Monday, June 29, 2009

The Art of Napping

here's a novel thought, "If you have too much to do, take a ten minute nap" (The art of Doing Nothing, by Veronique Vienne).

"What looks from the ouside like inertia is, in fact, an active internal state teeming with rapidly firing neurons."

Vienne compares our napping brain to a humming power station that is firing up more producitivty, alertness and discernment. It's true that lack of sleep can make us unable to concentrate.

So take a nap and avoid disaster. Let the goddess of sleep Morphia (ok so it's the son of the god of sleep, but let's feminize her because we need her help) carry you off to enhanced brain networking land while you doze.

Seriously though, naps got me through menopause. A daily 20 minute nap (more if you can swing it, right at cocktail hour) will get you through supper and to that early evening meeting, and help your neurons keep firing.

sleep tight,

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Are You Too Sensitive?

Menopause is a huge teacher for me. Whatever ideas I have about myself are changing. It's no longer good enough to sweep my feelings and emotions under the carpet. Even if I wanted to, they tend to explode out of me.

Why are some of us more sensitive? Susun Weed says that at menopause all our senses are heightened, our ears, eyes, nose and mouth. And especially our emtoional body - "I feel untruths as physical discomfort," she writes.

While I was pregnant, and for months after childbirth, I remember feeling akin to a mother wolf or bear - I could hear my baby cough from 2 floors below, I could sense in my body when it was time to nurse, even before the milk reflex came in. My nerves were also more edgey, and the slightest thing made me cry.

Normally we consider this a liability, not an asset. But what if this is a survival instinct, bred in us to keep us alive? "Let us honor the heightened sensitivites of the Crones. our communities depend on the Crones' irritability for their survival. In their sensitivity, the Crones are irritated first by that which has the ability to poison all of us, whether it is a food, a feeling, or a rule."
Susun Weed, Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way.

There are herbal remedies and flower remedies for soothing an overly sensitive system so you can sleep, work and eat without too much problem (oatstraw and walnut). Maybe all you need is some time alone to sort through your sensitivities. Maybe the emotional turmoil needs more breath work, more grounding in the body through yoga, or prana exercises. Ayurvedic medecine suggests that the liver needs care when we feel overly irritable (milk thistle, dandelion). Calcium soothes the nerves. Gardening, walking in nature, and lowering your caffeine intake may also be beneficial.

Learning to turn down the noise outside you, the tv, stereo, car radio and listening to the birds instead is a wonderful way to quiet the world.

Be gentle, less demanding of yourself. Understand your rhythms and moods and listen in - give yourself solitude, serenity and surrender to your inner needs. Accept the gift of sensitivity and nurture your creative side. Allow yourself whatever it is you need right now to feel taken care of, soothed, rocked and cossetted like a baby.

take care

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Create your own Menopause Party

A good friend of mine is turning 50 next week - a real milestone - and we are celebrating together. Some of us are wondering what an appropriate gift would be. A massage, a spa day, a new yoga mat, something to comfort and nurture her, for all the comforting and nurturing she has given over the years.

She is in peri-menopause, and I think I will suggest when she hits that milestone that we hold a Ms Menopause Party. Instead of fearing and cringing at our body's aging and changing, let's celebrate it properly, with a sense of humour!

While googling menopause jokes and parties, I found several good ideas which I've gathered and compiled here, so you can create your own :

Provide battery powered fans (dollar store)
Decorate with red and pink, candles, decor
Ask everyone to dress in their favourite Hot Red outfit
Find appropriate music, like the song "Hot hot hot"
and the Red Hot Chile Peppers
Have everyone bring their favourite menopause joke and read them
(there are plenty on the internet)
Serve hot spicy wings, red hot candies, red watermelon, chili with red kidney beans,
or go the other way entirely and serve only Way Too Cool drinks and food
Have lots of ice on hand
Cosmos are red!

