After all the reading I've done, and notes I've taken on women's initiation into menopause, and the passage we go through, I have come to a startling conclusion.
What I don't need is an intellectual understanding of the process. What i do need is to feel well in my body, mind and spirit.
What provides this most completely is to talk with other women in a group, in a circle, or one-on-one. Even writing this blog is a way of reaching out to other women who may be going through something similar.
I have a huge thirst to be heard and to be seen. It's a point of frustration for many women in their marriages, that women feel their husbands are preoccupied with their work, or with their hobbies and other concerns, and there is not enough 'dialogue'. We worked on this, my husband and I, in a weekend workshop on communication, and even practised the dialoguing for a few months before we fell out of the habit. It doesn't seem to come naturally to some men, to sit and open up, talk about their feelings.
Women on the other hand, usually love a good gab fest, and if they are able to drop down into the deep listening mode and allow the other person a chance to speak from the heart, a deeply satisfying communion takes place. We know each other's troubles because we have lived them too. We empathisize, sympathize and this energizes us, to share what we know, what we feel.
So what I want to offer to women is what I need myself - a space to be heard and seen. A space to explore my longings, my childish heart, the whims and desires of the lost little girl I want to free from her middle-aged cares and concerns.
I don't need to explain, theorize, discuss and debate. I want to encourage free self-expression and remind participants (if it's a workshop setting) that for this to happen we (I) need to button our lips, listen without commenting, and respond from the heart without judgment or criticism, resisting the impulse to give advice or tell the other person what we (I) think she needs.
What I remind myself, here and now, is that I don't have to have all the answers.
My brain is tired of facts, figures, statistics and medical information about menopause.
The best medicine for my heart is this lovely, deep, nourishing, satisfying, timeless space where there is room for the heart to speak.
I'll be away for two weeks, with my daughter while she attends a design course in NY. Will be retreating, treating myself to some soul collage work, some reading and writing time, and some space for the heart. Have a good summer, and be well.