Category Archives: healing

The Year of Yes

Q&A Interview with Tracee Sioux

Where were you before your Year of YES!?
Before Year of YES! I had just gotten a divorce and was making $600 a month, feeding my kids from the food bank. I had been a stay-at-home-mom for 12 years, having tanked my journalism career in favor of motherhood. I had kept my foot wedged in the door of my profession by taking craptastic piece writing work for the privilege of calling myself a journalist. It’s the story of hundreds of thousands of other women in this country. I found that no one really wants to hire you after you leave the workforce in favor of motherhood.

What made you want to say YES! to your Soul?
I had a moment, washing dishes after the divorce in a terrifying personal financial crisis and I felt a deep peace within my Soul. She had gotten what she wanted. She was no longer in constant conflict with my wasband. She came here with a purpose—to use her gift of writing to help others—but, he was never supportive of that, constantly telling her to quit and go get a job. Finally, she had gotten what she wanted. I realized, if my Soul gets what she wants, I get to have this incredible peace. If she doesn’t I have this horrible feeling of being conflicted.

What if my soul got everything she wanted? What would my life look like? Where would I be?

I committed. How do you feel about the word NO? I love that word. I think a Power NO is saying YES! to your Soul. Everyone is trying to be the boss of everyone else all the time. Your family, your husband, your kids, your parents, your church, your friends, the PTA, your kid’s teacher, our boss, your coworkers, your neighbors—everyone has an opinon about what you should be doing with your life. Saying YES! to your Soul is saying NO! to everyone else’s agenda for your life.

Why aren’t people already living their Soul’s Purpose?
If you weren’t afraid of your Soul’s Purpose you’d already be living it. Our Souls often ask us to do things that defy convention and interfere with other people’s agendas for our lives. It’s scary to go against what other people believe you should be doing. My Soul asked me to take risks—big risks—emotional, financial, social and sexual—risks during my Year of YES! Much of it didn’t make sense to me. It was a total act of faith. I leapt off a lot of cliffs. Many people don’t approve of what my Soul leads me to do. There’s a loss in that. But, it’s worth it for the feeling of internal peace.

How do you know when it’s your Soul and not something else?
Excellent question. And it’s the one I get asked most often. So many outside voices live inside our heads—vying for mindshare, demanding to be the boss of us. I have several methods for being able to tell what’s the Soul and what’s the Ego or other Outside voices. There’s a Soul v. Ego Smackdown eCourse on my website for free that will walk you through a three-step process. First you have to silence the outside voices. Then you have to invite the Soul to speak. Then you have to choose. The Soul is kind and sweet and gentle. Even if it’s asking you to do something you’re afraid of—and it often will—it will feel peaceful and loving when it asks. The Ego is mean and sometimes even cruel. It has three main lies to get you to obey it: you don’t have enough time, you don’t have enough money and you’re not good enough. It often calls names, gets angry and threatens things like judgment, poverty and shame. The Ego makes a lot of very good and rational points. The Soul simply wants you to follow your desires.

You try alternative methods to sexuality and healing from sexual trauma in the book. Can you talk more about that?
Yes. Like many, many women I have sexual trauma in my past. Traditional therapy participates in what I call Pain Soaking, you talk about your pain, but it never heals. With religion you talk about your pain and celibacy is the only option for sexual healing. Neither provides a positive sexual experience to replace the negative sexual experience. It just leaves a void for the demons to creep back into. I really needed practice to experience staying in my body during sexual contact. I needed to experience my own sexuality without worrying about the other person’s sexuality.

 

You talk about men in this book. Where they’re at and what’s going on with them. Can you talk about that?
I’ve had lots of trauma caused by men in my past. I needed to heal that. We have this new phenomenon with gender roles being flip flopped and men feel sad, impotent in the world. Women are feeling stressed out from doing everything. I wish more men were on the spiritual path. I’d like to see them get in the game. I miss men. My Year of YES! put some phenomenal men in my life and I really, really needed to see that they existed.

You talk about addiction and quitting drinking in the book.

After 9/11 I suffered severe post partum depression—I was 8 months pregnant when I witnessed the second tower being hit. I couldn’t get my physiological terror response to turn off afterward. I was in a state of anxiety that left me debilitated and unable to function. Doctors prescribed more and more Xanax, a dentist prescribed more and more codeine. Eventually I ended up in rehab to avoid seizures from withdrawal. I continued to drink alcohol, but the year before the book was written I had gotten some pretty serious warning signs from my Soul to stop drinking or pay a very high price. Whether it’s a gene or a spiritual demon passed down for generations—It’s a serious problem for me and my family. I’ve always been in relationships with addicts and I’ve fought my own demons. I only drank once during my Year of YES! and it was a terrible experience of separation from God.

You did past life regression in your Year of YES! Why? What was that like?
It’s funny because at the beginning of the book I kind of make fun of past life beliefs. Yet, I was facing turmoil over a relationship that I couldn’t understand. I just couldn’t understand why I felt the way I did. My Soul kept telling me to contact this past life regressionist that I had met at a conference. So I said YES! I had three regression experiences that literally left me changed. During one I felt a love very deep and pure, during another I was pleasure drenched in the love between Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ, and in another I threw a gold clutch from the spirit realm to this realm and was gifted a company logo. Each experience was quite transformative for my Year of YES! There are many dimensions in the Kingdom of Heaven.

