Tell me what woman does not feel like running away? Away from children, partner, parents, job, even if it’s just for a fleeting moment. Especially, if like me you regularly get inundated by life and the waves of emotions.
When this feeling becomes intense, my suggestion is to not ignore it, even if on the outside everything Looks Fine. You are being summoned for an appointment with spirit.
At first, when my life was a menopausal train wreck, my way of escaping was to swim. Underwater was silent from the noisiness of life; screaming underwater until I had no breath left. A primal, angry, grief filled, desperate scream. Air bubbles escaping to the surface, bursting with emotions I couldn’t speak.
Afterwards, I felt plugged back into life: cleansed, released, re-membered, re-connected and healed by the water, belonging to no one except elemental me.
If you too feel trapped inside the primal scream, don’t wait too long. It can lead to war in yourself and others, chronic sickness, insomnia and disturbing dreams. Immerse yourself in water, in deep forest, cars are good too. Stop for a moment. Nothing fancy; just a willingness to open and allow spirit to speak.
Now, as my heart has more room to breathe and soften, I leave my family in good stead to go into nature, often. In nature, distractions drop away, the body and mind converge and for blissful moments I am anchored in the present. I am my original nature: a tree groaning in the wind, water rushing over mossy rocks, into sunlit pools (see image above taken at Carnarvon Gorge). In this state I am fully alive, profoundly connected and deeply grateful. Boundaries and limitations dissolve and anything is possible.
As I write I am on country of Bidjara and Karingbal people who lived either side of the Carnarvon Gorge in the central highlands of QLD. The Dreamtime Rainbow Serpent, Mundagarra keeps a plentiful supply of water flowing through the gorge yearlong, creating this paradise.
Here I am learning to whisper and scream in equal measure in and around her healing waters. The gorge is a primordial, resonant and devastating sacred site of birthing, initiation and death for indigenous people of the region. I feel the beauty of the area and also the grief of massacres and displacement of first peoples. I’m beginning to learn what it means for indigenous people to belong to country.
Country is not only the plants, animals and seasons. It is our sacred places, our languages, family totems, unique art and the ceremonies alive within this land and the stars.
Carnarvon Visitors Centre
Regardless of ancestry or lineage, we all hold a spiritual, social and moral commitment to be on, with, and connected to country. To be custodians of and fight for country with the ancient knowledge that already exists right here and now.
We can learn diversity from first peoples: how to manage country with fire, and how they see menstruation and menopause. According to many indigenous Australian cultures, “Female menstruation is sacred because it distinguishes the time when a female is capable of bringing life into the world, putting a woman on the same level of creative abilities as the Rainbow Serpent.”
From what I could gather, Aboriginal women spoke about bleeding, drew vulvas in traditional rock art (image above, note the Rainbow Serpent, Mundagarra, weaving her way underneath), practised rites of passage, together! The big M word was out there thousands of years ago and it was a shared, sacred journey. Bleeding and the menstrual cycle was a giver of life and associated with both the destructive and healing powers of the Rainbow Serpent.
My matrilineal line stops with me. When I step out, do the screaming, sift over life’s rubble in retreat, when I share menopause stories openly, I change how we talk about the M word for my daughters, my family and my world. It’s also the best way I know how to honour my mother and sister who are no longer of this world.
I am home now. My soul revivified, my feminine powers of intuition honed, connection to wild woman reignited, and my passion for life powered up. If you too feel the call of the wild or the scream rising in your chest, listen to the voices, noisy notifications, prods and pokes of your soul and don’t wait too long to show up to your appointment.
Blessings for the journey xx
Carnarvon Gorge Visitors Centre has a super informative education centre that I visited after each walk that informed my writing and contextualised my experience..
Top image credit: The talented Miss Katrina Julienne