I didn’t expect this time of change would be so challenging. Another night of hot flashes and night sweats where I lie waiting for the heat to pass through my body. I throw the covers off, trying to remember if this is number three or four. I can’t believe I’ve lost count again. My body is drenched in sweat. I pull the window wide open and welcome the beautiful cold and fresh air on my heated skin. Basking in it’s coolness, I feel so grateful for a moment of comfort. Eventually I fall asleep again, only to wake up feeling icy cold. I quickly close the window, trying to find the covers I threw off earlier and snuggle under the light feather down and drift off again.
Not sure how long it takes for the next wave to come. At some point in the night I feel myself surrendering to the fire and ice, and to the exhaustion that I feel in my whole being. And then I remember: I remember this feeling of exhaustion and helplessness. I remember when wave after wave after wave of contractions prepared my body for the birth of my first child. Memories are flooding back now as another wave of heat burns through my body. These memories are so vivid: the fear, the pain, the bewilderment as day drifts into night and into day again, wondering in earnest: Do I have enough strength for this?
I think of a young friend who is about to have her first baby. I know she is facing her fears and gathering her courage. I don’t think it matters if it is your first baby or your fifth. It takes courage to surrender to nature, to face the pain, to trust and be in the not knowing of how this will go and how it will change your life forever.
As I open the window again and look outside, I can see stars shining brightly with fast moving clouds covering and uncovering them like a blanket. As I look at their beauty I see with such clarity the immense amount of courage and strength that women have.
It feels like I am in labour of a different kind. This time there is no other human being growing inside of me that wants to be born. It feels more like I am birthing a new me. The old familiar me seems to be losing ground, in fact I think she is fading fast into memory. With it comes a feeling of loss. At the same time I feel myself opening to the great mystery of it all. Yes, this is a time of great change for me on the inside and outside. And it seems strangely fitting for the times we are in that is calling for great change in our world.
Surprisingly I still dream a lot between the hot flashes and chills. Many short exhausting dreams showing me all the parts of me that are fearful, that feel less than, the parts of me I would rather not see. I am often not sure what is more exhausting the dreams or real life. And I am starting to wonder if it isn’t all just an exhausting dream.
Yet there in the early morning hours when you can feel dawn is not far away, I finally let go of my ideas, thoughts, and techniques to get me through another wild night. I feel them leave my mind and body like blood draining from a wound. And then something in me softens, opens and in this sweet moment of deep surrender I feel myself drift into a peacefulness that permeates my whole being.
Later that same morning I stand before the mirror and see red rimmed eyes staring back at me. I have to admit I am taken aback by what I see. Then with a little more compassion I recognize the tiredness in the one that is facing her aging and all the changes that comes with it. I look closer and hold eye contact with my Self. And as I hold this contact I feel that same beautiful softening take place in me and my heart gently opens all the way to the one I see in the mirror. And then I recognize what I see reflected in those eyes: Love.
~Pictures by Dancing Wolf