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The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Gardening

posted by Donna Henes

Being an urban being, I have never had a garden where I grew food. My terrace is devoted exclusively to flowers, food for the soul, for sure, but with the exception of the day lilies they are not edible.

My container garden gives me immense pleasure. I love digging in the dirt with my bare hands. No gloves or trowels for this Queen, thank you very much. I cherish the feel of the earth on my skin and don’t mind getting it under my nails. That is why the Goddess invented scrub brushes and soap, after all. I even make my own rich fertile soil by composting dead leaves and food scraps in a garbage pail.

I can spend hours on end dead heading my plants and picking off the dry leaves one by one. I tend my garden with love and care and it cultivates me in return. My plants are my dear friends, my children, really. They have been with me, loyally flourishing and flowering for decades. All of my geraniums, for instance, are from cuttings from one small plant that I had on my windowsill in my Greenwich Village apartment in 1969!

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My ceremonial space, Mama Donna’s Tea Garden & Healing Haven is an indoor garden paradise decorated with vintage yard furniture and filled with plants. Some of these I have had for 30 years or more. Some I have inherited from family and friends who have passed on. I am so glad to be the caretaker of these living memorials. Their spirit is alive in the plants that they loved and nurtured. And everyone who enters this sacred space feels the green healing energy.

Once upon a time I grew weed(s) for imbibing from the seeds in my stash. This crop, too, was food for my soul. But that was then and this is now. And now I am drawn to plant and raise some foodstuff. My options are limited by space constraints, but the time feels right to start with some herbs and maybe some berries or baby lettuces. Or maybe it is too late for this season. I don’t know. I will have to do some research. What I do know is that I want to taste what I grow.

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The first gatherings of the garden in May of salads, radishes and herbs made me feel like a mother about her baby — how could anything so beautiful be mine. And this emotion of wonder filled me for each vegetable as it was gathered every year. There is nothing that is comparable to it, as satisfactory or as thrilling, as gathering the vegetables one has grown.

-Alice B. Toklas

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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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Cleanliness

posted by Donna Henes

In winter, we spend inordinate amounts of time inside, dwelling, stewing, stagnating in enforced inactivity. When our hibernating energy finally re-awakens in the spring, it is with a pronounced case of morning breath. After the dust, the must, the rust of winter, a thorough spring cleaning is called for.

The promise of renewed life prompts us to prepare a sacred and auspicious way for its anticipated arrival. We are moved to purge and purify ourselves, to cleanse and make our selves worthy of the grace implied in a fresh start. We make a clean sweep of our surroundings — internal and external, body and soul.

In washing, we symbolically shed the old, discard the past, toss it out with the bath water. Thus removed of any spiritual pollution, we emerge refreshed, restored and recharged. Our slates are wiped clean. Naked and pure, purged and protected, we stand sanctified, ready to step confidently into the new season.

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We come to this world awash in saline womb waters and are greeted upon the moment of our first breath with a warm bath. When we die we are bathed again. We wash before we eat, before we sleep, before we pray. Most cultures, in fact, require washing before worship. Here, the ablution marks the transition from the profane sector of life to the sacred.

Islam requires the worshipper to wash before each of the five daily prayers performed facing toward Mecca. Muslims cleanse their mouths so that their prayers will be sanctified, and their ears so that they might better hear the will of Allah.

The Sweat Lodge Ceremony, the Inipi, as it is known to the peoples of the Great Plains, was prevalent throughout Native North America. It was, and still is, undertaken as a preparatory ritual of purification before a major spiritual endeavor, such as the Vision Quest, the Sun Dance or the Spirit-calling Ceremonies.

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Water is considered to be the most efficacious purifying agent by Hindus because when it runs, it absorbs and it carries away pollution. For this reason, rivers and other moving waters are considered to be especially cleansing. The Ganges, although filthy, is the most holy of all. It is the intention of every devout pilgrim to wash in its soul-cleansing substance.

