Retire Meant

Flying Free © lynette sheppard

Fifteen+ years ago, Theresa-Venus and I had one of those life altering conversations. We were going through perimenopause and wondered if something might seriously be wrong with us. No one told us that all these horrifying symptoms and maladies were going to come with the Big M. We thought that maybe we’d be a little warm once in a while and never have to worry about wearing white pants again.

That conversation spawned the Menopause Goddess Group, our book “Becoming a Menopause Goddess”, and this blog. On average, we have 35,000 visitors each month. That reinforces the fact that we are not alone. We’ll keep this site going – well, as long as we keep going.

Theresa and I had another of “those talks” a couple of weeks ago. A few Menopause Goddesses we know are retiring this year and looking forward to it. It got us to thinking, though. What does retirement mean to each of us? In what ways will we create a vibrant life after “work”? What does it look like to each of us to “retire”?

Before we share our thoughts and feelings, we’d like to hear from you – how do you envision retirement? Or if you are retired, what fulfills you? Is the reality of retirement different from your initial vision? What would you share with your sisters about retirement?

We look forward to hearing from you – write your answers and musings in the comments or email lynette@9points.com  Don’t be shy – this site is about women sharing wisdom – we want to hear from you.

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Maniacal – Pause, A Humorous Menopause Poem

Tropical Toast © lynette sheppard

Happy New Year, everyone. Let’s make 2017 a year we thrive rather than simply survive. And what better way to begin our posts than with a good laugh (we sure need it.) Author Tracey Maguire shares her humorous take on the Change. Enjoy!

MANIACAL-PAUSE
Written by Tracey Maguire (Author of ‘THE WORKER IN ME’)

She’s a hotbed of volcanic blasts
And often has the blues
She’s red and raw and sweaty
And always wants a snooze

Her husband doesn’t know her
There’s a certain kind of pall
It wasn’t always like this
He’s been driven up the wall

It’s a waste, and a futility
To think that there’s a cure
For nature takes the best of us
And steals our whole allure

It’s a time, a place, and milestone
Don’t share it with a crowd
The secret curse of menopause
Just silent suffering allowed.

What’s all the fuzz about?
Why the fluid retaining?
It’s transformation to old age
While tummy weight is gaining

She fights alone her hormone hell
She doesn’t want to boast
No puberty or change of heart
But a slow and steady roast

She buys a fan, nudes up at night
Her husband, he gets chancy
Her heat is high, she’s burning up
Cold showers are her fancy

It’s basted and it’s burning
A bitter pill to taste
When everything is said and done
A mid-life change is faced

Tracey’s book The Worker in Me goes on sale April, 2017. Watch for it.

 

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New Year’s Intentions

fireworks for blog
I don’t make resolutions anymore.It’s too freaking stressful to make them and subsequently break them. I do make intentions, however. Intentions for me are large global visions of how I want to live for the next year (and maybe longer.)

I am in the habit of drawing an angel card each morning. The one word on each card serves as a daily focusing, a mantra if you will, for noticing or expressing a certain quality throughout 24 hours.

For example, today, I drew Kindness. Musing on kindness throughout the day allowed me to slow down when my cat was walking all over my keyboard and just pet him for awhile, rather than push him away. Work could wait. And it did. I was nicer to the people I met in town and even to myself, usually last on the list.

Similarly, I’ve found intentions to be helpful for me in focusing on a larger scale, on defining what might be important to me to notice and embody for the coming 365 days. Under each intention are ways in which I might accomplish it, but I am in no way absolutely wedded to them as goals.

That said, here are my intentions for 2017:

Notice and follow Beauty.
Photography
Prose: read and write
Butterflies – follow them.

