I love this time of year. Even though it adds minutes to my already busy morning commute, there’s something so magical about having to thaw frost from car windows and seeing the shimmer of icy on shadowy lawns. Rain is finally showing up in the forecast. There are manic squirrels everywhere, barreling across quiet roads and dashing across busy highways. Most mornings I drive with a constant prayer on my lips (“not today, not today, I don’t want to hit a living thing today…”) while smiling at how what an effective guide instinct really is. Yesterday I drove my girls out to a beautiful island near us, a rural oasis just minutes from our busy city, and we drank in the soothing vistas of fields full of pumpkins, fields full of thousands of Canadian geese, and fields sitting empty, waiting, while a lone green tractor patiently crossed the hills on the diagonal. The trees are disrobing. Everywhere I look, everything is beginning the natural autumn process of turning in, slowing down, and making seeds.
It’s a time of year that lends itself to the deep soul work of menopause. Shorter days and longer nights make it easier to stay home and postpone less than thrilling social obligations. It’s ok to beg off with vague symptoms of the common cold, and slip into our pajamas early. It feels good to open the windows and let the cool night air caress our hot skin. Autumn is the perfect excuse to curl up on the sofa with our pillows and tea and watch the light fade early. On a Friday! It feels validating to know that the earth is also craving darkness for a time. She’s going underground to sleep and dream and plot her return.
The call to slow down and go underground for a time can take us by surprise, but it’s a necessary part of our transformation. We are no longer young, wrinkle-free maidens, with unlived lives ahead of us. We’re shedding the remainders of our first chapter like a too-small shell. We have outgrown the simple planes and forms of youth. Something fundamental is shifting and our body knows what our brain can’t yet figure out. We are hearing the stirring of underground rivers. We’re dreaming of roots and webs. We are being called to travel in before we can bloom out. This call to go in mirrors the beauty and secrecy of fall.
How is your sleep? Are there things in your life you can shift or change in order to have more space and time to dream deeply? If you’re someone like me who has struggled with healthy sleep patterns since childhood, and if you haven’t already allowed yourself the time and effort to uncover what is below those complaints and what can be done to help support your particular vitality (from nutrition to hormonal support to herbs and tinctures to acupuncture and more), then please start now. I know it can feel overwhelming or time consuming, but your experience of menopause and midlife changes will improve exponentially when you get the support and love your body is calling out for. Our hormonal health is tied to our adrenal health, because our adrenal glands produce our estrogen, progesterone, epinephrine and more. We can’t have smooth hormonal transitions when those systems are stressed or barely functioning. There are so many reasons why our sleep can be disordered but there are SO many ways to rebuild and repair whatever it may be. Every step you can take towards a better quality of sleep will drastically improve your physical and emotional health, and it will greatly improve your experience of menopause.
Allowing ourselves rest and time for reflection can be a magical, mystical part of our female journey. It’s also absolutely necessary in order for us to experience a nourished menopause. Just as we need good nutrition for our hormones to function optimally, we also need healthy patterns of restorative sleep. We need to turn off the busy outside world for a bit and let ourselves go under and below. We are not permanently withdrawing from the world and from our lives. Rather, we are processing the work we’ve already done and allowing our bodies and hearts to deepen their root systems for the next chapter. We are turning in and awaiting the coming spring. We are becoming like the flowers and trees in fall: we are seeding our beautiful, vivid future.
Rituals of Nourishment begins Sunday! Click here to join us.