Mysteries Of Menopause
One day—an ordinary day like any other—almost imperceptibly at first, you sense something strange is happening in your body. A tiny flutter of heat begins to rise and sweep up your torso, neck, and head. Then the strange feeling passes away again almost as quickly as it has come, and you now find you are feeling just a bit chilled. Or maybe, one night at 3am you awaken to find yourself drenched in sweat for no reason. “Am I ill?” you ask, making a quick check through your body, only to find that no, you do not feel ill. Then what on earth is happening?
CREATIVE POWER RISES
According to Eastern religions and traditional medicine, a hot flush is a rapid release of kundalini energy—creative energy that is said to rise up the spine, and wonderfully refine the nervous system and activate the energy centers in the body. The first chakra, at the base of your spine, is associated with survival energy, for instance. The second chakra, in the pelvis, is connected with biological creativity. The third chakra, in the solar plexus, governs self-esteem and the power of transformation. The fourth chakra, in the center of your chest, is linked with the heart and with feelings of compassion. The fifth chakra, at your throat, asks that you speak your thoughts. The sixth chakra, which is located between your eyebrows, governs clairvoyance and far sightedness. The seventh chakra, which is located at the crown of your head, is known as “the thousand petalled lotus”. When activated it is believed to give the highest spiritual illumination. It is the seventh chakra that is responsible for the halo depicted around the head of saints, Jesus, and the Buddha.
INVITATION TO WISDOM
When the kundalini fire rises in a menopausal woman, she becomes capable of powerful healing, wisdom, and peacekeeping—the traditional role of the post-menopausal woman or “crone” in many societies. It can be useful for you to view hot flushes from this point of view. This is often helpful in seeing them as manifestations of your own creative energy finally being made available to make use of as you choose instead of being bound up in carrying for others all the time, and birthing and raising children.
I’ve worked with many groups of menopausal women in approaching hot flushes this way. We have looked at them not as something to be feared or concealed, but rather as a sign that a woman’s individual spirit, often long ignored, is demanding attention. Once you leave behind irrational fears, hot flushes can bring the most phenomenal energy to use for whatever you most want in life.
FIRE OF REBIRTH
Some of the most interesting work looking at the incidence of hot flushes comes from examining the effect of diet and cultural attitudes. For example, in Indonesia and Japan, women experience very few hot flushes, particularly in comparison to women in Western societies. Mayan Indians in Mexico report no symptoms whatever at the approach of menopause, other than the menstrual cycle becoming irregular. Of course there are significant dietary differences operating here. For example, Japanese women eat fermented soya products that contain a high level of plant hormones, and they have few symptoms of menopause.
FEMALE FREEDOM TO BE
The long traditions of natural medicine also view hot flushes as a means the body uses to detoxify itself as well as to enhance immunity. Recent research shows that even a slight raise in temperature in the body can be instrumental in doing both.
A few months before she died, I interviewed Dr. Dagmar Leichti von Brasch about menopause. A vital woman in her eighties and mother of five, Leichti was director of the world famous Bircher Benner Clinic for forty years and niece to Max Bircher Benner himself. She was one of my greatest mentors. She taught me much of what I know about natural medicine. When I asked her what hot flushes are all about from the point of view of natural medicine, she told me that, like night sweats, they have always been considered the means by which a woman’s body deep cleanses itself and refines itself for new physical and spiritual tasks.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOU
I also questioned Leichti at length about her own experience of menopause and the experiences of the thousands of mid-life women patients she had cared for during the more than half a century she spent practicing medicine. She told me that she believed, from a spiritual point of view, hot flushes and waking in the night in a sweat could be important events in a woman’s life. “They stop us from carrying on ‘as normal’ which women are so apt to do—fulfilling their social roles. They demand that we pay attention to our bodies and to our lives,” said Dr. Leichti. “This is exactly what menopausal women are supposed to do.”
A vibrant and healthy woman, Leichti ran the clinic in Zurich single-handed while fulfilling her role as wife and mother. She had the same experience during her menopause that so many perimenopausal and menopausal women have of waking up night after night in the wee hours of the morning for no apparent reason. When this happens, it often occurs between 2am and 3am. She would find herself flooded in tears of the deepest sorrow. She would try to go back to sleep without success, so she lay in bed night after night with tears streaming down the sides of her face. For a very long while Leichti could not figure out why she felt so sad—especially since every morning she would rise and go about her duties at the clinic feeling perfectly normal.
Finally, after several months of this she decided that instead of remaining in bed she would get up and go to her study to write down what she felt. “Before long, I realized that I had begun to tap into new ideas which were exciting, to sense new possibilities and to see the world in new ways. It was during those early morning hours that I dreamed new dreams about my future.” Afterwards, when Leichti would speak with other women who had had similar experiences—waking in fear or grief, anger, or frustration—she discovered that if they are able simply to allow themselves to feel whatever feelings arise from within, they discover wells of untapped creativity and bridges to the soul hidden beneath these feelings. It is almost as though, from a spiritual point of view, hot flushes are like the Promethean fire of creation rising up within a woman and demanding that she pay attention to who she really is and find outlets for this fire.
I AGREE COMPLETELY
I believe that Dr Leichti is right. I myself have observed that over and over again, when a woman experiencing hot flushes overcomes her fear of them and begins to listen to the dictates of her soul and then act upon them creatively, both the intensity and the frequency of hot flushes diminish. As one woman who had originally had severe flushes said to me when I asked her about them a few months after she had taken up dancing and drumming, “Hot flushes? Oh those. Yes I guess I still have them. Most of the time I am so busy doing other things I love doing that I don’t even notice.”
So complex are the hormonal events within the female body and so central is their relationship to how we think and feel that it would be no exaggeration to say the female endocrine system is an interface between body and spirit. Even our hopes and dreams are echoed in surges of hormones and in their shifting patterns—much as chords and rhythms develop into the themes and movements of a symphony. Changes in hormonal balance from day to day—even from moment to moment—do not only alter the way you feel emotionally but can even affect your view of reality. Whether you see life as an exciting challenge to be met or a source of constant misery and disappointment is also reflected in hormone shifts. This is why hormonal imbalances create such emotional and spiritual agonies in women, such as those associated with PMS or menopausal symptoms. And nothing is more insidious in preventing you from experiencing these new visions and freedoms than filling your body with artificial hormones used in HRT.
PROTECT YOUR FREEDOM
The psychic and spiritual aspects of every woman’s hormonal interactions are all too often forgotten, so they live within the confines of the mechanistic thinking that rules our society. Instead of recognizing the changes in mood and personality as natural to any cycling creature, we tend to think we should always be the same—always rational, reliable, reasonable, and steady. Meanwhile, synthetic hormones—drugs with potentially devastating side effects—continue to be doled out to you from puberty onwards, with no respect for your wonderful cycling nature and no concern for the long-term consequences these chemicals can have on your health and emotions. There is, I believe, far too little awareness of the way in which the use of one or two artificial hormones year after year not only undermines your long-term health but can also affect your ability to fulfill your potentials for wholeness and impede your spiritual development. Stop believing in the fear mongering you hear from the powers that be. It’s time to discover your own unique truth in the deepest layers of your being. Set yourself free. The world needs you to be, in essence, who you already are and always have been.