Light at the end of the tunnel & light in the middle of the circle

 

 

IMG_4368

My oldest (not in age ;)) and one of my dearest yoga teachers, Sukhraj and I decided we needed to start a support group for women going through perimenopause, the next phase of life, she was witnessing other women struggling and struggling herself and clearly I was … as she and all 70 😂of my blog followers know all too well 😉.  We started our circle a few months ago and have recently changed the name from Perimenopause Women’s Circle to Wisdom Circle — much more positive, don’t you think?!  Since then something has shifted in me, I’ve decided to try to embrace this transition instead of only complaining about all the miserable side affects and try to look at it as an opportunity for change, instead of a a threat or a burden.  What I have experienced the last 8 years has not been a “picnic” but along with my attitude changing, I am glimpsing the “light at the end of the tunnel”, perhaps because of the “light” in the middle of our circle 🤗.  Some of my symptoms have started to abate (although I still get my period every 28 days like clock work — but the duration etc. is lessening), my night sweats are less frequent, although now I’m experiencing  some flashes in the day 😯, but they are manageable , my brain fog may be lifting a bit, and I’ve weaned off my anti-anxiety/anti-depressant (again) and so far so good 🙏.  The irrational & irritable behavior have not crept back in, I take comfort in the fact that my husband and children will absolutely let me know if those behaviors start up again!  Since we started our Wisdom Circle I have been graced with information that has made for a more positive spin on this transition … like the quote above and the excerpts from the article below.  My daughter started reading “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant, on her own, I’ve been telling her to read it for a few years, she loves it, I am obviously “over the moon”.  If you know me, for the last 17 years I’ve been asking “where is my Red Tent?”  I may have found it …

Screen Shot 2019-08-12 at 8.20.03 PM

What if We Didn’t Dread Menopause?

The end of a woman’s fertile years has gotten a bad rep. What if we finally gave it the respect it deserves?
By  *link to full article below

The word “menopause” itself was coined by a French physician in 1821; by then, there were colloquial expressions for it in Europe, such as “women’s hell.”

Physicians in France, England and elsewhere associated a huge number of conditions, from scurvy to epilepsy to cancer, with this exciting new syndrome. Because they believed that a buildup of humors — especially blood — caused most medical problems, 18th-century physicians focused especially on hemorrhaging and white flux, which were symptoms, as they saw it, of an unhealthy retention of fluids. They also linked menopause to the fits associated with uterine (“hysterical”) suffocation, a disorder whose tradition was ancient in origin but that reached a new level of popularity in the Renaissance and later. It was defined by episodes of choking (shortness of breath? 🤔) and other symptoms : the original explanation was that a woman’s uterus had migrated upward and suffocated her (again shortness of breath???). European physicians in the 1700s and early 1800s reinterpreted hysterical attacks as signs of excess blood and thought they could be symptoms of menopause.

(HealthDay News) — As if hot flashes and night sweats weren’t enough, a new study suggests that a woman’s lung function seems to decline during perimenopause.

Adaptive theories of menopause, like the Grandmother Hypotheses, argue that postreproductive women shared food and other kinds of help with their children and grandchildren, and as a result, their daughters reproduced faster. What would otherwise have been five decades of reproduction could be compressed into half that time. This strategy meant that every group of humans had an invaluable, naturally renewing resource — older, experienced women with energy to spare. Menopause, in other words, is one of the traits that allowed humans to become the successful species we are.

So let’s stop talking about menopause as though there’s something wrong with it. Menopause isn’t just a collection of symptoms or a pathological condition. It’s a transition to a phase of life that has been critical to human success — one that should be valued and respected, not approached with dread.

Screen Shot 2019-09-16 at 9.31.56 PM

RESPECT and reference for all we have experienced and endured, the ups and downs, the losses and failures, the joys & triumphs … and the wisdom to keep moving forward and to share these experiences and support one another.

