The physical rite of passage that marks this stage is menopause, the cessation of menstruation. Peri-menopause (moving towards menopause or, the menopausal transition) can take 5-8 years, so as we near the end of our summer cycle, we step towards this next phase, autumn, then often step back again, into summer. It can be a dance that goes for years; towards our midlife and away from it, back to our younger selves, until finally, our steps lead us fully into the autumnal season of our life. Once we’ve arrived here, we still hold our springtime within us and our summertime too but our focus has changed; this is a time of harvest. As Christine Northrup writes in her book, The Wisdom of Menopause, this time is the “greatest opportunity for growth since adolescence”.
Here are some words that encapsulate this phase: harvest; giving back; presence; power; community; self-care.