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The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

The Heart Is The Home of Wonder

posted by Donna Henes

By Edie Weinstein, PA
www.liveinjoy.org

Breathe in the warmth of this place, allowing yourself to feel a sense of welcome
It is your own love, your own beauty that beckons you inside
How long has it been, since you have crossed this threshold?
The door has always been open, the invitation always extended
Will you accept it now?

Through the windows streams sunlight, casting rainbow designs on the walls
As prism glass reflects the scattered sparkling illumination
The floor beneath your feet is soft
Caressing your skin as you tap your bare toes on its surface
Daring to dance upon it to the lilting music that only you can hear.

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The table is set with all manner of lusciousness
Nourishment for body and soul awaits you
Always plenty to savor and share; a bounty spread before you
Every imaginable treat to delight your senses
The sweet aroma that curls around you.

The mirror on the wall reflects your exquisite nature
As you gaze into the eyes of the One who has been with you
Through all eternity, questioning what has kept you from recognizing
Your own ineffable Divinity
Express your adoration for the Goddess who winks back at you.

Feel the all-embracing comfort of this structure that was created
Brick by brick, log by log, though your daily intention
The experiences and the people you draw into your world
The thoughts that permeate your mind
The wild magic of your infinite imagination.

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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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Breaking the Taboo about Menopause

posted by Donna Henes

Kim Cattrall talks on Canadian TV about Sensitive Skin, her new television show:

Kim Cattrall talked this week about why she wants to give a voice to women our age and the changes and challenges we face. Kim Cattrall is becoming something of a poster girl for the menopause and getting the topic out in the open.

In Sensitive Skin, a black comedy, she plays Davina Jackson, an ex-actress and model having a mid-life crisis. She lives in a chic Toronto loft apartment, has a hypochondriac husband and a needy son, is facing up to ageing, and has started talking to herself.

On Woman’s Hour this week, she talked about the time in a woman’s life that it addresses and the questions we ask ourselves.

She says: “It’s the point when a woman has achieved a lot of the goals society set for her – been educated, had a career, got married, had children – and now what?

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“[She’s asking herself] what were the roads I did not travel? What am I going to do with myself?

“The man who in my 20s I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, is that still the man? And your children are off doing their own thing…

“I wanted to very much examine and give voice to this kind of woman, who’s at a crossroads in her life and trying to decide who she is now. She’s shedding these roles that have been put upon her, and she’s fulfilled. But now what? What’s the next chapter?”

Midlife change “for women it’s much more a physical change. It’s almost the opposite to our teenage years, where you’re gearing up; now things are slowing down.

Kim talks about hot flushes as being “a big moment in your life” and recalls her first one, mid-rehearsal at the Donmar, as like being dumped in a vat of boiling water. She called her mother to talk about it and was told, “Oh I can’t remember, I just got on with it”.

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That’s what most of our mums’ generation did. Thankfully today there’s more information available about what happens during this stage of life. Nevertheless, many, probably most, of us don’t seek this out until it affects us, and can be unprepared when it begins.

It can take a while to realise that things that are happening to us physically and emotionally could be down to changing hormones; that somehow, pre-menopause has crept up on us.

Kim says: “At the beginning of Sensitive Skin my character, Davina, is not even completely aware of what’s going on. The physical manifestations are right there and immediate, but the emotional and psychological part of menopause are not really explored.”

For Kim herself, there was a positive effect: “I found myself feeling a call to action. I’m lucky to be in the position that I can find these things that are going on in my real life and explore them.

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“It can be scary, as change is frightening. Things have been the same for so long and now things are different. It starts gradually; it’s not just one big thing that happens.

“I wanted to give voice to this time, and use comedy, in the way that Sex and the City did with sexual taboos. I wanted to name it and to explore it and to make it user friendly.”

In an earlier interview on Canadian TV, Kim has said: “After Sex and the City everyone expected me to do another Sex and the City but I took time out, which was sort of meditative, and I thought: How do I want the rest of my life to be.

“And I didn’t want it to be safe. I wanted it to be challenging and to take chances.

“I always feel vulnerable. That’s why Sensitive Skin is so important for me at this point in my life. I’ve been fortunate to look a certain way and as you get older that starts to fade.

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“And here is a woman [asking], Am I still desirable? Do I still look beautiful? Do I still have a place in life that is meaningful? Will my life be fulfilling? That’s really the biggest question.”

