Ixchel Lunar and I want to raise awareness about how the systems and structures we live in are heavily impacting our relationship to time and to the body, and how the pace of life is a social construct that works against us in so many different ways.

Subscribe on your favourite podcasting platform:
Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Amazon Music


The episodes of this four-part series are potentially activating to your nervous system, so please make sure that you are in a good space to absorb the information and have a soothing practice at hand that you can turn to, should your nervous system be activated!

We live in systems that aren’t set up for our benefit, but seek to separate us from ourselves, each other and the land we live on, so we extract from and exploit the Earth and our own bodies for other people’s gain. Ixchel Lunar and I want to raise awareness about how these systems and structures have really impacted our experience and perspective of time, and how the pace of life is a social construct that works against us in so many different ways.

In today’s episode we specifically address how embodied cyclical living is a practice of decolonization and celebrating all of Life. We dive into:

  • How our bodies have been colonized and why this results in a lot of the female health issues we see today
  • Why we experience intense anxiety when we separate from the body
  • How you can start communicating with your body and why it matters
  • The many different cycles we’re influenced by all the time
  • How your cycle (because all beings are cyclical) is a compass back home to yourself, to the place where you belong

Resources we mentioned:

The introductory episode to this series (available on Spotify, Apple podcast, Google Podcast and Amazon Music)

How to Decolonize Time (available on Spotify, Apple podcast, Google Podcast and Amazon Music)

Subscribe to Ixchel’s Dragon Letters on their homepage.

Subscribe to Mo(o)nday Musings to start each week more fully connected to yourself and your amazing body.

Take my free Cycle Charting course, to learn how to speak the unique language of your body.

And if you experience menstrual health conditions like painful periods, PMS/PMDD, endometriosis, PCOS, irregular cycles, know that as a Menstrual Health Coach I help you address them in a natural and holistic way at their root cause (so without surgery or hormones), for a happy healthy bleeding experience. If you want to take your menstrual health into your own hands, book a call and let’s chat or send me an email, if you prefer a written conversation.

[00:00:36] Lisa: Hello and welcome everyone to the third session of Decolonizing Time, Decolonizing the Body and Liberating Flow here on the Womb Whispers podcast. I’m Lisa, a menstrual and menopausal health coach and advocate, and I am again joined by Ixchel Lunar, Decolonial Time Mender and Cosmologist.

And today, after we’ve touched on or spoken in depth about decolonizing time and Ixchel’s body of work last time, today, this is going to be about decolonizing the body, which is a big part of the work I’m doing.

And to learn about Ixchel and about me and our respective journeys, feel free to go back to the first introductory episode that we had, two episodes back. And just as a heads up, all of what we share is potentially activating to your nervous system and in case you feel activated, make sure you have a practice that helps you soothe and get back to a grounded, peaceful state. You can pause this at any time, of course.

There are practices like gently stroking your skin, because stroking your skin is going to activate the nerve endings that signal to your brain that everything is safe. You can get your feet on the ground, preferably outside. You can take a few deep breaths. And we’ve shared a bit about what else you can do in our first introductory episode.

Yeah, so thank you, first of all, Ixchel, for joining me and for helping me guide this conversation today and holding the space.

[00:02:25] Ixchel: Oh, I’m so glad to be here. And I’m so interested to hear how you’ve taken the practice of decolonization into your work. I think that’s so beautiful and exciting to learn.

[00:02:38] Lisa: Yeah, it was actually due to you and our conversation that we had, I think, two years back when we talked about decolonizing time. I realized that the work I’m doing is actually a decolonizing practice, like the menstrual cycle work and the cycle work in general, the embodied cyclical living, because our body is heavily colonized, no wonder.

And for many people, our body seems like this wild, untamed animal. And it’s interesting because that’s how you described the place, our impression of places and of areas of land in the world, that we think of them as like wild and uncontrollable. And to me, I think that our bodies have become these wild animals that we do not know how to communicate with.

And when you look at African cultures, African people, at indigenous cultures, Native Americans, or from other parts of the Americas, these people were so connected to Nature and to the natural rhythms, they were also very in tune with their body. And I think that was when the colonizers came, that was what they were afraid of, this raw power.

Like, when natives, indigenous people dance, wow, it’s palpable, this power that comes from being in touch with your body and also the nature around you. And I think that was threatening for these people that put mind over matter, brain first, body second.

And yeah, our bodies are of nature. So they are ever changing and nothing we can really control, but we can start building a relationship with them.

And also similar to what you touched on in our introductory episode is that we have been separated from our bodies. Like the people have been separated from the land. And that’s where we lost track of everything because we lost the connection to ourselves.

