Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

Dear Sister Queens,

I am back. Again! What a few months this has been. First I was out for weeks dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. And then I was felled by a super nasty flu.

I am fine now and back to my old tricks.

So here we again! This daily blog has been a great joy to present, and your comments, your confidences, your confessions and your creative spirits have made it even more so.

I am so thankful to be connected to this incredible Court of Kick Ass Queens™. May we continue to grow in the nourishing soil of each other’s support.

With royal appreciation,

xxQueen Mama Donna

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

– Melodie Beattie

 

A simple grateful thought turned heavenwards is the most perfect prayer.

Doris Lessing

 

As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world.

– Adabella Radici

 

Grow flowers of gratitude in the soil of prayer.

– Verbena Woods

 

Whatever our individual troubles and challenges may be, it’s important to pause every now and then to appreciate all that we have, on every level. We need to literally “count our blessings,” give thanks for them, allow ourselves to enjoy them, and relish the experience of prosperity we already have.

– Shakti Gawain

 

Blessed are those that can give without remembering and receive without forgetting.

– Author Unknown

 

Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life.

– Christiane Northrup

 

Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend… when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present — love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure — the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on Earth.

– Sarah Ban Breathnach

 

Gratitude is the heart’s memory.

– French proverb

 

One can never pay in gratitude: one can only pay ‘in kind’ somewhere else in life.

– Anne Morrow Lindbergh

 

Gratitude is our most direct line to God and the angels. If we take the time, no matter how crazy and troubled we feel, we can find something to be thankful for. The more we seek gratitude, the more reason the angels will give us for gratitude and joy to exist in our lives.

– Terry Lynn Taylor

 

When something does not insist on being noticed, when we aren’t grabbed by the collar or struck on the skull by a presence or an event, we take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.

– Cynthia Ozick

 

I thank God for my handicaps for, through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.

– Helen Keller

 

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.

– Margaret Cousins

 

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

– Melodie Beattie

 

Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.

The Hausa of Nigeria

 

Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.

– Eileen Caddy

 

O, may we, may I, with your help, remember that each moment is this same edge, this choice… trust, gratefulness, grief and…and praise.

-Judyth Hill

 

 

 

*****

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.

 

 

Her long walk led to a period of concentrated inner questioning about what she, one person, could do in the cause of peace. This midlife meditation culminated in her experiencing a powerful spiritual vision, an undeniable epiphany. She came to understand that it was her destiny to be “a wanderer until mankind has learned the ways of peace.”

I then saw in my mind’s eye, myself walking along and wearing the garb of my mission…I saw a map of the United States with the large cities marked – and it was as though someone had taken a colored crayon and marked a zigzag line across, coast to coast and border to border, from Los Angeles to New York City. I knew what I was to do. I will talk to everyone who will listen to me about the way to peace. I’m even planning to wear a sign, the back of which will read, “Walking Coast to Coast for Peace” and the front, “Peace Pilgrim.”

She gave away all of her possessions — including her name — and prepared to embark upon the incredible pilgrimage that she would maintain for the rest of her life.

Step by Step…Mile by Mile…Walking…Marching…Dancing
 Becoming a moving force for peace.

-QMD

On the morning of January 1, 1953 at age 44, Mildred Norman Ryder adopted the name Peace Pilgrim, put on a pair of sneakers, donned dark blue slacks, blouse, and a tunic — blue being the international color for peace — and set out from Pasadena, California to walk the length of the country. She pledged to walk until she was given shelter and to fast until she was offered food.

She marched ahead of the Rose Parade where thousands of people could see her off on her way. Her tunic bore her name, Peace Pilgrim, on the front and the back was printed with her goal: 10,000 Miles for World Peace. She carried her few belongings — a comb, a toothbrush, a pen, some postal stamps and nothing else, not a penny — in its pockets.

Peace Pilgrim stepped out for peace on faith alone, and in so doing, undertook a daring and groundbreaking feat that represented enormous moral courage. On that first trip, in the midst of the Korean War, the Cold War, and at the height of the McCarthy era, she walked 5,000 miles from California to New York, from coast to coast and from border to border, sharing her message of peace.

No one walks so safely as one who walks humbly and harmlessly with great love and great faith. For such a person gets through to the good in others (and there is good in everyone), and therefore cannot be harmed. This works between individuals, it works between groups and it would work between nations if nations had the courage to try it.

She gave everyone she met a printed explanation of her walk that bore the simple message. “This is the way to peace — overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.” She rarely missed more than three meals before she was offered food. If she was not offered shelter, she slept in fields, under bridges, and on more than one occasion, in jail.

During her 28 years on the road, Queen Peace far exceeded her original mile-goal. When she passed the 25,000-mile mark, she stopped counting, but she continued to walk for 17 more years. She went through 29 pairs of sneakers, averaging 1500 miles per pair. At that rate, she walked about 43,500 miles.

By the time of her death in 1981, she had walked across the United States seven times, visited ten Canadian provinces and parts of Mexico, spreading her hopeful message of peace and inspiration to the countless thousands of folks who crossed her extraordinary path.

Peace Pilgrim is my shero. I can only pray for the wisdom and determination to follow in her footsteps.

“To attain inner peace you must actually give your life, not just your possessions. When you at last give your life — bringing into alignment your beliefs and the way you live — then, and only then, can you begin to find inner peace.”

