The Other Way

059: Embodied feminine spirituality: your menstrual cycle as your guide

February 27, 2024 Kasia Stiggelbout Season 2 Episode 59
The Other Way
059: Embodied feminine spirituality: your menstrual cycle as your guide
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We are BACK with our cherished guest, Amy Berryhill, and today we are confronting the cultural taboos of menstruation and discovering the life-giving power within our feminine cycles. In today's episode, we navigate the flowing path of embodiment. This practice goes beyond the rigidity of schedules and to-do lists, encouraging us to embrace the innate intuition and wildness that come with our natural rhythms. Trust me, by the end of our conversation, you'll view the ebbs and flows of your own life through a profoundly different lens.

Dive into the sacred synergy between spirituality and the cyclical nature of womanhood, where each phase of our menstrual cycle mirrors the mystical dance of the seasons and lunar phases. In this episode, my personal odyssey with yoga serves as a backdrop to exploring how the discipline can sometimes confine us, leading to the revelation that life itself is the ultimate yoga mat—rich with opportunities for growth and connection. Amy Berryhill's guidance illuminates this path, revealing how the holistic approach to embodiment can foster a more authentic and spiritually aligned existence.

Finally, we tackle the stigmatization of menstruation, challenging societal constructs that have shamed women for centuries. Through candid discussion and personal revelation, we celebrate the possibility of free bleeding as a practice for some and the broader awakening to the wisdom and strength of our bodies. A supportive community is key to this transformative journey, and this episode provides a space for collective healing and empowerment, urging us to cherish and honor our natural processes as sources of incredible power.

To connect with Amy:
IG: amy__berryhill 

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To connect with Kasia

Kasia:

Hello and welcome to the Other Way, a lifestyle podcast exploring uncommon, unconventional or otherwise alternative approaches to life, business and health. I'm your host, Kasia. I'm the founder of Inflow, a woman's wellness brand that designs intentional products to help women reconnect to their unique cyclical rhythm and find a balance between being and doing. This podcast is an extension of my mission within Flow. Here we provide intentional interviews with inspiring humans, trailblazers, researchers, spiritual teachers and more on the journey of doing things the Other Way. Now, today's guest is no exception. I welcome back Amy Berryhill. Amy is a women's embodiment guide, writer and artist devoted to replenishing the feminine soul in our individual and collective bodies. Amy was a guest on the podcast last year. It's one of our most listened episodes on the deep feminine, and today's topic is really going to be an extension of that. It is so edgy but so deeply aligned with my personal mission of exploring these parts of our lives as women that can feel shameful but also powerful in our reclamation of them. Now, reclaiming that innate feminine nature will look different for every woman, but for me, I have found that I spend most of my time in my head, completely disconnected from my body, and I know I talked about this on my rebrand episode, where I introduced the Other Way and Inflow my company. But one of the things that I realized over the past couple of months is that tapping into my body and really capturing presence and embodiment in daily life is one of my biggest challenges, but also the medicine I feel that I need. It has helped me, as a woman, balance all that doer, productive, controlling energy that, frankly, is my default, and it has helped me tap into intuition, more flow, more softness, surrender and trust, and beautiful things have really started to happen when I lean into that and when I honor my body as my guide, not just my mind, which is my default, and that has really been a challenge for me. All that wisdom that we talk about is truly available within our bodies and Amy has been exploring and leading women in group and one-on-one how our cycle can be a conduit to that connection. And today we cover a lot of interesting topics. Some of them are physical, some of them are spiritual or philosophical, really around our flow, and we cover the themes of every stage of your cycle, how they relate to nature, the mystical side of things, and we also cover some edgy topics where Amy, for example, shares about her philosophy around free bleeding. You can learn about what that is, you can explore how that topic even makes you feel or think, and I just I love conversations that go there.

Kasia:

This is such a mess listen. I'm so excited to share this with you and now, without further ado, let's jump on in. Amy. Welcome back to the podcast. Thanks for having me. Your episode is still a top listen from the first time we recorded and that was all about the deep feminine. I remember that being like such a core theme and we're definitely going to be playing off of that today. But before we dive into that, I would love to see if you could share with us what are three words that you would use to describe yourself. I also be curious to see if they changed, but I don't remember what you said last time. But I can go back and check. But what is true right now?

