Menopause – Are We Ready to Listen?
Back then I didn’t know what to expect.
It began with a growing sense of unease.
More moodiness, irritability and a darkness growing over my days.
Unease turned to a bone deep gnawing discomfort.
There was no obvious starting moment heralding this next phase of life.
No blood of first bleed.
No swelling of pregnancy.
Just a restlessness, a disgruntled feeling that would descend and consume me.
Something wasn’t ok.
I had no idea I was at the starting line walking blind folded through the first years of peri-menopause. Like the Girl Guide of my youth I was prepared for life, I knew the way. There was childhood, adulthood and then old age and that’s when menopause started
not at 42 – right?
I was in it. Up to my neck and rapidly sinking.
I’ve never felt so ill prepared in my life to meet what was coming. Surges of emotion, rage and grief became daily visitors as my periods took on a chaotic pattern of their own. Could PMT really last 64 days only to start up again straight after my bleed? Could everything that had felt so right – feel so wrong? One moment a gentle being, the next a murderous Kali swinging her swords indiscriminately.
Fast forward 5 years and it’s been 10 months since my last period. I’m in the depths of an inner winter landscape and the roller coaster of peri-menopause has transitioned into an excruciating rawness. Where once there was skin protecting me from the outside there is exposure – a heightened capacity to feel everything.
Akin to the amplification of hallucinogens, menopause can be like a 10 year bad-trip. Taken in the wrong place – the wrong environment, surrounded by the wrong people – it’s the road to hell. Yet taken in the right place, in community, being held, being honoured, respected, seen and safe then we open to ourselves as wisdom keepers, holders of truth, and protecting with fierce compassion.
So why is bad-trip menopause the norm and good-trip menopause a rarity?
Could it be that the decline of oestrogen actually makes us see and feel more clearly the collective bad-trip we’ve been living in this age of capitalism? Could it be that the individual fight for power has stripped away the cultural soil, exposing our roots and leaving us bereft of belonging? Or maybe it’s the voice of the oppressor spreading stories of division and hate, supremacy and conquer, that our skin peeled bodies can no longer bear?
So instead of hellish bad trip menopause being the reality what if women could be lovingly supported into the soothing balm of culturally supported good-trip menopause?
What if our culture acknowledged and honoured this right of passage for all women?
What if our communities held sacred space for women in the maelstrom of menopause so we can step back from our positions in society knowing that all our needs
would be taken care of?
What if our global communities became educated about menopause – not just women – but everyone, so this initiation could be woven into the fabric of our cultures?
What if we had places menopausal women could go to for rest and rejuvenation – without needing to explain – just to be met in that deep knowing,
I see you – I’ve got you – it’s all ok.
Arising from this version of reality is a culturally supported menopause which bears powerful women. In their wombs they carry the seeds of our collective future – longing for a responsible culture to tend to and cultivate the collective soil for those seeds to grow and thrive.
Through denying our culture the birthing of initiated women we remain in adolescence, seeking for our own experiences, our own gratification while indulging in mass consumption and environmental destruction.
An initiated women creates healthy boundaries for her culture, she can see what’s needed, when we have enough and when the resources need to be shared. She is supportive and encouraging, sowing the seeds of praise and acknowledgement in the hearts of all while living the medicine of truth aligned leadership.
An initiated woman is an embodiment of the sacred – she is unable to separate herself from life – her skin has become too thin to not feel the beauty and wonder and preciousness of all living things. She recognises her place in the world for she is of the world and will return to the world when her time has come.
A culturally held menopausal woman who has moved through the initiatory fires of menopause is a medicine woman – she brings back her gifts of compassion, regenerative ways, and crystal clarity – for she knows what is needed – she sees the truth and her heart is her moral compass guiding her actions to be in cooperation and alignment with all of life. Within these gifts she offers us the turning point for humanity. Are we ready to listen to her?
Art work by Caroline Maniere