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The Queen of My Self

I see “Begin Again” as an ideal theme for this season. We have the supreme opportunity now in the autumn of our midlife to begin again. How shall we reinvent our Selves? What new programs, projects and passions are on the horizon for us? Please send me your stories of change, transition, and transformation. Our shared experiences serve to inspire and empower us all. I found this great new beginnings piece in the Daily Mail, U.K.

Thanks.

xxQueen Mama Donna

 

A New Life – Part 1

By Crista Cloutier

Three years ago I fled an enviable career in the USA as a dealer in the high-powered international art world. Some called it a midlife crisis, but I prefer to think of it as a midlife correction. I simply couldn’t bear the idea of one more gallery opening, museum gala, or cocktail party. I wanted something different; to kick off my Jimmy Choos, run away and find something more authentic. And so I did.

I am not the first person to re-create her life. Indeed, as the world suffers from financial meltdowns, women everywhere are being forced to redefine themselves. Change can be frightening, especially if it’s not of one’s own making. But change can also bring opportunity, with the deepest rewards found in the effort.

On the surface, I had the perfect life: a gorgeous bungalow in sunny Arizona, frequent first-class travel, a stellar career in the glamorous art world. Parties peppered my diary, while shopping filled my weekends and my wardrobes.

This life came about by accident. I had studied photography at university. But somehow my sideline selling art to pay my way through college developed into my profession. Two decades later, as I approached my 40s, I was at the peak of my career, yet inside I was unfulfilled as I yearned to express my own creative urgings.

It began as I sat at my desk trying to shake what I thought were the Monday-morning blues. A colleague joked, ‘It’s days like these that make me want to move to France.’

Something in my heart sighed, ‘Yes.’

‘But that’s ridiculous,’ I thought. Ten years earlier I had spent some time at a small arts school for American students in a remote Provençal village. The idea of returning to this idyllic hamlet suddenly seized me. Perhaps I might rediscover the sense of inspiration that I’d experienced there years before? Was that the last time I’d felt inspired, I wondered?

As I flipped through a magazine dreamily, I remembered an American artist I’d met who lived there. What was his name? As I turned the page, my heart stopped. I have no memory for names whatsoever but I always remember pictures. There, in front of me, was an article about his work, the very artist I had just been thinking of who lived in Provence. I put down the magazine. I had made my decision.

The idea of leaving my life behind wasn’t rational but I believed I had received a sign. For that brief instant, I had hope that my life might be different, a better reflection of what I felt inside. I gripped my decision with single-minded determination. ‘This is your chance,’ something whispered to me.

Tomorrow: A New Life – Part 2

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering 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.

 

 

 

 

 

I see “Begin Again” as an ideal theme for this season. We have the supreme opportunity now in the autumn of our midlife to begin again. How shall we reinvent our Selves? What new programs, projects and passions are on the horizon for us? Please send me your stories of change, transition, and transformation. Our shared experiences serve to inspire and empower us all.

Thanks.

xxQueen Mama Donna

 

To Be Present to the Present

By Sister Joan Chittister  

Being where we are — immersed in it, aware of it, alert to it — may well be the secret to living well, to living fully. It is a lesson to be learned. In a culture based on motion it is no small trick to allow ourselves to be present to the present, to see what is in front of us. We only think we’re here. The problem is a perennial one, common to every time, every tradition.

In too many instances, we are really more likely to be on our way to somewhere else than present to the moment. We go through life watching our watches. We leave one party early in order to go to another one and by the end of the night we have enjoyed neither. We live with one foot in tomorrow at all times. We plan for tomorrow and prepare for tomorrow and fear tomorrow and wait for tomorrow with distracting fitfulness. Here is never good enough. What is, is not important to a people on the go. What is coming is always what really counts. What is yet to be had, yet to be seen, yet to be done, yet to be accomplished becomes the essence of life.

But life is every grain of sand in the hourglass. And it is running. And once run it is gone forever.

Too often, while we wait for life, it passes us by, leaves us up to our hearts in dissatisfaction and over our heads in wanting. We live overcome by losses and dissolved in spiritual ruin or wasted by a death of spirit, by a diminishment of enthusiasm, by the dissipation of hope. Yet all the while the present moment lies truly dormant within us.

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering 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.

 

 

I see “Begin Again” as an ideal theme for this season. We have the supreme opportunity now in the autumn of our midlife to begin again. How shall we reinvent our Selves? What new programs, projects and passions are on the horizon for us? Please send me your stories of change, transition, and transformation. Our shared experiences serve to inspire and empower us all.

Thanks.

xxQueen Mama Donna

 

Mommy Has Dreams, Too – Part 2

By Laura Munson, MT

Still, after a publishing rejection, I’d say, bittersweet, “Thank God I’m not published yet. How could I justify leaving my kids when they’re so young?” But deep down I was conflicted. I wanted that dream to come true with all of that heart that lived in them and lived in me. It was an inner war I fought every day.

