Tag Archives: parenting

Leah’s First Period Ceremony

by DeAnna L’am

Leah called me to let me know she has just got her period! Being a heart-auntie to her I was delighted, and deeply touched that she chose to share this with me… Leah excitedly relayed the experience over the phone, told me of her Moms special attentions, and her bounty of gifts that included a red ruby necklace, a journal, fragrant bath salts, a red candle, a box of soothing teas, and many beautifully printed cloth pads. Leah continued to say that she chose to have a ceremony with only her Mom and myself present! I was lost for words…

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The date was set, and Leah’s Mom & I were busy planning. We knew we wanted the ceremony to take place in nature, and chose a special grove of Redwoods, which we both love, as our designated spot. We explored what we would want to convey to Leah, and planned ceremonial activities to reflect each of the points we discussed. This was exciting!

The grove welcomed us with warm sunshine, a slight breeze, and deep quiet. We walked softly on the forest floor: a veteran cycling woman, a woman who stopped bleeding, and a girl who just started her first cycle…

We draped red fabrics over lower branches to create an entrance to our sacred place: a cave-like hollow at the base of a huge Grandma Redwood tree. Leah explored the surrounding while we prepared the womb-like tree hollow. We placed a large red fabric on the ground, and created an altar in the center, honoring each of the 4 directions and elements: Feathers in the East to represent Air; A red candle in the South to represent Fire; Sea shells in the West represented Water, and crystals in the North brought Earth to complete the circle, while red flowers graced the center.

Everything was ready. We called Leah to the opening of the tree hollow, smudged each other with pungent sage to clear the old and welcome the new, and asked each other: ‘How do you enter the circle?’ To which we each answered: “In perfect love and perfect trust!”

Inside our cozy womb space we started with a song, and then Leah’s Mom and I each shared with her the story of our first period. Leah then told her fresh new story for the first time in sacred circle.

Each of us adult women shared some of the confusions or questions we had as girls about menstruation and what we learned over the years, which in turn allowed Leah to ask us some of her own questions and receive answers.

We then each presented Leah with a gift. Her Mom gifted her with a Moon Calendar that shows all phases of the moon, for an entire year, on one beautiful poster. Leah marked her first MoonTime by filling in the full moon image with a red pen, as her flow started on the day of the full moon! I presented Leah with a red bracelet and a red rose.

To symbolize Leah’s transition from girlhood to womanhood, her Mom and I created a gateway with arms stretched up and hands clasped together. We invited Leah to ponder what she would like to leave behind as she moves through the gate, and what was she hoping to move toward.

When she was ready, we asked Leah to say Goodbye to an object she brought to represent her childhood, and to discard of it anywhere she chooses. Leah placed a stuffed animal, which she had since she was a baby, in a small cavity inside a nearby redwood, and stood there a moment, saying Goodbye to it…

She then turned toward the open gateway, which her mom and I were embodying, and regally walked through to ‘The Other Side’ representing Womanhood. Our cheers and hugs lasted for a long time…

The time for blessings arrived! We opened a pomegranate juice bottle and poured a few drops on Mother Earth, speaking words of blessing for Her well being. Filling our own glasses with beautiful crimson liquid, we each spoke heartfelt blessing to Leah, honoring her as a newly cycling sister. We shared yummy dark chocolate to enrich and sweeten the moment, which we dipped into our juice and devoured!

It was time to close the circle by thanking and releasing the four directions & four elements whom we welcomed at the opening. While we gathered and packed our altar, Leah was quietly communing with a redwood tree. A shift seemed to have taken place in her. She was still a girl, but a sense of depth seems to have settled in and around her, that will only deepen and grow through her many years of cycling.

(* Leah is a pseudo-name I gave my young friend to protect her privacy)

About the Author:

DeAnna L’am, speaker, coach, and trainer, is the author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s Guide to Getting Your Period’. She is the founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™ .

A pioneer in Menstrual Empowerment, DeAnna has been transforming lives around the world for over 20 years, by helping women & girls love themselves unconditionally!  She teaches women how to dissolve PMS symptoms; draw strength from their cycle (rather than be at its mercy); model self-acceptance, self-care, and self-esteem to their daughters; and hold Red Tents in their communities.

