Menopause As Initiation

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It’s for your own protection’ we’re told. Lock down the world to save the older people from dying from the virus. And at the same time here in the UK this lockdown also protects the NHS (the public National Health Service)  from being overwhelmed by these dying people. Doesn’t it sound wonderful to be protected… cocooned… looked after by the State? Doesn’t it sound wonderful that they care about us so much that they are spending billions covering our wages? It is an extraordinary outpouring of largesse. And the majority of us are phenomenally grateful that all we have to take personal responsibility for is staying away from others, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

It’s About Protection

protection from Dragons needed?I have been watching and reading a lot about this virus and the measures our governments have taken to keep us safe, although this blog isn’t about that discussion… It’s about protection.

Have you noticed in your 50+ years of life that the level of protection in our world has expanded way beyond what it was when we were kids? And as the level of protection increases our level of freedom decreases, although that may not be so obvious.

In the old days when my age was in single figures I was allowed to play outside all day. I played wherever I liked, whether I was on the wild Welsh coast or in London. No one expected me to be snatched away by a pedophile, although surely they must have existed. No one expected anyone to snatch me for any reason whatsoever, and clearly I wasn’t.

Immunity for Life

In the old days we had a handful of vaccines and I remember being quite happy to have time off school through measles and chicken pox. I am now immune to those diseases for life. My family were fine and there was no sense that I had given it to anyone else, or if I had there was no hardship from it. We certainly didn’t worry about who gave it to me. We considered it a good thing to have ‘been there, done that’. But now it seems there is a vaccine for everything and I’m hearing that this may not be such great protection after all. But that’s also not what this blog is about.

In the old days men could pat my bum, wolf-whistle and blow me kisses without me huffing and puffing to a tribunal. I was more than capable of handling it and, to be honest, I quite enjoyed thinking I was pretty enough. Apparently women are not capable of handling this kind of attention any more. But this is not about the likes of men like Harvey Weinstein either, and their inability to respect women. This is about the value of protection to us as a society.

Protection and Challenges

In indigenous cultures there is much less protection, even now. Those cultures consider it vital that we grow up, and in order to do this we have to face the physical and mental challenges life has to offer. Discovering that we can have ‘herd immunity’ means we can be physically better able to deal with the health challenges which the wind blows our way. Being able to handle threat helps us know that we can be strong, that we can make rapid decisions, that we can survive. All this builds our full immunity – from our physical capabilities to our mental health.

When we over-protect we keep ourselves as children, unable to look after our health, and reliant on medicine from the huge pharmaceutical companies. We lose the ability to think clearly and decisively as adults. We become communities of kids needing the input of fatherly authority to keep us on the straight and narrow. Our choices diminish, our sense of self shrivels and our freedom to be the best we can be bleeds away.

Indigenous cultures use initiation for their young people, but our First World culture shields us from that, and our distance from the natural world precludes it. But what if Nature is ahead of us and we are simply lagging behind some of her offerings?

A Gift, Not A Forfeit

I see this coronavirus pandemic as an initiation where many of us have to face our mortality entirely alone. Or perhaps we face the mortality of loved ones without being able to reach out a tender compassionate hand. Many of us face the fear of losing our jobs or businesses, and with that there are huge threats looming which increasingly threaten our mental health. Facing these ‘dragons’ serves us in the long run if we can face them square on and not crumble. In fact knowing we won’t crumble is valuable in itself. And apart from coronavirus, what if Nature hands us older women the most amazing initiation? What if her gift to us as we leave our fertile years behind is the initiation journey of menopause?

We usually regard initiation as the beginning of something, so it may be strange to consider it relevant as we approach our fifties. But this journey through menopause is absolutely the beginning of something, even when we believe it is an ending. ‘When one chapter ends’… ‘When one door closes’.

Can we approach our menopause with the thought that it initiates us into a new phase of life where this experience actually strengthens us, reveals our innate wisdom and reminds us of our natural abilities? Can we decide that our menopause journey is a gift and not a forfeit?

Wisdom To Share

The grandmothers who are left after this virus has departed (and I am talking about all of us of grandmother age, not just those who have grandchildren) will be the ones who have survived… some of us alone. We can either heave a sigh of relief that it’s all over or we can explore who we have become through this, and discover that we have wisdom to share. Can we unite our initiation of menopause with our initiation through the lockdown of coronavirus and emerge as our butterfly selves, out of the chrysalis and ready to fly?

This is our time to grow in to the truth of who we are as individuals and as a community. We are wise elder women, especially when we have allowed ourselves to be forged through the fires of initiation, facing the fears that ‘Beyond here there be dragons’ and rediscovering our magnificence afresh.

Collaborative Nature

Nature is collaborative. It has never followed the ‘dog eat dog’ concept handed down through our schooling. If cells in our body can be collaborative, then our natural way of living is also collaborative. As we age, and as we traverse the terrain of menopause, we shift in to a greater coherence with collaboration. Can you imagine what we could bring to the world when we weave our wisdom together as wise elder women?

If this speaks to you and you would love to weave your wisdom with like-hearted women please join us in The Silver Tent and Silver Synergy (the paid subscription part of The Silver Tent) – your welcome will be very warm and sincere.

If you’re a member of The Silver Tent community and would love to explore the corona virus as an initiation I’m hosting an online gathering soon where I’ll guide you through a deceptively simple series of intuitive journeys to ask your inner wisdom to reveal itself. Just look in the ‘Events’ section of the group and click that you want to attend. It’s free of charge.

Francesca Cassini

 

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