Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

Speaking of  Self-Sovereignty, here is a piece by Sister Joan Chittister, the popular Catholic spiritual writer. It landed propitiously in my mailbox whilst I was in the midst of working on these recent posts on the Self.

Good timing, Sister Queen!

 

Coming Home to the Self

By Sr, Joan Chittister

We are a culture of misfits — not because there is anything wrong with us as a people but because we are accustomed to becoming things we aren’t. So we don’t fit into our own souls. Our schools put out students to fit the economy, for instance, rather than the heart. Good thinkers go into accounting rather than philosophy because accounting pays more. Fine writers go into law because law is more prestigious. Young people with artistic talent go into computer science because computer programming or hotel management or engineering are full of “opportunities” — read “money” — that a water-colorist lacks.

The problem is that when we do not do what we are clearly made to do we are doomed. We spend the rest of our lives looking for the missing piece of ourselves that we lost before we knew we had it.

Then we wonder why the work we do bores us, no matter how many cars we have, no matter how beautiful the vacation house may be. We can’t figure out why we still feel restless about life. We wonder what it is that isn’t right: the schedule, the children, the marriage, the place.

We lose a taste for life.

Then, it is time go give ourselves the space and means to become again. We need to rearrange the furniture of life to make way for the essence of life: We need to set up an easel and paint. We need to start the woodworking we always wanted to do. We need to take the courses we always wish we had. We need to join the book clubs that talk about the things we are interested in discussing. We need to begin to knit and cook and write and garden. We need to do those unfinished, unstarted, undeveloped things in us that ring the bell of bliss and authenticity. Then life will become life again and all the rust of it will wear away. When we become what we know ourselves to be, we will come home to ourselves.

The rabbis put it this way: “Rabbi,” the disciple asked, “what shall I do to be saved?” And the Rabbi said, “How should I know? Follow the deepest inclination of your heart and you, too, will be saved.”

When we live from the inside out rather than from the outside in, everything in life begins to fit.

*****

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.

 

Coming from the tough love school of spiritual counseling as I do, I feel that it is only fair to warn you — There are no 10 Easy Steps to Sovereignty.

The roads leading to Queendom are diverse and many. The way to Self-esteem can be complicated and long. Each woman must take her own path, make her own trail, clear a passage for herself through the thick brambles that reach up to trip her. What roads do exist are unmapped, bumpy, and full of potholes, tumbleweed and road-kill. There are no shortcuts along the Queen’s Highway, no services, no shoulders, no signage, but many detours and cul-du-sacs.

And the fare can be exorbitant. As Dear Abby, Abigail Van Buren, once noted, “If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we’d be millionaires.” Like any grand journey, the trip toward Self-dominion requires stamina, determination and the passionate desire to travel. But if we pack properly, check our tires frequently, and take time for picnics, the adventure is incomparable. And the destination of Self-empowerment is majestic.

Our Queenly assignment, should we choose to accept it, is to identify, understand and connect all the component parts of ourselves, to attempt to develop and balance them equally, and to maintain them all in good working order. The Self is like a jigsaw puzzle or a quilt that promises to become a beautiful whole if we spend the necessary time and concentration to assemble it. It is at once the puzzle, the parts of the puzzle, and also, most importantly, the process of piecing them together.

The Self is the seat of sovereignty of the Queen. It is Her throne and Her domain, at once Her base of power and Her field of operation. Stepping into our sovereignty involves an almost alchemical process of adding, extracting, refining, combining and recombining the myriad elements that make up our four parts in the constantly evolving effort of perfecting the power of our best Selves.

The holy elixir that we seek is the transformation of the painful, rejected, neglected, wounded, unsatisfied, unsatisfactory parts of our Self, into the unified, organized, energized, golden glory and grace of the fulfilled Queen. It is through our sincere and complete participation in this process that we learn how to recognize, claim and proudly proclaim our own true power. The power of the fully engaged Self.

*****

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.

 

 

 

 

I Don’t Really Care What You Think

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.

 

 

 

 Auntie Gravity – Part 2

An Antic Cronish Goddess

by Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D.

“An’ you jus’ start thinkin’ of them lines,” She says, “as your Auntie Gravity’s rainbows, an’ remember all the colors of what you done in your life. An’ where’s that ol’ somewhere over the rainbow? In a land full of midgets, that’s where, mental midgets that don’t know what you know. Buncha mental midgets don’t know who you are. Believe you Me, you don’t even wanna go there.

“An’ don’t you dare say hot flashes, either,” Auntie Gravity says. “Those’r power surges! As the cat told the cockroach, toujours gai, toujours gai, there’s a dance in the old dame yet. Don’t you forget that. So maybe you don’t dance so fast anymore. So what? Now your dance got the power. Maybe your monthly blood’s done dried up, but, Gal, you still got the juice. Got it mor’n ever before, got it straighter, got it deeper, got it stronger, got it higher.

“Hey, Gal,” She says, “you hungry? None a them diets for me! Ol’ gals need their nourishment, preferably chocolate nourishment. You know there’s more of gravy than the grave about Me, don’t you? So let’s just stir the pot an’ see what we stir up in the world. Double bubbles, maybe, an’ toil an’ trouble an’ mischief an’ reality. Seriosity an’ humorocity—heck, let’s have four, five, or a dozen humors. So what’s cookin’, hmmm? Here, have a bite while we’re waitin’ to see what’s got stirred up this time.

“Gal,” She says after awhile, “This here visit’s ‘bout over now. I got things to do an’ places to go yet. So lemme tell you one last thing: gravity’s the universal force that pulls everyone together. Remember that. An’ you take good care of yourself, you hear?”

And She is gone.

But She’ll be back.

(From Finding New Goddesses: Reclaiming Playfulness in Our Spiritual Lives (ECW Press, 2003), copyright Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.)

*****

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.