Artify
Become an Art Activist rather than a politics watcher
App and paint photos
Write

Nourishment
body: exercise, yoga, eat healthy most of the time
mind: Scrabble, reading
spirit: solitude, music, time in Nature

Connection
Spouse: quality time, shared pursuits and adventures
Family: spend time w kids, parents, pets
Good friends: spend time

Celebration
Being on the top side of the dirt (that’s big!)
Each moment
Celebrate What’s Right With The World site

Give Back
Blogs
Healing Images
Art Activism (see above)

I will re-view these throughout the year – maybe find that some are easy to focus on and others need more attention. I use them as a sort of fuzzy logic compass to give my meanders through life a sense of direction and purpose.

I will eventually set goals as I focus more on my intentions – for example, within the intention of music, I want to learn to play ukulele. I’ll need to set a schedule of practice and lessons as well as determine how far I wish to go in this pursuit.

Your intentions may echo some of mine or they may be completely different. I offer mine only as a template and you may find a better way to define your New Year visions. Please share them if you do. That’s how we become Menopause Goddesses – growing and sharing. I wish you all a peace and joy filled New Year.

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Forever Painless – Is That Even Possible?

forever-painless-cover

Pain. It’s part and parcel of aging. We need to learn to deal with the various muscle aches and joint creaks as best we can. Unless that isn’t really true! What if we could indeed be “Forever Painless”?

That’s the title and premise of this new book by Miranda Esmonde-White. Author of Aging Backwards and host of the PBS show “Classical Stretch”, Esmonde-White lays out a simple, clear program of the right exercise for the specific problem area you are experiencing.

There are specific workouts (gentle stretching workouts) for areas such as Foot and Ankle, Knee, Upper Back and Shoulder, Hip, Lower Back and more. In addition, there are workouts for Connective Tissue, Arthritis, Stress, and Immunity. Even if we are not presently in pain (hallelujah), most of us experience stress and/or immune system decelerations. These exercises might also keep us in good shape if we are already there.

One of my favorite parts of the book was her take on our fascia – that webbing that was thought to hold our muscles, joints, and tendons in place. Like most health care professionals, I was taught that it was a matrix, a static structural part of our bodies. Esmonde-White writes about it as a fluid, dynamic system that also needs exercise and strengthening.

My intuitive self slapped my forehead when I read this. “Well, DUH!” I admonished myself. I saw my human architecture in a whole new way (I’m embarrassed to say that it never occurred to me.)

I love the stories of those who were able to heal themselves of pain that preface each chapter. While some of them detail some pretty significant difficulties, one can also see how these exercises can help those of us less afflicted. I love the gentleness, too – like Tai Chi, Chi Gung or Psoma Yoga.

Pain is draining. Pain can interfere with our quality of life. Pain can depress us and rob us of vibrancy in our later years. If proactive exercise – the right exercise – can alleviate pain and keep us actively healthy, sign me up.

I haven’t been this excited about a book in a long time. And you can bet that I am doing the exercises for hip tightness and immune function right now. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Here’s where you can get your own copy:

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads

About Miranda Esmonde-White
Miranda Esmonde-White is one of America’s greatest advocates and educators on healthy aging. She is best known for her PBS fitness show Classical Stretch, which has been on the air since 1999. A former ballerina, she designed the Essentrics technique, which uses low-intensity strength and stretch exercises to relieve pain, prevent injury, and slenderize the body. Esmonde-White works with professional and Olympic athletes and celebrities, and teaches classes to thousands of students worldwide each year.

Follow Miranda on Facebook

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Maca Root Superfood Black Friday Sale

Yellow Hibiscus with Waterfall © lynette sheppard

Yellow Hibiscus with Waterfall © lynette sheppard

I know, I know! After yesterday, we may never want to eat again. Except we all know that we will. So a heads up about the Black Friday  – Cyber Monday Maca sale starting today!

Maca is a superfood and for menopausal women it is so much more.

From today November 25 – 28, 2016, you can take 40% off all products in their Yellow Gelatinized and Yellow Raw Maca Categories!