Amy Berryhill:

Wow, I totally just remembered that too. Let me feel I'd say earth, spunk and human. I love that.

Kasia:

Okay, spunk was definitely not in there. I would have. I would have remembered that. So definitely not. So that's, that's a nice swap, and the earth one. I think that's a new addition as well. So definitely in line with how I experience and have been experiencing you. And just for some context for everyone on the call Amy, you're an embodiment guide, a woman's embodiment guide, and an artist. I love your book. I called it out last time and you're actually my coach, so we work together as we explore the deep, feminine and this rhythmic, cyclical nature that woman experience. And so I would love to kick it off with actually defining embodiment, because I think that a lot of people hear the term, or I've seen it somewhere, but it still is really, really vague for me to understand. So what is it? Let's start there.

Amy Berryhill:

Yeah, I feel like, because it has been. It has become such a hot word, it can easily be thrown around and, you know, everyone's probably got their own experience and definition, but for me it's the experience of existing fully in this body, and embodiment is in the body, and so I think another way that people really get off of it is they think that it's just about the body and that we have to come totally out of the head and the mind doesn't, doesn't matter anymore, and just stay in your body and it's like well, actually, for me, embodiment is a union of all the systems within and then being able to open up, to connect to all of the natural systems around us, the ecosystems, the earth, each other, like. So for me, it's just this total union with life, that is, I am experiencing this from my body. So I hope that lands and everyone will, you know, have their own definition of it. But yeah, for me, that's how I feel it.

Kasia:

Oh, so beautifully said and I love that you mentioned that embodiment doesn't mean becoming disconnected from the mind, because I think that is like it kind of pulls us into that dualistic perspective of I am either in the mind or in the body. I cannot be in both at one time, and so I think it's so important to call that out and I appreciate you sharing that. I'm curious because you've been working in this work for some time and I've been following you for years now, so it's like so amazing to witness how has the practice of embodiment, like how has that evolved for you? Because I think and I'll speak from my experience but I see you know a lot of, especially on Instagram, like women sharing embodiment practices, and you know this is the way to tune into your body. And I'm curious, in your experience as a practitioner of you know embodiment practices yourself and as a coach, like what does that look like to actually practice embodiment in every moment or in the morning as part of a morning practice? Like what is that tangibly?

Amy Berryhill:

Yeah, I love this. So I think that what I see a lot and what can easily happen is people get tunnel vision on the practice itself. So this specific embodiment practice, where these are just gateways for us to come into our body so that we can go exist in the world, and so I feel like, especially in the coaching industry, the embodiment space, there's this hyper fixation on the practice itself and then kind of like a disconnect when it comes to just being in our life. And it's the whole point, like the whole point of embodiment practice is so that we can go out into the world and speak from our hearts and serve from our hearts and have deep relationships and connect with love and, you know, really become a beacon of beauty, of embodied aliveness. And you know, for me it has evolved a lot because my entry point was in yoga and I think I talked about that last time where you know, yoga really saved my life.

Amy Berryhill:

I was in a period of intense addiction and like self hatred, really spiraling down a not a good life path. And this path of yoga was the first time I remember sitting at the end of a sweaty, hot yoga class, which is funny because this is so many women's entry points hot yoga or yoga as a whole. But I remember it being the first time I was like, oh, I am in this magnificent body that is pulsing with life and that is of the trees and the river and the ocean and the sky, you know. And so for a long time I really I don't know if conflated is the right word but I really was like, oh, yoga is the ultimate path of embodiment because it gets you into your body. And then I went on this pendulum swing of really devoting myself to you, know the sutras, and going to yoga teacher training and getting so versed in that world. Then I noticed it becoming its own barrier away from just me existing in my life, because everything was from the yogic lens, everything was about that one specific practice as being embodiment.

