Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

 

As we age, we naturally change. Change, after all, is the essential stuff of life. If we embrace it with magnanimous grace and good humor, as part and parcel of the ongoing mythic adventure of our path, we stand to gain great satisfaction in the process.

Recognizing and accepting the inevitability of aging does not mean giving up on any attempts at improving our outward appearance, physical health, mental outlook, emotional balance and general well-being. More than ever before, women of a certain age are taking better care of our Selves, conscious of a newly mature imperative to lovingly nurture and protect every aspect of our beings.

We accept the responsibility for our own sustenance and satisfaction: physically as well as mentally, emotionally and spiritually. My sister midlifers — many of us for the first time ever— are pursuing programs of nutrition and fitness. We are eating better, sleeping and exercising more, learning how to release our stress, pursuing spiritual connection and allowing ourselves to fully express our creative natures.

We are working hard to stay healthy and active, and are, at the same time, more realistic in our ideals, more accepting of our own perceived imperfections, and more forgiving of our weaknesses. While some of us do go to the starvation-botox-surgical-extremes of trying to stay forever young, in general, we follow fewer fad diets and adopt more sensible, sustainable and ultimately successful life-style changes.

We gradually heal ourselves of old destructive patterns, stinking thinking and nasty habits. And then, voila! The rewarding result of feeling well — inside and out — is looking well. We wise women of a certain age know that there is a difference between looking young and looking attractive — between, for that matter, looking attractive and being attractive.

It gets easier as you get older. You accept yourself

for who you are – your flaws and your attributes.

It’s easier to live in your own skin.

– Barbra Streisand

More and more of us are refusing to condescend or conform to the adolescent and exploitative standard of beauty promulgated by popular culture. We do not compare ourselves with teenage models or emaciated-lifted-stitched-tucked-injected-Hollywood-uber-beauties. It is only a disaster to loose our girlish charms if we deem them to be the exclusive path to beauty, love and fulfillment.

Our allure and sex appeal change with time — increase, even — if we allow them to. A woman is never too old to look and feel beautiful. Each age, each stage of our lives, has its particular fabulous charm. As truly mature, secure women, we strive to accept the inevitable physical changes that come with the passing of time and incorporate them into the way we present ourselves to the world.

Self-aware, Self-assured, we are transforming ourselves as we go. We glow as we grow into our full potential, and become ever more becoming. Our reinvigorated attractiveness stems from self-knowledge and enfranchisement. Our magnetic sensuality is centered in the fulfillment and satisfaction of our Self-worth. We exude the intoxicating appeal of women who are, at heart, pleased with our Selves.

The process of maturing is an art to be learned, an effort to be sustained. By the age of fifty you have made yourself what you are, and if it is good, it is better than your youth. 

– Marya Mannes

*****

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.

 

 

 

 

A prevalent archetype of the assertive midlife woman in popular culture is the Menopausal Maniac.

The following was sent to me by a man friend. Hmmm.

 

Dear Tide:

I am writing to say what an excellent product you have. I’ve used it all of my married life, as my Mom always told me it was the best. Now that I am in my fifties I find it even better!

In fact, about a month ago, I spilled some red wine on my new white blouse. My inconsiderate and uncaring husband started to belittle me about how clumsy I was,  and generally started becoming  a pain in the neck.  One thing led to another and somehow I ended up with  his blood on my new white blouse as well!

I grabbed my bottle of Tide with bleach alternative and to my surprise and satisfaction, all of the stains came out! In fact, the stains came out so well the detectives who came by yesterday told me that the DNA tests on my blouse were negative and then my attorney called and said that I was no longer considered a suspect in the disappearance of my husband. What a relief!

Going through menopause is bad enough without being a murder suspect! I thank you, once again, for having a great product.

Well, gotta go, I have to write to the Hefty Bag people.

 

A little laugh to start the week!

*****

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.

As daughters, as wives, as mothers, as lovers, as workers, as bosses, we have catered to the care and upkeep of people, pets, professions, and projects. Most of us have spent decades devoting our best efforts to making life better for everyone and and everything around us.

That is all well and good, but it is also important to honor our own worth by using the very best of everything that we have on us. Right now! It is such a folly to save our favorite items for something, someday special.

Somehow, the days never seem special enough to allow ourselves the pleasure, the indulgence, to use and enjoy the very things that we love the most. Goddess-forbid that we would dare to feel that we were special enough to use them today.Every day, after all, is just another day, and so we let them pass, and then, one day, we run out of days.

If we are to treat ourselves like Queens, we must provide ourselves with the best that we have to offer — our best attitude, our best care, and our best possessions. What are we waiting for?

When my mother died, I inherited my grandmother’s set of turn-of-the-century hand-painted china. I have always loved those dishes, which evoke fond memories of Gramma’s excellent Jewish cooking and her unconditional love. When she died, my mother took the set home with her, wrapped each piece carefully in tissue paper, and put them all away for use only on special occasions.

