Making the Most of Your PMZ? (Post Menopausal Zeal)

If anyone had told me during the menopause that I could look forward to experiencing a shot of ‘post-menopausal zest’ once I made it to ‘the other side’, it would have given me some much needed optimism to help me through!

Although to be fair, I may not have paid much attention to the possibility because at the time it seemed an unlikely prospect!

It’s been called post menopausal zest, post menopausal zeal and even post menopausal zing… but no matter what you call it, it is without doubt a wonderfully powerful phenomenon, which for the purpose of this blog, I’ll be referring to as PMZ for short!

Even though it’s something that’s been recognised and well documented for over 60 years, it’s not exactly a common topic of conversation – although why that’s still the case is beyond me!

Even if you haven’t heard of it, if you’re a woman over 50 you’ll have certainly experienced it – and there are plenty of women in public life, too, who seem to abound with PMZ – just think Judi Dench, Joanna Lumley, or Angela Merkel, to name but a few!

A physical and psychological surge of energy

It’s that special time of life when many of us emerge from the ‘menopause tunnel’ blinking into the light, with a renewed sense of vitality and energy, accompanied by a desire to do something different and to make a difference in the world.… a time when we discover an inner life force that knows no bounds. Bring it on!

post menopausal zest

The term post menopausal zest was coined in the 1950’s by the legendary American anthropologist Margaret Mead, who said:

“There is no greater power in the world than the zest of a post menopausal woman.”

And, speaking as a post menopausal woman who works exclusively with other post menopausal women, I think she’s absolutely right!

A time of positive change

Heaven knows, we’re all well aware of the physical changes associated with this life stage but far less is said about the changes we experience once we emerge the other side of the transition – freer, clearer and more confident – when things like passion, purpose and potential suddenly move to the top of the agenda.

It’s a completely natural life transition – a liberation and a transformation – that results in a significant shift in how we see ourselves and what we want for ourselves.

The start of a dynamic new life stage

PMZ can kick-start a brand new chapter of our lives where, for the first time in a very long while, we have the opportunity to prioritise ourselves rather than being driven to nurture everyone else.  It’s a chance to focus on and take ownership of what matters to US – our needs, our dreams and our priorities. An opportunity to take stock and start exploring new possibilities and new ways to live a bigger, bolder, happier life. It’s what creating Plan P is all about.

As a coach and mentor to women in their 50’s and beyond, I know – and they know – they have so much still to offer. I also know how incredibly exasperating it can be to have all this PMZ coursing through your veins and not know what to DO with it!

Because I felt it too.

And I can remember all too well the sheer frustration at not being able to channel my energy in a way that would allow me to ‘do my thing’ and make a difference – my difference- in the world. Consequently, I spent years trying to find my thing before finally having the big realisation that I’d been looking in all the wrong places. I am now on a mission to help others short cut this journey by looking in the right places from the outset so that they can shine their light, make a contribution and share their purpose with the world, especially now, at a time when this has never been more needed.

So, are you noticing a shift in priorities in your own life?

  • Are you feeling an increasingly urge to follow your own star?
  • Have you felt a growing confidence to try things you once thought impossible?
  • Do you have a strong desire to make the absolute most of the next half on your life?
  • Have you found the courage to explore new horizons or start new adventures?

I’d absolutely love to hear from you in the comments below. It’s time we let our younger sisters know what a treat they have in store.

And if you’re not there yet, where would you like your PMZ to take you…. what possibilities would you like to explore?

If you’re ready to start gently opening up to possibilities and are keen to explore where and how you can add your unique value and be of service to others, book yourself a complimentary clarity call and let’s see if we can get the ball rolling.

Now is your time.

Feeling Uncertain About What’s Next? Time to Explore the Fertile Void

We’re not fortune tellers; we don’t know what will happen. We can only do our very best to navigate our way through this truly unnerving and uncertain time.

But one thing IS certain, this too shall pass.

What’s less certain, is how we transition from here into a new beginning. And it’s very likely you’ve found yourself plunged into an uncomfortable, in-between place of not knowing what’s next, at the very time when the question you’re desperate to answer is, “Now what?”

And when there is no ready response to this question, the subsequent silence can be disconcerting to put it mildly!

So it might reassure you to know that there’s a name for this in-between place. In fact, there are a few…. I’ve heard it called the Fertile Void, the Creative Void, the Powerful Pause and the Neutral Zone – all names to describe the very real stage we go through as we transition from one state of being to a new beginning.

For me, ‘the fertile void’ is the one that seems most apt

Isn’t that a contradiction in terms, you may ask?

On the contrary, it’s spot on!

Because while the Fertile Void is, without doubt, an uncomfortable, in-between place, there’s a HUGE amount to be gained by simply sitting with the confusion of not knowing… IF (and yes, it’s a big IF!) we can resist the urge to rush ‘through and out’ because when we do that, we miss out on the gifts this space has to offer us.

