Did you know that your menstrual cycle is teaching you how to work with your inner power, ready to become a wise woman at menopause. discover the wise power menopause book designed to support you to awaken into your power
The wise women founders of Red School Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer have released their cutting edge book on menopause called “Wise Power: Discover the Liberating Power of Menopause to Awaken Authority, Purpose and Belonging”.
I’m THRILLED to have had the opportunity to chat with the authors and Menstruality leaders about how we can practice menstrual cycle awareness as a lifestyle that ultimately builds our self-trust, resilience, and capacity for presence, so that when the time comes, we can surrender, die and be reborn through the “mother of all initiations” that is Menopause.
tune in to hear:
The definition of Menopause and why Red School works with the psycho-spiritual-emotional realms of Menstruation and Menopause, beyond just the physical symptoms we may encounter.
What Menstrual Cycle Awareness (MCA) is and how working with our menstrual cycle now can build our capacity to navigate Menopause.
How we can take permission for ourselves and invoke our inner rebels to practice conscious Menstruation in a world that doesn’t support us to honour our menstrual cycles and Menopause experiences.
The potent gifts available to us in Menopause, as well as some of the challenges.
Alexandra and Sjanie’s Wise Power Menopause book,
and much more besides…
meet Alexandra and Sjanie
Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer are the co-founders of Red School, authors of the Hay House books Wild Power and the recently published Wise Power: Discover the Liberating Power of Menopause to Awaken Authority, Purpose and Belonging. They spent over 10,000 hours researching and refining their radical new approach to health, creativity, leadership and spiritual life. And the best bit? It’s rooted in the bloody, wild, radical power of the menstrual cycle and menopause.
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Your menstrual cycle is teaching you how to work with your inner power, ready to become a wise woman at menopause. The wise woman founders of red school, Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer have just released their cutting-edge book “Wise Power: discover the liberating power of menopause to awaken authority, purpose and belonging”. And I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to chat with these women, these authors and menstruality leaders, about how we can practice menstrual cycle awareness as a lifestyle that ultimately builds our self-trust, resilience, and capacity for presence, so that when the time comes, we can surrender, die and be reborn through the mother of all initiations that is menopause.
And what a powerful conversation this was. Whether you’re through menopause already and want to understand what the hell you’ve just been through, or you’re teetering on the precipice right now, or even if you’re years away, then you want to understand what the whole point of your menstrual cycle and spiritual practice of cycle awareness is really preparing you for. There’s so much gold in here.
We traversed inquiries such as:
- the definition of menopause and why Red School works with the psychospiritual and emotional realms of menstruation and menopause beyond just the physical symptoms that we might encounter,
- what menstrual cycle awareness is and how working with our menstrual cycle now in our cycling gears can build our capacity to navigate menopause.
- How we can take permission for ourselves and invoke our inner rebels to practice conscious menstruation in a world that really does not honour our menstrual cycle.
- Our cyclic nature or menopause experiences, the potent gifts available to us in menopause, as well as some of the challenges,
- how we can be prepared, what we can experience, and the underworld journey that menopause can be, and so much more besides.
So let me introduce our wise guests. Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer are the cofounders of Red School. They’re the authors of Hayhouse books, Wild Power, which if you haven’t read that book, I highly recommend. It’s a fantastic book on menstrual cycle awareness on the seasons, the experiences, how to support yourself through each phase of the cycle. It’s a must read. And they recently published Wise Power Book about awakening and liberating the power of menopause to awaken authority, purpose and belonging. They’ve spent over 10,000 hours researching and refining their radical new approach to health, creativity, leadership and spiritual life. And the best bit, they say it’s rooted in the bloody wild, radical power of the menstrual cycle. And Menopause,
I know that you’ll find much medicine in here that you need for the phase that you are in right now of your menstrual journey. So do listen. Share your favourite insight with us here over on Instagram or drop an email and pass on this episode. Share it far and wide to women, sisters, friends, mothers, aunts, all the women in your life. Daughters, colleagues, people who need to hear this everywhere. I’m so excited to share this and I hope that you really enjoy this conversation as much as I did. Alexandra and Sjanie, welcome both of you to Wild Flow podcast. How are you both today?
[05:23] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: We’re doing well, I say. We we’re not one person, are we, Alexandra? Sometimes I forgot I’m probably having a different experience to you. I’m doing very well. I’m feeling so bloody good today. I was just saying to Alexandra before the call, I feel so joyful and it has everything to do with the fact that I’m feeling fabulous in my body. My body feels so good and so well, and I’m so in touch with my kind of senses and my sensuality. It’s a very good day today. Beautiful.
[06:02] Charlotte Pointeaux: Well, that feels like a really great place to drop in to do our cycle check in to start with. Why don’t we start with you, Sjanie? Would you like to share with us your cycle check in whereabouts if you have a menstrual cycle, you are in that today and how that’s feeling for you and you’ve just shared a little bit, but just to elaborate in the context of your cyclical experience.
[06:24] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: Yeah, so this does really give context to what I’m experiencing today, which is that I’m day eleven and I feel like I’m in the bloom of in the spring and there’s a lot of vitality in my system. I feel so energized and buoyant and effervescent and I have this feeling of appetite, not literal appetite, but I’m wanting for more pleasure, more joy, more fun, and it doesn’t come from a place of lack. It really comes from this wellspring of feeling good. So there’s a lot of desire in my system today. I feel very desirous, beautiful.
