I so wished I’d had this book when I was in my forties. Then again, maybe we wouldn’t have needed to start the Menopause Goddess group and this blog and that is an experience that I would not have missed for the world.
Jennifer Boire’s new book, The Tao of Turning Fifty, is a must read for any woman in her 40’s. As a woman rapidly approaching 60, I found it helpful even now. We are continually exploring and reinventing ourselves as we move through our Second Adulthood. The journal exercises and suggestions help us gain focus and clarity as we move through all the stages of later life. Here’s more in Jennifer’s own words. Enjoy her guest post.
Menopausal Journey: A Rite of Passage
There are no official rites – beyond letting your hair go grey and joining the Red Hat Society. It has been largely uncharted till recently. Our mothers didn’t talk about it; their doctors may have suggested a hysterectomy would make them less hysterical. No one has prepared us for it, so we don’t really know what’s coming, but already in our early forties, things are beginning to change.
I remember not thinking at all about menopause, until one day my period didn’t come, and after a short panic, the pregnancy test came back negative. Then my period was back again for six months, so I forgot there was something going on. I noticed my PMS was getting worse though – I was snarly two weeks out of the month. My emotional landscape was a little out of control – happy one minute then shrieking like a banshee at my teenagers, who were probably wondering where to buy a straitjacket on-line.
For other women, the wake-up call might be their libido is so low it’s dragging on the floor, or they waking up dripping with night sweats, or just being kept awake by the little gerbil running in its cage between 2 and 4 a.m. It can all make you feel like you’re going a little batty. Just like the story of the caterpillar and the butterfly, you are being transformed. But at first it feels like all your parts are melting down into bug soup. Your will is hiding down around your ankles like pants without a belt. You wonder who you are, what you want, you feel overwhelmed with all the changes going on. Your whole sense of identity and even what you love, is shifting. But in the middle of your darkest night, look up, and notice that in the darkness, wing buds are sprouting. A transformation is on the way.
There is not one day, or one moment that will demarcate the arrival but you feel the fragility of new wings, gossamer things, shining in the sun. You feel the old self peeling away, the old attitudes, the old passions dying and new ones being born.
Your energy begins to return; you fly back into the light.
Have patience. There really is such a thing as post-menopausal zest, once you pull yourself out of the swamp.
Look beyond the symptoms and reframe the experience as a rite of passage. Recognize these symptoms are labour pains. You are in a major phase of initiation into a new Self. All you hear about is hot flashes and night sweats. But menopause is a transition worthy of ritual and self-care; you are worthy of attending to yourself with loving kindness and compassion (knowing that it’s temporary helps).
What Else Helps:
Listen to your body: Your body is your inner guidance system. And the menstrual system is the stress barometer in women, according to psychologist Alexandra Pope. Heed the messages it sends you for rest, and more rest. Doing one thing at a time becomes imperative; multitasking becomes difficult if not impossible. Find activities that encourage stillness, self-nurturing, like naps, yoga, tai chi. Writing in your journal helps too.
What did you used to love doing when you were younger? Any right brain activity, like singing, dancing, SoulCollage®, crocheting and pottery, helps you get back in touch with the real you, underneath all those hats you’ve been wearing.
Girlfriends: sharing, talking and listening, just being around ‘sisters’ is what got me through menopause; it’s so good to be seen and heard.
Be gentle with yourself. Release the tendency to want to get everything on your list done in one day. Strike two things off your list, and be satisfied. Repeat after me, I am enough.
The good news is that you will resurface; you will find yourself again in the second half of life. You will come through this rite of passage with greater self-confidence, a sense of maturity and the courage to find your voice. The post menopausal woman is the Wise Woman, the one who gives us all a survival edge.
To help you on this journey, with this rite of passage, check out The Tao of Turning Fifty, What Every Woman in Her Forties Needs to Know. See www.jenniferboire.com for a free excerpt.
About Jennifer Boire:
Author Jennifer Boire, MA, has published two books of poetry and survived menopause while shepherding two pre-teens through puberty and supervising construction of a new home. She has been blogging about menopause and mid-life since 2006 (over 50,000 hits). In her research and many interviews, she discovered what women need to hear most is that they are not going crazy. She leads Creative Journaling classes and retreats for women at mid-life to help them cultivate faith in their inner resources.
Author of The Tao of Turning Fifty, What Every Woman in her Forties Needs to Know, she blogs as Musemother. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. www.jenniferboire.com. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheTaoOfTurningFifty Twitter : https://twitter.com/Musemother
About The Tao of Turning Fifty:
The Tao of Turning Fifty, What Every Woman in Her Forties Needs to Know is what you need to read if you are curious about how to find balance and feel better on the perilous journey through the mid-life transition. With a light touch and gentle humour, Jennifer Boire provides her brand of women’s wisdom on matters such as Where Did My Libido Go? Tango at Mid-Life, Feeling Like You’re Going Crazy, Menopause is Not a Disease, and How to Cultivate Your Own IGS System (inner guidance system).
This is a workbook you can journal along with, answering the thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter. Don’t miss the menopause poems at the end of the book, or the appendix of helpful hints such as how to create your own mini-retreat, or the many tips for de-stressing and slowing down.
1. Twitter : https://twitter.com/Musemother
3. Amazon Author: http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Boire/e/B001K8YML4/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
5. Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/musemother/
6. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jennifer-boire/26/b26/a67
Where to Purchase:
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/kmcdgpw
Check out Jennifer’s Giveaway:
First prize: Autographed copy of The Tao of Turning Fifty, Musemother Relaxation CD, and a $25 Amazon gift card
Second prize: Autographed copy of The Tao of Turning Fifty, and Musemother Relaxation CD
Third prize: Autographed copy of The Tao of Turning Fifty