• Fundación INDERA

OUR CYCLES – An Approach to Well-Being

Updated: Nov 6, 2021

Since the implementation of the first activities around self-love and self-care we have build on deepening our understanding of what it means to prepare young people for life and how to support them to re-connect to their bodies through self-care, building self-love and with this a quality in their bodies that supports them to connect to their inner feeling of well-ness and with this choose from there.

This could also be understood as the difference between living in relationship with the body or living disconnected from the body and therefore living in an un-loving relationship with ourselves and hence with others.

If we foster a loving connection with our bodies and ourselves we choose a state that is conducive to loving action. Alternatively in a body-divorced mind-driven state any and every atrocity becomes possible.

Based on this our approach was actually a very straightforward one: if as a person you are connected to yourself, hence to your body, there are things that would not even cross your mind even as remote possibilities. Your body would not feed it into your mind either. In other words, you would not do a host of things that do not belong into where you are as a person. In practical terms, if you feel harmony, you will not initiate nor incite a fight. It just does not make sense. If, on the other hand, you are not connected, then everything is possible.

When someone is connected this person is centered and with themselves, when someone is disconnected he or she feels disjointed and disperse. When someone is centered, they can feel the pleasure of simply being in their own body. Living in dis-connection helps to construct a body that is full of dis-ease and un-rest. This affects even the quality of thoughts that come to the mind. That is why when someone is not connected its body is not a nice place to be in. So, the fact that you do not wish to be in your body helps to explain the fact that you are all over the place because the un-rest cannot be contained within you. Since, the package associated with disconnection is not a nice thing to feel, people tend to do whatever it needs to do in order to avoid returning to him-herself -the truth is that the more disconnected one is the more difficult is to return to oneself without help; they cannot do it on their own.

Classrooms provide the perfect setting where to share the dis-ease one feels with the others.

This can be done through a rich variety of ways that do not contribute to a fluent and uneventful daily routine at school. This state of being makes it very difficult to be able to pay attention to what is said and to learn what has to be learned. So, disconnection is at the root of many troublesome phenomena that we see daily in classrooms across the globe. Following up on our hypothesis, the key was to provide support for those connected to remain connected and to support those that are dis-connected to re-connect.

Working on the impact of life on our bodies was done in the context of the differences between a linear version of life and a cyclical one.

Based on the learning of living life in cycles and being self-responsible for our choices we looked at day-to-day aspects that were having an impact on the school routine. Self-care was introduced to support students to develop awareness about the daily choices they are making regarding, nutrition, sleep, exercise, entertainment, family relationships, friendships, etc. and how they are related and impact on each other.

We looked at the fact that every 24 hours we pass through for the same place (or point) over and over and over. For example, each day there is a moment where we go to sleep, day after day. Every day we wake up. Every weekday we come to school, etc. This gives us the possibility to compare how do we feel at a particular moment today and how was different from yesterday. If we register a difference the question is what is different and how to explain the difference? From this we learn about what affects us and how and we learn to register how we feel in the body. To make it personal but relevant to all, we talked about the daily routine of waking up, preparing for school and coming to school. The question was how did they feel this morning when they woke up and how was the process leading to be seated in class and how they felt then. Or how did they feel the moment they entered the school? Often times, the answer was tired, moody or angry. Obviously, if there is no reason since they woke up for them to feel like they feel, we have to look at how did they go to sleep the night before. For example, if they feel tired, the question was why did they feel tired. That led us to the choices made the night before going to sleep and how this was a consequence of the rest of the events of the previous day. So, we learned that a crucial advantage to think in terms of cycles is that you can prepare ahead for what is coming. Everybody understood that when you go to school tired and in a bad mood you not just bring un-rest in your body but also sooner or later it will spread into your classmates.

In this context we looked at our collective responsibility and how one feels when seated next to someone with unrest in the body. So, we came to the understanding that your decisions affect not just how you feel in your body but also how your classmates will feel in their own bodies thanks to you.

It is your responsibility the body and the being that you bring everyday to school. That body and that being are the direct consequence of the choices you make in and out of school.

To register how they felt day after day, we introduced and gave each one a copy of a diary: Our Cycles – The Full Moon Diary for boys and Our Cycles – The Period Diary for girls. This educational material served to increase the level of self-observation and reflection upon themselves and how the choices they make affects them.

