It seems that in our present-day culture we have an attitude that our bodies are something to be conquered, mastered, and controlled. We object to the feelings in our bodies, often to the point that we mistrust everything about them.
However, what my guest today, Tania Elfersy, points out is that our bodies are wise and that we can always rely on that wisdom no matter what we’re going through, be it menopause symptoms or food cravings.
Tania Elfersy has a passion for revealing rarely discussed truths about women’s life-cycle events.
She is a transformative coach, speaker, writer and educator. Since 2015, Tania has been supporting women through perimenopause and menopause, allowing them to reach natural symptom relief, and a greater sense of well-being.
You can listen above or on your favorite podcast app or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and the full transcript is below.
- The power of insight to create physical changes
- Who is the wiser woman within?
- How the body shares its wisdom through discomfort
- Why having a ‘lighter experience of life’ matters to our experience of health
- How our bodies only ever express love for us
Resources Mentioned in this Episode
Transcript of Interview with Tania Elfersy
Alexandra: Tania Elfersy, welcome to Unbroken.
Tania: So happy to be here.
Alexandra: I’m so happy to have you here.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be interested in the Inside-Out understanding?
Tania: I am originally from the UK. I live in Israel. I’ve lived here for almost 30 years. I am in my mid 50s, which is significant considering what I do for a living, which is supporting women through midlife change, through perimenopause and menopause, helping them have a much lighter experience of this fascinating time.
I am coach and author, speaker, educator, trying to bust through the myths of women’s health, and also the misunderstanding that we have around our emotional spiritual health, mental health as well.
I’ve been around the 3 principles since 2015. I was sucked into them after a very quick experience of an insight. I was a lucky one that quite soon after I discovered the principles, I had a major life changing insight, just around the nature of thought.
At the time, I was experiencing a lot of perimenopause symptoms, physical, emotional, night sweats, two weeks of PMS, and lots of migraines, skin problems, bit of hair loss, all kinds of things just to make your life joyful. And I had this insight around thought and within days all my symptoms cleared up.
That made me see that there was something very interesting in this inside-out understanding. Since then I’ve been exploring it more and more and sharing it in the context of women’s health.
Alexandra: I love that story. And it’s such an interesting one because it just happened so quickly for you.
I occasionally mention that as an example of how we just never know when an insight is going to strike and how it will impact us.
Tania: Yes, I was in the bathroom. I wasn’t anywhere special. So anyone who had the idea that we need to be under the right moon, or something like that, that wasn’t my experience of it.
I read certain people that have a similar understanding like Eckhart Tolle and Michael Singer. And I was impacted by this whole nature of the observer of your thoughts. So I’d already seen something around that. But that hadn’t changed anything in how I felt about my health, or I was experiencing my health or other things in my life. And then just really getting to know the principles that was sort of the major change point for me.
Alexandra: Nice. So let’s maybe kind of start at a foundational level.
Your website is called The Wiser Woman. Tell us why you chose that name. And who that is?
Tania: It’s not me. I mean, she’s in me, and she’s in you. But it’s not only me.
When I was getting to understand more about the principles and the concept of Mind, I felt that that term was a bit misleading, because it makes us think of what’s going on going on up here in our head. And I was seeing the innate intelligence throughout the body and I was trying to find a way to describe that innate intelligence.
The best thing that that came up for me was the wiser woman because it really felt like there was me with my little mind and my little thoughts, trying to run the show, and then there was something much deeper, and it is an intention within me that I could actually relax into it when I remembered. And that whole concept of a guided self or a guided intelligence, or God, some people, I’m sure we would rather call it or a divine intelligence, however we want to call it whatever feels best for us.
I landed on that term, the wiser woman because it felt like that described this thing that already knew how to get me through midlife change. It known how to get me through every single stage of my life, from a baby to where I am now, and being a mother as well. It just knew. And I didn’t have to run the show. I didn’t have to jump in and tell my body what to do at each stage, and neither did any doctor.
So there was this wiser woman always running through me and always running through every woman and there’s a wiser intelligence running through every person. In our very modern technological society don’t give it much presence or thought. And so often we think there’s a lot for me to do in order for my health to be good, in order for me to experience well being, when actually the body really, really knows what to do. And when it should, for example, express feelings and symptoms that will help bring us back into our state of balance and well being so lucky us.