[07:17] Charlotte Pointeaux: I love that energy. That’s glorious. And I can feel that emanating through the screen towards me. Thank you for sharing. And Alexandra. How about you? I’d love to hear from your perspective how you connect your cyclical nature where you feel like you are in the place of the cycles and how that feels for you today.
[07:43] Alexandra Pope: Yes, because, of course, I’m post Menopause, so I don’t have a menstrual cycle anymore. I feel deeply embodied in cyclical life. It is the container within which my life is orchestrated, I suppose, or organized. Of course. I think of myself as in the sort of autumn phase of my life, really. And there’s a whole particular quality to that. And then there’s the whole arc of the creative process that I have been involved in. And at this moment, because we’ve just finished a whole creative arc with the writing of the menopause book. So I’m in the kind of lee of that and negotiating. I’m doing stuff all the time. The work never seems to stop. But in terms of sort of finding my new mojo, my new creative mojo I’m just in kind of the early stages of something. I’m getting whiffs of it’s something that’s filling me up. I can’t give more words to it than that. So there’s that element. And then sort of the thing that’s most present for me in the moment now is is the moon cycle which affects me and doesn’t affect me. There’s very particular moments where it touches me. And we’re in the dark of the moon now. I think it’s new moon on Saturday. And I I go into quite a spacious space just coming into the dark moon. And it’s more liminal and sort of deeply embedded in the deeper layers of life rather than the surface layers of life. But I was just saying to Sjanie that this morning I woke up and I thought, because it’s cold here. It’s cold and it’s still dark in the morning. I wake up and I thought, I just love to stay cosy in bed and do nothing and have a bowl of porridge. Now I eat very few grapes because I don’t do so elderly. I would never eat porridge in the morning. It puts me to sleep. What did I do? I went and made porridge. Although I can’t stay in bed, I’ll have porridge. So it is slightly you know it does have this soporific effect on me. So if I nod off, you’ll just blame it on the party. I should really be just really kind of cosy. Anyway, I’m happy. I love this work. I love it so much. I freaking love it.
[10:37] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: How about you, Charlotte? Where are you today?
[10:40] Charlotte Pointeaux: Yeah, thank you for asking. So it’s interesting, actually. I feel I’m more with you, Alexandra. So on cycle day 27 today, and I’m expecting to bleed in probably another couple of days. And I’m feeling today like I’ve just had good energy today, but as the day has wore on, I can feel more roomy. I feel had a few more little like I’m aware of my sacrum. It’s not hurting or anything, but I’m just aware of it. I can feel something in my womb starting to move. And, yeah, I feel a bit more tired and a little bit slower and a little bit more inward than I have been, because, for us, interestingly. You’re in the UK, so you’re in winter, just past midwinter, and I’m in Australia, and we’re just past midsummer, so we’re in our school holidays, and it’s been hot, and it’s been we’re coming to the end of school. Holidays. And so we’re all quite tired from lots of activities for the children, and they’re really getting the energy back and ready to go to school. So it’s that kind of end of summer point where almost I’m welcoming the release and the drop and that kind of space to be more inward and present with myself, because I’ve not really had that opportunity for almost two months. It will be by the time they go back. It’s a long one. So it’s a real kind of contrast in the solar, the seasonal year, and then where I’m at today in my menstrual cycle, but also feeling aligned with the moon. It’s not been for very long that my menstrual cycle has been synced up with the moon in this way. It sort of shifted quite a lot as I’ve had more irregular cycles postpartum at the minute, when the moon goes dark, it’s like I go dark and I kind of go of it offline. But having said that, I feel like I’ve dropped into a deeper gear, where I feel definitely more intuitive and more maybe not as quick with the thoughts, but more able to call on that deeper intuitive sense that feels like it’s starting to come through. So a bit of opposites going on with the different cycles, but, yeah, I’m feeling good and I’m feeling ready to bleed, ready to daily time.
[13:44] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: Describe the sort of depth that you’re feeling. You said not so quick with thoughts, that there’s this other sort of access coming in. I could really feel you. I could feel the sort of weight of you as you describe that. It’s such a powerful place in the cycle, isn’t it, Charlotte? Because I’m feeling it in you now. It’s sort of this deep gravitas that can’t be argued with. I love it.
[14:18] Alexandra Pope: It’s good to meet you.
[14:20] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: It’s a good place to meet you in for our first meeting. Yeah.
[14:26] Charlotte Pointeaux: And I felt like it’s a beautiful part of my cycle to be in whilst talking about your book and menstruality and Menopause, and this particular part of our womb journey, as it were, while we’re coming towards endings, and I felt like I wondered how that might shape our conversation as well. I’m really happy to be here with you both. Thank you both for joining me. And I want to congratulate you both on the recent publication of your second book together. So it’s called wise power. Discover the liberating power of menopause to awaken authority, purpose and belonging.
[15:21] Alexandra Pope: Just clearing that thrills me. I just get so thrilled by those words.
[15:29] Charlotte Pointeaux: They hold a real power.
[15:31] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: It’s scary.
[15:32] Charlotte Pointeaux: It’s not just wise power, it just feels so intriguing. But then with those other words, too, it’s like, oh, this is a particular angle that you’re taking with menopause, and something that feels like, yes, please. Yes, we all want some of that. Thank you very much. And I would love to ask you before we dive into the deeper work that you’re presenting in your book, can we clarify menopause like a definition almost? Because I think there are different – I’ve heard different definitions, one relating to the physical process, like just the ending of Blood and Waiting twelve months beyond that. But I’ve been reading your book and I feel like there’s so much more richness to it than that. Would you like to just describe or define from your lens what menopause is and means to you?
