If all your life you’ve been looking for answers by consulting a guru, following a food plan and getting complementary therapies, then menopause will be an absolute gift for you: its purpose is to reveal to you your own authority.
No need to look outside yourself any more, menopause wants to you look inside and trust yourself: you have access to everything you need. There are four psycho-spiritual phases to be aware of:
- Separation: radical decluttering of what no longer serves you
- Surrender: asking us to stand in the unknown
- Emergence: emerging tenderly back into the world
- Second Spring: getting birthed into a new way of being
You can save so much money, so much time, and grow more than you can possibly imagine. The psycho-spiritual process of menopause asks you to clear up your act, to release identities that no longer serve you, to heal old traumas, to put your own needs and creativity at the top of your list, go within and rest.
Usually in your 40’s, unless you have early or surgical menopause, this is when you start to feel the pull to spend more time alone or feel that you are not yourself. Maybe you start to question things in your life that have been certainties until that point, your relationship might become rocky or your passions not do it for you any more. This feels scary.
It feels like you are losing it, and this is because, in order to make the transition into a new, more authentic you, the old Self has to die. And this radical decluttering feels like a spiritual emergency.
The decluttering includes issues from your past that come back for more healing, trauma, identity issues, childhood stuff all awaken at this time and ask to be resolved. No wonder there is an epidemic of anxiety and depression when we cannot relax into this healing process.
You may notice changes to your menstrual cycle which might become longer, shorter, heavier or lighter, all of which is normal. Menopause is a natural process, and most of the problems we have about it comes from toxicity:
- The ageism and sexism in our culture
- The chemicals in our environment and the processed food we eat
Fear and ignorance contribute massively to the physical manifestations of menopause because at this time we are acutely sensitive to stress. Perfect, right? Just at the most stressful part of our lives, we become super-sensitized to cortisol.
There’s a point in all the craziness: you will start to surrender to the manifestations you’re experiencing. It’s still painful, I don’t mean that it becomes easy, it’s more that we stop resisting what’s happening:
“I shouldn’t be feeling this!” changes to “Oh, I wonder how this feels?”
We start to accept and become curious about the how and why we’re feeling it. We start to stand in the unknown, become more friendly towards our challenges, lean more into the quality of the feelings, change the habits that are not supporting us, stay away from toxic people, environments and food. We start to take our rest more seriously, hell, maybe even a menopause gap, an afternoon or even a year.
Surrendering will involve a mindful practice of some kind, meditation, yoga, tai chi, yoga nidra, guided visualizations, walking in the forest… any practice that calms your mind and brings you into your body to listen to your body’s whispers. You are starting to deepen your relationship with your body and become your own best friend.
After some time spent in Surrender, you’ll see new shoots emerging — new possibilities, energy or ideas. These early days of emergence are extraordinarily tender times, like new shoots of seedlings bitten by a frost, it is too early to go out there. Though the temptation to rush again will be there, we still need to go slow and receive, something we’re not necessarily good at.
Think of the caterpillar transforming in its cocoon — to cut it open and release it too early is to kill it, and to emerge too early from menopause will halt its transformational properties. It doesn’t work to go back to rushing around, it’s time for a new way of being.
The time after Emergence is known as Second Spring, and heralds the birth of the new person. With clear boundaries, discernment, a sense of her own needs and pleasures, this person resembles the teenager she once was, but with 40 years of life experience behind her. She is awesome in her capacity to be vulnerable and to hold her authority.
She is compassionate and able to offer herself in service to the world, without sacrificing herself in the process. This is where menopause takes you if you choose to engage with it.
Top tips for growth in your menopause
Rest: The menopause process requires more rest than you feel is reasonable, it’s hard work transforming, and you will be tired. Rest more. Sleep longer if you can. Slow your pace and reduce your expectations of how much you can do.
Feel the feels: The feelings are scary, but they will not kill you. To maximize the growthful possibilities of menopause, the only way is through the tunnel towards the spring sunshine, step by step.
Reduce stress: Menopause manifestations are worsened by high cortisol levels, so taking a clear-eyed audit of what’s stressful in your life will be essential.
Kindness: Be kind to yourself. Utilize mindfulness to notice when you need to be tender and sweet with yourself. Use kind words, eat kind foods, seek kind company.
Company: Feeling truly heard by a loving, non-judging circle makes the challenges bearable and normalizes your experience — friends have never been so important.
Say No: Menopause asks us to make clearer, healthier boundaries in our lives, you’ll find yourself saying No more often, sometimes quite forcefully. We can bend ourselves out of shape saying Yes to things that we don’t want to do, menopause is the corrective force of No. Practice saying it, it can be fun and elegant as well as firm.
Pleasure: The ultimate in free hormone-balancing medicine is saying Yes to pleasure. It is your guide to reduce stress and lead you through to Second Spring.
Kate Codrington is a menstrual and menopause mentor, retreat facilitator at Woman Kind, and has been a therapist for more than a quarter of a century. She’s been featured in Time Out, The Evening Standard, the London Metro, and writes on menopause and women’s health for well-known well-being publications and blogs. She’s in second spring, which means post-menopause, and has deep gratitude for the education that the menopause process has gifted her. Her mission is to change the way we regard menopause and show women how to relax into their own, inner authority through their cyclical nature and menopause process. You could contact Kate via her website.
This content was originally published here.