Discovering the ONE in m(3NO)pause

“Nothing had prepared (her) for the wrenching desperation of this struggle.  (She) had always known mastery over herself, but now that very mastery was to be renounced, that effortless freedom of spirit (she) had already attained had to be surrendered.  (She) saw the Path disappear before (her) as the last gates of the world slowly began to close behind (her).  (She) was about to lose everything, all the familiar patterns of existence (she) had known for a lifetime.  There would be nothing to hold on to, nothing to stand firm upon; all the significance of life as (she) knew it would be burnt to nothing in the fire of transformation (she) was approaching.  The armour plating of habit, vagueness, and superficiality that had kept fear and life at bay for so (long) melted in the warm clarity of (her) deepening awareness.  Horror exploded out from the depths of (her) mind.  (She) saw (herself).  Here was the real thing, a huge writhing, spitting mass of confusion  and despair.  This was the god of death and lord of limitation- the evil one- who now summoned his terrible and numberless cohorts, all the fathomless terrors, doubts, and longings of the human heart, all the resentments and evasions and vanities of the world, in a final assault on (her) spirit, to halt (her) in (her) tracks. It was as if an obscure but limitless rage threatened to drown (her) in the deepest ocean, or pulverize (her) in a bolt of lightning.”

Sound familiar?  I have never seen or heard a more fitting description of the powerful emotional and spiritual forces that blind side us at menopause, and yet this is not a description of menopause.

It is a description of what happened to Sakyamuni Gotama, the man, on the eve of his enlightenment.

“On a full-moon night of terror and magic and transformation, a dark, skeletal figure sits under a tree by a river…the truth of what occurs on that night is something that can never be explained, it is humanly inconceivable, and the next day the man is no longer there.  In his place is the  Awakened One, the Compassionate One the Revealer of the Way to the heart and the mystery of life.  He will be called the Buddha…” (Quotes excerpted from Warrior of Peace by Jinananda).

Hopefully, you just experienced a paradigm shift, a completely new way of viewing the terrors of menopause.  What if they are, indeed, as they were for Gotama,  the gateway to your enlightenment, the key to ultimate self-awareness and personal transformation?

What if they are?  How exciting and wonderful would that be?

The Message of Menopause

1. STOP!

The physiological symptoms of menopause literally stopped me in my tracks.  It is the first time in my life that I stopped. When menopause blindsided me I was working 60 hours a week at a very physically demanding job.  My husband and I had just undertaken a quarter of a million dollar neighborhood renovation project, and I was the full-time caregiver for gravely ill family member. I was a highly motivated powerhouse, master of my own destiny,  speeding along a firm path.

2. LOSE THE PATH

When menopause hit, because I was working at job that required great physical strength, I was aware that I suddenly lost a great deal of physical strength.  I simply could not do the job anymore.  I got an easier job which I kept for three months, before I had the life changing epiphany that getting up every morning and going to a job that was unfulfilling and that I hated, was not a virtue.  I became aware that while my husband and I were building up a retirement plan that would generate  income for the things we had always wanted to do, we were missing our entire lives.  I was lost.  We were on the wrong path.

3.  LIVE YOUR LIFE FROM THE INSIDE OUT

I had lived my life from the outside in, believing that my emotional and spiritual well-being was directly related to my surroundings and circumstances.  It was for that reason that it took me a year and a half to recognize that I was extremely depressed.  I believed that depression was the result of something that happened outside of me, the loss of a loved one, a failed marriage, a tragedy of some sort, and there was nothing like this going on in my world.  I was stable, I was happy, I had purpose and goals.  When menopause hit, and resentment, rage, fear, anxiety, and depression came spewing out of me for absolutely no apparent reason, I had to face the awful truth that these things lived inside of me.  They were my own demons.  Nature was showing me, and I saw for the first time in my life, the awful truth about myself. Resentment, rage, fear, anxiety and depression don’t come from the outside in, they come from the inside, and we project them onto outside events.

