While doing 4 ayahuasca ceremonies last January, I decided it was time to take out my IUD and be hormonal-birth-control-free for the first time in 15 years.
Soon after doing so, I began having some intensely challenging hormone issues.
The short story is that for about two weeks out of every cycle I was a disaster: I couldn’t get out of bed, I was crying all the time, I felt disconnected from other people and from joy, I was overwhelmed with depression, my brain was wrapped in fog, and I lost all sense of reality.
As I started treatment for these issues, things started to shift, but treatment is a long and slow process. We were taking the non-invasive natural (read: slowest) path to healing and for a while things were actually getting worse. Eventually I told my doctor that my mental health and relationship were crumbling, and I couldn’t go on like that.
With the help of some more intense interventions, I’m on my road back to being ok/normal now, but I’ve thought a lot about what the FUCK this journey has all been about.
The thing is, I believe the body is always talking to us,
if only we can listen.
I believe the body is always protecting us, if we can trust it. And most importantly, I believe the body is always teaching us, if we seek to understand.
A few months ago, I realized that all this time, I had been trying to control/fix my hormone issues, but I had never sought to understand them. I felt silly, since this is like body image coaching 101 for me, and if a client had come to me with these issues I would have immediately suggested she open up a dialogue with her body.
So… that’s what I did.
“Dear body,” I said. “I’m ready to listen.”
It had been a hot minute since I last spoke to my body like that. I explained what I was struggling with and what I wanted to understand. I asked it what it was trying to show me by making me so miserable every month, and I promised to listen deeply for whatever answers arose.
Suddenly, while brushing my teeth a few nights later, the answer came.
I had taken out the IUD to reconnect with my “natural” female cycle. I had hoped to feel super feminine and sexy and fertile and luscious. Instead I felt swallowed up by darkness, helpless, and unable to trust myself, my partner, or reality.
The truth is, this fact made me angry.
I was angry at the ayahuasca for telling me to take out the IUD in the first place, and I was angry at my body for fucking up my life every few weeks. I had felt betrayed by both, and the feelings of anger and betrayal had cut me off from the wisdom of what my body (and the plant medicine) had been trying to teach me.
But, as they say about Ayahuasca: it offers you the healing you need, not the healing you want. 😉
So here’s what happened: I took the IUD out, and I fell into darkness. Really and truly, my life, my trust in reality, my access to joy, my very sense of self crumbled and fell into a seemingly endless abyss of darkness.
It was like a year-long UNdoing of light and love and ease.
I once told a friend that there was something pure and satisfying about how depressed I was. The darkness that swept over me during the two weeks before my period were almost beautiful in their powerful untouchability.
I’ve never before known such uncontaminated, unadulterated despair.
The answer that arose for me while brushing my teeth was that I needed this time to experience and integrate my own darkness.
After all, I’ve experienced untouchable light; why shouldn’t I experience it’s opposite?
Four years ago now, I spent the better part of a year walking on clouds, filled with a peace, ease, light, and love that I had never experienced before. That light too was untouchable, uncontaminated by the circumstances of life.
At the time, I thought: I did it! I’ve had a spiritual awakening and now I’ll just be happy forever!
Naturally that wasn’t the case (ha!), and instead what happened was that I moved between two parts of myself for years: the enlightened Higher Love and Light part, and the regular old human part. I wrongly believed these were the only two parts of myself that existed.
When I took out my IUD, I discovered an untouchable darkness that is just as much a part of me as the untouchable light.
When I asked my body what I needed to learn, it told me that I needed to learn how to integrate both. That my darkness is just as important as my light, and I needed time to fully, really, truly get to know it, so that when the darkness faded (as it is fading and will fade) I will be left with an equal respect and appreciation for it as I do for my light.
This revelation made me weep with gratitude– if for no other reason than because having an answer of any kind made me feel less hopeless, less loss, and less betrayed.
You might say this sounds too woo-woo and I just made that answer up, and I can’t prove you wrong. I choose to believe the answer came to me because I approached my body with respect and trust, and asked it to help me understand what it was doing.
And more importantly, having a reason that feels true to me immediately changed the way I approach this period of my life. I started welcoming my darkness with reverence and joy, instead of anger and despair.
Also, you might be surprised what comes up for my clients when they ask their bodies to help them understand. We really do hold all the answers we ever need inside us already.
Now me, my hormones, my body, my pain and darkness: we are all in cahoots.
I’m in on the secret. I’m a part of the plan. I give my consent to be knocked down, and the darkness is gentler and gentler each time.
Being a willing participant with your body’s plan makes all the difference. 😉
After all, there’s nothing to be afraid of here; it’s just good, clean darkness.