Tag Archives: Menopause

Go Deep In This Fire

 

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My gaze is drawn to the compass lying on my desk. It’s needle pointing unwaveringly due north. It is lying in the midst of other objects thrown carelessly on the wooden surface.

It stops me in the tracks of my mind, just like a young eagle did the other day while driving home from work. I saw him sitting there on a rather unusual perch: a utility pole right on the side of the road. I kept driving, till I finally answered the inner call to turn around. I knew he would still be there.

I got out of the car after fumbling with my phone hoping for a picture only to find that the battery was dead. The young eagle watched me carefully.  His gaze was as unwavering as the needle in the compass. I held his gaze, wondering…

Then I suddenly remembered that for some strange reason I actually had put my camera in my backpack that morning, which I never usually do. The eagle watched me patiently return to the car and get my camera out. I snapped a few pictures, but something didn’t feel right.
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A bunch of cars drove by and I was sure the eagle would fly off with all this commotion. He turned his head looking this way and that way, but mostly his eyes were on me. I finally lowered the camera sensing the importance to be fully present. The camera had in some way shielded me from experiencing the power of the gaze of this eagle. As I allowed myself to be fully seen, I felt strangely naked standing there before him as if he could see every part of me, even the parts still hidden even from myself.

Suddenly he lifted off gliding gracefully over the quiet lake. I stood there long after he was gone, feeling a different kind of fullness and aliveness and wonder.

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I had several different encounters with young eagles since then and none of them surprised me, yet each of them made me pay attention, listen, be fully present, learning to let go of what I want, and instead opening to what life is offering me.

Then yesterday morning, as I was reading and writing in bed, something else stopped me in my tracks. This time it was a poem. I was looking at my 2017 We’Moon calendar curious about the next full moon, when I came across the poem called “Cracked” by Nell Aurelia. It spoke to me in such a deep way, putting into words what I experience night after night. Most nights I feel like I am in a cauldron over a hot fire, resisting, surrendering, resisting, surrendering…What I am slowly learning as the fire is burning away my resistance and what this poem made so beautifully clear to me that this journey is about me fully committing to life and this human experience, even in this very intense time both in my own little world and the greater world.

I knew immediately that I wanted to share this poem with you here on my blog and contacted Nell. She has graciously allowed me to share her poem with you.

Cracked 

by Nell Aurelia

I’m cracked. Completely.

I fell into the furnace long enough

To decide to find my own fire and light,

And when I went all to pieces

Some surrendered to the heat

And those that were left were me

But purer: there is something of a diamond

Rushing through my core,

A full madness of restructuring.

There is no ruin here.

Unless that is your fearful name for transformation,

Which I can understand,

But when you fall flying into your own,

You’ll understand:

Falling apart is full of its own reward,

However much it feels like dying, like failure

Full of the unbearable sensitivity

Of committing to this human experience.

Go deep in this fire.

There’s a point where all explodes and converges,

And you find you are yourself,

Only stronger, clearer, finer.

The messiest refinement of all: Choosing to live well.

Well? Fully.

Alive to pain, to suffering, to inequality,

To joy, to birth, to creation, to love – To all,

Because when you get right down in it

Acknowledging pain only opens you more to joy.

The brilliant imperfections of love, of loving,

Can only make the world shine brighter;

It’s fear that will give you half a life and convince you

You never wanted the other half anyway.

 

I highly recommend checking out Nell’s blog for more of her powerful poetic offerings:

https://thesingingdark.wordpress.com

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Image by Dancing Wolf

 

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Hallowed Heat

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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. mooncloudsAs 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.

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~Pictures by Dancing Wolf

Kiss the Earth

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“Keep your tailbone down!” These words run through my head as I am walking through the wet grass towards the garden. I am on a mission to get kale, parsley and celery for my morning drink. I notice I feel taller, straighter when I walk this way. “Walk like a queen!” I laugh with delight still wondering how to do that. One of my socks is getting wet. There must be a hole in my shoe. “Kiss the earth with each step you take!”