[16:47] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: A really good place to start, Charlotte, because the medical definition of menopause, I feel, does us a disservice. It sort of limits the experience to a moment, really. And what we know is that menopause is a transition, which means that it takes time, and the biological and physical changes that are happening are the bedrock of that change. But along with that, there is this very profound psychological, emotional, and very importantly spiritual transformation that is happening. And for something this deep and transformative to take place, it takes time. And so we’re talking years. So our definition of menopause, really is one that captures the psychospiritual arc, the psychospiritual transition of menopause, the cocoon, if you like, of transformation, the kind of cauldron of transformation that we get lowered down into as we come to the end of our cycling years, as our cycle stops, and then as we emerge into the next phase of our life. So that’s really how we hold menopause as this initiative rite of passage. And there’s so much confusion around all the terminology, which matters a lot to us. I mean, it matters a lot to me that there’s so much confusion around terminology because I think it confuses us. We can’t locate ourselves in the experience, and in a way, it takes us outside of our experience. Some of the labels and the words being used actually disconnect us from the process that’s actually happening in us. So we really wanted to kind of strip away a lot of that confusion and really lead people back to the experience they’re having. And to really hold menopause as a very distinct sacrosanct process that takes time is there anything you want to add to that, Alexandra?
[19:33] Alexandra Pope: No, I think it’s beautifully described, Sjanie, and it’s enough. I mean, we might add embellishments as we talk. And of course, we articulate it in a very detailed way in the book. At the beginning, we do a very clear set up of our terminology, but the sort of stages leading up to what Sjanie has just described, that menopause transition.
[20:00] Charlotte Pointeaux: Beautiful. Thank you. Yes. As you mentioned, you really speak to the spiritual aspects of menopause, but also of menstruation in your work as well. And you use the phrase you’ve coined the phrase menstrual cycle awareness, which is something that I think more and more of us are learning about through your work and through your book Wild Power. And it’s becoming much more used, certainly in my little world. And I appreciate that. I’m in a little bubble of this being just so important to me and my work and my passion, but I know for a lot of other people, too, as well. And so I really appreciate that you’re drawing in this spiritual approach, this practice, this lifestyle of really connecting in these other realms, not just in the physical experience of what’s happening to our body, because there’s so much more to it than that. And what is it that you believe we can get from this spiritual approach to menstruation and menopause that really helps it have more meaning and be more of an empowering experience rather than just acknowledging the physical?
[21:26] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: I love that question. There was a word you used there that really caught my attention because I don’t think we’ve ever said it like this before, but you said menstrual cycle awareness as a lifestyle. I love that because that’s exactly what this practice does. It creates a lifestyle that is really harmonious, where we are in harmony with ourselves, where we’re in harmony with the natural world. And one of the reasons that we focus on the spiritual aspect of this and by the way, the biological or the physiological aspect is really important. Like, awareness of what’s actually happening in our body gives us the body literacy to have this emotional and spiritual awareness, just like you noticing your sacrum and the kind of shift there. It tunes you into a different capacity that’s waking up in you. So the body part is really important. But the reason we focus on the psychological and emotional and spiritual is because when we pay attention to that layer of experience, it brings us into connection, into found an exquisite connection with ourselves, with who we really are, with others, with the natural world. And the thing that Alexandra and I get so moved by and so excited about, and that really fuels our creativity, is how practicing cycle awareness and conscious menopause and the connection that it opens us to helps us to feel the sense of belonging, this feeling of at home in ourselves and at home in the world. And that is hard. One thing how does one experience that? Well, this spiritual path, this practice of cycle awareness gives it to us. There’s something so generous about the cycle and how it will give us these beautiful felt senses of love and belonging.
[24:29] Alexandra Pope: And trust. It’s an extraordinary process when you start to pay attention to your cycle and start to trust the pattern of your cycle and in a sense rest in that pattern because, you know, different times you’re going to be different. And instead of cursing yourself for not wanting to engage with the world, I’m thinking of you right now, Charlotte, you know, wanting to retreat, that you go with that. And so you’re trusting these different types of energies because our world is so wired. Twenty four, seven, to be switched on, on doing, doing, doing, doing. And the moment we can’t do that, we think we have a problem. There’s a problem with us, and there isn’t. It is that we are cyclical beings and each part of the cycle, of all cycles but I’m talking about the Ministry of cycle here has powers, has meaning. But it is the process of connecting with it that seems to bring this soothing to our beings the more that we can do it. And of course, it’s hard sometimes when we’re dealing with all the pressures of the outside world. But the more you can do it, even just 1% by 1%, you’re building this increasing level of trust in life and in particular in your own life. It’s a felt sense in your being. I can remember it so vividly. Even though the outer circumstances of my life were not easy, were difficult. It was like a grace was growing in me of being able to trust that there was an order at work, that something meaningful was happening. And then this extraordinary miracle that happens at menstruation.
[26:57] Alexandra Pope: The best way to describe it is it’s like you step out of normal, inverted, commas life. It’s like leaving the room of normal life. I’m going now. Bye bye to normal life. And you go through that door just before bleeding. There’s a sort of moment where you suddenly feel the kind of drop and you just have to go. You know it so well. It’s like you’re cooking dinner and you go, jesus, I got to get out of here now.
[27:30] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: I have to go.
