Rain & Menstruation: Two Ovaries in a Pod

Rain & Menstruation: Two Ovaries in a Pod

Kimberley Dancing in the Rain outside Impact Hub Oakland

As I think about sending you all some love via this newsletter, I’m walking in the rain to the co-working space where Natural Flow is based and I’m suddenly struck by a profound sense of awe and gratitude for the fact that I am bleeding right now as I am enjoying this life-giving rain.

In a flash, I realize something I had never quite put together before:

My love of rain is connected to my love of menstruation!

The raw yet elegant power of the flow of life… on me, in me—through me!  Each a beautiful force to experience on its own, yet somehow my joy and felt sense of being alive was amplified by the two flows coexisting for me in that moment.  The mysterious yet familiar sense of power generating from my womb that I’m starting to cultivate as I move through the world while menstruating harmonized with my joy and gratitude for the rain and my natural expression through dance to create a new yet ancient way of being.  I have danced in the rain many times as a child and an adult, yet—really for the first time—I knew why I was dancing.

Understanding how vital water & rain is to my being and thriving ecosystems, then expressing my longing to feel part of and intimately connected to this flow of life force through the world, I practice gratitude for the water around me and use the oldest method I know for being present without being in my head & intellectual mind—dance.  Even so, when I dance in the rain, up until now my joy, gratitude, and knowing has largely been centered in my head as the connecting point of my body to the rain and the rest of life.  This is similar to how my sense of self is largely framed around the space of my head, and not my whole body, most of the time.  Off and on, I remember the power of practicing feeling and being in my whole body no matter what I’m doing or may be going on in my life.  In fact, one of the reasons I appreciate my menstrual cramps is how they serve as a very visceral and practical reminder of this new way of being I am practicing.  So when I dance in the rain and feel my bleeding uterus with the same breath—beyond thought—my sense of joy, gratitude, and connection to the universal life force deepens and expands in my body to include, if not largely source from, my womb space.  I dance because I know in my body that my being is directly connected to and channeling the power of all life.

I’m still landing in this profound personal realization, and I wanted to share where I’m at with all of you now to support your exploration and connection.

Even though the rain is cold and wet and menstruation is bloody and uncomfortable, we can be in it, and present to that discomfort—feeling the flow of life in and through and around us.  Neither menstruation nor rain are the conditions we picture on a typical day walking down the street, yet both are natural flows of life and in fact necessary for life.  We can tap into that core power of our birthright and use is as a guide for fully & authentically living.


What comes up for you as you read this?
How are you connecting menstruation with rain, snow, and winter in your own life?

Please let me know:
kimberley @ naturalflow.us



Do you let your bloody pads dry before you wash them?

"Locket" from Jen Lewis's Beauty in Blood Series

“Locket” from Jen Lewis’ Beauty in Blood Series

Do you let your bloody pads dry before you wash them?

Maybe you’re like me and each month when you begin to bleed you take out your special menstruation bag full of pads and cups and applaud yourself for arranging such a cute little storage solution for shark week. But, what do you do with the pads once they’ve been on your body and are covered in blood?!

There are a few factors to consider when deciding to dry or not to dry:
-How many pads you have
-How much water you want to use
-Your preferences on size and frequency of washes
-Your preferences around staining

So what’s better, dry or not?

Option 1: Let Dry

Some folks prefer to let their soiled pads dry and then soak them all at once at the end of their cycle. This works well if you have enough individual pads to get through each cycle day without washing. This can be more convenient for folks who would like to do less washes. Allowing pads to dry rather than soaking can be more likely to cause staining, though some folks don’t mind that.

I use a coin laundry without customizable load sizes, so when I’m feeling particularly busy this is my preferred method. Stains may come, and beautiful, deep red water may be less vibrant when pads are soaked a few days later, but this method feels super convenient for me.