Amy Berryhill:

And then for me, the feminine really found me through my womb, through this deep opening of you know, like the shakti that burst up through me was actually like a few nights before or the night before my bleed, like five years ago is living in Morgan and this is all going to circle back, but anyways, it was kind of the first time I experienced the same feeling, but through another entry point, and then it awoke this thing within me that was like wait, there's not just one specific path, that is the, you know, this is the one and almighty embodiment or spiritual path. It's like, oh, the point is to just experience life from my entire body and from, for women especially, like this, opened up this entire cyclical system within that connects us to, you know again, the trees and the ocean and all the wild cycles and the seasons. And so it's really evolved for me as not getting hyper fixated on you know what the practice or the lineage or this specific thing is, but using the lens of like, am I existing fully in my life? Am I showing up in love and truth and integrity in my relationships?

Amy Berryhill:

And if that's off, then I don't find that through this one specific practice, but then whatever the area of life that I'm feeling, the dissonance in, that becomes the yoga mat, you know, my relationship becomes the practice. Or having a like with a friendship, or a relationship where there's conflict and there's, you know, really hard opened resolution or business or creativity, and it has really become for me this it's just a way of being, and so I hope that answers that. But again, everyone's got their own entry points. Some people are like I started painting and my whole life opened up. It's like beautiful, you know, that's what it's about.

Kasia:

I love that, first of all, I didn't even know that story.

Kasia:

I mean, I knew that yoga was such a powerful conduit in your life but I didn't quite know, like what was that turning point where it kind of shifted?

Kasia:

And I'm so glad you mentioned this because, you know, in my experience and I know I'm not alone in this I think diet culture, the rules that women are taught to follow, like really kind of creates this, this universe in which, in my experience, I have found that without like containers and structures like yoga, like these spiritual teachers that tell you that you're not alone. And I think that's the first thing that I've learned from yoga is that it's just so powerful to have you reflect on that first entry point. And so I think that's one of the things that I've learned from yoga is that it's just so powerful to have you reflect on that first entry point. And so I think that's the first thing that I've learned from yoga is that it's just so powerful to have you reflect on that first entry point. And so I think that's one of the things that I've learned from yoga is that it's just so powerful to have you reflect on that first entry point.

Amy Berryhill:

Thank you, oh 100 percent and kind of to like backpack off of that and bring it through the lens of the menstrual cycle is, you know, if you think about it? And it's not saying these lineages that were channeled by humans are wrong. I think they were incredibly powerful, but they were created from humans and so they're inevitably going to have the human shadow in them. They're inevitably going to have that a lot of blind spots and a lot of dogma and all of that Whereas when it comes to, for women, the work of the deep feminine and sinking into your menstrual cycle, it is the wild instinctual nature that is within us, that has always been within us and that will always be within us. And so, for me, it's actually the most sovereign system of embodiment and spiritual opening and connection that is available to us, because, no matter if we're listening to it or not, it's happening. And so, for me, it was this realization that, oh my God, we don't need another thing out here telling us, we need to listen to this beautiful well of wisdom that is just pulsing and waiting for us to listen. And so, for me, this has opened up this entire world, and what I get so passionate about helping women with is listening to their own instinctual nature and not getting caught up on the specific teaching or the specific thing.

Amy Berryhill:

But what does that feel like in your body? What is that experience of her that's unique and that only you can really feel? And I feel like the biggest practice we can do is listen to that and go be in nature and strip it all away and listen to the great mother who is communicating to us, who is just being in her glory and is where that is the source that humans have channeled all of these other spiritual teachings from. So, instead of hyper focusing on the teaching itself, bring yourself to the source, and I think we can have this beautiful balance of both. But for me, even when I move through menopause, there will be new gifts there and I don't yet know them. But right now I'm in my bleeding years and I work with women in their bleeding years, and it's like I just want to gently shake every woman in the world and be like y'all. We have this incredible system inside, and learning how to listen to her will make your life really beautiful in ways that I don't know exactly, but in your own way.

Kasia:

I love that and I'm experiencing that. So let's talk a little bit deeper into what that looks like, because I think for a lot of women you know there are some terms out there in the wellness world that are thrown around, some of which you know obviously I'm very familiar with, since I have a product that is rooted in kind of bringing more awareness into the cycle, but terms like cycle syncing or, you know, embodiment practices how can you talk a bit about what does it look like, tangibly speaking? Like walk us through the journey of the feminine cycle? And maybe we can start by talking about how we can, maybe as a conduit, explore the cycle and what those practices look like, and does that change every single day? Like kind of give us a bird's eye view of what it looks like to tap into embodiment through the lens of your cycle.

