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?
I hear the birds at sunset as they gather themselves high in the trees. In the cabin the light fades from hues of orange, to blues to black, mesmerising me, enticing me to close my eyes. In the last light I push the table in front of the door, position the chair ninety degrees, my arm on the table top, I rest my head, my eyelids too heavy to lift…all is dark anyway. The cabin is now my shelter, a square shack, old and tired, draughty too. I have not heard the door handle rattling at night so I now sleep some hours in the dark. The wall opposite the door is made of stone and after pulling boards away from the centre to reveal a fire grate, I can light a small fire. In the grate was a tin pan, a cup and a spoon and camping flint. My feet are still so cold and I use the blanket I found here to wrap them at night. But they are so terribly cold. The fire produces some heat but it loses to the draughts eventually. The floor is made of wooden boards and the spaces between the slats means only the chair can be slept on, but dawn breaks with sun, always the sun.
My days have been spent venturing outside of the cabin. I wake to the sound of the birds, such a noise…and hunger pains. Only a few feet away is a stream, just across the path, a safe distance to collect water I heat in the pan and drink. I found berry bushes at the side of the shack too, probably planted by the previous owner. I can survive on this for a few nights as I am sure people will be looking for me by now so if I just stay… they will come. Occasionally at midday I think I hear voices, like on that first day. I am unable to climb that embankment it seems too steep and wet from the rain. People are close… I know it, so it will only be a day maybe and I will be found. I feel I need to remain here near the shack, to wander into the woods again would be so foolish. I would only enter the muddy paths again and the rain would purge down… like that first day. I am resolved…resolved to being found. I have no map, no compass to find my way back …I can’t be stranded again like that frozen day. No, staying here is the only option now, soon they will come…I know it.