The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Gratitude

posted by Donna Henes

When we expand and grow and the situations of our lives start to flow, when the going is good and the living gets easier, it seems only natural to be thankful. But what about all those times when nothing seems to budge? When we are stuck in the rush hour traffic jam of daily life and our bodies and souls start to feel like banged up bumper cars? When we are tested and pounded and pummeled. When things seem so crazy and out of control we wonder what do we have to be thankful for?

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.
- Melodie Beattie

The greatest gift of the mind is, perhaps, perspective. Our reflective, rational side keeps us in balance, helps us from running wild with our myopic emotions. “Well,” my dear Daile once calmly commented in the midst of an intense work disaster that would normally have driven her quite mad, “at least nobody died.” That’s it, exactly. If we have a healthy sense of perspective, our lives become infinitely more precious to us and we automatically operate with an attitude of gratitude. In the words of Queen Doris Lessing, gratitude is “to feel heat strike the skin, a delight to stand upright, knowing the bones are moving easily under the flesh.”

Those of us who have ourselves been ill, or who care-take others, have earned a certain understanding of this point of view. Aging helps, too. Even so, for most of us it is a daily, hourly, minutely learned lesson — one that we easily forget. One that we would be wise to remember. Despite the fears of economic doom, we all have an amazing abundance of abundance in our lives. Let us give thanks.

We are in possession of the greatest gift of being alive. Let us appreciate the bountiful blessings of breath and food and love.

All we have in this world is our life. We owe it to ourselves, the living, to be very, very grateful to be alive in this magnificent world. We owe it to the dead to honor their presence and influence in our life and times. We owe it to the entire complicated universe to live our precious life with full consciousness, conscience, and compassion.

And we owe it to Life, itself, to wake up each morning and retire each night filled with reverence and awe at the mighty miracle of it all, humbled, to have been even an infinitesimal part of the wonder, the wisdom, the intricately woven web of the world.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay
attention, how to fall down
into the grass…
how to be idle and
blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been
doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t
everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to
do with your one wild and precious life?”

– Mary Oliver
“The Summer Day”

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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 Universal Golden Rule

posted by Donna Henes

Most of us were raised with some version of The Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

The Golden Rule teaches that we should treat others as we, ourselves, would wish to be treated. This basic ethic is repeated in a multitude of variations in the texts of all the great religions of the world. And, really, what else is there to say?

BAHÁ’Í
If thou lookest for justice, choose thou for others what thou chooses for thyself.

BUDDHISM
Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.

CHRISTIANITY
As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

CONFUCIANISM
Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not unto others that you would not have them do unto you.

GNOSTICISM
If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.

HINDUISM
This is the sum of all true righteousness: deal with others as thou wouldst thyself be dealt by. Do nothing to thy neighbor, which thou wouldst not have him do to thee after.

ISLAM
No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.

JAINISM
Indifferent to worldly objects, a man should wander about, treating all creatures in the world as he himself would be treated.

JUDAISM  
What is hateful to you do not to others. That is the entire Law, all the rest is commentary.

NATIVE AMERICAN
The Universe is the Mirror of the People, and each person is a Mirror to every other person.

SIKHISM
As thou deemest thyself, so deem others; then shalt thou become a partner in Heaven.

SHINTOISM
Irrespective of their nationality, language, manners and culture, men should give mutual aid, and enjoy reciprocal, peaceful pleasure by showing in their conduct that they are brethren.

TAOISM
The good man ought to pity the malignant tendencies of others; to rejoice over their excellence; to help them in their straits; to regard their gains as if they were his own, and their losses in the same way.

WICCA
And ye harm none, do what ye will, lest in thy self-defense it be, ever mind the rule of three.

ZOROASTRANISM
That nature only is good when it shall not do unto another whatever is not good for its own self.