You pray to many gods and deities in this book. Why?
I pray to one god of many names and interpretations and traditions. I find common ground in various religious traditions and wisdom among all belief systems. I draw from whichever one brings me the most strength, healing, wholeness, power and beliefs.

You’ve done some pretty seriously wrong things, to friends and family. Why would you tell everyone about them?
I’m flawed. My mistakes aren’t grounded in maliciousness. They were grounded in confusion about who I am and mistakes I have made. Most of them were motivated by love. Love is a many faceted thing and a great many of us are doing it very badly. But we’re doing it.

The Year of Yes Book Synopsis

In 2012 Tracee found herself feeding her kids from the food bank following her divorce. She was doing everything “they” told her to do with her fledgling writing business—she had the national media attention and the Thank You notes to prove it—but she was only making $600 a month. She was “awesome,” everyone said so. She had “awesomed” her way to the food bank. Her life was completely transformed when she decided to follow her Soul’s voice in her business and her life. She ended her Year of YES! filing taxes for $65,000, within 18 months she had cleared the six-figure mark. During the year she built a scalable foundation for her business, created a Spiritual Travel Column, created an amazing support system of positive people, lost three pants sizes and freed herself from the guilt and shame of her past.

She now teaches people how to say YES! to their own Soul’s Song. Every person came here with a Purpose and Tracee loves to help people discover what that Purpose is and turn it into a profitable business and an intentional life. When you align with your Soul’s Purpose the Universe rolls out the red carpet for you—of course, it’s a flying carpet and you have to leap off the cliff to get to it—Tracee helps you gain the audacity to leap.

The Year of YES! Memoir, what if you said YES! to everything your Soul told you to do? Where would your life take you? What would you be doing? This is a memoir of my own Year of YES! It’s a spiritual awakening, a raw, unflinching reckoning with my jagged past, a transmutation of self and an exploration of sexuality—the sacred (and not so sacred)—a journey of healing and a slaying of demons. Ultimately, it’s a look at where I’ve been and choosing where I’m going.

About the Author

Tracee Sioux, Mastress of Manifestation, is author, coach, radio host and creator of The Year of YES! It’s the year you say YES! to everything your Soul tells you to do. Her Soul’s Purpose is to help others develop the audacity to say YES! to their own Soul’s purpose. Her work has been featured in New York Times Magazine, Forbes.com and Today.com.

Sioux led The Girl Revolution, a movement to empower girls in the face of today’s marketing and media messaging. She is the author of Love Distortion: Belle, Battered Codependent and Other Love Stories. Read a free sample chapter of The Year of YES! at http://www.traceesioux.com

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Filed under ageing, beauty, career, coming of age, daughter, growing up, Guest Blogger, healing, Momprenuers, mother, motherhood, parenting, tracee sioux

Herbs for Your Reproductive Tract

by Paula Youmell, RN

Herbs are amazing, healing tools because herbs are whole foods.  Whole foods nourish each and every cell in your body. 

Whole food eating means feeding our bodies the way nature intended.  This means eating foods in their natural state, as close to the perfectly “whole” state in which nature provides them.  This also means following the natural growing seasons and eating more foods that are locally grown and produced, in season. Whole food nutrition is eating in balance, which in turn keeps the body in balance.  Foods grown naturally develop with the right proportion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats intended for that particular food.  They contain balanced vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, and enzymes. This natural balance for each food ensures that the body can properly utilize the nutrients. 

The effects of moving away from our whole food diet and eating a refined, processed, and convenience food diet are very prevalent in our society.  (Ask me for my educational handout titled Whole Food Eating for an easy introduction to healing body cells with whole food nutrition, pyoumell@gmail.com)

One of the biggest tragedies of human civilization is the precedents of chemical therapy over nutrition.  It is substitution of artificial therapy over natural, of poison over food, in which we are feeding people poisons trying to correct the reactions of starvation.    Dr. Royal Lee

As a culture, we have created the same scenario with our healing medicines, including those for healing the female body.  We have moved away from whole, natural medicines to the processed, refined, factory made pharmaceuticals that upset balance in the human body.  Just as refined, factory made food products upset the body’s natural balance.

Herbs, whether ingested as a medicinal infusion, taken as a tincture or in any other form of herbal medicine, are whole foods.  The nutrients in the herbs: vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, and the nutrients yet to be discovered, are utilized by the body cells to cleanse, nourish, and heal each and every body cell.  Herbs specific for the female reproductive tract are nourishing to the reproductive organ’s cells.

So often we get the message from main stream media and medicine:  Do NOT use herbs as they are potentially dangerous.  This is as crazy as saying that eating beets, apples, or any other natural, whole food is potentially dangerous.

When we eat a beet, an apple, some broccoli, or any whole food, our body digests and absorbs the nutrients in the whole food to nourish our cellular health.  The same process of digestion and assimilation of nutrients happens with herbs.  Herbs are whole food; herbs are healing medicine.

Herbs are plants (leaf, root, stems, bark, berries, seeds), like a beet or an apple, that have nutritional and healing properties with affinities for certain tissues.

Stinging-Nettle-Image

Herbs for female health are many and each has its own healing purpose.  Used in combination, they create powerful healing energy in the female body.

