In her book Red Moon, Miranda Gray talks about the Red Moon Cycle and the White Moon Cycle, where a woman menstruates on a full moon or on a new moon (and ovulates on the new moon or the full moon). Out of this book and from her subsequent workshops came The Optimized Woman and its Optimized Woman Daily Plan.
The subtitle of the book is “Using Your Menstrual Cycle to Achieve Success and Fulfillment.” Women have been striving for success in the workplace for a long time, with many believing that exhibiting more masculine traits is the way to go. (That is another topic, interesting and complicated.) Structures in business, especially corporate, tend to be rigid and ignore the cyclical nature of 50% of the world’s population. In Miranda Gray’s opinion, an important resource is extremely underutilized. That resource is women and their feminine energy and gifts. (This is not about gender roles and both men and women have within both masculine and feminine energies.)
When we do work in awareness of our abilities and talents as they occur during the month, we can become exceptionally productive and perceptive members of a working team and experience levels of achievement and personal fulfillment beyond our expectations, on our personal and work life.
Miranda Gray, The Optimized Woman
Miranda Gray believes there are four Optimum Times in each cycle, when we experience “specific heightened mental abilities, emotional qualities, intuitive awareness, and physical aptitudes” that support us to reach our potential. Discovering when these are for each of us is how we can uncover our talents and discover our strengths as women.
The four phases are Dynamic phase, Expressive phase, Creative phase, and Reflective phase. She has generalized a cycle as 28 days for the book and writes that this information applies to a cycle of any length, and even for menopausal women.
Using the 28-day-cycle model, the four phases are approximately the following – Reflective phase (menstruation) Days 1 – 6; Dynamic phase (pre-ovulation) Days 7 – 13; Expressive phase (ovulation) Days 14 – 20; Creative phase (pre-menstruation) Days 21 – 28. The Creative and Dynamic phases are active and the other two are both passive, with the Reflective phase being withdrawn and the Expressive phase, outgoing.
We start our cycle reflective, slowing down and going inward to let go, review goals, and acknowledge our needs. Next we move to the Dynamic phase (“clarity, concentration, structural thinking, independence, and physical stamina”). In this time, women can enjoy high level of mental energy and productivity, with more self-confidence, optimism, and enthusiasm. This is a good time to start new projects, plan long-term, and also catch up on tasks and jobs that got overlooked. If you want to research for a new idea, start a new fitness program or set up a time management system, this is the time.
Next is the Expressive phase, a time for reaching out, making connections, and being nurturing, and a time of emotional strength. This is a good time for mediation, team building, and supporting others.
Before ovulation, we tend to feel increased “empathy, productivity, emotional creativity, and creating relationships.” The time before our menses begins is the Creative phase, primed for “out-of-the-box thinking, problem identification and problem solving, and assertiveness.”
When women are given the environment to express themselves according to their Optimum Times, they can experience a huge drop in stress and greater feelings of fulfillment, self-confidence, well-being and happiness. They also have an enhanced capacity to achieve more in their life, to create personal success and to fulfill their goals and dreams.
The second half of the book is The Optimized Woman Daily Plan, with suggestions for daily actions, how to make the plan work for each of us, how to start the plan, and answers to common questions. The daily plan actually starts around cycle day 7, approximately when the Dynamic phase begins. The actual day varies for each woman and even from month to month. You will likely feel the shift from a more withdrawn, lower energy time to a more energetic state as the transition from the Reflection to the Dynamic phase.
To approach this daily plan, Miranda Gray suggests five keys – awareness, planning, trust, action, and flexibility. These help us to see the pattern of when our heightened abilities are within our cycle so that we can plan out our month to match the quality with tasks and goals, which requires us to trust that, instead of jumping into projects, there is an optimal time to start, nurture, and complete them. For many women, the cycle is not the same month to month and flexibility is important so we can continue to be aware of changes in our optimal times and abilities.
Knowing that we go through phases, with different heightened abilities and sensitivities and non-rigid time frames, reminds us that the event is not the bleeding, even when PMS may make it more noticeable, and we are not the same person the entire cycle.
There is also a chapter dedicated to the men, for both personal and professional reasons. This information is for men who want to understand the females in their lives for better relationships and productivity at work. Miranda Gray reminds the men reading this session that “using the information in this chapter in a way which could be interpreted as defining, belittling, or dismissive, will not earn you a positive response or respect! Women dislike men using the menstrual cycle as a joke or as a definitive reason or excuse for female behaviour.”
Our behaviour, skill sets, sexuality, and spirituality can all change throughout the month, yet we have been taught to expect to be the same person with the same attributes all the time.