All Posts for May 2015

4 Seasons in 4 Weeks by Suzanne Mathis McQueen

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

4seasons in 4weeks (4s4w) by Suzanne Mathis McQueen is the most comprehensive book on the female cycle I have ever read.  Because it is so comprehensive, the author has given me permission to review it over time, so this posting is an introduction and information on the first cycle of the New Moon. It is an excellent resource for women of any age. I will be using quotes from the book in subsequent postings, which will be several, because the book is chock full of valuable information for what Suzanne calls The Authentic Female, which she defines in her Prologue as “the true self when fear, dishonesty, unhealthy behaviors, and society’s expectations and historical oppressions are removed.”

As Suzanne explains, also in the Prologue, there are several ways to read her book. Of course, reading it from cover to cover as I did for review purposes is the way to get the greatest value. But since the book is about 300 pages, you may not have that option, so feel free to go to any page for information at random. Or go to the individual 
4 seasons in 4 weeks sections that are color-coded. You can also read only the bullet points from these sections or even just read the “To-Do-List” at the end of each chapter to get started. Whatever way you choose, honor yourself for there is no judgment in your choices.

The premise of the book is based on the 28- day monthly cycle, which the author breaks down into four guided weeks and explains the logical hormonal sequence of women. The author calls these four weeks of the month “the four weekly seasons” or “the Moon seasons:” Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer, since the constantly changing hormonal effects on every woman have similar characteristics of the seasons.

I think the best way to approach this concept is to use myself as an example. I am post-menopausal, so I am following the moon cycle starting with the New Moon, which is equivalent to Fall in 4s4w. The new moon is May 18th, which is tomorrow as I am writing this.  I noticed that the past few days I have felt edgy and anxious, which might be likened to PMS for me, since I no longer bleed. Tomorrow will be the beginning of my Fall week (in the Northern Hemisphere), and if I were pre-menstrual, would be the beginning of my period. Suzanne calls it Red Leaves Falling.

The central theme for this first week is “Letting go and deserved self-indulgence.” The symbol is is “shedding things in your life that do not serve you and starting fresh.” And the intention is “inner peace and honor to self; to release and relax and rejuvenate.” (These last three key words are on the bottom of each page of fall.)

This is the beginning of the four weeks/cycles/seasons when low progesterone and low estrogen are the hormonal activities.  According to McQueen, our bodies in this phase include a compromised immune system that is starting to build, low energy, water retention and cramps, mentally quiet (internal, creative, alert, intuitive) and on an emotional level, you can feel relieved, honored or embarrassed and even tired of being a woman. The book suggests to take time for yourself by lounging whenever possible, journaling your thoughts, and doing something artistic such as crafts, collages or even organize files or drawers while sitting down. (I remember when I menstruated I slept a lot and had low energy, so taking it easy was almost automatic.)

Suzanne writes near the end of Fall: “I encourage you to embrace the virtues and beauty of your wondrous female cycle.”  And of course, the color-coding at the edge of the page for this season is dark Red, since it is the week of bleeding.

Each section has absolutely  beautiful art work from various artists. This one below on page 129 in the Fall section is by Krista Lynn Brown. Concerning your (male) partner if you are in a male/female relationship, Suzanne clarified her intentions in an email:  “I would say that I’m sharing with them what is happening with the female body and giving them suggestions on how to be successful at being supportive of the female/s in their lives.” Perfect! (If you are in a female/female relationship, I would suggest that your female partner is going through her cycles as well, so support would hopefully be built into the relationship.

My next posting I will see if I can explain my feelings for the Fall week and move onto the next season, Winter.

4Seasons in 4 Weeks is published by Tobacco Road Press, Ashland, Oregon.  It is available from Amazon in Kindle & soft-cover and from Barnes & Noble in Nook & soft-cover.

Go to Suzann’e website for more information and You Tube videos of her exciting work and a free download of the chart for 4s4w:

California Spring

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Bougainvillae is everywhere!

Because of he drought in California, I did not expect to see much spring foliage on my trip to the west coast earlier last month. The trees in Pennsylvania were just beginning to blossom as we were leaving, welcoming spring after a long, cold winter. To my delight and surprise, greenery and flowers greeted us in the small West Hollywood neighborhood where my husband and I stayed with his son and partner. Watering is severely severely limited, with a $1,000 fine if owners do not adhere to the watering guidelines. Additionally, homeowners receive rebates for removing grass and replacing it with succulents, stones, AstroTurf, or anything that does not require constant watering.

Flowers are planted on small strips between houses and next to the curb.

The small houses in this upscale, suburban neighborhood are built very close to one another, since land is at a premium. Perhaps that’s the explanation for the abundance of so much greenery and flowers. While the flowers do not provide privacy and are on the fringes of the lawns or spaces between the curbs and the sidewalks, they do provide beauty to the suburban terrain: roses, star jasmine, bougainvillea, lilies and native trees like the Jacarandas with beautiful purple flowers.

A hedge of Star Jasmine: aromatic and beautiful!

If I did not know that I was in suburbia, I would have thought I was air dropped into a hamlet of country cottages ala Brigadoon, with neighbors vying for the most beautiful plant coverage. The high hedges also add to the privacy that the homeowners seem to require, demand because of their proximity to one another.

Compared with Pennsylvania, where we live, flowers bloom all year round in Southern California, so perhaps there is perpetual spring. Right before we left I spotted my first daffodils in my neighborhood, so I was delighted to be surrounded with spring flowers and plants in California. Breathing in the smell of the flowers as we walked through the neighborhood was like breathing new life into my lungs. The greenery, the perpetual blue sky, the birds and the blossoms are like a huge still life, except I could touch, smell and enjoy their beauty in person.

While fall is my favorite season, spring is a close second because it holds the promise of Mother Nature’s power to recreate plant life year after year, giving me renewed hope that life continues, if we take care of the planet. I think Earth Day comes in spring because the earth is waking up again after hibernating and brings attention to the importance of the cycle of life. As I enjoy the spring season here in California, I feel fortunate that I will have a second spring back in Pennsylvania when I return. I  especially love the azaleas. A double spring….. it doesn’t get much better than this!