[27:32] Alexandra Pope: It is the moment because I know that, well, if I stay, one, I’ll spoil the food. Two, I’ll cause trouble with the people around me. It’s extraordinary, that impulse to go. And it’s your psyche, it’s so wild. And you go through that metaphorical door and what you do is you’re you step into this kind of a better phrase cosmic consciousness, this kind of expanded consciousness. And as you initially it’s like an emptiness avoid. And that can be destabilizing and unsettling, especially if you don’t know about it. But with the practice of cycle awareness, knowing about all these facets of the cycle, listening to the impulse within you to retreat, to drop your bundle, to just let go, to burn your todo list in that act of just giving, in surrendering. This extraordinary experience can happen, of feeling very lovely feelings, these feelings of just remembering it. Now, love is probably the strongest word. This is feelings of love. Like, I am loved. I mean, isn’t that wild? I haven’t done anything. I might have had a shitty day.
[29:05] Alexandra Pope: And I just, you know, shut the door, whatever, you know, suddenly I’m feeling love and I’m feeling just so right in my own skin who I am. I just know, I know my life is meaningful. It’s this grace of meaning and that magic word that Sjanie used, belonging. And I was feeling this this morning, actually, which was what was making me so happy, that the thing that most drives this work for me is how transformational it would be for more and more of us to be able to experience this feeling of belonging, this sense of inner goodness. That life is good at its essence as a feeling of life being good and that I have something to give. Who I am is needed. And it’s like free love. Administration. It’s all free love. You don’t have to earn it. You just have to listen to your body and follow the clues.
[30:30] Charlotte Pointeaux: Soothing. It feels so soothing hearing your words. I feel like a balm of just calmness and serenity just moving through me because I feel like I’m close to that point. And I laughed before when you were talking about when that sort of like someone knocks at the door and the door opens, it’s like, oh, you got to go. I feel that. And I feel that because I have three small children who want of me and a bunch of animals here as well, and work and life and all the things. And I feel like it can really get to that point of just, I’m almost waiting for that knock. And then it’s like, I’ve got to go. Goodbye. And it comes so lovely over to you handing the baton over to my husband and saying, he knows what this means. Now it’s like, goodbye, you’re in charge. See you later.
[31:46] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: It’s so beautiful to hear that you feel that permission, Charlotte, because not many people do. And I can hear in what you’re saying, you are waiting for that knock. And you know, when it comes, you must go. You feel that permission to go. And that is, wow, well done. Well done. That’s big. Because that’s such a hurdle for so many people, is to feel the permission to go. Yeah.
[32:18] Charlotte Pointeaux: Thank you. Yeah, it’s interesting, actually, what I’m coming up against at the minute is I know how important this is and it’s something I’ve yes, I can learn from people like yourselves and listen to your words and hear it and know it theoretically, but I’ve been putting it into practice myself as well. And so from that lived experience, that felt experience of just knowing how much better I feel in myself to be able to do that, even though it’s challenging, but then to see the benefits of all of that, not just for me, but for my family, but the challenge I’m experiencing at the minute. And I’m really curious. I’d love to get your insights on this, both in relation to menstruating, but also for menopause, is when we know this is important to ask for help, to carve out space for us to listen, to come home to ourselves, to give ourselves what we need. What about in a world that doesn’t appreciate or always just carried on? We just carried on with these things. People have always had periods and had menopause and we just push on through in this world that doesn’t understand that, even though we can understand it for ourselves. That’s my current challenge of permission. It’s I give myself permission, but I’m not sure the world around me is really respecting that. Do you have any words or wisdom around navigating that.
[34:10] Alexandra Pope: Before you speak? Can I just say, don’t wait for the world to give you permission.
[34:17] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: It ain’t.
[34:18] Alexandra Pope: Come in. You are the agent. That’s why you’re doing this work. We are the transition people changing the world. Over to you, Sjanie.
[34:30] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: Well, that was exactly where I was going to begin. And the bit I want to add to that, Alexandra, is one of the things that is so powerful about cycle awareness is that when we practice it, the change that it creates in us creates the change in the world. So we don’t actually need to look to change the world. It’s a process of us claiming more and more and more for ourselves. And that process of claiming more is very connected to the building of trust. And that’s what you’ve discovered, Charlotte, is exactly that journey to trust is like, oh, when I take just a little bit of time administration, wow, what that does for me. Oh, wow, look what it does for my family. Look at how that benefits my relationship and my work life and my calling. And so the next time around it’s like, oh, this is worthwhile. I need this, we need this. The world needs this. And so you have the courage, you feel the permission to take a little bit more, to receive a little bit more, and then more trust comes, more permission comes. And that’s why we cycle round and round, basically, is because it’s a process. But so often it’s true what you’re saying, Charlotte. The world doesn’t get it, and we aren’t supported from the outside, but we abandon ourselves if we turn to the world to change. So we really need to keep turning back to ourselves and saying, how can I give myself to the small? How can I trust this more? How can I claim more? How can I ask for more help, more support? And every step we take, life comes back to meet us. This has been my experience, so there’s that level. But I also want to say something which is sort of practical, which is the world doesn’t get it. And it’s true that because of that, our experience is compromised. And so, in a way, as Alexandra said, we are the transition generation. I guess I just want to acknowledge for all of us that something is being compromised. And the pain that we all feel in that is very real. It’s hard, it hurts, it’s infuriating. It’s not okay. So I want to acknowledge that we are actually at the effect of the world, and that pain and suffering we feel is very real. But the indignation that that grows in my experience gives me more courage every time around. I’m like, screw this. Next time I’m going to be more fierce. I want to just acknowledge how real that is to you.
