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The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

An Empowerment Story

posted by Donna Henes

Dear Queen Mama Donna,

You asked for an empowerment story:

In February of this year my 82-year old father had a stroke. He lives 3000 miles away. His wife decided not to call the ambulance, because Dad asked her not to. Maybe a little lie down would make him feel better. Through a roundabout way I happened to find out this was going on. I called her and got her to get him to the hospital.

Shortly after that I made plane reservations. Was told not to come. I shoved my inner child back into her fun place and let the Queenly grown-up speak. I Informed them that I was coming anyway and when I was arriving. It turned into a three week stay during which I spent every day at the rehab center with Dad doing my best to advocate for him when his wife could/did not. This included some very frank and uncomfortable discussions with physicians, doing all the driving, shopping and meals for his wife(who has her own health issues that she is in denial about), making sure the dog was taken care of, teaching Dad’s wife how to deliver insulin (don’t get me started on the practice shot that had 30 units of insulin instead of 3 – yikes!) and sundry other things that escape me at the moment.

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At the end of each day, I spent approximately 45 minutes composing a detailed email of the day’s events, improvements, set-backs, plans being made and the reality of Dad’s condition as well as the reality of his wife’s inability to be “present” and able. This email went out to a large extended family (his children and her children – all adults) and had to be worded most carefully and candidly.

The short version of the above is that I rose to the occasion in ways that I did not realize I could, and maintained this successfully for weeks. My communication was clear and concise. I was able to deal with obstacles without raising my voice or being condescending, and was gently persistent until there was resolution.

I managed to get the attention and good response from people in authority. I was able to truly be the adult when I would usually defer to the parents. My daily email reports kept everyone in the loop without making anyone defensive regarding their parent. All along the way I encouraged everyone to be gentle and loving with each other in this highly charged situation. And most surprising, they all started to ask for and seriously consider my advice, including the most bossy “in charge” folks.  Many family members expressed their thanks and how they don’t know what would have happened had I not been there.

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My inner Queen served me well, and now I know that I can call on her when I need her.

Yours,
Gloriana,CA

* Please send me your thoughts about power. Also stories of your own empowerment. When shared, these ideas and examples are extremely inspiring to others. Thanks.

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

CONSULT THE MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
Queen Mama Donna offers 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.

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Interview with a Canadian Queen – Part 2

posted by Donna Henes

I recently attended a talk by Canadian author Catherine Gildiner and was quite taken with her good humored wisdom. When I read her book, After the Falls: Coming of Age in the 60s (Viking, 2010), I was hooked. She graciously allowed me to interview her and I would like to share her answers with you. They offer a revealing and inspiring description of a woman coming into her power.

It is also my pleasure to offer copies of After the Falls to the first three women who contact me to request one.

Interview with a Canadian Queen – Part 2

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QMD – When you imagined yourself as a woman in her middle years, how did you imagine your life to be? Is it?

CG – I am 62, so I am past my middle years. When I was a girl or even in college everyone thought I would never marry or have children. I agreed with their assessment. When I was a child, I pictured my middle years with me as a nun in Africa discovering new medicines or administering to the poor. (All of my aunts were nuns.) When I was in college I imagined myself as an academic living alone with my work in New York City. Oddly, after a life of having little to do with men, I met a man, married him and had three children who are now in their 30s, and I have been happily married for 40 years. I never pictured myself with a family. When I went to my high school reunion, the boys in my class were surprised I married. They saw me, as one of them said, “as the first raging feminist.”

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In terms of a career I am now a writer, alone on the third floor of my house writing novels and memoirs. I am thrilled to have such a great career and lifestyle and I believe I have surpassed my childhood expectations. I feel having a chance to create something in a long-extended project is as good as life gets. In many ways I am doing what my mother wanted to do.

QMD – Have your expectations changed? In what way?

CG – Love changes everything. When you have no idea what love is, you feel it is overrated. However, once you have had a chance to love your spouse and children you realize that no matter how much fame or how many books you write, none of it will ever give you the warmth of a family. I never expected to want more than external achievements when I was younger.

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QMD – How do you feel about the process of aging?

I am fairly shocked by it and frankly appalled. I don’t have limitless talents. My two meager talents used to be that I had athletic ability and I had a prodigious memory. Both are gone. When I look at the weights I lifted or the boats I rowed and raced, I can’t believe I ever did that much. I could never do it today. In terms of memory, I still remember things from long ago. I cannot believe that I can’t remember the names of characters in a book that I read last week. I don’t know why that should appall me since I now forget my children’s names. I used to have limitless energy and can honestly say I never once in my life was tired until after I was 55. Since I turned 60, I find that I can do much less intellectual or creative work in a day. I also get tired and need to get more sleep.

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On the upside, the humbling of aging has FORCED me to learn a lot. I think I finally have my priorities straight. I have learned to be nicer to myself and to others. You can’t have it all. Oscar Wilde was right when he said “Youth is wasted on the young.”

QMD – What invaluable lessons has aging taught you?

CG – Don’t expect too much of yourself. Relax and work on relationships. There will always be some “young thing” hot on your heels who is more energetic, prettier, smarter, more ambitious, more athletic, or funnier. You lose your edge and can’t compete anymore. You need to change gears and work on having fun. You don’t want to work forever and then drop dead. You need to not put off what you want to do. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW SHORT LIFE IS. No one is able to tell you that time accelerates with age. What five years was when you were 20 is far longer than it is at 60.