And this separation is also like a separation from our natural instincts. And as I said, mind over matter, the body becomes something that needs to do what the mind asks of it, that needs to be tamed, that needs to have a certain shape, or size, or tightness of skin, when we think of aging and it needs to be a certain way that changes from one century to the next. And it’s the people in power who deem what’s acceptable and what isn’t.

And the separation I see a lot, it’s reflected in the diseases we see today, the conditions and the disease we see and observe in bodies today, especially in bleeding bodies, and those going through perimenopause into menopause, conditions like endometriosis, PCOS, PMS, PMDD, perimenopausal challenges, all of those.

Women and people socialized as women have been taught to suck in their bellies, for example, to have a flat belly, wear shape-wear and whatnot. What that does, it compresses the organs, the gut can’t move, you can’t breathe properly, your pelvic floor can’t move properly. And so you restrict the flow of blood and lymph and everything that’s going on in your body, basically, you restrict the flow of life moving through your body.

And then no wonder that we’ve got all these health conditions that we see today.

On top of that, we try to make our bodies fit a certain schedule that is set as a 40-hour work week. And again, I mentioned her last time, Lauren Elizabeth made me aware that, where the 40 hour work week comes from, and it was introduced because that was the amount of hours you could extract from a body without it having severe damage. Because if you work more than 40 hours, the increase in productivity isn’t so much, but the risk of disease and death increases.

And it’s ridiculous, right?

[00:07:17] Ixchel: Yeah, it’s three segments of eight hours in a 24 hour period. Eight hours for work is what they could maximize and extract. Eight hours for sleep was like the place where people break down if they don’t have enough sleep. And then eight hours for the rest of your life to eat, you know, go to the bathroom, feed your family, feed yourself, that sort of thing. Yeah.

[00:07:43] Lisa: Yeah. If you allow yourself to go to the bathroom, because due to the separation and the going against our instincts, people don’t even, like they don’t drink enough so they don’t have to go to the bathroom and “lose precious time”. Because again, time has been so heavily made a scarce commodity.

[00:08:06] Ixchel: Yeah, you have really laid out so much of that separation of the body. I think that is so incredible, the way that all of that has disconnected us from ourselves, really, really powerful.

And the cycle, you know, if you talk about the embodied cyclical living, you know, we’re just now getting, I live in Mexico currently and they are instituting time off for menstrual cycles. And that’s something that I have seen a number of really progressive countries throughout the world starting to think about. It may be in certain states in the United States, but I’m not certain of that.

[00:08:52] Lisa: Yeah, Germany is definitely not on the forefront, I can tell you that.

What I find so interesting is thinking of what happens when we separate from our bodies the way we do, which is, like, our nervous system gets so freaked out and stressed and we feel like we don’t belong. And that ties also into this relationship to place a lot.

I’ve watched a series on Netflix, I believe, called Night Flyer. And it was science fiction and they were on a starship to some distant galaxy and they had a consciousness transferred into a computer, of a woman, she had died and they had transferred her consciousness as the main computer of that ship.

And you could see throughout the series, because that consciousness was separated from the physical body, it got more and more and more anxious and trying to control more and more and more things and the people on the ship and everything. And I believe that’s exactly what happens.

When we live in our head too much, we get even more anxious because we don’t feel like we belong. We are not tied and anchored to the earth through our body. And yeah, that’s quite the thing, right?

And so we are constantly in this sympathetic stress response that you touched on last time. And any kind of healing can only happen in a parasympathetic state, in a state of rest and digest when our nervous system is relaxed.

And that’s why I love your work about decolonizing time so much because it allows us to slow down, to tune into the present moment, even if that’s just for five or ten minutes a day as a practice. Because I’m sure that you will find how easeful and peaceful that feels and you will crave more of it and you will extend the time on your own without somebody having to tell you to do it.

[00:11:11] Ixchel: Yeah, in my own process, I had endometriosis and that was really the entryway into slowing down. And I was definitely trying to be a super mom and to do all the things, going to college, working, drinking a lot of coffee to get through every day, not knowing I had celiac and just sort of pushing my body to its limits on a constant basis.

And when I had to stop and when my body stopped me, I had to really start to pay attention to my cycles in order to understand what was happening with the endometriosis and then starting to work with the plants to reverse some of the impacts that the endometriosis had on my body. It was really that first foray into decolonizing my body and myself and reconnecting back to those rhythms. So really what you’re talking about just feels so personal and powerful for me.

[00:12:20] Lisa: Wow, thank you for sharing that, because that’s the thing: What other way of communicating does our body have, other than pain and making us stop?

