Even that term of ‘Management’ implies I have choice. That it is in my own hands. That point I think is the first delusion – my potential arrogance.
Even that term of ‘Management’ implies I have choice. That it is in my own hands. That point I think is the first delusion – and shows me my potential arrogance. My absolute need to control. My Humanity, and My Spirituality; that absurdity of imbalance that have tried to reform all my adult life. Sometimes, in the end you just have to go with the flow! Celebrate more for the completion of Menopause i’ve decided. So thought id share why
During the years of Menopause those who have been calm and orderly with realistic expectations for most or all of their lives may suddenly reject their worlds, the normality, the progression. I had never been overly calm or orderly so when it hit, it hit all the harder.
Like the teenage brain, for a menopausal woman neurological transmitters are intuitively rationalizing. In a flash a decision can be made. Reckless or thoughtful. Often instead the choices of a morning appear to have no effective reasoning at all. On the cusp of a frontier, yet with little progression I go around and around and around in circles. Day after day of minute deliberation or oceans of pointless debate.
Finally, really seeing themselves as ‘older’, us ‘Peris’ see ourselves in the mirror, it reflecting the lines on the face, cellulite protruding from lumps of flesh never noticed before, the sagging reflection in the coffee table of almost a monstrous golem face. Many of us have never recalled having seen it all so clearly through the looking glass, until now.
How Alice! How strange that those in Menopause who never apparently yearned for a child, might find themselves at these times of wonderment, gazing upon, considering, and reviewing the past, sometimes with a deep chasm of regret. That those who made confidant, reasoned active choices to terminate little potential lives, find themselves now pondering “What if ?”
The questions churned over and over from a previously perceived wisdom, a belief system or morality.
Tears flowing. Relief, sadness, falling waves of the unexpected, the unsought cries from a heart that
had been perfectly fine with the choices made. Loves come and gone. Until now….
Some will find themselves in the GP surgery, others the plastic surgery, others in the court room, each facing a truth. Some will ponder much more than black outs and black moods, some much more than lost keys. Some will see their lovers eyes turned away, painfully upward, taste endless bickering, or full- blown rows. Words from their own mouths and now the souls of others they love, blown up and out. Tarnishing tsunamis, year after year.
The winds of Change again blow through. The clear, unavoidable evidence of unsought change will simmer. Maybe as words, acts, absence. Be smeared, smashed, or drift up around us in curls of smoke. Black, white, grey.
The possibility of endless boundaries being pushed, risks taken whilst the pleasure of little risk now of pregnancy (unless you are on HRT, then be very, very cautious ) for some, maybe its endless gin and tonic’s, bottles of wine, weed and more, all consumed to celebrate that win alone. No badge of honour in our society for this award of success though. It think it could be celebrated more.
Simply put, the endless years, the drifting by becomes a norm. For many a history of missed appointments, forgotten meals, forgotten talents all shown in sharp relief. The good old days gone, withering looks and cancelled dates becoming routine. Frustration, anxiety, anger or even for me, full on deep-seated rage, occasionally spewing from depths unknown.
Some will swim; not a bother to them. Others will float like the foetus, in clear, warm waters, with blue skies and roses. Some will examine their spiritual swamp, searching the past, channelling their future via chakra lotuses to try to identify, to evolve, grow. Some will hopefully find and learn new ways and some, some will simply drown.
They will only fail, not to float or not to swim. Overwhelmed by the enormity of an endless, some would say thankless task, mother nature’s constant challenge will drag them under. For them to swim, stroke after stroke against a tide, a deluge of unrepentant thirst, to ride a storm, a storm which made no sense yesterday and sure as hell won’t make any more sense tomorrow is an uphill challenge they simply cannot face. That endless storm of uncertainty. A potential decade of sought-after clarity, now a potential decade of deepening disappointments.
Many feel it’s beyond them. Many can’t just lie back and float on through it, which is what I did in the end I’d say. They just don’t know how to or who to ask for help. They may not recognize they need help at all. Many ask but some hear little comfort. “ It’s just your age !” they’ll say, “It’ll pass.”
And it will. One way or another. How to make some sense of what we feel as it does?
That for most of us is paramount. Please can someone explain this to me then I ask. Why? Why do I feel the way I do now ? Why now when I didn’t before ? Oh I see now! So it’s a Change! Like a new
dress or a coat of paint….? The word is pretty impotent in comparison to its enormity of upheaval i think.
The weight of the depth of sleepiness, of floating on the waves of torrid, sometimes indulgent emotions can be crushing. To care about IT or ourselves in IT . Whatever ‘it’ is. To have felt unable to fight it. No will, no capacity, to swim against it. Against IT. Against What ?
That no rescue is in sight, no lifeboat is coming. That I am just going to carry on drowning in my own despair and no one can hear me.
That I can give ‘it’ no name and I can give ‘it’ no reason. I only know am in it, of it, in touch with it and it with me like a blanket one day or another a vice grip. Tomorrow or even after lunch today, I might hate it. Worse of all I might just end up hating it and in turn hating Myself. Loathing the very ground I walk on. Loathing the days when I can’t lift my head up from the earths draw. Dying to accept the invitation to curl up and sleep, deep in its folds. Have peace from the rolling sea.
