Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Menopause Mothers 10 Ways to Feed Your Soul

I have gathered the challenges and gifts at mid-life and menopause, and there are many. But as I listen to women who are still mothering, with children under their roofs and in their hair, I realize there is a great conflict that arises due to our 'late blooming' motherhood, or having children in our late 30's and early 40's.

They (children) still need our presence, but we feel uber-irritated by their constant demands. The world in general gets on our nerves, big time! We are ready for the Big Pause, but can't see how to do it.

At menopause, ladies, we are called to withdraw our over-caring of everyone else and go within, seek our authentic self, gifts and talents, and do some much needed reflecting on our life purpose. For this we need some down time.  But who will give it to us?

Susun Weed suggests a year's sabbatical for women at menopause, but that ain't happening when you've got kids at home. How to deal with this split in consciousness, and divided loyalties without dropping the ball on mothering, or on self-care?

Here are some practical  ways to soothe your soul and your need for creative introspection without feeling Guilty:

1. Find some like-minded women to share some deep talk with. Being seen and heard feeds your soul. You'll feel less crazy once you realize you are not alone, you are not the only one who is sleepless at night and hot flashing all day. Quit tearing your hair out, and let down your hair with your sistahs!

2. Release the Good Girl 'tude right now! Good mother, daughter, wife - we were trained for this from an early age, especially if you were born in the 50's. Give yourself permission to be SELF-FUL, not selfish. A little more self-compassion will go a long way. Do something JUST for YOU once a week, or once a day if you can swing it. When is the last time you bought yourself from roses? Repeat after me, I am worthy and deserving!

3. Practice peace - whether it's breathing, centering, meditation, yoga, chi gong, tai chi or a cup of herbal tea  - find some time to find your own rhythm and you will feed your soul's need for tranquility and silence. Just cut out one of those volunteer activities and make time for Peace.

4. Body work to release stress and get in touch with emotions. You need to feel to heal. Choose the modality that works for you - Reiki, massage, EFT, Rolfing, Shamanic journeying, talk therapy. Stress freezes our muscles, and when we bury our feelings, they end up Exploding in PMS - don't let the Bitch Goddess take over your life.  Dealing with feelings is healing!

5. Learn to RECEIVE: this is the hardest but the most rewarding thing on this list. OVERGIVING is our #1 downfall or trap, as women and mothers. Enlist the help of your family in daily tasks. Don't let the well go dry, or you'll have nothing but bitterness and resentment.  See #4: getting a massage is very nourishing, not just for your body and skin, but for your inner self who needs to fill up the well before she can give out again. Weekly would be good, monthly may be more realistic, but once a year is NOT enough.

6. Eject the Superwoman Mantle: learn how to say no, and ask for help. Takes practice, I know, but it's worth it. You cannot do it all alone. You are no longer capable of Multi-tasking, so give it up!

7. Embrace the end of Fertility- make peace with the end of your cycle. Face your fears of entering a new cycle. You're not old, but 50 is a meeting with mortality and a limited time frame. You can't mourn the empty nest yet, but you can celebrate the growing maturity of your kids, and realize how quickly the nest will be empty. Soon, now Mama, soon. Journal about it, and celebrate your Menopause with some cronies.

8. Get Creative: your new cycle involves creatively exploring that energy that used to go into making babies. Your energy is moving up and out of the womb center into your Heart, throat, Wisdom and Insight centers. Growing your intuitive powers and Dreams. Listening and Expressing this new found creativity is essential for your happiness. Find out what you LOVE to do, then Flow with it! Many women go back to school, or take pottery or piano classes, creative writing, SoulCollage(r), photography - what turns you on?

9. Recognize this is a Sacred Journey - a Heroine's Quest. Your life stages have brought you this far. How can you learn to see the symptoms of menopause as gifts? ie Fatigue is a message you need to rest more. Hot flashes are really just Power Surges. See the Soulful Woman website and listen to the Gold Tent for more about the gifts of Menopause:

10. Give yourself a break before you need a breakdown. REST is the most essential nutrient for the menopausal mom. As important as good nutrition and exercise. Your body is the vehicle - you can't pedal to the metal all the time. Take good care of you, and just lie down and rest, as often as needed. Write yourself a prescription for Self-Care. I will rest whenever I feel overwhelmed.

So try healing and feeling instead of yelling and freezing up, finding peace instead of feeding the frazzle. Anger and impatience are all symptoms that you are Doing Too Much and need to get away.

It's your time, baby, and even though Mothering is a challenge right now, you will get through this. It is temporary insanity, I promise you. I made it through without a huge bill for therapy, and my kids at 22 and 24 seem really well adjusted and are still speaking to me! And if you really feel like the straitjacket is calling you, get away on Retreat!

Take good care of you, darling, Mother Nature is begging you,