Some excellent female healing herbs are:

  • Stinging nettles
  • Red raspberry leaf
  • Wild yam
  • Chaste tree berry
  • Motherwort
  • Red clover flower
  • False unicorn root
  • Passion flower
  • Don quai root
  • Wild carrot
  • Ginger
  • Blue and Black cohosh
  • Squaw vine
  • Black haw
  • Yarrow
  • Pennyroyal
  • Mugwort
  • Partridge vine

These herbs balance female hormones, tone and heal the female organs, and add nutrients to every cell in your body.

A simple healing tea I used to make for my roommate, many years ago before I had become a certified herbalist, to ease her menstrual cramps:  chamomile tea with 30 drops of black or blue cohosh tincture.  When she moved into her own apartment, just up the street, she would call me every month and ask me to bring her a jar of this cramp relief tea.

For specifics on which herbs to use for your personal needs, contact an herbalist in your area.  In the Potsdam, NY area?  Give me a shout.

Herbs for healing other organs: (Just to remind you how amazing herbs really are!)

  • Saw palmetto for the prostate
  • Hawthorne berry for the heart
  • Rhubarb root for the colon
  • Milk thistle for the liver
  • Nettle as a general nutritive herb (Yes, I truly love nettles!)
  • Dandelion and burdock root for liver cleansing and nourishment

The list of herbs and the cells / organs they nourish goes on and on.  These are just a very few example of herbs and the cells / organ they have affinities to nourish and promote healing. This healing action happens because the herb adds whole food nutrition to your body cells.  This is the same thing a beet does; feeds your body cells.

Stinging nettles are my favorite herb!  Nettles are a power house of nutrition and healing energy for the whole body.  I add nettles to every combination herbal formula I create. Use nettles in your female healing remedies!

With that said, I recommend you read up on the herb you want to ingest for its nourishing, medicinal abilities.  Learn about the herb and its healing affinities before you make the decision to take it.  Contact your local herbalist for help in choosing the right herb or blend of herbs to add to your whole food dietary plan to promote personal health and healing.

Words from a happy client that demonstrates my point about herbs and whole body healing; that body cells are nourished by ingesting herbs:

Thanks Paula! The herbs you recommended for my peri-menopausal symptoms have really helped! No more migraines, moodiness, or horrible night sweats. After years of challenging health symptoms, I am very happy to be healing with whole foods, including female healing herbs.  Sherry B.

Herbs are whole foods.  Use them wisely for healing your female energy and whole body healing.  Blessings of health, Paula

Red clover flower and Red raspberry leave, combined with my favorite herb: Stinging nettles, are the three herbs I recommend for a fertility infusion to drink daily.

Paula Youmell is an RN, author, holistic healer, and blogger who thrives in northern NY State, USA.  Learn more about her healing lifestyle at www.HandsOnHealthHH.com, http://www.wholefoodhealer.com, or http://www.wisewomenredtent.com

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Filed under and Hormone Cycle, blood, growing up, healing, Infertility, Menopause, menstruation, miscarriage, mooncycle, motherhood, PMS, Reproductive Health, sex

How Women hold Space for one another : Acknowledgment as an act of the Sacred

by Hollie B.

lunation.com.au

I give thanks to my dear Sister who agreed to my sharing of this story. I have chosen not to use her name. Because that’s not what’s important in this Story. So for now, she is called ‘this Woman’.

This is a Story about why I believe all Women benefit from sharing Story in a Red Tent. I don’t so much believe that every Woman needs to speak to share their Story in the Red Tent. But each Woman may find healing through Being present with shared Stories.

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I know this Woman who is employed in a place where She sees the absolute worst in human behaviour. Anything awful You can imagine, this Woman has probably seen it, heard of it, or been exposed to a story of it in some way. I’m not exaggerating, and I’m not trying to bring You into a yuk Space, I just want to paint a very clear picture of how different this Woman’s everyday life is compared to many of us.

She has an awesome partner. In this case, her partner is a man, but it is not his gender that is important. What I take from this story is that her husband is there for her in the sense that anything awful that she needs to download from work, she can share with him and she knows he can take it. He works there too.

Home life is good for this Woman. Her children have grown and they are doing their own thing. She celebrates their maturity, knowing that their Journey is their own. Anything that causes stress from work, gets talked about before coming home, and left on the road. In other words, she doesn’t bring it home with her. She has a relationship with her husband, that although has had pain and grief in the past, is healed and in an Awesome Space now. She’s done Circles for healing her menarche and healing her mother-issues and letting go of the past and… In other words, right now, even though there are things that bother her in her worklife, and she knows there will still be Life Work to do, yet she feels fairly sorted.

Is that to suggest that this Woman doesn’t need an Experience such as a Red Tent? Like, she’s fairly sorted so she doesn’t need to sit around with other Women to talk about ‘issues’. She’s got her husband afterall. If he’s so Awesome, why would she need to go along to a Red Tent? She’s already got understanding and a soundboard for whenever she does have an issue. She feels supported at home…

Well, recent experiences have taught me that actually yes, she does still need the Red Tent Experience. This is not something I’ve come to on my own by the way. This isn’t something I’m coming at from my place of advice and an ‘I know what You need attitude’. Actually, it comes straight from this Woman’s mouth.

But the reason might not be what you’re thinking.

This Woman, wants to Be witness to other Women’s stories. She understands that everyone needs a place to share – to vent – to speak – to let go – and everyone needs to feel heard in that.

