The Beauty of Menopause
“The only thing that is constant is change,” the somewhat overused quote first uttered by the ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, well, it just makes me mad. I don’t like change. It cramps my style. But in my own spiritual evolution, I have come to accept that fighting the inevitable is a recipe for continual suffering. Realizing one day that things weren’t going to stop changing, I made the decision to make friends with change. Things.Keep.Changing! So, I better learn to get used to it. Pema Chodron, my favorite American Buddhist nun (okay, the only one I know of) discusses in her book When Things Fall Apart, the notion of being “nailed by life” and our tendency to run the other way. She says that most of our suffering is based on our fear of impermanence and that part of being fully alive is “to be continually thrown out of the nest.” So, perhaps one of the most profound practices we can incorporate each day is to change our perception of change. Perhaps change isn’t so bad after all. Maybe there is a way to actually exercise our ability to perceive life’s ever-changing “obstacles” as “opportunities”. And, perhaps this is how to access the true beauty in life.
This brings me to menopause. Yes, through Greek philosophers and Buddhist nuns, I find answers to this grandest of all metamorphoses. (We women are the biggest of the beautiful “butterflies) In decades past, negative euphemisms such as “The Change” or “The Big M” instilled a certain shameful foreboding in women, but those times are gone (yay, change!). Today, we have strong, highly intelligent, spiritually wise voices, such as that of Dr. Christiane Northrup, teaching us that menopause is to be embraced and actually celebrated.
“Women have a cycle where they bleed in tune with the moon. It is the cycle responsible for all human life on earth. It is the cycle that connects you to your creativity and to the very essence of the tide coming in, the tide going out, the seasons, the sap going into the roots and then rising up, and we have been taught for 5,000 years to be ashamed of that cycle.”
Preach it sister! WOW. I am moon, ocean and tree sap all rolled into a life-creating-swirl of awesomeness! Dr. Northrup goes on to explain that menopause is a grand transition, in fact, a “developmental stage,” that is much much more than “raging hormones”. This is a time when a woman’s brain is actually being rewired and in fact, there are 48 million of us in the world all experiencing this same “circuitry update” at the same time, making us a collective force to be reckoned with! Watch out world, we are changing and not afraid. (Okay, maybe a little. But remember, another wise woman, Eleanor Roosevelt, who told us to “do one thing every day that scares you.”) So, how do we ordinary women learn to adopt more of Northrup’s wise and encouraging outlook and exercise Ms. Roosevelt’s courage? How do we gracefully journey through this transition on our way to become “the queens of ourselves,” embracing this beautiful rebirth? Easy. We work hard at it.