Amy Berryhill:

Yeah, I love this. So, oh my gosh, I know we talked about this before the show where, like, we only have a little bit of time, but like I could spend 20, 30 minutes on each part. So what I want to say first is for anyone listening who is like yearning to begin this journey of learning her deeper or maybe you do, but you feel like I know that there's more than I could be touching, or you know, you know in your body, if you're being called by her is, instead of really figuring out where you currently are, wait for your bleed, your next bleed, and begin there and actually, you know, clear away your schedule if you can, I know, with you know, work, and if you have children and busy lives, like I know, it can be really challenging. But I want to encourage you to try your best to make it happen one or two days and create an altar for yourself. Spend some time in nature, turn your phone off for the whole day, if you can, or at least the first. You know five, six hours of your day and just listen.

Amy Berryhill:

And you might really hate this practice at first, because the feminine void space is nothingness. It is, you know, the dark soil in which the first sprout of life comes up. It is the darkness of the universe, right in between the stars. And so because we live in such a high, fast paced, you know, reward driven culture, it can be seen as like, well, what's the point here? But I promise you you will experience something in your body during those precious bleeding times or time, and especially in the beginning hours of it, and start there and see the message that comes through, feel it, feel what she's saying. And you know this is I don't want to overwhelm y'all with like everything to do on each part of the cycle because it's so nuanced and every woman is different. But start there and like, really take your bleeding cave seriously and not in like a super stern, like like you can be in joy. But you know, really understand that there is magic in that dark release and it's the new moon energy. Metaphorically, it is the, the crisp blanket of the black sky that just holds us when we're standing in the middle of the woods, if you've ever done that. But there's just, there's gifts for you there. And so I would say, start there and then just start noticing in your body the upward current of your, your body. You know we move through.

Amy Berryhill:

The menstrual cycle is like this tiny microcosmic mirror that mirrors the earth. And so we start from this winter this, you know, the winter solstice of just deep death, release clarity, we get so crystal clear and then the estrogen starts to slowly rise in follicular and so we have more energy. Your skin probably feels brighter. A lot of women will, you know, release retained water so they might feel lighter and just like, oh, like fairy energy, and then really tap into that and and love that you know. And then when you reach that pinnacle summer solstice, ovulation, fertile openness, like really feel that, even if you're not trying to have children right now, like there's beautiful gifts in the fertile window and so allow yourself to just feel friggin, beautiful and radiant and write poetry just because, and expend your energy and serve the world in a greater way.

Amy Berryhill:

And then this is the part that women often struggle the most in is that dip from ovulation to L'Oudial, back to the winter. And you know the, in my experience, l'oudial has some of the richest medicine for women, because it's collectively what's been repressed the most. It's collectively what has been made fun of the most. You know how many of us have heard jokes from. I love men, but from men I'm like, oh, she's just on her period, she's being a bitch today, or we've really been. We're like, oh, she's so sensitive because she's about to bleed, or oh, you're craving that. Well, it's because you're about to be on your period and there's a lot of collective hatred of L'Oudial.

Amy Berryhill:

And the gift of L'Oudial is as your body becomes heavier. There is this like in a book I love the Red Ten by Anita Diamond, I think I'm pronouncing it. I love that book, love it. There's this line that she says towards the end and I might butcher this, but it's around it where she's like she was talking about relating to time and just in her entire life, and she was like time started to move based on the gathering inside of my body. And so every time I'm in that L'Oudial period, I'm in it now where it's like there's this gathering of energy and it can feel heavy, it can feel like a burden, it can feel like, oh, I'm not as productive because, again, we live in a culture that doesn't honor this, whereas the gift, like the gifts of L'Oudial, are actually for you, can you feel?

