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The Art of Menopause

We live in a culture where we have lost the Art of Menopause. The conversation has been taken over by the medical industry and turned into a list of pathological symptoms, rather than a precious Rite of Passage. Unfortunately because we have lost the role of the Wise Women, we have lost the voices telling us it is much, much more than hot flashes and night sweats. I believe this passage of time is our journey back to our true nature, our juiciness, the Earth.

Carl Jung spoke about the mid-life changes we go through, and of course, menopause ties in with all of that, and in fact helps us to see some of the things we need to look at. Basically the Jungian theory is that we are born whole, and then as we get older we start noticing that we are not unconditionally loved…we need to behave a certain way to be loved and accepted by our parents and society. One example is that even when we are babies we are told to “Don’t cry”, and “Smile”, both of which tell us to suppress our normal emotions, and make happy faces. As women we are emotional creatures, by nature, and so often feel the need to shut down that part of ourselves in order to gain approval and love. Other parts of our nature not encouraged in our society are our spiritual, creative and intuitive natures. Those are the typically feminine natures that may have been suppressed, but there are many other specific attributes that you may have adopted or suppressed to fit into your family.

And so starts the process of disowning the parts of ourselves that don’t ‘fit’ our family or society. Around midlife, the tension starts becoming too much to hold those parts down. It takes a lot of energy to suppress parts of yourself, and we no longer have that kind of energy. The payoffs seem less attractive, and so slowly we start bringing those parts back into our consciousness and learn to love them.

One of the key ways to find out what is trying to make it’s way out of your unconscious is your emotions. These are the primary messengers that something is needing attention. And yet, in menopause we are taught to dismiss all those emotions as physical hormones. Yes, it’s true hormones definitely magnify everything a lot, however some of the magnification is due to the fact that we’ve been suppressing those emotions for so long. There are seeds there, though, that are very real, and if not looked at, they will grow larger and larger…until you can no longer ignore them.

This process of recovering the disowned parts of yourself from your subconscious is what Jung called Individuation. Much of the process is also figuring out who you are not. Much of our personality comes from us figuring out as children who we needed to be to get love. Many of our thoughts, beliefs are actually inherited from our parents and are now no longer serving us.

Joseph Campbell, author of the classic Hero of a Thousand Faces, describes this as the Hero’s Journey. There have been a few women who have reworked that journey into the Heroine’s Journey to represent the slightly different tasks for a woman. Basically the journey is divided into 3 stages – The Descent (Call to Adventure), the Initiation (Trials and Challenges) and the Return (finding the treasure and returning with it). Below is a picture of the journey.

It is a difficult journey filled with a lot of letting go and stepping into the new. The rewards are huge – a rebirth, new vitality and excitement as you come home to yourself! Ahhhh…THIS is who you were meant to be!!!

If you are ready to claim a Juicy Menopause, please read here for ways that I can guide you on the journey of stepping into the brilliance of YOU.

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