This 50 life is a change in the signposts of my being. At this time we are entering into the dark moon phase and I feel it, I deeply feel it.
At menopause I no longer have the last menses dotted in my diary as a clear indication of my follicular and luteal phases. But the lesson is right here, the paper notes, the digital calendar are not the messengers, my body is, I am embodying the phase.
This last week I felt the waning of the moon cycle. I was aware of the turning inward and had a welcome feeling to step down a level of commitment as I employed a new awareness, my body acknowledging the moon.
I felt the nudge, the communication of my body in relationship with the moon. It was like the strings of a musical instrument being tuned in to the flow of energy in direct response.
I am aware that this weekend the earth holds the women in turning inward. A time to rest, to give thanks for what has occurred in this moon cycle. An invitation to enter into a ritual of gratitude for was is, what was and let go of what is no longer needed. A time to reflect on the fullness that occured, the joy we received.
At the end of the dark nights 🌙 we begin to consider what newness to dream into being for the new cycle ahead. We have the ability to create again.
This is also the way of the elder, the wise woman, the women under the moon of menopause. We are welcomed to take the moon phases as our compass. With our feet meeting the earth, her body, our body, and our crown reaching to the moon. We are embodying the rhythms of our true nature for the generations ahead.
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?
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.
Self-care is not a luxury, it is a necessity. It needs carving into the everyday. As ritual becomes daily practice we see that we are worthy, and we have needs to be met within the day as much as any other person around us. One question I ask is, what have I done of service today? And what have I done for myself? If the scales here are not so balanced then it is time for some self-care. I love to go for a walk by myself in nature. I notice that I walk mindfully when I walk alone. I walk slower and take in my environment. I hear, I see and I witness far more when I walk on my own. But are we ever alone? By that I mean to walking and witnessing animism in the everyday. This is to be in reverence that “Animism (from Latin: anima, ‘breath, spirit, life‘) is the belief that objects, places, and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence. Potentially, animism perceives all things—animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human handiwork, and perhaps even words—as animated and alive” (Wikipedia). Taking this view into account the things we self create, the small craft projects crystal bead bracelets that make me go into that no-mind space, are those distinctly spiritual act of communion with the self and the world round us. From the herbal teas we make, ceremonially, to a ritual of washing my feet, a daily cleansing ritual, aromatherapy oils and the best homemade foot cream.
So what are your self care rituals? What makes you feel cared for? What small acts of love do you gift to yourself?
When we talk about self-care and conception this is where a full spectrum of physical health, as well as emotion, environmental and intentional routines are put into the daily care.
For the full article on health and conception, self care rituals and full moon releasing take a look at the Red Tent Patreon Page, for this month only the newsletter is FREE. This is a GIFT from me to YOU. It is Published on the 7th June 4pm
Do you journal your bleed time? This is when those nuggets of wisdom appear on the pages. I find it is a time of cleansing and resting as I nest myself. Yes, nesting is necessary, an hour or three is good, doesn’t need to be days, although could you imagine?
Our bleed is a call to the inner cave, to our intuition. It may be a whispering or a shout to come inward. Listening within can be priceless as here is where the treasure lies. As we delve inwards we can start with two questions. What can be cleansed and cleared away from this last cycle? And what can be taken away and seeded for the future?
Reflecting on the last cycle can bring awareness of where we have been overwhelmed and worn by life’s pressures. Evaluating the last month can be a silent retreat into any tension experienced that can be cleanse away after some analysis. (This isn’t all work by the way! This is also nap time and favourite pjs!).
What we can take from our last cycle are the seeds, the accomplishments, that celebrate ourselves. By nurturing these seeds and clearing what has past brings in the energy of the new cycle. We start over, cleansed, nourished and insightful. (after a ceremonial nap).
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I have been reading Code Red by Lisa Lister. In this book the author creates a
simple way to view the menstrual cycle. The rhythms of pre-ovulation, ovulation, pre-menstrual and menstrual perceived as the seasons, spring, summer autumn and winter brings about a new found understanding for how to plan activities and self-care. Just thinking of diary commitments and the seasons of the cycle has brought about a new respect for scheduling. Not only that, there ARE benefits to autumn and winter days that I am just discovering and bringing into being. There is a new found creativity “period” to be welcomed in at this time. If you need some ideas birthing projects or working events then working with the flow of our cycle instead of pushing against it is the message. Lisa has a friendly writing style and introduces elements of feminine history and uterine health than make you spark off on your own research trails to see what deeper understanding can be found outside of the book as well.
There are links to her website for charting and getting a little geeky as she says, with understanding the individuality of the cycle. The website has downloads to print out guidance, charts and picture wheels. Well worth taking
a look as well as the resources section at the back of the book.
The crystal for this month is the lovely peach moonstone, a gentle energy for the sacral chakra. It has a soothing property and is emotionally supportive. It is said to alleviate worries and bring a lift to positive vibrations, and of course, a balance to the feminine energies.
Instead of clary sage, I have been using rosemary oil mixed with lavender in fractionated cocunut oil carrier oil (safe blending). It has brought me a lift in my energy giving me a gentle wake-up on those tired days.
I have invested in the Soulful Woman Affirmation cards. These bring about a lift of positivity for the day. The artwork is bright and colourful and the words on the cards are comforting. I find there is little need for the guide book due to a good explanation on the bottom of the cards as well as the eye being drawn to the intricate artwork.
That’s my monthly round up, so what has inspired you in the health and wellbeing section this month?