World renowned shame researcher Dr. Brene Brown said if you put shame in a petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially, secrecy, silence and judgment. So in other words, in order to thrive and stay alive, shame needs to feed off of secrecy, silence and judgment. So think about how you have carried the secret of your menstrual cycle, and the secret of your eating disorder all of these years.

According to Dr. Anita Johnston, “They say there’s two kinds of secrets, those that are sacred, and those that are shameful. And in the absence of something being treated like it’s sacred, then there’s shame. So there’s no wonder why so many of us struggle with negative body image. If as our body began to morph from a girl into a woman, it was accompanied by feelings of shame. And then that gets compounded by comments that are made or experiences that we have. This is at the root of negative body image.

Body shame fuels eating disorder behaviors. Remember that shame needs three things to thrive, secrecy, silence and judgment. Unfortunately, shame cannot thrive, it cannot survive when we consistently practice connection and compassion. Just by reading this or listening to Recover Strong on The Recovery Warrior Shows you are shining light on shame, and strengthening your connection and compassion.

Jessica Flint 0:02 Welcome to recover strong a podcast I will transform your recovery from an eating disorder by helping you go from theory to practice to mastery. This is your special time to learn new skills, tools and get the inspiration you need to recover strong. Let’s get started. Good. Time to start today. Keep your head up. Don’t understand your way. Hello, my warrior friends. How are you all doing? Welcome to this podcast. My name is Jessica Flint. I’m the founder and CEO of recovery warriors, a multimedia resource hub for all things related to eating disorder recovery. I personally recovered from an eating disorder and I’m here to inspire you to do the same. I believe recovery is not only possible, but it’s worth it. That is why recover strong exists to help you see and connect to the potential that lies within you to find freedom from an eating disorder. Today you’re going to hear from one of the most sought after women in the field of eating disorders. Dr. Anita Johnston. She is the author of the classic recovery book eating in the light of the moon. This book is pure gold, and has been the featured read at many of recovery warriors book clubs over the years. Dr. Anita Johnston has a wonderful way of using myths, metaphor and storytelling to help unlock the deeper issues that drive eating disorders. I hope you enjoy our powerful conversation around the menstrual cycle and honoring the sacred rhythm and wisdom of your body. Welcome to the show. Anita, Anita Johnston 1:48 welcome to you. I’m so happy to meet with you. It’s always fun. Jessica Flint 1:52 It’s such a pleasure to have you on your book, eating in the light of the moon has been such a game changer for me and so many others. And today I wanted to focus our conversation on a chapter in the book called Moon time. Now it’s in this chapter you explore the menstrual cycle. And this idea of going from girlhood to womanhood and the rituals around that. So I can tell this is a topic that you’re passionate about. And I’m curious to know when did this passion start to develop for you? Anita Johnston 2:18 It started many years ago when I was wanting my daughters to have a new understanding of their menstrual cycle because I knew that they were going to start getting the messages very soon from the culture about your menstrual cycle being disgusting or, or being a drag or at worst being occurs. And there’s so many negative images and and at best it’s made to be a joke. And so I tried to figure out how am I going to get them to understand this in a different way. And so I went looking for a fairy tale that would help with that. And I never, I couldn’t find one. So I thought alright, I’m gonna have to write this one myself. And so I wrote this story, which is the moon time story that is in light of the moon cafe. And it’s also in eating in the light of the moon book. And I started with my daughter’s fifth grade and I did Mother Daughter tea parties where we would invite all the girls and all the mothers and we would have these these pretty elaborate Tea Parties I’d take out my Laura Ashley tea sets and and you know Battenburg lace tablecloths and baked these cookies, what they were full moons for the mothers and new moons for the girls and and we would sit around a table mother, daughter, mother daughter all the way around. And mind you these are fifth grade girls that most of them hadn’t started their periods yet. And so I went we had tea, and then I told that moon time story. And then what we did, which was really cool is we we had them just do a little guided imagery where the moms got to remember their very first menstrual cycle. And the girls got to imagine how they would like to spend that day when it arrived for them. And then afterwards, we passed around a bowl of rose petals, where the mothers would share