Here's one of the jokes I like:

Question: How many women with MENOPAUSE does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: One! ONLY ONE! And do you know WHY? Because no one else in this house knows HOW to change a light bulb! They don't even know that the bulb is BURNED OUT! They would sit in the dark for THREE DAYS before they figured it out. And, once they figured it out, they wouldn't be able to find the #&%!* light bulbs despite the fact that they've been in the SAME CABINET for the past 17 YEARS! But if they did, by some miracle of God, actually find them, 2 DAYS LATER, the chair they dragged to stand on to change the STUPID light bulb would STILL BE IN THE SAME SPOT! AND UNDERNEATH IT WOULD BE THE WRAPPER THE FREAKING LIGHT BULBS CAME IN! BECAUSE NO ONE EVER PICKS UP OR CARRIES OUT THE GARBAGE! IT'S A WONDER WE HAVEN'T ALL SUFFOCATED FROM THE PILES OF GARBAGE THAT ARE A FOOT DEEP THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE HOUSE! IT WOULD TAKE AN ARMY TO CLEAN THIS PLACE! AND DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON WHO CHANGES THE TOILET PAPER ROLL!

I'm sorry. What was the question?

Whew! my anxiety went up reading that one.....

seriously though, throw yourself or a girlfriend a party, crown her with a Paper Crone Crown, and let her know she can call you up in the middle of a hot flash....or leave home temporarily when she feels like she's going insane.

Just know that it does get better, and sharing it with your friends makes it easier.

4 years past the hot flashes, and counting,

Monday, June 8, 2009

Menopause Poem

A Poem for Jane turning Fifty

Crow’s feet lay tracks, marking

us Crone (although we hate the word)

but we still know the way to
the source,
the fountain wells:

drink deep.

Grow young,
in heart.

Wise in Crow Mother’s ways.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Follow-up on thyroid

No, my thyroid is fine. That pressure you feel at your throat is anxiety, dear, says the good doctor.


What I do know is that I can relax my jaw and open my throat without fear.

Singing while relaxed is so much more fun anyway.

Let whatever energies are blocked flow.

These words from "I am a woman finding her own voice" resonated with me today....

"Trying to protect myself from these dangers {of looking foolish, being rejected, of loving, losing love, of being vulnerable} by being overly careful or withdrawn limits me and my spontaneity; it makes me fearful and tight insead of relaxed and open. Life becomes much less fun and much more exhausting...My true safety lies not in keeping myself out of danger by avoiding THE RISKS OF FULLY ENGAGING IN LIFE, but by remembering that no matter what life brings me, I am strong enough, smart enough, loving enough, vital enough, intersted and curious enough to handle, learn and grow from it."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Breasts,Hormones and Menopause

Did you know that your breasts have a monthly cycle too? Not only do our uteruses slough off old cells every month, but the ducts and glands in our breasts are also going through a monthly flux, according to this article written by the doctors at

I find it fascinating that we know so little about our own bodies, and am grateful to the dedicated scientists who are doing research to discover how we can maintain optimal health for all our parts.

I have been going to get yearly mamograms since the age of 45, because of a maternal aunt who had breast cancer. It's a special clinic in Montreal with high quality thermograph machines as well as the 'breast squishing' radiation.

While I want to care about my health, and have yearly check-ups with a GP, this past year I cancelled the mammogram. Every two years will give me less radiation exposure, and I will continue with the monthly self-exam.

Plus, in the above linked article, I discovered some self-care tips that I can do at home to take care of 'the girls'.

First of all, get to know them, their lumps and bumps, and if you have fibrocystic breasts, know that you can even give them a nice massage to help with the cleansing and circulation of lymph in the body.

At menopause the hormones are stabilizing, and so you may have fewer symptoms of bloating and swelling with pain.

But if you have breast pain, evening primorose oil has been shown to be helpful.
A diet lower in animal fat and processed meats, with no trans fats, and organic dairy, eggs and meat will promote good breast health.

Things to avoid: salt, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, (tea also). White sugar and flour, natch.
Things to increase: veggies, fruit, fiber from whole grains, beans and seeds.
Natural diuretics: cucumbers, celery and parsley.
Multi-vitamins, and daily exercise to keep the lymph circulating in the body.

Most of this is well-known and common sense.

One thing the article brings up is the role of iodine in our diets - and since our thyroids are acting up sometimes at menopause, it may be a good idea to get your iodine levels tested as well. (read the article for a full explanation).

Most of all, love your breasts and treat them tenderly, not with fear, as you check them each month. Soon there may be a blood test for breast cancer, so we won't need this ritual, which is sometimes a bit fear inducing.

take good care,


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