The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Treading the Turbulent Midlife Waters – PART 1

posted by Donna Henes

Aging and changing might be inevitable, but it ain’t easy. It precipitates in us a great uncertainty. The myriad dramatic disturbances of modern middle life — menopause, health concerns, the empty nest, divorce, death, and career shifts — create an overwhelming crisis of identity and purpose for us. What follows is an intense period of questioning absolutely everything — our goals and achievements, our priorities and our operating systems, our morals and our values, our fears and our fantasies. Some of us spend a considerable amount of time — easily 10 or 15 years — swirling in the upheaval of this middle age reassessment. What exactly is our role as older than young and younger than old women who are still active and more effective than ever? Who are we supposed to be at this stage of our life when we are less likely to be bound and identified by our kinship connection to someone else — as a daughter, a wife, a mother, a lover?

This middling transitional shift into the next stage of our being promises us a vast world of positive possibilities for the second half of life. But, first, before we are able to avail ourselves of the advantages and rewards of maturity, we must cross the Grand Canyon of midlife change, steep, rocky, shaken, and ripped asunder by a whole panoply of seismic ripples — mental, emotional, and spiritual — beyond the obvious physical ones. We climb and climb, and still we lose ground. The earth that we once trusted to be solid under our feet is slipping away and we are dragged out to sea where we bob along in uncertain waters, in a leaky boat with no map.

In her book Goddesses in Older Women, the therapist Dr. Jean Bolen, says that menopause is “A time of great spiritual and creative unfolding — although it sometimes feels like great unraveling.” Unraveling, indeed. The whole damn sweater is falling apart and we are standing here naked in the cold (and we are still hot). Nothing has prepared us for this landslide of transitions that greets us as we enter our middle years. There we were, going along as always, then one day out of the blue, we discover ourselves to be middle aged. Blindsided in a youth-conscious culture, we never saw it coming, but the overwhelming evidence of our aging can hardly be ignored.

The profound changes in the chemistry of our bodies and in our intimate relationships, the terrifying disruptions of our status quo, the daily life-and-death dramas, are incredibly disorienting. Not only are we burning up physically, blasted with flashes from our out of control internal furnace, we are also, many of us, burnt out on an emotional level after years of tending the home, the hearth, and usually a job as well. Society tells us, and our own experiences have verified, that we will lose now that we are menopausal, everything that has so far defined us: our power of reproductively, our youth, our sex appeal, our children, our parents, our spouses, our time left on the job, our very visibility. This grim prognosis is frequently internalized by midlife women as loss of direction, motivation, enthusiasm, and self-esteem, our fear, our grief, expressed as confusion, depression, and furious rage. 

The relentless bombardment of losses that batters us in every area of our lives effectively strips us of any unrealistic, immature confidence that we once might have had that we were safe in an unchanging and dependable world. We were shielded by our youthful sense of indestructibility as well as by our notoriously death-defying culture. We now understand, because we have lived it, that nothing and no one stays the same forever, that all things must end sometime, that shit, does indeed, happen. We have seen what we have seen. This rude lesson is brought home, more often than not, on the wings of death. When our parents sicken and die, they leave us standing alone on the last rung of the ladder of life and we cannot help but notice that we will be next to kick up our heels in the ancestral conga line. It is also common for us to start losing our husbands, friends, and contemporaries now, which forces us with a mighty shove to confront our own fragile mortality. 

Our watch sports a much larger face these days — not only because we have trouble seeing it, but because we are uncomfortably aware of time running out. In a flash, we see that life has been moving along without us for quite some time now. We just weren’t paying attention. We were busy, distracted by our responsibilities, lulled and dulled by our routines and addictions, deluded by denial. And, lo, before we realized what was happening, we had reached, no, probably bypassed, the halfway mark of our lives. From now on, we swear, we will make every precious second count.

Next week PART 2…

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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.

The Laughter Of Women

posted by Donna Henes

by Lisel Mueller

The laughter of women sets fire
to the Halls of Injustice
and the false evidence burns
to a beautiful white lightness

It rattles the Chambers of Congress
and forces the windows wide open
so the fatuous speeches can fly out

The laughter of women wipes the mist
from the spectacles of the old;
it infects them with a happy flu
and they laugh as if they were young again

Prisoners held in underground cells
imagine that they see daylight
when they remember the laughter of women

It runs across water that divides,
and reconciles two unfriendly shores
like flares that signal the news to each other

What a language it is, the laughter of women,
high-flying and subversive.
Long before law and scripture
we heard the laughter, we understood freedom.

* ***
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.

 

Hot & Horny – PART 2

posted by Donna Henes

For the members of the Voodoo cults of New Orleans, St. John’s Day, June 24, was the most important holiday of the year. The main ceremony was a ritual dance called the Calinda, performed by the Voodoo Queen, Mam’zelle Marie La Veau around a fire to the frenzied beat of Congo drums and gourds. The dancers would twist and turn, gyrate and shake. Twirl and swirl in sinuous, tantalizing imitation of the Sacred African Serpent. Crowds of whites and Creoles would gather around the sizzling plaza, Congo Square, to fuel the heat of their own horny loins.

Over the ages, customs and myths have arisen to encourage  — to ritualize — a summer mating season in order to ensure a successful procreation. Pro‑life means more than just having children. It means having a way of keeping them alive. If people coupled in the spring when they first start feeling the fever, the baby would be born at the beginning of winter — just in time for the start of the long months of cold and hunger. It would be like shooting craps with the infant mortality rate. Better by far to be born in spring when the odds of survival are so much more favorable.