Amy Berryhill:

I gave this practice to my client yesterday who's in this period too. It's like, can you feel the heaviness of your breasts and like the heat in your hips and how good food tastes right now? And give yourself the permission to experience your senses more fully and feel the heaviness of your body and right under candlelight, and like, feel that gathering of heaviness as wisdom and depth, and like the wine that's aging and getting beautiful, you know, the oil that's infusing and getting deeper in hue. Like you know, we are experiencing that in our body. And then there's this release where we're, like you know, give it back, and so that's kind of the condensed like what is the gift of each of them? There's a gift.

Kasia:

Oh my gosh, I love that and I really appreciate the visual of the seasons because I think that is just so incredibly astute to recognize how in our bodies, yeah, like the menstrual phase is that winter through to spring with ovulation into summer, like ovulation being that like peak, and then what it looks like to feel that kind of dipping down and those transitions of the seasons. And it is kind of perfect that something like so Wayne or Halloween falls like in the harvest time, which is that gathering right before winter again, and that is just so, so, so beautiful to have that visual and that picture. Hey, ladies Kasha here. Sorry to interrupt but I just want to jump in and piggyback off of Amy's last topic embodiment. As an ambitious type A, embodiment has always been hard for me. I have spent so many years ignoring my body and focusing just on the end goal and, as someone who has endometriosis and horrible, horrible PMS, it often left me feeling at war with my body and this is actually why I designed inflow, which is a planner internal and one and you can merge goal setting with 100 daily diet, movement and mindfulness tips which are geared to help you live in harmony with your cycle instead of against it and, as a mindfulness practitioner and a goal setter, in flow is the tool I always wish existed to bridge being with doing, but in a personalized way. You start on day one of your cycle and if you don't bleed, you can still use inflow alongside the cycles of the moon and, as we talked about, really the moon is a symbolism, a feminine symbol of nature. I feel like the planner will resonate with a lot of you. So if you want to learn more, head to inflow plannercom. And, of course, I have a special code for all of my listeners you can use podcast 10 all lowercase podcast 10 for 10% off.

Kasia:

All right, now back to the episode. I am curious. You know you mentioned starting at the beginning of your cycle and we've obviously talked about this quite a bit. But there can be, for a lot of women, a lot of pain during this time.

Kasia:

Like I have endometriosis, I have horrible cramps, I have actually had kind of what feel like near death experiences, like on the bathroom floor with a heating pad, with Motrin, like trying to just breathe through all this physical pain, and I've had the experience of like actually feeling like okay, I'm listening to you, you know, like I'm just going to lay here, I'm going to stop trying to get up and like move on with my day, because clearly I can't like. I physically can't like, I would like puke. I think if I tried, it's just the most unbearable pain until the painkillers kick in and even then it's sometimes not enough. What would you say to women who have experiences like that, which is like one in 10 women have a condition like endometriosis and there are PCOS, pmdd, all of that? Like how can we look at that pain and the darkness perhaps from this lens? Like what would be your advice in those circumstances?

Amy Berryhill:

Totally. I love that you brought this in because you know the deeper, spiritual, like mystical aspects of the bleeding. Time, specifically, is only accessible, really, when we're not like if we're doubled over in pain, like, well, we're just in survival mode, we're just in the, you know, feeling the pain. And I want to speak to my experience with, like reminding y'all that this is just my own experience and it's not a panacea, but it could be. And I used to be doubled over with the worst period cramps every single month, like I would wake up at you know super early in the morning and then be in the bathtub like moaning in pain for you know, like two hours. And just for me, starting a practice of free bleeding has been absolutely like life changing in every way. And free bleeding the definition of that is literally letting your blood flow without catching, without inserting anything into the womb to catch and to actually just let the flow happen.

Amy Berryhill:

A lot of people have controversial thoughts on this and you're you can view it how you want. Again, everybody and woman is different, but there is a way to free bleed and honor yourself without staining all of your furniture and ruining all of your clothes. And just for me I would say, if you are experiencing that and you're listening and you don't have a practice of free bleeding to start, and it's not going to hurt. It might not help the first time, but for me it took, like, I think, three or four cycles of completely free bleeding and then allowing myself to go out into nature and bleeding straight onto the earth, and not for I wouldn't do that for like days and days, but even just a few moments of like asking the earth to take away whatever stagnation was causing the pain. So I know this is a lens that isn't rooted in, you know, science or like the specific condition, and so take that with a grain of salt and also in my experience, that has been absolutely life changing for, like I truly don't have cramps anymore. I don't even remember the last thing that I did Like there might be a that ache, like a little sweet ache, but it's more pleasure than pain, and I believe this is how women at a baseline like my dream for every woman in the world is to experience her cycle like this.