This Woman does not believe that She has ‘no issues’. But she does feel that the ‘everyday’ things she is haunted with are not for the ears of anyone outside of her industry. It’s not about being selfish. It’s not about coming and hearing everyone else’s ‘stuff’ and not adding anything to the energy. Actually, it’s about finding the Right place (for her) to share her stories, and entering the Sacred Space so that it is held Sacred. For this Woman, she feels depth in being the Witness. She isn’t there to give advice, or story-compete (Oh Yes I’ve seen lots of that), nor is she in the Red Tent to suppress some sort of need to feel special by being different.

Put simply, this Woman finds depth in the Work of witnessing other Women’s stories. In the act of acknowledgement – as witness to other Women and where they are in the moment – she becomes a Sacred Keeper of Tradition and Compassion. When she has something to say, she does. But for the most part, She helps hold the Space. She sits listening, without judgement – accepting of the Story as it is. She nurtures Women who do need to share. And She is content to Be.

Recently a number of events played out in front of me that really anchored this understanding for me. I saw many aspects of this Story. I heard the words ‘I’m fine’ while watching the body language that said ‘don’t fucken push me cos I will break – and I don’t want to break right now!’ I felt the acceptance of this Space while watching other Women go on the finger pointing mission of trying to ‘help’ and offer advice. I saw the break down of safe and Sacred energy with that pushing. I felt the pain of this Woman in not feeling accepted for where she needed to Be with other Women. I felt the distrust from Women who held expectations about sharing. The next day I felt Truth and Realness pour from the heart of this Woman as we shared together how that happened and where she would have liked it to Be. And it was in that conversation that I got clear around one very important aspect of the Red Tent.

I understood already that Women need to speak. I understood already that for a long time Women have not been heard. I have also noticed often that there are times when Women just talk for the sake of it. I have noticed that even when You suggest as a facilitator that everyone can keep their opinions and advice to themselves, and just let a Woman Be in her Space, they just can’t help themselves giving advice and opinions and cutting People off. I have noticed that some Women have a need to agree and say ‘You’ll be right’ and ‘You’re strong’ and ‘You can do it’ in response to another Woman’s Story. And I’ve noticed that this is not only un-helpful, it’s fucking disrespectful.

Red Tent

My Red Tent and Women’s Spaces aren’t for feel good pep-talks. I facilitate Spaces for Women to Be. And to feel supported in that Being. In these Spaces it doesn’t matter who we are at home. What we do at work. What we have to do tomorrow. We just get to Be exactly as we are – in whatever Space – in that moment – without apologies. And we get to do it in a supported Space.

And what I became clear around, thanks to this Woman, is that I really want for the Red Tent Experiences that I facilitate for Women to feel the Power of sharing Stories, simply through Being Witness.

And then that got me thinking (it’s fairly on-the-go in my mind – when thinking is on, it’s really on until clarity is found). Although the Red Tent Experience happens in its own way, and Women share whatever they need in relation to that day, that moment; there’s still some things that some of us need to heal – and we don’t necessarily have a safe Space to do this in. Some of those ‘issues’ are older than ‘this moment and this day’, and we’re not necessarily sure how to bring them up. A ‘general’ Red Tent for sharing, although beauty-full and healing, may not always get to the deepest seat of what we need to heal.

It’s a bit daunting to bring up our miscarriages and our terminations and our divorce and how to raise our sons and daughters and our mental illness and our mother issues and our body image perceptions and… in a space full of Women who we have never met, or whom we only see every now and then. It’s particularly daunting to suddenly bring out the deep Stories of grief and loss that have been pushed down for a long time, or never given a Space. For example, it’s not easy to start talking about the abortion You never dealt with emotionally ten years ago, when the Woman next to You is talking about how she loves being a parent.

I always find it so deeply moving to hear stories from Women about things I’ve never experienced. Whether the Story is about joy or loss, it is the difference that I find mySelf inspired by. I feel honoured when a Woman shares something new to me. That is the journey of the Witness. It is quite beauty-full.

The essence of the Red Tent is the commonality of Being Woman. Always in the Story, even when we have not had the same experiences, it is the sharing that moves us. In one Woman’s Story of pain or hope or joy or loss, we find something of ourSelf. And we grow. That is True healing. That is how we fill our cup. Whether You are the Story-teller or the Witness. There is something for every Woman in the Red Tent.

And so, this leads us to the renewed, improved and fully awesome Red Tent Experience of 2013. We are diving deep. We are creating Space for Stories with intention. We are allowing room for Women to share and to respond authentically. We are opening a doorway for Women to Witness and find Truth around the Way we speak and respond. And we are Working with the Red Tent, to simply Be.

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Filed under coming of age, friendship, growing up, Guest Blogger, healing, Hollie B., how to create a Red Tent, red tent, sacred space, women's stories

HorMoon Awareness Guide

by Leslie Botha

Click here to download the HorMoon Awareness Guide

HorMoon Awareness Guide

 A new book!

Understanding Your Mind, Mood, and Hormone Cycle was written for women who want to understand the sometimes, confusing physical and psychological changes they experience each month. It is also suggested reading for men who deal with hormonal women daily; and for educators, healthcare and social welfare professionals who support women of all ages that are struggling with physical and behavioral issues caused by hormonal changes. It is the product of a nine-years of research, analysis, and writing.

