By Marcia Singer



It wasn't supposed to happen to me. After all I've been a vegetarian for years. I don't even do caffeine, and I hike every day. I eat wildflower petals as a natural homeopathic, for goshsakes. I thought I was healthy. A bit stressed, even overwhelmed of late, but, you know, too healthy to be a victim of "The Change."

Yet here I was, fifty-one years old, alternating between rushes of truly prophetic insights on the nature of things, and rushing to the desert to be feral, to cry and shriek where no one would see or hear me. Maybe I was going there to die; I certainly felt as though I might be dying. At the very least, being driven crazy. And when I wasnıt being feral or crazy or exhausted from worrying over which it was, I would be standing in the kitchen trying to remember what I was doing there. Or burning off the enamel on the bottom of the teapot again. To my utter dismay, not only could I no longer do fourteen things reliably at once, I couldn't even manage two.

None of this was supposed to happen to me. I was too "spiritual", too "together". Yet it was happening. More disconcerting, even humiliating, was the fact that my man had left me, I was without a house and home to call my own, my health had gone to pot and I couldn't work with my clients steadily because my energy reserves were depleted. The stress and traumatization had sent my hormones to the moon. Or maybe Mars. Definitely not to Venus, the Love Goddess. I felt washed up. Dried up. Finished. My inner critic, my "hagalina" voice was whipping me around my old stomping grounds, and I was a bloody mess, whoever I was; I wasnıt so sure who I was anymore. This wasnıt supposed to happen to me, but it was happening. I had fallen into an abyss-mal circumstance, and nothing I knew had prepared me for it.

"Welcome to Menopause," jostled my inner voice, the one that knows stuff. "You're being initiated. It's rough for you, but you have some terminal obstructions to self-fulfillment to work out. Now's the time. You're on target. They way is there. Take heart."

Indeed. Perhaps not. Perhaps I could put a positive reframe of the whole matter and just see the wiping out of my former life as a total wrecking of some old, no longer useful way of being in the world, a monumental opportunity.

"Now youıre getting very hot," explained my Guidance, outjoking me again. The Pause lets you recede and reseed, be razed and then raised. With this information, you can lead a workshop, or start a support group, or support hose group."

Yeah. To hose ourselves down from these bad puns. Still, why not. After all, maybe Iım not the only woman out there bumbling along through "The Change". Maybe I am acquiring some wisdom, finding the heart of the matter. Opening my own heart back up after shutting down to myself so rabidly this past year. Yeah. Maybe I could start a movement to exorcise all the hagalinas running around loose in America. Or, more benevolently, create a "hug your hag" campaign.

Desire was beginning to burn in me. Or maybe it was another heartflash. I wasnıt sure. But then, neither was I so worried any more. I was on course. Doing the Menopausal Initiation. I had a right to passage, to claim my special beauty, my loving wisdom, my sexy, more ripened womanhood and my service to community in a whole new way. I could share my experience instead of hiding it; maybe the only shame was in believing I needed to hide it.

I felt like celebrating. I was relaxed, more surrendered to the fact of passage; in a devilish way, I was even looking forward to the rest of it.

Hot. Cool. Whatever. I felt grace slipping in through the edges as my mind unfolded. And my heart began to sing about playing and being free to love again. Truly this was a Pause that was refreshing.

"And reFleshing, to risk one more play on words," remarked the Wise One: "Youıre getting a new skin after shedding the old, outmoded ones. It looks good on you. Mazel tov." Yes, it does.

Marcia Singer, MSW, CHt, directs the Foundation for Intimacy in Southern California. She also coordinates meetings for the Womenıs Counsel of North County (San Diego), held on the last Monday of each month from 6:45 to 9 p.m. in Carlsbad. For information about the Heartworks Project series for women in midlife transition, or the Womenıs Counsel, call (818) 623-6434, or e-mail at:


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