Menopause is an opportunity. Wow, you don’t often hear that said.
For those of you in menopause right now, you may either be scratching your head wondering what I am on, or equally throwing epithets of rage at me.
Bear with me!
I am not discounting the very real suffering that too many of us experience. However, there is also something very powerful trying to happen at menopause. If you know how to connect with that, menopause can be experienced as a path that supports you to refine and hone who you truly are. And here lies great freedom.
The opportunity in the “ending”
Menopause is an ending, a death process in short. Your body and soul go through a transformation, and like the caterpillar going into the cocoon, as you enter menopause you go to ‘mush’ first.
Much of the powerful emotion that can emerge at menopause is connected to feelings that can happen with ‘endings’. You are shedding who you think you are and for a while may have no idea what it is that you want, or even who you are. You are left feeling psychologically exposed. This is all normal and it is the prelude to waking up to what you are truly about.
This is the opportunity of menopause – the opportunity to know and accept yourself deeply.
To help harness this opportunity, you have two particular superpowers that awaken at menopause very strongly; inner knowing and the power of ‘no’.
As you start to let go into menopause, you will notice the veils fall from your eyes. By that I mean you will suddenly feel, sense, see and know things that you didn’t or couldn’t before. You’ll know things that you need to do however difficult or challenging.
You have both a deep instinctual knowing and can really see-through both yourself and the illusions of society, particularly all the subtle and not so subtle ways that patriarchy operates. A true ‘emperor’s got no clothes’ moment.
And you’ll have zero tolerance for it!
The power of ‘no’
You will probably find yourself saying ‘No’ to just about everything. This is not ‘being negative’, it is about knowing what is no longer relevant, what you do not want in your life. It’s helping you to clear the ground of all those things that aren’t really you anymore. In clearing the ground, whether it be employment, relationships or possessions, you create space for something new to emerge or for what is most essential or important in you to flourish. You will find this voice of ‘No’ is uncompromising. But remember behind the ‘No’ lies a great and powerful ‘Yes’ to yourself.
Like all powers, these energies have their shadow side. If you are not sufficiently mindful and self-caring, the inner sight and knowing can simply be experienced as overwhelm, grief or rage (the latter two may happen regardless, but you don’t want to get stuck there). And the ‘No’ power can simply come out as reactivity, irritation, frustration and anger.
Time and space for you
To activate these powers in a wholesome way you need time and space for yourself. Time and space for yourself are the commodities most often in short supply. You may be someone who still has children at home, elderly parents to care for, a demanding job or any combination of these. In other words, precious little time for yourself.
But here’s the rub, the one thing that your soul demands of you at menopause is time and space for you. Time to simply be, with no responsibility for anyone. Without it you will feel as though you are going mad, with it you will start to slowly and quietly feel the order and meaning of this powerful life transition to get to work.
So how are you going to get it?
- Consciously name what is happening to yourself, metaphorically turn and face the change and greet it with dignity.
- Be kind to yourself – cut yourself some slack. Do not hold the same expectations that you would normally have of yourself. No more ‘going the extra mile’ for anybody. What you do and who you are will still be enough. You need your energy for yourself now.
- Give yourself microdoses, or one percent, of sacred time for yourself with plentiful doses of silence and, in that sacred self-time, no ‘to do ‘ list or demands on yourself. One percent is always doable. It may not be perfect but it’s something and you will begin to feel moments of relief coming into the system. Schedule it. It might be no more than half an hour at first, but it’s all yours. Sacrosanct. The more you taste it, the easier it will be to claim. You’ll get ruthless with your schedule as you wield that ‘No’ power.
- Keep a journal to hand to help you drop your bundle – sometimes writing everything that’s in your head is a way of slowing down and putting the stuff of the world to one side temporarily. And as you let go, your inner life starts to speak…emotions, feelings, memories, realisation, revelations emerge. You might feel you want to note some of that. It’s your call. I impose no rules on you in your alone time.
Think of menopause as an opportunity to truly come home to yourself, get some deep rest and repair, and receive utter clarity about who you are and what you truly want. This is the recipe for experiencing a deeply creative and meaningful post menopause life.
If this piece has inspired your curiosity about the menopausal journey Alexandra is running a free introductory webinar on 15th October Menopause: Reclaim the Dignity and Power and her course Menopause: The Great Awakener starts on 30th October (registrations open 20th October). Sign up on the Red School website.
Alexandra Pope is co-director of Red School and co-author of the iconic and hugely celebrated book from Hay House, Wild Power: discover the magic of the menstrual cycle and awaken the feminine path to power. Together with her colleague and co-author, Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer, they teach a radical new approach to women's health and wellbeing; creativity and leadership; and spiritual life based on the power of our menstruality consciousness. With a background in teaching, psychotherapy and hypnotherapy and drawing on 40 years collective experience pioneering this emerging field of menstruality, they offer workshops, online courses, training and coaching worldwide based on the power of the menstrual cycle, and the developmental journey from menarche to menopause.