What is life tracking? On the face of it, it’s pretty simple – you track elements of your life to help bring clarity, self encouragement and accountability.
We’re quite used to tracking fitness data, whether it’s the simple use of a pedometer to track your steps, or electronic devices that track everything from sleep patterns to heart rate. There are apps that can help women to track their menstrual cycles. Apps to track finances, time spent on devices; you name it and there’s probably an app to track it.
About 18 months ago I started to make brief notes in my daily journal (more tracking) about things I was noticing about my mental and physiological state. For the last 5 months I’ve been keeping a more detailed daily diary just for cycle related tracking. It’s been enlightening.
In the 18+ months I was doing basic tracking, I realised that I was having,what I called ‘existential angst days’,on a very regular (monthly) basis. It was enlightening when I saw that these days,when I was feeling at absolute rock bottom, were following a pattern. It meant that, when I noticed that was how I was feeling, I could check back through my journal, and see if it was the same point in my cycle. Low and behold, it was. This then enabled me to realise it would quickly pass, and that I wasn’t sinking into the depths of depression – it was simply a hormonal response, not an unchangeable aspect of my personality.
About 6 months ago I started to read more around menstrual cycle tracking, and the idea that women live in cycles and seasons within our cycles.
Suddenly everything fell into place, especially when I started noticing how this played out on a fairly predicable schedule, month after month.
I think this information is something that every young girl should be taught. I think it should be part of the discussion around women’s mental health. It’s something boys should be taught too.
For too long women have been expected to fit into the non cyclical ways of a man’s world. We’ve been mocked for our PMS moments. Where there should be understanding, there has been abuse.
The underlying assumption that women are unstable creatures continues to pervade society, including the healthcare world. I could talk at great length on this subject, but instead I’ll just refer to this post where I talked a little about how women are often dismissed by the medical profession.
If we all understood the beauty of a woman’s cycle, how we have seasons, just like the planet, imagine the world we could be living in? We’ve denied our connection to nature, arrogantly thinking we can control Mother Nature, in the same way we’ve assumed we can control the workings of a woman’s body. We have to see the correlation between the two things if we’re to stand any chance of repairing the damage we’re doing to our home.
How do we do this? We start with us, as individuals, tracking our days, getting to know ourselves and the way we interact with the world.
Instead of just tracking the metrics, we track the ‘soft data’ of our days.
We can track our mood and feelings – there are apps for that. But we can go deeper and uncover so much more information about ourselves. How?
We could track our sensory responses throughout the seasons. How about tracking our trauma responses AND our joy responses too? Once we have more data about ourselves, we can dig deep into why we do the things we do, and when we do them. Self knowledge unlocks so many opportunities to feel different, which in turn can lead us to creating the lives we’ve always dreamed of.
Women have an extra opportunity to gather self knowledge: get tracking your cycle! Even if you’re in the post menopause phase of your life – you’re still existing within cycles and seasons; you’re still part of the beating heart of the earth. And, you have the wisdom of having lived through all the seasons of a woman’s life – share your wisdom, it’s your gift to the world! Those of us who come after you need your knowledge and experience.
What will you start tracking first? I’d love to know.
In future posts I’ll be exploring sensory tracking in much more depth. If you want to know when those posts go live, do sign up for the Magic Monday emails where I bring you music, magic, mantras, and musings on things that don’t make it to the blog.