[38:06] Alexandra Pope: I’d really love to segue into what this means at Menopause, because as we’ve been speaking, I’ve been holding this theme when we were talking about the spiritual forces of menstruation and how we our bodies say, time to step out of normal life. You’re going into another room now to have this cosmic experience. I’m just imagining those people who are in Menopause right now or just coming up to Menopause. That Menopause. Now, here’s the wild statement I want to make. At Menopause, you also go through that doorway where you step out of normal time space reality into a more expanded reality. And the beauty of Menopause and postmenopause life is that you stay there. You stay in this expanded reality, of course, still having to deal with normal time space reality. But when we were at the beginning talking about how you were feeling like you just dropped down your day 27, you dropped down into a different level where your thoughts and feelings aren’t so kind of zinging around, but you’re feeling more in touch with your intuition. And you didn’t use this word, but I’m thinking knowing and just use the word gravitas, I think you can feel something. I’m sort of dreaming into it now, kind of bigger at work that you’re in touch with. So it’s like you’re in touch with much more subtle forces, I suppose, is what I was hearing. Okay, so that’s what happens through the process of Menopause. You’re being lowered down into this deeper level of consciousness than awareness. And when you emerge from Menopause, you don’t pop out of that and go, oh, I’m back, everybody. I’m going to be who I was before. No, you never go back. You go forwards holding this more expansive consciousness whilst operating in that mainstream world. But it’s like you have I like to say you have 1ft in the divine and 1ft in daily life, kind. Of channeling two things at once.
[41:46] Alexandra Pope: So I’ve tracked back to what we were talking about at the beginning, about this dropping down into this spiritual realm. So it menopause. You’re stepping now into this more expanded consciousness. And just as administration, you need to step out of the room and go into another room. You need to be able to do that at Menopause, although at Menopause you’re going to be doing this for a longer time. And it’s quite a challenge. The very challenge you were describing for yourself about menstruation and being able to take that time is a massive issue at Menopause. And I would dare to say that so much of the distress and suffering that’s happening at Menopause is predicated on the fact that women and menopause people are unable to follow their natural impulse to step away from things for a little while. Because you know how we think of Menstruation, we call menstruation your inner winter. The year are built into your Menstrual cycle. The Menstruation is the inner winter. Well, at Menopause you are stepping into an inner winter of your soul, if you like, a time of going underground within yourself, pulling everything in. And if we think of actual winter when everything goes quiet on the surface, but there’s this huge reparation work that goes on in the soil that allows spring to happen every year. I mean, the miracle of spring so blows my brains every spring when it comes around and it’s come from the earth doing nothing. And this is just fundamental to menopause, this thing of being able to pull away so you can go within and just drop everything and be with yourself. I mean, there’s a massive conversation in there. I’m giving you just some headline statements. There’s a lot going on. But what you’re doing is you’re negotiating, stepping into this expanded reality where you can experience bigger and deeper forces at work in you. And it’s really waking up your calling in a way it’s never done before. Because each Menstruation you get a kind of awakening of something. Well, Menopause is the awakening of awakenings, can I say.
[44:34] Charlotte Pointeaux: Amazing. And something that’s really you’ve just reminded me is every time I’ve been reading through your book and Wise power on this Menopause book, every time I’ve reached a new chapter or section or you’ve described it and you’ve described these inner like you’ve described in your book wild power which is about menstrual cycle awareness. You’ve got your five chambers of menstruation which you talked about that knock on the door and that kind of portal opening and going and the renewal and then the kind of rebirth on the other side in your next menstrual cycle. And you’ve described these phases of menopause as well. And it really reminds me of you’ve talked about an initiation and it’s a rite of passage and leaving of one identity, one phase of life, one version of self into the next. And as you said, you can’t go backwards. It’s just a continual forwards and this kind of rebirthing of yourself. But it will really get the sense that it’s like if anyone has ever experienced a dark knight of the soul or done any soul work or reminds me of a vision quest that I have done in the last few months. And this sense of this going into the underworld and ego dissolving and like you said, stepping into the cocoon as well. It’s like a real soul awakening, a soul initiation and you discover this next version of yourself and it just feels so much to be like that. And what a gift that we have this in built in our bodies. We don’t have to go looking for it, it’s in our bodies, it’s a directive, it’s something that’s happening sort of whether we are anticipating it or not. And so we need to be knowing about what to expect, of course, so this doesn’t rock us. And you’ve given this beautiful map in your book with these phases, with this what to expect, what may happen and again it being that expression, it’s like the map not the territory. So everyone’s experience being true for themselves. And you’ve said about the big red rule in your work as well, about how we get to take sovereignty over our experience, our experience is true, might be this archetypal experience, but actually what’s true for us and how we experiences it is valid. And so I really feel like this is what you’re offering as well in your book. Yes, this is something that’s hugely significant rite of passage, the mother of all awakenings, but it doesn’t have to be something that’s feared and shamed and tabooed and we don’t live in an initiation or rite of passage literate world like we’ve discussed. But when we have awareness, when we have this map that you’ve offered, we can move through it with more trust, with more belonging and hopefully to get the gifts of this journey as well. And perhaps a big question. There’s so much territory to cover. We could talk for, I’m sure, forever about all of this, but what are the gifts of menopause when you’re doing it intentionally or consciously, and I say ‘doing it’, I mean it’s not something we do. It kind of does us.
[48:34] Alexandra Pope: It’s done to you.
