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The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

My Turning 60 Spring Cleaning

posted by Donna Henes

By Susan Snapp

I decided to clean up my home. I hadn’t been able to do “heavy” cleaning since March 2007 because of injuries so you can imagine how dirty it is/was.

I started it all by deciding to install an in-wall medicine cabinet in my bathroom. I already had one, which I was going to use in my house (that I don’t have the money to finish building) and thought I might as well enjoy it now. I picked up my reciprocating saw and set to cut a hole in the wall over the sink. It’s still not finished, mainly because I don’t quite know what I’m doing. The “knowledge” is in my head but there seem to be interruptions between brain and hand. It’s in, but the wall on the left side of it is kind of….. well, not perfect, ya’ know? I’m still working on the doors to it. In amongst my dusty stained glass supplies, I found a piece of glass that looks FABULOUS in the one smaller door, so that was good. I have to sand them so they won’t hit each other when they close.

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Repainting the walls with the same color paint surprised me as the original paint had become so dingy and faded that the new paint almost looked like the wrong color!! It also surprised me that it made the rest of the house look dingy and faded as well as dusty and dirty. That medicine cabinet project started the ongoing “refreshment” of my home – end to end.

I’m the type of person who can’t just stay on one task until it’s done. I just can’t do it. I get frustrated and so move on to something else that can be done. My bathroom, my bedroom, the living room and the “other” bathroom are in the midst of being cleaned, repainted and generally fixed up. I now have a purple bedroom! It looks great! (When I Am Old I Shall Sleep In A Purple Bedroom!) I always have been a the-walls-have-to-be-off-white type of woman; anything goes with it except white-white. Now, however, after having seen the inside of a new younger friend’s house with the beautiful colors on the walls of her home, I thought I’d defy that “law” and paint colors on my walls. My living room is now a dusty rose color, with “Natural Linen” on the ceiling. Well, part of the ceiling anyway. That still needs to be finished.

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I’m also purging my belongings; a good 30% of my clothing has gone into the Salvation Army box. It feels good to “unload” stuff. I picked up each individual article and made one of three decisions; 1) I wear it and like it so will keep it; 2) I don’t wear it, but it’s in good shape and I like it so will give it to a person I know; 3) I never wear it, it’s not that good, so into the SA box. Don’t get me wrong here; my closet is still packed with stuff.

On Monday, my sister, my brother-in-law and my daughter, Ashley, are coming out to help me move some of the furniture, etc., out to the building that was going to be my house. AKA the garage. The buffet of the dining room set which was my grandmother’s, the table of that same set, the table of “my” dining room set which had been waiting to be placed in the dining room of the house, two brass single bed frames, several book shelves, a bedroom dresser and boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff; camping gear, fishing gear, two extra sets of dishes, my stained glass supplies and instruments, tents and gazebos, candle making supplies.

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The beginning of what I see as a general purging of belongings, spiritual aspects, bodily aspects and maybe emotional ones, too, that just no longer serve me.

Come to think of it, some of them never did.

 

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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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Saving Mother Earth

posted by Donna Henes

by Mary Saracino

A single day in April isn’t enough
to honor our Mother, save the planet
that is her body, restore her ocean womb,
revitalize the atrophied arms and legs
of her continents, remove the smog
from her pristine lungs, replenish all that’s
depleted by the lust for profit
over prosperity. Human hearts so greedy
for commerce they call deforestation progress,
think cloning is a medical advancement,
see artificial life as the wave of the future,
as if civilization can only advance
by killing or dismemberment,
by acquisition or annihilation.
How to survive a world of paper or plastic,
hybrid or gas-guzzler,
genetically altered seeds,
cloned cows, chemical poisons in the water,
run-off from the mouths of politicians
who think global warming is good for business.
What’s to be gained when
globalization soils our souls,
breeds a false sense of interconnection,
feigns compassion predicated on
corporate exploitation, skimming money
off the backs of underpaid workers,
trafficking in human life, in weapons
of destruction, raping the land of its bounty,
the rivers of their life-sustaining powers,
denying whole nations their dignity and worth.
That’s no way to treat our Mother,
no way to save our planet,
no way to mend our broken spirits,
no way to change the world.

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Mary Saracino
www.marysaracino.com

 
* ***
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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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

 
* ***
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

My Turning 60 Spring Cleaning
By Susan Snapp I decided to clean up my home. I hadn't been able to do "heavy" cleaning since March 2007 because of injuries so you can imagine how dirty it is/was. I started it all by deciding to install an in-wall medicine cabinet in my ...

posted 6:00:59am Apr. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Saving Mother Earth
by Mary Saracino A single day in April isn’t enough to honor our Mother, save the planet that is her body, restore her ocean womb, revitalize the atrophied arms and legs of her continents, remove the smog from her pristine lungs, ...

posted 6:00:44am Apr. 22, 2015 | read full post »

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 »

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