Amy Berryhill:

And I think it does take when we've had a condition for so long. It can take months or even years to regulate back. And so I would just say, like, don't give up. If you're listening and that's your experience. Don't think that this is just something that is special for some women and accessible for some women and not for you. And I'm not a doctor, so you know I'm very open with my clients about you know, like if you deeply feel that you need medical attention or you want to work with like a homeopathic woman's doctor, like I always advise that as like a sister, you know package, I guess, of our work and you know your body, but I would say, try it and give it a few times and see the magic that could be there for you.

Kasia:

Yeah, and you know, I want to kind of reflect back. I think I'm so glad you brought this up because I think, first of all, this topic is like viral on Reddit. After we talked about it I went and like Googled down and I was like how do people do this? I can't imagine doing this in my life, practically speaking. And there are tons of people who do it, I will give them that.

Kasia:

But I want to actually kind of like step back and view the almost like the bigger picture, which is that there is so much shame around that concept. There's just so much shame around that and it's just kind of nuts to think about that. You know, I remember reading in the red tent there was actually a part where, I think, when the main character had gotten her cycle for the first time, she bled onto the earth and it was like part of the ritual celebrating that experience, right, and I remember reading it at the time and just feeling like so like grossed out and like ashamed that like they would even write those words. And when I think about that now and I think about kind of how sad that is, you know, and when I reflect on like my first cycle, which was like an experience of feeling like I was dying.

Kasia:

My mom was the one time she was ever out of town. She was like out of town. My dad had been feeding us KFC for like a week and I was pretty convinced that I was just like bleeding out from the inside because it was the KFC, because we don't eat that stuff normally, and I felt so ashamed to even like tell him what was happening. It was just so horrible and it just makes me so sad, like whether you embark on the journey of free bleeding or not, and you and I have already talked about like I tried. I tried like the bridge way, which were like the thanks panties and things like that, and I don't think it's for me, but I do think that the experience of even trying to bridge and go like a step further and not feel ashamed of just even witnessing your own blood from your body, your body that has worked so hard to like kind of build a home for your potential baby and then shed that, you know like that is a lot of work.

Amy Berryhill:

Yeah, I, you know something that and I know we talked about this recently is I actually want to normalize the shame that women feel because if we all I mean unless you had some very beautiful special like Earth community buildup or like raising your mom one day, basically like when you, when you have a daughter, like unless you have an A-Maper a mom and she's right there and that's your experience.

Kasia:

Yes, go on.

Amy Berryhill:

We just have rites of passages as little girls and of course you think about when you first had your cycle. Most of us were. We learned about this in like some fluorescent lit gym. Everyone's hot and sweaty and like hormones are starting to happen, so everyone's like breaking out and like kind of horny, but they don't really know what that means. And you're like 12, learning about this from some creepy gym teacher. And it's this weird, like these books that are so sterilized and just like. And then these videos they show you the room is reeking in shame. It's a terrifying experience.

Amy Berryhill:

And then you add in the the cultural every day right, where it's like women are supposed to be pretty and tiny and pleasing and like we don't get dirty and all of this stuff. And you put that into a 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 year old girl's body. She is going to feel that from her first blood, that seed of shame. And so as we age, you know it, it just grows and grows and I want to bring in this really quick story. I was at this coffee shop the other day and I overheard this woman talking about her daughter is bleeding age now and she was so uncomfortable as a mother with this and she was making jokes like yeah, I just told her like go learn about it at school. Like she was uncomfortable at her own daughter's bleeding and I just sat there, girl, I ain't trying to judge, but like this is, what is wrong is that we are just perpetuating the generation after generation of shame, and so I would actually say love that shame, because it's not yours, but it's our responsibility to shift that in our body, and the uncomfortable truth is that probably in our lifetime it will never be totally normalized. The more clout you could call it, the more people talk about this and the more women who claim it, the more the proverbial witch hunts are going to be. Like y'all are crazy.