[48:40] Charlotte Pointeaux: What’s? The opportunities available to us to really let this unfold by following this map.
[48:52] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: Wow.
[48:55] Alexandra Pope: The gifts of menopause are plenty of them, manifold. It’s extraordinary how it happens. But first thing is this awareness of clarity. You get this sight. That’s the word we use in the book we talk about. There’s two superpowers that help you through menopause, and one is the power of sight. It’s like the veils fall from your eyes at menopause and you see things like you have never seen before. Now, the bad news about that is you see the shit that you haven’t seen before. It’s like you suddenly get the shadow side of things. You see your own shadow, which is the not great bit. And you also see it’s like the shadow side of the world is forefront. And you’ve really got to take care of yourself here, because you could fall into quite a nihilism, this does not sound like a gift, but the positive side is that you can see into things, you can see through things. So it’s a sight that pops illusions you’ve had about life. And that is incredibly powerful to suddenly know things. So you see your shadow side, but you start to see who you are and it sort of just arises from your being. You start to go, Why am I doing this? I know I can do this. I could do this standing on my head, but it doesn’t float my pouch. Actually, you get this clarity about yourself and mainly, initially, it’s what you’re not. And you say, so the other superpower of menopause is no. You’ve got this incredible power of no. And how wonderful, because particularly women, we’re not great at saying no. We say yes and we exhaust ourselves and we take too much odd and blah, blah, blah. Well, don’t worry, menopause sorts all that out because of menopause. You’re just going to say no to everything. No reason at all. It’s a no. It’s extraordinary. So behind that is this gift of really feeling your boundaries. So there’s a kind of no shit voice that you don’t take shit anymore. It’s really slum. This is a fabulous gift, I can tell you. So there’s like a level of censoring that falls away, I have to say. Estrogen. The hormone estrogen makes us nice and the estrogen is falling now, so we don’t pull our punches in the same way. All right, so there’s a directness there’s this clarity, this sight, this insight that goes on. And what this is, this is the sort of precursor to the sort of real jewels of menopause, because what you’re doing is you’re clearing space. You’re going, no, and you’re clearing this space. And for me, the sort of heart of the menopause journey, the sweetest gift of all, is this sense of feeling of coming home to yourself. You just go, So this is who I am. I could weep now for the joy of feeling I am not. This is who I am. And it is enough how radical and wild is that thought. It is so exquisite. That gift and all other gifts of menopause flow from this realization of yourself, and it is a realization of yourself. It’s this self acceptance and that act of going, this is who I am, and just saying yes to it, yes to all. You see your humanity. I mean, I saw my arrogance, my cock ups, my this is my that’s. And you just kind of get to a place of going, you know what, I’m human. I’m human, and I’m going to stop trying to be perfect, and I’m just going to really celebrate what I am damn good at and get help with the things I’m not good at. And that act of really saying yes to yourself just opens up this channel within you where you can really start to get this just utter knowing of what your business is in the world. This piece on belonging, I think that’s the greatest gift of menopause, this thing of belonging. And then in that, you feel what it is you can give to the world. You can just enjoy being who you are. And in that act, you’re serving something in the world. So your calling can come through very strongly. And, you know, this is what I hear from post menopause, almost regardless of whether they’ve gone through. It kind of really, you know, been aware of the whole dynamic of menopause. They’ve just survived. It freedom. Freedom. It just feels free. It just don’t care, particularly for women. You’re out of the male gaze completely now. And, I mean, the downside is that society thinks we fall into greater irrelevance. And let me tell you, we’re turning the tide on that one. I mean, postmenopause women have just the most amazing powers. Power. Power is what we have. We have authority. We have authority, and we have a clarity about who we are. I mean, that spells nothing but trouble for me. It’s like, Nat, you hold nothing over me. Now. I am not going to censor myself. I’m going to stand for what I think is important in the world. Yeah, it’s powerful and it’s a responsibility. I mean, I can still do stupid things and be ignorant and all the rest of it. So there’s a huge responsibility with that power. But it is a really good feeling of freedom now. Yeah. You’re no one servant anymore, if ever you were.
[55:57] Charlotte Pointeaux: When I listen to words like yours just then, Alexandra, I feel such like a yes, like a joy and a thrill and a rebellion brewing inside me. Almost like this sense of I genuinely feel like the more I learn at this point in my life about the menopause initiation and the gifts and, yes, the challenges, and we can talk about the challenges too, but what’s available to us through this, the more I think, yeah, bring it on. For me, it’s not something I’m afraid of. I think if you’re somebody who’s especially, I think more of us perhaps are becoming more able to do our inner work and to look at ourselves and see all of ourselves on our good days and bad days. And I think that’s what the menstrual cycle can also show us, can’t it? It’s our wholeness when we can have that muscle, that strength to meet all of ourselves, all of our self. I feel like we can look at menopause as something that’s going to be, yes, I’m going to get through this and it might undo me, but I will be who I need to be and where I need to be, and this will be as it needs to be on the other side. And it can be something that I’m starting to feel like I’m going to embrace. Whereas I look at the cultural, the collective family, even the women before me, other women that I know who have experienced menopause, and it hasn’t been a positive example, for want of a better word. It’s not something where I’ve gone, oh, look. And so to see and hear more stories like what you’ve just shared, I hope it can inspire women to reclaim and reframe this menopause journey into more of an empowering rite of passage. And Sjanie, I’m curious for you how you feel about menopause. You’re not there yet. You’ve said that you’re cycling still. I’m curious about how you’re working with your menstrual cycle right now, or have been in a way that you feel will prepare you for menopause.