Visit DeAnna at: www.deannalam.com

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DeAnna L’am is excited to announce…

2nd Annual Red Tents In Every Neighborhood ~ Global Summit:

OUR DAUGHTERS, OURSELVES

 “A Mother-Daughter Interview in the Red Tent”
a New Video by Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost  and Teresa Moorehouse will be featured during the Summit.

What messages did your mother give you about being a Woman?

What messages are you offering your daughter, or son, about being a Woman?

What legacy would you like to pass to Today’s Girls?

About the Red Tent World Summit:

Join me to listen to Womb Wisdom, to Honor Our Mothers, Ourselves, and Today’s Girls! Get Inspired by Leading Visionary Women from Around the World: U.S.A, Spain, Austria, Italy, France, Ireland, India, Mexico, Chile, and New Zealand, with Special Guest – MARIANNE WILLIAMSON!

Our FREE Global Summit will air February 1-28,

and you can watch it from the comfort of your home!

join-the-telesummit

 

Leave a comment

Filed under DeAnna L'am, Guest Blogger, menstruation

First blood stories…

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 is your first blood story?

I look forward to reading your comments below.

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About the Interviewee featured in this videos:

DeAnna L’am, speaker, coach, and trainer, is the author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s Guide to Getting Your Period’. She is the founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™ .

A pioneer in Menstrual Empowerment, DeAnna has been transforming lives around the world for over 20 years, by helping women & girls love themselves unconditionally!  She teaches women how to dissolve PMS symptoms; draw strength from their cycle (rather than be at its mercy); model self-acceptance, self-care, and self-esteem to their daughters; and hold Red Tents in their communities.

Visit DeAnna at: www.deannalam.com

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DeAnna L’am is excited to announce…

2nd Annual Red Tents In Every Neighborhood ~ Global Summit:

OUR DAUGHTERS, OURSELVES

 “A Mother-Daughter Interview in the Red Tent”
a New Video by Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost  and Teresa Moorehouse will be featured during the Summit.

What messages did your mother give you about being a Woman?

What messages are you offering your daughter, or son, about being a Woman?

What legacy would you like to pass to Today’s Girls?

About the Red Tent World Summit:

Join me to listen to Womb Wisdom, to Honor Our Mothers, Ourselves, and Today’s Girls! Get Inspired by Leading Visionary Women from Around the World: U.S.A, Spain, Austria, Italy, France, Ireland, India, Mexico, Chile, and New Zealand, with Special Guest – MARIANNE WILLIAMSON!

Our FREE Global Summit will air February 1-28,

and you can watch it from the comfort of your home!

join-the-telesummit

Leave a comment

Filed under "things we don't talk about", blood, coming of age, DeAnna L'am, menstruation, menstruation history, menstruation video, moon, mooncycle, red tent, Red Tent TV, Red Tents in Every Neighborhood, Reproductive Health, The Red Tent, Video of the Month Clip

Red Tent TV: Double Feature

Join us in the virtual “Red Tent” for DOUBLE FEATURE with 2 episodes of Red Tent TV.

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

How would our world be different if we could have a space like this to share our stories? How would our relationships with our mothers or our daughters be different?

I look forward to reading your comments below.

We will always need Red Tents in our neighborhoods, and here’s why…

About the Interviewee featured in these videos:

DeAnna L’am, speaker, coach, and trainer, is the author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s Guide to Getting Your Period’. She is the founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™ .

A pioneer in Menstrual Empowerment, DeAnna has been transforming lives around the world for over 20 years, by helping women & girls love themselves unconditionally!  She teaches women how to dissolve PMS symptoms; draw strength from their cycle (rather than be at its mercy); model self-acceptance, self-care, and self-esteem to their daughters; and hold Red Tents in their communities.

Visit DeAnna at: www.deannalam.com

bar

-1

DeAnna L’am is excited to announce…

2nd Annual Red Tents In Every Neighborhood ~ Global Summit:

OUR DAUGHTERS, OURSELVES

 “A Mother-Daughter Interview in the Red Tent”
a New Video by Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost  and Teresa Moorehouse will be featured during the Summit.