For a while, while I was growing up, we enjoyed my grandmother’s dishes at holiday suppers when they were filled with company-only extravagances like black olives and pickled watermelon rinds. But as time passed and the family dispersed, special occasions became rare and I didn’t see those dishes for years.

Now that they are mine, I, too, cherish them and use them only for very special occasions: Every Meal. Every Day. For my Self. I am careful with them, but I use them anyway. If I break one occasionally, I feel bad for a moment, then I put the pieces on the soil of my potted plants where their pattern continues to cheer me. If there are none left by the time I die, so be it. One less find for the Antiques Roadshow.

I would live my life burning it up as I go along, so that at the end nothing is left unused.

– May Sarton

The more conscious and respectful we become of the brilliant abiding presence and guiding force of our Selves, the more we feel inclined to spend time alone in Her excellent company. That inner place, that source, that center of Self, cries out to inhabit a special, sanctified space of our own creation, “a room of our own” as Virginia Woolf put it, where we are happily at home within ourselves.

The Queen in us becomes very discriminating as to the quality of peace, order, and beauty that She establishes for Her Self in Her personal domain, and She defends its inviolability as sacred. After all, we are worth 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.

 

 

 

Recently one of my Midlife Midwife™ Counseling clients called me in hysterics from the supermarket. This was her first shopping excursion since her last child left home. She had been long divorced and now her nest was completely empty. As she wheeled her cart up and down the isles, she realized that she didn’t have the slightest idea what to buy.

While she was practiced in selecting foods for her family, always considering each person’s likes, dislikes and allergies, it had been a quarter of a century since she had asked herself what she wanted to eat. And she panicked at the prospect.

We are now emerging from decades of caring for others, and many of us are at a total loss as to how to care for ourselves. It is crucial that we redirect back into ourselves some of the love and strength that we give so freely to others.

By middle age, most of us have lost already, or will soon lose, our parents, perhaps even our spouses, best friends and significant others. Who will mother us now? Who will take care of us, or more important, maybe, who will even care whether we take care of ourselves?

Now is the time for us to learn how to be our own caring best friend, sister, daughter, mother and devoted advocate. And this is our chance to be the sort of parent that we always wanted — for me it was the cheerful, optimistic, fun-loving Mary Poppins that my little girl-Self needed so badly.

But whatever our childhood was like, that was then and this is now. Now, we can give ourselves the unconditional love and support that we had or did not have as we were growing up. We can and must assume the responsibility to feed, nurture, encourage and comfort ourselves, to pamper and challenge ourselves, to whisper into our own ear each night as we slip off to sleep, “Good night, honey. I love you.”

Think about your daily habits. Are they healthy? Are they helpful? What improvements might you make in your diet, your exercise program, your work environment, your family life, your friendships, your thought patterns, or in other aspects of your routine to improve your well-being?

If you decide to make changes in your life, be realistic in your expectations. Your goal is not to be as you were at thirty. It is to be your best Self today and tomorrow.

Adopt the changes you decide on with your full intention and focused attention. If you want a certain result, you must work to actualize it. I know. Sad, but true!

Think about caring for yourself as an act of love, rather than an odious duty. Isn’t that how you care for others? Attitude is all. Your self-care is, after all, strictly a gift you are giving to your Self. You know how to nurture. Now it is your turn to receive it.

Take Good Care:

•    Eat well — not too much, not too little — and allow yourself to take pleasure in your food. Feed your body with nutrients and your soul with color, taste and sensory delight.

•    Sleep well. Sleep enough. Then sleep some more. Nap if you can.

•    Exercise your body and your mind. And also your creativity, your intuition, your sense of adventure and the full scope of your options.

•    Oil your rusty parts. Water what is dry. Polish your surfaces. Stretch your body, your imagination and your self-imposed limits. Tickle your fancy.

•    Don’t worry about the future. Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want. Let go of past resentments. Be here now. Take it all in and remember to exhale.

•    Do things you enjoy. Have some fun. Play. Laugh. Be silly.

•    Treat yourself with respect and honor. Watch your inner language. Support your dreams, encourage your goals, allow yourself to be proud of your achievements. Bless your Self.

•    Mark your boundaries and don’t be afraid to defend them. Honor your needs. Fulfill your desires. Give yourself the time, the space and the permission to do so.

•    Advocate for your ideals. Stand up for what you believe. Speak your truth. Walk your talk. Put your money where your mouth is.

•    Make every thought, every word, every action, every second count. This is your life!

Like the excellent mother, creator, organizer, administrator, mentor you are, be patient with yourself. Change is slow and you are human.

I have a simple philosophy. Fill what’s empty.

Empty what’s full. And scratch where it itches.

– Alice Roosevelt Longworth

*****

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.