[58:54] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: How I feel about menopause, I’m 46 and how I feel about menopause is just I feel a lot of respect and humility is how I feel. Because what I know from what I’ve heard is that the things that are awoken in us through our practice of cycle awareness are a practice ground for what happens at menopause, a kind of small dose of what we can experience at menopause. And so I know by how humbled I am by my own psychical awareness practice over and over again that there is something very significant and big about menopause. So I’m staying very awake to that. I’m not taking anything for granted, which I think is good. But the way I’m working with my cycle is in some ways has nothing to do with menopause. It’s I’m really just staying with the practice of cycle awareness and not getting ahead of myself or anticipating anything. I’m really paying attention to the process that I’m in. And so I’m tracking my cycle on a number of levels. I’m always paying attention to the sort of physical experience that I’m having because that gives me so much feedback about my body and my health and what I need to tend to. And being in good health feels so important for menopause like that’s. One thing I’ve gotten so serious about is my health. I’m pulling out all the stops to get my health in tip top shape. So I’m really noticing my body. As part of my psycho awareness practice, I’m also really tracking my personal healing journey. So all the stuff that needs to be processed from my life and all the history that I have that keeps getting triggered and reactivated by situations and things, I’m really paying attention to that. And as much as possible, I’m not skipping over it. I’m giving time and attention to what needs to be healed. Because I know the more I care for that now, the less weight I’m going to have to wade through at menopause. So I’m really taking that very seriously. My own healing journey and the other thing I’m tracking. So the other layer I’m aware of in my cycle awareness is the power piece, which for me is I feel like I’m in this much stronger, tougher negotiation with power, with how I experience power in the world, the power dynamics I’m in, but my capacity to step into my power. So I’ve really had to work with my inner critic more diligently, and I’ve really had to track the places of powerlessness that I find myself in and really meet myself in those places and do the work to find where I can inhabit myself more. So that whole journey with power has been a big one for me. And what I know about menopause, if anything, it’s a master class in power. So the more attention I give to that now, I’ll be ready for that masterclass when it comes. So those are some of the layers I’m tracking. Charlotte but on a very day to day level, I keep just staying with how things are because my cycle is taking me, my cycle is preparing me, that work is happening, which is a good feeling.
[01:03:47] Alexandra Pope: I just really want to acknowledge what Sjanie has just said. Then that’s really crucial to stay with your present experience, because your present experiences, day by day are evolving you we are evolved into menopause. It shouldn’t be this kind of shock that sort of hits us out of nowhere. It is a negotiation. And your psyche, as you pace your cycle, you’re pacing your psyche. Just all the ways that Sjanie has described from the physical kind of spiritual.
[01:04:27] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: You’re getting fit for menopause when you practice cycle awareness, and that is the physical fitness, emotional, psychological, spiritual fitness, that’s what’s happening.
[01:04:40] Alexandra Pope: Sjanie, there is one more thing that you stroke we are doing in preparation for your menopause. Very practical thing. You can remember now that you say that. Which is it’s a guessing game, but we’re guessing around 50, another four or five years, we’re really thinking about how Sjanie can have some kind of sabbatical from the business. It’s in the back of our brains.
[01:05:20] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: When we’re planning projects and we’re looking at our five year plan, I’m like, well, by 50, I’m going to be probably less I’m probably going to be saying more nose. So let’s not, etc. Exactly. Although she’s going to take full advantage of it because she’s going to have a sabbatical as well, aren’t you?
[01:05:39] Alexandra Pope: I’ve got it. She’s not going to have all the fun.
[01:05:41] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: Piggyback on abandoning Red School.
[01:05:48] Charlotte Pointeaux: You have to make the rules. Right. It’s just that cyclical approach honouring approach. That’s beautiful. Yeah. Very special. Exactly. Wow, such wise words there from both of you. Thank you. I really feel like a real truth, but I felt like I was being pulled back down to earth a little bit for me, saying, I’m feeling like I’m ready to we’ll be able to embrace it when the time comes. And then you saying, I feel very humble about it and like, yeah, I can really feel this sense of I guess I’m giving it a little bit of thought already of what’s to come. And your words about just be with what is and stay present to the moment and let that guide you and unfold the path for you just feels in many ways really grounding and takes a lot of pressure off and invites me out of my mind of thinking and just back into being and just being. And you were saying about really tending to your physical health and healing and this negotiation with power that’s coming up for you as being these main, some of the most prominent aspects of this process for you. And I just feel like what a gift it is for us to have this cycle awareness now that so many of us have not had to be able to guide us through what’s coming, what a gift.
[01:07:50] Alexandra Pope: Yes.
[01:07:53] Charlotte Pointeaux: And Alexandra, from your perspective, I guess the same question. I’d just love to hear whether there was anything that you felt you discovered in your menstrual cycle or did to prepare yourself and support yourself for menopause.
[01:08:15] Alexandra Pope: Well, the amusing thing is well, firstly, no one was talking about menopause, really. I mean, of course there were books, but it’s not like now can’t open a newspaper or go online without metaphor sleeping out at you. It’s everywhere, which is good, it’s great, it’s being spoken about. Even if I don’t always like the narrative about it, at least it’s out there. So in my time, which is about 15 years ago, it wasn’t. So really, the interesting thing is I never thought, this is menopause. I’m going into menopause. I just stayed with my cycle experience. My cycle started to become more irregular. And actually, one amusing thing was that I got to a place where I would bleed when I was doing something on Menstruation. If I’d go for maybe two or three months and then I’d run a workshop and then I’d bleed, I’d bleed at the workshop. And it became hilarious, actually.
