Our whole lives, we’re taught that menopause is a big drama, an ordeal that we somehow have to survive.
Many women find themselves blindly navigating their way through this transition, feeling lost, mad and dismissed.
They’ve been cast outside of a dignified holding and respect for this rite of passage that is, in fact, significant to the whole community.
The brilliance of menopause has become subsumed in a culture in denial of cyclical life. When, in truth, menopause holds the key for awakening and instating women leaders of the future!
In preparation for our first ever menopause online course, Sjanie and I have been naming afresh the importance of preparing for menopause and how the menstrual cycle profoundly supports us. We’ve also enjoyed refining our original lexicon for menopause that we’ve developed from sitting with circles of wise, menopausal women over the past decade. And are eager to share it with you all in the course.
But first we want to offer these five practices/enquiries. (By the way – this is very relevant for you if you’re still menstruating, as these guidelines can help you lay the foundations for the powerful awakening process that is menopause.) So, here we go, here are the five ways to prepare for menopause (a.k.a. have the best menopause ever!).
One: Make peace with your menstrual cycle.
If you are still menstruating, make peace with your menstrual cycle. Practice cycle awareness, by taking note of what day of the cycle you are on, feel into your energy and mood of that day, and cooperate with that as best you can. As you do that, you get to know yourself at a deeper and deeper level.
In this way, you’re quietly building the instruction manual for going through menopause.
If you’ve already stopped bleeding, make peace with the menstrual journey that you have had by reflecting on it, and going back and learning about the powers of menstruation, because post menopause all those powers of the menstrual cycle still live inside you.
Two: Know your strengths and vulnerabilities and love them.
Take time to reflect on what it is you’re good at, and what you’re not so good at. And make that right with yourself. Give yourself full permission to be utterly, unashamedly yourself, warts and all!
Three: Recognise that you’re going through a transition.
When we are going through a transition we can’t expect of ourselves the normal things we would expect of ourselves. At menopause you’re going through a death and rebirth process, you are ending one way of life and you’re going to be building another life for yourself – a new story.
Your psyche needs time and space to process this transition, and if you can give yourself some slack, and try not to push yourself in the same way, you’re going to find that your level of stress will fall away, and you’ll start to feel a new story unfolding.
Four: Self-care is non-negotiable.
You can’t argue with this one I’m afraid! You have to take care of your health right now. Look to all the usual culprits of diet, sleep and exercise. Remember, the golden rule when going through menopause Is kindness with ourselves, and you need to be truly kind with yourself about self-care now.
Take baby steps in the changes you bring to your diet, take baby steps in the way you change the exercise that you do, take baby steps to get more and better sleep.
You are definitely going to need more downtime at menopause – this is one of the most important things. Remember, you’re going through a death and rebirth process, and that means you need space and time. The incredible magic of downtime is the way it enables you to really feel and listen for what you need to do – the instructions will be able to come from within.
Five: revisit your first period.
Now this might sound really strange!
Here you are at the end of your menstruating journey, and I’m telling you to go back?! This is because the way you experienced your first bleed set the tone for your whole menstruating life. If there’s any kind of shame or wounding that occurred at that time it needs to be attended to, cared for and healed in some way, for you to be able to close this chapter.
Simply reflect on the time of your first period, and think about how you felt, as well as the messages you received about the menstrual cycle, and about yourself. Once you’ve reflected, take time to gently reframe your experience, it’s as simple as that.
(You can also do something more elaborate, and can create a simple ritual for yourself to re-anoint your first menstruating experience. As part of our upcoming menopause online course, one of the bonus gifts is our ‘Menarche’ program which will guide you to heal your experience of your first period).
So they are the five ways to prepare for or have the best menopause ever. Remember, this is an inside job!
It’s time to dignify menopause and restore it’s rightful place as an awakening process in our spiritual journey as women. May you find ways to give yourself the space, time, self care and self respect you need as you navigate this powerful transition.
We invite you to join our free online event Menopause: Reclaim the Dignity and Power. On Oct 15th. This is an introduction to our upcoming online course, Menopause, The Great Awakener, and you can register here.