Celebration of the Cycle of Menopause

 

by Bernadette, Self-employed in Community Services, Australia

Last month I attended ‘the first gathering’ in Melbourne for a group of women in the cycle of menopause. If I’m honest, I attended because I have loved being with the women who attend the women’s meetings, the sharing that occurs and the unifying experiences that remind us of our true power as women – the power of learning to truly be ourselves, connecting to our ability to be still, to really feel our bodies and to appreciate and celebrate the well of wisdom they contain.

This specific Menopausal Women’s Group I attended because it was another opportunity to have this wonderful experience again… AND I was eligible because I biologically fitted the criteria (not that that was necessary)!

What occurred was profound for me.

During the evening I was moved by all the different ways in which women experience the cycle of menopause.

There were women who were parents of very young children sitting beside a grandmother who was just learning to say no to the demands of her adult daughter. One woman told of her 70-year-old pattern of rescuing her sister that she had recently broken, whilst another woman was facing risky surgery for cancer the following week.

Absolute equality was felt in the room as each woman’s sharing was honoured without question, doubt or judgment. When comments were made or things were pointed out that suggested going to another level of self-love, there was no defence or reaction. The room was still and the unity and acceptance sounded loudly.

I realised that for me the cycle of menopause has little to do with the cessation of menstruation and everything to do with:

  • Truly accepting and honouring myself as a woman
  • Truly appreciating myself now, at this time in my life cycle
  • Fully expressing and sharing myself and my experience and wisdom
  • Truly caring for myself and making choices that reflect that care

I realised that I had not claimed myself as a woman in the menopausal cycle. I realised too that I had not connected to my other cycles as a young girl, teen or as a young woman, and now here I am in my middle age and in my menopausal cycle. I had not connected to my grey hair, and I have been grey for 20 years!

I wondered how I had arrived here? Where had I been? How disconnected have I been just doing life and not being in it in a way that I appreciated myself – my personality, intentions, fragility and vulnerability, my skills and inner beauty.

The meeting was one of those ‘stop moments’ for me and I became for perhaps the first time, truly, truly aware of my body as my closest ally in developing and supporting my womanly wellbeing. This was what was missing – connecting to my body at a deeper level.

Pondering more in this the cycle of menopause, I feel a deep loss because I could have done with a true friend and received support from my body in my early years. After all, everywhere I went, she was there too! The strange and sad thing is that I have always had a deep connection with my essence (my innermost knowing), but I have overridden it in favour of the expectations I had become aligned to and that were being reflected to me from the world outside.

It was possible that:

  • When I felt fat and ugly, my true body was reminding me that I am actually beautiful
  • When I felt friendless and misunderstood, my body knew me better than anyone and I didn’t stop to feel that
  • When I craved attention, my body was there to feel and to enjoy – I didn’t trust the love that was always present
  • When I was confused about who I was, I had markers of truth in my body that I discounted – like the joy I experienced at watching a sunset or tuning in to the wonder of how my kidneys worked

Women in the group shared themselves in a way that was very beautiful. I understood that whilst every woman was sharing her unique experience, I had my own too; it is deep and wide, 55 years in the making and it matters – I matter.

That ‘I matter’ is only really relevant if we all matter, and that was perhaps the most profound ‘stop moment’ for me. I could only begin to feel my own beauty and relevance as others reflected theirs to me, different and all as they were. What connected us all on that evening was the commitment to being there and the way in which each woman was held and honoured in her presence. I can still feel the power of that evening. It was truly something special and holy.

I could begin to feel myself stand in my womanliness in the cycle of menopause. My cycle as I live this life is wonderful and beautiful in what it is, and so am I. Surrendering to the presence of love in the room was an undeniable act of self-love. We all allowed the love in the room to fill and inspire us. For me it was an experience of gathering up the last 55 years and bringing it to now. There was an equality in the encounter that I had not experienced before with a group of women, a marker for what is possible.

Connecting with ‘all’ of this in our first Melbourne menopause group was true inspiration for me to truly live as a woman in this cycle. The possibility is mine and therefore ours. Thank you to the presenter Mary-Louise Myers for her reflection, inspiration and true commitment.

240 thoughts on “Celebration of the Cycle of Menopause

  1. “I became for perhaps the first time, truly, truly aware of my body as my closest ally in developing and supporting my womanly wellbeing.” Taking self-nurturing to a deeper level with ‘womanly’ well-being.

