I’ve been waking up in the night with my skin on fire. I try to explain this to my tender and supportive husband: “I feel like I’m bathing in sheet lightning. It’s electrical. It’s hot.” He says “You ARE hot!” But it feels like – I’m on fire. Don’t touch me. I wake up tired from burning all night.
These are called “hot flashes,” and frankly they are a joke in our society. The classic menopausal joke. Something to make fun of, or be slightly ashamed of. A weakness. A symptom. A punchline.
But here’s what I think: these are the fires of transformation. The old self is being burned away, channels are being cleared for new life-energy to move through us. We are learning to dance in the flames. Susun Weed says “from an energy standpoint, a hot flash is a release of kundalini energy which ‘rewires’ the nervous system, making it capable of transferring and moving powerful healing and peace-keeping energies for the entire community…”
Long before I read about hot flashes being an awakening of life force, I intuited this truth in my own body. As a dancer and yogini, I have experienced purifying fire moving through my body before, and understood the power of this. Fire brings rapid transformation. It quickly and dramatically clears the ground for new growth. It’s compelling, mysterious, and sometimes scary.
Of course there are hormonal triggers for these events. Our body heat is surfacing due to increased levels of pituitary hormones. Isn’t that amazing? Our inner fire is literally surfacing. How beautiful. So today I want to encourage you to cultivate a new relationship with your inner fire. What if, instead of seeing this fire as a symptom to be managed, you explored it as a messenger of change, a partner in transformation, an experience of initiation? What if you entered the experience with curiosity and surrender?
Try just breathing through your next ‘hot flash.’ What becomes of the experience when you don’t resist it?
You might also spend some time in self reflection, or with your journal, considering such questions as “What passions need to come to the surface at this time in my life?” “What needs to be burned away?” “In what ways might I be resisting change?” “What is the nature of my inner fire?”
Cooling the FLAMES
OK, so we’ve talked about the sacred fires of transformation that accompany menopause, and the energetic and sacred meaning and purpose of ‘hot flashes.’
So you’re doing your inner work, you’re breathing into the fire with mindfulness and wisdom, you’re celebrating your transformation… but you still need to get some sleep and some relief sometimes! I’ve gathered together some ideas and suggestions for alternative treatments to alleviate the discomfort of hot flashes. Some of these I have had personal success with, some I have not tried yet! As always, when trying new remedies, trust your own intuition and body wisdom, and work with a health care practitioner you trust!
~ Give your liver a chance to do its work of processing the hormones in your bloodstream: cut down on alcohol, caffeine, and conventional dairy, and eat clean as much as possible.
~ Regular cardio REALLY helps!
~ Both yoga and acupuncture can help to manage, release, and channel the new life-energy that is pulsing through you.
~ Stay hydrated and replace the trace minerals you lose in flashes with mineral rich herbal teas like red clover, oat straw, and horsetail. I also eat seaweed for trace minerals.
~ Chasteberry (Vitex) is a wonderful herb for balancing hormones.
~ If you want to work with crystals, moonstone can help with hormonal balance, citrine can balance and soothe the intense energy you are experiencing, and double-terminated quartz is a magical ally for any time of transformation.
~ Aromatherapy allies are clary sage and peppermint. I use a peppermint and jasmine room spray around my bed at night.
~ The most important healing tool you have is self-love and self-acceptance