The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Listen to Your Self

posted by Donna Henes

Today, we see many women in public life, ranging the gamut from Hillary Clinton to Sharon Osborne, who have stepped out of the shadows of their husbands and families to pursue their own ambitions for themselves. Millions of ordinary women face the same challenge in our daily lives, as well.

After a couple of decades on the job, many of us feel that we have explored one option or direction as far as we can and now we want to do something else. Or, we have wanted to do that certain something else all along, but never had the chance, the opportunity, the backing and/or the nerve to pursue it.

Now we recognize that to stay with what we have always done simply by default would be stultifying and self-limiting. And money isn’t necessarily the object this time around, either. Now it is more a matter of what is personally satisfying and fulfilling than what is smart, stable or safe.

Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.
- Oprah Winfrey

When I was in my early fifties, I made the decision after years of procrastinating to begin publishing a quarterly journal about living in sync with the cycles

After a quarter of a century of studying, teaching, writing and celebrating, it was the next logical intellectual step in my exploration of the cycles of the cosmos and their physical, emotional, and social significance. This new publication would deal with how to live consciously with the changes of the seasons — including the seasons of our own lives.

Good idea or not, however, my well-meaning friends pointed out that I had no resources or backer to support this ambitious project. But I was beyond reason. My biological clock was ticking, though I wasn’t thinking of babies. Mortality was on my mind. Mine. If I didn’t do this now, when would I?

Needless to say, I didn’t listen to the criticism, constructive though it might have been, and went right on ahead with my plan anyway. And, yes, they were right. But though I incurred a very large debt as a result, I have no regrets. Publishing that journal was a most rewarding endeavor, a four-times-a-year-discipline that challenged me to stay in tune with, and respond to, the times, even as they change. This effort kept me alert and in the moment — a worthy lesson at any price.

I kept Always in Season: Living in Sync with the Cycles alive for eight years. Thirty-two issues. And I am still paying the bank interest for lending me the capital. But I am grateful for having taken the chance. It yielded me critical acclaim and loyal subscribers in thirty-one states and eight countries who were not simply readers but more like an extended community of like-minded souls, a network of spiritual support, an international circle of care and concern. Surely this is what truly matters.

***
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.

 

 

 

 

Wise Words for Our Self

posted by Donna Henes

Several of my recent posts have been about the Self, including “What Exactly is the Self?” in which I wrote, “The Self is the sum of all of our parts, and holistically, it is greater than the sum of all of our parts. The fluid Self transcends time and space, expanding and shape-shifting, changing and adapting to accommodate the possibility of all possibility.” Our Self is “the artful patchwork of our own lives designed from the wild and wonderful patterns of our own personality and experiences, and crafted from our individual inner authority.”

Here are some words of Self-wisdom by some very wise women:

“We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.
- Jane Austen

“Doubt yourself and you doubt everything you see. Judge yourself and you see judges everywhere. But if you listen to the sound of your own voice, you can rise above doubt and judgement. And you can see forever.”
- Nancy Kerrigan

 “It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.”
- Sally Field

“Falling, falling, falling, falling down. Look yourself in the eye before you drown.”
- Emily Saliers, Indigo Girls

“Our goal while on this earth is to transcend our illusions and discover the innate power of our spirit.”
- Caroline Myss

“The authentic self is the soul made visible.”
- Sarah Ban Breathnach

 “In our natural state, we are glorious beings. In the world of illusion, we are lost and imprisoned, slaves to our appetites and our will to false power.”
- Marianne Williamson

“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”
- Virginia Woolf

“Every problem can be solved with the proper application of the means at hand. Maybe not easily, happily, cheaply or painlessly – but it can be done if you have the will;
you already have the means – yourself!”

- Joanne Siewert

“As you begin to understand the immense power and love you hold inside, you will find an unending surge of joy, light and love that will nourish and support you all the days of your life.”
- Susan Jeffers

“It is easier to live through someone else than to become complete yourself.”
- Betty Friedan

“I didn’t leave Sonny for another man. I left for another woman. Me.”
- Cher

“The bright shining
only reflects back to myself,
my own light blinding me.
I can’t see the world and they can’t see me.”
- Anna Chrisrest

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself,
instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

- Judy Garland

“Since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of time,
you are incomparable.”

- Brenda Uleland

“At some point in my life, I swallowed a Sun.
And now it dawns and sets in my belly.”

- Erika Harris,

“My heart filled with love, flowing over with joy,
my own little drum that I like to march by!” 

- Gunda Fijnje-Nolan

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart.
I am. I am. I am.”

- Sylvia Plath

What us your experience of your Self? How would you describe it?
***
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.

 

Benefits of Age

posted by Donna Henes

Aging and changing might be inevitable, but they ain’t easy. They precipitate in us a great uncertainty. The myriad dramatic disturbances of modern middle life — menopause, health concerns, career shifts, the empty nest, divorce and death — create an overwhelming crisis of identity and purpose for each of 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 fantasies and our fears.

Some of us spend a considerable amount of time — easily ten or fifteen years — swirling in the turbulence of this middle age reassessment. 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? What exactly is our role as older than young and younger than old women who are still active and more effective than ever?

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, 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 to guide us.

It seems as if
I’ll never get beyond
the foot prints that I made.

