Menopause: becoming your power
To have a menstrual cycle is to tend the realms of life and death.
To be in constant connection with the powers of creativity and destruction, to feel every cycle the waxing and waning of seasons.
Your menstrual cycle is a gift that allows you to channel your creativity into whatever your heart desires.
So what happens when you stop menstruating?
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When you're no longer governed by the tides of your body?
The way I see it - is that through the menopause transition you come to embody all the lessons and experiences of your life's journey.
Menopause delivers you to the third stage of your life, your Autumn phase, it's here you meet your power and learn how to share it.
You've been through enough cycles to learn a thing or two.
To have gained a little bit of wisdom about yourself, about the world.
About how things are and could be going forward.
The work of menopause is to refine your gift - and then - to speak up and share it.
Then you're able to transform your community, by standing fully present in your confidence and your strength.
And it’s not placating anymore.
It’s not sugar coating or agreeing to do things you don’t really want to do - that's the work of estrogen.
Now there is only you, being FULLY who you are, speaking up and doing the work you know needs to be done.
At 56, US Vice President Kamala Harris is a powerful role model for women in their mid-life.
The energy of menopause is most similar to the energy of PMS.
If you’re still in your peri-menopause years, or you’re still cycling and you’re reading this - tap into the energy of PMS.
So often the energy of PMS is associated with the bitch or witch.
The bitch/witch archetype does not take on any BS - from anyone!
The bitch/witch stands firmly in who they are and what their needs are - and they have no trouble letting that be known.
So when you think about the energy of menopause, the PMS energy - is the energy that comes forward.
And of course, our society has all kinds of problems with this.
Because this is women and menopausal folks - standing in their strength and in their power.
And speaking up about the world, about their communities about how they see things about what they want and need.
So our culture disregards the Menopausal time of our lives - and it’s up to us to re-write these stories.
Menopause is not associated with the crone.
There’s this fib floating around that after menopause there's the crone.
And some people think that’s because in times past, we didn’t live as long.
So we were in our fertile years until we weren’t and there was this short window until we died.
But I tend to think about our lives as following the seasons.
There is a spring, summer, autumn and winter of your life - and of your menstrual cycle.
Each season carries distinctive energies - that follow the earths shifts.
You're young, just starting out, really inspired and getting into all kinds of interesting ideas.
You’re learning about the world, maybe you go to school, start new projects and try new things.
The spring of your life has a young energy that's really vibrant and inspired.
This phase is all about you and becoming / being independent. Being sovereign.
Then you move into the...
SUMMERTIME of your life.
Summer is busy.
Summer is stepping into your life and doing a lot.
Summer is when you build on your foundations, work toward your dreams and ideals.
This is the full flowering of your life and it's associated with fertility - so you’re courting both creativity and fertility - because they’re the same energy.
And in that fertile /creative time, you have the opportunity to create the things you want in your life - whether that's your work, family, projects or all of these things!
During your summer years there’s a sense that you have more responsibility than you did in your younger life.
Then you come towards your...
The powerhouse time.
This is the time of the abundant harvest.
You're harvesting all the lessons you've learned throughout your busy summer phase and dreamy spring.
And you're crystallizing those lessons into nourishment that can be utilized by you or somebody else in the years to come.
This is the time of putting your energy into your roots and seeds.
So that you can pass on information to the next generation and help to guide young ones staring out.
This is also a time of letting the petals fall.
Letting the flowery bits go.
And standing in the strength and on the experience of who you are and how far you've come.
This is an incredibly powerful time of all our lives but so often is written off as a time of really difficult symptoms - which it also is!
Your life is transforming in a way that is just as big as giving birth to a child, or a business or a creative project.
And the physical discomfort is real.
And it needs to be recognized, discussed and talked about a lot more than it currently is.
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After a long period of being in the mid-life stage, after crystallizing your knowledge and refining your voice you get to a phase where you are ready to transition once more - into elderhood.
It's much later in your life where you can take up the mantle of the crone or elder.
Your winter phase is more inward focused, peaceful as you tend the inner-worlds.
But rather than "peace, love and lacy frocks" there are unspoken boundaries here - consequences - if you cross the crone.
This is the time you're saught out as the wisdom holder / keeper.
It's from this place we see things are set right, before we're able to transition once more to the otherworld and back - for our next spring.
And so your menstrual cycle, is a mini-version of this larger life-cycle, both of which simply mirror the natural cycles of nature.
In my work I aim to reframe rites of passage in an empowering way.
Particularly menopause, because I think it’s the phase with the most rubbish written about it.
And it’s the one where women and menopausal folks suffer silently.
I want to reframe menopause and hear more stories about women and menopausal folks coming to their power in their mid-life.
I want role models that encourage me to stand in my strength and in my voice and in my power.
It's your words - that help guide the rest of us - to find our voices.
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Gabrielle Jansen is a herbalist and reproductive educator passionate about supporting women and cycling folks to feel well in their bodies at all stages of their lives.
** I wish to acknowledge that not all women go through menopause and not all folks that go through menopause are women.**