Meet Lynette Sheppard
Lynette is the official Scribe for the Menopause Goddesses and moderator of this website and blog. The Change just whacked her upside the head and completely disrupted her life as artist, writer, consultant, and loving spouse. Accustomed to doing things “on my own”, she is grateful that she and friend Theresa decided to find out how other women were faring with their life changes and passages, in the process, saving their own bacon. Lynette is hard at work writing a book detailing the collective Whimsy and Wisdom of these Goddesses. In the meantime, we just couldn’t wait to create a community with all you Goddesses out there. Additional info about Lynette can be found in her bio.
Bio: Lynette Sheppard
In addition to being the official ‘Scribe” for the Goddesses, the author has these credentials. She is:
A former Nurse-Manager, head of Intensive Care and Coronary Care units in Santa Rosa, California for 10+ years, with a focus on both allopathic and alternative medicine.
A published author of numerous articles on healing and health.
A featured speaker at national health symposia, such as American Association of Critical Care Nursing, National Hyperbaric Medicine Symposium, International Association of Human Caring in Melbourne, Australia.
An expert on the Enneagram of personality; author of The Everyday Enneagram, A Personality Map For Enhancing Your Work, Love, and Life…Everyday, she consults with myriad businesses and organizations. www.9points.com
A hula dancer learning Hawai`ian language in her adopted home of Moloka`i.
A photographer and artist.
A midlife, menopausal woman who continues to go through changes and is lucky enough to have the Goddesses to help her through them.
About the Photographs
Unless otherwise credited, all the photographs featured with the posts were taken by Lynette-Venus. While some are literal, most simply represent sensings or feelings triggered by her musings on menopause and midlife.
Meet Ashley Jeanne Ross
Ashley Jeanne Ross seems to have a insatiable lifelong fascination with the rich terrain where our hormones and emotions meet. When she’s not immersed in studying the female experience, she’s an author, teacher, counselor and speaker, as well as a loving mother of burgeoning adult triplets, two girls and a boy. Her ‘day job’ is as a holistic reproductive health practitioner, professional fertility awareness educator and somatic counselor in private practice in California, and thanks to the 21st century, also online. Place her in a circle of women to observe her in her natural habitat.
Bio: Ashley Jeanne Ross
I am so thrilled to be joining the inimitable Lynette Sheppard and the Menopause Goddess Blog community as it changes and transforms just as we all do. Menopause is after all The Ultimate Change. And MGB is about to become a fuller and more collaborative mouthpiece for Gracious Transitions and What Awaits beyond. What an honor!
Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Ashley Jeanne Ross – holistic women’s health practitioner, counselor and coach, mother and lover of relevant and inspiring perspectives on this crazy and fabulous ride called life.
Here’s what I’m passionate about: I’m on a mission to eradicating the the obstacles that keep us from feeling at home in our bodies. With so many forces coming at us from when we were little girls until we arrive at our full womanhood – to turn away from or even against our women’s bodies – it becomes the Task of Menopause for many of us to ‘find our way back home’.
When I began working with women 20 years ago – balancing menstrual cycles, managing PMS, counseling mood swings, teaching natural birth control – women in menopause would implore me to help them, please! There was a tiny voice (you know that one, right?) that said to me: “Wait until you’ve gone through it – that’s when you’ll be able to really help them.” So I would refer them to other practitioners and waited for my turn.
It arrived almost 8 years ago, that day I began to feel The Change coming on … a story for another blog.
Since then, I’ve sat with hundreds of women in all kinds of settings and we’ve mulled over this crazy, confusing and ill-treated time in a woman’s life – to see if there might be another way to understand what’s happening to us. We’ve toyed with the idea of Change, and what it means to change. Our needs are changing, certainly our bodies are changing, our sexuality’s changing, our focus is changing. Apparently we’re changing!
A very surprising question emerged – what if we changed intentionally, consciously? What if we claimed this transition, this change of life and went through a Conscious Menopause?
Here’s a taster of how that might look:
- instead of feeling at the mercy of your symptoms, you can learn to decipher what they’re trying to tell you
- instead of being afraid of The Change, you might use it to revamp outdated beliefs and habits that have overstayed their welcome
- instead of biding your time to ‘just get through it’, you can make adjustments that will pay off down the road
- instead of feeling alone in your misery, you can turn to your sisters for support and fabulous stories
So much to explore together. It’s such an honor to be here. Thank you Lynette for inviting me to the party. I am truly delighted to join the wonderful Menopause Goddesses, to share what inspires me and to be inspired as we claim this “one wild and precious life”.
Ashley offers Conscious Menopause coaching in San Rafael and via Skype. You can read more on her website ashleyjeanneross.com.
