Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

By Andrea Gibson

when two violins are placed in a room

if a chord on one violin is struck

the other violin will sound the note

if this is your definition of hope

this is for you

the ones who know how powerful we are

who know we can sound the music in the people around us

simply by playing our own strings

for the ones who sing life into broken wings

open their chests and offer their breath

as wind on a still day when nothing seems to be moving

spare those intent on proving god is dead

for you when your fingers are red

from clutching your heart

so it will beat faster

for the time you mastered the art of giving yourself for the sake of someone else

for the ones who have felt what it is to crush the lies

and lift truth so high the steeples bow to the sky

this is for you

this is also for the people who wake early to watch flowers bloom

who notice the moon at noon on a day when the world

has slapped them in the face with its lack of light

for the mothers who feed their children first

and thirst for nothing when they’re full

this is for women

and for the men who taught me only women bleed with the moon

but there are men who cry when women bleed

men who bleed from women’s wounds

and this is for that moon

on the nights she seems hung by a noose

for the people who cut her loose

and for the people still waiting for the rope to burn

about to learn they have scissors in their hands

this is for the man who showed me

the hardest thing about having nothing

is having nothing to give

who said the only reason to live is to give ourselves away

so this is for the day we’ll quit our jobs and work for something real

we’ll feel for sunshine in the shadows

look for sunrays in the shade

this is for the people who rattle the cage that slave wage built

and for the ones who didn’t know the filth until tonight

but right now are beginning songs that sound something like

people turning their porch lights on and calling the homeless back home

this is for all the shit we own

and for the day we’ll learn how much we have

when we learn to give that shit away

this is for doubt becoming faith

for falling from grace and climbing back up

for trading our silver platters for something that matters

like the gold that shines from our hands when we hold each other

this is for the grandmother who walked a thousand miles on broken glass

to find that single patch of grass to plant a family tree

where the fruit would grow to laugh

for the ones who know the math of war

has always been subtraction

so they live like an action of addition

for you when you give like every star is wishing on you

and for the people still wishing on stars

this is for you too

this is for the times you went through hell so someone else wouldn’t have to

for the time you taught a 14 year old girl she was powerful

this is for the time you taught a 14 year old boy he was beautiful

for the radical anarchist asking a republican to dance

cause what’s the chance of everyone moving from right to left

if the only moves they see are NBC and CBS

this is for the no becoming yes

for scars becoming breath

for saying i love you to people who will never say it to us

for scraping away the rust and remembering how to shine

for the dime you gave away when you didn’t have a penny

for the many beautiful things we do

for every song we’ve ever sung

for refusing to believe in miracles

because miracles are the impossible coming true

and everything is possible

this is for the possibility that guides us

and for the possibilities still waiting to sing

and spread their wings inside us

cause tonight saturn is on his knees

proposing with all of his ten thousand rings

that whatever song we’ve been singing we sing even more

the world needs us right now more than it ever has before

pull all your strings

play every chord

if you’re writing letters to the prisoners

start tearing down the bars

if you’re handing out flashlights in the dark

start handing out stars

never go a second hushing the percussion of your heart

play loud

play like you know the clouds have left too many people cold and broken

and you’re their last chance for sun

play like there’s no time for hoping brighter days will come

play like the apocalypse is only 4…3…2

but you have a drum in your chest that could save us

you have a song like a breath that could raise us

like the sunrise into a dark sky that cries to be blue

play like you know we won’t survive if you don’t

but we will if you do

play like saturn is on his knees

proposing with all of his ten thousand rings

that we give every single breath

this is for saying-yes

this is for saying-yes

Blessings for the Decade of Being All That We Can Be!

 

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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.

by Joan Chittister

Once again Sister Joan Chittister has found the perfect words to express what I have been feeling.
–xxQMD

 

Evagrius of Ponticus, one of the early desert monastics, counseled young monastics: “First pray for the gift of tears, to soften by compunction the inherent hardness of your soul.”

And fifteen centuries later, George Eliot wrote, too, “The beginning of compunction is the beginning of new life.”

The point is clear: Weeping is a very life-giving thing. It wizens the soul of the individual and it sounds alarms in society.

If we do not weep on the personal level, we shall never understand other human beings.

If we do not weep on the public level at the inhuman conditions that trap those around us: for the part-time employed, for instance who have no cars to get them to the jobs they need; for the innocent in the Middle East who sit in bunkers and basements waiting for the next bombs to fall; for the women of the world who are trapped in unholy religious silence and told it’s God’s will for them. If we do not weep for these and those like them–if we remain dry-eyed and indifferent–we are less than human ourselves.

There are, in other words, some things that simply ought not to be endured.

We must always cope with evil, yes, but we must never, ever adjust to it, either ours or anyone else’s.

What we weep for, you see, measures what we are and determines what we do, as well.

Weeping signals that it is time to change things in life. John Tillotson wrote once: “Though all afflictions are evils in themselves, yet they are good for us, because they discover to us our disease and tend to our cure.”

Without our tears, we have no hope of healing because we do not begin to admit the anguish.

