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The Greatest Journey

I have long been sure in every fiber of my being that the joys of menopause are the world’s best kept secret. Like venturing through the gateway to enter an ancient temple, in order to claim that joy, a woman must be willing to pass beyond the monsters who guard its gate. As you stand at the brink of it, it can appear that only darkness, danger and decay lie beyond. And in a way this is true – although most certainly not in the way most women believe. For having myself passed through the doorway of menopause into the realms beyond—almost twenty years ago now—I am certain, as thousands of women from all cultures throughout history have whispered to each other, that menopause is the most exciting passage a woman ever makes.

Of course nobody told me this beforehand. It was a secret I had to discover for myself. Like most modern women my head had been filled with the horrors of hot flushes, fainting spells and dry vaginas; with memories of my mother’s tears shed over a wrinkle that appeared one day to mar her perfect face; with the prospect of enforced celibacy—after all, no man can feel lust for an old woman, or can he? It was partly by accident, I think, and partly because—despite good health and secure family circumstances—my own journey through menopause was not an easy one, that I discovered this secret, which throughout history women living in patriarchal cultures have guarded close to their hearts: The doorway of menopause which each of us is invited to pass through is a call to adventure. It connects the ordinary world in which we have been living to a numinous zone of magnified power. Within that zone are hidden treasures to match our wildest dreams. But, like every prize worth having, these riches can only be claimed and brought back if a woman is bold enough and persistent enough to answer the call. What is calling? Nothing less than her own soul.

This call to adventure which a woman hears at menopause can arrive in as many different forms as there are women to hear it. But, whatever shape it takes, its purpose is the same. It is asking her—imploring her—to leave behind the comfortable world of her ordinary existence and for a time to venture into a challenging unfamiliar place. It is asking her to set out on her own hero’s journey—a journey which is completely unique to her. Sometimes this entails making an outer journey to a real place, moving to a new job, or leaving behind a marriage which has outlived its usefulness. For many the journey takes place only in the mind, the heart and the spirit. Either way it is primarily an inner journey which takes a woman out of her ordinary world with all its ordinary assumptions to transform the way she thinks and lives—from weakness to strength, from grief to purpose, from despair to hope—and then brings her home again. So important do I feel the mysterious transformation that begins in a woman’s life as menopause approaches, that I would like to share with you some of the magic I and so many others have discovered in this extraordinary life-changing passage in future blogs. I hope you will join me.

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6 Comments

  • COMFYSAM March 10, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    That is beautiful Leslie and very inspiring. I have just passed through menopause unexpectedly (although thankfully without many symptoms) last year at the age of 46. Having been trying for a late baby this was a journey not without its challanges but I like you now honestly believe this journey has been truly transformative. A time of awakening and blossoming into a one’s most creative authentic self. I have started a blog about this called http://www.blossoming-latebloomers.blogspot. One blog is my ‘Personal journey from Bud to Blossoming’ and includes how you and your work inspired me back in my late teens and again today. I really look forward to future blogs you do on this subject. It is time woman were awakened to the potential of this time rather than seeing it as a time of endings and loss. x Sam

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    • Leslie Kenton July 6, 2012 at 2:55 am

      Hi Sam… Thanks so much for you note…I am so glad to hear that you too have experienced just how transformative menopause can be. I tried to link to your blog but for some reason was unable to access it. Thanks too for your comment…I will most certainly write more about menopause in my own blog in the future as you suggest…Leslie

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    • Mathias July 23, 2012 at 1:15 am

      Lance Meadows Posted on I been telling mylesf since last night I think I want to go for a jog this evening; its been a while . This post must be a sign that I really do need to throw on my running shoes also and hit the track (especially since I missed National Running Day) tonite. Thanks for the inspiration Leslie!

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  • Jane Archutowska June 22, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Dear Leslie, your inspiring quote is everywhere! I am doing a MSc on the menopause and would love to use your quote “the joy of menopause is the world’s best kept secret…” I would like to reference is correctly, can you tell me what page number it is?
    Many thanks,
    Jane

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    • Salma July 23, 2012 at 3:49 am

      She is about 9 months old now and on the MOVE! She has grown an awful lot since we made her nwerobn portraits. Since she has just learned to crawl, it was um challenging : ) to keep her sitting

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  • Leslie Kenton July 6, 2012 at 2:51 am

    Hi Jane… I’m honored that you would like to use my quote in your manuscript. It comes from PASSAGE TO POWER…Natural Menopause Revolution but I can’t give you a page number as the book has come out in a number of different formats and editions since it was first published (including Kindle recently). I would love to read what you decide to write about menopause at some time in the future if you feel you’s like to share it with me. Meanwhile good luck with your work. It is SUCH an important subject and it needs fresh visions and clarity more than ever now… Leslie x

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