The priestesses and priests of Babylonia cleansed themselves with water from the Tigris or Euphrates rivers before performing their religious functions. In ancient Egypt, as well, the pharaoh would purify his body for prayer by sprinkling himself with the “water of life and good fortune.” Ceremonial ablutions in the sea were used to initiate participants in a process of spiritual rebirth during the Eleusinian Mysteries, the oldest of the Greco-Roman Goddess mystery cults.

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Proselytes to Judaism were bathed as an initiation rite, which sanctified the start of their new lives, reborn as true believers, members of the chosen people of the God of Israel, Yahweh. It was essential for the candidate to be completely immersed so that s/he might be truly cleansed of heathenish worship.

The Baptism rites of Protestant and Catholic alike, cleanse the way for a worshipper to move from the polluted world to the holy church, from the earthly plane to grace, from sin to salvation. Ultimately it is an initiation into the kingdom of God.

…I guess I feel about a hot bath the way those
religious people feel about holy water… The longer
I lay there in the clear hot water the purer I felt,
and when I stepped out at last and wrapped myself
in one of those big, soft, white, hotel bath towels
I felt pure and sweet, as a new baby.”
– Sylvia Plath

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Cleanliness is widely perceived as being next to Godliness. The Christian concept of heaven, like the paradise envisioned by Zoroastrians, Hindus, Jews and Muslims, is a place of absolute purity and brilliant cleanliness, while hell is seen as a stinking foul pit.

People have always used clean water to prepare for reverent engagement with the divine. But these days, really clean water is in shockingly short supply. We have sullied our rich resources with obtuse abuse, and the very elements, which have the power to cleanse and purify have now, themselves, been poisoned.

Picture this: In the Arctic Ocean there is an uninhabited — never been inhabited — island. In the center of the island is a lake. Can you possibly imagine a more pristine image? A recent water sample from that lake revealed the presence of fifty-two chemicals. There is, after all, no wall underground to ward off contamination. And there is no such place as Away.

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It’s time to clean up our act, don’t you think? In fact, let’s start this spring.

He had a mania for washing and disinfecting
himself…. For him the only danger came from
the microbes which attack the body. He had
not studied the microbe of conscience which
eats into the soul.
- Anaïs Nin

 
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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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The Heart Is The Home of Wonder

posted by Donna Henes

By Edie Weinstein, PA
www.liveinjoy.org

Breathe in the warmth of this place, allowing yourself to feel a sense of welcome
It is your own love, your own beauty that beckons you inside
How long has it been, since you have crossed this threshold?
The door has always been open, the invitation always extended
Will you accept it now?

Through the windows streams sunlight, casting rainbow designs on the walls
As prism glass reflects the scattered sparkling illumination
The floor beneath your feet is soft
Caressing your skin as you tap your bare toes on its surface
Daring to dance upon it to the lilting music that only you can hear.

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The table is set with all manner of lusciousness
Nourishment for body and soul awaits you
Always plenty to savor and share; a bounty spread before you
Every imaginable treat to delight your senses
The sweet aroma that curls around you.

The mirror on the wall reflects your exquisite nature
As you gaze into the eyes of the One who has been with you
Through all eternity, questioning what has kept you from recognizing
Your own ineffable Divinity
Express your adoration for the Goddess who winks back at you.

Feel the all-embracing comfort of this structure that was created
Brick by brick, log by log, though your daily intention
The experiences and the people you draw into your world
The thoughts that permeate your mind
The wild magic of your infinite imagination.

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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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Breaking the Taboo about Menopause

posted by Donna Henes

Kim Cattrall talks on Canadian TV about Sensitive Skin, her new television show:

Kim Cattrall talked this week about why she wants to give a voice to women our age and the changes and challenges we face. Kim Cattrall is becoming something of a poster girl for the menopause and getting the topic out in the open.

In Sensitive Skin, a black comedy, she plays Davina Jackson, an ex-actress and model having a mid-life crisis. She lives in a chic Toronto loft apartment, has a hypochondriac husband and a needy son, is facing up to ageing, and has started talking to herself.

On Woman’s Hour this week, she talked about the time in a woman’s life that it addresses and the questions we ask ourselves.

