Are we failing our youth?

Posted on March 20, 2013 at 12:00 AM

I have had a number of occaisions recently where I have had the priviledge of engaging with young women.  On more than one instance I have come away feeling the tension that society as it stands is setting the younger generation up for a really tough time, a legacy of disconnection, disassociation and one where the biggest influence on teenagers is the media.

What has compounded this sense of failing our youth is seeing several young women who are really struggling to conform to a stylised image that the media is presenting.  The attraction of the celebrity lifestyle is one where all that is being celebrated is successful, dynamic, sexual and wonderful.  The shadow aspect of celebrities is shamed and exposed as a 'melt down' or a failing somehow.  If you aren't a skinny mini, with a boyfriend in tow, having great sex, tonnes of mates, or super popular then you just dont cut the mustard.

I am so passionate about a society where we support young girls in their journey to womenhood.  Where we celebrate and educate them on the transition that happens at menarche and what that really means, physically but more importantly emotionally.  I have seen many young girls feel isolated and crazy in their premenstrual phase, some struggling with school and having conflict with other students or with their parents.  Sadly in extreme cases some beautiful young women feel suicidal, often with a sense that something is wrong with them that needs fixing!!

For such a long time we have been seperate from the women's mysteries that teach us that we are cyclical beings.  That we jounrney through the menstrual mandala from the dark, sensitive, quite phase of menstruation out into the socialable, dynamic light phase of ovulation.  The basic understanding that our moods and energy shifts throughout the cycle is crucial.  It is unrealistic and delusional to think that we can be this constant mono-personality.  Awareness of the changes that occur with the flux of oestrogen and progesterone mean we can prepare for the coming phase and honour our needs. Honouring our needs means we can put provisions in place so we dont feel so stressed out, or have to meet with someone when we are not at our best, or hide under the duvet and recharge if that is what we are being called to do!

Young women new to menstruation need our support, they need their self esteem building and encourgaing.  They need to know that they are not loosing the plot and 'going crazy' when in the premenstrual phase.  It is vital that they learn to connect to their emotions and begin to listen to what is being gifted to them.  If they are unhappy, why are they unhappy?  If they have problems with their peers, why do they have problems?  By looking closely at what issues are arising, there are opportunities for them to root into their desires, needs and begin to get a sense of who they are and their identity.

Educating young women on the fullness of the menstrual cycle means including the whole circle of phases.  This information supports young women to take responsibility for their own health and have conviction in their own choices.  When they are educated and aware they are better able to make decisions about their own bodies.  Learning about the ovualtory phase means we can support them in avoiding unplanned pregnancy.  This information provides young women a choice.  Really caring for their well being manifests in many different ways.  Helping them understand their emotions and the influence their unpredictable changing hormones have on them is a fundamental piece of the jigsaw.  Improving the understanding of what it is to become a whole connected women has a wonderful natural filtration out to the young men maturing in society.  They too will learn to respect the natural cycles of women and our culture will benefit by this overall growth and shift. 

Giving our beautiful young daughters, nieces and sisters the opportunity and tools to know themselves better through education of the menstrual cycle will equip them with an empowered indentity.  I dream of a society where all young girls are celebrated at their menarche and journey the menstrual mandala with their mothers, aunties and grandmothers so that they too can learn the Women's Mysteries and stand tall in the beauty of being a whole women.  The beautiful blossoming girl is in the centre of the circle held by her kindred women and in the outer circle the celebration extends out to all her kindred men too.  All the men holding her in reverence for stepping into her power as a fertile cyclical women.  I pray this vison becomes a reality so that all our gorgeous young girls know their worth and find the courage to be authentically true to themselves.

Categories: Red Tents and Moon Lodges, Celebration of Rites of Passage, Menstrual Mandalas

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