Help – I’m changing and I don’t know what into!
Today I had a 47-year-old woman coming for her first shiatsu treatment with me. I was listening to her as she was sharing about her stress levels in life; (two boys, own business, household) and how she feels challenged by her husband and his demands and expectations. I could relate very deeply from my own experience with the time leading up to menopause, this phase where Woman enters the chaos of deep change in the depth of her being. I have heard similar accounts from other clients and friends entering this transition.
As we, usually women from mid-40 ties to early fifties enter into this phase of life our relationship to our sexuality and intimate desire changes a lot. (It can start even much earlier) As the hormones change so do we. A disorientation might rise in our being, maybe tiredness, liverish snappiness or even explosions, migraines, vaginal dryness, hot flushes…. we kind of don’t recognize ourselves anymore.
Ideally, we give ourselves a lot of space, have some time out, rest, be, potter.
This will allow us to go with the change, unravel our nervous system and stress levels. Nowadays as we have kids later in life and/or are working to support ourselves or our families this spaciousness is often not easy to establish. It is like this for my client; two boys 10 and 14 years old, shares a business with her husband and household. Hence there is a lot of stress, not sleeping well, not feeling sexual. The expectations of the husband, lover, companion or boyfriend of sharing intimately are in this phase possibly less reciprocated. It is a time of introspection, getting to know oneself on a much deeper level, finding out how this woman wants to live her life in order to be happy, vibrant and in her truth. Aspects of life that she might have been able to be ok with in the past, are no longer acceptable. She is refining herself, coming into a deeper alignment to her true self.
And when we tell the man that we need space for ourselves that we are entering this big transition into menopause, it’s often difficult for him to really hear us. It’s a deeply feminine truth about cycles; cycles in our bodies and cycle in life, in nature.
This change through menopause has a very bad reputation/ wrapping in our society. The celebration of youth, looks, sex doesn’t make it easy for a woman to accept and trust the incoming newness of the next cycle. Though It’s hard for the man too to hear woman not least because he can’t solve it, he can’t do anything about it. Can he just be with it?
I feel that firstly it’s me, it’s us women, we have to be able to just be with it. Can we access the different emotions and feelings that keep moving through us? Can we accept our changing nature? Honour our journey so far, the way we lived our life so far? Can we allow the grief of losing our younger self, specially the changing of our body? The grief of not having lived fully or in full integrity or in full receptivity, power, juiciness? Whatever it is, each of ours idea of what we are losing. Our grief and loss once owned and felt, we will be able to settle into this transition a bit deeper and find some ground in this changing nature. And then the man might be able to follow.
For me I felt the grieve about losing my attractiveness, my desire and being desired, getting older, looking differently. Not being noticed by man so much anymore. The irregular bleeding, I bled last year over a few months every 2-3 week, not big bleeds but still I lost a lot of energy through it. It frazzled my being, cooked my brain. I felt only half present. I could easily still hold space for the embodiment practice that I teach but activate my brain to think creatively – no!
I feel like I’m in a quite fortunate position as a Tigress; sacred feminine Yoga teacher and shiatsu practitioner but I also have a 7-year-old son, a household which I share with a companion, a garden and acreage. I didn’t cope very well last year; I didn’t do this first part of my transitioning very graciously and elegantly! I had 3 accidents, 2 minor ones and then at the end of the year a bigger one in which I partly raptures my Achilles’ tendon, completely self-inflicted. This slowed me down a lot – finally! Having to give myself permission to rest and to rest and rest some more. To acknowledge for myself; ‘I’m changing and I don’t know what into‘ and letting men in my life know ‘I’m changing and I don’t know what into and how long it’s going to take’
Now 10 months after the Achilles’ tendon rupture I’m blossoming into my next phase, feeling inspired and grounded in a very new way. But my nervous system is very delicate, and I feel it when I have a lot on – not sleeping well, tiredness, loosing clarity of heart can easily happen in those moments. And I know that I only just did the first step into this transition. Many more hormonal changes to come, many more wild and slow rides to experience till I’m settled on the other side entering the Crone years.
I ‘m glad and I don’t even know exactly what it was, how it happened but I know the willingness to be with it and to listen in is paramount. The slowing down and following my intuition in getting support from my own practices, practitioners and friends is helping to balance all of me.
In the middle of it all, when it gets really wild and unbearable at times I try to stop and receive the gifts. The gift of attuning so much deeper to my truth, my essence, to who I really am. The gift of compromising less and exploring not to give myself away anymore, the subtleties of energetics. The gift of holding my ground. The gift of focus onto what I really love, what opens me up, inspires me and gets my energy flowing.
I’m wishing you all a safe and self-loving transition, Dear Beautiful Women out there. May you honor yourself and trust that it is a very important transition you have entered, and it will take you to somewhere powerful, shamelessly powerful, blossoming in new ways and loving yourself and life passionately and compassionately!