  2. Love this – every cycle in our life needs to be honoured a celebrated. reignighting the connection within helps us to reestablish our relationships with cycles.

  3. An inspirational sharing of your experience Bernadette thank you. How much more are we able to appreciate and love ourselves when we listen and honour how we are feeling within and through being more loving and caring with ourselves we are able to surrender and open up to a deeper level of awareness and expression of our true beauty and delicateness guided by the true markers that are constantly being communicated to us by our body.

  4. I love the points you raise about how we can always back ourselves up. I notice we tend to never do this because it would stand out to much in the world or be to hurtful as we are the only person doing this. For example the first one: “When I felt fat and ugly, my true body was reminding me that I am actually beautiful” these little reminders are easily written off by our minds but are in fact true. Us appreciating ourselves has value and is in truth the only way to go forward.

  5. Thank you Bernadette, it’s a really interesting blog with many points raised that I had not considered before including “Truly appreciating myself now, at this time in my life cycle”. This is something really beautiful for me to work on, as I had not looked at myself before in terms of where I am in my life cycle.

  6. Lovely to read your writing Bernadette. Menopause is a time to appreciate ourselves and all we are, and I love that these groups encourage us to take a deeper look at the different cycles of our lives and all they offer us and ALL.

  7. What a beautiful stop moment, ‘That ‘I matter’ is only really relevant if we all matter, and that was perhaps the most profound ‘stop moment’ for me.’

  8. Appreciating me, my body and its signals is not something that was there in my life, I took my body for granted and was very careless. At the same time, like you ‘ve shared Bernadette, I had a strong connection with my essence but had no clue how to live what I felt inside me. Now I have and feel how I can take appreciation for myself and life to a deeper level to be able to bring my all.

  9. I love how you highlight the importance of accepting, caring for and appreciating yourself as a woman and then expressing and sharing this with others. A fabulous blueprint for women to live by at any age which then offers other women an amazing role model of how to embrace the cycles in our lives that we all inevitably pass through.

  10. I definitely didn’t celebrate my menopause at the time I was going through it, but now with many years of hindsight I can see that yes, it was a time to be celebrated as I passed through yet another cycle of my life. I know now that most of the challenges stemmed from the very dysfunctional relationship I was in, and hanging on to, but the first dysfunctional relationship was actually with myself. I had no sense of the wonderment of me as a woman and the amazing process that was taking place in my body. Now this was something worth celebrating and it is never too late to do so.

    1. I agree Ingrid, I had no idea of the precious new cycle beginning when I had my first period and I have spent many years not appreciating or understanding my body or the cycles I am in. I’ve also noticed how much negativity is out there around menopause but I’m choosing to stay connected to myself and my body and what feels true for me when it comes around – as something to explore, celebrate and hold precious.

  11. A very beautiful sharing Bernadette, thank you. The beauty of what you experienced in the menopausal women’s group is palpable throughout your writings. A menopausal women who is confidently living her inner grace, beauty and wisdom is an inspiration and a total joy to be around.

    1. There are so many lies out there about women, and these include beliefs such as that a woman has no value unless she can reproduce, or that beauty is something tied to youth, and that menopausal women are over the hill… so it was a defining moment to read your words and their absolute truth “A menopausal woman who is confidently living her inner grace, beauty and wisdom is an inspiration and a total joy to be around.” Thank you Elizabeth.

  12. Thank you for sharing your beautiful experience in the group Bernadette, ‘ Surrendering to the presence of love in the room was an undeniable act of self-love. We all allowed the love in the room to fill and inspire us’.

  13. I wonder how many women do not claim themselves as a woman in their particular cycle as you describe, it is always great to accept and appreciate where we are in our life cycle, ‘Truly accepting and honouring myself as a woman
    Truly appreciating myself now, at this time in my life cycle
    Fully expressing and sharing myself and my experience and wisdom
    Truly caring for myself and making choices that reflect that care’.

  14. I love the togetherness you are describing here of everyone being equal and equally held by each other and simply sharing how life is and what is going on in ones life.

  15. What you have shared here is very valuable Bernadette, knowing that it is possible to be held and supported by a group of women sharing life experiences is very special. There is much we are offered to learn and be inspired by when we open up and deeply connect with each other.

  16. ‘The meeting was one of those ‘stop moments’ for me and I became for perhaps the first time, truly, truly aware of my body as my closest ally in developing and supporting my womanly wellbeing. This was what was missing – connecting to my body at a deeper level.’ What a beautiful stop moment and with my wrist in plaster right now I have my own ‘stop moment’ to connect to my body at a deeper level and connect to the sacredness within.