There are signs if we know how to listen, so far earlier, but we are so taught to disregard them that the body has no choice but to turn to pain to make us aware, unfortunately.

[00:12:49] Ixchel: Yeah, it’s sovereign. It’s so powerful.

[00:12:55] Lisa: And again, for many, many people, our bodies are just this unknown thing. Especially for women and people with uterus, because we are not taught much about our inner makeup, because most doctors also don’t know about what’s going on. We are not included in a lot of medicinal research studies because of our fluctuating hormones and that’s just not so easy to derive any result from. Which is a whole other topic …

But especially we aren’t taught about the wonder our menstrual cycle is or the cycle in general. If you are a woman, you have a cycle, whether or not you have physical organs present. And if you have physical organs, then you have a cycle as well, obviously. And even through perimenopause and in post-menopause, you still do cycle, just according to a different cycle.

And I know that you also are a lot about the cycles and attuning to the cyclical nature of all of life, because that’s what it is. All beings are cyclical in nature.

And to me, decolonizing then is about learning to speak the language of the body. I myself, like, I say embodied cyclical living is what helped me make peace with my anorexia, with my orthorexia, with my OCD. Because I had to understand that it’s not a journey from war to love in one go. It’s first a truce and then a willingness to listen to each other and to start understanding each other, taking their point of view.

And through that understanding, you may develop appreciation and even trust at some point and maybe love who knows. But I think trust is what gets us a long way.

[00:14:59] Ixchel: I love what you said. It’s learning to speak the language of the body. Tell me more about that.

[00:15:07] Lisa: Yeah, so I am obviously a lot about the cycles and how the cycle communicates with us and just exploring how our cycle changes and how our emotions change, our thought patterns change, our spiritual world changes over the course of a cycle, of a month.

But in case you are a man or a testosterone-based body, then you still have a cycle. It’s just different. And also, we all have different cycles going on at the same time. Like, I’ve got a menstrual cycle, then the moon has a certain cycle, then the year has got a cycle. So we are influenced by all of these multiple layers anyway. And then this testosterone based body that works on both a daily cycle and a yearly cycle and may not have as intense fluctuations during the months, but still, there is a rhythm to it, a pattern.

And that’s why I’m a big fan of cycle charting. And I actually do call it cycle charting for a reason, because the cycle changes. It can change and so you never know if it will be exactly the same. You can’t track it in that sense.

It’s like, you’ve got this unknown territory and each month you’ve got the opportunity to look at, “Okay, what’s the response of my body to how well I’ve treated it in the previous month?” And becoming this curious investigator and explorer of the territory of your own body.

[00:16:53] Ixchel: I love that. In the Mayan calendar, there’s not just one calendar, there’s actually a multitude of calendars that they were tracking. So they tracked Venus, for instance, and we’re in a Venus cycle that is restarting now. They tracked the moon and the sun and many, many calendars. And it was the sense of really having that knowledge of ALL of the things that are contributing to our human experience.

Yes, we are humans on a physical entity, this planet, and it has the moon that’s going around, but then we’re moving around the sun and all these other planets are moving with us. But then we’re also moving through space itself in a galaxy. And if you’ve ever seen that video that someone has recreated, that shows that we’re just not this static planet in the solar system, that the whole thing is moving, it’s such a beautiful way to start to connect with some of these larger cycles that are impacting us as well.

So yeah, we’re never in the same place. We’re always moving in this dynamic universe. And so the cycles are going to shift and adjust and change and be different.

[00:18:19] Lisa: It’s mind-blowing when you think of that, because yes, it’s true that we are also moving through space. And I mean, it’s very upsetting at the same time, at least to my brain and probably to other people’s brains to just wrap the mind around it. And don’t worry, you don’t have to. It doesn’t have to make sense to your logical thinking brain.

I think that’s the whole idea of, also cycle charting, but just learning to trust this mystery, the spirals of life that are moving you, that you are walking. Because also over the course of a lifetime, we do have different phases that reflect the same seasons that we have in a year. And then, as you said, the planets also move through different cycles and just this beautiful symphony.

And I sometimes say your cycle is your compass back home to yourself, because it gives you an anchor point. So you don’t get lost in all the cycles and circles.

And also why this practice of decolonizing the body is so important to me is because the way we treat our bodies is the way we treat the earth is the way we treat time is the way we treat other people is the way we treat money. It’s all a reflection of one another.

So when we start, like when you start to pay attention to your body and start a truce and appreciation and mutual respect, then you pay attention to what you put into your body, which will in turn, not just feed your body, but also make sure that the way the food is produced is better for the Earth and not so extractive as it is right now.