And The “Goddesses”
We are a group of extraordinary, ordinary women who’ve been gathering together for the past 3+ years to map a course through menopause and midlife TOGETHER. We range in age from 42 to 59. We are married, single, divorced. We are of diverse geographical locations, occupations, spiritual bents, and political leanings. What we have in common are the overwhelming transitions of this time of life and our commitments to commiserate, communicate, and create a healthy, (hopefully cooler), meaningful, and authentic guide for our respective journeys. The synergy of our shared experience is showing us a new path to survival and growth amidst the Changes. We act as one anothers’ healers, sisters, mothers, counselors, health resources, questioners, guides, and visionaries. And comediennes! We laugh at our experiences – some changes are so absurd, we just can’t help it.
Our focus isn’t limited to the Changes, however. We are also helping each goddess discover who she is becoming and how she might deliciously live the second half of her life. We midwife one another into birthing a vision that each wishes to live – we figure, hey – If Not Now, When?
The Individual Goddesses
It would be impossible to do justice to any Venus with a short descriptive paragraph. An entire book could be written on each one of us. However, life stories are not what we want to share with you. The travails and triumphs of the menopausal and midlife journeys as we have experienced them together are the best we have to offer our sister goddesses. Of course, each woman in our group is so complex and complicated that I hate to even try to distill her essence. However,I owe it to you all to give it a shot so you’ll have an idea who is speaking her piece in the chapters ahead. I even gave us short descriptive names to make it easier to keep track of who’s who, since ‘menopause brain’ makes it hard to keep track of more than two of anything. You may find that you recognize bits of yourself or your friends in these Venuses. So here we are: the real-life cast of characters of Venus Comes of Age as we came together for our first meeting.
Anne – Goddess of Truth
Anne-Venus is our larger-than-life, full-on, straight-shooter. What you see is what you get with Anne. She doesn’t pull her punches and she takes no prisoners. Anne engages in everything she does 150%. And she is a wildly generous, huge-hearted caretaker of way too many people. In that vein, it will come as no surprise that she is a nurse practitioner in private practice. She is a fantastic writer and could easily be a stand-up comedienne. She’s been married 26 years and has two grown children.
Theresa – Goddess of Mischief
Theresa-Venus is my co-conspirator and instigator of the Venus group. This upbeat can-do leprechaun has been a success at everything she has worked at in her life. Aerobics instructor (she was so inspiring.people fought to be in her class), college instructor, and real-estate maven are just a few of the permutations she’s morphed through. She’s a bit of an imp and likes to ‘stir the pot’ to get us going deeper. Theresa has been our resident travel guide and fun hog, creating some of our most treasured bonding experiences. She married her high school sweetheart/soulmate 30 years ago. She has two grown children.
Pat -Goddess of Perfection
Pat-Venus is arguably our most glamorous Venus. She always looks perfectly put together. Her hair, jewelry, make-up, and clothes are nothing short of impeccable. We’d hate her for that if she weren’t so wonderful to be around. She is organized, efficient, and extremely competent in her work incarnations (former schoolteacher and caterer, now real estate agent), volunteer activities, and personal life as well. Ah well, someone in our group has to represent perfection. She’s happily married to a wild Hungarian and has a grown son.
Victoria – Goddess of Empathy
Victoria-Venus may be the sweetest of all the Venuses. She rarely says an unkind word and is giving to a fault. She’s the official home-maker of the group, although she has been an unofficial private duty nurse, creator of an elementary school self-esteem program, caterer, and personality consultant. She acts as spiritual guidance counselor for the Venuses, which both delights and irritates us. Hey, growth is hard! Victoria is a fine art photographer and we’re happy to say that she is finally getting paid for her talents. She has been happily married for 25+ years and has two grown daughters.
Cynthia – Goddess of Caregiving
Cynthia-Venus in her high-powered career for a major air carrier, managed to raise a family while traveling for her job to far-flung places. After leaving the airline, she started a boutique travel business leading groups in the south of France. She also threw herself into the ‘job’ of self-knowledge, and spiritual growth. While all women are givers, Cynthia is world-class. If there were an Olympic event in helping, Cynthia would have several gold medals. Already retiring from being everyone’s helpmate when she joined the Venuses, Cyn has begun a brand new job of finally putting herself first. Cynthia has been married for 25 years and has two grown children.
Deb – Goddess of Wisdom
Deb-Venus initially seems quiet or reserved. In fact, she only speaks when she actually has something important to say. Her contributions are often wickedly funny. Deb’s sarcastic quick wit is a source of pure joy to all of us. We might think it, but count on Deb to say it for us. She quietly synthesizes our sharings and feeds them back to us with a little added clarity. She is best friends with Brenda-Venus and is fiercely loyal and protective of those she loves. Previously married and divorced, she has been living with a mate for the past five years and they recently bought a house together. She has 3 grown children.