  17. Our body and within our essence is with us 24/7 never leaving us. We/I choose to leave that connection in favour of fitting into a picture be it my own or anothers. I’ve been learning that those pictures always fail, and one day I won’t be tempted to chase them anymore. Until then it’s conversations like these that support us to hold the connection higher than the pictures.

  18. There is so much support when we as women come together and open up with vulnerability and honesty and share what we feel and don’t go into trying to fix it for others but just allow them to be and be inspired by each other in our sharings.

  19. “The strange and sad thing is that I have always had a deep connection with my essence (my innermost knowing), but I have overridden it in favour of the expectations I had become aligned to and that were being reflected to me from the world outside.” I was thinking about this today, how for most of my life in varying degrees I have had my body in a forward motion never truly settling into myself, always ready to jump, run, transform etc. for what others expectations were asking of me. That’s a lot of pressure on our precious bodies and exhausting. I’ve loved reading this blog and also loved feeling how women naturally are when left to be themselves and how you all shared which supports us all.

  20. “How disconnected have I been just doing life and not being in it in a way that I appreciated myself – my personality, intentions, fragility and vulnerability, my skills and inner beauty.” I so relate and to your “how I had arrived here?” Living in disconnection for most of my life and now learning the value of appreciation has been transforming for me.

  21. I love that you bring it to our connection with us and then of course others, and how you remind me that it’s my body that allows me to feel and connect to me as a woman, and often I’ve gotten really heady about that, and all along the body knows.

  22. I am enjoying connecting to my body at a deeper level now as I approach the menopause cycle too Bernadette. Listening to what my body is communicating brings the opportunity to be more aware and lovingly tender with myself which my body knows and immediately responds to, and supports me back the more I align to its rhythm.

  23. What if every part of life has something amazing to offer us? And we didn’t step back or dread the ageing process but fully embraced every opportunity it offered us? I think we’d be surprised at how much magic there is to life.

  24. Bernadette thank you for sharing this with us, menopause is truly a remarkable time, and the more we embrace the true love we hold ourselves in as women, the more we are able to reflect to others the true beauty we hold within, and how that can change the world.

  25. “There were women who were parents of very young children sitting beside a grandmother who was just learning to say no to the demands of her adult daughter.” I love this, we’re all learning and we all have challenges to face – life is so much better when we do it together and we lean from each other.

  26. Hi Bernadette, I like how you turned negatives into the truth. It’s a way of being and choosing this quality of life that is worth the master-full-ship. This is not in reaction and thus creating a positive reaction but a way of absolute commitment to appreciation of and in the body. It makes you question – Why is it that there is emotion that is overriding the beauty that is untouched underneath?

  27. Love what you express here about Menopause.
    We are so often given the impression that it is something to dread when in reality this could not be further from the truth.

    1. I used to dread thinking of going through menopause and what that would mean but now thanks to blogs like this and hearing elder women share their wisdom and show their beauty even more I have a whole different feel and view and am actually looking forward to the process.

  28. Thank you Bernadette, your sharing in very beautiful especially this . . . “That ‘I matter’ is only really relevant if we all matter, and that was perhaps the most profound ‘stop moment’ for me” . . . this is truly what it is all about as we can only really know ourselves through others and know others through ourselves. And this . . . ” Surrendering to the presence of love in the room was an undeniable act of self-love.” . . . . yes we can be the love that we are and that we want from others and what goes around comes around.

  29. I loved reading this l, thank you for sharing it was clearly a deeply beautiful meeting of woman willing to surrender to all the love they lies within. I also laughed at your question of how did I arrive here! There are so few role models on ageing as a woman it is monumental that now we are embracing all the stages of being a woman.

  30. An inspiring blog Bernadette, I love how you embrace and highlight the cycle of menopause as a time to accept and honour ourselves as women and to share the inner wisdom we can all connect to when we deepen our self-love and self-nurturing and claim our true selves.

  31. “That ‘I matter’ is only really relevant if we all matter,” A beautiful realisation that we all matter and thus we all equally matter – at any stage in our cycle of life.

  32. I literally had just been having a moment of feeling bloated and was touching my belly, in a not so loving way, and I read this “When I felt fat and ugly, my true body was reminding me that I am actually beautiful” such lovely timing, made me realise we can very quickly become very self critical if we don’t allow ourselves to feel the beauty within always.

