In my 50th year, my blog posts needed a title change, so I am now “my 50 life”…nope doesn’t have the same ring to it as “my 49 life!” So I need a rethink, or, I need a Pause!
The great Pause as it is now named, the great Pause, the Meno-Pause. I have been sitting with this word for the last week and it has this beautiful meaning to me of sinking my roots deep down into the earth beneath me. I think I may just be onto something here. This is the time to do less and practice, no, not even practice, I correct myself here, do nothing.
When have I ever done nothing? I think back to all the times in my life when I have done something, always done something. I have tried harder, worker longer, put in more, pushed, changed direction, persisted. But when I look back to those challenging times in my 50 years I can now see that at some point doing nothing would have been possible if not the most practical. This menopause to me has always been about life on review, it is the biggest reset point in my existence. And now I can see it most clearly that some of my embodied, arising signals are flashing the pause button.
Imagine you are sat, in a very big comfortable way, (use your own imaginal viewing to dress-this-up now!!!) watching some episodes of your life and in front of the screen is a big button, a pause button. How many times could that button have been pressed for a Pause? But get this, the Pause button isn’t just to pause then play, no, it is to Pause, step away. This I feel is the thread and pull to energetic fatigue I feel, what would happen if I pressed Pause and did sweet nothing? No finishing that book while I sit, no picking up the phone, no lists, no nothing, not even writing or thinking! It is an art to Pause, so join me, create Pause, “what are you doing today?” “Having a Pause”.
What if this is that one thing that is restorative?! That is the answer to the fatigue and exhaustion?! What if the body is wiser than the brain and is shouting just sit, pause and ground yourself right here and now. Put your energetic roots down and watch the grass grow. Big transitions need but spaces of nothingness, be an empty vessel, a hollow bone, allow the world to shine through you, not work from you. Just sit a while longer…..the sweetness of nothing needed, nothing required, nothing to be done.
In the autumn phase I am reminded of the changing leaves and the withdrawal as energy focuses inwards.
Autumn can be a challenging time of navigating the emotional pulls from an outward phase to the inner self. It has the reputation of premenstrual stress as fluctuations in our body chemistry can be hard as we are oulled away from one direction to focus on another. These changes are totally unique to each one of us and even unique to each cycle. This is where my discernment comes in as we have skills in this phase to say without doubt “this is for me right now and this is not”. In this phase I start prepping the food stocks, getting the washing done. Proceeding mindfully though, so not to over do it as this is the phase that will have me asking for help. Useful to be informing our significant others of what we need and how we need it. For me this is when I can get far too hyped with the cleaning and the nesting until complete exhaustion and asking “what am I doing?” but I have already pulled out the sofa and got polishing the skirting boards.
Cortisol “stress hormone” can be testing constraints along with the progesterone level peaking so a heightened sense of security and monitoring comes in. This is responsible for hypersensitivity and everything just so. It is also worth considering that trauma responses and triggers are recognised here, this is the week I notice more than the other weeks in my cycle of my actions and reactions. PMS (premenstrual stress) and PME (premenstrual exhaustion), PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) can be related, in my opinion, to past trauma. Hyper security and hyper sensitivity are related to trauma responses. If you have stress exhaustion, dysphoria and a past history of trauma then this week needs tending. For me I signpost that this is exactly what is going on. That the thoughts and feelings are in hypersensitivity and hyper security levels, this is where tracking the cycle is needed so that it is charted and recognised, it is visible. Asking myself “what is it that needs addressing”, the root of this is key for me. It is usually something bothering me and once removed it feels ok. Just like any security issue, once the threat is removed, I settle. This could range from a request for me to act or be responsible for something. If I am able to pass it on to someone else, I feel better. But getting to that understanding is not in my “normal mind”. It takes a while. This is why the journal prompts are so useful to me. It allows the unseen in a situation, usually writing things down can lead to a flow of free writing which unearths the feels.
Physically at this time the progesterone peak is responsible for the ability for deep rest as it aids sleep so naps are helpful. Think of this as the resting instinct, it is a chemical response to our hormonal changes. As we are seeking to arrange our environment for things to be just right, yes Goldilocks was a cyclical being and aren’t folk tales just a form of storytelling from the elders?! This chemical change brings in hypervigilant and precision~to~detail functionality. So in the material world our projects and reports will be sharpened masterpieces when looked at this week. “The eyes of autumn are all seeing”. By that I mean there is no woolly hat over my eyes! We are all seeing, sensitive, intuitive beings but we have a limited amount of surplus energy diminished from summer reservoirs. I need to be gauging my activity as well as providing nourishment for the body so self-care is on the top of my list. The body knows best and there is craving for the sweet stuff, if it is chocolate I look at the iron and magnesium requirements. This matches my craving for seeds, I love pumpkin seeds at this phase, minerals all the way.