Brenda – Goddess of Sunbeams
Brenda-Venus is a sunshiny sprite, who seems to sprinkle fairy dust wherever she flits. A dental hygienist by profession, she has recently had to stop working because of severe health issues. Rather than becoming despondent or bitter over the obstacles she’s encountered, Brenda has found new strength in her challenges. She is unfailing optimistic about everything. Her spiritual life been a huge comfort to her, and she approaches each day with gratitude. She is happily married and has 2 children.
Candy – Goddess of Idealism
Candy-Venus is an idealist. She believes that all of us should do our best at everything we attempt. A highly specialized cardiac electrophysiology nurse, she is a true advocate for her patients. Along with these attributes comes an inability to suffer fools gladly. Or at all. She can be blunt when people are inept or uncaring. Yet, she holds herself to much higher standards than anyone else. Quiet until she knows you, she is also warm, funny, generous, and creative. A wonderful writer, Candy doesn’t have much time to indulge this passion. She married at 40 and had a hysterectomy for fibroids a year later. She is happily married with two grown step-children that she raised.
Mary Pat – Goddess of Authenticity
Mary Pat-Venus is the contrarian pragmatist of the group. When we wander astray or get too ‘far out’, she brings us back to center. She doesn’t do perky or cutesy. She is very interested in getting at the truth of things and often helps us wrestle with issues we might rather avoid. Her self-deprecating humor masks a wry emotional intelligence that the Venuses value highly, even when it makes us uncomfortable. She is the authenticity barometer, yet she offers her probing with such caring that we happily stretch beyond our preconceived limits. A recovery room nurse, she has been divorced for many years and has a grown daughter.
Sharon – Goddess of Advocacy
Sharon-Venus is a nurturing presence for all of us. She is the youngest Venus, yet it sometimes seems to us that she is mentor, friend, and even mother to us. Part of her presence may derive from the fact that she has been involved as an advocate for women’s health issues for most of her life. She is the CEO of a company that formulates and distributes women’s natural health products, many of which are useful in the transition of Menopause. She also works with a foundation on Women’s Health xxxxx. Though she has not yet started the Menopausal journey, she is our resident natural health expert on this transition. Sharon is divorced and has recently embarked on an exciting new relationship.
Karen – Goddess of Creativity
Karen-Venus is our next youngest Venus. A whirlwind of energy, she is a speaker and consultant, a successful artist, and a best-selling author. In her spare time, she acts, sings, and dances. Whew, she makes us tired. She is wise beyond her years, and is able to help counsel and guide us in becoming the best goddess each of us can be. However, perimenopause (what she laughingly refers to as her ‘peri como’, because something this weird deserves a funny name) has thrown her into a tailspin. Fortunately, we are all here for her. Been there, done that, actually still doing that. She is happily married for 12 years and has no human children, but a couple of furry ones still live at home.
Rae – Goddess of Island Knowledge
Rae-Venus is an amazing amalgam of “local” Hawaiian girl and savvy businesswoman. Her early incarnations included professional hula dancer and bank teller?. COO of Hawaiian Catamaran, she no longer actually builds boats with her husband. (Although she is fully capable of doing so.) Rae now concentrates on the marketing and management of the company, along with ordering, payroll, and bookkeeping. A successful jewelry artist, she volunteers her time to schools and elder programs teaching them to make their own adornments. She offers the Venuses a unique perspective of common-sense island-style wisdom, when we get bogged down in our small dramas. She married her soulmate 25 years ago. They have no biological children, but are ‘Auntie’ and ‘Uncle’ to scores of young people.
Patty – Goddess of Keeping The Peace
Patty-Venus is Theresa-Venus’s sister. A middle child, she is a born mediator. Patty is uniquely skilled at seeing others’ points of view and finding the middle ground to affect compromise among dissenting positions. Often to Patty, it has seemed easier to know the viewpoints of others than to know her own. She was unsure how much she had to offer the Venuses at first and detemined to be the ‘fly on the wall’ unless her peacemaking talents were needed. However, Patty, like all the Venuses, is a strong, intelligent woman. In spite of her original intentions, she became a voice of clarity, often piercing through to the heart of a matter with a pointed question or recommendation. Patty is an accounting manager at a construction company – a woman working in a mostly male bastion. She has been married 27 years to a man who cooks (we all envy her this except Theresa who also has a man who cooks.) She has 2 children.
Lynette – Goddess of the Written Word
Lastly, there’s me: Lynette-Venus. I’m co-facilitator (with Theresa-Venus) and official Scribe for the Eunices. My main role is to focus our gatherings and sift through our sharings for the fabulously abundant wit and wisdom that we can’t wait to share with our sister goddesses. The overflow that didn’t fit in the book and the sharings of other goddesses around the globecan be found at www.MenopauseGoddessBlog.org. I’ve been a nurse manager, a business consultant, and writer. I live with my soulmate of 20+ years in Moloka`i, Hawai`i and Lake Tahoe, Nevada. We have two grown children.