What messages did your mother give you about being a Woman?

What messages are you offering your daughter, or son, about being a Woman?

What legacy would you like to pass to Today’s Girls?

About the Red Tent World Summit:

Join me to listen to Womb Wisdom, to Honor Our Mothers, Ourselves, and Today’s Girls! Get Inspired by Leading Visionary Women from Around the World: U.S.A, Spain, Austria, Italy, France, Ireland, India, Mexico, Chile, and New Zealand, with Special Guest – MARIANNE WILLIAMSON!

Our FREE Global Summit will air February 1-28,

and you can watch it from the comfort of your home!

join-the-telesummit

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under "things we don't talk about", coming of age, daughter, DeAnna L'am, From the filmmaker, growing up, menstruation, mooncycle, mother, motherhood, parenting, red tent, Red Tent TV

How to Discuss Menstruation With Your Child

by DeAnna L’am

“This is my Moon Flow,” I said to Ellah, who was about 4 at the time, when she saw me changing a pad. I never saw my Mom changing pads, and hence committed to not hiding my natural flow from my daughter. Without my flow, my girl would not have been born… How could this be anything but a source of joy in my ability to give birth? An ability she will one day share!

“All women flow with the moon,” I added, “and you, too, will flow when you become a woman.” Ellah smiled with the promise, and at four years of age this was enough. I didn’t refer to the flow as “blood” until much later, since I didn’t want Ellah to associate it with an “Ouwy.” The purpose with young children, both girls and boys, is to introduce, and talk about, this natural bodily function in the same neutral way as you do when talking about eating. Gradually, as the child matures, it is good to tie the flow to its purpose, which is a woman’s ability to give life.

If you find that you have some charge about your menstruation (such as physical or emotional pain) it is best not to introduce the subject to your child until you work through your difficulty and gain some balance for yourself.

Generally, it is best not to bombard children with information, but to wait for their questions. When Ellah was about seven, she asked me where does the Moon Flow come from? My answer was inspired by the Waldorf educational approach, and I explained that the Moon Flow is “Mom’s Nest.”

“Mommy’s Nest???” she asked in amazement.

“Yes,” I said. “When a Mama bird prepares for a baby bird to be born, she makes a nest. She flies in the forest and collects leaves, feathers, boughs, branches, and bits of fluff, and she weaves a nest for the baby bird to comfortably lie in.”

“Well…” I continued, “it’s the same with me. And with all women! Every month a woman’s body prepares a nest in her tummy, where a baby can grow. Her wise body gathers tissue and blood from inside her, and makes a warm and comfortable nest. Then, if no baby starts to grow, there is no need for the nest. So Mamma’s wise body sends the nest out in a big whoosh. That’s why the flow is red, because it’s made of all the good, nourishing blood that was ready to help the baby grow.”

“Every month,” I shared with my daughter, “I thank my body for being such a miracle, and for knowing how to make a baby grow inside… I also thank it for the wisdom of letting go of the nest, when I don’t need it…” Ellah was fully satisfied. She had a clear picture in her mind, and the Moon Flow made sense to her.

Telling your child a story of this nature doesn’t only encapsulate the physical facts associated with menstruation. It allows you to start instilling the awe, which our bodies deserve for their amazing abilities. Beyond that, you are actively bucking the cultural current of taboo and shame around menstruation. You are raising a girl or a boy who will have a different narrative with which to counter the cultural beliefs when they encounter them.

barAbout the Author:

DeAnna-Sacramento-WEBDeAnna L’am, speaker, coach, and trainer, is the author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s Guide to Getting Your Period’. She is the founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™ . She is the founder of Red Tents in Every Neighborhood.

A pioneer in Menstrual Empowerment, DeAnna has been transforming lives around the world for over 20 years, by helping women & girls love themselves unconditionally!  She teaches women how to dissolve PMS symptoms; draw strength from their cycle (rather than be at its mercy); model self-acceptance, self-care, and self-esteem to their daughters; and hold Red Tents in their communities. Visit DeAnna at: www.deannalam.com

bar

-1

DeAnna L’am is excited to announce…

2nd Annual Red Tents In Every Neighborhood ~ Global Summit:

OUR DAUGHTERS, OURSELVES

 “A Mother-Daughter Interview in the Red Tent”
a New Video by Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost  and Teresa Moorehouse will be featured during the Summit.

