My favourite self care/ red tent tips for Moontimes

  Today I am giving thanks for the flow of my sacred moonblood. I find these days of bleeding such a special and magical time. I love the idea of the Red Tent, where all the women in the village would go and bleed together in a special sanctuary space, away from the rest of the village and away from their daily duties. In this fast paced life we have today, I feel it is more important than ever to incorporate a little of this red tent idea into our busy daily lives.
   I have put together some ideas to share with you, of ways to give yourself a bit of self care and love during these potent days of your cycle. My family knows that the day I start bleeding, I will be mostly resting and they usually pull together and look after themselves more during this time. I am super lucky to have such a supportive partner and children. My teenage boys are extremely capable and don't mind taking care of their younger siblings sometimes. I know that not everyone has such a supportive environment, but here are a few little things you can do for yourself, that make a big difference.

1) Take a magnesium bath.
There is a reason most of us crave chocolate around the time of our periods.Chocolate contains magnesium!  Many of us are deficient in this important mineral, and it is fantastic at helping to balance our hormones and alleviate symptoms of PMS. I find a great way of taking magnesium is to absorb it through my skin via magnesium flakes in the bath. These are easy to find online. You can add some sweet smelling essential oils and flower petals too, light a candle or two and give yourself a good long soak.

2) Beautiful clear space.
Make a tidy, clear space for yourself to sit in. Perhaps light some candles and arrange some beautiful crystals and flowers around you. Make your space as clear and pretty as possible. As you create your space, feel as much love as you can for yourself and your precious womb. Do this as lovingly as you would for someone else you love. I think a lot of us women are fantastic at doing things for others and giving love to others, but sadly neglect giving ourselves enough love. Make a new intention that from now on, 'I will love myself more and more every day.' Your moontime is a great time to go inside and re-affirm this mantra of self love!

3) Nature time.
   If you can, sit in a garden or a wild space in nature during your bleed, and properly connect with Mother Earth. Feel held and safe in her arms, and let any negativity and worries flow away and turn into compost. If you feel so inclined, put on a long skirt, take off your underwear and bleed directly onto the earth. This is such a magical connection, especially if you do it under the moonlight!

4) Give your blood to the plants.
Plants LOVE our moonblood! Use a mooncup and pour directly onto the plants, or use washable cloth pads and pour the soak water onto your beloved plants. (Make sure you do not use salt or essential oils in the soak water if you are going to give this to the plants. )

5) Herbal teas, hemp milk and maca.
You can support your system very well during your menstruation with nourishing herbal teas. There are lots of blends of women's tea available ready mixed, or you can make up your own from your favourite selection of herbs. I find hemp milk wonderfully nourishing too. It is full of good things like essential fatty acids, vitamins and nutrients. Simply soak a handful of seeds overnight in spring water, then drain. Add to a blender with a pint of pure water and blend. Sieve mixture into a tall glass and enjoy! Add a little honey or date syrup if you want it sweet. Hemp milk also makes a brilliant base for smoothies too, and if you add a little of the Peruvian super-food maca, it is even better! Amongst other benefits, maca is rich in anti oxidants, balances estrogen levels and improves female sexual health and helps balance your hormones, plus it has a yummy malty flavour! It is good to take all month long, but I find it especially helpful during menstruation.

6) Journaling and meditation.
I don't know about you, but for me, journaling comes easy, it is simply something I do. I find the release of thoughts, feelings, dreams and ideas onto paper, helps me still my thoughts and calm my busy brain! I find making a space to meditate more challenging! There always seems to be so many distractions and things to do, but if I do force a space, even just a few minutes to breathe and meditate, I always feel better afterwards. It can be a very useful tool for problem solving too. If you ask yourself a question beforehand, perhaps about something you are having difficulties with, then breathe and let the thought go, some interesting ideas and insights can come to you, so have a pen and paper to hand to note them down afterwards.

So there we have my six top tips for self care during your moontime. I hope you find something useful here to help you relax and enjoy your moons more!
Blessings x

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Finding the gift...

  Well to say that that the last few months of my life have been filled with challenges would be a grand under statement! My world has been rocked in some painful and ouchy ways and I have visited a whole range of emotions from the lower spectrum/ the dark side! I won't go into specifics, but suffice to say many things have sucked, but through all the discomfort and stress, has grown a tiny seedling of faith and joy and hope! Sometimes you have to look really hard to find the blessing, but it is always there. I feel that life tests us and pushes us out of our comfort zones, so that we may grow and become even more authentic and wonderful versions of ourselves, living the lives we are supposed to be living here on this beautiful messed up planet. One thing that has been unshakable in me is my gratitude. I give thanks every single day for my blessings, and I constantly pray for guidance about what I am supposed to be doing and follow those little quiet prompts from my heart. I feel that practicing gratitude is one of the best things anyone can do, and I strongly recommend this life transforming practice.
   So even when it seems like you are wading through crap and everything is going crazy in your world, look really hard and find the blessing! I feel like a little seedling, that has just begun to unfurl in the sun from the safe dark earth. I feel like the Universe has given me a push to leave the warm, safe darkness of the soil, and even though it is super scary, I am excited for the new adventures that await!
 Blessings and love to all x