their stories and the girls usually pass they weren’t they weren’t wanting to talk about this at this point. But the moms would tell the most amazing stories like like, the Japanese woman would talk about how Rice was served red at dinnertime, and the Korean woman would talk about how there was a special cotton they picked for their pads. And the Doctor’s Daughter talked about how her dad is the one that explained it. And every woman had a story. And some were funny. Some were no big deal. Some were very sad heartbreakingly sad. But as this Rosebowl went around the room, all of a sudden, the girls got this way bigger picture because they heard all the different stories and they realize they were entering this big, big circle of women that has been passed down from generation to generation and is connected by what they call the red thread. And so it became like sacred, there was this incredible understanding. And then what what I had them do is the mothers and daughters face each other in dyads. And now the mothers couldn’t talk just like Girls, and they got to tell their moms how they would like to spend the first day of their period. And it was a really, really kind of cool thing, because we don’t normally have the place or space to talk about this. And as a result, for whatever happens to any of us, we don’t really get how awesome this experience is. And I think I think it’s so, so important, because that is our very first experience of moving from the body of a girl into the body of a woman. And they say, there’s two kinds of secrets, those that are sacred, and those that are shameful. And in the absence of something being treated like it’s sacred, then there’s shame. So there’s no wonder why so many of us struggle with negative body image. If as our body began to morph from a girl into a woman, it was accompanied by feelings of shame. And then that gets compounded by comments that are made or experiences that we have. And so I think, for me, this is at the root of negative body image, because what the ancient Greeks knew, as well as a lot of other ancient traditions, is that whenever we’re transitioning from one phase to the next, it’s very important that we do a ritual that will help contain the energy so that so the the purpose of ritual, is to, and we we do it in many different ways, we might have candles, and maybe we have flowers. And oftentimes, we chant. In fact, I would say right now that there is a ritual chant that probably you and every single one of your listeners has participated in, when someone was moving from one stage in their life to the next. And I’ll say the chat for you. And you’ll see if you recognize it, it goes something like this Happy birthday to you Happy birthday to you, right, we all say it. And we don’t know why. But we do it. And so at a very deep level, we understand the importance of that, because when someone is transitioning, strong, archetypal energy starts to move. And archetypes are to the psyche, what genes are to the body, you’re born with them, but they start moving. And it’s very, very powerful energy. So when a girl is going through men arc, she’s moving into the body of a woman, she’s having her first menstrual cycle, hormones are just coursing through her body, and there is no container, there is no ritual to help her appreciate the power and sacredness of this. And the container is important because it not only contains the energy from within, that’s moving. So it doesn’t get disorderly. But also it helps to protect the individual from the nonsense of others, because this is a very vulnerable time. And there’s a lot of nonsense in our culture. And so, you know, it’s unfortunate that we have lost this ferry important understanding, so that our girls so that all of us when we moved from this very important phase in our life, there’s nothing to support it, there’s nothing to contain it, there’s there’s certainly very little to celebrate it. At best, it’s treated like no big deal, or shameful. And so as a result, we don’t learn how to work with our menstrual cycle. We don’t we don’t learn how to work with the power of the hormones. And so that was one of the things I was trying to convey in the meantime, story is that, if you can understand what this is, for example, when someone is struggling with an eating disorder, one of the things that really freaks them out is what happens to them and food when they’re premenstrual right? It’s like, Oh, my God, I just want to eat chocolate all the time, or I can’t stop eating or, or that’s the time it gets the worst. Because it is a experience that we’re having on so many different levels. And if you don’t know how to respond to it, if you don’t know how to handle it, you are going to turn to food behaviors, or eating disorder thoughts as a way of trying to contain it as a way of trying to get a handle on things. And so when when we’re premenstrual we do become way more emotionally sensitive. The problem is, is we and unfortunately, our culture, we think that’s a bad thing. And it works something like this. If you’ve been holding back your feelings all month long. When you’re