The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

A Meditation on My Self

posted by Donna Henes

Soul searching, like the practice of any devotion, requires solitude, quiet and quality time. But life is hectic and our inner needs have often been relegated to the bottom of our endless to-do lists, our dreams and desires deferred, left on the back burner to simmer.

Over a hundred years ago, Florence Nightingale observed, “Women never have a half-hour in all their lives (excepting before or after anybody is up in the house) that they can call their own, without fear of offending or of hurting someone. Why do people sit up so late, or, more rarely, get up so early? Not because the day is not long enough, but because they have no time in the day to themselves.”

If our intention is to know ourselves and to grow our power, we require dependable periods of uninterrupted time and inviolate space that we can call our own, a protected seclusion conducive to our sacred Self-communion.

Seclusion is withdrawal on all levels. It means separating our identity not only from other people, but also from outwardly dictated and directed activity as well. Sometimes it is necessary to step back a few paces from our bustling lives, stop racing around, and just slow down so that we can absorb and process our experiences.

In a culture that defines itself in terms of clocks and dollars and duty, it is difficult to allow ourselves to claim the time and mental space to devote to an occupation that results in no visible product. Non-product, however, and nonproductive are definitely not the same thing. Down time is not negative. It is not not doing something. What we are doing when we jump off of the treadmill is resting, reflecting, ruminating, regenerating, rejoicing and opening to the myriad ways of receiving the reassurance and guidance that we need.

When we carve out a niche in our busy lives to do the sorts of things that feed our soul, we are affirming our self worth, acknowledging that we crave and deserve our own undivided attention. When we claim the psychic space and set aside the personal time to pursue the knowledge and mastery of our Self — when we assume the entitlement, the ability and the authority to do so — we are able to access and transform our perceptions, our perspectives, our experience, our expectations, and, in the process, our entire reality. By taking the time, by taking our time, we bless ourselves with true devotion. We consecrate our precious lives, and celebrate the continuously wondrous miracle of the unfolding of our Selves.

Sacred Seclusion enables us to know, own and honor ourselves as unique, individual entities. To admit our abilities and limitations, our talents and truculence on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual planes, and to love ourselves with compassion and no judgment attached. A practice of solitude and separation — be it occasional, frequent or constant — teaches us that we do not need the approval or permission of any outside source to validate our personal experience or emotions. In knowing who we are, we are empowering ourselves to know what we know and feel what we feel.

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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.

 

Soup for the Soul

posted by Donna Henes

In the stark dark of the season in the dark of the long night we are compelled to turn inward toward the center. Drawn by an irresistible magnetic force, we are pulled inside of ourselves, inside of our homes, inside of our relationships for the comfort, warmth, love, safety and peace that we seek.

Because it is difficult to see in the dark, our other senses are awakened and called into action to guide us through the gloom. If we pay careful attention, we can smell and taste the flavors of excitement, affection and creativity and. If we listen very carefully, we can hear the buzz of life that surrounds us and if we keep still enough, we can feel the energizing charge that radiates throughout the universe warming us from within.

But we need to dig deep to feel the heat just now. The sun is absent. The air is chilled. The Earth, Herself, is cold as death. The only heat left is locked deep inside the molten core in the middle of our deepest selves.

The heart is the center of our being. It is the buried treasure that rewards us when we dare to travel the dark tunnels that lead to the essence of our soul. It is the furnace from which radiates the heat, the power and passion of our lives. The heart is the most honest manifestation of our authentic self. The seat of our heart’s desire, the grace that lies at the heart of all that matters.

The hearth is the heart of the home. It is the high altar of the art and craft of living. Its central heat fuels the most basic and most profound daily rituals of nurturing, sustenance, support and cheer. The hearth stokes the healthy spirit that comes from physical ease and emotional fulfillment.

My home hearth calls me so insistently these days. “You are home with us,” it cries with joy. “Come cook!”

And cook I have. I made a surprisingly super-luscious coq au vin. Surprising, because I had never made this dish before and I just sort of made it up, guided by my longing for blissful candle-lit home-cooked dinners. I made zucchini in tomato sauce, which I froze in small containers in anticipation of future zucchini pastas and omelets and zucchini au gratin.

But I mainly made soup. Great pots of lentil, black bean, mushroom barley and cabbage soup. My freezer is full of single-and-double-portion-size jars of soup. And I am not souped out yet. Still on my to do list are chili, chicken ginger spinach, chicken vegetable, Scotch broth, cream of tomato, and gumbo. I am a kitchen goddess concocting potions and brews and spells of happy home and hearth and heart.

