The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

On Being Prepared

posted by Donna Henes

There is nothing like aging to drive home the fact that nothing in the world is permanent. Nothing lasts forever. Nothing is ever really completely safe. There is no such thing as security. Anything, anything at all, can happen at any moment. And in that moment, we are changed forever, as well.

How the hell can we cope with such uncertain times? (And all times are uncertain.) Life is a dangerous proposition all the way around. Nobody makes it out alive, after all. We never know, from day to day, from minute to minute, when a crisis will arrive unannounced on our doorstep. We never know when or how we will be called upon to rise to a critical, pivotal occasion. Yet we would like to think that we would be ready, willing and able to handle whatever may come our way. Like any good scout, we aim to be prepared.

But being prepared in the way of the Scouts can get you only so far. Sure, it is always a good idea to have a well-stocked pantry, tool box and first aid kit, just in case. It behooves one to be smart, to be alert, aware, vigilant, careful and calm. But there is simply no way — given the infinite variety of diabolically creative forms that death and destruction can take — to be prepared for any conceivable contingency.

For instance, the case of the two well-heeled, well-coiffed Japanese tourists in London who were struck and killed by lightning striking literally out of the blue as they strolled through Hyde Park. The wire, it would seem, on their under-wire brassieres had attracted the deadly bolt. How could we ever anticipate anything so bizarre?

A woman I once knew was walking with her husband and two adolescent sons along Boston harbor one sunny Sunday afternoon. They were eating ice cream and looking at the ships when a freak wind came along and knocked one of the boys into the water, never to be seen again. Imagine. Life is so fragile that an errant wind could literally blow you away forever.

The only way that we can truly prepare ourselves for unanticipated emergencies is to center ourselves in the present moment. To pay attention. To really be here now. To be ever mindful. If we can focus on the immediate, rather than obsess over the past or try to anticipate the future, we will have the presence of mind to assess each situation as it arises. And we will be able to be flexible in our response to it.

It is not so important to know what we will do in any given situation. The crucial thing is to know that we will be able to do something. To have confidence in our ability to think on our feet. To have faith in our own assessments, instincts and intuition. To be able to figure it out as we go along. To believe in our good intentions and our courage to do whatever is called for.

It seems to me that the secret to successful preparation is mindful presence. To live the life that we have, while we can, as best as we can, and to appreciate every single minute of it. L’chaim!, the Yiddish toast, “To life!” recognizes, embraces and salutes life in the full range of its scope and complexity. It celebrates all of it — the good, the bad, the ugly, the indifferent — for tomorrow we die.

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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.

Belonging to Your Self

posted by Donna Henes

If you have not already gobbled up the books in The Maeve Chronicles by Elizabeth Cunningham, I urge you to do so instantly.

The trilogy begins with The Passion of Mary Magdalene, which is a wonderful re-envisioning of Mary Magdalene as a Celtic Queen raised by the nine Warrior Queens of Tir na mBan, the Land of Women. There she was trained in the fighting, healing and the ritual arts.

She lands in Rome as a captured slave, becomes a priestess of Isis and is ultimately reunited with Jesus, her fated soul mate. Even in captivity Maeve never loses her center or her sense of her Self. She is a red haired red hot dynamo. A no-nonsense, straight shooting pistol. A fiery Queen of Her Self.

I am now engrossed in the prequel, Magdalene Rising: The Beginning. Here is the story of how Maeve developed her surety and Self-sovereignty as a maiden raised with no knowledge of or influence by the patriarchy.

The books are written in the first person in the raucous, irreverent voice of Maeve, herself. I don’t want to ruin the story for you, but I do want to share this excerpt. Here are her mothers talking to Maeve about the importance of being true to herself and honoring her own power:

“When women don’t have their sovereignty, it can be very messy indeed. Now we are queens and witches from our own sovereign isle.”

“Sovereignty, Maeve. Belonging to yourself. Your own terms,” Boann got in as much drill as she could.
    
“Tir na mBan stands for the sovereignty of women,” continued Fand. “If it exists nowhere else in the world, it exists there. Remember that, Maeve. Sovereignty is your birthright and your inheritance. Next to sovereignty, gold torques and brooches are mere trinkets. Never surrender your sovereignty, Maeve. Carry it with you wherever you go.”

Their words were stirring but abstract. Then an image rose in my mind of myself as a sort of floating island, shining, a sovereign vessel on a vast and dangerous sea.

-Excerpt from Magdalen Rising by Elizabeth Cunningham

May we all remember at all times just how strong and brave and true we are. How we have learned to stand in our center and defend our boundaries. How we are beholden only to our own authentic paths. How we rule our own lives with compassion and care. How we have fought for and won our sovereignty. How our reign is benevolent and empowering to all in our realm.