And then, of course, it will ripple out into your family because you make sure that your family members get the nutrients they need to have. And then you also bring that to your community. And so in the end, everybody benefits from you having a good relationship with your body and your cycle. That’s my goal. Very humble.

[00:20:32] Ixchel: I love that. Yeah, for me, you know, I’m post-menopausal. And when I was living in the United States until 2017 and in perimenopause, it was very challenging. I had had endometriosis. I was in PMDD and sort of learning what that was about. And when I moved to Nicaragua in 2017, I was really able to track and pay attention more to what was happening and what my body needed in terms of being able to be resilient in certain times of the month.

And one of the things that I learned, I was taking an Ayurveda class, was that it’s really recommended in Ayurveda for people who bleed and who are moving into perimenopause and menopause to sort of finish the evening of eating at sundown. And that that gives the liver a chance to sort of do its work and have some space from having to do all the digestion while we’re in the evening and sleeping when melatonin wants to come on and sort of slow us down.

And when I made that shift, all of my hot flashes went away. It was really powerful of really being able to honor the work of my organs and everything that they do, all the work that’s going on to keep our bodies going every single day.

[00:22:02] Lisa: Wow. Yes, that’s what I’m talking about. It made a big difference in your life and that ripples out.

[Yeah, absolutely.]

Wow. And yeah, these shifts, they can be so simple as like don’t eat after sundown. Breathe well, in terms of breathe with your diaphragm engaged and keep your pelvic floor unclenched. Because a lot of people do clench their pelvic floor. And that’s why, when there’s incontinence, for example, most of us do not need more strengthening of the pelvic floor, at least not as a first step, but actually loosening up so that the blood flow can happen and it can work optimally again.


And yeah, that’s why being aware of your cycle and your body and what it needs and going at it every day… I do a very simple approach to cycle charting and I’ve got a free course that I can link to. It’s this, “Okay, today I’m on this day of my cycle and these are my three words for how I am today and how can I honor that today?””

And that’s what I mean when I say embodied cyclical living, because it’s not about, “Oh, I’m in this phase so I have to better eat that kind of food and do that kind of sports.” because that’s patriarchal thinking. That’s colonialist thinking.

It’s about this is my body. This is what I bring to the table today and how can I honor that even when I’ve got a full plate?

[Yeah, beautiful.]

And also, as I shared, it’s a compass. It’s like a compass and the four phases of your cycle, they are revolving around you and in the center there’s you. And that means when you’re in touch with that, you know your place.

You have a place that you belong to. You anchor yourself in space and time again and that concludes the circle to decolonizing time and decolonizing place because it’s about belonging and togetherness instead of separation.

And I like to say going at your own pace IS the Quiet Revolution.

[I love that.]

I’ve got it on my website by now, but I like to say embodied cyclical living is a decolonizing practice. Because it helps you withdraw from extraction culture, withdraw from patriarchy, from white supremacy, from ageism, from ableism, from capitalism, from all of these things and instead start celebrating and honoring your body, yourself, your family, your ancestors.

We talked about that, whatever shape or form your ancestors are, plants, humans, animals, whatever, and to honour the Earth and Life itself. And I think that’s what native traditions like indigenous cultures are about, this relationship with the land and with everything around us, honouring, respecting.

And yeah, that’s my take on decolonizing the body.

[00:25:19] Ixchel: That is what we need. Yeah. What a shift that’s going to bring for the world, to bring people back to that. It’s so powerful.

[00:25:29] Lisa: And as I say, it’s very, like it all developed after our talk that we had two years ago. And that’s why it’s so closely tied to that, because when we are present in our body, we are in the present moment. We are in the time that’s right here, right now, the localized time that you speak of.

[00:25:52] Ixchel: These are paradigm shifting ways of being. So watch out when you start, you can’t unsee these things. But the ripples that it’s going to have in your life are going to be beautiful and juicy and your body will thank you so much for it.

[00:26:11] Lisa: Yeah, thank you.

Folks, stay tuned for our last episode where we are going to wrap that all up and talk about how to liberate flow in your own life, both the flow state, but maybe also being in flow with your body a little bit.

Until then, there are ways to stay in touch with Ixchel and me and I will link to Ixchel’s Dragon letters that are really powerful and I love receiving them and reading them, of course. Or to my Moonday Musings that I write each Moonday, Monday morning as a great start into your week because life’s too short to have crappy Moondays.

[00:26:58] Ixchel: I love Mondays. Moondays, yeah.

[00:27:02] Lisa: That’s what we want for everyone.

Yeah, and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast, obviously.

And thanks, Ixchel, for being here and holding the space for and with me.

Wonderful. Thank you so much, Lisa.