Option 2: Keep Wet

Some folks prefer to soak pads the same day they use them. Soaking pads in cool water  wicks out most of the blood and prepares them for washing. (Also, the water can be really pretty!) Soaking pads right away allows you to have a quick wash turnaround, which works well if you want to use the pads again during your same cycle. Your pads can rest in water for a few days, as long as you change the water out at least once a day. Leaving pads in water for more than a few days, even if you change the water, can sometimes make pads harder to clean.

I usually only use this method when I’m hand washing pads or have access to a washer that works well with small loads. I like hand washing pads during hot summer months when pads dry more quickly.  

The water used for soaking can also be given to your garden/house plants for a nutrient boost! Menstrual blood is high in iron & nitrogen, so leafy greens especially love it.

At the end of the day, you decide which method is best for you.
Try both, see what you think, and let us know!
How do you store & wash your pads?
Do you have a method we haven’t considered?

Marriage Equality & Menstruation, Some Initial Thoughts from Natural Flow

Marriage Equality & Menstruation, Some Initial Thoughts from Natural Flow
Pads Rainbow
This past weekend the Supreme Court of the United States ruled Same Sex Marriage legal throughout the nation, and cities around the world celebrated LGBTQ+ PRIDE on the 47th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

Here at Natural Flow, PRIDE holds a special place in our hearts. As a queer-women-run business, our identities influence the work we do in the world. Just as we exist beyond the binary, we practice conversations about menstruation that reject dichotomies (ex: the wrong/right way to menstruate) and expand our ways of knowing – affirming our inherent complexity and holding space for a full range of experiences. As queer women, we refuse to be stuck in the shame we‘ve been taught about our bodies, instead reclaiming the power of our bodies and healing our relationship with menstruation. Natural Flow knows that the reality of all bodies is valid, and their expression is something to celebrate.

Kala recounts her process:

When I heard about the Supreme Court decision to legalize same sex marriage across the nation, in all 50 states one of my first reactions was a feeling of homecoming. I thought about all of the queer people who now feel more able to go to the places that they have called home, where they have not been accepted for who they are.

I grew up on the west coast, but I was born in the Midwest. And if you had told me as a young closeted queer girl that I could marry a woman on the banks of Lake Erie when I grew up, I would’ve called you a liar. And even though I’m not legally protected from all discrimination, this recognition is significant.
The legalization of same-sex marriage across the US is one big step closer to recognizing the validity of a wide range of relationships and family structures that queer and trans people exist in. I think of all the young people who will be born in this country and how they will know that they can legally marry any partner regardless of their gender, and how these rights could empower them to accept their own identities.

My identity as a bisexual women empowers me to look beyond the binaries we are socialized to see, and to embrace a world where complexity and fluidity are both inherent and celebrated. When talking about menstruation, the importance of fluidity and complexity comes in holding a wide range of values and experiences related to menstruation. I do not believe that there is one perfect answer on how to have an empowered relationship with your menstrual cycle or one right way to view menstruation.

Queer community and the history of queer activism is rooted in a shift from shame to pride. The reason that what was once named the Christopher Street Freedom Day / gay liberation day is now called the Pride Parade is because LGBTQ+ folks directly confronted a culture that shames them by being proud. As a fat queer person who menstruates, shame has been applied to my body three times over. Adopting menstrual practices that put me in direct connection with my blood and the reality of my body confront that shame in its face and allow me to validate the reality of my experiences. My body is fat and queer and bloody and that’s okay.

It’s especially important to recognize the right to make choices for our own bodies in light of how queer folk have historically not been given autonomy and choice about their bodies. For example, Bi women are disproportionately survivors of rape (nearly 50%). One powerful way we have found to reclaim body autonomy is through menstrual activism – encouraging people who menstruate to notice the reality of our bodies and choose whatever options, community, and ways of being work for us. We can source our lives from our own felt experience, and support each other towards health and empowerment!

We all deserve to feel supported and validated for who we are, what our bodies do, and who we love.