What messages did your mother give you about being a Woman?

What messages are you offering your daughter, or son, about being a Woman?

What legacy would you like to pass to Today’s Girls?

About the Red Tent World Summit:

Join me to listen to Womb Wisdom, to Honor Our Mothers, Ourselves, and Today’s Girls! Get Inspired by Leading Visionary Women from Around the World: U.S.A, Spain, Austria, Italy, France, Ireland, India, Mexico, Chile, and New Zealand, with Special Guest – MARIANNE WILLIAMSON!

Our FREE Global Summit will air February 1-28,

and you can watch it from the comfort of your home!

join-the-telesummit

Leave a comment

Filed under ageing, and Hormone Cycle, blood, coming of age, daughter, DeAnna L'am, growing up, menstruation, moon, mooncycle, moontime, mother, motherhood, parenting, red tent, Reproductive Health, womb

Red Tent Communities of Chicago: Tending to Home

by Jayleigh Lewis

Sometimes, you don’t have to travel far to find your tribe. Sometimes, a wealth of community, sisterhood, and inspiring conversation finds you right where you are. Dr. Isadora, filmmaker of the Red Tent movie, Things We Don’t Talk About, had this experience last month (July 2014) when she attended two Red Tent events in her current home city of Chicago.

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The first event was a combination film screening and Red Tent, co-facilitated by Dr. Isadora and local life coach and energy worker Andrea Friedmann. Andrea, a vibrant Colombian-American woman who strongly supports women’s community and owns a coaching business called Vibrations Coaching, met Dr. Isadora initially through Linda Conroy of the Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference. It was at their first meeting that the idea to host an event together in the Chicago area was born. The vision became manifest on July 20, when an intimate, multi-generational group of women gathered at Grace Lutheran Church in Evanston, surrounded by the red fabric of Dr. Isadora’s traveling Red Tent.

After watching the film, the women participated in activities led by Andrea, including a talking circle and a “soul journey,” which Dr. Isadora described as an adventurous guided meditation, the purpose of which was to connect women with their souls and encourage them to make discoveries about the deepest parts of themselves. Dr. Isadora witnessed a rich diversity of personal stories emerging from the group as women spoke about their feelings and experiences.

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One woman, in response to a question posed in the talking circle—what story from the film did you relate to?—shared the resonance she felt with the woman who spoke onscreen about the complicated emotions that arise from knowing she won’t have children. She could relate, as she is coming to terms with knowing she won’t have grandchildren.

Many women in the room spoke about wanting local community and not having it. Dr. Isadora and her mother, who was in attendance at the gathering, echoed this theme. Dr. Isadora spoke about wanting to have more friends in the area who are “real”—people who can be honest and vulnerable about the experiences and challenges they are moving through and who won’t just tell her they’re “fine” when she asks how they are. Her mother, who is making plans to move her art studio to the Chicago area, said that she wants to spend more time around women like those who were in the room. All seemed to share a longing for community whose roots run deep, and when one woman proposed hosting a local Red Tent, everyone said they would come.

In another Chicago suburb (Berwyn), Dr. Isadora attended another local Red Tent gathering on July 27. Led by Celena Chavez, co-host of the Red Tent at the Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference, this community is relatively new, having been started by Celena after she recently moved to the area. Dr. Isadora described the gathering as relaxing and peaceful; she really appreciated being able to attend a Red Tent that she didn’t have to create!

Many women present had young children with them. One woman who was seven months pregnant spoke with Dr. Isadora about how the latter overcame her fear of pregnancy but is still feeling into what it means to enter this life stage, in anticipation of eventually having her own children. Celena, a mother of young children herself, shared about her practice as a midwife who works with placentas. Some of the children present received astrology readings from Dr. Isadora, containing information about the unique challenges and life lessons each was born with—invaluable for their mothers’ understanding of how to support them.