-Qernertuq, Eskimo poet, c.900-1400

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.

These 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 we are forced to deal with, are incredibly disorienting. Not only are we burning up physically, blasted with flashes from our out of control internal furnaces, 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.

Gallup took a poll of women over 55 years of age. They were asked in which decade were they the happiest. 11% said their 20′s, 14% said their 30′s, 13% said their 40′s, the rest, well over 50%  answered “RIGHT NOW!!!”

Interesting. Society tells us, and our own experiences have verified, that now that we are menopausal, we are poised to lose everything that has so far defined us: our power of reproductivity, our youth, our sex appeal, our children, our parents, our spouses, our time left on the job, our visibility, our very lives — and we have never been happier! We might have suffered great loss, but look what we have gained — our Selves, and that makes us happy, indeed.

 

***
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.

 

 

Long Live the Queen

posted by Donna Henes

The notion that fifty years of age could be considered a “halfway” mark is unprecedented. For most of human existence, life expectancy hovered at around twenty to thirty years, and it was only by 1800 that folks commonly began to live to be forty. American women now enjoy a mean life expectancy of eighty-four years, a stunning rise from only forty-eight years for a woman born in 1900.

In general, women live about eight years longer than men, whose average life expectancy today is seventy-six years. It was once thought that when large numbers of women entered previously male dominated professions, they, too, would start dropping dead of heart attacks and strokes on the stock exchange floor. Not only did that not happen, but women now outlive men by an even greater margin than before. Today, a woman is likely to live thirty-five to forty years following her menopause.

If a woman reaches fifty without a chronic illness, notes Dr. Christiane Northrup, the well-known obstetrician-gynecologist, in The Wisdom of Menopause, she has every expectation of living into her mid eighties at least. Our chance these days of living to one hundred is one in fifty, an astronomical increase over the millennia from one in twenty million.

This means that at midlife, we can typically expect two, three, four dynamic, active, productive decades before we consider ourselves old enough to claim the right to be called Crones. We do not look or feel or act our age because our age is no longer perceived to be old. Or, as the caption of a New Yorker cartoon put it, “Good news, honey – seventy is the new fifty.” In Dr. Northup’s words, menopause is the “springtime of the second half of life.”

But if we are blessed with this inestimable gift of many more years of life than anyone who ever lived on Earth before us could ever have imagined, it is crucial that we wend our way with great concentration and care through the crises of our midlife passage, so that we can learn how to turn our losses into the very lessons that will help us to achieve the life that we want for ourselves as we age.

If we ignore our unresolved problems, chronic irritants and resentments, we can be sure that they will surface as toxic stress that can cause cancer, heart attacks, substance abuse, depression and other debilitating and life-threatening problems. How successfully we handle our changes now will determine the quality of our health and well-being for all of our future years. Our life literally depends on it.

Midlife women today are anxious to work through the debilitating panic of aging and its negative, derogatory cultural connotations with at least some measure of good grace. We want assurance that the difficult transitions we are experiencing might bring about a period of positive growth and transformation for ourselves as individuals, for our relationships, and for society as a whole. We are determined to redefine the parameters and archetypes of middle age.

Possessing both the vital stamina of youth and the experienced wisdom of age, our pioneering generation is especially suited to such a task. Unique in history for our unprecedented freedom, education, individuality, worldliness, health, wealth and longevity, we now hold positions of hard-earned authority, responsibility and influence in ever-wider realms.

Though certainly not perfect, nor perfectly safe, our power is unparalleled. Moreover, weaned on freethinking, idealism and independence, we have been prescribing the parameters of our lives, inventing and reinventing our culture and ourselves for decades.

 

***
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

Listen to Your Self
Today, we see many women in public life, ranging the gamut from Hillary Clinton to Sharon Osborne, who have stepped out of the shadows of their husbands and families to pursue their own ambitions for themselves. Millions of ordinary women face the same challenge in our daily lives, as well. After

posted 6:00:40am Apr. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Wise Words for Our Self
Several of my recent posts have been about the Self, including “What Exactly is the Self?” in which I wrote, “The Self is the sum of all of our parts, and holistically, it is greater than the sum of all of our parts. The fluid Self transcends time and space, expanding and shape-shifting, chang

posted 6:00:48am Apr. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Benefits of Age
Aging and changing might be inevitable, but they ain’t easy. They precipitate in us a great uncertainty. The myriad dramatic disturbances of modern middle life — menopause, health concerns, career shifts, the empty nest, divorce and death — create an overwhelming crisis of identity and purpose

posted 6:00:37am Apr. 14, 2014 | read full post »

Long Live the Queen
The notion that fifty years of age could be considered a “halfway” mark is unprecedented. For most of human existence, life expectancy hovered at around twenty to thirty years, and it was only by 1800 that folks commonly began to live to be forty. American women now enjoy a mean life expectancy

posted 6:00:51am Apr. 11, 2014 | read full post »

A Time For Me
During the decades of our Maiden and Motherhood, women grow to meet all of our many demanding responsibilities. Like the moon that can’t keep getting fuller and fuller with no retreat, we can take on only so much before exploding like a balloon pumped up with too much air. In the second half of He

posted 6:00:33am Apr. 09, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.