Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

I am back! I ran away from home, as it were. I was so OVER everything — over-worked, over-committed, over-tired, over-whelmed, over-weight, completely overcome with responsibility. I needed a rest and I took it!

As far as I can see, this has been an excellent start of a new year.

January is Self-love month. And if it weren’t, I, Queen Mama Donna, would declare it so! So for the rest of the month I will focus on the ways that we can show love and support to ourselves.

There is only one person who is absolutely guaranteed to be with you loyally every day until you die. So you might as well live her! Will you join me in showering your Self with love starting right now?

 

On the first page of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins; his character calls in well to work. He maintains that he just feels too darn good to report for his job. That always struck me an excellent idea. Why waste a perfectly fabulous day in bed when you are feeling too poorly to enjoy it?

For years, I have maintained a Day in Bed ritual practice. There will simply come a day ?- never predicting which day — when I wake up knowing that today is my Day in Bed. I know with a deep knowing that if I don’t lie down, I will fall down, collapse under the strain.

I do not feel sick, mind you, just out of steam. In my mind, this is not a sick day, but rather, a Well Day, a day to devote to my own inner needs. Over time, I have learned not to fight this overwhelming laziness. I gladly give in and let go of my driven goals.

I get up long enough to make a cup of tea and bring it back to bed with me where I stay for the next 24 hours. Oh, I get up periodically to pee and drink and muster up something to eat, but after each brief foray, I return to bed to spend the day blissfully quiet and alone.

I read. I nap. I write a letter or list or two. I daydream. I read. I nap.

I luxuriate in doing nothing. I imagine myself to be Elizabeth Barrett Browning or Colette or some other fabulously romantic invalid writer propped up on pillows, her devoted dog or cat nestled in the covers at her feet. Or a privileged consumptive patient pampered in the sanitarium in Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain, eating six cream-rich meals a day and lying down after each one of them.

But of course, thank all goodness, I am not an invalid; I am not even sick. And I intend to stay that way. These short periods of respite and regeneration work remarkably well to keep me cool, centered and balanced. And best of all, I rarely get ill.

This is not to say that I never lose my cool, center and balance. This dis-ease usually happens when I feel compelled to stick to some horrendous schedule — natural or self-imposed — where I work until I breakdown. Which is, I guess, why they call it a deadline.

The insidious sickness of the treadmill deadline syndrome is that I delude myself into believing that if I don’t do this thing, whatever it is, then no one can, or no one will, or I myself won’t do it later. In too many cases, my breakdown takes the form of a fall or other accident of some kind. I literally fall apart, which is my body’s undeniable way of reminding me to go to bed every once in awhile.

This year I pledge to sit down occasionally, to lie down more often, to spend as many healing Days in Bed as I need, so that I don’t have to fall down to get some rest.

*****

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Blessings, one and all, for a New Year filled with promise. May you continue along your path to Self-sovereignty with purpose, passion, and power with Queenly aplomb. 

With blessings of new beginnings and positive possibilities,

xxQueen Mama Donna

 

Another World: A New Year of Possibilities

By Mary Saracino, CO

“Another world is not only possible. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.”

– Arundhati Roy, Indian novelist, activist and world citizen

 

Softly, on the sigh of a breeze

in the steady certainty of her quiet exhale

another way unfurls, answering our longing

for a different world, a place of peace and possibilities

where children always have enough

and mothers and fathers

always love without limitation

giving no thought to the things that hinder

or impoverish their hopes, their dreams.

Where on this wide round planet can

that kind of world exist if we cannot find it

within our fragile hearts, tender with desire

bruised from too many years of silencing,

too many clamoring voices drowning out

the visions of prophets and seers

poets and peons, the brilliant crazy ones

who know that the only thing we need

to do to change everything is to be still

open our eyes, un-jail our hearts, rid our tongues

of hateful words, liberate our weary minds

of bigotry and separation, open our lungs

to joy and celebration, ride the winds of change

as if we had no other choice.

We must bury our war dead forever

bury our wars, too. We must cultivate

compassion for everything, big or little, human or not

making room for every woe, every jubilation

for it is only here inside our blood and our bones

that the breath of the world can birth her precious promise

fill us with the fortitude we need to create

a new way of life, a new way to live.

If we listen we will know how to join her

in her quiet revolution, how to echo her nonviolent wail

for justice and equality for every being

everywhere a breath is breathed, everywhere a life is born

until at last we all are free to come home

to the only home we have every truly wanted

the only place where we can resuscitate our meager hopes

with the replenishing air of her unfailing breath.

*****

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.

 

 

Blessings, one and all, for a New Year filled with promise. May you continue along your path to Self-sovereignty with purpose, passion, and power. With Queenly aplomb.  

May you live as a Fully Realized Woman.

With blessings of new beginnings,

xxQueen Mama Donna

 

Meditation for the Fully Realized Woman

By Karen Andes, CA

 

I am a BEAUTIFUL WOMAN,

with a beauty that doesn’t wash off.

I earned it, unearthed it,

rescued it like a jewel in the dust,

picked it up and made it shine.

 

For years, I did not see it,

though I sensed it was there.

