There's literally nothing to lose and everything to gain from a healthier vagus nerve. Like all the best paths, it starts out a little mysterious but that's where its adventure lies. I've certainly had cause to explore it lately as its been found to have just so many links with the most chronic, mysterious, health conditions....and here's what I found out (to my benefit, maybe yours). So, having found it and become so much more aware of it, I like to think the vagus nerve is a path worth following as, so it turns out, it may very well lead us back to ourselves in more ways than one!
A woman's life was never meant to be a linear progression from cradle to grave...she is uniquely designed to undergo complete METAMORPHOSIS in the middle. When we overlook that long-buried fact, things can get horrendously muddled in a woman's life and, above all, her health. From just surviving menopause to THRIVING through menopause; how to generate the necessary inner fire and make the transition conscious and graceful instead of precariously accidental and fraught with challenges.
The many and varying, often uncomfortable, symptoms of a woman's mid-life transition are all versions of this metaphorical (you could even say, metaphysical) "itch". Really, its transformation underway...a metamophosis...and in making it mundane, by denying it or even making it seem like a problem, a curse, we fight back against what is really like a spreading of wings from the chrysalis; bewilderingly, disorientingly beautiful. Our culture has done terrible things to downplay the stage of her life that is all about female empowerment and there is a minefield of superstitious beliefs and misinformation around it; no wonder we hurt and struggle our way through it. When we welcome and encourage that transition, we allow for it to be smoother...and there a number of reasons why we might want to be doing that. These are, you could say, the times we have always been waiting for...
The heat that comes up in the mature woman reaching her power-phase can feel like a primal scream trying to gain our attention...for that is what it is. It reminds us of a time before child rearing, before strict gender roles, before many of the constructs we have turned into the hardest expectations, rules and limitations of our man-made culture....Exploring the portal that can present as pain and which is really our biggest oportunity yet; individually and as a whole.
What gets us hot under the collar; how do we work with that flame to transmute circumstances that feel "off" to us and without scalding ourselves and others? By getting to know what all versions of these triggers are in their very core essence. For me it is injustice and a sense of being made an "under-dog", in all its forms, that sets me off; felt keenly on behalf of anyone being treated thus, hotly for all women, painfully for anyone amongst my family or friends, excruciatingly when it's on behalf of my daughter, self-destructively when its anything to do with me since that version feels like the very inflammation in my cells that becomes PAIN and crashing health. Even now that inflammation is all-but gone from my daily experience, a circumstantial trigger can switch it back on in an instant so I know its time I got to work on this final bastion of my healing...by tackling the very triggers themselves; but how since I can't single-handedly change the ways of the world? Big questions and lots of new thoughts in this week's fiery blog. What I realised today is a whole deeper level of what I have been realising more and more on this topic and feels so on-time for where we are getting to in the tranformation of ourselves in tandem with the joint transformation of our world.
How long does it take to reinvent our cells? Well, in my experience, the body renews itself in a way that feels noticable in around 6months (our bone cells in around 3 months, red blood cells every 4 months, DNA in 2 months and we turn over new brain cells in up to a year) so it takes about that long to make some serious difference - something I’ve used to my advantage many times when visualising the healthier summer ahead. The area where things have become grayer, for me, are where I’ve allowed the perception of others - even when well-intended - to undermine my own inner work. Even when its considered "harmless" or for fun, even as family jest, whether delivered by our well-meaning children or our unrealising spouse, we should take note of areas where we are being painted to ourselves in terms other than those that we would choose to paint the best-possible picture of ourselves. Being habitually depicted as small or frail (or fat, stupid, forgetful, “getting old”….the list goes on) is not at all helpful in such a game plan yet its something I’ve noticed people, especially women, succumb to as they get older; especially within the so-called "benign" family setting where anything goes. Yet when we take stock of how much time we spend with our families and anyone else who might play with us in this carefree way, that's a lot of time spent succumbing to these viewpoints. With habitual repetition, we take on these flippant characatures of ourselves, surrendering ourselves to a comic moment even when that doesn't serve how we feel on the inside. These comedic outlines of who we are, “drawn” in haste as an in-joke between well-meaning people, can become the very bones and organs of our future self. Women, in particular, tend to have the kind of visual-creative approach to physicality that shapes their cells according to how they see themselves in their imagination; which can be such a culturally or circumstantially dictated thing, their self-image distorted by so-called "harmless" throw away critiques dressed-up as desplays of affection. Even if this is way too abstract to explain to your family, its enough that it matters to you and is a first step in reclaiming your own body to take such a step. While other people might not "get" why its so important that you get to drive the way that you interpret what is going on with your body, in YOUR terms, all you need to do is ask that they respect that and let you lead your own way in what is, primarily, your own domain. For my own part, I intend to have that family chat to lay down some lines of my own and insist that they remain uncrossed since its up to me to take responsibility for the future version of myself that is currently in production in my mind's eye; and the same goes for all of us - its a matter of survival. Its also made me think a lot more about how I speak to other people and is no bad thing for my daughter to learn about as she steps into young womanhood and the onslaught of so many cultural opinions about what she should and shouldn't look like!
Maybe thats the thing about oestrogen – it buffers us from ourselves until – suddenly no longer there, there is nothing left to stand between us and the life we have embodied for years and we are left to face up to it all, in one almighty effort. The brick walls that kept away the view we didn’t want to see, the unholy mess we didn’t want to deal with, is suddenly crumbled away, the view exposed and no avoiding it and so we either sink or swim as life’s full tidal wave comes in for us to surf or get crashed by. Put simply, we have to get our shit together really quickly or it can be all too much for us, whatever’s waiting on the other side of the thick smokescreen we put up. That mess could consist of terrible, habitual, lifestyle habits or a thoroughly rotten marriage – or it may just mean we need to make some tweaks and do some straight talking – but, whatever it is, there’s no buffer any more and we feel it – oh how we feel it all...