These diaries were developed on the basis of the “Our Cycles Period and Full Moon Diary App,” a unique and supportive modern day tool designed from the Founder of Esoteric Women’s Health, Natalie Benhayon[1].

In a self-experiment Natalie realised how she was somewhat disconnected from the rhythm of her menstrual cycle. Once she opened this conversation up to women around the world who were in different stages of their cycles she realised how disconnected a lot of women were from their periods and how little they knew about what was happening in their own bodies from month to month. She started to look for a way to support women to deepen the relationships with their cycles additionally to the technicalities of tracking the dates and length of a cycle etc. This led her to design an app that offered:

  • Exploration of the various patterns that the body goes through from month to month, increasing our awareness of what really goes on inside the body.

  • Opportunity to take responsibility for our health and well-being.

As according to Benhayon "everything in nature has a cycle and so do you" she did not only designed an app for women with a menstrual cycle, but included men into the picture, as well as menopausal women. Her research showed that that history has long recorded the effects of the moon cycle on men and people generally.

The philosophy of the Our Cycles App is the epitome of 're-defining health and well-being'. It encourages and supports it's users to engage in a deeper level of living; with self-awareness at the for, fostering observation and understanding in relation to how both internal and external components contribute and impact to life around us.

After all, there is only so much any health care practitioner can offer without our full commitment to taking responsibility for our own health and well-being. No matter how skilled the practitioner, their efforts can only do so much. Whilst as a society in general we seem to be constantly looking for a quick fix, the Our Cycle App encourages the users to engage in a process of getting to know their own bodies and to then make changes and adjustments in their own time, if and when required. That lived experience and information can then be shared with health professionals, psychologist or whomever we might choose to see. Working collaboratively with the practitioner while taking ownership and responsibility of our health.

Our Cycles App offers an opportunity to do a daily stock take of your feelings, moods and symptoms. Whatever the finding, the app is not there to make you ‘be well’ or to make you get a desired result of the ultimate in health and well-being, but to bring an increased awareness into what exactly is going on in your body. Our Cycles App has not been created to fix the world’s health and well-being problems. It has been designed with a sole purpose of inspiring women and men to deepen their awareness of the cycles we and everything in nature go through. It is a simple tool that can help each individual become more aware of what’s going on in their bodies, so that the person is better equipped to be able to support and deal with her or his own health and well-being issues.

“The App offers a possibility that life doesn’t have to be a random series of unrelated events, but a constant experience of the choices that we have made.” ~ Natalie Benhayon

For the girls it was linked to the period cycle (also for the ones who where still not menstruating, but would soon and therefore a preparation). The girls and young women could use this tool to observe themselves on a daily basis and specifically their own menstrual cycle.

It first of all introduced them to the fact that there is a cycle in the female body and that their period is one aspect of a 4 stage monthly cycle of every woman that tells them a lot about how they are living and at the same time empowered them to be in charge of what was going on. Almost all girls experience painful periods, additionally to the fact that periods are still seen as a curse and discomfort and most women reject their bodies in that time. These workshops offered them to look at the female reproductive system from a bigger picture and not only in its functional terms, but as something that is of great value and can be a support in daily life if we are aware of it. Through self-observation they were offered to understand that their daily choices where related to how they felt in their bodies.

Meanwhile, girls and young women are generally taught about menstruation and live the physicality of it to the boys and young men it was new to look at themselves from the perspective of cycles and how those cycles affect their wellbeing. Neither are boys and young men taught or allowed to express how they truly feel as their gender pattern is to toughen up and get on with things and men have not been widely encouraged to treat themselves with the tenderness and deep-regard that they deserve.

Working with the Full Moon Diary offered them an opportunity to self-reflect and observe their bodies during the month. It also offered them the opportunity to speak openly about what was really going on with them and to feel the empowerment of self-awareness and self-responsibility.

The diary was the link to their body experience; they could register and reflect on how the daily choices affected their direct feeling of well-being in their bodies.

By Eduardo Feldman and Rachel Andras

[1] The description of the app is the fusion of two articles:

Download: Our Cycles - Diario del Periodo

Download: Our Cycles - Diario de la Luna Llena

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