premenstrual, you’re not able to do that any longer. And those feelings that you’ve been, you’ve been holding back come bursting forth. And and they become disorderly, they come out like really, really strong and people don’t understand, well, gee, why is she having that reaction? Because they don’t know you’ve been holding back your feelings for so long. And then then we even have this term, premenstrual sin syndrome, PMS, and it’s used to demean girls and women. Oh my gosh, you must be just you’re just PMS thing. And what I like to think of it is is PMS is premenstrual sensitivity. That’s the time during the month when your access to So your inner guidance system is the greatest. Now your inner guidance system is made up of the feminine principle, which is instincts, emotions, and intuitions. But you see, we’ve not been taught how to work with any of those powers, and they really are powers. So we try to stuff our feelings, or we try to ignore our instinct to rest or, or to move, we certainly don’t even pay attention to the intuitions. So because we’ve not been taught that this is the time that that is most available to us most accessible, but but we don’t know how to work with it. It just freaks us out, or disgusts us, or we just dismiss it like, it’s no big deal. And so I believe that learning to work with your menstrual cycle is a very important part of the recovery process. Because it’s the actual embodiment of the feminine principle. And typically, when I when I talk with girls and women who are struggling with eating disorders, and I ask them, well, what’s the part of your bodies you have the most difficulty with? And typically, if they were to draw it out, it’s usually now there’s many different parts that people have issues. But usually, it’s like, the belly, the butt, the fires. Now, if you were to look at a figure of a woman, and you drew a circle, right there, what is what is that? That is the part of a woman’s body that is so incredibly profound. There’s nothing like it anyplace else in the world. Because right there is the seat of, of life in that area, that is the area in which should a woman choose to do so she can carry and sustain life. And we’re not taught to be in awe of that. And there’s a reason why girls and women have bigger butts and thighs. And that’s because in the event, they choose to have a child, that is where the fat needs to be stored in order for them to create the breast milk, because everything else is taken up. And girls aren’t taught that the reason why when you hit puberty, there’s typically a really big weight gain. And that’s because the body has to very quickly put on a certain amount of body fat in order to process the progesterone that’s going to jumpstart the menstrual cycle. And so when you step back from it, you go, wow, nobody is teaching us this. Nobody’s teaching us how to work with what the menstrual cycle is trying to bring our attention to, which is our instincts, our emotions and our intuitions. Jessica Flint 12:43 Yeah, no, it’s it’s beautifully put, I love how you say premenstrual sensitivity. I think a lot of people, at least for me, like, it’s when I get my period I go, ah, that explains last week, like I was. So just I tend to get pretty depressed. Actually, Anita Johnston 12:59 yes. And there’s a reason for that. And it’s a good reason. You see, because we women were cyclical beings, just like the moon. So there’s a time to be very busy and a time to rest. Now in ancient cultures, they understood this, they had menstrual huts, that women would go to not because they were dirty, but because it was understood number one, that they needed to pull away from the busyness of everyday life, because that was the time that they would often get the visions for the tribe. And they were very significant visions. And so what would happen is those that were bleeding would go and they would be in the hut and others would bring them food and prepare food for them, so that they could just rest and have their visions. Now, fast forward to today, where we have lost recognition of this, but our bodies have not, our bodies want to sleep more. They want to rest more. In fact, they did this study once they were trying to create PMS symptoms in men. And they tried all different kinds of things. But the one thing that they were able to use that we create PMS symptoms in men with sleep deprivation now, yeah, is that interesting. Now what we know really about sleep deprivation studies, is it’s really dream deprivation, as soon as they start to see those REM rapid eye movements. And that that tells you something’s dreaming, they would wake them up. So so we don’t really understand it. But ancient cultures understood that the dreaming was very important. You need more sleep, you need more dream, when you’re premenstrual or menstruating. So we have gotten so far away from that, but our bodies haven’t. And so what happens when we don’t give ourselves that downtime to rest and renew? We are grouchy. We get kind of teary, we want to isolate and we think it’s a bad thing. But we don’t understand that. It’s simply that we are now living in a culture