That much was clear. Not by accident or by mistake but by an involuntary yet intensely personal design, the waves of emotional turmoil kept rolling in and rolling out, every day and every night. A heated swell of the apparent luxury of effortless sweat. The choice to make, Mine and Mine alone. Take back my own power to make a choice. An invitation to choose. A question to ponder.
Will you stay ?
Or go to hell with it all. Endless debate
Can I endure? Should I endure? Will I endure?
Unable to answer just why I should continue to ‘endure’ (a good old yogi word- to have a duty of bliss, valor and to endure.)
Many women, think about or choose to leave the planet at 51.
Some of the stats that have come out with this wash of facts and figures of Menopause in the media, show the alarming increase in suicide of women of this tender age.
That a woman of @ 51 might no longer be able to see, to comprehend, the clarity of the action of the yogic duty- the duty of humans just to keep going. Living each day, encouraging happiness, with valor and endurance as a code, as a way of life. To continue just to live.
Many do experience the sense of duty to keep going and can hear and heed it. Others peacefully
ride the waves they often don’t name. Silently witnessing the change of their life with no more than a hush.
Others; Delusional ? Depressed? Desperate? or simply a woman’s or humans truth of ageing. Aging in a world that treasurers youthfulness above all.
Menopause for me presented itself in its splintered reality most poignantly for a specific year at 51. It played hard ball but often softly with me for five or so years before that year and again then for the three after but that particular year I could hear a regular breath of life high in my chest, my own being leaving me. After a few years of unsettled questions and the odd missed period IT had arrived as a pretty simple invitation. An invitation, potentially perceivable as such, almost as the useful option; to have the option, the choice to bow out. To simply leave it all behind.
“Maybe do it better next time” a part of me kept saying.
I pondered the cool calm sea on an early morn and a magnum of Champagne as a reasonable option.
Benefits of Yoga Mediation I raise the question of truth here. This is my truth. Not textbook. Not authoritative, other than I have been there. I have travelled this path of what in the overall scheme would be taken to be a peaceful passage of Menopause, like my Mother and her Mother before her.
No Champagne for my Mother Great Granny . Plenty, I suggest for my Great Great, Grandmother. (And I am from the egg she made after all.)
No HRT patches, no pills, but frankly, a basket case that is waking up now at 54, as if from a dream.
That for me, My Menopause, became an enlightened consciousness, is my simple truth of a lofty word. When all else fails, though I do consider it My Truth. I share my story here for any ounces of comfort it may bring for any other soul and also to record it while it’s still fresh, this time which I am drawing away from, month by month and moon cycle by moon cycle. I stand here again as a middle road warrior, peaceful and calm, trying each day to stay centered and focused.
I felt I faced an option of my own demise clearly in the eye, as clear as I see the words on the page today. The champagne might be an anathema, a very western solution but the yogi’s sense of a simple withdrawal of the life force felt like a very real thing for me. Not a charlatan. Not an imaginary nonsense way above my yogi pay grade.
From my fingers to my toes, I could literally feel the life in me changing. Although in reality, much of me was draining away, initially, with dark rivers of red, my life as I had known it was withdrawing.
Like a tide going out rather than in. What was left was curling up its toes and becoming smaller and smaller. I was retuning to the womb in some way, a womb of all life, I presumed. Seeing a doorway. Observing its lights and shadows.
A heightened awareness reminded me of my pregnancies, I’ve five adult children. The joyfulness bought about by them and the gorgeous family I have, giving reasoning to stay. The echo of pregnancy, or new life. Not real ? Only a fleeting body memory?. This process instead from a strange and often unnamable fluffy kind of suffering, a confusion at best, sometimes a kick back. Even a delicious abdication of worry. Its beyond me, I thought.
The ability to respond was changing. I was unrecognizable.
Support and kindness of the simple acceptance of what is, was key for me. A kind word. A hug. A call from a friend. A coffee and a chinwag. Giving and receiving. Time to experience but not too much time to ponder and a decision repeatedly made not to stare at it not to over think it.
‘It is what it is’ has never been more apt.
Acceptance for me is to own what has been before. How I felt, feel now, rather than was told I should, would or could feel or behave.
The Blame Game – There is a risk of a perception of a crime being committed against us as females during Menopause I think. As if we are somehow being robbed of something, somehow. Not that it is a time it was given, and now must be given up or opportunity to consider it time to no longer have a burden to carry.
But many feel Robbed. Robbed but by whom?
A culprit is needed. Blame apportioned. A soap opera scandal of perpetual outrage hourly daily weekly reported.
Any sense of entitlement left me early on in this. I was lucky to have my mum to talk to.
From various viewpoints, this is a crime. A loss of oestrogen, less testosterone, not just weight gain and more lines on the face has, somehow, made me feel invalid. I am I invalid I ask?