And then in 2009, I got a book deal and everything changed. I had to rethink my motherhood. Suddenly deadlines had me seat-belted to my office chair for long hours, breaking only for meals. Homemade sauces percolating on the stove were forgotten for, yes, Stouffer’s frozen lasagna. A who-are-you-and-what-did-you-do-with-my-mother was in order, and I got it in eyeball rolls, dramatic exits, and out-of-the-blue crying fits. But the truth is that dream or no dream, a change in my husband’s career meant that we desperately needed the money. And this was what presented itself in the way of livelihood. I had his total support and my children’s blessing, so they said.

But then the travel began and I became a second-class citizen in my own home. I’d return, haggard after 12, cross-country, back-to-back events in 10 days, and the kids would ignore me. Suddenly it was “Dad, I need you to sign this for school,” and “Dad, where are my cleats?”

I liked that he was such a presence in their daily lives. I didn’t like that I wasn’t.

So I hired a therapist. “You need to tell them this is what career success looks like for now. Things are different. They’re still safe. You still love them. Children are manipulators. You’ve done nothing wrong.” But it didn’t feel that way. I felt that I had done something very wrong. And maybe it was because of the mother I’d been all those years.

Would they have been better off in day care? More well-adjusted, flexible, less reliant on a mother who eagerly pushed them on the swing of life; answered every why-is-the-sky-blue question. Maybe Legos don’t count as Architecture, and lemonade stands don’t speak much for Economics, nor Chutes and Ladders for Physics, nor bedtime discussions about God for World Religion, nor patching up playground-politics-gone-amuck in the way of Ethics. Maybe those efforts feel like a slap in the face when the creator of them is out the door again with her roller bag and a plane to catch.

In all my career dreams, I never imagined I’d lose my power in this little civilization. Or that I’d fail it. And no matter how many hugs I give, or muffins I make, or soccer games I drive eight hours in both directions to support… I can’t seem to redeem myself. Maybe it’s because they’ve had to swallow a sudden bitter pill: their mother is a human being with dreams and needs and talent. Didn’t they know this? Did I sell them a myth in Band-aids and bedtime stories? Did I omit the fact that dreams-come-true sometimes take you far from home? Why must I be the first to break their hearts?

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering 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.

 

I see “Begin Again” as an ideal theme for this season. We have the supreme opportunity now in the autumn of our midlife to begin again. How shall we reinvent our Selves? What new programs, projects and passions are on the horizon for us? Please send me your stories of change, transition, and transformation. Our shared experiences serve to inspire and empower us all.

Thanks.

xxQueen Mama Donna

 

Mommy Has Dreams, Too – Part 1

By Laura Munson, MT

For 13 years I had one consistent role and I performed it well. It’s been my primary area of expertise and with it I have molded social groups and inspired movers, shakers, and decision makers. I’ve given sustenance to the thirsty, hungry, sick, needy and taught the illiterate to read and write. I’ve served as professor emeritus in the fields of Comparative Religion, English, Earth Science, Physics, Chemistry, Music, Ethics, Political Science, Economics, Architecture and others. Without me, there are small civilizations that wouldn’t have thrived. Ok, one very small civilization. Comprised of two people, a king, and a queen. The king has spent these years ruling other civilizations by day. The queen has stayed at home, ruling the one of which I write. And the civilization has thrived in every way the queen hoped in health, wealth, and wisdom.

Until she quit her day job and became a businesswoman.

The civilization, as you have surmised, is my family. The queen is me. The king, my husband. While it’s a woman’s liberated “civilization,” it’s fairly traditional. My husband has been the bread-winner. I’ve stayed home with the kids. Both of us happily so. I love creating teaching opportunities with my children, doing art projects, gardening, cooking, playing games, reading. I’ve been that mother at the kitchen counter with her kids on chairs next to her, hulling strawberries for jam to can for Christmas gifts. I’ve spent hours singing them folks songs, their fingers taking rides on mine as we crawl up and down the piano keys. It’s been what you might call, “an enviable life” in the house of my motherhood. I’ve been deeply grateful for the choice to be at home with my children and it’s fed me like nothing else.

I’m also a writer. I’ve been writing since college, and so I entered motherhood knowing my craft, working during their naps, freelancing to help with family costs, and indulging my greatest personal passion: novel writing. I’ve written many novels over the years — not all good ones; many of them exercises in learning. So while my kids learned to walk, talk, eat, cut paper, use glue… I grew as a writer. All-the-while, I had a dream: to get a book published. To have readers. To speak at bookstores and in libraries across America. To write something that would help people in the same spirit of my motherhood. Only this dream was about my journey, not theirs.

I believed this was a healthy thing to teach my children, when they were old enough to wonder what I was doing in my office. “Mommies and daddies have lives of their own and that’s a good thing.” I’d put my hand on their chests and say, “I’m always here in your heart. No matter what.” And put their hands on mine and say, “And you are always in my heart.” Their knowing nods told me they understood.

Tomorrow: Mommy Has Dreams, Too – Part 2

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering 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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