Preparing for this phase in our lineage society when we get pushed outwards is tricky. When I am wanting my blanket and a book to cover my snoozing face the world keeps on with its expansive wants and needs. I don’t have any answers here to change the system but what I can say is talking about cyclicity to our partners, family, friends and colleagues helps. When our others become aware of cyclical terminology of inner landscapes and changing requirements, it helps society. For me, listening to others’ observations was helpful as my autumn phases changed my home behaviour and my frantic cleaning and organising was an insight from those around me. When I feel so overwhelmed I need to explain what chaos is running in my mind and ask for help. It opened up for some helpful conversations and made the load lighter. I have no research to offer you about navigating here, but I know from my own patterns and behaviours and I am able to sit with my phases far more consciously since I have charted and observed myself. I have recognised that by consciously cycling I have been entering into perimenopause with more body awareness. Pushing against my biochemical rhythms is very much like hitting my head against the wall, literally.
Enter into the Labyrinth
If autumn and winter are challenging this is where a journey mentality can be useful. It can be described as an inward and outward walk through the shadow. This is where a map such as a Labyrinth walk can be useful. As we enter inwards, we go equipped, the aim is to uncover insight to bring back into the world. Labyrinths have been found in ancient cultures throughout the world from Egypt to Greece to South America and everywhere in between. A labyrinth is a single path or tool for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation. It is a metaphor for the journey to the centre of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are, enabling you to move forward confidently and consciously.
If this time is especially challenging we can use the labyrinth as a guide. The journey starts with preparation, this is the beginning of the path inwards. It is seeing to the lists, the bag packed (see winter phase post) then as I bleed I am in the centre. I navigate out of the labyrinth as an exit from the winter phase. This phase is useful for me, to see the outward path visibly, to keep drawings of the labyrinth around my space so I know the Map and can see the navigation occurring. This is a journey to be done with an alley and if you don’t have a friend, a sister-kind to do this with, you can ask for a spirit guide, a Goddess, a deity or use an oracle or tarot deck. If you need an actual person on the other end of the phone, talk, ask them ahead of time.
I like to pick a crystal and some jewellery as well for this time as a talisman. These have been used throughout the ages as a comfort, a companion, a good luck charm etc. Your talisman is something to carry with you and something that carries you throughout the journey so pick a symbol that is meaningful to you. And remember to cleanse and clear it after the journey.
The shadow aspect of our autumn phase is similar to the waning moon so think of your energy at this point. Taking a physical journey at this point may leave you feeling exhausted at the thought of it. But let the path unfold as the shadow side of this phase is where we find useful information, take my cleaning for example, no hoovering is going to make my space any safer. Releasing myself from overcommitted responsibilities does.
This phase of the journey can be sketched, journaled and a well crafted endeavour, it will let you see that there is a beginning, a middle and an end to this part of your cycle. I spent years wishing the PMS and menstruation would end, I didn’t want the journey, I just wanted another spring to appear, now I appreciate the rest and sleep. Pacing myself is the key as well as an understanding that this week I will be slower and quieter than normal.
A good place to start is always with pen and paper so here are the journaling prompts for autumn and I wish you well on your journey into the labyrinth.
Journal prompts for autumn include;
What am I needing to clarify at present?
What is my current emotion?
How am I addressing this emotion?
What gives me comfort right now?
What am I worrying about?
What am I anxious over?
What feelings are prominent?
What is my body telling me today?
What can I cancel from my diary?
What can I communicate to my loved ones today?
What can I prepare today that my future self will thank me for tomorrow?
In my 49 life I am stressed and overwhelmed by the to-do-list, sometimes it is triggering. I am a carer, a wife, a sister, a friend, a holistic health practitioner and sometimes a spiritual artist. If I could spend my days meditating, crafting and napping oh I would! but this earthly existence has other ideas.
