Menopause…as more baby boomers reach ‘that’ age it has become an increasingly familiar word in the vocabulary of economics, healthcare and relationships. It’s been a part of our natural ageing process as long as we have been moving beyond the mid-40’s in terms of longevity. Now that many of us in the western world can look forward to being alive well into our 70’s and 80’s, it becomes less of a bogeyman and more of an initiatory phase into elder womanhood. Just as the onset of menses and the birth of a child usher us into a whole new way of being in the world and in our bodies, likewise menopause pushes open a new frontier just as another door closes.
“What was I saying?!” Oh yes and our minds change. We no longer hold onto all of the myriad bits of information, numbers and facts that we once did. For some there is a move into a deeply sensing, intuiting kind of knowledge where our ‘information’ comes direct and when it is required. With less memory we are able to live more in the moment.
Emotionally we move into a new phase of nurturing, no longer tied so closely to the immediate needs of family, we are able to re-ignite our passions and explore a unique sense of self. The nurturing however does not end with merely taking care of our own needs. As we age we become increasingly aware of the larger community, the environment and the legacy that we leave our grandchildren and their grandchildren. We cultivate the wisdom of the long view. Creativity blossoms as we find a little more time to listen to ‘the quiet voice’ that would speak through us. We are shedding the Victorian attitudes of decorum and ‘gracefully ageing’ (going quietly?) and many of us are expanding into an ever brighter and bolder version of ourselves, no longer fettered by what is or is not ‘in fashion’ or ‘appropriate’ or ‘attractive’.
Our bodies are changing, inevitably reminding us of our transience and thereby reminding us of the urgency of living fully and authentically. It is a rich and mysterious time, certainly potent. It is also a time that carries risks, as do all transitions and initiations. We have less energy and can no longer drive ourselves to be all things to all people. Our bones are less dense and require more attention, a different kind of nutrition and quality of exercise and rest. Temperatures fluctuate as our ovaries move into quiescence and our entire endocrine system is reshuffled to accommodate the changes and compensate. Our eyesight, hearing and ability to smell and taste can lessen. Sexual energy shifts and changes its priority in our lives. Is there an Upside?
What else is brewing? Crone, Hag, Wise woman these are all terms that have been given to us as we move through our paces, loaded with pejorative connotations and a certain amount of fear. Certainly there is a mysterious quality to this stage of a woman’s life where she is less dependent upon others for approbation. She is able to express anger more cleanly and forgive more easily.
These are all hallmarks of menopause in a healthy sense. What happens when we get stuck in the process? Mood swings, hot flushes, sleeplessness, irritability, changes in skin tone, dryness and painful intercourse? Less energy and time for our partners and our families, less inclination to make time for anything but our survival… Sales of mini-fans, lighter clothing for layering, supplements, creams, potions and lotions have sky rocketed in the past 10 years. HRT has hit the market and been touted as the drug to make an end to ‘all that nonsense’ about the discomfort of ageing. We have been promised the miracle that will slow, if not stop, ageing and its effects… The catch is – no change: no mastery/mystery.
How then, do we navigate these transitions and align ourselves with our evolution? Homoeopathy offers real, sustainable options. If the natural progression of our bodies is indicated by the symptoms we experience, matching them with the appropriate remedy as a way of supporting and stimulating the body’s own integral wisdom is surely the most efficient and effective way forward. Often we forget that symptoms are indicators of change and have an inherently functional value. Rather than suppressing and ‘eradicating them’ in the case of HRT and other hormonal treatments, homoeopathy seeks to match and encourage this functional aspect, supporting the changes and laying the groundwork for a healthy and full maturity. Feeling stuck and discouraged? Take another look and call an homoeopath!