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QMD – Do you have wise words for women in their midlife transition?

CG – Do not listen to anyone except yourself.  If you want to do something and those around you discourage you, don’t listen. Just do it. Many people told me that I had to stay in psychology in private practice. I “needed the money.” I “would never get published.” etc, etc.  Fortunately, I didn’t listen and I do make enough money — not a lot, but enough, and I did get published. People often speak from THEIR own fears. Their naysaying has nothing to do with you. If you want something enough you will overcome the obstacles.

* Please send me your thoughts about power. Also stories of your own empowerment. When shared, these ideas and examples are extremely inspiring to others. Thanks.

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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.

CONSULT THE MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
Queen Mama Donna offers 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.

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Interview with a Canadian Queen – Part 1

posted by Donna Henes

I recently attended a talk by Canadian author Catherine Gildiner and was quite taken with her good humored wisdom. When I read her book, After the Falls, I was hooked. She graciously allowed me to interview her and I would like to share her answers with you. They offer a revealing and inspiring description of a woman coming into her power.

It is also my pleasure to offer copies of After the Falls to the first three women who contact me to request one.

Interview with a Canadian Queen – Part 1

QMD – I understand that you did not begin to write until you were in your 50s. Can you please tell me about that? What made you want to chronicle your early life?

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CG – I was a psychologist for twenty-five years and then one night at a dinner party I began telling a story of an event that occurred when I worked in my father’s drug store from the age of four. I was delivering drugs with the black delivery car driver and we were snowed in and I had to stay overnight at his house. The woman who had the party worked for CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company). She encouraged me to write up the tale. She suggested I enter it into a short story competition. However once I started to write — I wrote a whole memoir! Then I sent it to a publisher and it was immediately published and on the best seller’s list. I decided at that point to begin a full time career in writing. I was already fifty so I decided I didn’t have that much time left.

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I concentrated on my early life because I had such memorable people in my work as a young child, they seemed to be screaming in my head to be written about.

QMD – What was your first sense of yourself as a self-identified person, separate from what society expected of you?

CG – A bully was harassing me and hurting me. He was pulling out my hair in bunches for months. I went to my teacher and parents but their solutions did not stop the bullying. Finally I stabbed the bully in grade four with a compass. He collapsed. And I finally let him have it. I was kicked out of school and was forced to see a psychiatrist. That was a fairly dramatic consequence for a Catholic school in the 1950s. I had a sense that I was not doing what was expected of me but I really didn’t care. I had protected myself. It wasn’t what Catholic school expected from my parents. I however realized I was on my own and I had protected myself. If people thought I was crazy I REALLY didn’t care. It was quite freeing really.

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QMD – When and in what circumstances have you felt yourself to be powerful?

CG – I have felt powerful several times. I worked on civil rights in the 60’s.  Even when I was a young kid I went out in the night and decided to paint all the black lawn jockeys (lawn ornaments) white. When it was written up in the paper as “vandalism” I still felt powerful for doing it. Any time that I worked for a greater public goal I felt a surge of personal power.

QMD –  What powers, strengths, visions, are you working on manifesting now?

CG – I am not working on any powers in the external sense. I feel I have a lot of those. I am working on trying to manage my anger and type A personality so that I can better enjoy my personal relationships. If you want to talk in terms of visions, I want to see myself as someone who accepts others and accepts myself. Hard driving gets you all kinds of external rewards (PhD, money, books published, psychology private practice) but at 62 you find it wears out your motor and replacement parts are hard to come by. I have bought a farm so that I can calm down and appreciate nature and solitude.

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Tomorrow Interview with a Canadian Queen – Part 2

* Please send me your thoughts about power. Also stories of your own empowerment. When shared, these ideas and examples are extremely inspiring to others. Thanks.

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

CONSULT THE MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
Queen Mama Donna offers 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.

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Earth Speaks

posted by Donna Henes

 

Earth Speaks
By Elizabeth Hazel, OH

Earth speaks to those who listen:
Maternal lectures in shades of green,
Sisterly riddles in coy lagoons and comic swamps,
And her epic daughters,
Mountain covens meet to ponder immortality.

She thinks in seasons and paints in time:
Impressionistic springs give way to pointilistic summers;
Drab and tattered autumns yield to ruthless winter whites
As frost giants gnash through horn-blasted blizzards.

Earth speaks to those who listen:
The North Star is poised upon the axis of her turnings,
And steers her through tides of space and time.
The pulse of her journey thrums through sand and soil,
And her blood churns through rivers and streams.
Her body communicates with force and subtlety,
And few can penetrate her family secrets.
Her moon conducts exchanges with neighborly planets
And imports overseas from remote suns.
Light year accounts in her cosmic ledger
Score tallies that beggar all reckoning.
Contrivances may take her measure
But know not her meaning
Or delight in her passions.

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Earth speaks to those who listen
In the oldest language of all;
With the nouns of creation,
With verbs of being,
And adjectives of multiplicity.
Hers is the greatest song
The deeps call to the heights
In a symphonic canon of sea and land;
And all hearts resound to her sonorous chords.
Earth speaks to those who listen.

* Please send me your thoughts about power. Also stories of your own empowerment. When shared, these ideas and examples are extremely inspiring to others. Thanks.

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

CONSULT THE MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
Queen Mama Donna offers 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.

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