Wellbeingand Menopause Symptoms
I consider my wellbeing to be an internal garden, this requires nurturing, tending and not to be left un-managed. I am intuitive and seem to be crafting my way through this life so why wouldn’t menopause be any different. I have entered this mid-life phase feeling like my years of PMS have become the signs of my menopause. The fatigue, the overwhelm at the tasks for the day seem to make me sigh with heavy eylashes. I often wonder if the menstrual cycle of my earlier, maiden years was a signal to what I would be experiencing through menopause. What if PMS was “pre-menopause signalling”?
The fatigue seems to be the essential point of my feelings throughout my cycling years so no surprise it is the signal in my menopause. This fatigue seems to be the domino effect for the overwhelm and the stress. So I am looking deeper into this as my stating point, or my trigger point.
Menopause and Sleep Quality
Hormonal cycling expert Marilyn Glenville asks us to consider if sleep or lack of it is the cause, to look at our quality of sleep. If we have night sweats, are we waking up feeling hot and sweaty or waking up then getting hot and sweaty, the later relating to glucose dips in the night and so having more carbohydrates before bed. Another consideration is how nourished am I at the end of the day? Am I worried about the lists before bed or satisfied I have completed enough for one day to have a quiet mind to sleep?
Nourishment and Nutrition through the Menopause
When I think about how nourished and fulfilled I am in my day to day existence, my work, my responsibilities I am considering what really am I doing here on earth. Nourishment goes right to the root of the physical aspects and to the higher perspectives, (yes we are talking Maslow here!) I am asking myself if I am nutritionally nourished and soulfully nourished.
This week I have found that fatigue can be a lack of essential fatty acids, the Omegas. I can hear my mind re-routing right through the mackerel fish and seeds to the seeds within the mind (I am so esothetically focused!). It is like the universe is playing upon the need for the physical as well as the spiritual and this is where I am in menopause. We are talking duality between the form and the formless, I don’t think we can separate the physical from the spiritual as we go through menopause! And that is where the root of this thing called menopause comes thundering in. There is no ignoring this shake up in the midlife years, this shift needs and wants to be noticed, nourished even.
Omega, the Greek word for gender neutral has great significance when we speak about the menopause and the fact that the hormones that are essentially feminine and create a cyclical being within us are coming to an end. The Omega also means “the End”. It also has meaning in the word Roots, associated with fulfilment, death and personality traits for introverts, rooting downwards. You see you can’t make this up! Just look up the word Omega and you can see where this goes.
So this week I am considering my fatigue as the root of my overwhelm, and a need for some quiet time and some introverted nourishment of the senses. I have a need to feed my body with the omegas and to have some nourishment for my mind as well as my soul. As the night sky sets with softer hues, I need to prepare for sleep, no screens no tv, to nourish myself with introverted ways. A routine made up of soul nourishment for the end of the day, with meditation, prayer, movement, music and contemplation. And if fatigue arises by day, maybe I could respect the need and still opt for a nap too.
In my 49 life I am searching for a role model, a wise elder in the form of a Hag, in the best, fullest intention of the woman at the edge, the embodiment of the Hag. One who has pushed through the patriarchy and societies fair games into the undiluted vessel of a …… as my friend Kimberley quoted, a Queenager.
I don’t have a need for a knowledgeable teacher or well-read wordsmith. I have a desire, that’s it, a desire to be nurtured into this role-over into the 50somethings, with a storyteller and folklorist.
Today I was remembering the “Mothers” that I have had. By that I mean those who have mothered me, I have no qualms or crisis with my biological Mother, I had a childhood within a village, and this village expanded in my teens to include may women who shaped me….I met some strong, ferocious women, who taught me strong boundaries and determination, to never let a passion die, just because. I have been blessed by nurturing mothers who assisted in the framing of my emotions and how to gentle be with the children, the animals, the silent nuances of the caretaker. I also met with a friend’s unpredictable Mother who skilled me in to how to read the atmospheric dust storm gathering around them. Where their own boundaries were being flick into incitement, a valuable lesson in listening to my friend and when to just exit.
