Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

It is so damn easy to feel depressed, frustrated and disillusioned right now. These are terrible times of artificial division, manipulated resentment and palpable fear. The real dynamic being played out right now is not about warring religious, economic or nationalistic factions. Not even about war. The struggle is actually between those who believe that the world is defined in terms of opposition — war or peace, right or wrong, rich or poor, with us or against us — and those who are able to see things in a more holistic, congruent manner.

These are deciding times. It is imperative for those of us who see the big picture to decide, to commit, to make a concerted effort to reach out in ever-expanding circles of affinity and embrace. Now is the time to create healthy, functioning networks in recognition and in honor of our mutual state of being and our common fate.

Because there really is still a chance for peace — 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 — starting right here, right now. Within the context of our immediate lives, within the concentric circles of our ordinary interactions.

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

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 drop her job and just devote herself to working for peace.” “What do you do?” I asked her. “I’m a therapist,” she replied. She surely has many opportunities every day to create peace in her professional capacity.

Some might argue that we don’t have any choice in this upside down dangerous world and that we can’t effect 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.

What we all have to do from now on is to stay alert, stay centered, keep 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, industries, 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 a Protestant minister after the downfall of the Nazi regime. “First they came for the gays. I am not gay, so I didn’t say anything. Then they came for the Gypsies. I am not a Gypsy, so I didn’t say anything. Then they came for the Jews. I am not a Jew, so I didn’t say anything. Then they came for the Catholics. I am not a Catholic, so I didn’t say anything. When they finally came for me, there was no one left to say anything.”

Be bold.
       Make a statement.
                                   Make a stand.
                                                     Make a difference.

In light of the widespread oppression, manipulation, intimidation that surrounds us today, we most certainly need to say something.  We need. In fact, to talk to 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 boy at the super market.

A good example is Dianne, one of the wonderful people who regularly attends my healing circles. She not only prays for the homeless men and women who live on her block, she calls them each by name. I am so impressed and inspired by her personal outreach to the “untouchables.” Everybody is, after all, somebody.

 “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
-Mother Teresa

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.

I have an outgoing message on my answering machine that doesn’t even say, “Hello.” It just starts right in with, “You know there really is still a chance for peace and that chance will definitely increase if we each do our piece. So let’s make peace — in our homes, in our own hearts, in our relationships, in our communities, in all of our dealings and in the world. Peace be with us all.”

Much to my surprise, the very people whom I never would have thought would respond favorably have. The overwhelmingly positive reactions that I have received from workmen, telephone solicitors and service personnel has been an important lesson about the necessity to reach out beyond the boundaries of our biases, assumptions and expectations.

A few weeks ago, I came home to a message from the plumber who was making an appointment to fix my sink. After listening to my taped pep talk, he answered in his gravely Brooklyn brogue, “Yeah, what is this war all about, anyway? Why are we fighting those people? They never hurt us.” This, from someone I would have assumed to be a proponent of the war.

The electrician, another guy who really shocked me, loves the message and calls in daily just to hear it! Once I was here when he called and when I picked up, he complained. “Let me call back again,” he implored. “I want to hear the message. It makes me feel good.” The reason, he explained, is that it is not political. It is personal. And it touches his heart.

But why was I surprised? People are just people, after all. When you think about it, all people are of a like-mind when it comes to living a life unthreatened by hatred and violence. The urgency for war only seems enticing when it is waged elsewhere. Ask anyone. “Do you want bombs and missiles to blow up your house?”

Every parent has the right to put her/his child to sleep each night without any risk of that child being shot, trapped in the midst of some hostile crossfire — be it in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ireland, Angola or the South Bronx. No one wants to live and work in a war zone — in Palestine, Bosnia, Zimbabwe, the World Trade Center or East L.A.

So, buck up and say what is on your mind. The more you do so, the more empowered you will feel.

And the trouble is, if you don’t risk
anything, you risk even more.

-Erica Jung

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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.

 

 

 

 

 By Teresa Schreiber Werth

 

I’m praying for women I’ve never met.
As I lay down and close my eyes, names tumble into my consciousness
Like cottonwood seeds, descending from a quiet, summer sky.
Each day I’m touched as the tangled threads of our lives entwine.
A daughter of a friend, a mother, a neighbor’s sister, cousin, co-worker.
One by one, they take their place in my nightly prayers:
Theo, whose tumor they hope to shrink. Lisa, who’s traded chemo for morphine.
Maureen and Suzanne, strangers all, but sisters of a stranger sort.
We’ve never met, but we have met the enemy
And it’s not us.
We’ve cried and cursed, wailed and shaken angry fists at a rotten fate, at a physical failing, a cause unknown.
We’ve hoped and prayed, trusted, queried,
Asked, begged and believed
Until there are no more words,
Only the slish of oars skimming the water,
Softly whispering, “Hope, hope, hope…”

 

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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.

 

 

by Madisyn Taylor

There was a time where women stood together in a bond of sisterhood, women supporting women.

As women embrace the fullness of who they are as individuals, they may find themselves supporting other women, helping others to reach the level of inner comfort and outer freedom that they themselves have found. Among those who are less sure of themselves and their place in the world, it may be more common to criticize other women than to seek their help. But there are things that a woman can only learn from another woman, as there are things about being a man that can only be learned from other men. We all recognize that we have much to learn from each other regardless of gender, but sometimes we could use a supportive role model that gives us a more precise example of what and who we can become.

There was a time where women stood together in a bond of sisterhood, women supporting women. It is only natural that the pendulum swings out of balance for a while so that we may have the experience of what we do not want. It is up to women to bring the pendulum back into balance and bring back the sacred sisterhood we yearn for at our core.

If we envision a world where women support each other and help each other find their place in an ever-changing world, then we can become the change we want to see. Jealousy, envy, criticism, and judgment are refuges for the insecure. As we help others to become self-assured, we create a world in which all people help each other, regardless of gender. Only women can make the change in how women are seen and understood, not just by other women but by the world at large. The way we speak about each other to other women and to the men in our lives informs everyone to treat us with the respect that all women, and all people, deserve.

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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 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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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 thqueenofmyself@aol.com.