Nobodies talking about menopause...
I don’t see much out there for the menopausal woman. Oh there’s plenty about symptoms, what to expect, how to ‘treat’, it’s all so clinical. I’ve found nothing from a psychological or spiritual perspective, which is why I’ve decided to go on a personal exploration of my own.
I turned fifty in October and I find myself in crone phase. That word, crone, it conjures up the image of an ancient, weathered old woman, probably living deep in the forest alone. Not really how I want to imagine myself. Or maybe I do, at least the living alone in the forest part, hahaha.
I had my last period, or moon cycle as I prefer to call it, December 29, 2015 and I was sad to see it go.
I’ve always been a late bloomer and it wasn’t until I no longer had my cycle that I learned about its connection to the cycles of the Moon and that women and the Moon have an ancient connection that used to be celebrated in pre-patriarchy cultures. The menstrual-lunar traditions represented in mythology and folklore as they relate to the four female archetypes were not talked about when I was growing up. I never heard of Maiden, Mother, Enchantress, Crone let alone how those archetypes related to the waxing, full, waning and dark Moon, until much later in life.
My mom didn’t celebrate my coming of age, no ceremony or ritual, nor did her mother celebrate her's. She didn’t talk to me much about my cycle at all, in fact I don't remember us having any conversations about it, though I'm thinking we must have at least talked a little. But maybe not...it's quiet possible that I learned the basics in my Home Ec class. Sadly she’s gone now so I can’t even ask her about her menopause experience.
Mine has been tough. First because despite my more enlightened self, there’s a part of me (ego) that is vain and struggles with aging. Like it or not I am a product of a society that worships at the fountain of youth and I live in the capital city of vanity, Los Angeles, where many women go to extremes to extend their youthful appearance. Even to the point of the absurd. I was just at the dog park and there was a woman there (who knows how old, she’d had a lot of work) clearly fresh off the plastic surgeons table with a crazy head wrap that looked straight out of the movie Brazil. “I’m having complications with my complications”. It looked painful and like it would take a long time to heal. I don't pass judgement on her, Goddess knows there is A LOT of pressure to look a certain way, but it does make me sad that some women will go through what I imagine must be excruciating procedures to fight a loosing battle. After all there's no escaping aging.
I’ll be taking a que from the elegant Rosemary Steiner, my grandmother, and do my best to age with grace, steering clear of plastic surgery.
That said, I do what I can to maintain a youthful appearance. I try to eat a healthy, mostly vegan diet, no sugar, minimal wine (I’m not a total martyr), exercise, yada, yada, yada. And yes I admit it, I’ve had botox.
No matter how evolved I become I still house a certain amount of vanity. We live in a culture that places a lot of value on looks and even though I know that’s total bullshit I’m still not totally free from caring. I’m a work in progress.
Okay so besides all the surface bullshit, menopause is a massive physical and emotional shift. My physical symptoms have included weight gain, horrendous insomnia, crippling really, and brain fog, which equals about a 50% drop in IQ. Not really but it feels that way. The less I sleep the harder it is to think and string words together eloquently and articulately. Not to mention I can’t remember anything. Very frustrating! Oh yeah there’s the hot flashes… I don’t get crazy sweaty like some women do luckily but I get really fucking hot. It’s kind of like burning up from the inside out. It’s deep heat. All of this culminating in diminished fine motor skills, a.k.a. clumsy. Not fun.
On the emotional side I’ve become very inward, perhaps even introverted. I do not have the energy or the inclination to socialize, much to the Mr.’s dismay. I simply have no interest in small talk and am perfectly happy hanging out in our compound, alone. In fact alone is my favorite thing right now. It’s quiet and calm and easy. Peaceful. I love it.
I’ve found this aspect the hardest for people to understand, especially the Mr. He’s a social guy and has always like being on the go. He’s definitely more dialed in to doing rather than being. Right now I’m much more into being, which leads me to this. It’s been my experience that it’s very hard to give myself permission to mostly be when there’s so much to do. Slowing down is very hard both on a personal level and from outside pressure.
I dedicated this January to self-care, which include allowing more being – meditation, tea ceremony, reading, hot baths, as well as a cleanse and a seven day panchakarma (PK) treatment. I asked my family to honor this and they’ve tried but let’s face it they’re NEEDY!
Today is day six of my seven day treatment. Honestly I was hoping for a silver bullet or some kind of deeply significant transformation. So far I cannot tell if I’ve been transformed, which leads me to think it’s likely I have not. At least not emotionally and there’s been no noticeable physical transformation either. It may be subtle though…time will tell. I slept pretty good last night but the Mr. was out of town. (Sorry honey I sleep better alone). Time will tell (and I’ll share) if there was a significant shift from the PK.