What I now just crave for is that wise elder to gather my attention, as my head is starting to spill, and leak to be honest, and to help me navigate this transformation with their wisdom after all they have been in my shoes and seen others do this before me, they are the experienced helper in this ageing ritual. I wish for help to expand my imagination, enliven me in my wearisome state and to give me a glimpse of the other side of this menopausal transition. I thirst for the folklorist to enchant me over to the otherly. To make my heart swell with the stories of becoming the white-haired women, to fairy-tale along the paths in the woods and weave the strands of consciousness together into a new realmdom of balance and non-linear living. To sing me the songs of transformed worlds of patriarchy and burning the need for a PhD just to be heard. I thirst for the elders to come bravely out of the fog filled woodlands and along the misty beaches shaking their rattles and sounding the drums to gather us around a fire. This is where I will be completely engaged with the storytellers, the well-keepers and the seeding earth dwellers who will gather and our days will be spent listening to the Earth Elders. Our chastised endeavours will no longer sit within us as unmaterialised, for we will learn of our inner sovereignty as “within us all along” as the Fairy Godmother always says at the end of a good tale. Our transformations will be in the form of inner knowings, remembrances, experience and oral traditions and seasons once more. Our new career trajectory will be based on heart compassing passions and journeying rather than a well executed bibliography. I have instead a thirst for juicy language and taking a seat within a circle where every seat is equal. I have a thirst for the magical over intellectual pursuits and for scrumptious chronicles than research papers. I desire the heady heights of the upper ridges of the mountain tops and pinnacle of the story than the offices of hierarchy. For non-essential processes to be burned away, as some things are just not necessary at the fire keepers hearth. This is my maturing into womanhood, cronehood, at the threshold of 50.
Today I am sitting within my 2nd house, my sacral chakra and it feels good to be connecting here at this point in my 49 life. I am reminded of my time, this time and of course, no time. When we put a structure on our time, doesn’t it soon feel restricted? Soon I will be in my 50th year, my 5th decade, a miracle in my ancient ancestry and a mile stone in my modern life. As I contemplate what this means to me, I am contemplating within my “own sweet abode”, the Svadhisthana, the sacral. Known in many traditions as the Dan Tien, the life force energy centre, the womb space, the void, the bowl, the ruler of water, the feminine aspect, the Empress archetype, the emotional and the creatrix centre.
As I sit within my sacral home it feels ripe and energetic. In the past when I have experienced a sense of fullness it was bloatedness, uncomfortable trousers and a reoccupation of the period about to come. I have a sensation of full bloom than boom! And it feels powerful. As I prepared to menstruate in my younger years I was conflicted with prementrual stress. I had a sense of urgency to prepare myself for some time with less and in the process I created greater stress to the point of manic cleaning house, arranging a just-so for others in my care. In the days leading to menstruation instead of winding down I got wound up! Over this last year my cycles have been slowing down, I bleed less, I miss some, and now I sometimes miss having the cycles, the pattern. Is that crazy to you? that I miss them? Now I have a sense of what I want to do, of where my focus is heading. I can see how far I wish to be filled to my edge, my boundary, rather than how far I can push to my limit!
The sacral is the centre of pleasure, of feeling nourished and fulfilled. It encompasses my need for creation and desires. Not just in the sexual sense, as it is most commonly portrayed, but as a desire to create all manner of things. It is where my personal desires feel connected in health, in abundance, to my heart desires. This is where creativity meets focus, in service to others as a Doula, or spiritual health with Reiki to reading of the women of sacral energies, the ancient texts.
The shadow side of the sacral energy is martyrdom. It is the feeling of deprivation, lack of joy, lack of creativity and ultimately lack of time. Time I create and time I can allow. Sometimes in this 49 life timing seems to be my main issue. Time is a luxury. It is no coincidence that sacrifice, to surrender, dates back to the Latin word, sacer, Holy. So just for today I will remain in gratitude and give thanks for this day of surrender and into the “sweet abode” of holy creativity. I will honour this fullness as a feeling for as long as I can.
Bless’d be the sacral bowl of life energy that I find today.
In my 49 life I am I am experiencing anxiety. This anxiety and me have a history coupled with PTSD. Recently I don’t always know what my physical body is telling me. A mix of anxiety, grief, overwhelm and menopause. This is my story from this week.
I was setting off in the car to visit a relative in hospital. I got into the car, the temperature read 38 degrees, I felt sick, hot, was it just heat? was it a hot flush? or was it anxiety! My thoughts jumped from one to the other, the truth of it ( which came later) was that my body had remembered something.