She says: “It’s the point when a woman has achieved a lot of the goals society set for her – been educated, had a career, got married, had children – and now what?

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“[She’s asking herself] what were the roads I did not travel? What am I going to do with myself?

“The man who in my 20s I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, is that still the man? And your children are off doing their own thing…

“I wanted to very much examine and give voice to this kind of woman, who’s at a crossroads in her life and trying to decide who she is now. She’s shedding these roles that have been put upon her, and she’s fulfilled. But now what? What’s the next chapter?”

Midlife change “for women it’s much more a physical change. It’s almost the opposite to our teenage years, where you’re gearing up; now things are slowing down.

Kim talks about hot flushes as being “a big moment in your life” and recalls her first one, mid-rehearsal at the Donmar, as like being dumped in a vat of boiling water. She called her mother to talk about it and was told, “Oh I can’t remember, I just got on with it”.

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That’s what most of our mums’ generation did. Thankfully today there’s more information available about what happens during this stage of life. Nevertheless, many, probably most, of us don’t seek this out until it affects us, and can be unprepared when it begins.

It can take a while to realise that things that are happening to us physically and emotionally could be down to changing hormones; that somehow, pre-menopause has crept up on us.

Kim says: “At the beginning of Sensitive Skin my character, Davina, is not even completely aware of what’s going on. The physical manifestations are right there and immediate, but the emotional and psychological part of menopause are not really explored.”

For Kim herself, there was a positive effect: “I found myself feeling a call to action. I’m lucky to be in the position that I can find these things that are going on in my real life and explore them.

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“It can be scary, as change is frightening. Things have been the same for so long and now things are different. It starts gradually; it’s not just one big thing that happens.

“I wanted to give voice to this time, and use comedy, in the way that Sex and the City did with sexual taboos. I wanted to name it and to explore it and to make it user friendly.”

In an earlier interview on Canadian TV, Kim has said: “After Sex and the City everyone expected me to do another Sex and the City but I took time out, which was sort of meditative, and I thought: How do I want the rest of my life to be.

“And I didn’t want it to be safe. I wanted it to be challenging and to take chances.

“I always feel vulnerable. That’s why Sensitive Skin is so important for me at this point in my life. I’ve been fortunate to look a certain way and as you get older that starts to fade.

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“And here is a woman [asking], Am I still desirable? Do I still look beautiful? Do I still have a place in life that is meaningful? Will my life be fulfilling? That’s really the biggest question.”

Watch the first season of Sensitive Skin online
http://www.high50.com/author/jacqui
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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.

 

Previous Posts

Gardening
Being an urban being, I have never had a garden where I grew food. My terrace is devoted exclusively to flowers, food for the soul, for sure, but with the exception of the day lilies they are not edible. My container garden gives me immense ...

posted 6:00:12am Apr. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Cleanliness
In winter, we spend inordinate amounts of time inside, dwelling, stewing, stagnating in enforced inactivity. When our hibernating energy finally re-awakens in the spring, it is with a pronounced case of morning breath. After the dust, the must, ...

posted 6:00:19am Apr. 17, 2015 | read full post »

The Heart Is The Home of Wonder
By Edie Weinstein, PA www.liveinjoy.org Breathe in the warmth of this place, allowing yourself to feel a sense of welcome It is your own love, your own beauty that beckons you inside How long has it been, since you have crossed this ...

posted 6:00:01am Apr. 15, 2015 | read full post »

Breaking the Taboo about Menopause
Kim Cattrall talks on Canadian TV about Sensitive Skin, her new television show: Kim Cattrall talked this week about why she wants to give a voice to women our age and the changes and challenges we face. Kim Cattrall is becoming something of ...

posted 6:00:57am Apr. 13, 2015 | read full post »

When Life Throws You A Curve Ball

By Daina Puodziunas Many of us reached midlife with highly developed multi-tasking skills—we figured out how to juggle many balls in the air.  Then life decides to start throwing us curve balls! They come out of nowhere and can easily ...

posted 6:00:42am Apr. 10, 2015 | read full post »

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