Alexandra: Yes, exactly.
When it comes to menopause and perimenopause, what are women struggling with these days that you see?
Tania: I think in the West, we live our lives at a very fast pace, and with a lot of expectations. And we are taught to analyze it every step of the way. And especially now, I’m not knocking advancements created through feminism, but especially now we have more choices. And more to think about, it seems, and more expectations than we used to have, for example, a few generations ago.
This creates a lot of thought in our head that is experienced throughout the body as stress. And we don’t learn that we can have a different experience of all the circumstances that we’re facing, whether it be on the career side on the family side, aging parents, teenage kids, the wealth situation, the politicians here, we can take that all on and think, oh, that’s all on me to sort out and all I need to fix. And if I want to have a happier time, then I need to be thinking about that all the time.
It all seems to come to a head at midlife, maybe because we’re sandwiched, many of us. And maybe because we’re at this point where we look back and say, Where have we come from and where should we be? Where are we going? It seems to be this sort of crossroads.
I also think it’s because the body itself is creating the conditions to heal. And these days, I really have a number of gentle terms to call menopause or midlife change and one of them is this journey of healing. Because I really think that even if we carry perceived trauma from the past, we come into midlife and the body’s start saying, I’m not going to let you carry that on much further. And so we’re going to have a resolution, and I’m going to make your life a little bit miserable. Not because I want to make your life miserable, but you need to wake up. And if I just do it gently, you’re not going to wake up because you’re just going to take the odd ibuprofen or whatever to sort of calm it down.
The body’s going to start talking to us because it wants to bring us into this path that’s going to lead us to good health and protect us as we age. So women are experiencing a number of symptoms. These days they have 30 something symptoms that they categorize as perimenopause or menopause symptoms and it’s so peculiar in the narrative, the dominant narrative that this is all caused by women’s hormones, all those symptoms, how peculiar.
The way that I see it is that we’re in the sensitive time, so women who have had in the past sensitive skin like I had when I was a teenager, I had it when I was pregnant, issues came up very quickly. So lo and behold, I came to midlife I was experiencing all kinds of eczema and things like that. Women who have had problems with their stomach, IBS or something similar, that will often come out again in midlife. Women who have a tendency for migraines, or depression or something like that, that they’ve experienced in the past, this will come to the surface, not because the body’s trying to punish us, but because the body is sensitive.
If something is out of balance, that’s the way it expresses itself. And so women can be experiencing so many different symptoms that seem very, very complicated. But luckily, the cure or the healing journey is so simple. It all comes back down to the balance of the natural path that’s really it. So it’s listening to what does my body actually want me to know, at this time, which is one of the favorite questions that I like to ask clients, because we normally know, even if we don’t want to admit it.
What is your what is your body trying to tell you?
It could be if that career isn’t lighting you up. It might be time to do something else, or have a different experience of where you are. Or if that relationship isn’t healthy, then it may be time to try and nourish that, or take a decision around that. Or if you’re still carrying that perceived trauma from your 20s, or whatever it was, now is the time that we’re going to resolve that and let it go. So that we don’t have to carry all that stress wherever it comes from in into our older age as we move forward.
And ‘asterix’: *it is coming from our thoughts about whatever’s happening.
Alexandra: Right. And when you ask women to ask their bodies, I’m curious about that. Is there a way that they can do that?
How do you point them toward understanding what their bodies are trying to say?
Tania: I think that when we ask ourselves that question, we just know the answer. And it comes in very, it’s quite obvious, and it’s quite quiet. It doesn’t come in like the marching band. It doesn’t come in like that. But we just know. And often, it’s a thing that we don’t want to say that’s the thing that maybe needs attention or needs nourishing, or something like that.
When we’re in a quiet place, then it comes through. I think that you know, it just, it just does. And some women say I don’t know, I don’t know what my body’s trying to tell me. Okay, well, when you’re in a quiet place, and maybe for somebody that will be when they’re on a walk or in the shower, or having a swim, or wherever it is, it may just come to mind. But I think normally, the way guidance works is that there is an answer. We’re not always prepared to listen to it.
Alexandra: I love that. And I wanted to ask a follow up question about what I asked earlier about what women are struggling with now.
