The power of the menopause

Our guest blogger is Trustee and coach Katie Day of RDP International Ltd.  Her own experiences of the menopause helped shape her inspiring delivery of uniquely designed workshops for women and companies on the menopause.

You may find yourself reacting to the above title. Menopause and power are rarely two words that women automatically put together in the same sentence!

However, with the right support and information, it can be one of the most potent times of our lives. The majority of women will reach menopause around 50 – 52. This is also the time most of us with come into our real strength in our careers and our personal lives.

Once we find how to navigate this life transition and important ‘rite of passage’ it allows us to truly get in touch with our values, passions and vision. We are likely to have far less invested in the opinions of others when we reach our 50s, and this frees us up to live our lives with purpose and clarity.

I can remember when this all kicked in for me I mentally retrieved the painting other people had painted for me when I was born, depicting my life. I examined the scene, decided which parts, if any, I wanted to keep and then repainted the picture.

At the age of 60 I am just getting going! I see at least another three, possibly four, decades in front of me that are full of adventures, excitement and possibility. The only person who will get in my way is me, and I don’t intend to do that.

This life transition presents a brilliant opportunity to reassess, re-evaluate, redefine and, if desired, re-invent. It is when we start to live our life congruently, in harmony with our meaning and purpose. It offers us an opportunity tosupport other women coming up behind us, and tap into our wisdom and experience.

If we work we offer our employers, even if our employer is ourselves(!) a woman who is strong, independent, experienced, confident, wise and a real asset. We are not invisible. We are very visible, if we choose to be, and for the right reasons. Our grounded wisdom represents the foundations upon which companies, teams and people can grow. We provide the strong roots that support everyone around us, guiding the young saplings and encouraging them to grow and flourish.

Give yourself permission to acknowledge your greatness and your magnificence. Accept willingly your power and potency. Be comfortable accepting this rite of passage and be clear in your communication that you are now offering even more to those around you.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it! Get yourself a notebook and write at the top of the page:

If I were my close friend, the ten top things I would value about my friendship and me would be:

And then complete the list, also capturing the evidence to show how good you are at each thing you write down.

Finish by writing yourself a personal statement. This is when you get full permission, and encouragement, to really step into your greatness, without embarrassment or censure. Start the statement with the words ‘I am …’ then complete, using as much space as you need.

The reason you start with ‘I am …’ is that you are bringing everything you write into the present tense and telling yourself you are already there, already this person and already living what you write. Then breathe in the words and really own them. Accept your brilliance as a peri- or post-menopausal woman and live it!

 

Women in Lockdown: stories by and about women during Covid-19

We are living through momentous times, historic times.  We know from our Heritage funded project that when historians look back, the lives of ‘ordinary’ women are often forgotten over time; they become invisible.

We believe that the stories by and about women should not be ignored again. We want all of you to help us do that by telling us your lockdown story so future generations will hear the voices of ordinary people.

There will be a huge range of experiences.  That of key workers for example will be very different from those who are ‘shielded’ and those who live on their own will be different to those with families.  We want to hear from all of you.

For the women, as you’ve been living through lockdown what has changed and what has remained stable?  We all have our fears and anxieties which we can acknowledge and share but there’s also positives to be discovered.  Here’s some ideas.

What are the challenges you’ve faced and how have you overcome them?

Who are the people that have helped you cope and how?

What skills and talents have you discovered that you never knew you had?

What have you learnt about yourself and those around you?

What are your hopes, dreams for the post-covid-19 world we will be all entering and what do you need to achieve your dreams for your future?

 

For the men, what have you learnt about the women in your lives?

What has amazed you?

How have women helped you face your challenges?

What do you know now that you didn’t before, or appreciate, about women’s place in society and in the workplace?

 

This is social history in action. 

 

WayfinderWoman is all about empowering women to be the best they can be, to recognise their achievements, celebrate their strengths so they are not socially excluded. By recording our stories and, for those who know us, record their stories about us, we can ensure that women’s experiences and voices will still be heard in the years to come.

You can tell us your stories in many ways.  You can write to us and let your creative juices flow but you don’t need to be a wordsmith: a page, a short diary or a few bullet points would be equally fine if that tells your story as you want it told.  Or perhaps a short video or audio recorded on your phone.

We’ve given you some ideas above in case you need a starter for ten but again, it’s your story so if you want to tell us about other things then do.  There’s other guidelines in the FAQ section below.

Email them to us at info@wayfinderwoman.com before 15 June, the earlier the better! (see below) and if you have any questions (read the FAQs first) or want extra help in putting something together get in touch.  We know each and every one of the stories will be unique and we are so excited to hear from you all.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I remain anonymous?

A. Yes. Or you can be referred to by your first name or a pseudonym.  But we’d need to have your real name and contact details in case we have any questions, or to keep you up-to-date with how the project is going.  We won’t spam you though – and importantly we won’t share your details with anyone else.

Q. How long should it be?

A.  If you’re writing then it can be as short as you like: bullet points or a paragraph.  A page of A4 is about 500 words and we suggest a maximum of two-sides of A4 if you’re particularly creative, or have a lot to say, or want to do a short diary piece.  Most news items are only 2 or 3 minutes so for a video or audio we’re suggesting that a maximum of 3 minutes would be enough.