                                   — Peace Pilgrim

*****

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 have found my favorite model of the Queen in the life of a remarkable woman known as Peace Pilgrim who devoted almost thirty years of her life to walking and talking for peace.

Born Mildred Lisette Norman in 1908 on a small poultry farm in Egg Harbor City, New Jersey. She was the oldest of three children in a loving, close-knit, extended family of nine.

The Norman ancestors had fled Germany for America in the mid-19th century to escape conflict and militarism. Her parents instilled a strong peace ethic in their children, encouraging discussion of social and political issues, and pursuit of moral questions. The family considered themselves “free-thinkers” who sought answers through reason and logic.

After her high school graduation, Mildred Norman took secretarial jobs. As a young adult, she led an active social life and at the age of 25 she eloped with Stanley Ryder, a businessman. They were very mismatched and the marriage was fractious from the start. Stanley wanted a traditional domestic life and children; Mildred did not. He liked to drink, Mildred did not. Stanley believed in war, Mildred did not. With each passing year, the couple grew further apart.

Ironically, during the Great Depression Mildred learned that making money was easy, and that spending it foolishly was completely meaningless. She knew that this was not her destiny, but did not know what was.

She did know, however, that she was dissatisfied with her life. She was increasingly uncomfortable about having so much while others were starving. In 1938 she spent an entire night walking through the woods praying for guidance to discover her calling, and she underwent a profound spiritual experience awakening,

I felt a complete willingness, without any reservations, to give my life – to dedicate my life – to service. “If you can use me for anything, please use me!” I prayed to God. “Here I am-take all of me; use me as you will. I withhold nothing.” Then a great peace came over me. I experienced a complete willingness without reservations whatsoever, to give my life to something beyond my self.

Thus began a 15-year period of intense inner transformation. She said, “I tell you it’s a point of no return. After that, you can never go back to completely self-centered living.”

For the entire decade of the 1940s, Mildred searched diligently for the service that she felt she was called to undertake. First she worked with senior citizens and those with emotional problems. Then she volunteered for peace organizations: the Quaker American Friends Service Committee, the Philadelphia Fellowship Commission and the United Nations Council of Philadelphia and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

As she entered her midlife, Mildred began to radically simplify her life. She decided to get rid of unnecessary possessions and frivolous activities. She dissolved her unhappy marriage. She became a vegetarian, disciplined herself to live on ten dollars a week, and pared down her wardrobe to two dresses. Her goal was to “experience and learn to appreciate the great freedom of simplicity.”

She described this period as a time when she was engaged in a great struggle between ego and conscience, or between her “lower, self-centered nature,” and the “higher, God-centered nature.” She strived to overcome selfishness in order to attain inner peace and spiritual maturity.

Mildred joined the Endurance Hiking Club and took wilderness treks to increase her physical strength and to gain experience in simple living. In 1952 she became to the first woman to walk the entire 2,050-mile length of the Appalachian Trail in one season.

Life on the trail agreed with her. Hiking reinforced her belief in simplicity and confirmed her ability to live “in harmony at need level” for long periods of time, in all weather conditions. She managed to live outdoors for five months equipped with only a pair of slacks, one shirt one sweater, a blanket and two plastic sheets.

Her menu, morning and evening, was two cups of uncooked oatmeal soaked in water and flavored with brown sugar; at noon, she had two cups of double strength dried milk, plus any berries, nuts or greens that she found in the woods.

Her experience convinced her that material possessions were simply a burden, and that to achieve a daily state of grace, she would need to maintain that simplicity after she got off the trail.

Tomorrow: Peace Pilgrim – Part 2

*****

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.

 

 

 

 

 

In Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr and With Encouragement for President Barak Obama

We have been inundated lately on all fronts — economic, political, geophysical, meteorological, astrological, and spiritual — with threats of terror and trauma. These are indeed very scary times. What is at stake is our safety, our peace of mind, our centered inner selves, our very lives and the lives of all the species who share our planet home. Indeed, our Mother Earth, Herself, is very vulnerable right now.

What to do?

We can shrink in fear and wallow in our worries, just close down. Or we can use this time to work toward the expansion, openness, and love that we all know in our heart of hearts is possible.

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.

Our thoughts are the seeds of that change. We know that worrying is like praying for what we do not want. Instead, let us put our intentions, attention, and energy toward what we do want.

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.

What we all have to do from now on is to stay alert, stay centered, stay calm, stay connected, and most important of all, keep talking. Talking, writing, protesting keeps the light of truth and tolerance shining upon the hidden agendas of governments, corporations, institutions, and individuals. Silence, like the dark of night, shelters nefarious deeds. Silence forgives violence.

I have been haunted recently by the words written by Martin Niemoller, a German Protestant pastor and head of the anti-Nazi Confessing Church. According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, he was arrested for “malicious attacks against the state” and spent seven years in Dachau and Sachsenhausen until 1945 when he was released by the Allies.

“In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Catholic. Then they came for me — and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.”

Let us actively resist the urge to freeze when we are frightened and overwhelmed. Instead, let us breathe deeply to fill ourselves with the air of the ages, the oxygen than can calm us, the breath of new inspiration. And as we exhale, we can sing, chant, talk, shout out our reverence for life, our concern for each other, our care of the planet, and our sacred prayers for peace.

Be bold!    Make a statement!   Take a stand!    Make a difference!

 

 

*****

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.