Watch the first season of Sensitive Skin online
http://www.high50.com/author/jacqui
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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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When Life Throws You A Curve Ball


posted by Donna Henes

By Daina Puodziunas

Many of us reached midlife with highly developed multi-tasking skills—we figured out how to juggle many balls in the air.  Then life decides to start throwing us curve balls! They come out of nowhere and can easily throw us into panic mode.

You find yourself suddenly without a job. You find out you have a chronic illness. A family member dies. Your spouse decides he wants a divorce and the list goes on. There is no way to really breeze through a crisis, but there is a way to move through it so that you actually use the crisis for your own growth and evolution instead of allowing it to use you.

If I have learned anything from the curve balls that life has thrown me it is this:  It’s not what is happening that matters, but how you approach what is happening that makes all the difference in the world.

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A little angel once told me that the universe likes to throw us curve balls to see what we do with them. But because it can feel so bad, we often judge what is happening as a negative event. It’s so automatic, we don’t even notice we’ve made this assumption!

As I engage with women in the midst of a variety of midlife transitions
, it seems that these curve balls are coming at us faster and more frequently. We can either let life drag us down or we can rise up to the challenge and get good at utilizing curve balls to make us wiser, stronger, more creative, and more resourceful.

Last week my good friend and I were exchanging techniques for staying in the game when life and love take unexpected turns. It was an exciting and stimulating conversation. I thought I would share what we were talking about in seven easy steps.

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7 Steps to Reduce Stress and Reorient in a Positive Direction:

 

1) Take Charge Of Your Attitude: Your attitude, orientation, or where you “come from,” is the key to learning how to dance with change. When we embrace adventure, we automatically open to new experiences with a sense of curiosity about how the world works. Many people live lives directed by habit, afraid to step beyond the familiar boundaries of their comfort zones.

This is the reason that I named the Midlife Adventure Club as I did. The attitude of adventure takes us out of our everyday lives and thrusts us into unfamiliar but ultimately novel and exciting situations. We can discover new practices and philosophies that we can incorporate into our lives.

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2) Stop Wishing Things Were Different: This will only make you feel like you are striking out and can easily lead to depression. Accept what is. Stop resisting it.  Everyone gets their share of hard stuff in life. It’s the resistance that is the problem, not the situation at hand. Develop your skills so you can hit whatever pitch is coming at you right out of the park!

3) See Your Situation From Multiple Viewing Points:

A ~ Think about who you admire in the world and imagine how they might view the situation.

B ~ Imagine yourself looking back on the situation a year from now. What would your advice be? What about ten years from now?  How do you want to remember yourself when you look back on this time?

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 C ~ Take on the perspective of the other key players in the situation. How are they seeing things?

D ~ Connect with your heart and center yourself. Ask your soul to speak through your heart. What might your soul want you to see, learn, and do? How might your soul be looking at the situation?

4) Ask Yourself:  What Is The Worst Thing That Can Happen? Project the worst-case scenario in your head. Then ask yourself if you could handle it. Most of the time the answer is “Sure I could, I’ve handled worse before.”  This frees up an enormous amount of energy. The psyche is not in panic mode anymore.

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5) Take Action To Get Grounded: So often we are resistant to taking action when we have no idea whether it’s the right action to take or when we can’t see the bigger picture, the plan. We can stay stuck trying to figure out what is happening and where we are going or we can surrender to the fact that we can’t figure things out but still move forward by taking a step even when we are not sure where it may lead.

A ~ Shift your perspective by answering: “What am I free to do now?” “How can I use what is happening to learn self-sufficiency, independence, a new skill that may take my life to the next level?”

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B ~ Pema Chodron says: Knowing that death is certain and the time of death is uncertain, what is the most important thing?” What is the most important thing for you right now?

C ~ Understand that you can’t do an idea, a project, or a plan. You can only do the next action. So what is the next action? Often times, it is only after you have completed an action that the next one is revealed to you.

6) Implant Life~Affirming Concepts Within The Subconscious Mind To Support New Choices:  Use symbols, words, affirmations, and pictures to create a vision map (a collage on poster board) of your new perspectives, choices, and answers to the above questions. Hang it by your bed and look at it for at least a few minutes in the morning as you rise and also during the evening.

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7) Design A Personal Ceremony For Your Transition: A personal ceremony symbolizes a psychological, emotional, and spiritual transformation. You can create very elaborate ceremonies, but here are the nuts and bolts of the energy.

First create a sacred space (whatever that means to you.)

A ~ Write what you want to release on a peace of paper.  This may be the need to control a situation, losses that you experienced, resentments and other yucky feelings, etc. Burn the piece of paper as you feel the release.

