October, 15 2015
You are changing, getting ready to be initiated
into the third stage of your life.
Are you ready for the ride of your life?
Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way
When I think back on the decade that safely carried me from the early signs of peri-menopause all the way through post-menopause, I agree it has been an incredible ride.
The dawn of my journey started when I was 40. I was thrilled to be asked to regularly teach a two-day workshop called “Acupressure for Menopause”, at the Acupressure Institute in Berkeley, a class I had taken myself several years previously. This gave me the precious opportunity to dive deeply into a rich topic, to listen to hundreds of stories of midlife women, and to hold group practice sessions followed by discussions on how best to offer support. I presented this class many times over the next nine years.
As I began experiencing my own peri-menopausal changes, from ovarian cysts to heavier periods, and later hot flashes and bouts of what I can best describe as ‘fed-upness’, I discovered that knowing in advance what to expect lowered my stress and anxiety. I built a positive outlook towards my own aging, as well as a repertoire of specific tools to use.
Midlife brings big changes and I couldn’t predict some of the curve balls that life threw me: family upheavals, a physical assault in a training program, an unexpected divorce. During a couple of those years I traveled through a dark night of the soul mirroring the grief and despair from my adolescence. The difference was that now I had knowledge and wisdom from decades of gathering self-care tools.
I knew the importance of social support. My younger sister, my brother-in-law, and my mom were my rocks. I reached out to wise therapists, empathic friends, and skilled coaches. Self-care that was enjoyable rather than dry discipline was crucial, and my favorite tools were:
– Nature Connection
– Eating for Health
– Touch Therapies
These are the activities that nourished me so that I could not only rebalance my physical body, but also have the stamina to release difficult emotions and navigate uncertainty. I had to simultaneously empty out old energy blocks while restoring deep inner reservoirs. I can see now that it was a tremendous clearing that enabled me to rebuild a new life even more in harmony with my soul.
We, as women, hold tremendous power, often unacknowledged and unrecognized. In our middle years we are physically, mentally and emotionally re-arranging our focus so that in the next stage of life we can channel that power more dynamically than ever before. Menopause is that bridge to a new stage in life. The uncomfortable symptoms and feelings that arise are clues and guideposts that take us to a richer midlife with renewed vigor, sense of purpose, and depth of self-understanding.
I invite you to contemplate these questions and share in the comments section:
• What are your favorite tools of self-care when going through challenging times?
• Are you able to see difficult symptoms as clues, or is it too overwhelming to be philosophical at this time?
• If you are post-menopausal, can you look back and see the arc of your experience of change, and if so, how would you describe it?