that is at odds with our natural rhythm. So once you understand that, you know you can address it. So I’m now in menopause. But when I was still having my menstrual cycle, and I had my private practice, I couldn’t just get get cancelled my clients and say, oh, sorry. But what I would do is I would I would announce to my family that, you know, I was not fixing dinner, I was right after work, I was just going to bed and they could forage in the fridge that because it was an example I wanted to set for my girls, that either there are ways you can honor this rhythm of your body. And if you don’t, if you don’t, you will suffer for it. Jessica Flint 15:26 I can definitely see that. Do you have any recommendations for people to work with it? Like? Do you think it’s more just like monitoring their emotions or more just tuning into their energy levels? Well, I Anita Johnston 15:36 think it really helps to appreciate it. So for example, you know, we women, we have the gift of, of menstrual cramps. Now, the reason I say the reason I say it’s a gift, is that what we understand when we have menstrual cramps is we understand two things. And because we know these two things, it makes the experience a little easier. Number one, we know that they will pass, okay, we know that they’re not we know, okay, this semester cramps, or they’re not going to be forever remembered. Exactly. And number two, no damage is being done. You may feel like your uterus is going to drop to the floor, but it’s really not. And so if you can apply that to other experiences of pain, like emotional pain, and remind yourself, Oh, they’re like cramps, it really, really hurts right now. But I know two things, no damage is being done. And it will pass. And you might choose to take some action to you know, help help that process. So I think the appreciation of this is the time when you have the greatest access to your intuition. So are you going to be wanting to run around like a chicken with your head cut off at that point in time? Or are you going to want to be still. So the thing that I recommend is, first of all, give yourself more time to sleep, that’s really important. Second of all, withdrawal from some of the busyness, it’s, this is the time, it’s totally appropriate to isolate a little bit. Understanding that, you know, there’s a time to not isolate and to be out there and to be connecting with people. But there is also a time to be still and go within. And that that we have this natural rhythm. It’s in our bodies. And it’s amazing if we could appreciate it. Jessica Flint 17:18 You really are the master of metaphor like that, that emotions are like menstruation. Yeah. The wave on this kind of getting played out, you know? Anita Johnston 17:29 Yeah, let’s use menstrual cramps. Now. Jessica Flint 17:31 Like, does it like we think about after the fact it’s like now it’s renew. And it’s like, reset. And like you do need the motion to like fully processed go through you. Anita Johnston 17:38 Yeah, and the other thing is, so it really helps you shift away from bemoaning your body, to starting to be an all of it, when you can, can start to just be in awe of what it means to be in the body of a woman. It’s really pretty incredible. And you know, paying attention to your menstrual cycle, we have a particular marker to let us know, okay, hey, you know, that dream you had? Tao is the time to really tune into it. You wanting some help or guidance with this, this would be the time to get quiet and listen within. Not sure how you’re feeling about something. Oh, now’s the time, you’re gonna get really clear about how you’re feeling about that, whatever it is. And so you know, learning how to work with it, and refuse to be shamed by it. Because this is where the body shame comes from. Jessica Flint 18:35 And would you say? So our intuition is at a max during menstruation. Yes. What about ovulation? Is there something else that kind Anita Johnston 18:43 of said yes, it was ovulation. That’s the time of creativity, right? That is the time to be out there and, and creating at your life connecting with people and doing things. The menstrual period is when that egg is being sloughed off. It’s, you know, it’s come and now it’s gone. And so now it’s a time to kind of rest, renew and get ready for the next. It’s not like you have to drop everything. But if there’s something, if you start paying attention, you’ll know when’s the best time to really go full speed ahead. And when’s the best time to really step back? And go, okay, am I heading in the right direction? Is this exactly the way I want to? This is something I want to tweak here. You know, this is a time of reflection. You know, we get these great ideas and we proceed and we forget to check in along the way if they’re still relevant when you have your period. That’s the time. Jessica Flint 19:38 Thank you. That’s I’ve never really heard it, but like that, so it’s really interesting. And I’m sure a lot of the people you’ve worked with, like for example, I didn’t have a period for many years and then I got it and now I consider it a blessing. I really do. I cherish it every