Maca Root is a Peruvian plant that boosts strength and energy. It is particularly helpful in hormone balancing and revitalizing lost libido for menopausal women. Available in powder form or elixir, maca root has virtually no side effects (though a small # of women report mild gas with the powder version.) A couple of our original goddesses swear by it. For more info or to order, please visit The Maca Team. They source non-Gmo, organic maca root from Peru.

maca-recipes

Also, they have some really great recipes on their site – although, I know – we are never going to eat again.  Here’s the link:  Maca Team

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Black Friday Comes Early This Year

Tangled Turkey © lynette sheppard

Tangled Turkey © lynette sheppard

Slumber Cloud, one of my favorite product websites is having an early Black Friday sale – up to 40% off! Here’s the link – sale lasts from now until Nov. 28. Don’t miss out – we menopausal goddesses NEED a comfortable, restful night’s sleep.

Here’s the link: http://try.slumbercloud.com/black-friday-cyber-monday-sale/

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. We are grateful for all of you! Together we will not only survive, we will thrive. (And no, I’m not going to share diet tips or workouts – let’s just enjoy a lovely holiday without guilt. Besides, it is such a wasted and wasting emotion. Say it with me: Gratitude, not guilt. Gratitude, not guilt, Gratitude, not guilt. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

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Creativity Blooms During and After Menopause

Hello Dahlia © lynette sheppard

Hello Dahlia © lynette sheppard

Myriad difficulties and symptoms arise during the menopause transition. And if you are searching for help or remedies, just put your symptom or need into our search box. After almost 15 years of Menopause Goddess Blog posting, you’re sure to find lots of information. Much of it is condensed in our book, Becoming a Menopause Goddess.

Now into Second Adulthood, I am finding so many women also interested in the positive changes. Once we stop flashing every few minutes and our moods stabilize, we ask ourselves “what next?” What next turns out to be a plethora of welcome changes. Who knew?

One of the most exciting of these changes occurs when our creativity gets its own power surge. We tap heretofore unknown wellsprings of creative juice. We overflow with inspiration and we aren’t afraid to fail. The “not afraid to fail” may be the most important piece. After all, the creativity police won’t come and take us away if we suck at something. And I can attest that if you find something you enjoy and stick with it, eventually you won’t suck.

But it really matters not if we are “good” at what we choose as our creative outlet. It’s important that we jump in with both feet, both arms, and a whole heart. We need it because it nourishes us. Right now, I am blessed to be part of a photography seminar here on Moloka`i. And yes, there are a lot of women (and men) celebrating Second Adulthood.

So dance, draw, paint, photograph, knit, write. Don’t wait – the house doesn’t need to be cleaner, dinner can be eggs, and the laundry will rest in the hamper another day. As poet Mary Oliver asks, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

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The Magic of Menopause

magic-of-meno

Lorraine Miano, an Integrative Certified Health Coach, sent me her new book: The Magic of Menopause, A Holistic Guide to Get Your Happy Back. I admit the title set me back a bit – after all, it used to be that books on menopause were either dry medicalese or overly perky treatises that only served as a further irritant during the throes of menopause.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Lorraine didn’t shy away from all the suckiness of the Change. She freely shares stories of her transition as well as that of others. Then she moves on to offer helpful options and solutions for beginning to survive and then thrive during the Big M. With humor and heart, she offers a guide to beginning to indeed “get your happy back”.

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Beyond Hesitancy: A Midlife Leap of Faith To the Unknown

Sand and Sea © lynette sheppard

Sand and Sea © lynette sheppard

Sirena Pellarolo shares an inspiring story of how to create a vibrant Second Adulthood in this wonderful guest post. Enjoy!

Beyond Hesitancy: A Midlife Leap of Faith To the Unknown

Guest Post by Sirena Pellarolo, Ph.D.

“Over and over I’ve watched peri-menopausal symptoms resolve in women who’ve had the courage to negotiate the rapids of their midlife transitions consciously and in an empowered way in which they finally give their own needs high priority” (my emphasis).