For some, it is, almost perceived as , somewhat, dare I say it? Irresponsible.
Get a patch. Take a pill. Get a surgeon. Make it all go away. Help yourself to help yourself.
At the end of it all, 5, 10, 12 years later, however long it took or takes, while IT plays with your
mind , body, and spirit, IT’s title is correct. Be you young or old, it is in fact, just that, a massive time of Change. And our Attitude to it will be everything. I know now i drank too much alcohol at times. I know I added all the oestrogen mimickers in my food i could. I know our DNA is a factor. I sought out the phytoestrogens in lentils and beans and chickpeas , yams and flaxseed. I still felt I was blind folded, my head ditzy in foggy clouds. (Look up Avidya)
I decided to my revamp my viewpoint often. To try to be detached, abstract, and distanced enough from myself to objectively view it. To consider the possibility that in this maze of contradiction I might also get some benefit. I might also get to play with and at length, better understand this miracle that is life.
I was right. I have got to see deeper into my own consciousness than I ever thought possible. Much like a babe in a crib will playfully examine her toes. I did. I have and now it’s done, I know it’s done.
I know from every cell in my being. I can look back now and see the mountain behind me.
I no longer have many illusions ( I don’t think! ). ‘The intuitive self will just know’ it is said. It will simply know SO much more I realize. Like a light going on in a darkened room.
Certainly, by the end I totally knew who my friends were and what my family really thought and continue to think of me. Not just because being a Demon leaves no one in doubt of your own feelings toward them or others. The rest of the world will go about its business and maybe no longer see you or look toward you but somehow it no longer matters.
I know I am loved. I was shown daily I was loved through those years and still am. Children, parents siblings, That is also an essence of a truly romantic love, developed from a giddy passion but then evolved over time. Accepting of each other’s faults. Each other’s failings. Each other’s reality.
Husbands or lovers will either still be smiling back at you with a road less travelled look or be long gone. Away from the unfamiliar and unknown apparent madness of the totally inconsistent. Others will look on and many will probably deeply frown at best.
Many men, and I know a few, are heard to regret not understanding more about what was going on for their wives and partners during this weird and some might say wonderful time.
There really is nothing to be done about it though, I think. And men are inclined to want to fix things. This couldn’t be fixed. I really did Change !
Others can either accept this strangeness has no fault, no blame, no cure as such and might need an odd patch, pill, aspirin, or a cocktail of self -love of yoga, sunshine, and flowers to soften the edge, and surf the waves or not.
Merely to relax with it, ‘accept what is’ for me was so necessary. Ignore too many choices. The ditzy memory and dazed expression are ok actually ! Maybe an odd glass of red ( too much is too be avoided mind) or learning to chill more on the mat or to dance in the morning sun, will help. Of that I have no doubt. I am living proof of it. Giving comfort to each other as we find our new ways will bring a joy to the heart. Like it has mine. Like my Mother told me of the hours of labour “ …if you can just bear with it. Just a little longer…..t will pass”
Without an ounce of doubt she was effectively saying “Just for today…Endure”.
Me and the millions of women around the world, for many millennia, have endured. Become ‘She who Plays’, returning to the dominance of the Ajna Chakra or third eye, and the Sahasara, at the crown of the head and finally this could also be seen as a return to Lalata Chakra. (Possibly the pineal gland according to Tantric texts see B.K.S. Light on Yoga -Thornson 2001 p 368- For me, the delicious fun of a new insight after years study has been so amusing. Also see the Goddess Lalita Devi)
The child in me, almost prepubescent once again now, can fully gaze out upon, and better appreciate the sun, the moon, the life and around and inside me. Observe my stars, being off course and seek the easy balance, find the path so much more effortlessly than ever before. Why? Because I no longer fear it and I’ve seen it all before.
Part of my beautiful enormous Family ( I am one of 11) – Four generations of girls here. Centre Great Granny Mother (My Mother), holding Flora June Grant the third of my four granddaughters with Freyja, her mother ,my only daughter on the right having just delivered Flora a few hours before and me making up the left. My Aunty Gillian, another amazing Mother had just passed a few days before when this was taken and we were all grieving her loss badly and yet thankfully Flora was just new-born, healthy and happy and we could begin a new life all over again.
The return to the Centre. To be here, right now whether anyone else can see or appreciate me. If they can see the moon in her newness or fullness, in me or not, I choose to live. I choose to pass through, and hand down, knowledge and love and to accept completely, that I am enough, just as I am. IT may not always be pleasant, but it is a goodness. And I believe, just like my Mother before me, that Menopause has been, in fact, for me, just as nature intended.
Much love, Sri Radha (Nana) Sharon
Copyright 22/05/2021 Dr Sri Radha Sharon O’Neill BCL Hons Ph.D.
Yoga Director of Golden Glow Yoga College in Ireland
Also See various GGYC Blogs-overtime on motherhood, pregnancy, birth and death
- Lalata Devi The Goddess of the Power of Attraction in the Universe
- Why not Celebrate More for the Completion of Menopause?
Benefits of Yoga Meditation