The purpose of a midlife crisis, perimenopause and menopause (from a spiritual perspective) is to move us beyond childbearing to birthing ourselves…and this is as true for men as it is for women. During midlife and menopause, we are invited to leave behind the life we have known to make room for the new life that is trying to be born through us. In birthing our new selves, we are birthing our Soul – the unique way we are creatively gifted to find meaning, purpose, connection and fulfillment in our lives and the way in which we find fulfillment by contributing to the betterment of our world. Today we explore the most obvious symptom of midlife – the physical changes which mark this stage of development and transition.
Midlife and Menopause – Hot Flashes and Erectile Dysfunction Anyone?
While the spiritual, mental and emotional challenges of midlife may be subtle and easily ignored by some….the physical changes are pretty dang obvious and for some, at least at the onset, disturbing. Age is the great equalizer and that in the end, gravity wins – literally! No matter how hard we work against them, some of the physical changes of midlife are inevitable and unavoidable. Weight gain. Moving body parts (mostly in a descending sort of fashion). Hair loss. New (and unwanted) hair growth. Hot Flashes. Fatigue. Night Sweats. The appearance of wrinkles, age spots, etc. Greying hair. Muscle loss. Bone loss. Erectile dysfunction. Loss of libido. Loss of lubrication. The list goes on. While there are measures we can take to delay or lessen their impact, many of the physical changes of midlife are inevitable and will win out in the end. The key to surviving the physical changes in midlife, especially in our appearance-driven culture, is to learn to make peace with the changes in our bodies.
Midlife and Menopause – Self Love
Making peace with the changes in our bodies begins by treating ourselves to a healthy dose of SELF LOVE. There are things we can do to lessen the impact of the physical changes of midlife by taking care of ourselves – making healthy food choices, exercising in a way that feels good for us, having orgasms on a regular basis (YES…orgasms help produce the positive feeling emotions that counteract the negative-emotion producing hormones and inherent stress of the midlife change), taking good quality vitamin and herbal supplements, etc. The other healthy choices we can make for ourselves during the midlife transition are to be diligent about managing and reducing stress (embrace a yoga or mindfulness practice), setting healthy boundaries around our needs and desires and cultivating healthy intimate friendships. The more we care for and about ourselves, the less bothered we will be by the natural physical changes of midlife. Sure…if you want to pluck those chin whiskers or take Viagra to enhance your sex life,…go for it. But ultimately, the goal in the midlife transition is to make peace with our changing bodies and love it exactly as it is…..cellulite and all!
Midlife and Menopause – Humility
This brings me to the topic of humility. If midlife is ultimately about moving from childbearing to birthing ourselves, and allowing the Soul (our uniquely creative gift to the world which gives up meaning, purpose and fulfillment) to be born, then the purpose of the physical changes of midlife is to conquer our arrogance, pride and self-condemnation and to cultivate humility. There is nothing that the Soul hates more than pride….and if we are prideful about our appearance, or shameful about the changes that are taking place in our bodies, then the Soul has nowhere to go. How can we generously and compassionately serve others if we are worried about those extra 10 pounds, greying hairs or sagging skin? Our Soul is made out of love and love shines forth through our eyes and beyond the physical shell that holds it. Ultimately, I believe that the physical changes of midlife are there to help us let go of our pride and/or self-condemnation and embrace humility and unconditional love for the person God made us to be so that we can offer unconditional love towards others.
How are you being invited to embrace your changing body?