Purchase the book for $24.93 on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Your-Mind-Hormone-Cycle/dp/0989010104/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374691726&sr=8-1&keywords=leslie+botha

Purchase the book on amazon

This richly illustrated, pioneering, book is co-authored by Leslie Carol Botha and H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik, with original graphics by Nicholas Batik. Medical researcher, H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik provides extensive clinical background to support the findings of this book. The conversational writing style makes it easy and compelling to read, while the richly footnoted text makes this a valuable resource for professional healthcare providers. The book explores on the very essence of a woman’s being — the fundamental nature of the female hormone cycle; and was written to fill the void of practical, menstrual health education that focuses on understanding the delicate mind/body connection — a connection that has the power to bring about health or disease in the body. Contrary to current medical thinking and pharmaceutical industry messaging that encourages women to deny, ignore, suppress and replace their natural hormone production with synthetic hormone birth control and hormone replacement therapy, Botha and Chevalier-Batik believe that the hormone cycle is the foundation of women’s health and well being. Modern medicine has promoted the concept of specialization, encouraging women to consult specialists to treat isolated aspects of our body and mind, rather than consider our body as an integrated system, and exploring the relationship of the hormone cycle with other cycling systems in our body. Creating health begins with a shift in this perspective to one that recognizes the whole body is greater than the sum of its parts; a shift that recognizes that health is our birthright and represents our natural state. Such a change in perception can change how we express vibrant health and inner peace. Using the tools and information provided in this book, women can learn to perceive symptoms as biometric feedback from our bodies about our diet, lifestyle and the state of our mental, emotional, and spiritual self. These symptoms are the “tell” for conditions such as: hormone imbalances, depression, mental confusion, exhaustion, autoimmune disorders, allergies, and reproductive disorders. The purpose of this book, is to help you tap into the magnificent intelligence of your body and interpret its profound language to finally understand your mind, mood, and hormone cycle. Using the tools and exercises provided you will learn to live with in your hormone cycle to prevent re-occurring gynecological problems and mental/emotional imbalances; Perhaps for the first time in your life, you will feel like you can reach your full potential by acknowledging your strength and who you truly are. It is our goal to open your eyes to the real you — a woman who can trust herself, has confidence in her actions, understands her feelings and knows how to create a fulfilling life by living with her hormone cycle With brilliant simplicity, the authors tie the menstrual cycle into the other natural cycles of the universe and to the Paleolithic wise women who tracked their cycles on antler bones. These wise women understood that menstruation was vital natural cycle that held power. These foremothers became the first mathematicians, agriculturists, and healers by applying their menstrual wisdom to their culture’s survival. It is imperative that we understand all of the cycles in our lives. Women must be pro-active in all aspects of their wellness. Education and the willingness to ask questions and demand answers is a start.

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Filed under ageing, and Hormone Cycle, beauty, coming of age, growing up, Guest Blogger, healing, Leslie Botha, Menopause, menstruation, menstruation history, Mood, moon, mooncycle, moontime, PMS, Post Menopausal, Reproductive Health, Understanding Your Mind

I’m Fearless…

The non-ordinary space inside a Red Tent evokes powerful reactions from women. Even a woman who is no stranger to empowerment can be amazed by what she sees…and by the strength of her response.

Join us in the virtual “Red Tent” for today’s episode of Red Tent TV.

After you’ve watched the episode, I’d love to know…

What makes you feel fearless?

I look forward to reading your comments below.

If you liked this video, subscribe to our channel & sign up for our free weekly episodes of Red Tent TV at http://www.redtent.tv/

Missed my most recent episodes? Watch them here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmZGBmANkmSBD1337JiQWbw

Enjoy the video and have a fantastic day! Thanks for watching!

My YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmZGBmANkmSBD1337JiQWbw
Website: http://www.redtent.tv
Friendship on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/redtentfilm

Opening song “Red Tent Temple” by Mother Turtle. http://www.motherturtle.com/

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Filed under "things we don't talk about", Feminism, friendship, From the filmmaker, healing, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, red tent, red tent experience, red tent film, red tent movie, Red Tent TV

How a hundered metres of red material changed my life

By Angelika Rodler

The first time I saw a Red Tent was at a birth conference in Hungary in 2003. It was made of simple poster walls, covered with a lot of red material. I went in without any expectations, but I understood within a second. The tiny room was filled with pillows, honey was offered to honor the women who came in. It was so peaceful, silent – like coming home. A different world- and while outside the conference program stimulated the neocortex, here was the place to dream and share about all the new visions which were created on this pioneer´s conference. My friend and wonderful midwife Marina Alzugaray was with me and I could not imagine a better person to be introduced to the sacred space of the Red Tent. At this time I was organizing an annually birth conference in Austria and for 2004, I invited the Hungarian Red Tent Women to come with their concept and material. This first red tent was also very tiny, but the women at the conference loved it and this motivated me create our own one, much bigger, for next year. Many midwives used it to recreate, meet with friends and new contacts, take a nap…After this sweet experience I knew that I need a Red Tent. When I came home I worked like crazy and 24 hours later I had one in an free room of our house. A space only for my own needs and to share time with my girlfriends and my daughter…. In 2006 I became pregnant with my 5th child and I was sure that she will be born inside the Red Tent. It was candle lite, peaceful water birth with my midwife, Doulas, my daughter – and of cause my very supporting husband. This was really a birth party. I never will forget the magical hours of bonding with the baby in my pregnancy, this perfect birth and the recreation time postpartum, the breastfeeding, – every pregnant woman should have the chance to give birth in a red tent or enjoy the baby moon in red! That´s why pregnant women cannot only rent a birth pool for a home birth at our center, they also can rent the whole stuff for a Red Tent, can be 2,5 m x 2,5 m, or, if they want, 50 m². I would love to see a red umbrella-tent or some other solutions for an easy and not too exotic performance in the hospital (Doulas know what I mean ;-)), because I think this would be the perfect way to care for more privacy in labor….

