I was describing to someone today how I feel socially as of late. I specifically said, “I’m in a place of sometimes startling introversion.” I find it fascinating that I used the word startling to describe my deepening lack of interest in interacting with the outside world. It’s not that I don’t hold others in cherished esteem, or that I don’t treasure who they are, but more often than not, I really don’t want to interact with these beings I love so much. It’s a strange phenomenon. And ultimately, it is a bit startling.
I am deep into the menopausal journey. Modern medicine would say I’m not menopausal yet because I haven’t gone a whole year without a period. But for me, this is menopause. I have only had one period in the last 5 months, and I have finally stopped spotting for the most part. That was a relief. I feel like my body stopped ovulating quite a while before all of that. It seems to have taken it a little time to release the habit of bleeding. Like most habits, it is a bit challenging to let it go. For my physiology that is. Maybe for my spirit as well.
My mother likes to call it “mental pause.” Because of the mental sluggishness that she, and many others, experienced during menopause. That's not exactly how I am experiencing it. Yes, my mental processes have shifted. And yes, they do seem more labored. However, that doesn’t seem to be the essence of how I am navigating this fork in the river. My mind longs to work differently. (A good friend of mine described it as her mind relaxing.) Nowadays, my mind doesn’t feel stimulated by a large amount of external input. In fact, it feels overwhelmed by the typical encounters with different personalities and communication styles. My body too. It feels overstimulated, almost attacked, by the usual physical, visual and auditory stimuli in life.
Because of this, I have turned fully inward. My whole being yearns for silence and solitude. I often feel I struggle in my interactions. It can be exhausting to talk to people. Partly because I feel I won't make sense to them. My perspective has shifted so much that my words seem to land on uncomprehending ears, framing concerned eyes. As if to say, I don’t speak that language. You don’t make sense anymore. And maybe it’s true. Maybe I no longer appear to have reason or logic. Maybe I don't take the shape that I once did, when I would first put myself through translation and interpretation service before I exposed myself to others. This new, uninterpreted, unfiltered me doesn’t want to have to work that hard. She doesn’t actually care if she makes sense. She is simply enjoying getting to know herself. She is all the company she feels she needs. Startling.
I have been collecting opinions since before I was born. My parent’s opinions, my friend’s opinions, my romantic partner’s opinions, my children’s opinions, society’s opinions. Worst of all my own opinions. Essentially, I have been drowning in opinions my whole life. I would really like to float in opinion-less grace for a while. I suppose another way of saying it would be that I’d really like to spend some time with Spirit. With the part of me that is able to release her need to judge and have an opinion.
She is quiet. Startlingly quiet. She even scares me a bit. And yet, the idea of spending good quality time with her, in this state of opinion-less grace, is calling to me. I am being called home to myself. And as much as I love my parents, my children, my friends, my partner and you; I find I don’t really want to know any of your opinions. Not even the ones that substantiate my life and my choices. I don’t just long to be rid of my own opinions. I want to be free from all opinions.
It’s tricky. As humans, the exchange of opinions is one of our main currencies. We believe that when we share opinions, or even better, show deference to someone else’s opinion, we are confirming to that person that we value them. We are ‘paying’ them a compliment. We interpret that as love and respect. Imagine how much love we need to have for someone when we respect them even if we don’t hold the same opinions. What does that look like? If validating other people’s beliefs is a deeply imbedded love language in our society (maybe our species), how do we love while at the same time withholding our own opinions and allowing others to theirs? No common ground required. Sounds radical.
Even more radical, is the ability to value myself without having to agree with my own, or anyone else’s opinions. That is the grace I want to float in. The liminal space in which opinions don’t exist. At the moment, I’m finding it difficult to inhabit that space with others. It’s challenging enough to find the opinion free nectar within myself. Hence, the strong desire to be alone. To close myself off from all input. All opinions. I’ll apologize in advance. In case it offends you when I do not choose to use that form of currency in our interactions. As an early warning, I am, more than usual, likely to actively reject any opinions you share with me. Just out of principal. Simply for the practice of not collecting opinions. As a precursor and entryway into that opinionless state of grace I so long to visit.
Do you think you might be willing to meet me there? On the outskirts of ‘opinionland.’ I know it looks a bit dark and uninhabited, a bit startling, but I really think we might like it there. The shadowy parts of the landscape might finally lose their somber tone if we move in and commune with them. Acknowledge their importance, not at the margins of the inhabited ‘real world,’ but central to us. Our intuition, gut instinct and subconscious engines already drive our every move. Once we become familiar with these uninvited aspects of ourselves, you might find you want to live in this liminal, opinionless grace land as well. Do you think you would be willing to meet me in that place? Interact with each other in a state of grace? I think that’s what is called infinite unconditional love. The menopausal me longs to be infinitely unconditionally in love with me. And with you too.
With all my silent love,
Tawa Ranes has a very curious mind and has always been interested in the nature of consciousness and the workings of the Universe. Since healing has been a big part of her own personal journey, much of her curiosity focuses on understanding how and why healing occurs or fails to take place.