[01:09:26] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: It was sort of textbook.
[01:09:29] Alexandra Pope: I’ll probably bleed, I should. So I had that amusing phenomena going on and I was in the process rather than thinking about it. So at 48, I was happily cycling along was absolutely not. I think my cycle was normal thinking about menopause, but I did get instructions. This is on reflection, I look back because I got this kind of these thoughts came into my head, leave Australia, stop being a psychotherapist. I just knew that’s what I wanted to do. But then that was my work and I had been developing this menstrual work all along. Of course, I think that was like getting the call for menopause, although I was happily in my menstruating years, so I didn’t go, all right, this is all about menopause. I thought, okay, so this is what I have to do. And then the seven years from that moment took me up to my arrival in UK, took seven years to do. And I was, in a sense, coming out of menopause at that point. I was 55, so I was just listening to what was just coming up for me in my cycle experience and just being with it and following the clues, feeling the urgency around things. I did feel huge amounts of, Jesus, what have I done with my life? I’ve got nothing to show for it. I mean, I was going through heavy critical things with myself and anger, frustration with where I was in my life and the conditions of my life. So, yes, I was inside something and I got evolved into it.
[01:11:29] Charlotte Pointeaux: Thank you both so much for just the most amazing conversation. So much wisdom in there about how we can be with ourselves, be with our bodies and our cycles and take it into something that’s really positive, but also self aware and a powerful practice and lifestyle. Yeah, I think that word comes to mind again this way that we can embrace ourselves and all that we are and open to this great initiation and awakening of menopause. So, thank you both so much. I’m so grateful for your time. And so anyone who wants to find out more can obviously purchase your book, Wise Power, which will be available in Australia. I bought it off online and I believe it’s available everywhere and in other languages as well. And you have such a breadth of work and legacy of work that you offer. You have courses, you have your own podcast that I love, and listen to the menstruality podcast. You have your other book, Wild Power, which is all about menstrual cycle awareness and working with that, and your menstruality leadership program as well, which is about for people who want to step into their authority, their knowledge of working with menstruality and then sharing that with others. I haven’t taken it myself, so I believe that’s what it’s about. But I would just love to ask you if there’s anything you would like to share with listeners about maybe where they can connect with you or where to go next from here before we say goodbye.
[01:13:22] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: Yeah. So if you want to find out about us and our programs. The best place to go is to our website, which is redschool.net. Everything that we offer is listed there. The one other thing I want to drop in just because you spoke about the benefit and power of hearing positive stories about menopause experiences is we have a free series called the Wise Power Retreat Series where Alexandra is having conversations with people who are mostly post menopause and some in menopause about what menopause has liberated and awoken in them the gifts, if you like, of their experience. So people might enjoy hearing that and you can register for that @wisepowerretreat.com.
[01:14:17] Charlotte Pointeaux: Incredible. Thank you both so very much.
[01:14:20] Alexandra Pope: Thank you, Charlotte.
[01:14:21] Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: Thank you, Charlotte.
[01:14:24] Charlotte Pointeaux: Thank you so much for listening in. If you’re loving this podcast and you’d love to help me spread the wisdom shared, please leave a review or rating or share this with somebody who you think would love to listen in. I’m really passionate about creating ripples of change and getting this information to more women, girls, and people with the cycle so that they can reclaim their cyclic natures too. And if you’d love to dive in deeper with learning more about how to connect with your cycle and might serve passages, come and join our free Wild Flow Circle community. Or choose a course and learn with me on my online learning hub, all the links in the show notes. And until next time, be well and go with the flow of your cyclic nature.
meet your host
In today’s new episode of Wild Flow Podcast I’m chatting with Asina Mona Kupke all about reconnecting to your cyclical nature to tap into your soul’s purpose.
You’ve been learning about your menstrual cycle and how to attune to its changing daily strengths, vulnerabilities, and self-care needs – and it’s been life changing to finally learn what you should have learnt as a child. So imagine how powerful it would be for our children to learn this knowledge and wisdom now – rather than having to figure it all out after many years of being disconnected to their body, their cycle and therefore, themselves. If you’d love to share what you now know with your child or any other child for that matter but aren’t sure of when or how to start, I’d love to give you some ideas to help you do that confidently in a way that feels gentle, age-appropriate, and empowering for you and your child.
Many mothers have traditionally thought that children aren’t ready to learn about their body, how it changes, what menstruation is, or anything else associated with puberty until they have their first period but when we leave “the talk” until this time, children already have a lot of feelings, thoughts and confusion about what’s been happening to their body and sense of selves for a while, and they question what these changes mean about them if they are left in the dark.
Children in the playground talk and share information that’s usually incomplete or inaccurate, leaving children to piece the story together themselves. Schools deliver education that’s most often squashed down in one or two hours total to combine information on what periods are and how to manage blood, anatomy and how reproduction works which sends children the message that having periods means that falling pregnant is something to fear, and that when they begin their periods, they’re ready to have sex, which is not the case at all from a developmental point of view.
When talking about periods is so uncomfortable, it continues the menstrual taboo that we have been victims of for millennia. So how do we cultivate a period positive culture?
Today’s guest on Wild Flow is here to expand the horizons on who gets to participate in menstrual cycle awareness, and to specifically include people who identify as neurodivergent, queer and those who aren’t tapping into their body’s rhythm for fertility purposes.