Monday, February 9, 2009

New Menopausal Years Wise Woman Way

Review of The New Menopausal Years, the Wise Woman Way by Susun Weed:

I found this wonderful book near the end of my menopausal years, and although I know very little about herbs, have found it to be very useful. I appreciated the alphabetical formatting and listing of symptoms with their herbal and homeopathic remedies, but even more useful was the women's wisdom in these pages. Weed encourages women going through The Change to practice kindness towards themselves. The emphasis is not on denying or pushing away what you are feeling but on welcoming awareness and understanding. "Remedies here don't seek to eliminate these emotions or turn 'negative' ones into 'positive' ones but, in the Wise woman way to help you incorporate all of your feelings into your wholeness. "

The New Menopausal Years is full of inspiring pages to help women on their Journey of Menopause. Weed employs the persona of Grandmother Growth in italicized sections to give support, encouragement and advice; for example, see this exerpt on Emotional Uproar:

"Dear woman, sighs Grandmother Growth tenderly. "I see that Change has thinned the protective layers hiding your anger, your fears, your grief. yes, I see your hidden feelings and secret desires exposed a little more with each hot flash. You may think your feelings are out of proportion, too sharp, quite irrational, possibly insane. But I assure you, they are only raw from neglect.

"Receive them without judgement, nourish them, and your uncontrollable feelings during the menopausal years will lead you to the deepest heart of your own secrets. If you cannot tolerate those about you, leave. Go to the sheltering space of your cave. Claim your Crone's Year Away."

This was also one of the most comforting aspects of this book for me. Weed encourages women to take time alone, whenever possible, and to advise their friends and family that this is not a rejection of them but a 'claiming of yourself'. I found this to be very true, and once I read this I felt less like a crazy person for wanting to get away and be alone all the time. It is like I needed permission from someone to feel that way. Weed even describes a ritual one can perform to help ease into this phase of your journey. "I must take this journey alone. I ask now for your blessing on me as I begin my Change....I ask you to acknowledge my Crone's Time Away...."

How wonderful it would be if we could allow ourselves this transformation time, this busy interior growth time, without struggling and denying and repressing our needs as they arise because they don't seem to fit the pattern of 'good girl' or 'wife and mother' we have squeezed ourselves into all these years.

I also liked Weed's methodolgy, always gentle and non-invasive. In the chapters relating to symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal and bladder changes, migraines, heart palpitations, etc. the first step is always to listen in, and collect information from your body. Then, in Step 2, to engage the energy, she may suggest Bach flower remedies or massage, a ritual for claiming your boundaries or for blessing your belly; Step 3 is to find the remedy of choice to nourish and tonify, i.e. tinctures, herbs, homeopathic remedies or even yoga postures; Step 4 is Sedate or Stimulate - listing appropriate exercises, herbs and supplements; Step 5, and 6: if nothing else works, as a last resort, she will list the medical prescriptions or surgery usually recommended; and tell you if they are contra-indications.

I love the way Weed engages the energy in this book, and explodes the myth of the Crazy Crone by embracing the volcanic energy of the Kundalini rising:

"Root chakra energies - anger, sex, power - are hot subjects. And this Change called menopause fires the root chakra. Can you sit still in the midst of this rapidly vibrating energy? Can you dance with its searing touch? Oh granddaughter, what are you itching to do now that you are crowned Crone? What lights your passion? Shine, young Crone. Burn. And keep that energy moving so your inner heat doesn't dry you out."

Read this book, and weep with relief. Yes, you are going through major hormonal rebalancing. It is affecting every single part of your body, mind, heart and soul. And it is OK. Yes, you are in menopause, even if you are in your early forties. Yes, this is menopause but you are not alone, as Weed's kindly grandmotherly wise woman advice is here to calm you and help you feel better.

And remember, your authentic wise-woman self is waiting for you to grow Wise with her.

enjoy the ride, and let me know if you found this review helpful,



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