Let us all use this time of darkness well. Let us explore our hearts and souls for the insight, inspiration and enlightenment that we may find there. Let us worship at the domestic shrine and share the holy sacraments of soup and stew, mulled cider and cocoa. Let us open our hearts and our homes to all of the possibilities of love. Let us create peace in our hearts, in our homes and in the world.

 

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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.

 

A Self- Esteem Exercise

posted by Donna Henes

by Madisyn Taylor

Having low self-esteem is a common issue and with some introspection you can start to loosen the grip of this negative thought pattern.

Our primary relationship in life is with our selves. No one else goes through every experience in life with us. We are our one permanent companion, yet we are often our worst critic. To remind ourselves of our magnificence, we can do this exercise: “Five Things I Like About Myself.”

Begin by writing down at least five things that you like about yourself. This is not the time to be modest. If you are having trouble coming up with a total of five items, you know that this exercise can really benefit you. Be sure to include more than your physical attributes on your list, since our bodies are only part of who we are. If you are still struggling with what to include on your list, think of what you like about your favorite people, because these traits are probably qualities that you possess too. Another way to complete your list is to think of five things you don’t like about yourself and find something about these traits that you can like.

Continue this process for a week, thinking of five new things you like about yourself everyday. At the end of the week, read the list aloud to yourself while standing in front of a mirror. Instead of looking for flaws to fix, allow the mirror to reflect your magnificence. You may feel silly about standing in front of a mirror and reading aloud a list of your admirable attributes, but it might just bring a smile to your face and change the way you see yourself. Remember, it is when you feel the most resistant that this exercise can benefit you the most. Because we are constantly looking at the world, instead of looking at ourselves, we don’t often see what’s magnificent about ourselves that others do. When we take the time to experience ourselves the way we would experience someone we love and admire, we become our best companion and supporter on life’s journey.
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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.

 

Empress Energy: Extending Our Influence Out Into the World

posted by Donna Henes

The Queen is a mature woman who has conquered the challenges in Her life and claimed Her own royal power. She cuts through fear and ambivalence, takes charge, and establishes Herself as the sole ruler of Her Self. She has struggled for Her transformation and has achieved it. Her proud potency is palpable, Her authenticity uncontested. Her life now takes on a new ease, a grace, a certain lightness of being born of Her Self-knowing, Self-respecting, Self-directing, Self-projecting passion and purpose. She sails ahead on Her own steam, cutting efficiently through seas that are sometimes smooth as glass, sometimes choppy and fraught with danger. Her age and vast experience is Her ballast. She keeps Her center, come what may.

But something else remarkable takes places once the Queen has stepped into Her sovereignty. Now that Her situations and systems are established, Her life in working order and running more smoothly, the Queen can afford to enlarge the territory and expand the horizons of Her Interests and influence and extend the parameters of Her physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual domain. Now that She is firmly rooted in Her best Self and acting for Her own benefit, She is free to reach out in ever increasing concentric circles and offer Her compassion, expertise, time, and money to people and causes that call to Her sense of response-ability.

Maturity brings with it the understanding that everything is not about us, that the world does not revolve around our personal story, that we do not exist in a vacuum, and that all those other people out there actually have lives of their own and are not simply extras in our movie. Life and living have shown the Queen the value of community, cooperation, concern, care, and communion. “Life is the only real counselor,” Edith Wharton suggested, “wisdom unfiltered through personal experience does not become a part of the moral tissue.” Knowing Herself to be an inextricable, integral part of a greater whole, Her ministrations multiply to include the welfare of the entire world around her.

When the Queen assumes Her authority in the ever-greater realms of responsibility and takes it upon Herself to right the wrongs of the world, She ascends to a higher plateau of power. The Empress is the Queen writ large, the level of intensity of Her royal engagement exponentially expanded. Model monarch that She is, the Queen-become-Empress, operates from the deep and mighty reserves of Her own personal power and wisdom, wrought through Her dedicated willingness and ability to change, to always, always, change. She is committed to exploring, confronting, and enriching the undeveloped and underutilized parts of her body, mind, heart, and soul. By working to connect all of the constituent dots of Her many parts, the Queen is constantly becoming ever more of Whom She truly is — Her Highest Self, Her Extreme Royal Highness, the Empress.

Today, just as the cumulative damage to our Earth is reaching a perilous point of no return and our entire natural and cultural environment is in the throes of dangerous disconnection and dis-ease, we wise, mature, accomplished women are called upon to step up to the challenge and ascend the throne of conscious, conscientious leadership. It is incumbent upon us to use our considerable Queenly power, in whatever way seems appropriate to our individual skills and involvements, to stem the tide of unthinking aggression that can drown us all. In the same way that it was up to us, and only us, to redeem and transform our own lives, our own Selves, we need to grab the reigns and redirect and correct the negative and harmful conditions that exist in our community, our society, and our planet.

