Ep 36 - The Promise and Potential of Menopause with Claire Harrison
Claire Harrison is a coach, writer, facilitator & mindfulness teacher. She has worked with over 2,000 women, facilitating masterclasses in conscious leadership, executive coaching & teaching mindfulness meditation through her Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programs. Claire holds a Diploma in Positive Psychology & is passionate about supporting women through deep inner work. She hosts two retreats a year, bringing women together to rest, transform and heal through her foundation program, The Heroine’s Journey - a path to wholeness.
Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast and more.
Broadcast: October 21, 2022
Here is a snippit of our conversation…
Jumping off the treadmill to honour ourselves.
…we are starting to see generational change in terms of women accessing and finding their power, but our generation, those of us going through peri menopause and into menopause, we’re on this kind of treadmill. The roles that we fulfill, can be all about the striving and growth, which is a very masculine way of being. And I, for many, many years shoved down a lot of my natural feminine instincts. Even having a period was just something to ‘get through’. It's not like honouring the body, honouring how you feel when you have a period. And I think the same principles are applying here - this idea of menstruation right through to perimenopause, menopause, and post menopause. A lot of this is about honouring ourselves and we don't do a lot of honouring when we're on that treadmill.
Menopause is really an opportunity to go inward, become more aware and learn to listen to ourselves more deeply.
How do we turn the challenges of menopause (tiredness, moods, agitation, rage) into good, into transformation?
Rage is such an interesting topic because for so long you are told to be the good girl. You know, expressing rage isn't considered a good thing. But I'm getting fired up because there's a lot of things to get fired up about in the world today. I do feel strongly about this and I'm going to express that – I’m going to think about what I can do about it. I give less of a shit about trying to modify my feelings to make them acceptable for others. The thing that so many elders can show us is that accepting of responsibility and rising up and doing something about the things that you feel angry about. But it's also about allowing that anger to be expressed because any anger or rage turn inward, turned inward becomes illness of some kind.
We do need to rise up on the things that are important because our world needs us and we need more of a balance between the masculine and feminine in this.
It’s about letting go..
A big part of this journey is about letting things go, about becoming more present to our lives, not necessarily wanting things to be easy or different, but recognising that life is filled with challenges.
Menopause is not something to necessarily ‘get through’, get over quickly, rush through, make different. It is a phase and you will cycle through different phases as you go through late peri menopause and into menopause.. the phases move. If you allow yourself to feel irritated, if you allow yourself to feel tired, if you allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you are feeling in that moment and stop trying to make it different, it will pass.
And a note on hot flashes..
I love this image of a hot flash being things that are burning up in a way that are no longer serving me. And so it’s also about how can you find a way through it that doesn't deny what's going on or be so obsessed with making it different or not your reality and how can you reframe it and view it with a different perspective and perhaps through a different lens. And this is where becoming truly present to our lives and checking in with ourselves and actually saying to ourselves, ‘ what do I need today’? It can be as simple as, ‘what's one thing I can do today to nourish myself’? And it can be a simple thing, they don't need to be grand gestures.
It really is a burning away of, of all that was so that we can ultimately be reborn to become the elder woman that we're going to be.
The importance of self-enquiry..
This period, this journey that we go on through menopause, it's just about doing a bit more self-inquiry. And, it can be really uncomfortable work, but it's the way through and it's trusting in that process, that it takes as long as it takes, not rushing it or thinking I should be here by now, or I'm behind somehow, you are where you need to be. But I think the journey of menopause is made more easeful the more honest we can get with ourselves.
Adjusting our morning routines..
This menopause experience, your energy levels are all over the place, and I think one of the things we really need to honour is our need for rest, so one of the things that I've started to do is see how I feel on the day. I have learned to work within my rhythms rather than pushing myself, because that's the way I've always done things and pushing is very masculine. There needs to be less doing, and more being, and when we are more in the being, this is how we learn to get quiet enough to listen to what it is that we need.