Archives for February 2011


Menopause – No Ritual to Honor this Rite of Passage

There is human need to keep things the same, to not change.  I would not say that change is necessarily good, however it is necessarily inevitable.  In this sense, the rituals we use to mark the beginning of a new time  and the ending of an old time, ease the human resistance to change.

All rituals that demark beginnings indicate endings and all rituals that demark endings indicate beginnings.  A beginning is often known as a rite of passage; while endings may simply be rituals.  All such changes involve making relationships different.  A daughter becomes a wife, and never again will her relationship with her parents be the same: it has ended in a way that makes all things different.  As a wife, she cannot prioritize her parents over her husband.  So it is, her childhood vanishes in a wisp of a dream and so many small and large changes follow.  This beginning, this relationship with her new husband, is concretized by the ritual of marriage.  Because this ritual is well discussed – to the point of volumizing instruction manuals, expectations seem clear and the expected journey is well traveled.

Much about life that ends and begins does not have a ritual attached to it.  Ideally, a ritual would ease the difficulty involved with accepting change, but in the absence of a ritual we must reach out to each other and discuss these changes so that we can accept them and pass through them.

In the case of marriage, the prescription for process behavior and the prescription for follow up behavior is clearly promulgated by our society.  Other changes, universal as they are, have no such articulated prescriptions for process or follow up behavior.   Such is  the case with menopause.

With 89 million baby boomers in this country, it is hard to believe that we do not talk so much about this life changing process.  There is much to be resisted about menopause.  Women must say farewell to the looks of their youth.  This is not to say that such women are no longer attractive, this is not to say that such women are no longer “hot”.  It is to say that the attractiveness changes in an irrevocable way.  There is no ritual or rite of passage attached to this life changing event and perhaps there should be.  The social prescription for after-menopause is not a positive one – perhaps resistance of the process stems from this fact.

Humans are beautiful no matter what their age is and women are particularly so.  Many societies do not honor the aged.  It is past time that we honored ourselves and our age.  It is time that we honor this Rite of Passage and claim our maturity and our beauty proudly. 



In my personal relationships, when arguing, I am eloquent and profound.  When I am “right” I can be immensely stubborn and I will stomp around in my own little angry universe having thoughts of righteousness.  I can hang on to those angry feelings for days.  Most of it is hurt, of course.  Even though I am tough and brave, I’d rather pout than go into another hurtful discussion.  There is the explanation for the pouting, I am holding a shield out to say, “not only am I right, but I don’t want you to talk to me anymore!”

Maybe because I have passed the age of 50, maybe because I cherish my personal relationships more than anything else – or maybe – I’ve grown up, I don’t know.  Here is the thing, I do not want to stomp around angry for days anymore.  This whole study in the art of being here now requires me to examine every moment in time for how I feel at this moment. Yes, we argued yesterday, but at this moment I just want to be cuddled and kissed.  Forget about being righteous, forget about stomping around and pouting.  It is not worth losing out on cuddles and kisses!

The dichotomy is this: I am much less likely to excuse and ignore misconceptions and misunderstandings.   I speak up!    I won’t be treated badly, nor will I compromise myself.  In this way however, I am more stubborn, because I don’t give up on what I need.  I keep expressing what I need.  So clearly, I will communicate often, just don’t expect fits, stomping around or power plays.  Nor am I willing to “leave things be.”  I can be as diplomatic as the next person, not when it moves past diplomacy to a compromise of me, I have to say so.

Living right now is a huge challenge.  I like it because I have so much great freedom.  There is no such thing as avoidance, it all must be dealt with.  So – be here now, and get some cuddles – if you’re lucky.


I know that there is a reason for this broken heart; but I still do not like it.


I’m Your Mother Damnit

Americans are all about independence, personal choice, listening to feelings.  When you are an American adult you get to do what you want.  It’s an accepted fact that parents are to back out of any authoritarian positions and just “be” and just “listen”.

Oh for cryin’ out loud, to hell with that.  I’m a counselor, I’m a mother, and I am here to tell you, I am sick to death of people telling me how they are going to mess up their life and make bad decisions.  Oh and guess what, if I am to be an “accepting” person, I should active listen and allow people to choose.  Adults should make their own life choices…What – are you kidding me?  If adults could make their own responsible life decisions they would, but they don’t.

I am not going to sit and listen while my daughter tells me about her intention to date a felonious idiot who can’t tell the difference between love and rage, I am not going to sit and listen to my son tell me that I should be more understanding while he messes up for the 400th time on the SAME issue.  I’m not.  How about this, I’m sick of people trying to tell ME what choices I should make as a mother, friend or counselor.  Guess what, I don’t think that my presence should always make people feel good.  I think truth is more important than feeling good and if that makes people uncomfortable – then oh well.  And guess what, I am going to keep on lecturing my children in any old uncomfortable way that I wish until I am 84 years old.  At which time, I am hoping they will have gained the maturity necessary to live without my lectures.