Sunday, January 20, 2008

Craving sweetness

I never, ever had cravings for chocolate except in the three days before my period started. Now that I'm past menstruating, I think the chocoholic in me has been unleashed.

Over Christmas I got in the habit of eating from those big round trays of chocolate almonds and hershey kisses (so smooth with white and dark mixed). Last night, at 3 am I couldn't sleep (red wine and steak will do that), so I slipped downstairs to a comfy chair, sipped some mineral water, and found the chocolate hershey kisses right there on the side table. Hmmmmm, ate two while I finished Diana Gabaldon's Voyager. Crept back into bed at 5:21. It's Sunday, that's ok. Plus, no kids in the house (something relatively new).

At menstruation, we lose iron with our blood, and we crave food to make sure our bodies are fueled up -- but why is it often a need to eat chocolate? some people say it's the manganese or minerals. Alexander Pope in the Wild Genie says, "Perhaps our cravings are also a metaphor for our need to refuel in general. To 'take in' after 'giving out' to the world. " Makes sense to me.

"Could your sugar craving be something as simple as wanting more sweetness in your life? whether jelly beans or chocolate, or jujube pink piggies, it is "truly a psychological necessity to have moments of total self indulgence, or at the very least to acknowledge the need. Unfortunately jelly beans are full of sugar....need to find another way to nourish the soul."

Maybe what I'm really seeking is a deep connection with my inner soul. Some ecstasy or bliss or altered state of consciousness. What if I put on some yoga music and stretch my body into sweetness. Fill up with breath, and move to the music.

Yesterday, I did some yoga on the floor in my room. I did some downward dog, some triangle, then just lay still, listening to music, receiving, in corpse pose. There are lots of ways to spoil myself. Chocolate almonds are my craving, and I won't give them up completely. But deep cleansing breaths are the connection to the sweetness within. Or asking for a hug from my hubby instead of turning out the lights without a kiss goodnight.

How sweet it is to be loved by you!

mother your craving,

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Heed the change, women. Your blood is moving in new ways,, says Grandmother Growth (Susun Weed's book New Menopausal years The Wise Woman way).

"Resistance will only make you tired. Allow the movements and changes inside you to spill out. There is no separation between your life and your Change. Let go now of your routines, your habits, your need for control. Give yourself up to this Change, this metamorphosis, the seeming chaos. I promise you, it will only be for a short while."

We are blessed with this changing body, transforming at puberty, at pregnancy, after birthing, and again in our forties. It feels like the whole world wants to stop us from growing or changing from being 16 and slender, svelte and shining with youth. But Meta-morphosis is part of life. The Change is part of life. You can row upstream if you want, but you'll only get exhausted quicker.

Wisdom for today: go with the flow, even if it's acceptance of being tired. Lie down at mid-day and nap. Take a cat nap after work. Sit in a comfy chair for 30 minutes and read while the laundry is being done in the washing machine. Instead of doing 4 things at once, do only one thing at a time. Rest your tired brain by focusing on one thing.

Make a fire and watch the flames.

Take up knitting, weaving, crocheting: these wise woman crafts help calm the mind and bring a trance-like peace to women in the 'pause'.

Dance like a wild woman, alone in your room, in front of a window, in front of a mirror.

Allow yourself to be the outrageous Meta-Woman that you are!

Sing out loud at the top of your lungs, and let the energy from your center circulate up and out.

Be well, changing woman,


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Courage to face the dark

"If we have the courage to face into the dark we may witness the slow epiphany or showing forth of the feminine" (Hall, The Moon and the Virgin, quoted from Wild Genie, A Pope)

Depression, feelings of lethargy, apathy, low energy, feeling overwhelmed by daily tasks- all of these conditions have hit me more strongly since I hit peri-menopause. I think menopause makes us extremely sensitive to our moods, and we can't just skip over them, pretend we're all right. The same as during our pre-menstrual time, feelings are amplified.