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I slow down. There are so many mushrooms in the grass. They must have sprung up overnight. I place my foot more carefully onto the ground this time. Instructions from Banafsheh, our beautiful Dance of Oneness workshop leader, are coming back into my consciousness. I slow down even more. My wet foot feels the wet earth beneath and I smile.

A sense of Well-Being is starting to fill my body as I walk lightly yet fully grounded to Mother Earth. I pick the kale dripping with raindrops, add the parsley and celery and stop for a moment to look around. The Sunflowers and Hollyhocks are bowing down from the night’s rain. There is no doubt anymore that autumn is here. I welcome it. I wonder in the welcoming if I am now entering the autumn of my life with hot flashes and many other menopausal symptoms creating the need to turn more inward and wonder also if I can open to the different kind of beauty that this season brings.

I walk slowly out of the garden. The click of the garden gate breaks through my reverie. As I take one step at a time with my hands full of wet greens, I feel the energy of the earth. “Imagine an invisible thread that goes from your crown to the sky pulling you up” I hear Banafsheh’s deep feminine voice inside my head. Feeling myself being pulled upwards I am walking even taller, gently placing each foot on the earth with awareness where we touch and connect. My body, my temple, is becoming a bridge between Heaven and Earth. I notice an aliveness tingle inside of me. The fresh morning air awakens my senses even further.

It is a week now since the workshop ended, since all fifteen women danced in Oneness at the Hollyhock Retreat Centre. Everyone of them is held so dearly in my heart, something I had not expected. I am not sure what I hoped for. All I know is something had called me to go and I am so glad I did not let the resistance and fear stop me from going. It was challenging and beautiful at the same time with the sweetest surprise: the coming home to the sacred Feminine. Again I had not expected that. The surprise and wonder is still very much alive in me. I put my hand on my womb and I remember…

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Cracked Open

Something has shifted inside of me in this dance. My head is desperately trying to figure out what it is, wants to put a finger on something. I sense that this something cannot be defined or even named. It can only be opened up to, experienced in my whole being and leave me forever changed. I have taken home many precious gifts from this workshop, like the opening to sisterhood to a degree which I have not experienced before; my reconnection to the Divine Feminine and seeing and experiencing the embodiment of her in all her beauty; the gift of self-forgiveness, kindness and self-love and of course the beautiful gift of whirling and Rumi’s powerful words. I learned many things I didn’t know, all leading me home to the sacred feminine. The most precious gift however I cannot put into words. It is that something that dances in every cell of my body calling me home.

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Photo by Dancing Wolf

 

Today, like every other day,

we wake up empty and frightened.

Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.

Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

~Rumi

Maiden, Mother, Crone

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I am breathing in the beauty of this morning, breathing out any held tension in my body and mind. I love when I start the day in this way without a big agenda, even though there are many things to do. I surrender to the mystery of life knowing it will take me where I need to be and help me get done, what needs to get done today. I seem to have lost both the energy and the drive to try to control life, push through, or go against the flow.

The beauty of having a canine companion is that he makes me go outside and partake in the wonder of life outdoors. And there is something so beautiful about walking through the trees glistening with raindrops in the morning light breathing in the fresh air.

As I walked earlier today I reflected on all the changes that are happening in my body and life right now at the age of 50 in what I call the menopausal or emerging crone phase. There is a mystery to be embraced here of leaving one phase for another like leaving childhood into womanhood or the time of becoming a mother.

I remember myself being pregnant with my first child, wondering what it would be like to be a Mother and what it meant, knowing that life for me was about to change forever. I also remember the young girl struggling through puberty wondering what it would be like to become a woman. Now I wonder once again what it will be like to become a crone and what that means for me. It is a personal journey, that is asking me to go back to the beginning, way back and open to whatever is unfolding in me and before me.