The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

American Queens

posted by Donna Henes

There have been notable Queens in more recent times, as well. Eleanor Roosevelt, a shy, self-conscious, and naturally retiring woman, was thrust feet first into the limelight when she became First Lady of the United States in 1933 at the age of forty-eight. Though this new role was extremely painful for her, rather than allow herself to be intimidated by living a public life, she consciously chose to use her visibility and enormous influence to further the causes of social justice in which she so firmly believed.

She became an outspoken crusader for the rights of the oppressed, a self-imposed rule that lasted long after her tenure in the White House, and she remained an active advocate for equality, peace and freedom for the rest of her life. “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” she later declared. “You gain strength, courage, and confidence in every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”
 
Following this dictum, in 1955 Rosa Parks, a forty-two-year-old seamstress, sat down in the front of the bus in Birmingham, Alabama and refused to relinquish her seat to a white man when the driver ordered her to do so. The popular legend says that she was tired after a hard day’s work, and her feet hurt.

No doubt, but surely her feet had ached for years. It seems to me that she had simply reached a now-or-never-point in her life when she was willing to accept the awesome responsibility for defending herself, for demanding to be treated with the dignity and respect that she knew she deserved — come what may.

Her life, indeed the life of the entire nation, was never to be the same. What resulted from her spontaneously courageous decision was nothing less than the legal equality of the races, which was probably the furthest thing on her mind that fateful day. But when a Queen stands up to opposition or oppression in any form and speaks Her truth out loud, She steps into Her sovereignty and there is no turning back.

They tell me nothing but lies here, and they think they can break my spirit. But I believe what I choose and say nothing. I am not so simple as I seem.
- Catherine of Aragon, Spanish Queen of England, 1485-1536

 
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The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

African Queen

posted by Donna Henes

    
Perhaps nowhere in history were women held in higher standing and regard than in Mama Africa, the birthplace of humanity and the world’s first great civilizations, with its preponderance of matriarchal and matrilineal societies.

“You know that in our country there were even matriarchal societies where women were the most important element,” writes Amilcar Cabral, the Guinean leader of the African Liberation Movement, in Return to the Source. “They were not queens because they were the daughters of kings. They had queens succeeding queens. The religious leaders were women, too.”

Probably the most famous woman in African history is Queen Nzinga Mbande, Amazon Queen of the N’dongo and Matamba in West Africa, who ruled Angola for thirty-some years in the mid-1600′s. In 1621 at the age of thirty-nine, she negotiated with the Portuguese for the preservation of Angolan independence while seated on the back of a kneeling servant, an ingenious and face-saving performance, as the colonialists had not provided a chair for her in an attempt to embarrass and humiliate her.

Years later, Nzinga refused to hand back runaway slaves to the Portuguese, thus bringing down their colonial wrath. Along with her female officers and advisors, Nzinga formed formidable tribal alliances and gathered a vast army that, in true guerrilla fashion, harassed the Portuguese to exhaustion from all sides while avoiding direct confrontation. Politically astute, she formed alliances with other foreign powers, pitting them against one another to free Angola of European influence.

I may be kindly. I am ordinarily gentle, but in my line of business I am obliged to will terribly what I will at all.
- Catherine II. Russian Queen, 1729-1796

Queen Nzinga was a visionary political leader, competent and self-sacrificing, completely devoted to the resistance movement against the European slave traders. She possessed an abundance of both steely hardness and soft charm and used them each, depending on the situation, as a tactical tool when it suited her.

Her death in 1663 helped open the door to the massive Portuguese slave traffic. Yet her struggle helped to inspire others to follow in her powerful path and continue to mount offensives against the white invaders. Queen Nzinga is so revered that, despite logic, a pre-historic imprint of a footprint on a rock at Pungu Andongo in Angola is attributed to her.

One of Queen Nzinga’s spiritual children, a ferocious middle-aged woman known as Nanny, led a victorious slave revolt in Jamaica, then founded a free Maroon community called, Nannyville. It is said that when the pursuing British fired cannonballs into their village, Nanny caught them between her buttocks and shot them right back at the soldiers.

Harriet Tubman, another on Queen Nzinga’s mission, was, in addition to being the famous founder of the underground railway, a soldier in the Union army of the North. On June 2, 1863, at the age of sixty-six, she led a mission on the Tennessee River with three gunboats under her command. Queen Harriet and her allies blew up a Confederate bridge, engaged in espionage, and saved the lives of seven hundred and fifty-six slaves. After the war, the army not only refused to recognize her contributions, they robbed her of her just veteran’s pension.