The fertile void has its own creative energy

I know this may be hard to believe – especially when you unexpectedly and unwillingly find yourself thrown into this space. Although it is a confusing, painful thing to go through, something inevitably shifts in the process.

“Confusion is the state of promise, the fertile void where surprise is possible again.” – Paul Goodman

It’s a process of transition

Think of this time as your very own ‘cocoon of change’…. a time and place where you gradually shed the skin of your old life in order to develop the new. And, like the butterfly, you won’t suddenly appear in all your glory without hanging around as a bit of gloopy stuff first! 

This is where you get to spend time in your own chrysalis whilst engaging in some introspective soul searching. AND if it feels as if nothing is actually happening, just keep remembering the incredible metamorphosis going on inside the seemingly unchanging cocoon.

What if this is a gift?

With every crisis – even one like the coronavirus – comes opportunity.

What if you’ve been gifted this time to think and reflect?

What if you could regard this as a place of opportunity, of potential and possibility? A creative space where you are ‘held’ in order to allow a transition to take place:

  • to realign with the REAL essence of who you are and how you want to be in the world
  • to become aware of all those things now calling for your attention
  • to shed the old layers that no longer serve you
  • to re-examine aspects of your life and let go those that no longer feel right

Make the most of this opportunity

Acknowledge your feelings
Whatever you’re feeling right now – fear, anger, grief, confusion – it’s ALL totally valid and accepting the validity of these feelings and working with them will be more productive than trying to push them aside or plough on through, in the long run.

Embrace this time
Believe me, I’m well aware this is easier to say than do…. especially when you’re consumed with all sorts of mainly negative scenarios playing out in your head!
You may well be impatient to dig into something new but the fertile void is essentially a time of waiting, not acting… of being, not doing. It’s funny, isn’t it, how much more difficult we find it to NOT do things? But it’s by pressing the pause button that we gradually become aware of the unheard voices calling for our attention.

Let go of the need to know ‘what’s next’ for now
You’ve probably used a huge amount of energy already trying to deal with this uncertainty. And maybe you’re exhausted from trying to push your way through this situation in an attempt to find something new and solid to stand on. In letting go of expectations for ‘what’s next’, you gently open a space – a space to breathe…. a space for inspiration and ideas to incubate and germinate. You open up to what might be and to the possibility for something new and fresh to emerge.

Control your mind chatter
I’ll bet your inner gremlin has been having a field day recently, whipping your thoughts into frenzy as it desperately tries to reach some semblance of ‘normality’ and restore the status quo.

It’s really important to find ways to get outside your head and give yourself a break from its incessant chatter enabling you move into a space of optimism, curiosity and open mindedness. For me this usually means taking more exercise and doing more yoga – honestly, there’s nothing quite like a bit of mind, body and spirit alignment for finding some all-important white space in amongst all that dark fuzzy, tangled stuff!

Keep an open mind
This is a precious chance to allow your ideas to roam, explore new possibilities and make new choices. Some of the best views are to be found at the end of what look like dead-end tracks, so don’t be afraid to follow your curiosity and wander down some unfamiliar paths.

Start a journal
And I know all the above might sound frustratingly passive, so if you’re desperately looking for something to DO at this time here’s my go-to option! Get writing!

Writing has well-documented therapeutic qualities, so get it all out of your head and on to paper…. anything that comes into your head… feelings, ideas, thoughts, dreams, hopes and fears. Write it ALL down. It’s a brilliantly effective way to process your thoughts and gradually sift and refine them into a personally inspiring and meaningful way forward.

This too shall pass

This IS an opportunity – an uninvited and unscripted one, but an opportunity none the less! You may be desperate to find a way out of the fertile void but trust me (and the process) when I say you will not stay here any longer than you need.

Because one thing’s certain, this too shall pass. When you are ready… when it’s time to take action, you will move through the uncertainty of the fertile void and emerge with an understanding that will put you on a path to a fuller, more abundant life.

Are you in the fertile void? Could you benefit from some personal support from someone who knows this terrain well? Contact me for some one to one private help by applying for a Complimentary Clarity Call.

Keep On Keeping On

To say we’re living through ‘strange times’ right now is stating the bloomin’ obvious I know, but that still doesn’t stop me saying it on a regular basis as if I need to keep reminding myself that this utterly weird, challenging situation is actually real and not just a bad dream!

Life as we knew it has changed like never before in peacetime and our current reality is vastly different. This time last year, I was on holiday in Rhodes and I could never, ever, in my wildest imagination have predicted that we would now be under lockdown in the grip of a terrifying global pandemic.

Unprecedented times

Our lives have been turned upside down and, like most of us, I’ve struggled to process everything that’s happened and continues to unfold. Actually, ‘struggled to process’ is a complete understatement – my emotions have been all over the place… stumbling aimlessly between numb incomprehension, overwhelming anxiety and a deep sense of grief and sadness.