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Slowing down for Solstice

   Today I am so grateful for family. There is something extremely magical about this deep winter time. All the plants and lots of animals going into their hibernation, while we humans busy about like crazy in this run up to Christmas. This year I have had my fair share of crazy busy, but as the Winter Solstice approached, and the longest night and the shortest day were upon us, I found myself slowing right down.
   I am a great believer in simple living, slow living, slowing down the insane pace of modern life and bringing the really important things into brighter focus, such as family, good nutrition, nature time, crafting and nurturing. All these things in my life I am so grateful for. I love making time for lots of Christmas crafting  and baking with my kids. Their excitement brings me a lot of joy! ( Sometimes I think I may even be a little bit more excited than they are!)
   I found a beautiful book with twelve tales from around the world about the winter Solstice (The return of the light, by Carolyn McVickar Edwards) . I have been reading my family a story a day in the run up to the Solstice, sitting round our little Christmas tree, by candle light and fairy light. It is little, simple things like this that make me so happy and feel so fortunate to be alive and surrounded by dear ones.
   My thoughts and prayers go out to all those alone or suffering in this, the darkest time of year. May this new year coming bring comfort and joy to all those in need, and love permeate the darkness. Blessings.

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Autumn abundance!

   Today, I am so grateful for sunny September weather and Autumn's bounty! As I sit here, I am surrounded by the wonderful abundance of the September harvest time! We are lucky enough to have an elder tree, an apple tree and a hazelnut tree all in and around our garden, not to mention blackberries within a five minute walk! So far we have made and eaten quite a few blackberry and apple pies, which are a firm family favourite! We also made a batch of elderberry syrup, winter's medicine, which kept us all going through winter last year. It is a magical remedy for colds and coughs, through the colder months. (There is a recipe for this on my craft and recipe blog, 'Arisha's Gratitude Lounge. )
   Last year, we had a go at wrapping our apple harvest in newspaper and crates, and we were still eating garden apples, (albeit a little soft!), for many months into the new year! I felt a bit like a character from Brambly Hedge! This year we have done the same and also stewed a load and jarred it up to eat over the winter. Feeling so blessed! I suppose it is a kind of urban homesteading!

   September is my absolute favourite month, especially when that is still summery and warm! The quality of light is almost golden and everything feels magical and exciting! In our home school activities, we are busy with autumnal themed crafts and stories, which are a fantastic way to gently bring the turning wheel of the seasons into focus for the little ones.
   I adore the summer, but there is something wonderful about pulling out the woolly jumpers and hats, and the wee nip in the air, with a drifting smell of wood smoke on the breeze, which make me feel glad to be alive!
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Walking in the rain

Today I am grateful for waterproof clothing and adventurous spirit! It does not have to be a sunny day to go out adventuring with your children, in fact, I think it is a good idea to get out in every weather to experience the different feelings of rain, wind, sun and everything in between on our skin! I feel that in this time of more and more screen based work, leisure and play, we must make time to get outside as much as possible! When we reconnect with nature, we feel calmer, happier and less stressed out. I have noticed over the years of raising my children, that if there is fighting, bickering or impatience with each other, almost always, a trip out into the nature, or even simply a walk into town is the solution for everyone to feel better!
   Being outdoors in nature and seeing green all about, has such a calming effect. It is also a great way to have time to talk and share with each other as a family. It always seems to be easier to talk about a difficult subject whilst walking. We have found as home educators, that we cover such an extensive range of topics while we are out walking, and somehow information really goes in, more than covering the same topics sitting at a desk.
   In short, being outdoors, particularly out in nature is a fantastic way to reconnect with each other and to nature herself, and everyone comes home feeling refreshed and ready for the next part of the day! Now, where did I put my wellies ......
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   Today I am thankful for all the dear ones in my life. I have been reflecting on life and death recently. My Mother in law passed away peacefully at home aged 73, two weeks ago, and her death has raised so much for me to process and think about. I have thought a lot about mortality and dear ones and how shocking it is to lose someone, even if their passing is kind of expected.
   I have come to remember just how important that is to value every second of life, and treasure the moments with family and friends, while we are all still here together. I feel so lucky to be a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a niece, a grand-daughter, a sister-in-law, an auntie, a friend.
   The passing of Edith has strengthened my resolve to make as much time to be with all these precious people as much as I can be, and be the best and truest version of myself that I can be while I have breath and life. I give thanks for the blessings in my life, and one of the biggest blessings of all is family and friends, and the opportunity to create happy memories with them to cherish for as long as I am granted life!
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