There is an important caveat here. Notice that there are endless permutations on the theme “Do Unto Others What You Would Have Others Do Unto You.” Or, “Love They Neighbor as Thyself.” Not one — not one single one — says anything like “Love They Neighbor More than Thyself.”

It is very clear that love of thy neighbor is predicated on the assumption of love for thyself. How can we, after all, love humanity as a whole and not love ourselves? Are we not included? If we are not human, what are we? Some slug-like subspecies? Deities on high, exempt from the human struggle? Rocks?

Imagine the world full of people who honor their own sacred worth and grant that same respect to every other person on Earth.

What a golden world it would be.

Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.
- Lucille Ball
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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.

Broken Heart Work

posted by Donna Henes

A Message for those doing the hard work of heart work…
by Shiloh McCloud


When everything you think you know
changes
what do you do then?
When all that you dreamed you might cause
shifts
what do you dream then?
When who you thought you were
isn’t
how then to re-invent?
When how you believed the world to be
deconstructs
how shall you trust again?
When the ideas of childhood are no longer
whole
how do you re-connect to innocence?
When the instruction manual you have been using
de-materializes
what step-by-step do you follow?
When the life you thought you would have
is out of view
how then shall you claim a new one?
When the paradigm you were living in
no longer makes sense
how do you enter one that matches who you are?
When your heart hurts and the crack is opening
even more
how do you continue to love and to listen?
When the unraveling has begun you must just wait
on the Beloved.
Sit in the broken sanctuary of your own heart
even if the wonder and cries are so loud,
that you cry all day. Know that you are not alone.
Don’t try to get through it, get it done
or rush to the next thing or to resolution
or the illusiveness of completion.
Don’t make up new stories to go in the place
of the old ones.

Sit in the discomfort and the spaciousness.

Practice the thought that somewhere in your consciousness you have a memory or thought that remembers that healing is possible.

Healing is possible
Creator built renewal into my bones
The heart knows how to do it’s work
Allow me to be present for this process
Give me the strength and courage to hold on
I surrender knowing what it will look like
while at the same time claiming to be a part
of the great unfolding of my life, and this life
I will not rush myself
I will not let others dictate my own cadence
I will wait on the Beloved
I will practice faith even when I don’t know what that is.
And I will continue to open myself to miracles
Amen

* ***
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 Message of Peace

posted by Donna Henes

I have an outgoing message on my answering machine that doesn’t even say, “Hello.” It just starts right in with, “You know there really is still a chance for peace and that chance will definitely increase if we each do our piece. So let’s make peace — in our homes, in our own hearts, in our relationships, in our communities, in all of our dealings and in the world. Peace be with us all.”

Much to my surprise, the very people whom I never would have thought would respond favorably have. The overwhelmingly positive reactions that I have received from workmen, telephone solicitors and service personnel has been an important lesson about the necessity to reach out beyond the boundaries of our biases, assumptions and expectations.

A few weeks ago, I came home to a message from the plumber who was making an appointment to fix my sink. After listening to my taped pep talk, he answered in his gravely Brooklyn brogue, “Yeah, what is this war all about, anyway? Why are we fighting those people? They never hurt us.” This, from someone I would have assumed to be a proponent of the war.

The electrician, another guy who really shocked me, loves the message and calls in daily just to hear it! Once I was here when he called and when I picked up, he complained. “Let me call back again,” he implored. “I want to hear the message. It makes me feel good.” The reason, he explained, is that it is not political. It is personal. And it touches his heart.

But why was I surprised? People are just people, after all. When you think about it, all people are of a like-mind when it comes to living a life unthreatened by hatred and violence. The urgency for war only seems enticing when it is waged elsewhere. Ask anyone. “Do you want bombs and missiles to blow up your house?”

Every parent has the right to put her/his child to sleep each night without any risk of that child being shot, trapped in the midst of some hostile crossfire — be it in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ireland, The Congo, Palestine, or the South Bronx. No one wants to live and work in a war zone.
* ***
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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