Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

 

I see “Begin Again” as an ideal theme for the next while. We have the supreme opportunity now in the autumn of our midlife to begin again. How shall we reinvent our Selves? What new programs, projects and passions are on the horizon for us? Please send me your stories of change, transition, and transformation. Our shared experiences serve to inspire and empower us all.

Thanks.

xxQueen Mama Donna

 

What I Know For Sure – Part 1

By Dani Sutliff, Wi

The young girl that danced barefoot in Golden Gate Park singing about “The Age of Aquarius” is now the mature woman who has lived long enough to actually be a part of it’s dawning.

I have lived out more than half my life and the realization that I have more years behind me than I have ahead of me is a constant prompt to live each day fully.

I am a little dinged and dented in some places, a little worse for wear in others. It’s my grandmother’s cleavage that is now reflected back to me in the mirror, the firmness of my once young body has softened and in some places fallen, and my face is lined with reminders of all the times I stood, squinting into the sun despite all the warnings not to.

People no longer express amazement at how old my children are or that I am soon to be a grandmother because I look “old enough” to have children my age and be a grandmother.

Yes, I have crossed that line of demarcation – living in the societal limbo of being somewhat invisible – not young enough to be the center of attention or old enough to be listened to – too old and yet too young to have doors opened and held for me.

I have the losses that come from 54 years of living out loud and loving with passion. I have my regrets, my wasted moments and lost opportunities. I have the things I wished I had said and didn’t, the things I have said and wished I hadn’t, and the things I did that I wish could be given back to me for a ‘do-over.’

But, so much more importantly than that, I’ve had what can only be described as those times I hit the home run ball so far out of the ballpark, it landed in the next county. The times filled with such incredible joy, abundance, unconditional love, and profound grace that it took my breath away.

It is the marination and culmination of both that now make up my life. Free from the confusion, compulsion and complications of changing roles and hormones, I now stand ready to reclaim me and speak my truth – regardless of whether anyone outside my self cares to listen. It is no longer important whether the world outside myself or anyone in it thinks I have anything of value to share. I know (inwardly) that I do and that’s what matters most.

Every year during DaniMonth I make a handwritten list of what I have learned about life. My truths as they are. It’s one of the rituals that not only marks but also honors another rotation around the sun.

So at the dawn of year 54, here is what I know for sure:

Tomorrow: What I Know For Sure – Part 2

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering 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™: http://www.donnahenes.net/queen/consult.shtml

***

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall always feels like New Year to me. It carries so much more significance than does January 1. The first crisp hint of a chill in September always shakes me out of my summer lethargy, wakes me, makes me more alert. It focuses and concentrates my attention. I can smell the possibilities of a fresh start in the air.

Reinvigorated by the sunny days and laze of summer, life now begins again in earnest in schools, government agencies, cultural institutions and businesses across the country. There is an unmistakable aura of enthusiasm and energy in the air, a palpable sense of intensified determination. This annually renewed resolve seems so much more natural than the resolutions we make at the turn of the calendar year.

Fall jumpstarts everything, including itself. Labor Day has become the popular indicator of autumn, rather than the equinox, which occurs three weeks later. In the same way, Memorial Day, which predates the solstice by three weeks ushers in the civic summer season. By this reckoning, school starts in the fall.

Most of us have been indelibly imprinted with the excitement and optimism of the first day of school. There is nothing quite so inspiring as buying blank notebooks, pencils you have to sharpen yourself and some brand new white blouses. So clean, so fresh, so hopeful.

The Jewish New Year falls in the fall. My memories of the High Holy Days that I celebrated as a child with my family have little to do with organized religion. Rather, I remember a domestic sense of auspicious new beginnings: major house cleaning, usually a new outfit to wear to temple and best, we ate off of the good china with the real silverware.

I think of my birthday as being in the fall, but it is actually four days before the equinox. Our birthday is our own personal New Year. It is an annual reunion that we have with ourselves, and attendance is required. Our birthday is our periodic opportunity to take serious personal stock. “How am I doing?” as old Ed Koch, former mayor of New York City, would always ask. Like any new beginning, our birthday is an ideal time to sharpen our priorities, realign our perspective and rededicate ourselves to living the very best life that we can.

“How old! and yet how far I am from being what I should be….I shall from this day take the firm resolution to study….to keep my attention always  well fixed on whatever I am about, and strive everyday to become less trifling and more fit for            what, if Heaven wils (sic) it, I’m someday to become!”

 – Princess Victoria of Great Britain, her diary entry on her 18th birthday

Every Autumn I take time out of time to evaluate my past experiences and actions and to prepare myself mentally, physically and spiritually for the coming year. I usually retreat to some extent and fast to some degree during the two-week period surrounding my birthday. The new and full Harvest Moon, and the equinox usually coincide.

This experience is intended to center me and slow me down. It is my birthday gift to myself. During my fast/retreat I devote myself completely to cleansing and centering myself: body, mind and spirit in readiness for the future. I rinse my system with fresh water and teas, I clean my house and altars and I use yoga, meditation and t’ai chi to flush my mind clear of the mental detritus that I have accumulated.

Since the early 1980’s, I have kept a birthday book. Therein, I ritually record an accounting of the past year. I process my impressions and my life lessons. How have I grown? What have I learned? And what is it that I just can’t seem to get through my thick skull? I plot my progress. I ponder my possibilities. I pour over my problems. I plan my goals.