Alexandra Pope says this is a good thing (although a clinical depression needs serious treatment): "to sometimes feel empty and lost is a normal experience and a part of life. Of course you deserve to be joyously happy - I don't wish depression on anyone. But the more we run from such feelings the more monstrous and out of control they'll become. Because depression usually slows us down, even stops us altogether, it's the natural companion to ceaseless activity. Your down times are the doorway to exalted states -- with depression as your co-traveller you will also be able to experience great joy. "

She suggests that we take the risk of investigating these down times for the hidden gold: just like menstrual cramps, if you go with them, go into the pain instead of numbing it, you'll find their opposites come to you more easily.

"Cradle yourself" through this down time. "The Chinese believe that at menstruation a woman loses chi or essential energy" which may also explain the dip in mood.

We are cyclical beings - accept the dark of the moon days, and cherish yourself with comfort foods, warm blankets, heating pads. We can regenerate. We can be born again from the ashes of this discomfort. When I have a bad day, when all I see is dirt, darkness and demoralisation, I know I am in sad need of sleep, rest, and maybe a day alone watching the Rome series on TV, or reading some historical fiction (Diana Gabaldon, my newest discovery). The next day is invariably brighter. It always surprises me - I am fine, it was temporary. It did not take over my whole life. Pencil in a morning retreat time, take a hot bath.

I did need some professional help in peri-menopause,(to stop being so hard on myself) and saw a therapist regularly to get over some major trauma in my childhood life that was still hanging on. Talking and crying for a year released a lot of 'stuck energy'. Reiki treatments and massage, yoga and pilates also helped. Moving the body, listening to upbeat or soothing music - treating your tired self with kindness instead of getting out the whip - these are remedies we can give ourselves during menopause, and preparing for menopause.

"The more she disowns her despair the more it will rise up and bit her each time the period comes." Pope is a psychotherapist in practice, and writes from experience.

My own experience corroborates her advice: when your defences are down and the inner critic is attacking, retreat, rest and refuge are useful allies.

"If you can learn to ride the cyclical ups and downs with greater acceptance you'll develop an incredibly useful and resilient psychological muscle that will prepare you for any major life challenge. To go Up and Out into the world, you need to be able to go In and Down. "

Peri-menopause is a descent. Prepare the sails for a slackening wind. Let yourself drift without purpose, if necessary. The wind will pick up again. Listen within for your own truth at the bottom of the well.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Menopause and emotions

I have been listening to a CD today by Dr. Christiane Northrup and Mona Lisa Shulz, both of whom write and speak about the connection between the body and our emotions, and subsequent illnesses or disruptions of health.

It becomes more and more apparent that the 'intuition' often works through the body. Especially as it relates to the feminine cycle of menstruation, PMS, pregnancy, birth, and peri-menopause.

So this is just a little reminder, if you are having strong physical and/or emotional symptoms around your menstrual cycle, PAY ATTENTION. The warnings may be subtle at first, maybe you don't understand the language, but try and tune in before the message gets louder and more painful.

I spoke with a sister of mine who swears by PMS herbal tea, that she buys here in Canada. She used to have severe symptoms at her period, until she started using this tea. It was worse before she took Depo Provera. After 2 years of bitchiness, a 20 lb weight gain and other discomforts, she went off the pill (which suppresses menstruation as well as provides contraception). She lost her period for a long time after she went off it, but it didn't suit her to try and trick the body into not menstruating.

The body uses a code, like dream language - often metaphorical or very literal. A pain in the neck. A feeling in my gut. Irritation in the vulva, where penetration occurs, signaling boundary issues. Lack of sleep and night sweats telling me I'm too hot, revved up, have to turn the motor off before adrenal exhaustion hits.

Another niece is working 7 days a week and wonders why her moods are so extreme, up and down, and severe cramps at her period. The female body is like the moon, not meant to shine full on 100% all month. we have down days, we have half-moon, quarter-moon and dark of the moon days. Give it a rest already!

I'm going to spend January reading up on the connection between intuition and the menstrual cycle, and I'll be dropping you some hints from my readings.

take care now, and have a peaceful new year,



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