The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

My Mother the Queen

posted by Donna Henes

Unlike my grandmother who personified the archetypal transition from Motherhood to Cronedom at menopause, her daughter, my mother, was a Queen long before her time. Her story is quite a common one now, shared by many millions of women, but in the early 1950’s, she was a lonely pioneer when she sought a divorce at the age of forty-five.

My mother did not get divorced for reasons of adultery or cruelty or even irreconcilable differences, not that her marriage wasn’t severely flawed. But her desire to separate actually had little to do with her husband, my father. When that momentous day came, her radical decision was really about her sudden, urgent and undeniable drive to make her way in the world on her own.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight
in bud became more painful than the risk to bloom.
- Anais Nin

Like so many women of her generation, she had graduated directly from her mother’s extended household to her own nuclear family, and had no experience of living alone. So, one morning, she simply woke up knowing in her bones that this life that she had not so much chosen, but fallen into, nearly two decades before was no longer — if it ever was — good for her.

After nineteen years of homemaking, she was suddenly thrown back into the job market with two kids to raise, no alimony, minuscule child support and pitifully archaic office skills. As if the situation wasn’t challenging enough, she had to endure a fall from suburban grace, the censure and not-so-subtle stigma of being a divorcée. What she did have going for her, however, was a mighty determination for a second chance at life — this time on her own terms, thank you very much.

After a few years of acting out of fear, foundering, failing and starting again from scratch, searching for and finding herself (during which time she miraculously kept us all afloat), my mother finally cast her lot with a start-up land development company in desperate need of her considerable Virgoean organizational skills. By the time she reached her early fifties, she had worked (and I mean worked) her way into a vice-presidency of the corporation. The only woman executive, she had a huge budget and hundreds of people in her charge, not the least of whom was herself. She cast herself as a Joan Crawford-Barbara Stanwick-Rosalyn Russell character — a scrappy, independent, smart-as-hell, chic-suited career woman with shoulder pads and an entirely black and white wardrobe — the star of her own version of a 1940’s film.

It was only when I was about half finished writing The Queen of My Self that I realized that my mother, Adelaide Trugman, was the Queen incarnate, my own personal archetypal role model. How fortunate I was to have witnessed the process — the struggle, the strain and the joy — of my mother’s midlife transformation from a suffering and subservient wife and unfulfilled PTA mom into a Queen who refused to be invisible, spoke her own mind with authority and demanded to be heard.

The pride and pleasure she derived from her achievements was electrifying, animating her energy and coloring her cheeks with a contagious royal flush. She moved through the world now with confidence in her abilities, and a completely new charisma. With no one to answer to, she was free to pursue her greatest pleasures, long denied. She sold the house and got and decorated the apartment of her dreams. She traveled, took painting and ceramics classes, went to lectures, plays, concerts, and played cards with her friends, the “girls.” She even bought herself a mink coat, a particularly satisfying accomplishment, since in her day, in her crowd, the husband paid for the furs.

 

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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.

Mother Queen

posted by Donna Henes

What an extraordinarily exciting and gorgeous time of the year spring is. Life is bursting out all over. Buds, blossoms and babies everywhere! Is it any wonder that May is the month of the Goddess? And of the Mother? Like the Great Creatrix Goddess, mothers are the progenitors of life and the providers of sustenance for the living.

In this season of teeming birth and growth, we honor the Mother Goddesses, Mother Earth, and our own mothers, as well as our own mothering selves.

We don’t need to have given birth to a baby to be a mother, and in fact, with easy access to birth control and abortion nearly one quarter of the Baby Boom generation chose not to bear children.

The archetypal Mother is biological parent as well as the Mother of Invention. She produces and reproduces — be they children, books, businesses, careers or political causes. Then She labors endlessly to nourish and sustain the fruits of Her passion: Her family, Her business, Her home, Her job, Her projects, Her clients, Her students, Her community.

Full with nutriment, She is the ultimate cosmic creator, nursemaid, caretaker, caregiver and provider. She is committed to the well-being of those around Her, and the daily domestic and productive concerns of the material world are Hers. Endlessly reliable, dependable, solid and sure, She is the woman whose work is never done.

And now, as we enter into the sovereignty of our middle years, our active mothering days done, and done very well, indeed, we are called upon to extend our mothering instincts to include our Selves.

Now is the time for us to be our own Mother. To nurture our own well-being. To hold our deepest needs in tender trust. To care for our personal concerns and inspire and encourage the development of our best potential. To honor our purpose. To celebrate our passion. And to embrace our power.

I, Queen Mama Donna, do hereby declare and decree that Every Day be Queen Mother’s Day!