I’ve been curious about where do you think this idea came from that menopause and perimenopause are a problem when we don’t think about puberty or pregnancy like that?
Tania: I think looking over the history, women’s health wasn’t really much interest for medicine. Philosophers have a bit, if you want to look at it. But there was certainly a thing about, Why are women still around when they’re no longer fertile, what are they doing? This crazy idea.
And women, themselves have sort of taken on these beliefs in society as well. Especially in the last 100 years, because it’s so in effect, about it’s downhill from now on, and what is our purpose and are we becoming invisible etc, etc. Whereas in traditional societies, there was much more respect for elders and the role that they played.
In modern society, scientists have to think well, what is this? A woman who’s not fertile anymore? What’s her purpose? Whereas any woman, for example, who’s had young kids and has seen an older woman walk through the door who doesn’t have a kid attached to her, we’re gonna know that this woman has a really good role to play, actually. But scientists had to look at orca whales to understand that a postmenopausal woman may indeed have a purpose.
In orca whales, they discovered that the pods that were led by postmenopausal females actually thrived more than the pods that weren’t. And it’s because there’s no competition, it seems in the time of the postmenopausal female, between her own offspring and her whale children. So she’s available to deal with conflict resolution and finding where there’s food available for the pod, and use all her wisdom. She’s not busy with her own offspring.
So scientists had to look at orcas in order to realize maybe there’s a role for an older wiser person. So that’s the first thing that we have in our mind.
And then on top of that, came this idea of, oh, it’s the relationship between hormones that were discovered around 100 years ago, and women’s problems. And so they created this idea of correlation between, oh, if you’re losing your hormones, you must need your hormones. So there’s an understanding that with pregnancy there’s a hormonal change, it makes a woman sensitive, we give a lot more time for pregnant woman in terms of if she’s experiencing symptoms, or perhaps he should slow down here, take two weeks leave off work, how are you eating? Are you resting? How is your sleep, etc, etc.
Whereas in the sensitive time of midlife change it’s like, well, you just need to fix your hormones, because, wow, you used to have that level of hormone and now you have that that level, which is that of a pre adolescent girl, who, by the way, doesn’t have the symptoms that we attribute to though estrogen or something like that. But science has got it worked out that it must be that.
And it’s basically just a theory that they pulled out of wherever they pulled it out of, and so then women then see themselves as deficient. And this especially now, for listeners, perhaps in the UK, they will be seeing this more and more, because for some reason, in the UK, defining menopause as a hormone deficiency has come back into in vogue.
This was something that was really pushed out in the 1960s, certainly in North America, but now it’s been dropped, and it’s seen more as a part of a woman’s lifecycle. Whereas in the UK, this idea of, Oh, your hormone, really deficient has resurfaced. And yeah, that’s not helpful.
Alexandra: Exactly. And it just strikes me that it’s so simple to see that the body is so intelligent and knows what it’s doing. At puberty, it knows what it’s doing and how to do things. And then the same at pregnancy. So why would it be different at midlife? That just doesn’t add up. I love that you explained a little bit about where are these ideas have come from. That’s lovely. Thank you.
Tania: My pleasure.
When we think about it in a really logical way, it doesn’t make any sense. Well, how could my body know how to do all that? And then it comes to midlife.
Of course, I should just mention, there is this idea of Oh, because we never used to live beyond menopause. I talk about that in my blog, or in my book, and I show references that we can find in the Bible from the second century from the 12th century. And there are other references as well, that completely debunked that myth because women have always been around since menopause.
But the charts that we’re familiar with of life, average life expectancy increasing over the ages look like that because child mortality used to be really high, and that would bring down the average age of life expectancy. So we’re getting to midlife and just dropping off now they weren’t.
And interestingly, it’s never used against men. It’s just used against women, “because you never used to live that long. And that’s why we need to supplement your hormones because your body didn’t know because it wasn’t planning to live this long.” And it’s absolute nonsense. I’m happy to report.
Alexandra: Speaking of orcas, there were some in the inlet here where I live yesterday. They show up every once in a while.
Let’s talk about how our thinking affects our bodies.
You have a great story in your book, which is there behind you for people who are watching on YouTube, about experiencing menopause symptoms, or perimenopause, and then going to Thailand and having them fall away. So tell us a bit about that.
