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The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Nourishing Relationships Interview – Part II

posted by Donna Henes

 

NR: What, exactly do you mean by Queen?

DH: The Queen is a woman who is still energetic with youth, yet wise with age. She is confident and beholden to no one. She thinks, speaks, acts for her Self and is secure being powerful. She has stepped into her sovereignty and wears it well.

The Queen refuses to condescend or conform to the adolescent and exploitative standard of beauty promulgated by popular culture. She does not deign to compare herself with teenage models or emaciated-lifted-stitched-tucked-injected-Hollywood-uber-beauties. A truly mature, secure woman accepts the inevitable physical changes that come with the passing of time and incorporates them into the way she presents herself to the world. Self-aware, Self-assured, she transforms her Self as she goes. She glows as she grows into her full potential, and becomes ever more becoming. Her reinvigorated attractiveness stems from Self-knowledge and enfranchisement; her magnetic sensuality is centered in the fulfillment and satisfaction of her Self-worth. She exudes the intoxicating appeal of a woman who is at heart, pleased with her Self.

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NR: How does a woman go about becoming a Queen?

DH: She must decide and choose to accept the responsibility for her own desires and needs. She establishes boundaries and obeys only her own inner voice. She asserts her Self without guilt or apology.

The Queen uses the power of Her own purpose, growth, and gratification to claim and proclaim what is rightfully Hers, including — especially — Her own Self-image, charisma, and sexuality. When we are comfortable in our own skin, we carry ourselves with presence and pride, and project our formidable inner beauty out for all to see and appreciate.

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?

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NR: What are the benefits to aging?

DH: A liberating sense of Self. A Gallop poll revealed that despite facing the loss of so much on every level, women declare themselves to be the happiest after the age of 55. They might lose the pigment in their hair and the elasticity of their skin, their parents and their children, but they have gained THEMSELVES! This is glorious.

Once the Queen has conquered the challenges in Her life, she begins to claim Her royal power. She cuts through fear and ambivalence to become the sole ruler of Her Self. She has struggled for Her transformation and has achieved it. Her proud potency is palpable, Her authenticity uncontested. Her life now takes on a new ease, a grace, a certain lightness of being born of Her Self-knowing, Self-respecting, Self-directing, Self-projecting passion and purpose. She sails ahead on Her own steam, cutting efficiently through seas that are sometimes smooth as glass, sometimes choppy and fraught with danger. Her age and vast experience is Her ballast. She keeps Her center, come what may.

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But something else remarkable takes place once the Queen has stepped into sovereignty. Now that Her own life is in working order and running more smoothly, the Queen can afford to enlarge the territory and expand the horizons of Her Interests and influence and extend the parameters of Her physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual domain. Firmly rooted in Her best Self and acting on Her own behalf, She is free to reach out in ever increasing concentric circles to others. Now She can freely offer Her compassion, expertise, time, and money to people and causes that call to Her sense of response-ability, literally Her ability to respond.

Coming Friday: Questions about response-ability.

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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Nourishing Relationships Interview – Part I

posted by Donna Henes

Recently I was the guest of Rosemary Lichtman and Phyllis Goldberg, authors of Courage and Lessons Learned: Reaching for Your Goals and partners in their practice, Nourishing Relationships for a virtual book tour on their Blog. http://nourishingrelationships.blogspot.com/2010/08/queen-of-my-self-stepping-into.html

The interview is pretty long, so I offer it to you in several parts:

Part I. The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife

Today we welcome Donna Henes to our blog so that we can chat about The Queen of My Self, a landmark book that celebrates a new mythic model for the middle years of a woman’s life – the Queen! A celebration of the midlife woman in her prime who has achieved wisdom, mastery, and self-esteem, it provides upbeat, practical, and ceremonial inspiration for all women who want to enjoy the fruits of an influential, passionate, and powerful maturity.

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NR: Welcome to Nourishing Relationships, Donna. Can you tell our readers something about your professional background and why you wrote The Queen of My Self?

DH: For more than 35 years I have been an urban shaman, a ceremonialist, a spiritual teacher and counselor, as well as an author and columnist. When I was approaching my 50th birthday, I realized that I needed an archetype to relate to and use as a role model for affirmative aging that just wasn’t available anywhere. So I had to create one for myself and the other 60 million Baby Boom women entering their midlife.

NR: You talk about the midlife transition being very difficult for women. Why is this so?

DH: Midlife is all about loss: we lose our reproductive ability, our kids leave, our parents die, we reach our glass ceilings, our marriages founder.

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NR: What do you think are women’s greatest fears about being middle aged?

DH: Being invisible is a very big one. Another is losing our sex appeal and youthful beauty. It is only a disaster to loose our girlish charms if we deem them to be the exclusive path to beauty, love and fulfillment. Our allure and sex appeal change with time — increase, even — if we allow them to. A woman is never too old to look and feel beautiful.

NR: The book mentions the Triple Goddess. What is this?

DH: The Triple Goddess is an (out dated) archetype for the three stages of a woman’s life: The Maiden, the young girl; The Mother, the fertile care giver; and The Crone, the old, wise one.

