I consider myself pretty healthy: I work out 3-4 times per week, I eat pretty well, I meditate almost daily, and I don't drink or do drugs. I also consciously practice opening my heart to give and receive more love. So imagine my frustration with the weekly bizarre aches and pains from seemingly nowhere. The most frightening happened a couple of weeks ago. We were at the movies and suddenly my heart started racing. (Mind you I was sitting down doing nothing, not running a race.) My first thought was I'm having a heart attack. Then I decided I wasn't ready to die in that moment, so I stopped eating my delicious buttery popcorn and began deep breathing. (But I did also decide if my heart didn't settle within a couple of minutes I would have Thomas take me to the hospital.) My heart settled and all was fine in the moment.
Turns out this is a common symptom of menopause! Along with achy joints, shooting pains and sleeplessness--all of which I've been experiencing. Oh, this crap is normal I realized, now I can relax. I let out a deep sigh of relief to discover that I'm not falling apart!
I truly believe we are not meant to suffer. Our bodies know how to heal themselves without our interference. I am now on a quest! If I am suffering then there is something I'm resisting. The obvious would be I'm resisting getting older, but I think it's deeper than just that. Doctors and the media have too often told us this is a difficult time for women--and have created all sorts of drugs to combat the symptoms like we are sick. But since this is a natural phase, then our bodies know what to do naturally, if given the chance.
In thinking about resistance, I realize I have been resisting some of the messages my body has been sending me. I have been tired, but have resisted taking regular naps. I think there is always something more important to do, or feel I shouldn't need to rest because I never have had to before. I've also been resisting taking time for myself. For weeks I desired to spend a day at my favorite spa, but didn't go because I did not want to spend the money or take the time. I've also been craving more protein than usual. I can't seem to get enough chicken, peanut butter, eggs or fish. I now see that all these signals are my body telling me what it needs in this moment to be comfortable and healthy. I may need something different next week or next month, but I feel my resistance to listening has contributed to my unyielding discomfort.
So I'm choosing to be different. First, I shared the website with Thomas. We had a wonderful conversation about the changes taking place for me. I have created a partnership with him for this. Now instead of having to pretend I'm feeling great when I'm really not, I can just say what's so for me without us both fearing I'm falling apart. Also this creates a space for me to ask for what I need. My husband is very caring and supportive, but he's not a mind reader. It's my responsibility to communicate if I need a break or help with something. I've also started resting more when I feel tired. Sometimes laying down for 15 minutes is all I need to feel rejuvenated. In the past I would try to push through the fatigue and just ended up more tired and irritable. (Note: I'm clear my hormonal changes are not a blank check for me to be mean to my husband and daughter who love me dearly.)
I don't understand everything going on with my body, but I'm committed to going through this change with ease and grace! I was able to maneuver through a difficult pregnancy and feel I can do the same with menopause. I'm calling on the support of all the magnificent women going through this shift. If I hadn't been willing to talk about my crazy ups and downs, I would have never found out how 'normal' my symptoms are.
Originally published September 2013.