Amy Berryhill:

What is this sigh off that's making women feel like they can free bleed, like it's so wild how it happens and it's like, okay, well, this is for me, not you, and so I would actually say you know whatever you choose to do with your body and however you choose to really with her is your choice and your journey. But understand that whenever you choose to shift that shame, you're unlocking something for the collective feminine in the tiniest, tiniest way. And if we can do that for ourselves, for our sisters, for our daughters. You know we can bring that out. I truly believe this is how we can shift this for future generations. And women can feel like just comfortable and celebrating their primal nature, because there's so many gifts here, and by being in shame we might feel comfortable, but we're missing out on the medicine of our bleed, which only we can experience. So that's my spiel there.

Kasia:

I can go on and on, but I love that I'm curious, since, unless you were just to grow up in like a perfect bubble and did not quite experience that, what was it like? And you know, maybe we can even look at like the topic of free bleeding, which you're just openly sharing and I'm so grateful that you shared it with me, you're sharing it on this podcast, you practice it, like how were you able to overcome that shame? Like what does it look like to do that? Because maybe you know, I literally just wrapped a podcast right before this where I was speaking to Dr Wright-Tarrell. She's an OBGYN and she is really focused on postpartum care and like the coaching aspect of it and she was walking me through what happens to the body after you give birth and bleeding is just one of many incredibly like societally gross quote unquote air quotes here at things that we are going to go through that women have been taught to shame. It's like really fascinating to me that like we don't look at like semen and ejaculation the same way that we look at period, like it just like came to me right, like it's just not viewed that way. It's like hot and sexy but like everything else that a woman has to go through, there's just so much shame the way your body changes all that stuff.

Kasia:

So how did you change that? And to get so comfortable to share it with others publicly as like a topic that you can even discuss? And, by the way, I also mentioned before you answer that just talking about this is like me pushing my edge, and so I feel, like everyone out there who's absorbing this, you're welcome because we are healing from collective shame. You know, I don't need to, I don't need to go all the way down there, but like here we are. So, yes, please tell me how you did it, further than that, yeah.

Amy Berryhill:

So something I want to bring in really quick is you know, this might be super far out, so like I'm just gonna touch on it and whatever. But if we think about societally how religious dogma has shaped our society, especially the Western world, blood has been this symbol of like the devil, of demonic energy, of dirt, like dirty right, and then the white, pure light is the angel. So it's quite funny how we see the liquids that come out of men and women and kind of how that subtle, subtle programming is like. You know, I was actually in Indonesia several years ago and this is a very common thing, you see, but women are not allowed in the temples if you're bleeding, and I know many people listening have been there. There are other cultures that abide by that as well and we don't have to get into that. I don't know a lot there, so many people would probably win an argument with me and that's all good. But when I really feel into how we've been raised to view these two things even people having disorders where they'll like faint if they see blood, you know it's just like it's so wild. How blood is this? Like it's actually the thing that keeps us alive, and like, what comes out of us during menstruation is the process of what gives life, but we're so uncomfortable with the natural death of things that creates life.

Amy Berryhill:

And so, anyways, yes, I grew up with so much shame around it, not that, you know, my mom did the best she could and, like, our parents are doing the best they can. They're only sharing and guiding from their own depth, you know. So it's like we have to forgive the ones who never showed us this. But you know, even up until like many years into my yogic path, I just didn't think about it, I didn't make the connection. I was just like, oh, yeah, I'm bleeding, oh, I hate this tampon, you know.

Amy Berryhill:

And it wasn't until that experience of like where I started to like, I really felt it in my body. And then I was lucky enough to be surrounded in the flesh by amazing friends and sisters who were on that path too. And so you know, the people that we're surrounding ourselves with. If they are all shaming, that we're probably going to be amplified. But that was also a huge key for me.

