'There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread'.
~ William Stafford ~”
The stories in my consulting room, told by women who were in the midst of menopausal change, helped me to deepen my understanding of the aspects of soul that are called upon in this rite of passage. Women who came to see me were longing to reconnect to the thread that they once held so tightly and that William Stafford describes so aptly. Throughout their reproductive years many women let go of the thread as they were spending their energy attending to the needs of others and adjusting to the demands of the world. Many women got so used to responding to the daily pressures and demands of life that there is an empty space where their own unique gifts could be.
Then, hot flushes and sleepless nights start to send a wordless signal to the world that our body is asking for attention. However nice and sociable one tries to be, menopause risks to pull the carpet of social adaptability from underneath our feet and confronts us with the need to go inward, to pull away from commitments that no longer serve us and to find our way to the thread we hold within ourselves. It isn’t a matter of who is better or worse, who is important and who isn’t. The process of menopause is a calling to find a way to foster every woman’s development into a fuller version of herself. It is a call for authenticity and for what we have to offer to the world.
HRT, lubrication and anti-depressants may be helpful tools along the way, but they are not the answer to what our soul longs for.