Indeed, ironically, of all the expressions of human emotion in the lexicon of life, weeping may be the most life-giving.

The point is that our tears expose us. They lay us bare both to others and to ourselves.

You see, what we cry about is what we care about.

We known ourselves to be made from this earth.

We know this earth is made from our bodies.

For we see ourselves.

And we are nature.

We are nature seeing nature.

We are nature with a concept of nature.

Nature weeping.

Nature speaking of nature to nature.

– Susan Griffin

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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.

 

 

 

What distinguishes Queens is that they act with purpose and tenacity to further their own needs and desires as well as those of the greater good. Their courage in trying circumstances does not mean that they are not afraid, but they do not let their fear stop them from doing what they feel must be done. “I’m not afraid of storms,” wrote Louisa May Alcott, “for I’m learning how to sail my ship.”

Instead of depending on someone or something else to take care of business — a knight in shining armor, a successful husband, a doting parent, the class system, law and order — they roll up their sleeves and do what they knew needs doing. They take up the sword, the pen, the struggle, the cause, the responsibility, themselves.

When, in the first century AD, the Romans invaded her tribal lands in old Britain, the Celtic Queen Boudicca organized a massive general uprising by tens of thousands of men and women from different tribes in a united rebellion against the heavy-handed occupying forces of the Roman Empire.

Boudicca’s armies succeeded in capturing and reclaiming London, Colchester and St. Albans, major cultural centers that had been Romanized. “It will not be the first time, Britons, that you have been victorious under the conduct of your queen, she proclaimed. “For my part, I come not here as one descended from royal blood, not to fight for empire or riches, but as one of the common people, to avenge the loss of their liberty, the wrongs of myself and my children.”

Though the peasant insurrection was ultimately lost and the rebel troops were slaughtered, Queen Boudicca escaped with her daughters. In the end, they poisoned themselves rather than allow themselves to be captured, but the result of her campaign was, while not freedom, a more lenient Roman regime.

Some Queens are political warriors, other take up battle in the spiritual and cultural realms. In twelfth century Germany, at a time when women’s roles were heavily circumscribed, the Abbess Hildegard of Bingen found extraordinary ways to express her talents and exercise her power.

Born of nobility, Hildegard was raised and educated from the age of seven by the Benedictine nuns. At the age of forty-three, she became abbess of her community. In addition to her extensive administrative and spiritual responsibilities, she managed to pursue and excel at a mind-boggling array of disciplines.

She was a visionary, theologian, prophet, exorcist, healer, natural historian, hagiographer, founder of two monasteries, correspondent, confident, political advisor to kings and popes, poet, performer, author of the world’s first morality play, creator of a new language and alphabet and composer of chants rich in mystical imagery and florid musicality that are popular even today.

A devotee of the feminine divine, she once received a vision that counseled her, “Therefore pour out a fountain of abundance, over-flow with mysterious learning, so that those who want you to be despicable on account of Eve’s transgression may be overwhelmed by the flood of your profusion.”

Never apologize, never retreat, never explain. Get the thing done and let them howl.  -Nellie McClung, Canadian suffragist

 

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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.

 

Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. or

Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. 

Thank goodness there’s a name for this disorder.

Somehow I feel better even though I have it!

This is how it manifests:

I decide to water my garden.

As I turn on the hose in the driveway,

I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.

As I start toward the garage,

I notice mail on the porch table that

I brought up from the mailbox earlier.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys on the table,

Put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table,

And notice that the can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back

On the table and take out the garbage first. 

But then I think,

Since I’m going to be near the mailbox

When I take out the garbage anyway,

I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table,

And see that there is only one check left.

My extra checks are in my desk in the study,

So I go inside the house to my desk where

I find the can of Pepsi I’d been drinking

I’m going to look for my checks,

But first I need to push the Pepsi aside

So that I don’t accidentally knock it over.

The Pepsi is getting warm,

And I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Pepsi,

A vase of flowers on the counter

Catches my eye — they need water. 

I put the Pepsi on the counter and

Discover my reading glasses that

I’ve been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk,

But first I’m going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter,

Fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote.

Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV,

I’ll be looking for the remote,

But I won’t remember that it’s on the kitchen table,

So I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs,

But first I’ll water the flowers. 

I pour some water in the flowers,

But quite a bit of it spills on the floor.

So, I set the remote back on the table,

Get some towels and wipe up the spill. 

Then, I head down the hall trying to

Remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:

The car isn’t washed

The bills aren’t paid

There is a warm can of Pepsi sitting on the counter

The flowers don’t have enough water,

There is still only 1 check in my check book,

I can’t find the remote,

I can’t find my glasses,

And I don’t remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today,

I’m really baffled because I know I was busy all damn day,

And I’m really tired. 

I realize this is a serious problem,

And I’ll try to get some help for it,

But first I’ll check my e-mail…

Do me a favor.

Forward this message to everyone you know,

Because I don’t remember who the hell I’ve sent it to.

– Sent in by the Queens in the New Bern, NC Queen Group

 

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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.

 

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