Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Spiritual Take On Menopause

Hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings! Oh my!  

Not to mention irregular periods, loss of libido (oh no!), memory lapses (what was I going to say?), and (oh, now I remember) weight gain.  These are just a few of the many symptoms of menopause, symptoms I have come to know too well.

I used to hear my grandmother tell her younger women friends, "Oh, honey, you're just going through The Change," adding an emphasis that struck a chord of mystery within my pre-teen brain.  The Change?  What the heck?

And here I am, heading straight into it with my two constant companions, hot flashes and its evening cousin night sweats. Oh, the joy to be had with these two rascals.

But the more I understand menopause, the more I understand myself. I've gone from a young girl to a nurturer to a much wiser (and older) version of myself.

Such are the stages of a woman's life. Maiden. Mother. Crone. The triple Goddess that embodies all the feminine aspects of life.

As a maiden, I flowered into womanhood with the onset of my first menses.  I learned about myself and my sexuality.  I marveled over my changing body and prepared for the next phase.

I never bore children, but I have "mothered" many. While the mother stage usually involves marriage and motherhood, it is really about a woman's sexual maturity. During this phase, I've nurtured others and developed a truer sense of self.

As a crone (I prefer Goddess, thank you), I now enter the menopausal journey.  My hormones are changing (I'm fanning myself as I write this), the ovaries are semi-retired, and I have a lot of life experiences behind me to help me accept this next phase of my life. I've come into my own. I am woman; hear me roar!

As much as society would have us believe that menopause is the end of a woman's life, it's not. Although it does signify an ending, it presents the freedom of new beginnings. This is a time of transition. It's a time of rebirth. It is a time to embrace the qualities of the Crone-Goddess to seek true wisdom. The radiance of youth may fade under the smile lines and gray hair, but we begin to glow with an inner light as we slip into our true self. Such beauty doesn't happen over night!

While this is unknown and unfamiliar territory for me, I'm embracing the mystery of it just as I have done with other transitions I've experienced in my life. While there are some minor discomforts (holy hot comes another one!), I honor and celebrate The Change. I no longer suffer the insecurities or pride or vanity of my early adult years, and I'm no longer a "human doing," taking care of everyone else's needs while neglecting my own.  I am being the Being I'm meant to be. Menopause is going to be what I make of it.

And to make the most of it, here's my plan:

1.  Look forward to growing in wisdom.
2.  Listen to my soul. Feed it when it is hungry spiritually.
3.  Listen to my body.  Notice the subtle and not so subtle changes and allow them to guide me inward.
4.  Nurture myself on all levels. Do the things that I enjoy doing with more frequency, intensity, and love.
5.  Continue meditation in order to strive to balance the various aspects of my life for self-fulfillment.
6.  Hold Crone-Goddess ceremonies under the full moon to honor the woman I have been and rejoice in the woman I am becoming.
7.  Embrace the changes going on instead of dreading them. Trust that my body knows what it is doing.
8.  The reproductive years may be over, but that doesn't mean to stop creating. See this as a time to try new things and to focus on other forms of creativity.
9.  Carry a hand fan wherever I go!

If you have any tips to share for those of us experiencing this ultimate uterine challenge, please comment below.


  1. Wow! Amazing post. I can relate to everything written here! Thanks for sharing!

    Roxanne Catherine Mapp

    1. Roxanne, we are blessed! What can I say?! Ha Ha. May your journey be a relatively smooth one with minor discomfort along the way! Happy Menopausing!

  2. Penny - this is awesome! I became a Goddess in mid June 2004. It was shortly after my 2nd round of chemo that my periods stopped. As a breast cancer survivor I had opted for the trial to keep my ovaries suppressed for 5 years. I was 40 at the time. When I came off the maintenance drug, tamoxifen, and the ovary suppressing drugs, I was 45. My ovaries never fired back up. I learned to embrace my hot flashes as power surges. My night sweats as nothing more than toxins leaving my body. On cold winter nights, my husband has been known to ask me to have a hot flash so he can get warm...apparently I put off *that much heat!*

    Now I'm nearing 50 and I've never felt more alive, more me then ever.