I needed to get out of the car and feeling like a failure and disappointed at letting others down I had to just stop and “Get out of the car”! Soon after as I cooled down I realised that I know this feeling, this reaction, it is when the body remembers. It is remembering a date, a past situation or a trauma. My body was not only messaging me to take a break but signalling patterns into my awareness. The body remembers dates, places, and the places can reignite triggers and the triggers can “fire up” to remind us that something from the past needs attention. Just like a fire starting in the shadows of our internal cave growing stronger so we go back, look, witness that situation again. The “issue” is that it comes up uninvited, unawares but the body has this internal storage that seems to just remember without the mind being involved.
As I uncoiled just enough for me to remember and figure this all out. I can give myself a break. At this time of 49 I am considering that these “anxious” remembrances or triggers are relating to the menopausal symptom called hot flushes. They are literally fired up in my face. The date of my “heatwave anxiety” corresponded to a past trauma that my mind had not acknowledged. My mind hadn’t connected to the date and place but the body did.
So what is a hot flush? At the time of a surge, are we actually in the spiritual sense going through a fiery upgrade? Are we actually re-membering ourselves? By that I do mean collecting our bones, our divided parts, which have been lost over time. Are we pulling ourselves back together in a newly fashioned way, a mature way?
To me this was a good reminder that my mind may think it is taking the lead with the logical stuff but my body is attuned to all that has been and will continue to message me from spiritual to physical body as I go forwards. In the wise words of Caroline Myss, the greatest power we have within us is the position we energetically hold as our power station, the solar plexus. This is the intuitive energy centre that messages us from “gut instinct”, or intuitiveness. We all have the ability to connect to the gut instinct and sometimes this power centre messages us in stronger ways. Is the menopause really a firing up of the solar plexus, our solar energy? Is the gut instinct being attuned? This chakra centre as it is known is after all the centre of our personal power, the seat of our inner compass. If I am actually having a solar upgrade then surely this is a positive thing for my mature years ahead!
Maybe, just maybe what is occurring in my menopause years is a gathering of my inner ability to discern all around me to assert my personal power. If this is the metaphysical change to the wise elder, then baptism by heat to burn away the old and transition into a new relationship with selfhood is what is occurring. The soul lesson is forging our life force, literally by forge or force, or both, a consolidating of past and present as our personal identity in full acceptance. Maybe I need to remember that it is my shadow and my light that make Gold.
49 is not what I expected. I started my working life as a medical professional then turned holistic and spiritual practitioner and so far this week my practice has been my saving grace. I have navigated my own selfcare treatments from Reiki to calm my nervous system to Reflexology to regulate the endocrine. It is a rollercoaster of a role to witness our elder’s needs from lightbulb changes, medication dosette boxes, emergency calls and missing wheelchairs.
I have called upon my spiritual allies to help in many varying degrees from negotiating contracts and holding space for my Mother as she feels she is losing her friends to dementia. Then there’s my Fathers loss of mobility and fragility. My faith in the wise and well ancestors have been my allies in the subtle realms only too willing to be called upon.
I lean to the ancestors, after all I am them, my bones and facial features are theirs, from them I am born. The role of the carer is a difficult one to navigate. It arrives at a time when I myself am changing. I go through a multitude of transitions being a 49 year old woman, self employed spiritual business practitioner, a wife, a friend, a listener and a menopausal shifter.
Whilst navigating the elder’s care needs in an ever-shifting NHS and social care system I am trying to figure out the menopausal fatigue and wonder if my symptoms are from too much or too little evening primrose right now. I am pulled to “clean house” of the unfinished business I have stacked up. The courses, submissions, assessments and the continuing professional development that is a feature of all our professional pursuits these days. I am always reading 4 books and far too tired to complete any. Then there is the cleaning out of the emotional and energetic baggage of old worn out perspective and my inner archetypes all shouting for some deep witnessing.
This thing they call menopause is a maturing of the old ways, the inner pathways, a realisation of what has worked well and what has not. Call it menopause, call it a life review if you dare! It is the wise one willing me to tune inwards and not be so outwards when the world is wanting me to be all things. This crone inside is trying to be birthed into a new way of navigating the here and now. So while we nurture those around us, the message deep within is “Who is nurturing you?” Birthing is painful and changeful. It can’t be pushed down or ignored. So no wonder I am feeling the fatigue of this gestation from menstruation.
It is the big gardening of mature life. Call it weeding for now, it is asking what am I keeping up and what do I need to let go? What is right for me and what is right now for me? 49 is full of loose ends, never-ends and the inevitable end. Right now the weeding is all important as I take this time to nurture the garden within. As the elders take an afternoon nap, the cat does too and the 49 year olds are discerning, weeding and regulating their nervous system with left-right eye movements in the mid-day sun. One day I will be through the change, transformed and the ancestor of my family tree.
