Photo: Jack Greene, The Rose Went Lovely
Q. What inspired you to write this book?
A. At a certain point in my menopausal journey, I realized I wasn’t getting weaker; I was getting stronger. I started thinking about how we’re going to live so much longer after menopause—but I didn’t feel like a crone! I felt sexy, and I wasn’t ready to sit back and be wise. I was ready to go out and do stuff in the world!
Q. How does feminine power change during menopause?
A. Premenopause, women’s power tends to be more yin; we’re in more of a receptive mode, because it’s part of our biological makeup to bear children and nurture and hold them. After menopause, we start to see where we can bring our power. It’s still nurturing, but it’s more yang, more outgoing, trying to make a difference in the world.
Q. You believe it’s critical for mature women to reconnect with their adolescent selves. Why?
A. It’s important to look at things that happened during our teenage years. That’s when we were really starting to feel our power, and it immediately got suppressed by our society. I believe that when our female hormones kick in, two powerful seeds are planted within us. The first is our biological, childbearing purpose. The second is the seed of our power woman. In the teenage years we all have dreams, which we haven’t really fulfilled as adults. That’s the clue to what our postmenopausal purpose is.
Q. Your title page quotes Mahatma Gandhi: “If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with women.”
A. I deeply believe we’re in the midst of a great paradigm shift. I believe the overall purpose of baby boomer, postmenopausal women is to bring a new sense of feminine power to the world—one based on nurturing, wisdom, and care—and to begin to take leadership positions and make policies in our communities, as well as nationally and globally.
Q. How do women do this?
A. We can do it without being revolutionaries out in the street; that’s the old model. We can do it by getting together in groups, by talking and healing the pain that separates us, and by coming up with clever ideas. Women have brilliant ideas!
Q. What obstacles must women overcome?
A. We’ve been set up in competition with one another for millennia. We need to begin to cooperate with one another and bring that sense of cooperation into the world.
Q. What should women who want to embrace their power do first?
A. Become aware that menopause is the beginning of the most exciting transformation of your life. And then find other women to share with, to sit down with and create community. Because it’s the loneliness and fear that stops so many women.
Q. What about being a grandmother?
A. Being a sweet little blue-haired grandmother is certainly not what most baby boomers have in mind for the rest of their lives. I want to love my grandkids, but I also want to do other things with the rest of my life. Motherhood and grandmotherhood have to set an example of true feminine values and power. As mothers, there’s this fierce power to protect our kids. In our next, power-woman stage, we can expand that by bringing our love and protection and power to all the children of the world. We’re just stepping it up a notch.