The vision of a world where women adore their bodies ignites Ashley’s fire. She counsels women with PMS to unlock the wisdom of their cyclic bodies; she trains couples to confidently use natural birth control to stop “hormonal lockdown” in the name of contraception; and now that she’s 7 years into perimenopause, she’s taking on the collective dread of menopause to unmask its transformative power for CHANGE.Ashley Ross is an author, teacher, counselor and speaker, as well as a loving mother of young adult triplets, two girls and a boy. She trained in the Justisse Method as a Holistic Reproductive Health Consultant and in the Hakomi Method as a Somatic Counselor. She’s been in private practice since 2006. Ashley is the author of The Cycles of Life: A Journal for Women. Understanding the physical, emotional and spiritual influences of our hormones.
Just as a caterpillar dissolves to re-reform as a butterfly, you shape shift during menopause to transform from Mother to Queen, from being hormonally-sexual to being soul-sexual. And as you transform, you gain access your mature, full-bodied, feminine wisdom – that Wise Woman knowing you feel growing stronger and stronger.
You turn around and here you are, in your 40’s, at this middle(ish) point in your life. It’s then you start hearing faint whispers of those dreaded words:
“Menopause is coming”.
But just as quickly, you reassure yourself – no, it’s not happening to you; your periods are just as regular as ever. They might be a little lighter (or heavier), they might be coming more or less frequently (but just by a few days) but they are still coming – so hey, perimenopause is not happening to you – yet.
At the same time, you’ve noticed you’re not feeling ‘yourself’ exactly.
You’re a lot less patient than you used to be – in fact, you’re discovering an inner volcano that can erupt without warning. Perhaps you’re attributing this to the shortage of sleep you’ve been having lately or the way everyone’s just more annoying.
Either way, you feel this deep, incessant calling well up, that’s pulls you away from your life. If this impulse could speak …wait, it wouldn’t speak, it would shout:
“Leave me alone. I just want some time for myself!”
The cry of the perimenopausal woman as you step into the Change of Life.
Here’s what you can no longer endure:
meaningless niceties and
all the demands, demands, demands.
You really need some help to liberate you from these soul-devouring quagmires – please!
You could wait for some gorgeous deux ex machine to fly in and save you, or … you can give yourself permission to try something else.
Like juiciness over “good-enough”.
Like empowerment over obligation.
Like self-love over approval.
Contrary to popular belief, you can choose how to move through menopause.
You can wait for the ‘symptoms to strike’ or … you can consciously enter this pivotal rite of passage with:
an open heart,
irreverent humor and
a band of sisters to guide and support you.
When you do, you’re saying no to the limiting, and quite honestly demeaning view of menopause we’re offered.
You’re choosing instead to engage with your desires, your dreams, your wellbeing, your wisdom and your need for sisterhood (yes, we’re wired for each other – it’s how we metabolize our collective Wisdom) to have this rite of passage be meaningful and real and transformative.
We said real: this menopause stuff is not a walk in the park.
Just like at menarche (the decade between budding breast and regular cycles), you’re tumbling about with your fluctuating hormones as you learn to tap into your unassuming but potent menopausal hormones.
Wait a minute. You thought the problem at menopause is that your ovaries stop releasing eggs, right? And that this is the beginning of the end, the fork in the road that just leads downhill?
While it’s a true biological fact – you stop ovulating, and eventually stop menstruating – it’s not true that this means our health is compromised and we’re on the way out. It also doesn’t mean your value as women diminishes – an insidious unconscious message of menopause.
Sexuality in menopause and beyond
You’ve heard some women say sex just gets better and better with age, right? (And other women switch off their sexuality with relief – I have some ideas why that might be, which I’ll save it for another time …)
Something else must be happening. I often wonder if there are some undiscovered energetic ingredients in estrone and estriol (the estrogens produced by our adrenals, fat cells, liver and ovaries which kick in at perimenopause) that turn you into a full-blooded orgasmic older woman.
Just as a caterpillar dissolves to re-reform as a butterfly, you shape shift to transform from Mother to Queen, from being hormonally-sexual to being soul-sexual.
And as you transform, you gain access your mature, full-bodied, feminine wisdom – that Wise Woman knowing you feel growing stronger and stronger.
This is stepping into Menopause consciously
I know, I’m taking you on a bit of a paradigm shift – an empowered way to move through perimenopause?
Let’s play with this a little:
If menopause (with a small ‘m’) is a smorgasbord of inconvenient symptoms, Conscious Menopause moves beyond “symptom-management” – to discover the changes your soul wants you to make.
If menopause is pathologized and makes you afraid, Conscious Menopause chooses to engage in discovering what’s truly possible in this second half of your life
If menopause makes you feel helpless and out of control, Conscious Menopause holds you accountable for your own wellbeing – including your commitment to harness the potency of this decade of transformation
If menopause makes you want time to stand still, Conscious Menopause embraces The Change – you revamp outdated beliefs, update your relationships, and, of course, ‘pimp your ride’ (aka embrace your new and changing body)
More good news: no woman left behind
Not for the feint of heart, indeed, but here’s more good news. If this seems like a lot of work – shifting always does – I invite you to join me and the groundswell of savvy, sexy and life-honoring women who are claiming menopause as we’ve claimed menstruation. We are gathering because we recognize what a remarkable and unstoppable resource we already have in perimenopause – each other.
Here’s how we midlife mavens hold each other up:
We give ourselves (and each other) permission to include in our daily diet those handpick, soul-nourishing ingredients that turn us on
We allow ourselves (and each other) to “learn-by-stumbling” as we birth into our full womanhood with heart-laced authenticity
We set our own (and our collective) sights on a richer, deeper, spicier, belly-laughing, tea-spurting, soul-satisfying second half of life.
Let’s declare: We Wise-Women-in-the-making are stepping into our Change together – courageous, sexy and adventurous sisters embracing the transformative power of menopause! And we’re bringing each and every woman along for the ride!
Let’s meet our maturity with barefaced, courageous honesty. Let’s choose the luxuriant, meaningful and fierce compassion embodied in our creative, menopause-enriched, full-body feminine wisdom – and spread its life-giving mojo with our hungry world!