The Queen of My Self


 Is when we celebrate love. It is an ideal time to think about loving and caring for ourselves, which is where all love and nurturing comes from. We can’t say, “I love you” unless we can say, “I”!

By Shai Dhali 

Two years ago in February I flew to India from Canada and on February 14, 2010, circumstances pushed me through a doorway where I’d find what I’d always been looking for: Love.  At the time, I kept a journal on that readers from many corners of the world followed as if these were chapters in the book they read every night. (I saved all your comments.) I had planned on making the journal entries into stories but I haven’t done so yet. Instead, I’ve been wordlessly living what I learned. Love is a wordless activity.

What unfolded for me in India changed how I relate to my own place in humanity but only my closest friends would notice such a change because I’m still living and working in the same places as I was back then. However, what emanates and flows from me is very different. Love is my friend now; not something I’m trying to get from anyone else. For 10 years I had been actively looking for Love and when I found it, it was as if I didn’t know it had been etched into the fibers of my being all along.

Prior to this awakening, I started out 10 years earlier coming home from the library with an armload of self-help books and I’d do what they instructed: forgive ex-boyfriends, better myself, dissect the past to fix what was ‘wrong’ with me, ask friends to set me up, join a dating site and go out all the time to do the activities I enjoy because then, said the experts who wrote the books, I’d meet a guy with similar interests (especially when I wasn’t looking).

I did all this for years while friends around me did no self-improvement but still coupled, married, divorced and found “love” again. It didn’t matter that I was young, thin, with glowing skin and had dealt with all my hang-ups.  Even rounder people with blemishes had companions. Even the homeless lady who purposefully hit passers-by had someone. On Valentine’s Day one year, couples were holding hands at every corner of the intersection and it bothered me.

Then I switched off and for 2 years turned to attaining peace with just how I was, how circumstances were…and unlike what chipper, coupled people said, ‘it’ didn’t happen when I wasn’t looking. What happened instead is India.

When it comes to Love, no matter how much I can learn from instructional words about any other subject, the intellect cannot teach or reach the soul like the visceral can. I cannot teach you how I tapped into believing that Love is not a person; finding a companion to love is not the same as finding Love. I cannot even tell you how to get to the point where for me being solo generates more steadfast joy than being in a happy duo ever did for me.

If you want to tap into this kind of Love, then close your ears (and eyes on Twitter) to anyone who quotes affirmations as advice. You will never get out of your head and entrust your heart that way but you will make other people rich. If you’re looking for enduring Love, don’t waste your time on anything that promises to help you find the “perfect partner” (no lists under your pillow) or helps you improve yourself with the intention that you become the match for the kind of person you’re looking for. Really, if that’s all you want, listen to chanteuse Jill Barber instead: “Any Fool Can Fall in Love.

To help you get to Love, I can only pass on this warning: do not grasp on to any words I wrote here because when you do, when you quote, you’re moving further and further from where you want to be. (Also, do not travel to India to “find yourself” unless it’s your heritage.) You know why? Because you’re born with what you’re looking for: a heart with boundless love for you and for more people than just that peevish “Perfect Partner.”  Love is who you are. It’s not someone to curl up with, have children with, or to make you feel special and vice versa.

Those are just manifestations of it and the majority of people get caught up in caring for “the one” so that they don’t have time to nurture Love; the kind that can’t abandon them and will sustain them when that “one” is gone. Is that enough for you? Apparently it wasn’t for me, though I was ignorant of it for years.

Love is who I am. That’s why none of the superficial displays of affection on Valentine’s Day can make me feel empty-handed anymore. Love is who I am –but don’t quote me on that. One more thing, don’t go looking to tap into the Love I’m writing about; just be.
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

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