time it comes. What has been kind of your advice to women who don’t want it. I mean, I guess that’s the the eating disorder voice is strong at that point. Anita Johnston 19:59 Well Yeah, well, you look at what does it really mean? You see, you might think, Oh, this means I’m getting fat or, you know, it’s like, no, wait, what does it really mean? To have a period? You know, to really question that? What’s the function of it? What’s the purpose of it? Not just on a physical level, but also on a psychological level? On what I call the soul level, what is that? You know, what, wait, why do women get this? What’s that about? to really bring in some curiosity? Because what happens, the eating disorder voice is so sure that it knows everything about everything, right? Oh, I know what this means. I know what that means. Well bring in a little curiosity. Are you sure? Where’d you get that idea? To see? Okay. All right. On one level, it means this. But is that all it means? Is there more to the story here? What messages did you get about your menstrual cycle, from family members, from friends from the culture? So a lot of negative messages. So sometimes it’s more than just that, oh, this means that I’m gaining weight, or I’m recovering. You know, it may mean that but but that’s the least of it. There’s way more that it means. Jessica Flint 21:20 Yes, those are great questions to ask, like, just dig deeper. And, Anita Johnston 21:23 and not just men arc, but also menopause. Because that’s also significant. And nobody tells us anything about that. And what that really means. Women freak out because they go, Oh, my God, I gain weight. I’m in menopause. And I mean, that’s all they know about it, they don’t know much else. Or then there’s those jokes. Watch out, you know, I’m in menopause, and I have a gun. Because people don’t understand so much of the ancient wisdom has been lost. But it’s, it’s relevant to it’s, in fact, it’s even more relevant today. We have the same bodies, we have the same psyches. We’ve just lost the stories that are so powerful, and so empowering. Because, you know, we’re telling women Oh, love your body. Well, you know, love, you know, being female. And it’s like, what else is the most profound expression of the female body? Is this you see, even animals, animals have an estrus cycle, they don’t have a menstrual cycle like we do. And you know, we know males don’t have it. So this is such a unique, incredible thing that we are blessed with, if you can start to see how sacred it really is. I mean, if somebody is spiritually inclined, well, this is the time you want to be doing your meditations. Because you can really tune in the veils between the worlds are the thinnest at this time. So if that’s something you’re hungry for, well, every month, you get an opportunity to connect in that way. How cool is that? So cool. Jessica Flint 22:58 I’ve always been an odd to that, you know, the lunar cycle 28 and a half days, I mean, some menstruation cycles go longer or shorter than that. But it’s just like, how in sync? Are we? This orbit, the satellite that’s orbiting Earth like, it’s just crazy. Anita Johnston 23:12 When I was growing up, there were still some older older ladies. And my Auntie’s would tell me that before there was a lot of electrical light on the island. All the women men straighter together, because they were in sync with the moon. Now you can now you can understand why so many people have been afraid of the menstrual cycle. There have been so many taboos about menstrual blood, because can you imagine, you know how scary that must be? Oh, all the women are bleeding with the moon. You know, it’s like it would blow their minds. And so it would terrify them because they didn’t understand it. Well, now that we have artificial light, we are our bodies are not so in alignment with nature’s rhythms and the moon. So we don’t see that as much. However, you will see it if you have a bunch of women living together, so you will still see it in convents and in sorority houses. Typically, what happens is the women’s cycle start to align. And if you’ve ever had that experience with with your friends, you go, Oh, you’re on your period. Oh, I got my peer. I got my beer. I got my period. Yeah, that’s why, because there’s something that happens. And it’s I wouldn’t say about how it’s a pretty cool thing that close friends or sisters or that you get on the same wavelength. Literally, not just figuratively. There’s a mystery to it. And there’s an awesomeness to it. But again, we live in a culture that says, Oh, just take this pill. So you don’t have to have that mesocycle when nobody has ever studied, what does that do to the psyche. You see if you’re if our period connects us if that’s the red thread, and one of the things we know about eating disorders, is they are a result of a profound disconnect, right? Disconnect from self disconnect from others disconnect from life. And then you know you have to take a pill to get rid of your menstrual cycle that is there to help Have you connect? Nobody’s studied that they just say, oh, yeah, just take take this pill. And here’s