menopause

Living with Change

living with change

Last month while shopping at a local vintage and eclectic shop, I gave my credit card to the woman behind the counter to ring up my purchases.

I have the new chip card, so she inserted it into her machine. She commented that she wasn’t so sure about this new “chip thing” as it seems to take longer to go through and process.

I agreed at first thinking about those times I’m in a hurry. But then I changed my tune. I said, “Perhaps it’s a way of getting us to slow down more. So many of us always seem to be in a hurry. Maybe it’s a good thing.”

She smiled. “What a great way to look at it,” she said. “I like that.”

This morning I was reading a favorite blog and the writer, Jon, talked about climate change and how he is learning to live with it and understand it. Just like we are experiencing here, they have had a hot and humid summer. Though they have had much more rain making it feel quite tropical, while here we haven’t had much rain.

I realized at the beginning of the heat wave earlier this season how I’ve been fighting with, and not accepting how I feel in the heat, which I experienced last summer also. While I once loved it and couldn’t get enough of it, my body, and really, my hormones are a changin’, so it’s made it challenging for me to be in the heat for too long. And I was fighting it every step of the way.

But I don’t want to fight it anymore. I’m plumb tired of wishing for what was. So I’ve been moving into an acceptance of this which means doing things differently – like watering my new gardens early in the morning, or later in the evening. And moving slower when I have to be outside. And guess what happens when I open to this new way? I see a sky I’d never seen before, I hear sounds I’d not heard before, I hear more silence (especially in early morning), and the best part? My mind is more at rest, instead of being in a state of wishful thinking and constant battle of wanting it be like it used to.

When I find myself trying to revisit the “way it was” I silently repeat a favorite quote of mine by author Tasha Tudor, “I don’t believe in hurry.” This is a practice for me, and one I truly want more of in my life, but sometimes old habits are hard to break. And in a world where many believe in speed, I can sometimes find myself getting sucked in without realizing it.

And my Lab, Kylie is such a great example for me. She will be eleven in two months and moves slower these days too.  Years ago she loved to hang out in the driveway overlooking the neighborhood for hours on end. But these days she is more content doing her civic duty of making sure all is well in the neighborhood from the spot inside the front door with the air conditioning on. And I’ve not once heard her complain about what was and now is! She simply adjusted and accepted.

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But I’m thankful to be more open to how my mind works these days and the challenge of seeing things in a new way. And I also remind myself that I am a work in progress and to be gentle with myself. Be gentle.

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Synchronicity Chronicles: The Tree Goddess is Alive and Well in Me.

Synchronicity Chronicles: The Tree Goddess is Alive and Well in Me.
artwork by Maria Wulf

“She saw her reflection for the first time.” -Maria Wulf

Earlier today on my blog I shared my tree Goddess paintings that I completed over the weekend.

The tree Goddesses that speak to me of my feminine divine essence. They speak to me of truly embracing and appreciating all the many facets of who I am.

artwork by Barbara Techel

I was a bit nervous about sharing the paintings I did as I don’t consider myself a painter. But these tree gals are stirring things up inside of me — and it’s been interesting to watch it unfold.

And an hour later after I hit “publish” and sent my Goddess paintings out into the world, I walked to my mailbox.

I was about to discover that synchronicity was at work again. I opened a package I found waiting inside my mailbox. It contained a book called “Red Moon Passage” which I had sent to artist Maria Wulf about a month ago.

I had mailed her a copy after reading on her blog some struggles she was having around menopause. We are very close in age and I relate to so much of what Maria writes about. I thought she would enjoy the book, which had helped me and which talks much about enveloping our feminine energy.

She shared with me that she got much out of the book and many of the ideas will stay with her. And though I meant for her to keep the book, I smiled knowing there is likely someone else who needs to benefit from it, and I will pass it along when that time comes.

But it was the card that Maria enclosed that made me smile with recognition of how this universe works when we are in alignment.

It’s the image of the card I share and the quote at the beginning of this post – could it not be more fitting for what I just wrote about and my tree Goddess paintings?

The universe — always supporting us and reflecting back — this was so evident to me with the timing of my finished paintings, the post written, and the card received from Maria.

Indeed… the Tree Goddess is alive and well… and she is growing in new directions, reaching toward the sky, grounding herself in what she knows, and opening her arms to embrace all of who she is, and knowing there is nothing she has to prove — but that be-ing is where the magic and wisdom is at.

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What Do Spiders Have to Do with Washing Dishes?

what do spiders have to do with washing the dishes?

I’ve never been fond of washing dishes or spiders – not washing spiders that is, but spiders themselves – ha! I’ll get to what spiders have to do with washing dishes in a moment. So please bear with me.

I was grateful when John took over washing the dishes a few years ago. I cook dinner, he does the dishes. Fair enough.

Then something interesting started happening about two months ago. I wanted to wash the dishes.

I’ve felt my forehead several times since, checking to see if I have a fever. Nope, not a fever. Though a few hot flashes that I’ve been experiencing which seem to occur just as we sit down to dinner.

But what is it that I had this urge lately, if I can even call it that, to do the dishes?

And then I was reading a book called, Red Moon Passage – The Power and Wisdom of Menopause by Bonnie J. Horrigan.

I came across a section in Bonnie’s book where she interviewed Paula Grunn Allen, award-winning Amercian Indian scolar and poet, and how she talks about Grandmother Spider.

Grandmother Spider is an important figure in the mythology and folklore of many Native American cultures.

According to Paula, Grandmother Spider is the female consciousness and holds tremendous power. Part of the female consciousness are rituals associated with female energy such as sweeping the floors, caring for others and doing the dishes.

Okay, so what does this have to really do with wanting to do the dishes? I wondered.

Reading further Paula talks about the menopausal time and how women can feel angry, sad, glad and scared all at the same time.

I raise my hand and can attest to those roller coaster of emotions!

Paula’s advice is to not try and push those feelings out of the way, but try to “play in a balanced way simultaneously.”

Huh. Interesting. But how does one do that?

Well, Paula believes that meditation is a bad idea for women’s physiology and that you can’t find a trace of native practice where women meditate by just sitting.

She says the problem is that we’ve been conditioned to think that washing dishes is trivial so that females won’t use their power – how women under sixty think doing the dishes is insignificant and useless.

While I  can’t say I thought it insignificant, this made sense to me. As I thought about how over the years I was working so hard to prove my worth, oftentimes exhausting myself in the process, to have to do the dishes did, in some ways, feel like it was just one more thing I had to do.

But Paula encourages women to balance the male and female consciousness – that this is what makes up who we are.

And I realized, as Paula also talks about that doing the dishes can be a meditation of sorts, that it was true.

I realized that when I do the dishes I don’t have many thoughts. Somehow my hands in the warm water, with all the sudsy bubbles, lulls me into a peaceful, centering place.

All those crazy hormonal imbalances seem to find a happy place to land… at least for the time being.

Maybe this all sounds rather crazy, but I have to say, it makes perfect sense to me.

And if the bonus is easing my way through menopause, well, then by all means, bring on the dirty dishes! I’m ready to meditate.

PS:  I have given John fair warning that this “urge” may disappear at any moment. Thank goodness I married one heck of a Prince Charming who is going with the flow of my menopausal moments.

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