4. FACE YOUR DEMONS

You can feed your demons hormones, zoloft, and xanax, and you may need to in order to make it through,  but in the end, a medicated demon is still a demon and you still own it.  I came to see this terrifying spewing of evil from the core of my being as a cleansing process.  Nature was demanding that I see my demons up close and personal and deal with them, so that I could finally, permanently, be rid of them and transformed from “master of my own destiny” into a deeply spiritual being, in love with myself and my life, for the first time ever. Holding on to the anxiety, fear, rage, resentment and depression will eventually manifest itself as disease-dis-EASE.  When we are not at ease, we are at disease.  If you don’t deal with your demons and rid yourself of them, nature will give you a second chance by turning them into disease, your second wake up call.

5. ACCEPT, EMBRACE AND LOVE YOUR DEMONS

When Gotama was blind sided by his own demons, he didn’t flee from them.  He didn’t fight them.  He accepted them and overcame them with compassion.  According to the legend, as Gotama began to radiate compassion towards his demons, they fell to earth as flowers.

“He entered into increasingly refined realms of supersensory experience.  He tapped into ever deeper forces within his mind, gathering a resource of inexhaustible energy and inspiration to fuel enlightenment. He experienced his consciousness expanding, moving unconfined by the rigid categories of the conceptualizing mind…then it was as if the world blinked, and he was flooded with clear, blazing light.  And then it was as if the whole net of illusions that made up the world as he had known it for a lifetime started to unravel.  He saw with unerring clarity the mind’s ignorance of its own true nature, which is to be without any limitation whatsoever. All fixed conceptions of reality were dissolving from his mind. He turned back to face the world, himself, life and reality.”

Gotama transformed his demons into beautiful flowers through facing his demons head on and embracing them with compassion.  One by one, as he let go of his demons with acceptance and compassion they were transformed into something beautiful.

6.  LEAP INTO PASSIONATE LIVING

Gotama was a prince.  His father wanted him to be king, but Gotama wanted to save the world. He spent many years pursuing his dream of saving the world, until that fateful night of terror, when he understood that he could not save the world in the condition he was in.

Einstein said “You cannot solve a problem using the same mentality that created the problem.”

In order to leap into living a passionate life we have to be willing to fully, completely and permanently let go of non-passionate living.

You cannot find a job or career you are passionate about while you are still married to one you hate.  You have to take a leap of faith, trusting, that as you stand on the precipice of life, and step into the chasm, your higher power will either build you a bridge or teach you fly.

After six weeks of being out of work because of debilitating menopausal symptoms, I sat in the office of my guru, witchdoctor therapist, and said “I don’t want to do anything I have ever done before.”  I was done.  I was finished fulfilling my husbands need for material goods by working at jobs that I hated.  I was done.  He had no say in the matter.  I was fully prepared for him to divorce me, and I didn’t care.  I was that done.  I was going to find my passion and do it and nothing and no one was going to stop me.

When we let go of the old ways of thinking, the old habits and patterns, when we let go of anger, fear, rage, hostility and anxiety, nature requires us to grieve our losses.  It’s okay to grieve your life, your lost path, your mortality, your regrets.  Grieve them and let them go, and they will fall to the earth as flowers. Grieve them, and then go live a life of passion and enlightenment.

Love, Tonjia.

Comments
4 Responses to “Discovering the ONE in m(3NO)pause”
  1. Dana says:

    Thank you for the read and the follow! I think I will be needing your blog sooner rather than later and glad to know it is here 🙂

  2. Hi Tonjia,
    This was so good to read. I’m still fighting my ‘demons’, however, it’s difficult to accept them and then let them go. Day to day living requires that I have some kind of activity to keep sane, solvent and sociable. It’s very difficult but good to be aware that I’m not alone in this journey. I keep hoping that one of these days the excitement of discovering ‘my passion’ will kick in and that I will have the energy to follow it. I will follow your blog, I need all the help I can get. Really well written, I enjoyed it. Linda. http://www.menopauseandbeyond.wordpress.com

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