  33. Any event that provides a space where people are truly honoured and respected for who they are in their presence and allowed to express that unwaveringly is indeed special… yet sadly not normal. So many of us would benefit enormously from a moment where we can experience a true stop, can connect to ourselves and feel what we have been choosing and then be inspired to live the more that we are.

  34. I can really feel the power in you connecting to your stage of life. I am getting older and place myself as menopausal in the stage of my life but still have my periods. I feel it so important for all of us to embrace our time of life so then others can be inspired by that embracing. Rather than current societies preference for youth at all costs.

  35. Our body certainly is our closest ally in returning to knowing and living the beautiful woman we are. When I am with my body, there is nothing more captivating and worthy of my attention and the learning and wisdom on offer is profound. It is only when I leave my body that I lose this, and the doubts and lack of worth come in.

  36. We have everything we always needed right within us, our body is our most honest and dearest friend, if we first know this truth and honor it, we would save ourselves a lot to complications and damaging experiences. But it is never too late to start, and this commitment often comes from truly feeling the devastation that has occurred from wandering away from this support.

  37. ‘Surrendering to the presence of love in the room was an undeniable act of self-love.’ It is beautiful to feel how you all supported each other to express and what was seeded that day will no doubt have supported many other women to appreciate the value in their menopause and their unfolding relationship with their body and with other women.

  38. I only discovered I was an “older woman” a few years ago when travelling with a friend and everyone thought she was my daughter. I love being an older woman and it has been the most wonderful journey over the last few years (thanks to Universal Medicine) to connect to and love my body and find the most beautiful and wise friend I could ever imagine is me and has always been there.

  39. I can see why you so enjoyed attending the group Bernadette, because reading your words is like receiving a big warm hug. Imagine being my own best friend, accepting myself for who I am, trusting the Love that I feel and what my body is communicating to me – wow! What a recipe to follow. I am grateful to you for sharing this here and know I don’t need to wait till I get any older to make these amazing points part of my life.

  40. Sharon, this is a great blog to re-read and be reminded of the cycles of life that are there to embrace in full when we choose to do so. Then we are able to accept and appreciate all that we are, without the old pattern of being in self doubt, judgment and self critique. Life begins to unfold in a very different way – with harmony, joy, stillness and love.

  41. “What connected us all on that evening was the commitment to being there and the way in which each woman was held and honoured in her presence.”
    What a difference commitment and honoring our presence and that of others can make, to be taught that we all hold a responsibility for our actions, words and thoughts from a young age could truly set the quality of exchanges we experience when we are with others.

  42. Beautiful to feel your joy and appreciation of your experience Bernadette. Menopause was never really embraced as a positive experience when I was growing up, everyone only talked about their problems and issues with it so it was not something I felt I would ever look forward to, however attending women’s groups and Universal Medicine presentations over recent years has opened my eyes to this beautiful cycle in a woman’s life and as I am now approaching this cycle myself I feel to embrace it as an opportunity to appreciate my body and myself far more as a woman and to deeply honour the true preciousness and sacredness we hold within.

  43. ‘I matter’ – I love that Bernadette. How many of us struggle with feeling that we even rate a mention, let alone matter? This is an important place for women to get to, so that we feel complete and enough in and within ourselves, well before we do anything for others and out in the world. What a solid platform from which to spread our wings.

  44. Thank you Bernadette, this blog has touched me deeply and has brought tears to my eyes as I can relate to all you say when you speak about yourself. I love this line . . .”That ‘I matter’ is only really relevant if we all matter . . . ” . . .this is a beautiful revelation as it honours everyone and holds all in love and in equality.

  45. ‘Absolute equality was felt in the room as each woman’s sharing was honoured without question, doubt or judgment.’ What a rare and precious gift it is to experience connection without comparison. A meeting of women in a quality such as this is to be cherished – and replicated as often as possible. We can be true supports for each other.

  46. There are some lovely relatable points to be taken away and pondered on throughout your article Bernadette. I especially like the part where you talk about where ‘I matter’ is only really relevant if we all matter.’ It is so easy to get caught up with ourselves but that cuts us off from others, very much linked to ‘doing life and not being in it in a way that I appreciated myself – my personality, intentions, fragility and vulnerability, my skills and inner beauty.’ Great to be reminded to be in life and connect to what is there, as it inevitably connects us to everyone.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.