Christiane Northrup, M.D., The Wisdom of Menopause: Creating Physical and Emotional Health During the Change. New York: Bantam Books, 104

I’m finally rocked by the magic murmur of the Ocean. It’s soothing and sometimes haunting. I’ve been yearning to live by the ocean for decades, and I always thought it would be impossible. Who would have thought the solution was right in front of my very nose? I just needed to change my perception and open up to the possibilities. As an appointed Sirena, I knew that my Oceanic Mother Iemanjá wanted me close to her healing waters. Now I am, and I feel that each day that I spend in her presence, I’m closer to my own core, my aquatic essence. It took me courage to push the hesitancy aside and just do it.

The story I’m sharing is an exemplary tale of how we can make positive and self-supportive changes at midlife. By telling my story, I wish to convey to other women that it’s safe to listen to our own intuition and follow our deepest dreams. As midlife women, we’ve lived too long making sure that those around us had everything they needed, be they family members, co-workers or bosses. It’s our time now, time to pay attention and listen when our soul beckons us to release more life, be more of who we really are without apologies. The more we do it, the closer we’ll be to our own self-expression and fulfillment.

Take my case. I spent a whole lifetime of obligations as a single mom. Strayed away from my own artistic, mystical inclinations when I migrated to the US with my family of two baby daughters and an artistic husband who refused to give up his own art no matter what happened. Although what I am going to share was probably a biased perception, at that time I felt that I was the one who had the sole responsibility to anchor my focus on the day-to-day survival of the family. I created a life crisscrossed with duties, and although I did pursue a career that was close to my heart, the freedom and creativity that I craved became repressed and acted out in ways that –I see now–, could have been avoided by just letting out some steam and addressing the longings. Too much rational work as an academic thwarted my poetic nature until I hit peri-menopause at forty-five, and it then became unavoidable to shed the masks I had donned to perform the victim role that didn’t fit me anymore.

In a recently completed chapter titled “The Masquerade is Over: Shedding Masks at Midlife,” included in the collection Menopause Mavens, from Mayhem to Mastery, I recall the incredible transformation that I underwent fifteen years ago: the opening of the path that has brought me where I stand right now. Prompted by a series of psychic upheavals and deeply symbolic events, I ended up renaming myself and changing the course of my life forever by simply acknowledging my deepest desires. However, looking back at that transformation, in the mentioned piece I acknowledge that I wasn’t able then to fully “embody the greatness of la Sirena,” as I did not dare to “cross completely the threshold” that separated the old version of myself with my magnificence.

In her comments, the editor of the anthology addresses my hesitancy, “this feels like your next book topic – how to fully embody the new you and releas[e] the hesitancy…. how to explore what the blocks [we]re, [in order] to really embodying her.” I truly appreciate Jane’s feedback for it propelled me to start working on a book guided by my own process of identifying and overcoming my inner fears. In turn, I use this acquired self-knowledge to guide women who have been holding on for too long to old limiting belief systems and behaviors and discover at midlife that they can feel happy, creative and fulfilled.

After my peri-menopausal wake up call, I slowly but surely started to pay attention to the stirrings of my soul and allowing my intuition to move me, tentatively at the beginning, with more courage and heart in recent years. At fifty-five I underwent another turning point when I retired from my position as a professor to pursue my passion and calling as a healer. But the real pivot happened in the past six months, during the last of a five-year transition from full employment to retirement, as I was building my practice as a certified Holistic Health Coach. I plunged into the revamping of myself by listening closely to my yearnings towards service, as I knew I had so much to offer other women by just sharing what I had learnt in my own healing experience.

During those five years, I had consciously embarked in the process of stripping myself of the accoutrements of my old profession, by deepening my spiritual practices and learning everything I could about how to become a heart-centered health practitioner. I knew that this last year of my semi-retirement, was going to be crucial to catapult myself into my new career. Interestingly, several external events inspired me to take a radical leap of faith toward the unknown.

My younger daughter Violeta and her husband decided to leave Los Angeles and move back to Boston, where Andrew and his family are originally from. They were also expecting a baby, my first grandchild! In my various visits with them–and more intensely when BB James was born in July–, it became very clear to me that I had to move out of Los Angeles and start a new life elsewhere. I didn’t know where, but it became crystal clear that I had to let go of a city that had ran its course, and de-clutter my life from old stuff that didn’t serve me anymore.

“I renounce everything to have it all” became the theme for this process of letting go. The admonition haunted me, I repeated it as a mantra, and its meaning helped me move forward. I breathed it, I prayed it, I dreamt it. As soon as its profound meaning became flesh and I stood in the power of that calling, I willingly started selling or tossing everything that I felt was cluttering my life. The more I got rid of, the freer I became. I was feeling lighter and ready to tackle the next stage of my life with a clean slate.

This was the time when my older daughter, Paloma–who had been living with me and was the original instigator of this process of decluttering–, decided to leave Los Angeles too. Wow! I was alone now… Why would I stay in this city past December, when I would be fully retired? It was a perfect opportunity to let go of a place and a lifestyle that had had me running around trying to be productive, spinning my wheels to provide for others and really slow down, catch my breath and recoup all those dreams I had put in the back burner twenty-five years before, like writing and traveling.

These past six months have been the most liberating of my life, as I got rid of things, situations and places that were imbued with the clingy energy of self-limitation and frustration. As I released, I was making space for the new to sweep me up ad move me forward.

In my need to simplify my life and focus 100% on my healing practice, the calling for travelling and going back to the simplicity of Latin America, where I’m originally from, started to haunt me. I wanted to visit my aging mom in Buenos Aires, and spend time in my beloved surfers’ beach of Santa Teresa in Costa Rica.

In mid December, after I posted the grades of my last classes, cleaned up my office at school and sent the 30 day notice to vacate the rental place I had lived in for the past five years, I still didn’t know where I’d go come mid January. However, I was certain I’d receive guidance and stayed in trust that the right place would reveal itself in due time.

Sure enough, one morning in meditation I got a download to reach out to an old friend who had been my grad school classmate from the early 90s, and ask him if he had a room available in his beautiful ocean front home in Baja California. I knew this was a long shot, because my friend is very private and really cherishes his aloneness and is content sharing his ample home with his four cats. In addition to that, he rarely checks his email and doesn’t have a cellphone. Very difficult to get in touch with him!

By the beginning of January, I still hadn’t heard back from him and already assumed that my request had not been well received. Until one day I finally got an apologetic email about the delayed response, where he assured me of his delight to have me share his home with him. I was elated at this and speeded up the process of packing up, storing and getting rid of my last belongings.

As I look back, I really don’t know how I did it, how I found the courage, determination, patience and persistence to go through this protracted process of letting go and trusting the intelligence of the Universe in the process of moving towards my next stage in life. But the fact is I did. Now that I’m settled in this beautiful home, facing my beloved ocean, allowing myself to be rocked to sleep by its continuous cadence, I look back and take stock of this experience that can serve as an example of how to change around our lives at midlife.

Sirena Pellarolo, Ph.D.
Midlife Midwife and Holistic Healer
Co-author of Menopause Mavens: Master the Mystery of Menopause
www.sirenapellarolo.com

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Vaginal Dryness – Affects One in Three Women

High Sierra Flowers © lynette sheppard

High Sierra Flowers © lynette sheppard

Wow. One in three – that is a lot! (There are a lot of us baby boomers that have come of age.)

Menopause brings many changes and one that really affects our intimacy is vaginal dryness. The folks at Genneve are committed to helping with this with their special lubricants designed to mimic our natural moisture. They sent me some samples (and since, yes, I am one of the one in three), I will be testing it. In the meantime, enjoy this video that brings the topic to light.

You might want to check out the blog on their site too – lots of great info: click here

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