Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Falling apart at mid-life

I remember weeping in the bathtub

I remember muscles soft like mush, a broken knee, walking with crutches

I remember healing in the sun-filled solarium in winter, listening to Yo Yo Ma

I remember falling apart

I remember  getting a frozen shoulder a few years later, after bursitis, and walking 2 large dogs every day; the acupuncturist said, can’t anybody else walk the dogs?

I remember tears, and playing lullabies to soothe myself to sleep

I remember daily naps, in the afternoon

I remember asking my daughter to tuck me in at 8:30 cause I couldn’t stay awake

I remember sleeping with a heating pad under my shoulders, intense pain

I remember backing out of many volunteer jobs because I could not handle the stress; And then my shoulders got better

I remember being disappointed in myself

I also remember how hard I tried to be good,  to be counted on, and reliable and how I felt ashamed of not seeing things through.

But my brain was mush, my legs were mush and I was in a fog, lying in pieces on the floor

I wrote poems about this, but nobody wanted to hear them

I could not hide my failing apartness, nor my wicked mood swings

I needed solitary confinement or a straitjacket, not to harm my children with all the yelling.

I yelled a lot, for no reason

As I said, the walls were not holding

It was a time of falling down

And ceasing to pick myself up.

It did not last forever. 

t just felt like it.

Jennifer Boire

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Self-Love: a Book with Useful Tools for Growth

I admit I am a bit of a self-help book junkie. There is always a new book on my night table, one that I am convinced will heal my wounds, change my life, advance me past my fears into a great fulfilling life of my dreams. That's what they all promise, right?

But sometimes you come across a book that really does have tools you can use and feel the effects of immediately. Sometimes, one of your mentors (this time, Dr. Christiane Northrup, an author I admire) points you in a direction that feels like an important next step, and I'm very grateful I stumbled on the link in her newsletter.

The book she recommended is The MindBody Code, by Dr. Mario Martinez. The subtitle says it all: How to Change the Beliefs that Limit your Health, Longevity and Success. That may sound like a tall order, but I promise you, it's not another 12 week course in journaling, chakra realignment or magical thinking.

I found a really good interview and synopsis of the book online (below), so I won't write my own review here. Check it out:

Suffice it to say, this week I've been reading the book, and writing in my journal as I do some of the simple exercises. I had put the book aside for several months, then some members of my family came to visit, which usually triggers some old wounds and past emotional snaggles. So it almost jumped off the bookshelf for me this week, and I opened it randomly to the chapter on Forgiviness as Liberation from self-entrapment.

I have read a lot of books lately on self-care, self-love, lovingkindness, and while they offer worthy affirmations, thoughts and exercises, somehow I always get tripped up by not being able to put them into practice. Dr Martinez says that's because underneath our good intentions to love ourselves, are our feelings of not being worthy and deserving.  He uses simple tools to bring to mind memories of wounds, then bringing to mind memories of corresponding "healing fields". "What heals is the mindful recognition that you are the owner of these empowering deeds", he says.

There is much more to this, and of course, I'm still reading and rereading the book, so I'll let you check it out for yourself, and learn how to rescue your empowerment and feel gratitude and self-love increase in your life.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spring Energy

I am learning something powerful and useful in my 61st year. I'm starting to become more aware of what feeds my energy and what drains my energy, and where my cycles flow up or down.

For instance, this winter I laid low., very low, lots of resting and napping to get me through the cold winter and lack of light. On sunny days, I sometimes laid on the rug with the cat and dog, soaking up the light. I made a lot of art, collages and SoulCollage(R), but no lesson plans.

My coach had suggested to look at my calendar and schedule a year in advance, and notice in which parts I felt most inspired and energetic, and when I usually felt low energy. Up until now, I used to begin teaching classes every January and April following the school year. But this winter, I realized I'd be tired after the holidays and put it off.

And put it off, and put it off.

I spent the months of January til March recuperating, as well as dancing and singing in a Broadway show, but I didn't teach any classes. (I did lead my first long distance retreat, in Costa Rica, which was fun & challenging). But I kept thinking my energy would come back, and it finally did - once the play was over, end of March!

In some ways, this has been a Year of Living Selfishly, by which I mean, soulfully listening in to my Self to see what need comes up first  - what my body, heart and soul need.  (and since my kids are studying out of town, it's mostly  'me time' anyway). It's taken a lot of patience, (and I am not by nature very patient) but I'm learning to listen in.  Actually, I keep thinking I've found the "next thing", the next project, the ideas on the back burner come forward, and then go right back to simmer mode. It's been hard to not dig up the roots and stir the earth around the little shoots to pull them up out of the ground.

I did, however, come up with a Seasonal Retreat plan. Instead of deciding last minute, I've actually got a women's spring retreat for April 30 and one for August 6 (Summer Retreat). The Fall and Winter retreats will be end of October and end of January. 4 Seasons, 4 Retreats.

