Book Review - Optimized Women
Sorry to the male sex! But this book is about using your menstrual cycle to achieve success and fulfilment. However, that does not mean men do not have something to learn too. In fact at the back of this book there is a chapter for men to read.
Women do have something that men do not and the idea of this book is to take action at the right time and use peak time abilities and talents when they arise, working with natural motivation, creativity and insight to make our work and lives generally as happy and joyous as we can.
The majority of us are not using the tremendous power that we have available to us because we are trying to live a consistent lifestyle due to the social pressures imposed on us. We can use the menstrual cycle not as an inconvenience but as an advantage, if we embrace the changes that occur over the month.
According to the book each month there are four optimum times. These are days when we experience specific heightened mental abilities, emotional qualities, intuitive awareness and physical aptitudes and excel at being ourselves. Miranda breaks the month down into four phases: a Dynamic phase; the Expressive phase; the Creative phase and the Reflective phase.
1. The Dynamic phase – This comes after menstruation and before ovulation. It is good for mental focus, concentration, learning, researching, structural thinking, independence and physical stamina.
2. The Expressive phase – At ovulation, good for communication, empathy, productivity, teamwork, supporting others, creating inter-dependent relationships.
3. The Creative phase – Pre-menstruation, good for creativity, inspiration, out-of-the- box thinking, problem identification and problem solving and assertiveness.
4. The Reflective phase – During menstruation, a good time for inner processing, creative reviewing, reaching the core of things, reframing, letting go, new ideas, rest and renewal.
The issue is that most of us try and override this natural cycle. We perceive ourselves in a negative way and are self-critical, thinking we are inconsistent, unreliable or not living up to expectations we put upon ourselves. We then compensate by working extra hard, take stimulants to override the body telling ourselves to rest and feeling unfulfilled because our life is a constant struggle to fit into a structure that does not fit us.
By having an awareness of these four phases you can start to match the task to the optimum time and this will allow you to do a better job of it and shine.
To start using this 28 day plan there are 5 key steps to work through. The first key step is awareness, just like in yoga where we start to tune in to the physical body and what sensations we feel, we need to consciously tap into the changes we feel during and throughout the 28 days. This self-awareness also builds up self-confidence and self-esteem and helps us to understand that inconsistency is not a negative aspect of being female. The second key is planning, starting to journal or note down a feeling in a diary about how we feel during the month. This can then lead to tasks or jobs being slotted in at optimum times, although require trust, which is the next key step. It can be challenging to leave a task to the optimum time. Leaving a task can feel like we are making it ‘low priority’, in fact we are giving it high priority by leaving it to our optimum time. There will be times that things will not match, it just means you will not work at full potential or be more likely to make mistakes.
Key step 4 is action, try to put the optimum time abilities into practice, start with something small. The Dynamic phase is an ideal time to start physical practice like sun salutations each morning during this phase or looking at your finances as we are more able to process complex information. If we don’t take action during our Optimum times we will lose the ability to experience a higher level of abilities, however this leads into the last key step, flexibility. Do not panic, worry or become anxious, accept timings may change and realise the cycle will start again the following month!
I have included in this blog a picture of an ‘overview dial’, You can also do this via a free app visit http://www.mirandagray.co.uk/the-flow-miranda-gray.html to find out more. This is available so you can start working through the keys and understanding your own cycle, you can start to plan, using the dial or the app a month ahead to optimise timings of tasks. You can do it for work tasks, life-coaching goals, or your personal life. For example you could plan social commitments around ovulation, ‘Me time’ at menstruation, for example booking in a massage. Plan your personal accounts catch up in the dynamic phase after menstruation. You could book in to a fast paced energising yoga in the dynamic phase and a slow yin or restorative yoga in the reflective way. The beauty and essence of this is to make it fit around you and the tasks you do within the month. You could list these tasks in the reflective phase and then share and plan where to put them in the Expressive phase. You take control. The planning dial or app also gives the opportunity to meet your mental, emotional and creative needs each month to prevent resentment or frustration.
Once you become your own expert at working out what you need when and optimising the right times to do this, according to Miranda, it is then important that you communicate this to work colleagues and partners and tell them which phase you are in. Chapter 10 in the book is allocated to doing just this. More importantly by becoming an expert of you and learning to love your cycle and how you can use the positives, you will notice a huge drop in stress levels, greater feelings of fulfilment, self-confidence, well-being and happiness. What have you got to lose?
The whole approach nestles in beautifully with yoga and the power of the moon. I have definitely seen the benefits of tuning in to nature’s cycles and looking within, listening and tuning in to my body, resting when I need to and being kind to myself. Slow down and leave a task to the right time and you may find superhuman abilities you never knew you had!