The red tent to women like me in the middle of life, becomes a life tent. It is the anchor that sits you down and holds you in. It is a place remembered for birth and death, but it is also for the mid shifters, for transformation. It is the place to go to in pain, in need, knee deep with the earth and discerning cries, “help me transform, shift through it all”. If you have never been inside a red tent, create one, create if just for yourself! It is the resting place and the place to let it all flow.
Here in the middle we are asked to change, do work differently, parenting and elder care differently. Our loved ones change, societies views and expectations change, my hair colour has changed….and everyday the needs of those and ourselves change. My own requirements move and new boundaries need to be created, what once was ok is now far from acceptable. They call this growth in the spiritual community, with grow there can also be pain. So the message for now is take it slowly, even when there are urgent moments, walk the earth with every step at a slower pace because everything is changing.
The vaccination roll out has seen menstruation reports to the yellow card scheme, which is the system to report adverse effects of any medication or treatment in the UK. “Common side effects of covid-19 vaccination listed by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) include a sore arm, fever, fatigue, and myalgia. Changes to periods and unexpected vaginal bleeding are not listed, but primary care clinicians and those working in reproductive health are increasingly approached by those who have experienced these events. “More than 30 000 reports by 2 September 2021, across all covid-19 vaccines currently offered”. (1)
The Science Media Centre on the 21st June 2021 stated that “It is vanishingly unlikely that vaccination, including Covid-19 vaccination, would have this effect, and women should not be worried that vaccination might cause problems with their periods” (2). Another report from the International Journal of Epidemiology suggests that menstrual disorders are extremely common, in its explanation to the yellow card scheme.
I have no doubt that there are “challenges”. “Studying menstrual cycle features is challenging. Normal variation exists within women over the lifespan and between women in relation to characteristics such as history of infertility, body mass index (BMI) and exercise. In addition, menstrual cycle features such as volume, pain and PMS symptoms are subjective “(3). But my concern is that women do not go to their healthcare provider about their menstruation cycle unless they are experiencing a different pattern. Women know.
One report from the School of Medicine in Chicago found that “More than half of respondents to an online survey reported changes in their menstrual cycles during the pandemic, including differences in premenstrual symptoms and in the time between cycles and the duration of their bleeding”(4). Changes can be accredited to stress of the pandemic, as “It is well-known that stress can cause changes in menstrual cycles, and these changes range from shorter or longer periods to heavier or lighter bleeding, and may cause women to skip or miss a period altogether,” said study author Nicole Woitowich”.
There has been more media coverage, that may highlight menstruality to all with campaigns such as #periodpoverty, the Scottish product free provision, Red Tent Movement facebook groups and resources for online education. The University of Edinburgh has highlighted that when women have irregularities or “problems”, they know. They know the difference between ‘Typical and problem periods’ (5). The author and obstetric Doctor, Michel Odent writes in Primal Health (Ch9) that our bodies and our cycles are also intrinsically linked to our external world as well as the internal. Our stresses and strains are influential to our cycle. How can you measure tiredness as a quantity measurement? One person’s levels of tolerable activity are different from another. This is why comparisons are not as scientific as science would like. This is why we have not engaged in parameters of normal Michel Odent says, “what is normal health and how is that measured?” (6).
More recently the American Society of Gynaecologist rate the menstrual cycle as a “vital sign” in health. “ACOG and supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises health practitioners to consider periods as the “fifth vital sign” — meaning menstruation is as important a health indicator as changes in body temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure (7). Other countries are participating in further investigations, such as The Institute of Public Health in Norway. They monitored 6000 women, and are now going on to research a cohort of 60,000 participants. In this study they state that in most (vaccine) cases, the changes were transient and returned to normal in the next cycles. Here in Norway the reporting system has gone on to formulate a research study. The findings of this study will be vital to all pharmaceutical companies and all countries rolling out programmes in the future, as well as Women’s Health around the world. (8). (Menstrual changes following COVID-19 vaccination – NIPH (fhi.no)
For Christmas I gave myself adrenal fatigue. This feeling of minimal activity and maximum fatigue is not a new thing for me. I am well versed in how this goes. I am also well attuned to deep rest, hydration and good food to begin with, from a well oiled radar to the early signs. The “Holiday” in deep winter has me thinking that I am not as attuned to the seasons as I thought. My preparation for Christmas was not at all prepped appropriately. My inner vision was covered. I did not see the wood, literally, for the trees and here is why.