Tania: Yes, I’d been experiencing all these symptoms. And first of all, it took me a little while to understand that I was in perimenopause, because no one had told me. I was 43 when I started my symptoms. I just was trying to deal with them individually. And then I heard a webinar and realized there was this thing called perimenopause, I realized menopause didn’t happen overnight. I don’t know why I thought it did. But I thought it did and happened at 51, overnight.
And then, I realized that I was having these symptoms, but I was still on a natural oriented path. But I was trying to deal with them very much from the outside in. I was running to acupuncture and taking herbs and Bach remedies and other thing doing other things. I was getting some relief, it was taking the volume down a little bit. So it made life a little bit easier. But I really never felt that I was healed. It was always, let me make sure I’ve got my acupuncture appointment in and when am I going to take this? And is there another potion? And is there something that’s better? I was always on that sort of wheel of things.
Then I went holiday with my family to Thailand, and it was just as glorious holiday. I’d been really looking forward to going back to Thailand, because I’d been there in my 20s. And it’d been so lovely. And I realized that while I was on holiday, I was really forgetting to take my potions and my remedies and use my potions and I wasn’t getting regular acupuncture. And my symptoms just disappeared.
I thought that that was interesting. And I wondered about that. I wondered, well, what is it about holidays? And we can imagine, well, holidays? Oh, yeah, you have a lovely time. But there’s something in that, oh, you’re having a lovely time, you’re not thinking about the things that you normally think about. And so you’re having a lighter experience of life. And your body just is able to relax into that and doesn’t display symptoms.
So when I came back, I thought, well, that’s interesting. How can I bring that holiday experience back into my regular life. For me, this was my journey, that I really didn’t need to run to all these treatments and use all these potions and remedies, etc. And perhaps I could just be where I was and see what happened and have a different relationship with my symptoms, because they were obviously telling me something about where I was in life and my state of mind. I didn’t really see it as my state of mind but I knew that there was something that was often my regular life when I was thinking about the regular things. And that didn’t happen when I was in Thailand.
My symptoms actually did come back. But I had a different experience of them just because I wasn’t trying to fix them and thus fix me. I was aware that perhaps they were telling me something and perhaps they could guide me. I see now that they were gifts.
I know that when we’re experiencing all the symptoms, it doesn’t feel like a gift. But they actually are they’re these divine gifts, these divine guides that show us how far have we are from balance. When other symptoms returned, like I said, I was able to have a different experience of them.
I think then when I came across the 3 principles, I was in a different mind really. I was more open to see something new. And I wasn’t hating on my body and I wasn’t blaming it and just disappointed by it and I wasn’t thinking that it betrayed me or anything that I had thought when I was feeling a little bit crazy about my symptoms. And so, it all just was able to fit into place and I was able to see all my body’s intelligence and then I was able to see this insight about thought which was which was only and simply I don’t have to take my thinking so seriously.
I think I will have a nice time in life if I don’t. That was it. I often say to women, I wish I could copy and paste it for you. But it’s so simple. And yet I felt it on such a profound level, that it was such a huge change within days, in terms of my symptoms.
Alexandra: I love hearing you say that, because I tend to talk mostly about unwanted habits, specifically overeating. And it took me quite a while to figure out exactly what you’ve just said; the things that we’re experiencing in the case of an unwanted habit, it would be a craving, the drive to overeat, as I call it. And that is actually intelligence. It’s feedback. It’s trying to help us to see who we really are. I love that there’s this parallel with perimenopause and menopause symptoms.
It’s the same thing that’s going on. It’s the same intelligence trying to guide us.
Tania: Yes. In Western society, again, we have this detachment from the body. I remember speaking to a woman who said, I didn’t really realize I had a body until I was in my 40s. And it can be true, because we can live so detached from the body, and we just think everything is from the outside; I need to feed it, or I need to get to the gym, or I need to do something on the outside, rather than seeing it for what it is, which is such an intelligent energy that enables us to live this life on this planet.
We so easily fall into that trap of oh, if it’s a symptom, whatever kind of symptom it is, as you’re describing, or as I’m describing, then it’s a malfunction. And it’s really difficult for the body to malfunction because all it ever wants for us, is to bring us back into balance. All it ever displays is love.
And then we come in with our little minds and say, Oh, no, it’s a malfunction. Oh, no, there must be something wrong. Oh, no, it’s my hormones. Oh, no, I’m bad. Because I have this habit. Oh, and it’s not the body just expresses love. But it does it in different ways.
With our minds, we don’t see it often. And that’s innocent on our part. But we do have a choice to see symptoms and understand them in a different way.
Alexandra: Beautifully said that was great. Thank you.
You have particularly bumped into a lot of pushback in your work.
Why do you think then it can be controversial to talk about this intelligence about our bodies?
Tania: It’s a kind of victim consciousness. I talk about that in the book. But it is because we’ve said, Oh, it’s not me, the essence of me that could be causing this, we say it must be something external. And that’s something that needs to be fixed externally.
So it could be if we’re really experiencing unhappiness in our job, then it’s the job that needs to be fixed, it can’t possibly be anything to do with the way that we think about the job or the way that we think about the people in our workplace or anything like that. It doesn’t need to be that sort of stance out there.
The hormone story fits in very nicely into that I’m a victim to something going on, that’s not in my control. So when I’ve shared my perspective on midlife change, and how hormones also have to be part of this intelligence, then I’m kind of pulling the rug from under the feet of some people, and then they feel like they’re about to fall down. And they’re grabbing onto anything, and they want to grab on to their hormones and keep that as the reason why they’re suffering.
Because if I’m saying to someone, well, you might want to look within, and it might be something that we’re choosing in our innocence, some misunderstanding, not because we’re trying to hurt ourselves or something like that, but it’s just a misunderstanding, then that’s a big shift from Oh, it’s my hormones, I need to go to the right doctor and the right doctor will give me the right medicine and the right medicine will fix my hormones. And then I’m going to be happy.
Women chase around, as I did for a number of years, looking for the thing that’s going to help them and now there’s so many things Things that are being promised that can help, even on the synthetic drug side and on the more natural sort of bioidentical hormone side of things. But I never give advice on medicine or even herbs or anything like that. But it’s an outside in understanding.
It’s something about the victim consciousness that we’re saying, I’m a victim to my hormones. I’m a victim to the circumstances, or I’m a victim to the trauma that I had. And then we can’t come back into the present and say, Well, what am I responsible for? And am I responsible for my own health? And yes, I am. And, that’s a big shift. But it’s so amazing, when we can see that, and it’s so empowering.
It’s so long term, giving over the long term, because I’m not, for example, stuck on any one supply chain of any kind of hormone, or any kind of drug or any kind of doctor who is going to change your mind or science that’s going to change or the side effects are going to change. And just me and my body cooperating together to create health.
That’s the easiest way in the end, once we can orientate ourselves from sort of forgetting what we’ve were brought up with and come back into the present and the responsibility of, oh, yes, I’m creating my help, and I can create wellbeing, simply.
Alexandra: Right. And it’s already there, too. Yes. That’s great.
I’m going to shift gears here now slightly, and talk about your book. I’ve got my copy here for those people watching on YouTube.
When it came to writing the book, you have this great story about getting that done by doing nothing, essentially, for a while.
Tania: I had been thinking of this book for five years. And I had started it and stopped it. And I already had an understanding of, I really don’t need to push this. There’s a reason why I’ve stopped and it will come when it comes and I wasn’t really thinking about it.
These days, I don’t make plans over the year and say, Okay, this year, I need to achieve X, Y and Z. So it wasn’t in it in any plan. But it was just very much on the backburner.
And then a little bit before the summer I’ve been playing with my eyesight, and being interested about how I could improve my eyesight. I went to a workshop, and I managed to come down by one number. I was wearing multifocal glasses, and I went off multifocal glasses. I was sort of plus four and a half. And then I came back from the workshop and I was doing these exercises that I learned at the workshop. I could see that they were helpful, but to me, they felt like a chore. And so I thought, well, where can I go for expansive views, which is really important, because that’s what we lack so often in life. I realized, Oh, I could go to the beach, because I do live in a town by the beach. And I do love the beach.
So I started going in the summer by myself in the morning, and it felt very naughty. And every time I’m like, I don’t really go to the beach by myself. And sometimes I would see people on the way. But when you’re going to the beach, by yourself you’re not meeting anyone, now by myself going to the beach by myself at my age. I managed to do that about four times a week over a few months in the summer.