I am Queen Nzinga.
I am Queen Amina.
I am Harriet Tubman.
I am Mbuya Nehanda.
And Behold!  I’ve been pushed!
Down! To the ground!
With only my bare hands
To use as a cup.
But I have fought many wars,
Plus untold battles,
AND I ALWAYS PULL MYSELF BACK UP.

- Nilene O. A. Foxworth

***
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

Protest is Good for You

posted by Donna Henes

I won’t be made useless
I won’t be idle with despair
- Jewel
From “Hands”

The media likes to portray peace, environment and human and animal rights protesters as a fringe element of whining malcontents teetering on the margins of proper society. The truth is that those who step forward to speak their mind are happier and healthier folks than most.

Protesting is not complaining nor is it sending out negative messages. Pro means “for,” “in favor of.” Test means, “to speak,” as in testify and testimony. So, protest actually means, “to speak for.” Protest is a completely positive endeavor.

Albert Einstein said, “The world is dangerous not because of those who do harm, but because of those who look at it without doing anything… Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes — goodwill among men and peace on earth.”
 
A new study by John Drury, professor of social psychology at the University of Sussex in England, shows that it is good for you to protest. Even though protesters may be depressed about the state of the world, their physical and mental ailments improve dramatically as a result of taking part in a group effort for change and the betterment of conditions.

Involvement in social causes and participation in political demonstrations banishes sensations of isolation, discouragement and impotence and replaces them with an exhilarating awareness of connectedness, well being and empowerment.

When people participate in large-scale protests they get swept up in a communal mood of optimism that feeds their feelings of hope. They believe that their actions can help to change the course of history. “Collective action can therefore be a life-changing, uplifting and life-enhancing experience,” concludes Drury.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
- Margaret Mead

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The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

Being The Change Changes Everything

posted by Donna Henes

Some might argue that we don’t have any choice in this upside down dangerous world and that we can’t affect what will happen. But even if we can’t immediately alter the course of human events on the world stage, we can certainly create change in our own lives and in all of the lives that we touch. And our thoughts are the seeds of that change.

Dr. Christiane Northrup writes, “Use your thoughts wisely. Understand their power. Thoughts have a tendency to become their physical equivalent. This is one of the fundamental laws of the universe. Another one is the law of attraction, which states that ‘like attracts like.’ Because it is consciousness that creates reality, the kind of consciousness you hold — your vibration — actually creates the kind of life you’re living.”
 
So our first order of business must be to stay positive. To entertain only positive possibilities. To imagine only affirmative alternatives. To surround ourselves with wholly uplifting, life-affirming people and influences. To align ourselves solely with the greater good so that our actions will be born of only the finest of our best intentions.

We need to share that positivity with everyone who we meet, actually engage on a human level with those who we encounter as we make it through our day. Not just our families, friends and colleagues — those of presumed like-minds — but also the shoe repair guy, the waitress at the coffee shop, the post office clerk, the bag girl at the super market.

Because there really is still a chance for peace and positive change — and that chance will definitely increase if we each do our piece. It is ultimately up to us, each one of us, all of us, individually and together, to create the kind of world in which we want to live — to be the change we seek — starting right here, right now. Within the context of our immediate lives, within the concentric circles of our ordinary interactions. 

I once gave a presentation in Washington, D.C. about creating peace in our world and in our lives. During the question and answer period, a woman commented that she wished that she could quit her job and just devote herself to working for peace. “What do you do?” I asked her. “I’m a therapist,” she replied. Surely she has many opportunities every day to create peace and foster transformation in her professional capacity.

A good example of a Peace Queen is Dianne, one of the wonderful women who regularly attends my ritual circles. She not only prays for the homeless men and women who live on her block, but she calls them each by name. I am so impressed and inspired by her personal outreach to the “untouchables” that most other people would prefer not to notice, let alone engage with. Everybody is, after all, somebody.

If we ignore, exploit or patronize those people whose lives intersect with ours, how can we expect international relations to be more civilized? We need to walk our talk wherever we go, whatever we do, remembering always, that by doing so we do make a difference. Let us each be a sun, sending our caring energy out into the world, shedding light wherever we go. You never know whom you might touch with the radiance of your warmth.

A new, spiritually based social activism is beginning to assert itself. It stems not from hating what is wrong and trying to fight it, but from loving what could be and making the commitment to bring it forth.
- Marianne Williamson

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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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