I started to organize Red Tents in our Center (NGO/NPO for parents and children to support natural birth and parenthood in many ways)…. The first time 2009 we offered two weeks of Red Tent program, based on Elizabeth Davis and Carol Leonard´s inspiring book “Circle of Life”. We went through all the archetypes of women´s wheel of life –every day a new one. The day started with an introduction to the meaning of the archetype in the morning. The whole day there was a good mixture of open space and a program with leaded talking circles, short lectures, playful singing, dancing (wild and sweet), creative time to experiment with new arts and express your feelings, a slumber party with our little daughters and special massage for our own old mothers. We did “Let´s talk about sex” evenings and shared a lot of female wisdom with experts and our sisters in all ages. We could explore what women can be for each other, especially while they are going through their so called “blood mysteries”- menarche, birth, menopause. After two weeks we ended up with our visions about how we want to become old and die. We laughed a lot, cried a little bit and enjoyed being with women. The last day we closed the circle and celebrated the transformer in us. It was a well used chance to invite girlies and crones, who normally don´t come to a parents & child center and we really could take a look on the special needs and blessings of each lifetime.

While the Austrian Doula training (which I´m leading) I try to inspire the Doulas to see the Red Tent as a wonderful tool to work with women on every level. You need not to be an Expert to invite your girlfriends and clients to come to your red tent and feel joyfully how it works (yes, the red material works with it´s own magic – you can relax!). You need not to be an expert to create a space for YOU and allow women to come in when they need to be for their own– even it the space is tiny, it´s worth! BE the one who is inspiring other women to take their space! I´m thrilled about the huge potential of the Red Tent to bring together pregnant women (new clients and women who had a Doula f. e.) for sharing birth stories, do creative activities, chanting birth songs, showing birth films, the really good ones like “Orgasmic Birth”, do different kinds of bodywork. But I also love the meeting between the generations to understand them and f. e. how we were raised up…

For sure you are highly needed to talk open and positive about first blood, menstruation, birth, love and death (and of cause many other essential things and fun stuff). But don´t forget to offer blessing way parties, baby naming celebrations, a menarche party, …..So many opportunities really connected to our in-TENT-ion as Doulas…. if you are not the one to DO it, be the one who shares the idea, and I promise you – very soon you will meet the women you were waiting for to add their talents to yours and your circle will grow and shine and expand –because women are waiting for YOU to start!

As you see, my personal focus of the Red Tent is not only on Menstruation (although I love this topic, too) like in some Red Tent traditions. I enjoy the beauty and the many many roles in every women´s life and want to empower women of all ages to feel welcome, nurtured and treated with love. I can imagine how special YOUR Red Tent will be created and filled with energy…. let´s dream on, share methods of creating, building, let´s make a Red Tent Kit with the best ideas for celebrations – let us be the movement into more joy in sisterhood…!

For more information:

www.elysia.co.at

angelika@elysia.co.at

Angelika Rodler on FB

Töchter ELYSIA´s on FB

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Filed under birth, blood, Guest Blogger, healing, memory, moon, mooncycle, mother, motherhood, parenting, place, red tent, red tent experience, Reproductive Health, space, The Red Tent, Uncategorized

Return To The Red Tent

by Teresa Maria Bilowus

“Return To The Red Tent” was first published in Starflower Living Naturally, Issue 2, July 2014

“How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you? A place for you to go…a place of women, to help you learn the ways of women… a place where you were nurtured from an ancient flow sustaining you and steadying you as you sought to become yourself. A place of women to help you find and trust the ancient flow already there within yourself… waiting to be released… A place of women…” ~ Judith Duerk, Circle of Stones

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Photograph © Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014

There is a place where women can go to tell their stories. A place where women can rest, create, sing, dance, sleep, or just ‘be’ for a while. There is a place where women can be witness to authentic sharing and connection. A place where women can hold each other and be held. There is a place where women can go to experience a ‘homecoming’ and leave feeling renewed, restored, replenished and open. There is a place for women. It is called the Red Tent. When women’s paths meet in this safe and sacred space, lives are transformed.

It is unlikely that when Anita Diamant published her best-selling novel ‘The Red Tent‘ back in 1997 she could have imagined how her work would be a catalyst for a ‘Great Remembering’. Anita Diamant’s descriptions of the monthly celebrations in The Red Tent not only illustrate the close relationship with land and nature and the moon cultivated by semi-nomadic women in ancient times, they also indicate the strong bond between women who would menstruate together in a sacred gathering space. It was in this sacred space, the Red Tent, where every girl became a woman.