NR: You say that this archetype no longer serves women as role models for the life cycle. Why is this?

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DH: It leaves out women in their middle years, who are long past maidenhood, ending their mothering years and not yet anywhere near being old. 1 out of 3 women in America is over 50 years old. Archetype means “universal.” The Triple Goddess cannot be universal if it ignores 1/3 of all women.

NR: So you think you have a better model? Can you describe this?

DH: I added another stage for us women of a certain age: The Queen, the woman who is in charge of her own life and destiny and is out in the world in her power. So then we have a Four-Fold Goddess: The Maiden, The Mother, The Queen, and The Crone.

Coming Wednesday: Questions about Sovereignty

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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.

 

 

 

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Loving Our Bodies

posted by Donna Henes

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.

Lately, like many of you, I have been waging an assault on clutter. I have been digging into the recesses of my closets, drawers and shelves and tossing, recycling and reclaiming my possessions. During this frenzy I came upon some old photograph albums and took a break to sit down with them.

I sorted through pictures that I had not seen in decades and to my shock and delight, I discovered that I was quite a good looking young woman.

Who knew? Not me. I was never happy about my appearance. Never satisfied with my face and body. Would that I had that strong, supple, sexy body now.

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What a waste!

This is nothing new, of course. In my experience most women don’t see and appreciate their own beauty. There is always something to complain about. To fret over. To work on.

The Dove® Soap Company has a wonderful program called Dove® Movement for Self-Esteem. Their slogan is, “Imagine a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.”

They recently funded a study called “The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited.” The research found that:

Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (up from 2% in 2004).

Only 11% of girls globally are comfortable using the word beautiful to describe themselves

72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful.

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70% of  girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.

57% of all girls have a mother who criticizes her own looks

67% of girls ages 13 – 17 turn to their mother as a resource when feeling badly about themselves compared to 91% of girls ages 8 – 12

80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful but do not see their own beauty.

More than half (54%) of women globally agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic.

How sad is that? And how stupid given the overwhelming number of beautiful women and girls on every corner in every country.

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I serendipitously found the following quote in the fabulous book, Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver:

 

“When I was in my thirties, I had these little square hips left over from being pregnant and I just hated it. I kept thinking, ‘All those years before, I had a perfect glamour-girl body, and I didn’t spend one minute appreciating it, because I thought my nose had a bump in it.’ And now that I’m old, my shoulder hurts and I don’t sleep good and my knuckles swell up, and I think, ‘All those years in my thirties and forties I had a body where everything worked perfect. And I didn’t spend one minute appreciating it because I thought I had square hips.’”

 

So, sister Queens, let’s start making lists of what we love about ourselves, our appearance, our personality, our presence. Let’s make really long lists.

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What do you love about you?

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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Blessing of Internal Noise

posted by Donna Henes

—from Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life by Joan Chittister

“Remember, Joan, you can’t ever really run away from anything,” my mother taught me. “In the end, you only take yourself with you.” At that age, I thought the words were simply a trick of language. Maybe an outworn kind of witticism. It took years before I realized what she had not said, what she had failed to tell me, had instead allowed me to find out for myself. By that time I didn’t need to have someone else explain it to me.

I know now that whatever it is that is troubling us is not outside of us. It is inside of us. Rattling around. Mutter­ing. Waking a person up in the dregs of the night. Filling our dreams with specters and sweat. Echoing loudly in the emptiness within us. One great cacophony of internal noise that goes with us wherever we are. Always.

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It is the call to our souls of the unfinished business of our lives, of the tensions we never lifted, the relationships we never resolved, the promises we never kept, the dreams we never achieved, the things we never became, the enmi­ties we never accepted. It is the question of how to live with all those things now that nothing can be done about any of them at all.

And yet, this noise in me is the voice of the Spirit calling me to attend to what I have long ignored or denied or forgotten. It is the challenge to face up to the unfinished business of my life. To resolve what I regret. To confront whatever it is that is blocking my ability to live a life free of consternation, alive with joy. Indeed, we can’t ever really run away from anything. We can only settle it or be harassed by it all the nights of our life. It is a choice we make that will affect the entire rest of our lives. It is the martial art of the soul.

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Silence is the gift that throws us back on ourselves. Which is exactly why there are so many who cannot bear the thought of it. Without external distractions, we are left vulnerable to the voices within that demand that we come to grips with all the pieces of the self we have so carefully concealed. Beneath the smiles and frowns we use to protect ourselves from anyone who might get too close to the turmoil within us lies the noise of the soul that will not cease until we finally agree to hear it. It is the silent self that calls us to damp the noise that hounds us in the night, that calls us to responsibility for the authenticity of the self.

The truth is that internal noise is not meant to burden us. It’s meant to enable us to go on with new energy, new honesty and new hope. It is meant to dispel our confusions, to unknot their ties on us before we find ourselves entrapped in the past in ways that make a free and vigorous future impossible.

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The choices are life-changing, yes, but internal noise indicates clearly that this life as we are living it now needs—somehow, some way—to be changed.

 

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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.

 

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