I just watched a movie I hadn’t seen in years “A Little Chaos” it came out in 2014, I would have been 45 and maybe not quite “wise” enough to fully grasp or interpret a section of the movie that moved me profoundly the other day, maybe because coincidently after the Wisdom Circle monthly meeting.  It is historical fiction, based on the creation of part of the gardens at Versailles by Louis XIV.  His landscape architect hired a female assistant and she is quite admired & revered at court and a bit of a mystery because he chose to hire a woman, with the King’s approval of course.  Later in the movie she is invited to meet with the King’s mistress, who he has recently “cast off” perhaps as “too old”, she invites this woman to her quarters and into a closed off chamber as she whispers … “Welcome to the “Secret Space” (“The Red Tent” 🤔 🤗), she enters and the room is filled with a group of women of all ages … the mistress goes on to explain, this is where it is safe to speak of things not allowed at court, such as death of children and husbands, (there are many, including this newcomer who has never spoken of the death of her husband and child), abuses, betrayal and aging bodies.  The elder women are revered and respected for their life experience, and their beauty regardless of their age and of course their WISDOM!

Screen Shot 2019-09-16 at 9.27.27 PM

Louis XIV was known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, he was King of France from 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country in European History.  He was a lover and curator of the arts including the natural world and of course the gardens of Versaille.  He also had a very close relationship to his mother who he loved and respected above all else.

“Nature was responsible for the first knots which tied me to my mother.  But attachments formed later by shared qualities of the spirit are far more difficult to break than those formed merely by blood.” King Louis XIV.

There is a scene in the movie when the female landscape artist is presented to the King by his mistress, the woman presents the king with a rose and the following discussion ensues, a rose is like a woman …

When he says “some roses have become faded and overblown” (he is clearly referring to his cast off mistress), she replies “that is the fate that awaits all roses … all roses bud, bloom & fade … although the elements (life) may treat her cruelly, she knows nothing of it and continues to her end without judgement on her beauty, alas it is not the same for us” (unlike the rose, woman as we age are sadly made VERY aware of it).  When the King asks “if that rose could speak what would she say?” she replies “Yes I am HERE, and gave service under nature’s eye and after me, my children will be, is there any greater contribution or more graceful end?”  (she doesn’t necessarily mean children, for she had lost her only child, I think she is referring to our legacy, what we will leave behind, our work, our creations, our love, our roles as mentors, friends, mothers, aunts, sisters, grandmothers and of course daughters). And when the Kings asks “what protection can the gardener afford this rose from the harsh elements of change?” (I think he is referring to his “old” mistress who I think he still loves and cares for), she replies “patience, care and a little warmth from the sun are our best hope” (when she says “the warmth from the sun” I think she is referring to the warmth and respect and wisdom from all the women that came before and will come after).

Screen Shot 2019-09-17 at 9.56.24 AM

“Can I jut say something? Living my life the way I always wanted to live (traveling constantly, being outdoors a lot, loving hard, swimming in the ocean, laughing all the time, crying all the time, squinting at books, and getting my heart broken repeatedly) has beat the living shit out of my skin … and I like it!  The older I get, the more I like my face. In fact, the older I get, the more at home I feel in my whole entire “body-costume”. (This is true of almost every woman I know. We all seem to be liking ourselves a lot more as we get older — thus disproving the omnipresent culture/commercial assumption that youthful beauty = happiness).  I want to eventually becomes one of those badass old ladies whose faces look like topography maps of everywhere they’ve ever been, and everything they’ve ever felt.  Because, to me, that’s authentic beauty.  Now, all that said, I have had a Botox shot or two in my day, because come on people — I’m not THAT freakin’ authentic (we all get to have SOME contradictions right?❤️ This concludes my Instagram beauty seminar.  I hope you take from it whatever you need.  Whatever you do with your face, you’re perfect and I love you. ❤️ LG
Elizabeth Gilbert

“Menopause (like menstruation) was not discussed in public. Today this is no longer true. As we break this silence we are also breaking cultural barriers, so that we can enter this new life phase with eyes wide open—in the company of more than 48 million kinswomen, all undergoing the same transformation at the same time … we are powerful”**

WE ARE HERE … not unlike the rose.

Screen Shot 2019-09-16 at 9.31.09 PM

 

 

Screen Shot 2019-08-17 at 10.16.55 AM
Wisdom Circle 2nd Saturday 11a monthly

 

 

*

**Christiane Northrup, MD

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s