Amy Berryhill:

It's just surrounding myself with women who were like, yeah, we know that the shame is here, but, like we're choosing this other path, and I was like, oh yeah, we get to choose the other path. And so, yeah, for me it was just the continuous practice of of free bleeding, and then each cycle I would have these different realizations or different pockets of wisdom that would unravel. And then I just at some point knew this is the path that I need to take, and for me it has become so apparent, this is what my body needs, that I don't care about statistics. Like I don't care about that, because I'm like just feel it and you'll know it's like needing statistics to know that nature is good for us. You know, like, if you need it, great, but it's just go into a forest and you'll feel better.

Kasia:

So Now there are statistics that help us there anyway.

Amy Berryhill:

So yeah, whatever I'm waking up in humanity, like cool, whatever you'll need, I'm not, I'm not hating on it, but it's just funny to me that we need that, you know. And I also want to touch on like there's also like sexual trauma and other, like every woman has a story of really, really her own shame, and so this is not I'm not saying this from this universal like just free bleed and all of your trauma goes away. So, please, y'all. I know like sometimes social media can't capture every new ones. That's not what I'm saying, but what I'm saying is this is a really beautiful entry point until allowing your body to do what she is naturally here to do and letting that inform you. So that's my take on that.

Kasia:

So powerful. Thank you for sharing. I mean, I have so many more questions and we can go so much deeper into this, but I just want to thank you for a kind of coming on here and sharing with us what a world looks like where you know you are interacting with a woman who is aware of her own cycle, her own rhythm, is helping other women on that journey and is really able to synchronize body and mind. Like that is truly for me, I think, just so incredibly, incredibly powerful and valuable. I know that a lot of people are going to want to know where they can find you and what you have going on, so if you could share with our audience a bit of that and I'll hyperlink any URLs in the show notes as well, of course- yeah, no, thank you, kasia, so much for having me.

Amy Berryhill:

It's been beautiful and I could jam on this all day. So, but, yes, thank you all for listening. And I'm most active on Instagram, right now at least. So my handle is Amy, which is my name and why, and then, to underscores, and then Barry Hill, so B E R R Y H I L L, I will say I got married about four months ago and I do plan on changing my name at some point.

Amy Berryhill:

So, if you're listening to this way in the future, amy Burday, which is B U R D A Y. So I haven't fully changed it, but, like, just you know, yeah, so that's where I'm most active. And then I also have my website is just Amy Berry Hill dot com. Again, it will change when I change my name, but that's where I have any current group offerings. Right now I'm really specializing in just holding women one on one, so one on one guidance, and then in the spring I'm reopening a group called Wild Essence, which is all around everything we've been talking about. It's a ceremonial journey into learning your body more. So if you're into that, you want to be in a small group virtually. That's might be a really beautiful space for you, if you feel it, yeah.

Kasia:

And it's such a beautiful opportunity, as we just talked about, around finding like minded women who are on a mission to really heal that shame and choose a different narrative. And I think even just participating in a group like that, like us meeting every week, has been so powerful for my own like awareness of self. Like you know, I mean every week I have to show up. I mean I don't have to show up, I choose to. I show up in like it's. It's a very, it's a very different kind of like raw form to show up and experience what's present in your body, the emotions that are showing up. I'm not intellectualizing it and I just I think that there's something so powerful about that, our bodies are so wise, and so I just love that you're holding this container one on one, you're opening the group. I mean that is just so, so, so valuable. So, thank you.

Amy Berryhill:

Thank you. Yeah, this was really fun, I loved it.

Kasia:

Thanks everyone for listening and, oh my gosh, I cannot wait to share more. All right, see y'all. Thank you so much for tuning into the other way. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a five star review. It really helps the podcast grow and I'm ever so grateful. If you want to stay connected, you can find information on how in our show notes. And finally, if you're curious about in flow and want free resources around cyclical living or moon cycles, check out infloplannercom. And of course, you can also check out the codecom. And of course, for all my listeners, you can use the code podcast 10. And that's all lowercase podcast 10 for 10% off any purchase. All right, that's all for today. See you next time.

Exploring Embodiment and the Feminine Soul
Exploring Yoga and Embodiment in Life
Embracing the Feminine Cycle and Embodiment
Free Bleeding
Challenging Shame and Embracing Menstruation

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