Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Change

While doing research for the re-write of the ending of the play, I read Dr. Christiane Northrup's work on menopause in "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom" and I was pretty blown away by what I read.  I'm sure I read some of this years ago, but I hadn't looked at it in a long time.  It really mirrors my own life experience and though I'm still in transition, overall, this is what has happened to me:

Dr. Christiane Northrup’s “Women’s Body, Women’s Wisdom” -- on perimenopause and menopause:

“No other stage of a woman’s life has as much potential for allowing a woman to understand and tap into her own power as this one – if, that is, she is able to negotiate her way through the general cultural negativity that has surrounded menopause for centuries.  This negativity has been challenged and changed significantly in the past decade as women of my generation, the baby boomers, enter menopause by the millions  As a result, this climacteric experience is now significantly different from how it was for our World War II- generation mothers.”

…”a woman is likely to live thirty to thirty-five years following menopause, making menopause ‘the springtime’ of the second half of life.”

…”the important point is that the silence surrounding this process has now been broken by the women of the baby boom generation.” 

…”women are freer than ever before to pursue creative interests and social action.  These are the years when all of a women’s life experiences come together and can be used for a purpose that suits her.” 

“If you want to know where your power really is, you need look no further than the processes of your body that you have been taught to dismiss, deny, or be afraid of.  These include the menstrual cycle, labor, and the mother of all wake-up calls, menopause.  The years surrounding menopause are a time when most women find themselves at a crucible, having all the dross of the first half of their lives burned away so that they may emerge re-born and more fully themselves.  Menopause can be likened to adolescence in reverse, the same stormy emotions we experienced during puberty often returns, urging us to complete the unfinished business of our early years.” 

“Perimenopause is the wake-up call of the entire life cycle.  If we’ve been pressing the snooze button on any parts of our lives that need attention, the years surrounding perimenopause will bring them to our attention in ways we can no longer avoid if we are to truly flourish in the second half of our lives.  Once a women understands that the true meaning of menopause has been inverted and degraded, like many of the other processes of her body, she can reverse this programming and make her way through the rest of her life fortified with purpose, insight and pleasure.” 

“During this stage, she is more apt to tell the truth than ever before in her life and less apt to make excuses for others.  Many women quest for peace of mind against a background of turmoil and change as they end twenty-year marriages, have affairs, get left by their parents, face the empty nest, start new businesses, and explore new facets of their identity.”

“At mid-life, a woman looks back at her life and ponders where she has been and how far she has come.  Now is the time when she grieves the loss of any unrealized dreams she may have had when she was a young woman, and prepares the soil for the next stage of her life.  She grapples with many of the issues that coincide but are not directly associated with hormonal function, such as caring for aging parents with health problems while also wanting to focus more on herself, perhaps by traveling extensively for the first time or going back to college.  Depending on her degree of success or perceived success in life, she may find herself in a crisis that is not so much psychological as it is developmental.  How she negotiates this crisis will affect her health on all levels as she goes through menopause.”

“This is a time when many women, myself included, begin to manifest some of the fierce need for self-expression that frequently goes underground at adolescence.  I like to think of mid-life women as dangerous – dangerous to any forces existing in our lives that seek to turn us into silent old ladies, dangerous to the deadening effects of convention and niceness, and dangerous to any accommodations we have made that are stifling who we are now capable of becoming.  By the age of 45, I found myself deeply engaged in the process of scrutinizing every aspect of my life and my relationships in an effort to eradicate any dead wood that either held me back or no longer served whom I had become.  My tolerance for dead-end relationships of all kinds began to evaporate.” 

“Women in mid-life are at a turning point: Either we can continue living with relationships, job, and situation that we have outgrown – a choice that hastens the aging process and the chance for disease dramatically – or we can do the developmental work that our bodies, our hormones, are calling out for.  We must source our lives from our souls now. Grow or die.” 

No comments: