Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

The secret to living fully
By Joan Chittister

Being where we are—immersed in it, aware of it, alert to it—may well be the secret to living well, to living fully. It is a lesson to be learned. In a culture based on motion it is no small trick to allow ourselves to be present to the present, to see what is in front of us. We only think we’re here. The problem is a perennial one, common to every time, every tradition.

In too many instances, we are more likely to be on our way to somewhere else than present to the present. We go through life watching our watches. We leave one party early in order to go to another one and by the end of the night we have enjoyed neither. We live with one foot in tomorrow at all times. We plan for tomorrow and prepare for tomorrow and fear tomorrow and wait for tomorrow with distracting fitfulness. Here is never good enough. What is, is not important to a people on the go. What is coming is always what really counts. What is yet to be had, yet to be seen, yet to be done, yet to be accomplished becomes the essence of life.

But life is every grain of sand in the hourglass. And it is running. And once run it is gone forever.

Too often, while we wait for life, it passes us by, leaves us up to our hearts in dissatisfaction and over our heads in wanting. We live overcome by losses and dissolved in spiritual ruin or wasted by a death of spirit, by a diminishment of enthusiasm, by the dissipation of hope. Yet all the while the present moment lies truly dormant within us.

The fundamental problem of life, obviously, is not a lack of opportunity. It is a lack of soul, what Confucians call “righteousness,” of what Buddhists call “awareness,” of what Jews call “tzedakah,” of what Christians call “contemplative consciousness.”

—from For Everything a Season by (Orbis)

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com

I am.
I am from and of The Mother.
I am as I am.
Wilfully harming none, none may question me. 

As no free-growing tree serves another or requires to be served.
As no lion or lamb or mouse is bound or binds,
No plant or blade of grass nor ocean fish,
So I am not here to serve or be served. 

I am Child of every Mother,
Mother of each daughter,
Sister of every woman,
And lover of whom I choose or chooses me. 

Together or alone we dance Her Dance,
We do the work of The Mother,
She we have called Goddess for human comprehension.
She, the Source, never-to-be-grasped Mystery,
Terrible Cauldron, Womb,
Spinning out of her the unimaginably small
And the immeasurably vast —
Galaxies, worlds, flaming suns —
And our Earth, fertile with her beneficence,
Here, offering tenderest flowers.
(Yet flowers whose roots may split rock.) 

I, we, Mothers, Sisters, Lovers,
Infinitely small out of her vastness,
Yet our roots too may split rock,
Rock of the rigid, the oppressive
In human affairs. 

Thus is She
And being of Her
Thus am I.
Powered by Her,
As she gives, I may give,
Even of my blood and breath:
But none may require it;
And none may question me. 

I am.
I am That I am. 

Elsa Gidlow
 

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

If you have not already gobbled up the books in The Maeve Chronicles by Elizabeth Cunningham, I urge you to do so instantly.

The trilogy begins with The Passion of Mary Magdalene, which is a wonderful re-envisioning of Mary Magdlene as a Celtic Queen raised by the nine Warrior Queens of Tir na mBan, the Land of Women. There she was trained in the fighting, healing and divinatory arts.

She lands in Rome as a captured slave, becomes a priestess of Isis and is ultimately reunited with Jesus, her fated soul mate. Even in captivity Maeve never loses her center or her sense of her Self. She is a red haired red hot dynamo, no-nonsense pistol. A fiery Queen of Her Self.

I am now engrossed in the prequel, Magdalene Rising: The Beginning. Here is the story of how Maeve developed her surety and Self-sovereignty as a maiden raised with no knowledge of or influence by the patriarchy.

The books are written in the first person in the raucous, irreverent voice of Maeve, herself. I don’t want to ruin the story for you, but I do want to share this excerpt. Here are her mothers talking to Maeve about the importance of being true to herself and honoring her own power:

“When women don’t have their sovereignty, it can be very messy indeed. Now we are queens and witches from our own sovereign isle.”

“Sovereignty, Maeve. Belonging to yourself. Your own terms,” Boann got in as much drill as she could.

“Tir na mBan stands for the sovereignty of women,” continued Fand. “If it exists nowhere else in the world, it exists there. Remember that, Maeve. Sovereignty is your birthright and your inheritance. Next to sovereignty, gold torques and brooches are mere trinkets. Never surrender your sovereignty, Maeve. Carry it with you wherever you go.”

Their words were stirring but abstract. Then an image rose in my mind of myself as a sort of floating island, shining, a sovereign vessel on a vast and dangerous sea.

-Excerpt from Magdalen Rising by Elizabeth Cunningham

May we all remember at all times just how strong and brave and true we are. How we have learned to stand in our center and defend our boundaries. How we are beholden only to our own authentic paths. How we rule our own lives with compassion and care. How we have fought for and won our sovereignty. How our reign is benevolent and empowering to all in our realm.

Hail to the sovereign Queens!

 

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

 

Dr Susan Corso, a sister wise woman Queen from Boston publishes a weekly inspirational gem. She calls this series “Seeds.” This one struck me as being a perfect and perfectly delightful description of the sovereign Self.

Seeds XII, 23
Ducklings
By Dr. Susan Corso

Remember the Ugly Duckling? She’s in one of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. A young swan loses her mother and is adopted by a family of ducks. The Ugly Duckling is despised for its clumsiness until it grows into a swan. The moral of the story is that the unpromising child in a family can turn out to be the most brilliant of all.

Ducklings got me riffing on ducks. One of my mother’s favorite things to do and favorite aphorisms was “Get your ducks in a row.” Why, I always wanted to know, did ducks have to be in a row? Later in life, she accused me of her worst idea of an offense. “Susan,” she said, “when you see a bunch of ducks, you don’t put them in a row. You just say, ‘Whee, ducks!'” I made her life a living hell.

And then there’s Make Way for Ducklings, a children’s picture book written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey. First published in 1941, the book tells the story of a pair of mallard ducks who decide to raise their family on an island in the lagoon in Boston Public Garden, a park in the center of Boston, Massachusetts. The book’s popularity led to the construction of a statue by Nancy Schön in the Public Garden of the mother duck and her eight ducklings.

What’s the thread that links all three duck ideas? Well, try this on. The swan might have been an ugly duckling, and even though she was adopted, she couldn’t have adapted if she’d tried. She was uniquely herself. Me, too. “Whee, ducks!” is the perfect response to ducks as far as I’m concerned. And the ducklings in Boston made a space for themselves. Each of our protagonists were their own ducklings; each of ourselves is our own protagonist.

Dr. Susan Corso 

This reminds me of a powerful duckling true story that I had the honor to witness, about the powerful assertion of personal sovereignty:

I have offered programs at The Queens Farm Museum for many years. This is a colonial Dutch farm that has been in constant operation since pre-revolutionary times. Every spring is a teeming, squealing celebration of new life as the baby chicks, ducklings, kids, lambs, piglets and bunnies are born.

One year something happened to the mother duck and most of her newborns. One duckling did live and was promptly adopted by the mother turkey who took excellent care of her. So far so good.

Until, that is, the day that her biologic imperative moved the baby chick toward the pond. The mother turkey became frantic and chased her away from the dangerous water. Turkeys, after all, don’t swim.

This began a desperate struggle between mother and daughter, each one compelled to follow her own innate true path — the duck to water and the turkey mom to protect her young from drowning. The battle was funny and frustrating at the same time.

Eventually the duckling grew old enough and strong enough to assert her will, and swam to her heart’s content. I can only assume that the turkey grew to accept the situation and relax, content that she did her maternal best.

I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading. It vexes me to choose another guide.
– Emily Bronte

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.