What’s in a Name? Making Meaning of Menopause, Welcoming CessLuna.
What is in a name? Evidently, more than one might realize.
Walking as an awakened woman is not for the faint of heart. Add to that the choice to consciously enter the midlife journey, one of re-examining, re-wiring, and re-establishing, and the path can feel overwhelming, daunting, and lonely. Menopause is the journey that every woman will take, and no one wants to talk about.
During my experience of menopause, I felt lost, confused, and frustrated. It was as though I was wandering through a thick forest, with no compass, no guidebook, and no clues. I was seeking answers from outside myself, and craving for someone to take my hand and show me the way.
I was hungry to connect with other women in my midlife journey, yet the mere mention of the word was met with:
- glazed eyes
- an attitude of just deal with it
- some extensive narrative relating to “I can’t deal with it right now, I’m overwhelmed already with teenagers, elder parents to care for, a body I do not recognize any longer, and a job. I’m exhausted, and I don’t even know the words to talk about it!”
- something relating to confusion, fear, and denial.
I am acutely aware of this deep cultural angst and collective baggage we carry around the word menopause, which mostly represents pain and loss for us women.
The meno-story runs something like this: women become old, dried up, invisible, and sexless.
Yet many of us know, our perspective is everything. Menopause can be these old dried up ideas, and it can be so much more! I realized I needed to dive into my personal journey and listen to my own inner wisdom. The guidance I sought was not outside of me, it was within. The challenge was to stop and listen.
Are we willing to listen to the wisdom menopause offers? There are hidden gems within this journey. Along my voyage into this inner well of dismantling and re-integrating, I’ve learned menopause is also a profound initiation into truth and wisdom, and an awesome opportunity to discover the essence of who we truly are as eldering women.
Now, on the other side of menopause, I’m on a mission: to rename this journey, to positively reclaim this powerful feminine re-wiring. Because perspective is everything!
So, what is in a name? A new name offers a chance to create new meaning that is in alignment with the potential this initiation offers. My invitation to you is to consider the choice to rename menopause, to give it new meaning, a new flavor. As women, this is a chance for us to reclaim our power, respect, honor, and juice.
This re-phrasing is for ourselves, each other, our daughters and granddaughters, and for society as a whole.
First, it’s not a pause! It is an ending! A closure. A cessation. Not to my knowledge are we starting up again, and nor would I choose to, since I am complete.
Second, it has nothing to do with men. Menopause comes from the Greek word pausis (pause) and mēn (month). Menses, for month or monthly, relating to the lunar monthly cycle.
In searching for new language from a woman’s perspective, I remembered I had always referred to my cycle as my moon time, in relation to the monthly cycles of the lunar calendar. The connection to the moon resonated more fully than an artificially formed, sun-centric Gregorian calendar. Maybe some of you also renamed your monthly cycle?
So, I’ve renamed men-o-pause to more accurately reflect a woman ceasing her lunar cycles.
My new word is CessLuna (pronounced, sess-luna).
It rolls off my tongue like a rich river of possibility, kind of like a good glass of wine and chocolate!
I know from my life and working with many women, there is rich meaning and purpose in the deep flowing river of the CessLuna journey. My hope from sharing my story is to spark inspiration for you to look inside for your internal guidance and to not let a word prevent you from bringing about the transformation that is invited through this phase of life.
Sisters, may we celebrate and honor CessLuna.
Kerry Temple-Wood is the founder of The Art of Conscious Aging and the 63rd Street Yoga Studio in Niwot, CO. With 45+ years of experience practicing Yoga and cultivating a solid foundation of humility and humor, Kerry’s wisdom exudes from her being, inspiring those around her through her teaching, writing and educational programs. She is passionate about exploring the feminine journey individually and collectively. Her connection to Yoga and awakened consciousness has been a thread woven through all the experiences of her life, such as relationships, marriage, motherhood and parenting, menopause and conscious aging. To learn more about Kerry, her offerings and insights, visit The Art of Conscious Aging and 63rd Street Yoga.