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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Entering Mid-life...the Angel Way

Human females are unlike any other animal - we menstruate, and then, with at least a third of our lives before us, we stop.  This "change of life" is much like the one that turned our bodies from children into adult women; this new change is just as sweeping and just as fundamental. 
According to the Angels, the key to managing these sweeping changes is to acknowledge, first of all, is that physically, your body IS changing.  You are NOT going to look like the woman you were at 20, any more than you can look like the child you were at 10.  Menopause is truly a time of initiation into a woman's new life as the Wise Crone.  Most of us aren't aware of how profound these changes are and try to hold on to what is perceived to be "lost."  I actually had a "friend" tell me I was going to feel "like shit" if I didn't take something called BioIdentical Hormones. 

However, having survived the midlife years with equanimity, no health challenges, very few hot flashes, I can attest it is perfectly possible to go through these years without resorting hormones or artificial supplements of any kind.  The key, according to the Angels, is to be truly present to the state of your bodymind as it undergoes these changes. 

In Susun Weed's wonderful book, Menopause the Wise Woman Way, the initial step of your initiation is isolation. As menopausal changes intensify during the premenopausal years many women find themselves desperate to be alone.  This is a bona fide need of your entire bodymind.  If you don't honor this need, you may well find yourself snapping at the people you love the most - even if they are only preschoolers.   Even a few hours retreat at a quiet park, a meditation center, or a place like Wisdom House in Litchfield, CT, can be extremely helpful to the emerging Crone. 

Susun Weed offers these other tips to help nurture your body through this transition:

-Nourish and tonify your entire hormonal system. Menopausal changes occur not only in the ovaries, but also in the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas, pineal, and pituitary glands. Herbal allies are remarkably safe and effective glandular nourishers.

-Increase the number and amount of calcium-rich foods you consume. No single effort will repay you more richly. High levels of calcium in the diet protect you from osteoporosis, heart disease, and emotional swings. Green leafy vegetables (herbs and weeds) are exceptional sources of calcium - as well as the other critical minerals.

-Find some regular physical activity to fall in love with. Even gentle exercise, done regularly, helps maintain peak bone mass, strengthens the cardiovascular system, and insures deep sleep.

- Gain up to a pound a year for ten years. Thin women have more hot flashes and an altogether more difficult menopause than women who weigh more.  Fat cells produce estrone, a kind of estrogen.   This is the reason that your body tries to gain weight during this time.  If you don't listen to this innate wisdom, and won't let yourself gain some weight, at least stop trying to lose weight.  Remember that dieting decreases bone mass and weakens the heart.


Karen M. Rider said...

So, I am an emerging Wise Crone!

Thank you for the validation, especially on the need for isolation. I've actually been trying to not BUZY myself with activities when the girls go to school two days a week. Only nourishing activities for MY bodymind and spirit permitted! (like a I said, I'm trying)

I am curious about the bioidentical hormones. I do not use these (or any hormones and hopefully will not resort to doing so). I did however, interview Dr. Chris Northrup a while back-- author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom and other books on menopause.
Check it out and let me know what you think: (the link goes to the article on my website)



Annie Kelleher said...

i personally have only taken the occasional vitamin, mineral or herbal supplement on a very limited basis and have never needed hormones, artificial, bioidentical or otherwise. but my body is extraordinarily healthy and i have never been an unhealthy eater... even when i wasn't following the guidelines. consequently, what i think of them is somewhat irrelevant. the Angels, on the other hand, agree that for SOME women, such additional support may be required. my point in bringing them up at all was to highlight what i think is sometimes a kneejerk reaction on the part of many women. to my way of thinking, taking hormones negates the whole purpose of menopause,which is to end the hormones...or at least diminish them.