I got swept into the tangibility of it all. The Matrix was there with its all seeing eyes and I was lost to it. I got moved along with the to-do-lists, helped my elders with their food preparation, the lights and the tinsel. I colluded to buy and messy wrap the presents and all the time my energy levels waned and I knew it. I felt it, I recognised my bodily signs saying, slow down. I went out again and again when the fire side was calling with its soft golden glow and its warming invites. I left for one last trip with the Christmas cards.
All this was done out of love, but was it love for myself! And where do you draw the line with your loved ones at Christmas to say, I am done! I am menopausal, my instincts are saying I need to go inside and withdraw not do more. I am listening to my body and my answer is just one more thing! But the body knows the limits and has no cajoling from the mind, the body doesn’t say ok, let’s finish all this and high five. No, the body has a limit and when the limit is overstepped it shouts now, now is the time for rest and no more.
All this came home to me yesterday as we sorted, cut and piled the wood from the pruned trees in our garden. Here I was again, but this time the realisation was of my sacred rhythms with the trees and the land. As I over stretched once again I had this vision that my ancestors worked with the rhythms of the seasons. I thought I was doing so well with my menstrual practice cycling like the earth with my inner landscape then it occurred to me, what do we do when the cyclicity is gone.
Here I was without the clock, without the dial, the rhythms all gone. I was chopping wood in winter when this could have been done in preparation. My ancestors would have prepared for winter, just as I had prepared in the autumn of my cycle, my premenstrual phases, listing and smoothing things over so I rested in winter. My inner cyclicity had been musical even, never mind rhythmical…..and now as I arrive in this space of no cyclicity it began to look more like no-womans-land.
My world was not prepared for the winter. If I had looked, really looked at myself and my nature this would have been all in good timing. The cutting, pruning and gardening would have been put to bed weeks ago. If my body had been in a menstrual cycle I would have been prepared for this! But is it just me, or is the outer world out of sync? As I sit here typing, the window is open the hedges are green and it seems the earth herself is in a great flux of menopausal seasonal crisis of no-womans-land too!
When I close my eyes and think of my ancestry I see the high stocked wood stores, the jars of pickled fruits and veg, the importance of the harvest festival and the fire flickering and tended to day and night. Frosty mornings and sleet showers with streets of leaves piling up the brick walls. Houses with the lights on early and no more to do about the gardens but witness and welcome the returning of the light in weeks to come. Nothing kept for keeping sake and nothing needed but stillness and the flame.
My awareness is bringing up that familiar nervousness that all is not right with the world. I am aware of what has occurred on the inner landscape and I can accept that and find my path again. But what can be done about the outer landscapes, how do we assist the cycles of the season of this planet? Is this a greater task that we have as a collective? Is this a task for all women at menopause, as we sit in nature to nurture ourselves can we be in reciprocity at this time? Is it time to nourish both? If the earth is also out of cyclicity do we now look to the moon for our rhythms and reflect deep into our old ways, the wise and the well, the ancient and ancestral knowing once more?
The last twelve months I have been travelling with the Red Tent Collective into Birth Doula Training. I have sat in circle with the most amazing women, reading a stack of books, walking on and off the path to weave amongst the mystical ways of birth and cyclicity of menstruation and menopause. I am on a mission, the way of being woman, with all of this heightened awareness. I am seeing what is missing in society for women, health and equilibrium.
Some blog posts ago I was writing about Belonging to land space and place and this year I have come full circle to the place within. What a synchronicity….the place within. To me this equilibrium is the sense of calmness, where ever I Am, the Belonging is within. It is a deep rooted sense of assurity that no matter what I am rooted in the moment. It is the heart beat and the alignment to a feeling, not a place.
How did I get to Here? I got to this place of assurity from sitting in Circle with others, from a community of people who can sit and listen with total acceptance. By that I mean a listening circle, a circle gathering of others who have capacity of Heart to Hear. When we Hear and do not fixed, when we can Speak and are not held back, when we are Witnessed and not judged, we are Accepted. Total acceptance creates a feeling of Belonging to Self.
I will continue to blog more about my journey of Womenhood as my Path unfolds. For now, I leave you with a Womb Blessing, naturally spontaneous and unedited.