the thing, you know, sure you get a little down when you have your period. Or maybe you get really depressed. Who says that’s a bad thing? We’re cyclical beings. If you weren’t ever down, how would you know what up felt like? You see, you know, and sometimes something will make us sad. And we think, Oh, I’m overreacting. And then the sadness gets stuck inside. And then when you’re premenstrual, you’re watching a TV commercial, and you start to cry, and you go, Oh, my God, what’s wrong with me? Well, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s that you’ve held in the sadness. And the body is no place to hold sadness, or anger or frustration. And so with our menstrual cycle, that’s the wisdom coming through release that to let it go. Because I hear a lot people were struggling with eating disorders, I don’t know how to let go, well, guess what we’ll tell you how to let go. Your menstrual cycle, it’s all about letting go, the energy is available, then to let go. So it really connects us to the profound wisdom of our bodies. And like I say, this is pretty new to be living without acknowledging that. And it’s like, we don’t have to remember that it’s still there available for us to access it. Jessica Flint 26:18 I love how you say just the sacred secret in the shameful secret really like what I’ve gotten from this conversation. It’s really about how secret it really is. Anita Johnston 26:26 It really is. And we know that intuitively. Although now there’s kind of a movement to be sassy about it, which you know, being sassy about is cool. But we know at some level that it’s something that needs to be held close. And I’m not saying that you can’t joke about it, but not joking in a way that demeans it. That’s where it really has an impact on our sense of self as as a female, and on our body hatred. Because if you’re hating your menstrual cycle, then it’s not easy to love or even like your body Jessica Flint 27:06 seems like to really accepting and honoring the menstrual cycle is stepping into the feminine power more, and really this uniqueness that we have in these gag gifts of intuition and creativity and how they really are cyclical, and Anita Johnston 27:18 yeah, and that includes the female body. The female body is a part of the feminine principle and we have instincts, you know, we have sexual instincts, we have maternal instincts, and we have intuitions that that help us understand, you know, when things are not okay, even if everyone says things are fine, there, we call them a gut our gut instinct. Isn’t that interesting? You know, it’s like so so it’s focused on that part of our body. And there’s wisdom there. There’s, some people are even talking about the uterine brain. Because there’s, there’s levels of understanding that can occur in utero that that then transmit to the brain, not the other way around. Jessica Flint 28:03 Wow, cool. Anita Johnston 28:04 Isn’t that amazing that we haven’t we we’ve got ourselves another brain? And we have three? Yes, yes. So cool. But but you know, we laugh about it, because it seems ridiculous. Because it’s so far from what the norm is today. It’s not at all recognized. There’s very little appreciation, one of the things I love is hearing women’s first menstrual stories, because they don’t realize how much that has impacted them. And so one of the things that’s worth doing is writing down, and some people can’t remember a thing at all, which is totally fine. But if you think about okay, do I know how old I was? When I first started? And where was I? Who was there? What was his circumstances? What was going on? And if you can’t remember the details of that day, and many people can’t, but some can, what was going on in my life? What’s cool was I going to and and who taught me about the menstrual cycle? And what did they say? Did I find out about it from friends? Or, you know, it’s fascinating because we don’t talk about this. And I don’t know exactly why it is maybe because it’s sort of been like a taboo topic or no big deal topic. But when women start to tell their first period stories, you feel the sacredness of it, you recognize the sacredness of it, even if it was a gazillion years ago. So you know, that’s one thing is, is reflect on that and see how that has informed your relationship with yourself. Were you ashamed in any way and and even if you had, you know, pretty good, you know, experience with the shame is still there. I mean, who of us, you know, hasn’t been afraid of wearing that white pair of pants or that white skirt and being you know, just like, oh, oh my god, I got blood on this and it’s always there. Unless we shift it. Jessica Flint 29:56 Yeah. Kind of excited to get my period now. All right, and So it’s an audible Max. Well, we are getting to the end of the shows, how can other recovery warriors stay in touch with you, Anita Johnston 30:07 you can go to light of the moon cafe.com. I have a Facebook page, which is Dr. Anita Johnston, and a website, Dr. Anita johnston.com, and also light at the Moon cafe.com. So, I move around a lot, but you can find me.


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