    Thanks for reminding every woman how awesome The Change really is!


    Peggy Nolan

    1. Peggy, thank you for your comments. You have been on quite the journey. I like your view that night sweats are toxins leaving the body...makes sense to me! I must have a lot of toxins that are coming out then! Good Lord! Enjoy being the Goddess that you are!

  3. Hi Penny,

    I got married at 39 and thought we better get on with this baby-having thing and my body promptly shut its doors for business. I went into menopause at 42 with nary a hot sweat or mood swing to show for it. Doesn't that sound delightful?

    Now at 52, my body has gotten the message that it wasn't supposed to be that easy and every now and again I get some belly flab (I've been a chubster most of my life but never with the belly stuff!), really, really hot feet (once I had to go sit outside at midnight with my feet in the pool, they were so hot) and thyroid fun.

    But there is much to be gained from this part of my life and I feel like I'm just now ready for it. (Also: there's no way to turn the clock back so may as well just rock it out the best we can!)


    1. Lisa, thank you for your comments. I've known women to have no symptoms at all and others who unleash their evil twin when tormented by symptoms. Your the second person who has told me that her feet get flaming hot...oh, the games estrogen plays when it is fizzling from our bodies. I'm with you...let's rock this as best we can!

  4. Penny, I loved your post and remember (happy it is just a memory now) those hot flashes. During my 'hot flash' period of life, I started taking a great deal of vitamin C for something else going on at the time. And... my hot flashes stopped. When I told that to my gynocologist he said, "I've heard other women tell me that." So, you might test that out on yourself.

  5. I entered menopause earlier than the stages of wisdom dictate because of physical illness. However, God knew the plan well ahead of me (and I am thankful!) I was a lot better prepared than many are because of the wisdom of those before me and the Doctors on my team. They told me early to eat organic vegetables and fruits because the pesticides and other chemicals would affect my mood swings, which they warned me would be about hormones and not about emotions. They shared with me that if I avoided men made medicines, my body would most likely make the adjustment for the loss of estrogen. The side effects of the hormone replacements was a huge risk (and I get the worst side effects of a lot of drugs, so it was really a big risk for me). I started on Black Cohash in the morning and evening for the night sweats and made sure my water consumption was incredible. Vitamin D and CoQ10 daily - and my blood was checked for my Vitamin D level. It was not even in the double digits so I had to start with a high prescribed dosage and now I take supplements daily. I walk at least 5 times a week because, believe it or not, exercise helps with menopause too!

    Elizabeth T, Early Rise

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! I've used the natural route myself, with Lydia Pinkham, progesterone creams, phytoestrogens, you name it. I've taken myself off of all of it for now to give my body a rest. I do exercise; I am a runner, and it does help. I still have my hormonal surges on a daily basis, but I don't complain about's a natural process which I am embracing. Thanks for your comments!

  6. Dear Penny,

    Great post. I like reading your viewpoints of all of this.

    You ask for tips.....well, many years ago on my own spiritual journey, I very much realized that although the mind, body and spirit are very connected, they are also separate entities, as well.

    Since that time, I've considered my body a necessary, well...nuisance, for lack of a better word right at this moment.

    I am Eternal Spiritual Being having a physical experience in this body right now. So, whatever is going on with my body is always way down on the list of important things happening in my life.

    It is actually difficult to write all I want to say about this is a blog post comment so maybe I'll write a blog post on it myself.

    The main point is that I love my body and take care of it like my car, but it does not define me, really. No more than my car defines me.



    P.S. I would suggest you do some EFT and energy work on the hot flashes and night sweats, too. It would help. :-)

  7. Replies
    1. Thank you, Kalpana! If we are lucky enough to reach the age where we evolve in our thinking due to the changes in our bodies, then it is something to embrace and look forward to.