How Our Culture Demands We Prioritize Productivity--And What To Do About It

How Our Culture Demands We Prioritize Productivity--And What To Do About It

As you may know, I've been sick a lot recently. 

Just as soon as I was in the tail-end of one illness or injury, something else has popped up! It's been a battle.

I was feeling pretty bummed about it recently, and at the same time I could feel myself getting frustrated that I wasn't able to DO as much as I want to, especially when it comes to My Club Red and menstrual cycle coaching. 

I have BIG plans, big collaborations, big offerings in the works, and I've been itching to get them out into the world ASAP. 

But as I was talking out my experiences with my Listening Partner last night, I realized something: 

I was falling into equating my worth with my productivity again. 

My thoughts and feelings were edging closer and closer to a loop of thoughts like: 

I have to get X offering out before Y happens, or I might as well not do Y.

That coach has already launched Z. I wish I was already at that point! 

I am falling behind! What's the fastest way I can get to where I want to be? 

The underlying message was that I have to earn my way to being valuable. 

And of course, these thoughts and feelings were spilling into my personal life, too. 

Feeling guilt over the growing mountain of laundry, the hasty meals when it's my turn to cook, messier-than-normal house. 

Like somehow my value as a person is reflected in how much work I get done in every area of my life. 

Once I realized I was sending this message to myself, I've been much more gentle with myself. 

(Awareness is always the first step!)

I know exactly why I fall into this pattern of thinking when I feel like I'm against the ropes:

This is the energy of the via positiva, as taught by my mentors at Red School:

The yang energy of the first half of your cycle, the building energy in your follicular phase, the go, do, expansion and activity, productivity, exert yourself and put things out into the world phase. 

And this is the way of being that is most valued in our society. 

Our masculine-energy/yang energy-dominant culture does want us to operate on this level as much as possible.

So it's not surprising that so many of us get sucked in and stuck in this mode.

Don't get me wrong--the via positiva is not bad. 

It's just only part of the story, part of our needs, only part of our natural rhythm. 

The other half is the via negativa: 

The yin energy, the way of receiving, allowing. It's softer, slower, more reflective and discerning, less tied to output. The exhale.  

We travel through both of these opposing energies every month, so when we deny one of them (usually the via negativa), we feel repercussions. 

Like how I was feeling bummed about wanting to have done more, by yesterday.

It was an easy leap to tie my value to my productivity when I only make space in my life for the via positiva and disregard the via negativa. 

So how do we find the balance?  

We can cultivate appreciation for the via negativa in a lot of ways, but the biggest key is to practice allowing. 

Allow your life to unfold, rather than forcing things to happen.

Make space to receive, rather than focusing on what's not happening.

Practice the art of energetic attraction rather than trying to control outcomes. 

In practical terms, it might look like: 

  • Practicing mindful presencing like meditation.
  • Treating yourself like you would treat a loved one--with compassion, perspective, and assurance.
  • Imagine yourself as a magnet, and watch in your mind's eye as what you want travels toward you.
  • Ground yourself in gratitude. You might try the 10/10/10 exercise: List 10 things you desire, 10 things you're grateful for, and 10 things that bring you pleasure. 
And of course, a really practical thing you can do to honor both of these energies every cycle is to learn about how to live in harmony with your cycle!
Which is the heart of what we'll be discovering in The Four Seasons of Your Menstrual Cycle virtual workshop next week.
Remember, the natural home of the via positiva is the follicular phase, the first half of your cycle. 
And the natural home of the via negativa is the luteal phase, the second half of your cycle. 
Try incorporating this way of being, this space for allowing, in your next luteal phase. 
See if you can shift away from always being ON, always being productive, always going, doing, forcing things to happen. 
See what comes up when you shift into the via negativa and allow life to unfold for you in your luteal phase. Take the pressure off of yourself. 
In next week's virtual workshop, you'll learn what kinds of natural superpowers each phase of your cycle is capable of, as well as each phase's challenges. 
This is the perfect foundation, the perfect road map, to help you start shifting from living solely in the via positiva, and start incorporating a healthy dance between both, using your cycle as your guide. 
Join us on Tuesday, June 27 from the comfort of your own home! 


I hope this new awareness of the vias is as revelatory to you as it was to me. I know I only barely skimmed the surface here, but there is so much self-awareness and self-compassion waiting for you on the other side of menstrual cycle awareness.  

Definitely hit reply and let me know if you have questions about the vias or if these tips are helpful for you!

And be sure to join us in next week's workshop so you can really deepen your understanding of your cycle. 

Caitie attended this workshop when I hosted it in-person in Utah and this is what she had to say about it:

“Eye-opening! I learned so much about my body. Elizabeth made it all easy to learn and interesting. My favorite part was taking time to connect with my body so I could apply what I learned to myself and learn how to do it by myself after the workshop was over. Elizabeth is an amazing teacher. She knows how to connect with you on a level that you understand and that resonates with you.” 

You can have this eye-opening experience, too! Join us in The Four Seasons of Your Menstrual Cycle virtual workshop. 


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