The answer may surprise you: it’s both Yes and No. But not for the reasons you might think.
Menopause is Radical Awakening. Of course that’s going to cause a little disruption to a well ordered life! It is one of the great initiatory moments in a woman’s life, in which you have the opportunity to step into a deep, intimate, fierce union with yourself and your Calling. And it wouldn’t be initiatory if it didn’t challenge or provoke you at some level.
However, and here’s my case for the No, much of the suffering at menopause is actually the fallout of not understanding the extraordinary initiatory powers inherent in the menstrual cycle journey from our first to our last bleed. Menopause is the culmination of a highly coherent making process that is ignited at our first bleed, menarche, and explored and deepened into through our menstruating years. When that process is ignored then of course there is going to be a backlash. Menopause symptoms are in large measure that backlash: our body/being indignant that something profound in us has gone unrecognised and unfulfilled.
Your menstrual cycle prepares you for menopause
Each menstrual month through the changing dynamics of your cycle combined with your tender loving attention and respect for the process, you are initiated into deeper layers of your being and simultaneously growing the psychological muscle to hold the charge of that Power of you. That is the preparation for menopause in action.
A woman who respects and works consciously with her cycle is building the necessary understanding and skills to meet the huge and liberating power of menopause (and it is truly liberating).
Generally speaking in your forties menopause can actively start ‘talking’ to you. By that I mean you begin to feel an urgency about your life, about what you should be doing or aren’t doing and need to; or you don’t know what you should be doing and feel an urgency now to get your act together. Or some version of all that. Pay attention. Use your menstrual cycle as the guide to find out what you truly need to be doing (go to www.redschoolonline.net for your instruction manual). Don’t ignore these promptings. Menopause doesn’t want you turning up at her doors empty handed. Ouch, she will have tough words for you!
As menopause gets closer you will feel a growing readiness for it in your spirit even as you may feel trepidation, grief, fear and, classically, not wanting it to come (all par for the course!). Of course there are still challenges, it wouldn’t be initiatory remember if there were none, but you have the metaphorical instruction manual encoded in your being now that gives the psychological and spiritual understanding and discipline to meet the challenges. And a capacity to hold and witness yourself, as you harvest the meaning and potency of this time. You also will have developed some seriously good self care skills if you have been practicing menstrual cycle awareness over the years and that is your best preparation for minimising some of the physical symptoms often associated with menopause.
Menopause psychologically and spiritually re-wires your whole being. In coming home to yourself you come home to something far greater that you. In fact you lose yourself to become a channel for the Soul of the World. Now perhaps you can understand why you must do some serious metaphorical and literal house cleaning in preparation for that.
As if on cue the words of Anna from New Zealand landed in our inbox about her experience of doing the Menstrual Cycle Literacy course as she negotiates entry into menopause:
"As I become more aware of my cycle and symptoms, I am becoming more aware of how I really feel about myself, and what's happening in my life. For many years I 'did' my life without much awareness of my body, and 'being' in it. I am only recently realising how important it is to connect with my menstrual cycle before it is gone! I am noticing that even though my cycle is all over the place (since starting this course 3 months ago I have only bled once) being in peri-menopause, it has been interesting to notice some sort of cycle. It seems to be more connected to the moon. One example I've noticed a few times, is that the 'flip-out' days where I have exploded, were 3 days before the full moon. The same time each lunar month and the one bleed"
And she is waking up to lost parts of herself, “ I am very blessed to have discovered aspects of myself that have been asleep, to have this opportunity to fully embrace my past menstruality, and fully dive into the realm of menopause with anticipation & excitement instead of dread. I love connecting with other women, hearing stories, connecting with our collective divine feminine. I love the raging, the emotions, the downs & the ups, the peace & the contentedness. It is the very beginnings of spring here now, & I feel a bubble of excitement at the new beginnings. Usually at this time of year I don't feel ready to come out of hibernation, but this time I do! Bring on the growth of Spring (of her new life post-menopause!)"
Join us for a free online event exploring the liberating power of menopause to awaken authority, purpose and belonging (no matter how mad, bad or challenging your symptoms currently are).
A free online event with Red School’s co-founders, Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer
Wednesday October 20th 2021