 

The Queen is firm in the defense of Her time, Her space, Her boundaries, Her priorities, Her preferences, Her ethics, Her needs, Her desires, Her safety, and Her sense of well-being.
- QMD

 

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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.

 

A Self-Meditation

posted by Donna Henes

Soul searching, like the practice of any devotion, requires solitude, quiet and quality time. But life is hectic and our inner needs have often been relegated to the bottom of our endless to-do lists, our dreams and desires deferred, left on the back burner to simmer.

Over a hundred years ago, Florence Nightingale observed, “Women never have a half-hour in all their lives (excepting before or after anybody is up in the house) that they can call their own, without fear of offending or of hurting someone. Why do people sit up so late, or, more rarely, get up so early? Not because the day is not long enough, but because they have no time in the day to themselves.”

If our intention is to know ourselves and to grow our power, we require dependable periods of uninterrupted time and inviolate space that we can call our own, a protected seclusion conducive to our sacred Self-communion.

Seclusion is withdrawal on all levels. It means separating our identity not only from other people, but also from outwardly dictated and directed activity as well. Sometimes it is necessary to step back a few paces from our bustling lives, stop racing around, and just slow down so that we can absorb and process our experiences.

In a culture that defines itself in terms of clocks and dollars and duty, it is difficult to allow ourselves to claim the time and mental space to devote to an occupation that results in no visible product. Non-product, however, and nonproductive are definitely not the same thing. Down time is not negative. It is not not doing something. What we are doing when we jump off of the treadmill is resting, reflecting, ruminating, regenerating, rejoicing and opening to the myriad ways of receiving the reassurance and guidance that we need.

When we carve out a niche in our busy lives to do the sorts of things that feed our soul, we are affirming our self worth, acknowledging that we crave and deserve our own undivided attention. When we claim the psychic space and set aside the personal time to pursue the knowledge and mastery of our Self — when we assume the entitlement, the ability and the authority to do so — we are able to access and transform our perceptions, our perspectives, our experience, our expectations, and, in the process, our entire reality. By taking the time, by taking our time, we bless ourselves with true devotion. We consecrate our precious lives, and celebrate the continuously wondrous miracle of the unfolding of our Selves.

Sacred Seclusion enables us to know, own and honor ourselves as unique, individual entities. To admit our abilities and limitations, our talents and truculence on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual planes, and to love ourselves with compassion and no judgment attached. A practice of solitude and separation — be it occasional, frequent or constant — teaches us that we do not need the approval or permission of any outside source to validate our personal experience or emotions. In knowing who we are, we are empowering ourselves to know what we know and feel what we feel.
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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.

It Can Be Hard to Be a Queen

posted by Donna Henes

Coming from the tough love school of spiritual counseling as I do, I feel that it is only fair to warn you — There are no 10 Easy Steps to Sovereignty.

The roads leading to Queendom are diverse and many. The way to Self-esteem can be complicated and long. Each woman must take her own path, make her own trail, clear a passage for herself through the thick brambles that reach up to trip her. What roads do exist are unmapped, bumpy, and full of potholes, tumbleweed and road-kill. There are no shortcuts along the Queen’s Highway, no services, no shoulders, no signage, but many detours and cul-du-sacs.

And the fare can be exorbitant. As Dear Abby, Abigail Van Buren, once noted, “If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we’d be millionaires.” Like any grand journey, the trip toward Self-dominion requires stamina, determination and the passionate desire to travel. But if we pack properly, check our tires frequently, and take time for picnics, the adventure is incomparable. And the destination of Self-empowerment is majestic.

Our Queenly assignment, should we choose to accept it, is to identify, understand and connect all the component parts of ourselves, to attempt to develop and balance them equally, and to maintain them all in good working order. The Self is like a jigsaw puzzle or a quilt that promises to become a beautiful whole if we spend the necessary time and concentration to assemble it. It is at once the puzzle, the parts of the puzzle, and also, most importantly, the process of piecing them together.

The Self is the seat of sovereignty of the Queen. It is Her throne and Her domain, at once Her base of power and Her field of operation. Stepping into our sovereignty involves an almost alchemical process of adding, extracting, refining, combining and recombining the myriad elements that make up our four parts in the constantly evolving effort of perfecting the power of our best Selves.

The holy elixir that we seek is the transformation of the painful, rejected, neglected, wounded, unsatisfied, unsatisfactory parts of our Self, into the unified, organized, energized, golden glory and grace of the fulfilled Queen. It is through our sincere and complete participation in this process that we learn how to recognize, claim and proudly proclaim our own true power. The power of the fully engaged Self.

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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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