Ovid relates an oracle, which he received from the Priestess of Jupiter pertaining to the impending marriage of his daughter. She counseled him to have her wait “until the Ides of June.” “There is no luck for brides and their husbands until the sweepings from the Temple of Vesta have been carried down to the sea by the yellow Tiber.” June 15th was Vestalia, the Roman Festival of New Fire celebration when the altars to Vesta were renewed.

The month of June was named for the Roman Goddess Juno, the patroness of marriage and it has long been the time dedicated to lovers. Aroused young girls in many places around the world practiced divination in June to determine the identity of their own true mate. They made love charms and placed them in the fire, over the heart and under the pillow to entice the partner of their dreams.

Shakespeare’s ode to the Summer Solstice, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a sweet one of rightfully requited love. A tour de forest in which the convoluted courtships of two pairs of lovers come to a happily-ever-after ending.

In the Greek countryside, one can still see St. John’s wedding processions made up of masquerading children. The miniature bride and groom, properly veiled and suited, are preceded by a young boy baring a rod and followed by a bevy of tiny, twittering ladies-in-waiting.

And June weddings, last I heard, are still very much in style.

I have a proposal to make. And I’m down on one knee to do it. This summer shall we engage in holy wedlock with the world? Shall we pledge our troth to the earth, to the sun, to all of nature, and each other? Shall we promise to have and to hold? To love and to honor? To respect and protect our most beauteous and beloved planet? Shall we take Her as our cherished bride and stride off into a secure future of fond and careful husbandry?

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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.

Hot & Horny – PART 1

posted by Donna Henes

It is summer, hot and horny. We are surrounded, immersed, inundated by brilliantly bright light, pervasively palpable heat; pure and potent solar intensity — the very nerve and verve of life itself. We bask and steep in the positive, primal power of the sun, as well as our own. The passionate strength of the life force surges in our cells, flooding all of our senses with waves of lascivious longing and naked desire. We open ourselves to the experience, the energy, the ecstasy.

The steady heat of Summer helps to relax our muscles, making our bodies more fluid and flexible. Our overactive brains and busy minds, too, give way to the seductive power of the season of the sun. The constant stress of our hectic lives boils away and our worries and tightly held tensions completely dissolve, evaporate in the relentless fire of the cosmic cooker. We are limp and loose as spaghetti. All we want to do is lay about, revel and laze in the warm embrace of long, slow days and balmy nights.

Our inhibitions melt, leaving us steaming with all manner of desire. We are overcome with the pure, unadulterated pleasure and appreciation of our own enhanced sensuality. We feel as hot as the sun, salty as the sea, sticky sweet as nectar on an inviting flower. We are as fluttery as bees, pulsating, vibrating with an intensely felt urge to merge, an unapologetic sexual verve. Our passion becomes our purpose. The heat fuels our lust and creates in us a fervor for life and living. We are at one with the world. And all is well.

If the seasons of the year were a plant, the summer would be the flowers — lovely, lush and vaguely lewd. Fully realized blossoms — blatant and blowzy, lavishly colored and shamelessly, intoxicatingly scented like the blooming sexual organs that they are.

Like the sun and the sap, the libido also rises in summer. Out of its basket it surges, the charmed and sinuous serpentine call of the wild. No sissy spring fever, this. But full‑fledged, full‑bodied, full-of-pluck, magenta plush lust. Robust and randy. Raring, willing and completely able. The season pounding in our pulse, people, like flowers, are now quite perfectly primed. Vigorous, vital, and vivacious, we are fragrant and perfect and ready to pick.

If the sun is at its zenith in the sky, so, too, is nature here on Earth at the summit of its sumptuousness, the height of fertile power of the sun and the fecundity of the plants and animals that feed us. “As above, so below,” so the Talmud tells us. The sap has risen. The plants are in their prime. First fruits and flowers, grasses and game offer themselves for the taking. Trees are resplendent in their rich garments of verdure. The landscape is lush with life.

Next week PART 2…

* ***
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.

Previous Posts

Treading the Turbulent Midlife Waters – PART 1
Aging and changing might be inevitable, but it ain’t easy. It precipitates in us a great uncertainty. The myriad dramatic disturbances of modern middle life -- menopause, health concerns, the empty nest, divorce, death, and career shifts -- create an overwhelming crisis of identity and purpose for

posted 6:00:45am Aug. 01, 2014 | read full post »

The Laughter Of Women
by Lisel Mueller The laughter of women sets fire to the Halls of Injustice and the false evidence burns to a beautiful white lightness It rattles the Chambers of Congress and forces the windows wide open so the fatuous speeches can fly out The laughter of women wipes the mist from

posted 6:00:01am Jul. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Hot & Horny – PART 2
For the members of the Voodoo cults of New Orleans, St. John’s Day, June 24, was the most important holiday of the year. The main ceremony was a ritual dance called the Calinda, performed by the Voodoo Queen, Mam’zelle Marie La Veau around a fire to the frenzied beat of Congo drums and gourds.

posted 6:00:40am Jul. 28, 2014 | read full post »

Hot & Horny – PART 1
It is summer, hot and horny. We are surrounded, immersed, inundated by brilliantly bright light, pervasively palpable heat; pure and potent solar intensity — the very nerve and verve of life itself. We bask and steep in the positive, primal power of the sun, as well as our own. The passionate stre

posted 6:00:47am Jul. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Blessed Bees
For years, there has been a certain auspicious day every spring when a bumblebee would fly onto my terrace garden where it would hover contentedly everyday, all day long, throughout the entire summer, until a certain day in autumn when it would fly away. This ritual visitation took place without

posted 6:00:16am Jul. 23, 2014 | read full post »


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