The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Saving Mother Earth

posted by Donna Henes

A poem by Mary Saracino

Mary Saracino is a novelist, poet and memoir-writer who lives in Denver , Colorado. This compassionate and articulate sister Queen calls herself Queen Mary Immaculata.

A single day in April isn’t enough
to honor our Mother, save the planet
that is her body, restore her ocean womb,
revitalize the atrophied arms and legs
of her continents, remove the smog
from her pristine lungs, replenish all that’s
depleted by the lust for profit
over prosperity. Human hearts so greedy
for commerce they call deforestation progress,
think cloning is a medical advancement,
see artificial life as the wave of the future,
as if civilization can only advance
by killing or dismemberment,
by acquisition or annihilation.

How to survive a world of paper or plastic,
hybrid or gas-guzzler,
genetically altered seeds,
cloned cows, chemical poisons in the water,
run-off from the mouths of politicians
who think global warming is good for business.

What’s to be gained when
globalization soils our souls,
breeds a false sense of interconnection,
feigns compassion predicated on
corporate exploitation, skimming money
off the backs of underpaid workers,
trafficking in human life, in weapons
of destruction, raping the land of its bounty,
the rivers of their life-sustaining powers,
denying whole nations their dignity and worth.

That’s no way to treat our Mother,
no way to save our planet,
no way to mend our broken spirits,
no way to change the world.

 

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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.

The Legend of Sta. Procrastinata

posted by Donna Henes

I received this gem via email almost ten years ago. I immediately tracked down the source, obtained permission, and arranged to print it in the next issue of Always in Season, which went out of print in 2006. As it turned out, it was bumped for space and placed into the basket of ideas accumulating for the following edition. This same sequence of events has persisted ever since — put off to the future again and again and yet again. Herewith (finally) is 

The Legend of Sta. Procrastinata

By Elizabeth McLachlan

The story of Sta. Procrastinata is difficult to reconstruct: only one copy of her vita survives, and that in sorry shape. For many years it was kept in the library of a convent not far from Assisi, and after it fell out of the ambry during an earthquake, the precentor neglected for so long to replace it that it suffered considerable damage from damp and rats, leaving the text difficult to decipher and riddled with lacunae.

It would seem, however, that Procrastinata lived in the time of Diocletian, and was condemned by that emperor to horrible tortures as a result of her having neglected, once too often, to pay tribute to the divine emperor. Diocletian, however, preoccupied with more serious offenders, postponed the signing of a series of minor edicts, including Procrastinata’s death warrant, and it lay for so long in his in-casket that the writing became abraded by the frequent shuffling of old papyri: eventually it fell entirely off his to-do list.

Procrastinata therefore languished in prison; as the years went by, her jailer kept meaning to enquire as to her intended fate, but kept putting it off. Finally he, too, became so accustomed to ignoring her that he neglected to provide her with food and drink; she expired, not by a terrible martyrdom on the wheel or in the teeth of lions, but from old age and starvation. (She contributed to her own fate by putting off any form of protest, as involving too much effort and unlikely to accomplish anything.)

Some time later, Procrastinata’s daughter, Festina Lente, who had kept meaning to seek and rescue her mother, if possible, but somehow never found the time, was vouchsafed a vision of her mother hanging around outside the gates of Heaven. St. Peter apparently was always too busy with something else to get around to letting her in. (“What’s another day in eternity?”). Sometime after that, however, he neglected to lock the pearly gates and Procrastinata, by this time cured of her proclivity for putting things off, immediately eeled into Paradise.

Many generations thereafter, in about 1963, the Church got around to canonizing her, and one day soon, when someone has time, she will be added to the official Calendar of Saints, although that will be difficult as the author of her vitae omitted to note the actual date of her death. In the meantime, she is venerated (when they remember) by devotees of the art of procrastination, and invoked by those who suffer its consequences, though the latter, of course, know better than to expect instant results.

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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.

 

In the Dark

posted by Donna Henes

Simple as it may seem, when the lights go out, we simply lose our bearings. The density of the dark makes it impossible for us to fix our positions anymore. We find ourselves alone in the universe, untethered and unprepared. The blackness of lightlessness leaves us no internal compass by which to trace or set our steps. Unlike the blind, few of us ever learn to develop other senses enough to rely on them for information about the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Interestingly enough, it is those who consider themselves sighted who are most limited without light. And so, in the end, the tenebrous undermines the average person’s self-confidence, affects their vision, leaves them totally vulnerable to the environment and out of touch with the people around them. And that is only in physical effects.

The darkness of the soul is no less spiritually punishing than is the loss of physical light to the psyche. We talk about faith but cannot tolerate the thought of it. It’s light we want, not shadow, certainty not questions. The aphotic, the place without images, is no less an attack on faith and hope than those periods in life when nighttime brings nothing but unclarity, nothing but fear. Where am I going? the soul wants to know. When will all this be over? the mind wants to know. How can I get out of this sightless place I’m in? the heart demands.

from Between the Dark and the Daylight by Joan Chittister.

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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.

 

Black and Blue

posted by Donna Henes

Surely the essential quality of winter is its absence of light. And that, so much more than the attendant cold weather, is what so many people dread about it. The long, dark, isolating chill of winter understandably renders many of us susceptible to sadness. Seasonal Affective Disorder is considered to be an affliction, which is treated with intense doses of light.

The seasonal dark only intensifies the dark feelings engendered by the state of the world these days. The planet and 99% of Her species are just holding on by a thread under constant bombardment by war, violent weather, pollution, bigotry, hunger, disease, and short-sighted, greedy, cynical development and resource exploitation.

On top of that, many of us are suffering from a midlife crisis, a dark night of the soul as we adjust — mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually — to the huge changes in our life and circumstances, dealing as are with empty nests, divorce, death of loved ones, ageist glass ceilings and the rude truth of our own mortality.

Dark. Dark. Dark. Black. Deep. Depressing.

Our culture just doesn’t do dark. The problem with that is if we only embrace the light, we will miss experiencing half of each day; half of each year; half of our range of emotions; half of our lives. And, my sisters, there are just some things that you can only learn in the dark.

There is something very bittersweet about sadness. It can be soothing and comforting, offering safety in a consuming cocoon of sorrow. I always say that pain is the midwife of compassion. Sadness, depression, grief, regret, guilt, have a language all their own. And if you have not experienced these emotions, you do not have the vocabulary to recognize the feelings in others, and to offer the succor born of having been there and done that.

Winter is an excellent time to think of the dark as a place of quiet and repose, where we can experience our frightening and unhappy feelings. Really feel them. Embrace them. Own them. And once we do, we can begin to loosen their paralyzing grip on us. We can’t release something if it is not ours.

The best way to release dark feelings is to express them honestly, unabashedly, and with deep feeling. Let us write, paint, dance, sing, moan, wail, lament, shout, belt out our damn moody blues!

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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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