B ~ Find a symbol of what you are free to do now. Use water or incense to bless and baptize this symbol. Keep it on your personal alter or by your bedside next to your vision map.

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C ~ Invite at least one other person to witness your ceremony and support you.

 

These seven steps can help you create a new relationship with change, challenge, and crisis.

 

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to reduce stress and reorient yourself in times of change and challenge. It’s all about reorienting yourself so that you are proceeding from the inside out. The difference is that you see yourself not as a victim reacting to life, but as someone learning how to show up for yourself and play full out.

 
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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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The Back Story

posted by Donna Henes

It is now over ten years since the publication of The Queen of My Self. This anniversary has sparked introspection, provoked evaluation and evoked some amazing memories.


Seizing My Sovereignty Back From Hostile Capturers

I was, of course, thrilled when The Queen was sold to a prestigious publisher with an advance that would allow me to write full time for several months without worrying about the rent. The best part was that they committed to a vigorous promotion plan — rare in publishing even back then.

My deadline was brutally tight, but necessary in order to have a big launch on Mother’s Day as they had planned. I handed in the completed manuscript exactly on time. And then waited for six weeks with no word whatsoever.

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Something was wrong. They could never keep to the schedule at this rate. Finally I received a twelve page, single-spaced, eight point type letter critiquing the book. Not the writing so much as the premise, the title even. “’The Queen of my Self.’ Isn’t that selfish?”

Uh oh.

This was odd and extremely frustrating since they bought the book based on a detailed outline and a full chapter synopsis, title and all, which they loved. And I delivered them precisely what I had contacted to.

The criticism was contradictory: on the one hand the rituals I described were too personal, too spiritual. And on the other hand, my private life wasn’t personal enough. What are the names and stories of my lovers and my son? Basically, they wanted me to be identified by my relations to the men in my life. Please! A Queen is Her Own Self.

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My editor was a man, not yet 40. He was palpably threatened by the concept of the midlife Queen. He finally said, “I just can’t relate to this book.” Duh! No kidding. But since when do you need to have diabetes to publish a book about diabetes?

It was clear that there would be no support for The Queen whatsoever.

I could not just sit back and let it die on the vine. Besides, how could I deign to write a book about empowerment if I let that little twerp stand on my neck?


The Queen takes charge. She steps up to the situations of Her life and takes back the reins of Her power.

So after much research and soul searching, I paid back the advance and bought back my rights. My first three books spanned the spectrum of publishers: one with Astro Artz, an obscure, now-defunct California house; one with Avalon, a distinguished mid-level consortium; and one with Putnam, a huge publisher with many imprints. My experience with them all led me to believe that I could not do worse!

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No sooner did I make the terrifying decision to establish a publishing company and publish the book myself, than I received an amazing affirmation of the correctness of my decision. On my way home from filing the registration papers for Monarch Press, I stopped at the post office. There in my box was a handwritten blurb for the cover of The Queen of My Self sent in completely unsolicited by Dr. Christiane Northrup:

Finally, an archetype of midlife power and maturity that I can relate to — The Queen. Thank you Donna for providing this much-needed missing piece of women’s wisdom.

So, with my partner Daile Kaplan I founded Monarch Press and assembled a Dream Queen Team. Daile generously shared her resources and business acumen and came up the name, Monarch Press. Deirdre Mullane, my literary agent, supplied wenty-five years of publishing experience and know how as well as brilliant editing. Patricia Smith created the gorgeous, elegant book design and branding logo, as well as the template for The Queen’s Chronicles. Janet Fish designed the website and keeps it running. Janice Pemberton and Sarah Reynolds took on the administration and distribution.

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Together we made a book that has won a very wide audience, critical acclaim and awards and Amazon.com bestseller status. But most important, we operated out of our ideals and we learned invaluable lessons in the process. We were all empowered in our personal lives in one way or another by having chosen to do what we believed in.

The Queen chooses always to involve Herself fully in the process of Her life and living, and to actively direct the drama of Her own myth.

Now over ten years, seventy-eight issues of The Queen’s Chronicles, six hundred and forty-five blogs, hundreds of gatherings and countless letters and emails later, I can see the rewards of my determination to take the Queen to the women, at whatever cost — You! You are the reward. You all. Us. You and me together, mature wise women changing the world from the inside out.

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Knowing through Her personal experience what is true and valuable, and having learned, usually the hard way, to be proactive, She pledges Her royal Self to defend and promote all that is precious.

 

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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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