Rachel Carson, an Empress of the highest order, warned us, “We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road—the one ‘less traveled by’ — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.”

In the same way we Queen Empresses strive to create change for our selves, we can work to effect positive, sane, humane, and sustainable change for the greater good of all. The future we envision starts now, today. And the buck stops here, too, with each of us. To paraphrase Gandhi, we must be the future we wish to see. What we seed is what we get. Positive change need not be earth shaking or dramatic. It can be quite personal, subtle, and quiet, yet it does need to be rooted in positive intention and grown organically with great care and attention to the purity of the process. The ends do not — cannot — justify the means, because the means have a nasty way of becoming the end in the end. All we mortals ever have, from moment to moment is the means. It is our ways and means of thinking and acting that justify our lives.

The chief dispenser of order, measure, justice, and right relationship in all realms, the Queen’s rule is informed by Her keen holistic perspective, as well as the promptings of Her own intuitions. She holds the vision of a world community that is more inclusive, creative, joyful, respectful, and reverential. As She seeks to use the full force of Her personal power as an agent for positive change, the Empress does not turn away from imperfection, nor avert Her gaze from the gruesome details of life. She opens her eyes— as well as Her ears — even wider in order to witness, to learn, to help, and to heal. Her heart, too, is now open, secure in the knowledge that She can rely safely upon Her instincts and abilities. Her past losses and pain have taught the Empress Queen to recognize the signs of pain and loss in others — a language She speaks thoroughly. Comprehending their need, She reaches out to them in sympathy, empathy, advocacy, succor, and support. Nor does She shrink from Her responsibilities to protect and preserve the very forces of life. The Empress opens Her mouth, as well, and speaks boldly Her truth with conviction and compassion that commands respect and response.

It is a big world out there and the plights and problems of humankind can seem insurmountable, impossible to change, but the Empress Queen knows all about change. Has She not been through the rapids of menopause, The Change, and come out the other side, altered forever, stronger and smarter by far? A Queen of Her own making, She has certainly changed and is still changing, is committed to continually change, and therefore, She knows that through effort, patience, and persistence, things can and do improve, that all things are possible. She is the living proof. The Empress does not bite Her tongue nor does She withhold Her views. She makes Her beliefs perfectly clear, assumes full response-ability for them, and then takes action to effect change for the betterment of all.

Personally, I do not think that it is a coincidence that just as the earth teeters on the very brink of destruction, there comes along a generation of fiery, accomplished, clever, ambitious women at the height of our supremacy to whip it back into shape. And the sheer enormity of our numbers means that we can actually be the critical mass necessary to make a real and lasting difference. Let us harness our impressive Empress Energy: our purity of purpose, our passion, our heartfelt compassion, and our enormous power, and let us direct it toward creating a safe, sublime, and peaceful world for us all. The future is in our very capable hands.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough
to turn the world upside down, all alone together
women ought to be able to turn it rightside up again.
       -Sojourner Truth, American abolitionist and U.S. General
       1797-1883

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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

A Meditation on My Self
Soul searching, like the practice of any devotion, requires solitude, quiet and quality time. But life is hectic and our inner needs have often been relegated to the bottom of our endless to-do lists, our dreams and desires deferred, left on the back burner to simmer. Over a hundred years ago, Fl

posted 6:00:44am Jan. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Soup for the Soul
In the stark dark of the season in the dark of the long night we are compelled to turn inward toward the center. Drawn by an irresistible magnetic force, we are pulled inside of ourselves, inside of our homes, inside of our relationships for the comfort, warmth, love, safety and peace that we seek.

posted 6:00:34am Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »

A Self- Esteem Exercise
by Madisyn Taylor Having low self-esteem is a common issue and with some introspection you can start to loosen the grip of this negative thought pattern. Our primary relationship in life is with our selves. No one else goes through every experience in life with us. We are our one permanent com

posted 6:00:12am Jan. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Empress Energy: Extending Our Influence Out Into the World
The Queen is a mature woman who has conquered the challenges in Her life and claimed Her own royal power. She cuts through fear and ambivalence, takes charge, and establishes Herself as the sole ruler of Her Self. She has struggled for Her transformation and has achieved it. Her proud potency is pal

posted 6:00:12am Jan. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Hero vs. Heroine
By Rosalie Maggio, CA www.rosaliemaggio.com The words "hero" and "heroine" convey subtle — and sometimes not so subtle-differences to a reader or an audience. We need to use "hero" for both men and women. In 1939, Amelia Earhart wrote, "No one can scan the shelves of teen-age reading matter wi

posted 6:00:41am Jan. 19, 2015 | read full post »


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