‘Change’ of any sort, always presents us with challenges but things have changed beyond all recognition in this weird new Coronavirus reality.

A friend of mine really summed it up for me when she said, ‘nothing’s changed and EVERYTHING’s changed!’

As someone who’s worked from home for many years now, my life hasn’t actually changed that much – I’m still doing what I do from home. I’m still working on what’s left of my business….. still running my business club, still attending networking events (online rather than in person meetings now of course)… still writing blogs like this and still supporting my tribe in a variety of ways that I hope will help. And I’m still doing a daily yoga practice and going for a daily walk in the great outdoors. So from the outside, it appears as though things haven’t really changed that much.

And yet EVERYTHING’S changed….. everything’s so very, very different, isn’t it?

Sitting with uncertainty

So while I am still ‘going through the motions’, the reality is, I’m spinning my wheels in an unfocused and totally unproductive way, while simultaneously giving myself a hard time for not actually DOING anything with all the extra time I’ve got on my hands now!

Above all, I’ve felt totally lost and useless. How on earth can I make decisions when the situation is so uncertain?

Uncertainty is uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable.

Reacting rather than responding

It’s not unusual to react when faced with such a stressful situation – we go straight into survival mode. It’s a natural response to uncertainty and threat but it can have a profound effect on our psychology, leaving us at the mercy of our fluctuating emotions.

But having been in lockdown for over five weeks now, I AM noticing things slowly changing and I’m starting to see this as – dare I say it – an opportunity.

I’m starting to think about where we go from here and daring to think about THE FUTURE….. daring to imagine a new kind of life after Covid-19. It’s given me a chance to pause, take a deep breath and reflect on my place in the world, the purpose of my business, the true contribution I really want to make.

For the first time in a long while I also feel the first stirrings of optimism and excitement about what’s possible. I feel as though I’m no longer just reacting but I’m gradually responding in a more conscious way.

After all, none of us knows what’s going to happen next but we have proved that we are amazingly adaptable, we can do things differently and we can live differently.

It’s not going to be a quick fix that’s for sure and we all need to find our own way through this. It’s different for each of us, and we all need to find and create our own personal support system and this Keep On Keeping On plan is the one I seem to have slowly created for myself.

Practise gratitude

I am extraordinarily lucky. I’ve always known it but now I KNOW it in a way I’ve never known before. And I give thanks daily for the safety and well-being of all those I love most in the world, for the roof over my head, food on the table, a home and a garden to enjoy.

Exercise

What works for me is to start the day with Yoga – if anything is going to put me in a peaceful, Zen frame of mind, it’s a few rounds of Salute to the Sun with a couple of Downward Dogs for good measure!

I’ve now tried a number of different online exercises classes from Zumba to Boxercise and have created a weekly workout timetable. It’s amazing how much fantastic free stuff there is available. And getting out in the fresh air for my daily walk is an absolute must for me.

Make conscious choices at the start of the day

If I don’t have a plan, I find it incredibly easy to fritter the day away but a plan of some sort – no matter how loose – really helps keep me anchored.

My latest ‘conscious choice’ is to re-read this magnificent paperback: Transitions. Making sense of Life’s Changes. If EVER there was a book to read right now THIS is it!

Do SOMEthing for my business every day

I’m currently writing like it’s going out of fashion! I’m making sure I capture all the thoughts and ideas, as they come into my head without putting myself under pressure to do anything with them right now. As long as they are safely stored, I can then relax knowing they’ll be there waiting when the time comes.

I’m also learning new skills, brushing up a few existing ones and working my way through the things in my ‘one day’ file! It feels good to achieve something. I’m being led by my inspiration and some days I feel inspired to do something like write a blog and other days it’ll be a quick social media post…. but no matter what, I’ll always do something. Which brings me to the next thing…..

Be kind to myself

Quite frankly there’s enough going on right now without me beating myself up! It’s really not helping and now I come to think of it, it’s never been a strategy that’s worked for me!

Instead, I’m trying to practice acceptance which means respecting my current place in the process, doing what I can and letting go of the rest.

Serve my community

It’s certainly not business as usual for anyone and with so many in my community feeling anxious, fearful and negative, I can’t just do nothing. So I’m using this time to focus on where I can be of service right now, where I can support and add value by creating free resources and offering free coaching for the duration.

So, this is my ‘Keep On Keeping On’ plan! For now at least. And that’s enough just now. We all need to find our way through this any way we can. As uncertain and scary as things may be at the moment, we WILL get through it and we WILL be all the stronger for it when we reach the other side of it.

So, how about you?

How are you feeling? Have things changed significantly for you? What’s your version of the Keep On Keeping On plan? I’d SO love to hear from you at this time.

It’s different for each and every one of us, and whatever situation you are in, I hope you have love and support around you to keep you safe and well until this passes.