Q. My English isn’t very good. Can I still do it?

A. Yes!  It doesn’t matter if your spelling, grammar or punctuation is poor, if you are dyslexic or English is not your first language.  We want to hear from everyone.   And if you’re really worried about how it looks, we can help you with that.

Q. I have a disability which means I can’t write. Can I still do it?

A. Yes. You can either do a video or audio, or you can ask a member of your family or a close friend to write or record something on your behalf.  Please let us know that someone else is doing this for you.  And give us their name – it’s good to thank the person who is doing this for you.

Q. I don’t want my face on a video, can I still do something?

A. Yes.  If you don’t want to write instead, you can record yourself as audio only.

Q. Can what I do include photos or pictures?

A. Yes, but please let us know in advance. We will need to find the best way for you to get them to us.

Q. Can only women contribute?

A. No! We want to hear from everyone.  It must be a story about women however, so if that’s not you, it should be about a woman you know.

Q. Is there an age limit?

A.  No.  We support women of working age so there’s no upper age limit.  If you are a young girl (under the age of 16) then we will need the permission of your parents/guardian for you to contribute.  Email us if that’s the case.

Q. Do we  have to live locally to you?

A.  No.  We want this to go as far and as wide as it wants to go.  The more stories we collect the more valuable a resource it will become for future generations.

Q. How should we send things to you?

A. All written contributions can be emailed to us at info@wayfinderwoman.com.  Please include your name and telephone number, even if you want to remain anonymous.

If you are sending a video or audio recording please ensure it is an MPV4 and if you have trouble sending it to us get in touch and we’ll help you with the technical ‘stuff’.

Q. When do you want these sent to you?

A. The earlier the better! We have a closing date of 15 June but if you’ve picked this up late and still want to do it please send it to us.  We’ll endeavour to get it collated with the others.

Q. What will you be doing with all the stories?

A. We are hoping that we can put contributions onto a dedicated page on our website. We want to put everything into a book and also make a film if possible from any videos that are sent.  We will be asking you permission to do any of this – another reason why we need your contact details.

Q. Can I have a copy of whatever you produce?

A. We’re hoping to be able to raise enough money through fundraising so that everyone who has contributed can get a free copy of whatever we do. Otherwise we may be making a small charge to cover production costs of anything that gets published and if there’s any profit it will go direct to the charity.

Q. What will you do with any profits?

A. All of the support, events and activities that we run either through our drop-in advice ‘hub’ or our professionally run workshops are free.  We are a volunteer run organisation and that means any profits will help us to continue providing our free support.

Living in lock down

Our guest blog this week comes from Tania Long, one of our volunteers who also runs FantaSea Art with a Heart As someone with an underlying medical condition she started to self-isolate before the country went into lock-down.  Here’s how she’s been occupying her time and you might find inspiration from her story.

Hi! I’ve been having to self-isolate since March 23rd before the lock down. I’m one of those at home for 12 weeks (due to asthma.)

I go for a daily walk round the back lanes and quiet streets. Taking photos some days, little details, flowers, textures I’ve spotted. I’m really getting to know the local streets well now and spotting some amazing houses on my solitary walks.

 

Some days I have been doing ‘frottage’ art on wood grains I come across and started working into those with black ink.  It’s amazing what images have started appearing! It’s become a new project for a story book as more characters appear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, I’ve been having fun making a fishing game out of dry paper mâché and got back into my Woodland Folk project; one of many creative projects that had been put on the back burner due to business with other things.

 

 

 

Structure is important

I find it helps to have some kind of structure to the day.

I journal in the morning (after all it’s an historical event!) Feed Luna (my black fluffy cat). Have breakfast.  Do some chores or online work. Or work on creative projects till lunch which is usually a sandwich. After that I will go for a daily walk;20 minutes to an hour.  I take my boots off in the hall as soon as I get in, and coat and hat and gloves if I’ve needed them, wash my hands (of course!) Then I have a 30 minute rest and drink. Do more creative work, or some reading or writing.

I’m trying to limit social media as it’s so negative. I have chill out time in the evening with dvd films or music, and some catch up on Facebook if I haven’t been online the day before. I’m continuing to do and to facilitate WayfinderWoman’s Creative Joy & Artists Way course virtually, sending out task sheets and encouragement on a Friday evening. We are on week 5 at the moment, ‘Recovering a Sense of Possibility’.

The highs and lows

The things I miss most? Meeting friends for a chat in a cafe, hugs, human company, being able to buy my own food shopping, visiting the beach.

ALSO! There are blessings in this time. Enjoy this time. A time to slow down and reflect on your life.

The air is so much cleaner. It’s quieter.  Listen to the birds they are loving it! The Earth is healing. The ozone layer is healing.

The new future

Let’s not go back to ‘normal’ when this is over but come out of it with a new perspective of what is really valuable in our lives and a new sense of community.

I feel that the Earth has sent us this virus, because WE as humans have been acting as a virus on the Earth, it’s a message for us to STOP mindlessly consuming the planet.

Wishing everyone well, stay safe.  Tania

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