A Nourished Menopause: Cherish, nurse, and flow.
As women, we give a lot of superficial thought to nourishment. We are often the ones responsible for the nourishment of our families. We shop for and prepare the food, we make decisions about the health of our families and our elders,and even our pets. we often know quite a bit about nutrition.
We take this role of She Who Nourishes for granted – and often the ones we nourish take it for granted as well.
Throughout our reproductive life, we had monthly evidence that at the most basic level our bodies are built to nourish others.
And as with so many things, we find the role of nourisher begins to subtly shift and change at menopause. after a lifetime of nourishing energy flowing outward, we can begin to consider what it would mean to truly nourish ourselves.
The root of the word ‘nourish’ is the Latin word meaning nurse, suckle, cherish. And deeper than that, the Indo-European root word for flow. Isn’t that beautiful? As women we are archetypally, but also quite literally, the wellspring, the source.
Then why do so many of us suffer from deep, even crippling feelings of lack and deprivation? Why do so many of us literally starve ourselves? Why do so many of us feel empty? Why do we speak of feeling drained?
I think the image for this is not so much of a cup, empty and waiting to be filled, as of a deep spring that has been blocked up. We are not vessels waiting to be filled by life, we shouldn’t wait for the abundance we have given out to be returned to us by others. Instead we could remember that we are the source.
This sounds beautiful, but what does this actually mean in practice, especially at midlife, when we might be feeling truly drained, on many levels.
I find this drained feeling to be so common as to almost be characteristic of menopause. We often arrive at this cusp with our adrenals depleted, our iron stores drained, our faith in relationships weakened, and our physical stamina low. Much of our work during the menopausal years IS the work of self-nourishment, the work of replenishing our stores and nursing ourselves into vitality.
For clues about how to do this best, we can look again at the roots of the word nourish: cherish, nurse, and flow.
We learn to cherish ourselves. If we are able to do that, then we WANT to begin to care for ourselves with love, and nurse our exhausted aspects gently back to health and vitality. As we love and nurture ourselves more deeply and authentically, we open to the flow of love, wisdom, and energy that is already within us – we stop holding back the flow with self-destructive habits and behaviours. Cherish, nurse, and flow.
In what small ways can you begin to cherish yourself today?