Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ajahn Perimenopause

As perimenopause has jumped with both feet into this life, I am learning more Dhamma lessons in a direct way.

After stopping hormone treatment, the cells in the body said "What? No more estrogen? Let's make FAT cells to replace what we're missing!" And they did so, with glee. Without any change in diet or exercise (other than maybe more exercise), the middle of this body has been expanding despite my wishes and or actions to keep it otherwise. Initially, I really struggled with this. I truly buckled down on my dietary choices, started exercising more, even considered doing crossfit (nearly impossible in this location). I railed and rallied, then whined and sniveled at the changes that were occurring seemingly out of my control. They still happened.

And then I remembered the Buddha using an example of impossibility:

"Would that my form be thus, would that my form not be thus."

Oh, right. Impermanence relates to this form as well, and the body I have at nearly 50 is never going to be the body I had at 30. I can still take care of it through healthy actions, but it will change and eventually cease whether I wish it to or not.

And of course, that which is impermanent is not me, not mine. It's just what this stream of Kamma is attached to in this round of samsara. I'm obviously still learning the full implications of that.

Lessons that I think I have already comprehened have an interesting way of coming back to be truly understood. While I no longer claim to have learned these lessons, they're certainly more on the mental radar.

As the body changes, I'm learning to be ok with what comes. Hot flashes, memory loss, etc. It's sort of an interesting adventure. And as I discover in a visceral way that I am of the nature to age, (and everything which that entails), it also is a good reminder of other divine messengers: that I am also of the nature to be ill and to die, and I have not gone beyond these. It's a great way of giving urgency to the practice.

So I am learning to think of it as a gift.


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