Whilst the origins of the ‘Red Tent’ are fictional, women sitting together in circle is ancient and very real. Women coming together to bleed is found in almost every culture around the world. In some traditions women were segregated from their communities for being ‘unclean’ during their monthly bleeding time. But in many cultures women were honoured during the bleeding days and went to a special place within the village to commune with other women. Sometimes this place was called the women’s lodge, the moon lodge, the menstrual hut, the bleeding lodge, or by some other traditional indigenous name. These spaces all had great power and significance because it was the space where women bled together and shared wisdom. It was in these spaces that women passed down their traditions and shared their aural history – their stories and their mythology. It was in these sacred dwellings that women connected to their own inner power – in particular the intuitions and visions that came at the time of bleeding. And it was in these gathering spaces that women helped guide young girls into womanhood and were themselves guided by the community elders.

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Photograph © Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014

Today, the Red Tent is a global women’s movement. There are an estimated 20,000 Red Tents worldwide. In thousands of locations around the world women are once again gathering together to share the cycles and the stories of their lives. These are important times. For the last 4000 years the entire history of ‘woman’ has been suppressed. Women’s songs, wisdom, traditions, intuitions, stories, methods of healing, mythology, knowledge of herbs and of the stars, and of magic and the underworld have all been vanquished. Patriarchy effectively wrote history in the image and the voice of the masculine. This doesn’t necessary mean that history is wrong. But it does mean that without the voices of women, history is wildly incomplete.

When women enter the Red Tent a ‘Great Remembering’ takes place. Women the world over share the same experience of coming into the Red Tent for the first time and yet it being deeply familiar. The Red Tent is a gathering ground for which women have been yearning, but until women actually enter the space, this yearning has not been released. Adeola from the Red Tent community in Bournemouth, UK says “I found a space I hadn’t released I craved, to speak with a voice I had never heard, about a wisdom I had carried since birth but had no awareness of.”

It seems that ancient women-wisdom is woven into the very fabric of the Red Tent space. From its fictional beginnings, women all over the world have breathed power and life into the Red Tent. Some Red Tents focus on celebrating menstruation and the blood mysteries, others are simply a place where women can dance, sing, rest and speak their stores. Healing, transformation and renewal are common themes within Red Tent communities. Regardless of age, culture, background, experience, religion, or circumstance, all women have a home within the Red Tent. There is a deep-knowing that when a woman enters the Red Tent she is supported not only by other women, but by an ancient energy that has drawn women together since the Beginning.

Women have big, important stories. Deep, painful stories. Stories that matter. Stories make up the meaning of women’s lives and yet for so long there has not been a place for women to share these stories. It is so easy for women to hide what has happened to them – to stuff their own experiences down into a hidden-away-space so as not to feel them. It makes it easier to ‘get on’ with day to day life. But within the walls of the Red Tent women are experiencing the phenomenal healing power of telling their stories. No one needs ‘fixing’ or advice in the Red Tent. There is no judgement or ‘therapy’. But there’s lots of compassion. And there are lots of women being heard. When women speak it, shout it, cry it, scream it, feel it – whatever ‘it’ is, then it comes to the surface to be released. Women’s stories are monumentally important. Each and every one of them. All over the world the Red Tent is providing a safe and sacred space for women to tell their stories. And be heard.

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Photograph © Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014

In September 2012, award winning film-maker Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost released a ground-breaking documentary entitled “Things We Don’t Talk About: Women’s Stories from the Red Tent‘. This 72 minute film seeks to ‘humanize the stories in the Red Tent – to put a face on the space’. Recently I had the wonderful pleasure of connecting with Dr. Isadora to talk about her film and the worldwide Red Tent movement.

Dr. Isadora, can you define what the Red Tent is for modern-day women?

“The Red Tent today can be anything you want it to be. The Red Tent is to fulfill the needs of your community. What do women need? Who would come? Sometimes women need to dance, sometimes to talk, sometimes to rest, to laugh, to cry, or to eat soup. There’s no one right way to create a Red Tent space. It has to meet the needs of the community, whatever those needs might be.”

Why now? Why at this time? Why has the Red Tent movement become so big?

“Contemporary women have a need for sisterhood. The Red Tent movement has a wonderful ability to cross all boundaries of culture, religion and background. No matter who you are, what language you speak or who you love, inside the Red Tent we are all sisters. I’ve heard women’s stories from Red Tents in India that are the same as women’s stories from Red Tents in Chile. The Red Tent transcends everything and brings women together to just ‘be’ in a safe and sacred space.”

So is the Red Tent part of the feminist movement?

“Well, firstly, let’s define feminism. My definition of a feminist is someone who believes that all women should be respected, honoured, nurtured, and heard. A feminist wants all women to believe in themselves. A feminist is someone who wants women to muster up the courage to live what they came here to do. I believe we are in the third wave of feminism. The first wave was the right to vote. Then came the second wave which was for equality. But we went out too hard. We burnt ourselves out. And so now the third wave of feminism is about self-care and self-love. It’s about bringing everything back into balance. The Red Tent gives us a place where we can find this balance. We can find sustenance communing with other women within the walls of the Red Tent. This gives us the power and the strength to go out into the world and do our work. Women need this balance.”

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Photograph © Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014

 

Dr. Isadora, in addition to being a filmmaker, you are also a textile historian. How important is the ‘fabric’ when creating a Red Tent?