This civic fall also marks the ten-year anniversary of September 11. Let us mark this propitious time by reflecting honestly upon our vulnerability in today’s terrifying political/economic climate, our culpability in the deadly repercussions that arise from our own chauvinistic attitudes and deeds, as well as our impressive individual and communal capacity for extraordinary acts of courage and devotion.

May this new season signal the beginning of a new era of planetary peace and plenty.

We will open the book. Its pages are blank.

We are going to put words on them ourselves.

The book is called Opportunity and its first

chapter is New Year’s Day.

– Edith Lovejoy Pierce

 

I see “Begin Again” as an ideal theme for the next while. We have the supreme opportunity now in midlife to begin again. How shall we reinvent our Selves? What new programs, projects and passions are on the horizon for us? Please send me your stories of change, transition, and transformation. Our shared experiences serve to inspire and empower us all.

Thanks.

xxQueen Mama Donna

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering 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™: http://www.donnahenes.net/queen/consult.shtml

***

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

 

 

 

It is summer, hot and horny, and I am on a roll. So I am going to continue this theme of beauty, attraction, seduction, sex, love and self-love until I run out of content — or steam, whichever comes first.

 

The Queen heartily suggests that you have a love affair with your Self.

* Get to know your Self

Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings, your fears and fantasies. Spend some quality time alone together — just you, yourself, and you. Turn off the computer, the phone, the fax, and the TV. Put on your favorite music, or simply savor the silence. Entertain a program of non-directed Self-discovery. Stare out the window or into a candle flame or a mirror. Clear your mind of inner chatter and let it wander where it will.

 

* Take interest in your Self

Engage in projects of Self-expression in order to reconnect with your higher nature and your inner best Self. Do an exercise tape. Go for a run, walk, swim, or bike ride. Read your Tarot cards. Consult the I Ching. Do yoga. Meditate. Drum, chant, dance. Write in your journal. Transcribe your dreams. Create an altar. Paint a picture or your walls. Sing silly songs. Have a good cry. Pound on pillows and scream. Laugh out loud.

 

* Please your Self.

Work at establishing a warm, rich atmosphere for your own physical comfort and aesthetic enjoyment. Indulge in a variety of sensory delights. Surround yourself — your body, your home, and to whatever degree possible, your office — with the colors, textures, sounds, and smells that you love and that express your personality. Light candles and incense.

 

* Court your Self.

Get all dressed up purely for the fun of it. Take yourself on a dream date. Go somewhere you have been meaning to go. Do things that you love. Buy yourself special treats. Compliment yourself, applaud and appreciate your strength and your beauty. Whisper sweet somethings in your ear. Tickle your fancy. Pull down the shades, turn off the lights, and dance till you drop. Massage your body with sweet oils. Kiss yourself. Masturbate. Make yourself a marvelous breakfast in the morning. Send yourself flowers with a note saying, “I love you.”

These exercises in Self-appreciation and affection are not meant to seal ourselves off from others forever, or to replace any current or future relationships, but to make sure that we do not get involved for the wrong reasons — out of fear or desperation. We emerge from these Self-love exercises with the secure knowledge that we are our own best lover. And when and if we choose, we are able to share that love with someone special who will understand how precious it is and return it in kind.

****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is summer, hot and horny, and I am on a roll. So I am going to continue this theme of beauty, attraction, seduction, sex, love and self-love until I run out of content — or steam, whichever comes first.

 

Many women now entering midlife have always been pleasure seekers. Our generation created and experienced the Sexual Revolution, after all. And we are not likely to stop now, thank you very much. The time for loving has never been better.

By midlife, those of us who have had kids are liberated from the constraints of child rearing and can now afford the uninterrupted time and energy to attend unabashedly to our sex lives. Heterosexual sex, finally divorced from any worries or pressures of pregnancy, free of the rigors of birth control, is now simply for its own sake, pleasure rather than procreation at its source. We are free to indulge ourselves in the joys of seduction, intimacy, sensuality, passion, and satisfaction. As Virginia Wolfe observed, “The older one grows the more one likes indecency.”

By middle age, we have come to know who we are. We know what we like and we know how to get it. As in every other area of Her existence, the Queen cannot tolerate living in any way that constricts the expression of Her true nature and desires. She assumes responsibility for Her own enjoyment and makes sure that Her sensual and emotional needs are met. Most important of all, we are more inclined now to go out and manifest what we want.

Our new take-charge sexual attitude can be just the catalyst needed to refuel the lethargic passion of our long-term marriage or partnership, or it could send us out in other, sometimes completely unexpected, directions. We could decide to take a lover, or a different lover, or an additional lover. If we have long been single, we might decide to begin dating and establishing relationships. We might, as is becoming more and more common, liberate our previously hidden, unfulfilled yearnings and “come out” as a lesbian in midlife. Or, if we have always been sexually active, involved and/or coupled, we could choose a period of celibacy, Self-exploration, Self-indulgence, and Self-love. The world is our oyster and we pick and choose according to our own persuasion.

Our emotional maturity and depth of character make women in our middle years extraordinarily and vitally attractive. We are substantial and robust, heady with the flavor of all that we have seen and done so far. We are pungent with profound experience, with pain and loss, exploration and transformation, glory and joy. The myriad lessons learned from lives intensely lived are reflected in our palate, which has become sophisticated, subtle, firm, and complex. Like fine wine and good cheese, women ripen and improve with age. Our essence becomes stronger, clearer, and infinitely more powerful. What could be more sexy?

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering 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.

 

 

 

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