Riding the Tides of Perimenopause

Re-blogged from my channel at SageWoman:

SistersRiding the tides of perimenopause, I find that my sense of self, ideas and concepts that I held about myself are shifting like pebbles on a shingle beach, never in the same place twice, forming new solid banks and spits jutting out into the vastness of the ocean.  I live right on the coast of the North Sea, and am finding inspiration and a sense of kinship with the ocean that I have never felt before.

Swells and surges of emotion run through me as hormones find their way to the balance point in the dance of change and impermanence.  My body is changing, the elasticity in my skin fading, laughter lines showing, cellulite appearing in new places.  The curves in my body are becoming softer, gently changing over time.  My breasts sometimes ache as my body tries to find a new way of being.  Periods are nearer to each other, sometimes only two weeks apart, sometimes light, other times so heavy I cannot leave the house.  Sometimes I feel like I did in my teenage years, without the skin breakouts!

It’s not only my body changing – emotions run deeper than ever before.  Awareness of the emotions keeps them in check, allowing myself to truly feel them without too much attachment.  They are sometimes like a knife, cutting through the dross to reveal the jewel beneath; instinct and empathy allowing me to connect with the world on a much deeper level than previously imagined.

My attachments to my body are also becoming less and less.  I am ever thankful for this healthy body, that can dance and run and sing with abandon.  Thoughts about how others relate to me are changing as my body changes. I notice people interacting with me differently – or is it that I am the one who is different?  In our dance troupe, when we are performing, I notice that the attention is gently shifting away from myself to younger ladies in the troupe.  I smile to myself as I notice this, seeing how this makes me feel.  There is a tinge of sadness, as I release the undercurrents of vanity, as well as the newer notes of joy in not being wrapped up in the notions of youth that our culture is so focused upon. My heart goes out to the beautiful young dancers in our troupe, who have to deal with the extra attention.  My soul connects with the beautiful older women in our troupe, whose sense of self pervades a solidity that wholly and utterly inspires me.  I am seeing beauty where I never saw beauty before – it is truly remarkable.

I don’t crave attention in the same way as I used to.  What others think matters a lot less than before.  What does matter is how my life is lived, inspired by the world around me and walked on a path of honour and integrity. I see this reflected in the older women in my life, how comfortable they now appear.  I wouldn’t want to be young again – in looks or age.  I am at home in my body.  Some women are blessed with this from an earlier age, others like me perhaps find it during the hormonal shift. What is important is that we find that stillness within, like a pool of water that becomes clear when all our doubts and worries about our self finally settle, allowing us to mirror the wonder of the heavens.

One beauty is not better or worth more than any other form of beauty – all forms of beauty are simply that- beautiful.  Our soul takes form in our bodies, an impermanent expression of our being.  Learning to love the impermanence allows us to see the beauty in all stages of life and death, growth and decay.  It can allow us to be comfortable with who we are, no matter our age, what condition our bodies are in, what life throws at us.

This latest journey has just begun, and I have to say, I am loving the steps along the way. I breathe with mindfulness and take each step with love and joy even as I feel sadness and release. Life is precious, and impermanent, and in our awareness of impermanence lies our ability to truly live.

Mad as a March Hare

Standing on the edge, with a cosmically delineated point where the tide turns from winter to spring, we teeter on the brink of the spring equinox.  It is a time for madness.

Many of us are not yet ready to run full tilt into the light of the summer sun – not yet ready to pull away from the skirts of winter and face all that summer will bring.  Some of us are more than ready, like a horse left too long in its stall, ready to kick free and run in the fields with the spring grasses underfoot.  Often times these two will clash.  Some of us don’t feel a change at all.

Whether you are ready or not, if you are at all sensitive to the times and tides of nature, this is a time of uncertainty.  Much as with our previous agrarian lifestyle, we don’t know if our crops will fail, whether the seeds we are planting will come to anything.  Our dreaming of winter hangs in the balance – do we dare to take those dreams out of the darkness of inception and into the growing light, or do they need more time, in case they are exposed to the uncertainties much as a late spring frost could easily kill our early seedlings.

It is a time of courage.  Like the seed that sprouts, not certain if the soil is good, its position prominent and well taken, we must go forth into the world out of our winter’s hibernation.  We must find that spark deep within that allows change to happen, for we cannot hibernate forever.

It is also a time of hardship.  All those creatures, especially the herbivores, find this the hungry season, where food is scarce after the long winter’s cold and the summer’s bounty still yet to come.  Our ancestors knew this as the hungry time as well – the last of the winter cabbages and apples gone, awaiting the time of new lambs and calves to provide extra nourishment.  The first of the nettles and primroses are now shining through, with their beneficial nutrients.  We can take this opportunity to learn what it means to be hungry, and also what is available in our own landscapes that can nourish us both physically and mentally.

Hares are visible in the stubble or newly ploughed fields, or running across little country roads.  Boxing males and females are spotted under the light of both sun and moon.  Are they mad as well?

It is a time of great tides, such as the Severn Bore.  Combined with a full moon, rain and storm surges it can cause havoc and severe flooding.  Like the tides of spring and autumn equinox, we can ride them either into the growing light of summer or the fading light of winter.  Is your raft well crafted? Will you be able to hang on?  Are you able to ride the tides and see where they take you?

Like I said, it is a time of madness.