“I have personally done over 500 film screenings of ‘Things We Don’t Talk About‘. Each screening is done in a Red Tent. I set up these Red Tents in gardens, churches, houses, forests, community halls and theatres. I have a great love of fabric. I have lived in 18 countries and I am intrigued by the history of fabric. I create amazing Red Tents with beautiful fabrics that I have collected from all over the world. But I know women who simply gather in circle each wearing a red scarf. That’s a Red Tent too. The Red Tent is any embodied space that honours the needs of women.”

Could you share your forward vision for the Red Tent movement?

“I would like to see The Red Tent movement get to places that are not so westernized. I would like to see it grow into places such as Eastern Europe and Asia. I’d like to see the potential that the Red Tent movement has to support women in those countries. I’d also like more international festivals with huge Red Tents. I envision global summits and international symposiums on the Red Tent movement where women from all over the world come to share their experience and their future vision.”

And finally, what about the future vision for your film? Where to from here for ‘The Red Tent Movie: Things We Don’t Talk About’?

“I would like to do lots more film screenings within the US and internationally. And I’d like to make another Red Tent film. The next one would incorporate women’s stories from the global Red Tent movement. I’d like to film women from the Red Tent telling their stories in their own countries, culture and language, and then subtitle them in English.”

When contemporary women are asked what the Red Tent means to them, they share that the Red Tent is “a sacred feminine temple where I can honour myself”, and “home”, and “a place of powerful healing – healing where nothing needs to be done”, and “a place where I can come back to my pack.” There is a gentleness, kindness and realm of support for women within the Red Tent that is not found anywhere else in modern day society. Many women are witness to the powerful outpouring of love that takes place in the Red Tent. Women who have previously felt resistance toward women’s circles because of negative experiences of malevolent or competitive women are being drawn back to reconnect with women within the safe space of the Red Tent. Here, women are being nurtured by each other. Women can enter the Red Tent at any time. This supportive space is no longer just for women at the time of menstruation. The global Red Tent culture offers a place for all women to gather and honour their own individual journey while experiencing oneness with a united sisterhood.

There are often regular monthly gatherings within a Red Tent community. These monthly gatherings might be loosely structured to include movement and music, talks, rest time, craft activities, body work, creative pursuits, pampering, reading, journalling and much more. In addition, Red Tent communities offer open days where women can use the space in whatever way supports their needs.   Workshops or special events held in the Red Tent are often focused on areas that are deeply raw and painful for women. These can include topics such as healing from birth trauma, dialogue about sexual abuse and rape, mother wound healing, and empowerment around the menstrual cycle. Often when women take part in a workshop or retreat, they can experience big shifts only to go back to the ‘real world’ where there is no where to discuss, share, explore, or expand these shifts further. This can be difficult when the work is deep and the processes new. Within the space of the Red Tent, women can find ongoing support around such shifts from other women in the Red Tent community and from the space itself.

It is common within the Red Tent to find teenagers conversing with crones. This is a space where all stages of a woman’s life are recognized and honoured. The sacred trinity of maiden, mother and crone are melded together in a diverse and dynamic group of women defying societal norms on age segregation. It is within the Red Tent that young girls are experiencing powerful coming-of-age circles and empowering mentorship programs. Once again women are guiding girls into womanhood. For the first time in generations girls have a place to go to learn the ways of women. The Red Tent is a collaboration of women. All women have gifts to bring. Some women give massages, as others make tea. Some women bake cakes while others brush hair. Some women read poetry as their sisters are painting toenails. The Red Tent is where all of this can happen simultaneously and with complete spontaneity.

The healing that is taking place in the Red Tent is vital for our planet. When women heal themselves there is a ripple effect that touches their ancestors, their children, and the entire global community. Courageous women all over the world are speaking their stories. Women are finding their voices. When a woman comes to the Red Tent she experiences a ‘homecoming’ and a deep sense of belonging. Each time she returns to the Red Tent she returns home to herself.

© Copyright Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014 All Rights Reserved.

 About the Author

Teresa Maria Bilowus is a facilitator of workshops and retreats pertaining to Women’s Blood Mysteries. She is a Menstruality Empowerment Activist. Teresa facilitates Red Tent Bournemouth (Dorset, UK) and is the founder of Moon Girl Warriors, a powerful coming-of-age mentorship program for girls. Teresa is passionate about giving voice to womb-space wisdom and educating women on the rites-of-passage from menarche to menopause. She studies metaphysics and is a freelance writer. Teresa is the inspired mother of two phenomenal daughters.

Teresa can be contacted at: returntotheredtent@gmail.com

 

For further information on the Red Tent please visit:

Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost – ‘The Red Tent Movie – Things We Don’t Talk About’ http://www.redtentmovie.com/

The Red Tent Temple Movement http://redtenttemplemovement.com/

The Red Tent Directory – UK and Europe http://redtentdirectory.com/

Red Tents In Every Neighbourhood http://www.deannalam.com/global-network/

And for further information about HERSTORY – A Womanifesto (an informative free e-book) please visit the website of Jane Hardwicke Collings: http://www.moonsong.com.au/

 

 

 

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Filed under "things we don't talk about", ALisa Starkweather, Anita Diamant, blood, coming of age, daughter, DeAnna L'am, Feminism, friendship, From the filmmaker, growing up, Guest Blogger, healing, how to create a Red Tent, international, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, menstruation, moon, Moon Lodge, mooncycle, red tent, red tent experience, red tent film, red tent movie, red tent temple, Red Tent Temple Movment, sacred space, space, The Red Tent, women's stories