Hail to the sovereign Queens!

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

 

Ducklings

posted by Donna Henes

Dr Susan Corso, a sister wise woman Queen from Boston publishes a weekly inspirational gem. She calls this series “Seeds.” This one struck me as being a perfect and perfectly delightful description of the sovereign Self.

Seeds XII, 23
Ducklings
By Dr. Susan Corso

 
Remember the Ugly Duckling? She’s in one of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. A young swan loses her mother and is adopted by a family of ducks. The Ugly Duckling is despised for its clumsiness until it grows into a swan. The moral of the story is that the unpromising child in a family can turn out to be the most brilliant of all.
 
Ducklings got me riffing on ducks. One of my mother’s favorite things to do and favorite aphorisms was “Get your ducks in a row.” Why, I always wanted to know, did ducks have to be in a row? Later in life, she accused me of her worst idea of an offense. “Susan,” she said, “when you see a bunch of ducks, you don’t put them in a row. You just say, ‘Whee, ducks!’” I made her life a living hell.
 
And then there’s Make Way for Ducklings, a children’s picture book written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey. First published in 1941, the book tells the story of a pair of mallard ducks who decide to raise their family on an island in the lagoon in Boston Public Garden, a park in the center of Boston, Massachusetts. The book’s popularity led to the construction of a statue by Nancy Schön in the Public Garden of the mother duck and her eight ducklings.
 
What’s the thread that links all three duck ideas? Well, try this on. The swan might have been an ugly duckling, and even though she was adopted, she couldn’t have adapted if she’d tried. She was uniquely herself. Me, too. “Whee, ducks!” is the perfect response to ducks as far as I’m concerned. And the ducklings in Boston made a space for themselves. Each of our protagonists were their own ducklings; each of ourselves is our own protagonist.

- Dr. Susan Corso
 
This wonderful piece reminds me of a powerful true duckling story that I had the honor to witness, about the assertion of authentic personal sovereignty:

I have offered programs at The Queens Farm Museum for many years. This is a colonial Dutch farm that has been in constant operation since pre-revolutionary times. Every spring is an irrisistible teeming, squealing celebration of new life as the baby chicks, ducklings, kids, lambs, piglets and bunnies are born.

One year something happened to the mother duck and most of her newborns. One duckling did live and was promptly adopted by the mother turkey who took excellent care of her. So far so good.

Until, that is, the day that her biologic imperative moved the baby chick toward the pond. The mother turkey became frantic and chased her away from the dangerous water. Turkeys, after all, don’t swim.

This began a desperate struggle between mother and daughter, each one compelled to follow her own instinctual, innate, true path — the duck to water and the turkey mom to protect her young from drowning. The battle was funny and frustrating at the same time.

Eventually the duckling grew old enough and strong enough to assert her will, and swam to her heart’s content. I can only assume that the turkey grew to accept the situation and relax, content that she did her maternal best.

I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading. It vexes me to choose another guide.
- Emily Bronte

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

 

Embracing Our Majesty

posted by Donna Henes

Since I started my Midlife Midwife™ practice, I have received many requests for detailed instructions on how to become a Queen. “Dear Queen Mama Donna,” women would write, “I want to be a Queen, too. How do I access my power? How can I feel good about myself? How do I change my life? How do I find magic and spiritual wisdom? How do I know what to do? How do I learn how to rule?”

The reality is that I cannot possibly know how anyone else will attain her Queendom, I only know how I came into mine, and that is largely through hindsight. The truth, my truth, at least, is that there is no one truth. We must each find our own way in this world.

As a shaman, I teach through example, but not through dictum. I can and do offer information, exposure, personal experience, encouragement, inspiration, suggestions and support to my constituents, but I cannot — dare not — pass judgment or establish rules and laws. It is simply not for me to say.

When my students and clients come to me for help and spiritual guidance, I listen to their concerns and embrace their needs. I pat them on the back, give them a good, swift kick in the butt, or let them cry on my shoulder, as needed. I can tell them what I did in such and such situation, how I did it, what I learned from this or that lesson, but I cannot tell them what they should do. How do I know what their souls need? Only they know what they know.

I can and do, of course, aid them in reaching into the well of their own deepest wisdom, and help them to hear the messages from their best inner Selves. A woman who has attended several of my workshops recently hugged me and told me that I had changed her life. “Well, no, of course, I didn’t, honey,” I assured her. “You changed your own life.” The fact of the matter remains that I could not give her what was not already hers.

So how will you become the Queen of Your Self? What is your path? What are your lessons? What are your intentions? What is your purpose? What is your authentic power? And how will you access it? How will you use it?

***
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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