Now it dazzles and thrives.

I am healthy, capable, independent,

strong yet still so fragile, floored by a sigh.

My body is that of a creator

— angles meeting curves, hardness drifting into soft.

 

I am mother, daughter, sister, lover to myself.

Embraceable and brave, I extend my heart.

My body is home, my home a shrine to life,

comfortable, warm and rich with treasures.

Mine is the scent of hit spices caught in a breeze,

mine the laughter that wings through the door.

 

I share myself only with those who honor me as I am

and protect myself, my house, and my time from invaders.

I search for my center in the midst of chaos,

practice peace as wild dogs clamor in my mind.

I use power for the greater good,

release rage in neutral settings,

with no one innocent in the line of fire.

 

I am learning how to persist and when to let go,

am willing to feel all emotion stop their depths and exaltations,

to wake up in every nerve

and no longer am afraid of my life.

Both my beauty and strength

transcend age, time, and perhaps even this lifetime.

 

Each day I am new, yet more at home in myself.

Moment by moment, I create my world

*****

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.

 

 

 

 

Dear Queen Mama Donna,

This has been the year from hell. I feel used, abused, and grimy. My entire life has gotten out of control. In my depression I have even let my normally orderly house go. My family is disgusted. What symbolic act can I do at New Year that would help to make me feel like I can make a clean start?

—A Mess in Michigan

Dear Ms. Mess,

As we near the New Year, our thoughts turn to new beginnings, new possibilities, new hope. This fragile interval which separates one year from the next is pregnant with potential. We find ourselves taking time out of time to evaluate our past experiences and actions and to prepare ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually for our future. Our reflections and resolutions at this transition period of the great turning of the annual wheel are critical, for they create the ambient atmosphere and attitude for the entire year to come.

A new year represents another chance, a fresh start, a clean slate, and so we embark upon the shift as on a dangerous journey, freshly bathed and outfitted, full of purpose, fingers crossed in blessing. People enjoy elaborate toilettes; bodies washed, dressed, groomed, combed until they are thoroughly cleansed — often internally as well through fasting. On New Year in Bengal, pilgrims bathe in the River Ganges. The Cherokee spend the eve of the New Year in vigil on the banks of a river. At dawn they immerse themselves seven times, emerging purified and new like the year.

In addition to purifying our person, special care has always been taken to clean and maintain the temples, churches, synagogues, cemeteries, groves, and shrines, in which prayers for the propitious New Year are made. In Myanmar, the former Burma, the New Year festival of Thingyan drenches the entire country, every building and dwelling, and all of its inhabitants in cleansing water. All images of the Buddha, indoors and out, are scrubbed clean as a crucial display of blessing.

By obvious extension, this New Year’s urge to purge includes our home environments, where the most intimate and ordinary prayers of daily life are uttered. If a man’s home is his castle, surely it is a woman’s shrine. Cleaning house to make ready for a new year is a universal task, symbolic and reverent as it is practical. Out with the old and in with the new! Death to dirt! Removing the dust and detritus accumulated during the previous year ensures the ridding of a dwelling and its occupants of the shortcomings and disappointments delivered during that time as well. Domestic renovation signifies spiritual and social renewal.

All over the world, houses are scrubbed spic and span from top to bottom and yards and walkways are swept spotlessly clean. In old England, New Year’s Day was the annual sweeping of all chimneys. The expression “to make a clean sweep” comes from this New Year’s custom. In Hong Kong, ten days before the New Year, women observe a Day for Sweeping Floors. At this time, an intensive house cleaning is begun in readiness for the New Year. Nothing, no corner, is left untouched. On New Year’s Day Moroccans pour water over themselves, their animals, the floors and walls of their homes. In Wales, children go door to door to beg water from their neighbors which they then scatter all over the houses of their community in order to bless them.

In many Native American cultures, in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, hearth fires are extinguished annually and ritually rekindled in a New Year ritual of new fire. In this way, sins and devils are purged in purification ceremonies symbolizing spiritual renewal. Zuni women throw out their live embers, then sprinkle their entire homes with corn meal in a rite called House Cleansing in order to ensure good fortune in child birth in the coming year. During the Iranian New Year celebration of Narooz, wild rue is burned in households because it is believed to drive away all evil and usher in a happy and propitious new year.

Santería, which combines elements of the West African Yoruban religion with those of the Catholic Church and the traditions of the indigenous tribes of the Caribbean, has many methods of spiritual house cleaning. Ordinarily one cleans one’s own home, altar, and aura with a wide variety of special washes, herbs, and candles. But in serious cases of impurity, a padrina/padrino will make a house call to perform a special purification ceremony. S/he most often will spit rum in a fine spray around the room, or roll a burning coconut along the floor while praying, to rid the place of bad energy.

So, darling, get out the brooms and the buckets, roll up your sleeves, and get to work. Scrub the grime out of your environment and your mental space. The act of cleaning will help you to feel like you are back in control of your life, and an orderly, cheerful house will definitely improve your mood. Light some incense and some candles and invite in some fresh, new energy.

Happy New Year to you.

With blessings of a clean start,

xxQueen Mama Donn

*****

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.