A post by artist Marylou Falstreau:
Menopause was different than I expected.
I thought I’d be sitting in a comfortable easy chair looking back on the life I created; a loving home, financial security and children who had been raised to be uncomplicated little birds, always ready to fly home and adore their perfect mother.
I thought it would be a time of ease with a hot flash thrown in from time to time.
It didn’t happen that way.
Just as I began to experience menopausal symptoms my husband was unceremoniously fired from a job he’d planned to retire from. He found employment several times after, but the jobs were short lived and eventually we had no options.
Selling our family home, we moved to an apartment on the Central Coast of California with our two elderly cats. Gone were the dreams of sharing our country home with family, particularly grandkids.
I am an artist, and at the time I was selling my work at outdoor art shows and leading mixed media workshops, part time. After we moved, creating art became my full time vocation while my husband worked for a food service company in the neighboring town.
Life got crazy and I felt like I was going crazy too.
Painting non-stop and getting up at 3:00 in the morning to travel to art shows didn’t promote sound sleep. I began feeling like someone else inhabited my body and that person was in survival mode.
Was I sleepless from hormonal imbalance or because my life had changed in a way I was not physically or mentally prepared for?
I tried to find answers by spending hours in our natural food store, looking for helpful supplements.
The best anti-cure I found was a chocolate, peanut butter Twister from the Foster Freeze across the street. My symptoms became worse but for a brief, fleeting moment, I was happy.
The hot flashes began incognito. Yes, there was heat but mostly there were electrical currents pulsating through my body, holding me captive. It’s as if I’d been plugged in to an electrical socket that produced such intense anxiety that it was shocking, quite literally! So this is what it feels like to be loosing your mind and your body all at the same time!
Looking back from the vantage point of a 62-year-old post-menopausal woman, it is impossible to know when the “change” began in earnest. Nothing in my life was the same, everything had changed, but something beautiful was born as a result.
Here is the rest of the story…
Hi, my name is Marylou Falstreau, and I am creator of the Women and the Hourglass” series of inspirational art for women.
My cards and prints and other assorted items have made their way around the world, helping women connect with their own wisdom and their longing to be free of patterns that no longer serve them.
While living in the amped up world of out-door art shows I began connecting with the story within.
My painting style shifted away from whimsical… to whimsical with a theme.
Women became my focal point and then things started to fly. Chairs left the ground, so did people and trees and strange creatures that looked like hybrids of a dog and something else.
In my own way I was exploring spirituality, and that meant breaking rules of gravity and pushing the boundaries of common sense.
Around this time, I had a dream that changed things forever and was the motivation for my series.
In the dream, I was in conference with a group of women, listening intently. When I woke up, the words women and hourglass remained in my consciousness. It’s been my journey to integrate these two words and understand what their connection is.
What I’ve learned is that it’s time to wake up to our own potential and to understand life is an inside job.
We innately have the power to change what is inside.
We have the power to forgive and the power to be happy.
We most certainly have the power to count our blessings and laugh out loud, if we choose.
The Hourglass is a wonderful symbol for time passing, but it also can be turned over at any moment, stopping the flow of sand, and beginning anew.
We have the same power; it just takes a little more awareness and commitment.
Now is the time.
My life has changed in every way, yet again.
Something beautiful has grown out of those challenging years, a beauty that would have seemed impossible if considered before. I can see that growth and creation are always possible, even as we age. I can see that our purpose is revealed, sometimes at the latest hour.
For me, menopause was like a large bag of sand tied to my ankles as I navigated my way through treacherous terrain. I am proud to say I survived and am now thriving.
If I had any advice for women who are just beginning menopause, I would say try not to give in to the symptoms too much, but ask for help if necessary. Stay active, eat good healthy and natural foods and keep your eye on the gold.
Gold is always hidden somewhere in the story. Often it is revealed in perfect time; when the storm has cleared and there is a new, fresh perspective.
Everything in our lives has purpose and so does Menopause.
Giveaway: Marylou has offered an Affirmation Card Deck and an 8 1/2″ by 11″ print,”One day she woke up and considered new possibilities,” to a lucky Friend for the Ride winner. To enter, simply leave a comment by September 15 saying that you’d like to win. U.S. and Canada only. Thanks, Marylou! You’re the best!
To learn even more about Marylou and her art, visit her website here.