Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.

Erica Jong

The story of our lives is ours to create. We can design our own roles and ideals, compose the scripts, and author the sagas of our own futures and that of the environment around us. While we cannot necessarily control the circumstances and influences that present themselves to us in the course of living, we can choose how we will respond to them when they do arise. Our power of choice is our sole control in the world.

With each new paragraph, each turn of the page, each new dawn, each new season, each moment in time, each blink of the eye, each beat of the heart, we are gifted with another opportunity to exercise our right to choose.

Coffee or tea? Lemon or milk? Right or left? Stairs or elevator? Vacuum? Vote? Cheat? Trust? Care? Dare? Change?

What paths we take, what decisions we make influence how the story will proceed and who we will be from this day forth. As George Eliot reminds us, “The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.”

The difficult times that we encounter in our lives might tempt us to dull our senses and opt out of any upsetting experiences, choosing not to let things “get to us.” We often try to ignore the hard parts — pain, fear, guilt, grief, confusion, anger, and disappointment — dilute their impact, drown them out in an endless list of pleasurable addictions: soporifics, anesthetics, mood enhancers, caffeine, food, hormones. We can even turn ourselves off altogether.

We don’t have to engage in the emotional upheaval. Nobody is making us. We could choose to drink cabernet and watch Public Television, play cards, play bingo, play it safe, every night for the rest of our lives if we wanted to. It is an option.

It is ultimately up to us whether we succumb to the unexamined life or try to figure out what the hell is going on inside us and around us, and engage in it, alter, change and grow with it, so that we might fulfill our greatest destiny and dreams.

You need only to claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly possess all you have been and done, which may take some time, you are

fierce with reality.

– Florida Scott-Maxwell

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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.

 

 

 

 

Many of you have, I am sure, come across this fabulous writing many times. It speaks to the heart of the matter of women’s dysfunctional relationship to our own power.

In my spiritual counseling as a Midlife Midwife™ I dispense this powerful inspiration as a prescription for fear, shyness, self-limiting thinking, self-deprecation and self-destructive behavior. I tell my clients to post this where they will see it often and to repeat it aloud daily. It is tremendously empowering

Try it! Even if you have read it a thousand times, read it again. Say it out loud. Sing it in the shower. Shout it out at the top of your lungs. Tape yourself saying it and play it like a loop until you have no more self-doubts.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

– Marianne Williamson

* 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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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.

 

Empowerment

Several time ago I asked the question “What does power mean to you?” This piece about the empowerment of women was sent to me by Kali Fyre, a sister Queen and reader of The Queen of My Self. It is from her blog, “Awakening the Iris.”

 

For me, women’s empowerment is really about BALANCE, or at least how I teach it. Statistics show that a culture that marginalizes its women suffers in totality, and when these same women are empowered, the benefits are spread to the men of the community as well. It is my belief that men in our society are just as emasculated as women are marginalized. There are impossible “MACHO” standards to meet for men, just as women are bombarded with “BARBIE” ideals. Neither gender can really freely be themselves. In part, I believe this has helped to fuel the immense controversy around gender identity issues. Society has bombarded us for so long about what it means to be a man or a woman, it can be uncomfortable when someone openly crosses those “lines in the sand.”

It is always uncomfortable when someone speaks a truth that strongly questions accepted reality. That is exactly what women’s empowerment is for me. It is encouraging women to listen to their hearts, what makes their souls sing, and to follow that. It’s not simply about rising to the top of a Fortune 500 Company. Although that’s a wonderful thing, if it isn’t what your core is aching for, then it’s an empty victory. Coaching women, for me, is about shattering the expectations and conventions of society. The “Donna Reed” image of mom home with the kids may be considered a throwback to the 50s and early 60s, but do your insides melt when you put yourself in those images? Then THAT is your power! Maybe every dream you’ve recorded in your dream journal for six months has you riding motorcycles and wearing leather. Find a way to access that for yourself!

Typically, it IS the women who will initiate and impact change in a community or a culture, even if only as “pushing from behind,” especially if it is a spiritual redirection. When a woman finds her personal truth, her own North Star, she will most definitely impact those around her. We live not in a vacuum, but in relationships, households, families, communities. As I told someone recently, we exist in our own lily ponds; sometimes they are private, sometimes they intersect and overlap. When we change something, no matter how small, the ripples move outward and impact every other lily pad in our pond, ever so slightly. Those changes inspire others to their own shifts, and we all continue to impact each other. This is how I value women’s empowerment, as the initiation of ripples that will bring about even greater change.

One can indeed make a difference, even if it’s just shifting from one foot to the other. How did you make your impact today?

– Kali Fyre, NH

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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.

 

 

 

Speaking of  Self-Sovereignty, here is a piece by Sister Joan Chittister, the popular Catholic spiritual writer. It landed propitiously in my mailbox whilst I was in the midst of working on these recent posts on the Self.

Good timing, Sister Queen!

 

Coming Home to the Self

By Sr, Joan Chittister

We are a culture of misfits — not because there is anything wrong with us as a people but because we are accustomed to becoming things we aren’t. So we don’t fit into our own souls. Our schools put out students to fit the economy, for instance, rather than the heart. Good thinkers go into accounting rather than philosophy because accounting pays more. Fine writers go into law because law is more prestigious. Young people with artistic talent go into computer science because computer programming or hotel management or engineering are full of “opportunities” — read “money” — that a water-colorist lacks.

The problem is that when we do not do what we are clearly made to do we are doomed. We spend the rest of our lives looking for the missing piece of ourselves that we lost before we knew we had it.

Then we wonder why the work we do bores us, no matter how many cars we have, no matter how beautiful the vacation house may be. We can’t figure out why we still feel restless about life. We wonder what it is that isn’t right: the schedule, the children, the marriage, the place.

We lose a taste for life.

Then, it is time go give ourselves the space and means to become again. We need to rearrange the furniture of life to make way for the essence of life: We need to set up an easel and paint. We need to start the woodworking we always wanted to do. We need to take the courses we always wish we had. We need to join the book clubs that talk about the things we are interested in discussing. We need to begin to knit and cook and write and garden. We need to do those unfinished, unstarted, undeveloped things in us that ring the bell of bliss and authenticity. Then life will become life again and all the rust of it will wear away. When we become what we know ourselves to be, we will come home to ourselves.

The rabbis put it this way: “Rabbi,” the disciple asked, “what shall I do to be saved?” And the Rabbi said, “How should I know? Follow the deepest inclination of your heart and you, too, will be saved.”

When we live from the inside out rather than from the outside in, everything in life begins to fit.

*****

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.