In keeping with this Red Tent’s theme for July, “Moon in Leo,” women spoke about how they, like the archetypal lion, symbol of the sun, are shining in their lives, and how they want to shine even more brightly. Intuitive ways of knowing were honored as women shared card readings with each other, using angel cards and mother wisdom cards. The archangel card Dr. Isadora drew reminded her of the importance of bringing more humor into her life.

In the midst of her near-constant travel to attend Red Tent movie screenings and Red Tent-related events across the country, these two gatherings allowed Dr. Isadora to stay close to home and connect deeply with local women. She plans to continue this practice!

What stories, experiences, and gifts are you exchanging or do you want to exchange with the women in your geographical community? How are you growing relationships with deep roots?

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Filed under "things we don't talk about", From the filmmaker, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, Jayleigh Lewis, parenting, recent screenings, red tent, red tent film, red tent movie, women's stories

Teacher-Mom

by Prof. Janet C. Mendoza Stickmon,

On paper and voicemails, I identify as a professor.  Professional interactions–a professor.  In the classroom–a professor.  I’ve found that identifying as such is so important for us as people of color who have students who have never had a professor of color…it becomes important to recognize our title while at the same time not turning it into such a big deal that the title alienates me from my students.  This is tricky. In everyday speech, I speak of myself simply as a teacher.  Teaching is one of the most selfless, prophetic professions one could ever undertake. I put it up there with the nurse, the doctor, the therapist, the minister, the curandera, the babaylan, the griot, and other healers…like crossing guards, ice cream truck drivers, and tow truck drivers. Any qualities I claim to embody as a professor is because of the people that I have emulated.  Teachers, priests, nuns, indigenous healers, counselors, homeless men and women, the anonymous fellow passenger sitting next to me on a plane, friends, family, and other loved ones have all had a hand in my development as a human being and consequently as  a teacher.  If I am ever complimented on my teaching, I have no choice but to remember that I am a direct reflection of the loving people I have come in contact with throughout my life.  When my mentors have come out to support me, I learned surprisingly that my success was their triumph. My beauty was their splendor.  My happiness, their rapture.

Teachers have the potential to be healers.  Not saviors. Not omnipotent leaders.  But humble healers who know that whatever liberatory catharsis is experienced by our students as a result of our teaching, that this is because we are instruments of a greater power. The gifts we share with those we care most deeply for are bestowed upon us by the Divine. This is a tremendous responsibility and one must not intellectualize it too much otherwise one might miss the beauty of it, the mystery of it and collapse from the enormity of it.  There are things that I do in the classroom that I cannot take credit for.  Like the perfect thought that comes at the perfect moment… and I am left surprised by my own words. The impact we have on others, even on the days we don’t feel good about ourselves, is fascinating to me.  Such things can only be explained by the Divine.  It is vital to call upon the universe, God, the gods, the ancestors, all to reconcile the interstices that bind our greatest expectations to our greatest disappointments; that bind our greatest lack of understanding to our greatest revelations.

When my daughter was born, this identity as teacher/professor was tested. Hyacinth was born on March 26, 2008. I was with her for 5 months before I returned to work.  And when I stepped foot into the classroom, I didn’t feel like a professor or a teacher.  I felt like I had never taught before.  I was lost in my own classroom.  I stumbled over my words.  My old lesson plans seemed outdated and I felt clumsy trying to teach from them.  I was painfully ashamed and considered ending my career as a teacher.  I couldn’t figure out what had happened to me.  I thought that it had something to do with using baby talk for five months straight.  But I felt it was much more than that.

In the past when I’ve been in these awkward, painful transitional phases, I knew this signaled a new exciting beginning. So I waited and rode the wave. Eventually, it occurred to me that I couldn’t possibly expect myself to be the same person, the same teacher, after bringing a life into the world.  I had changed permanently, and what was painful for me in that moment, I imagine runs parallel to the trauma Hyacinth felt when she was born.  Perhaps, the Goddess is in the transition phase right now, preparing to give birth to a new me.  And I need to get out of my own way to let that birth happen.

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Filed under career, daughter, growing up, mother, parenting, story, transition