Very quickly, within a few days, I realized that the beach was very, very good for my eyesight. I could see details on the beach. I could take a book and read it on the beach. That was just a joy that I would just go to the beach and really do nothing. And my eyesight was was improving.
Then a few weeks in I thought well I wonder what else will come out at the beach and lo and behold the the chapters of the book came and it came in an insight. I was lying on the beach and I had, “Look to the Bible.” I’m not religious. But I thought, okay, the Bible, okay, and then I came home and because I speak Hebrew I know the names of the books in the Bible in Hebrew and I know them in English. And it’s not exactly a direct translation. Sometimes the English sort of refers to more things in the books themselves. And then there’s Hebrew, but anyway, I looked at the books.
I was able to find the chapter titles in the books between the Hebrew and English and the content of the of the book. So I thought, Oh, that’s very obvious. I could have ignored that ‘look at the Bible’ with me and the Bible. But I thought, okay, that’s interesting that that came through. So I did that. And the chapter titles were there. Then it was just a matter of filling in the text. It just came so easily.
I just was going to the beach, coming home, writing for a few hours. And that’s the way that it happened. Just to say, writing and editing a book is not great for your eyes afterwards, but I still have managed to halve my prescription. So that’s good. But yes, that’s how it came.
And so people say, oh, I need to go to the beach if I want to write my book, but it doesn’t work like that, because that was my inspiration. I love the beach and I was having such nourishing time there. And it just allowed the book to come through me, I think. Again, I was just listening in, and I didn’t at any time think oh my god, I must write that book again. And oh, my God, I must go back to the third of the book that I had already written. No, I just left that because I knew Oh, look, something new is being delivered here as it were in terms of the chapters. And yes, that’s how I that’s how I got the book published in quite a quick time.
Alexandra: Yes, you really did. It was so interesting to watch because there was this period of just quiet and reflection when you were going to the beach. Yeah, it could have looked like, oh, you know, in our culture, we have this obsession with doing so much. And you were just being quiet. And then suddenly the book came about. And as you say, that’s not a prescription for if you go to the beach, you’ll be able to write a book.
It’s it’s pointing to your wiser woman that you were listening to, the intelligence that’s within you. And that’s within all of us.
Tania: Yeah, I was just, like you said, I was just following guidance that I heard and I was following bliss. I was having such a nice time going to the beach. And how amazing that that’s what happens when we just follow that little guidance, follow our bliss, have a lovely time. feel nourished. Miracles can happen. I really felt like that.
Alexandra: We should say that the book is called The Wiser Woman’s Guide to Perimenopause and Menopause. I’ll put a link in the show notes for the episode as well. So if people are interested, they can go and find that.
Is there anything else you’d like to share that we haven’t touched on?
Tania: I think I always like to share with women that the journey of healing through midlife is really part of the design, I think. And although we come and we think there must be something complicated to do, it’s so much simpler when we can just relax into the design of it or into the wisdom of it all. And let that take us on the journey and let the body lead.
It’s so much more intelligent than us coming in with all our thinking about what midlife change should be and what menopause should be, etc, etc. And it’s a shift to really trust the body to really say, even if you’re experiencing a symptom, that’s not something bad, that’s not malfunction, but it’s just the body doing what it needs to do in that moment, either to overcome some kind of condition that we’ve created, or to wake us up to the fact that we’re not in balance.
Once we develop this new relationship with the body with this intelligence, with the divine, however we want to look at it, it just becomes so easy. The journey of healing. And like I said, it’s really it’s part of the design.
Alexandra: Oh, lovely. Thank you.
Where can we find out more about you and your work, Tania?
Tania: The easiest place is TheWiserWoman.com. And there’s loads of resources on my blog, but other podcasts, not to compete with this one. But videos and blog posts, and that will give you a really good taster for what I’m sharing here and how it can be helpful. And I have an online course and coaching. I’m also on social media, wherever you find me on Facebook or Twitter.
Alexandra: And your book is available everywhere. You can get books online, or people can ask in their local, independent bookstore.
Tania: Yes! Your local independent bookstore. They’ll have it in the computer.
Alexandra: Thank you, Tania. This has just been lovely. Great to chat with you. And with you.
Tania: Thank you so much. Take care. Bye bye.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai