I recently took part in an online workshop by the Abdominal Therapy Collective, whose work is based upon the teachings of Rosita Arvigo. For anyone who isn’t familiar with Rosita’s work and life journey, I would highly recommend watching this short video. Rosita was someone who first re-introduced the wonders of yoni steaming to the Western world – which obviously caught my interest – and, from there, I also followed her teachings on womb massage, which has recently been expanded to abdominal massage in general. Rosita is also a herbalist of note – a passion I can really relate to as well.
I learned a huge amount in this workshop (and will cover it in more detail in a later blog). Not only a self-abdominal massage technique, but also all kinds of other information about the position of the uterus, the importance of keeping the sacrum in balance (and how damage to the sacrum can really affect our periods and cycles), and the effect of menopause on our hormones.
This latter subject really caught my interest. Apparently (and I had heard this before, but not explained so clearly), when we go through menopause, we are “dropped off at” – and remain – at the point in our cycles where we hold an abundance of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). This is the hormone that predominates in the “Spring” of our monthly cycle – it is the hormone responsible for stimulating the growth of ovarian follicles in the ovary before the release of an egg from one follicle at ovulation. The young energy of this season of our cycle builds towards ovulation, bringing fresh vision and purpose. And, just as new life springs forth in nature during this time, we too start to feel more energetic, more motivated, and full of hope, optimism and new ideas. A great time to get creative and organised, ready for the next chapter.
What a wonderful time of our lives to look forward to!
However, another very important point that our workshop teacher made was the fact that the time leading up to menopause – peri-menopause – is a time where we are invited to “clean house”, dropping all that no longer serves us (hint – this could be our habits, our partner, our destructive patterns, etc) so that we don’t drag these through the magical portal to menopause with us (where they will undoubtedly drag us down – nothing “Spring-like” about that!) As another one of my favourite teachers, Dr Christiane Northrup (check out her brilliant book – The Wisdom Of Menopause),puts it – “menopause puts your life under a microscope”! (I’m at this stage at the moment – and this certainly holds true for where I am at on my journey right now). But, when we do this necessary house-cleaning, we are able to move forward proudly and powerfully into this next stage of our lives, bursting with revived creativity and passing our wisdom on to the generations who have come after us.
So yes, it was a wonderful workshop, leaving me with plenty of food for thought.
It also got me thinking about the difference between wisdom and intelligence. These 2 very different qualities are so often confused! Life experience – and what we choose to take from it – provide us with wisdom, whereas intelligence is simply our ability to retain information. Intelligence has always been so revered in the Western culture – it’s a very masculine trait and, whilst it most definitely has its place, it should never be classified in the same category as wisdom. The best use of intelligence, in my opinion, is how and where we choose to apply our wisdom. Which puts intelligence in its rightful place, I feel – rather than it being viewed as the be-all-and-end-all that intelligence is so often touted to be.
Menopause is the time of embracing the wise old Crone. It’s also a time when we notice our bodies changing – with an inevitable increase in wrinkles and sagging skin. Of course, how we live and how we think and carry ourselves in the world have a definite effect on how much we show these signs of age (getting older doesn’t necessarily have to correlate with bodily decline – and I would encourage anyone to do what they can to stay in the best physical shape possible – it will make for a much happier journey through the latter years of life) – but, even with the best of lifestyle and outlook, it’s inevitable that our bodies are going to look a whole lot different than they did when we were 16! Personally, I’d rather take the sagging skin and wrinkles and their accompanying wisdom over my 16 year-old body and headspace ANY DAY, however! By this stage, many women have also mothered one or several children and every woman has a life story to tell – so if we all look a little older because of it, then so be it!
As I was contemplating all of this the other day, I remembered a dear friend of mine, with whom, about 20 years’ ago now, I travelled up through Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This friend was a true woman of plants, nature & the medicine they offer to us. Her skin was well and truly sun-kissed from the hours spent outside in her medicine garden – but she held the wisdom of the ages in those lines and wrinkles of her face, and her integrity and the way she held herself in the world bore that out so beautifully. She definitely remains one of my most inspiring role models – I learned a lot from her on that trip.
So yes, menopause certainly comes with its own particular challenges. (And again, if you need more specific advice on how to tackle these challenges, then please refer to Dr Christiane Northrup’s book, The Wisdom Of Menopause. It’s such a comprehensive roadmap to this time of a woman’s life). But overall, it really is a time to be celebrated – a time where many women, having already brought up their children, are able to put themselves first for a change and really step into their true wisdom and the inner power and strength that that reveals to them. It’s certainly a time that I am finding intriguing and exciting above all else – and the challenges that it is presenting to me are teaching me so much and enabling me to drop so much excess baggage too. That is such a huge relief – and I personally am loving embracing the wisdom of menopause.
So for those of you at the same stage in your lives, I really hope you join me in this. And for those of you still in the Maiden or Mother stages of your lives, enjoy every second of where you are right now, but also know that you have something really special to look forward to as you grow older. And remember, acknowledging the beauty, gifts and wisdom of this Crone stage of our lives will keep you younger than any special beauty cream or anti-aging treatment will ever do!
Here’s to women everywhere embracing the wisdom of menopause!