What have I learned about myself in this process? that there's no point pushing things - I'm a Type A person who likes to organize and plan ahead - but this is not a full-time job for me, there is no where to punch in. I am my own boss and I can adjust my schedule. What I do need, at this venerable age of 61, is to envision my work as a cycle that feeds me as well as feeding other women - all the Creative Circle classes and retreats I've lead in the last 8-10 years, have been very fulfilling. But as a teacher and facilitator, sometimes I'm on the "leading" side of things and not receiving as much as I need to.

I'm just musing here, but it is slowly become clearer. I journal every morning, and that helps me see patterns. I practice collage in my Art Journal and SoulCollage(R). I make myself mini-retreats to check in on a weekly basis and ask for guidance.  Having a creative life is not a linear thing, and surprisingly, I'm just learning that.  The spiral of life, and of life energy, moves in and out, around and back. The cycle of the year, of the months and the moon, is connected to my energy cycles and even sleep cycles.

So it begins with listening in. It begins with circling my self, with keen awareness. Sitting down and paying attention, hearing the still small voice that guides me so subtly. Making a friend, yes, befriending that soul energy that is flowing underneath my list of 'to do's and my activities. Changing gears at the last minute, if it feels right to.

Mapping and making art with Cat Caracelo has been very nurturing and nourishing. thanks to this artful process, I'm gaining new insights.

Spring Energy is definitely here!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Where is Beauty, A Poem for April, National Poetry Month


in the eye
or somewhere inside
the body


on its wheel


in sunlight

Study the humility
of grass

the steadfast

Hold on to this breath-thread

to calm my


Jennifer Boire

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sacred Self-Care Retreat

9:30 TO 4:30 PM
Restorative yoga & guided meditation with Debra Leibovitch
Creative Play/SoulCollage(R) with Jennifer Boire

Spring is here: It is time for some sacred self-care, some down time, some tranquil restorative movement. It is your time now, to receive tender nurturance and find Creative Flow. Let this day long retreat in a natural beautiful landscape soothe your soul and help you restore your energy.

As we open our eyes and our hearts to the always, already present holding environment which is our true nature, we behold the drop of grace which pours through the eyes of everyone we meet, including that unknown precious one that we see when we look in the mirror. And then all that could possibly remain is an unshakeable faith in love’s perfection.  - The Mystery of Holding


Monday, March 07, 2016

Writing and your Creative Process

image from:

Someone asked me today what my creative process was like. Did I use a pen and paper, or type directly onto a computer? Did it really take me four years to publish The Tao of Turning Fifty? And that started a long conversation, in which the following tips came up. Some of them I am trying for the first time, like doing different kinds of writing at different times of day.

Make it special: I’ve moved my desk three times in the last year, and each time there was something ‘not right’ about the spot – view great, internet connection lousy, or no view, great desk and internet. Or Room is too cold! I need some sun and a warm sweater. So finding the right spot is important, in the quietest corner of your house preferably, or if you need noise and stimulation, find a busy cafe somewhere out of the house, but make it your “special” spot. It helps to create a routine.

Ritual: some of us don’t like to do the same thing twice, others like to perform little rituals of preparation. It could be as simple as lighting a candle or making a cup of hot Chai, but if you prime your subconscious mind that ‘this is how my writing time begins’ with an additional signal or ritual, it can help you get past the mind blocks your inner critic throws at you, like ‘now is not a good time, there’s all that laundry waiting’, or “now is never a good time, you suck at writing”. I may need to light some incense or play some 70’s music (David Bowie) to inspire me to write about my teen years, for instance. That’ll put me right back in my 16 year old bedroom with the turntable and my younger sister sharing a room...egads!

Treats: add a treat to the ritual! Don’t look at writing as a punishment, and crack the whip. Get out the licorice or dark chocolate. Give yourself a reward for getting your bum into the chair and doing it. Make it something not too distracting: vodka or rum may lead to relaxation, but you might not get very much writing done. Then again, whatever turns you on....

Writing schedule: this has never worked for me. Every year, I make resolutions, I rearrange my priorities, I skip yoga so I can I decided that realistically, mornings are best for creative writing: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings I will write for 90 minutes, in my journal, long hand. And in the afternoons, I will give myself another 90 minutes for ‘business’ writing on the computer: Facebook posting, quote gathering, promotional blurbs and blog writing. We’ll see if this works. My theory is that as I finish meditation at 8:30 a.m. or so, and  my journal is close by my bed, the morning time will be best for musing and creative writing. Then again, my kids are studying away from home, and once my husband leaves for work I have the house to myself. Choose a time that works for you. And one you will actually be able to do.

Know your self: this sounds obvious, but you need to be able to describe who you are, what you do, what your expertise or area of knowledge is, why you want to write this book – I am a powerful beginning. Think of those 30 second elevator speeches that force you to summarize everything you know into a few short lines. You’ll need this on your book jacket.

Network with the people who love what you love: there are many more readers of books out there than you realize. Don’t get discouraged by all the books already published (I know the feeling, it hits me whenever I enter a bookstore). Join a writers club ( for example), connect with other writers and you’ll learn tips, share experiences, and maybe find your audience (depending on whether you are a fitness instructor or a romantic novelist). MindBodyGreen  has published several articles of mine, and now I’m looking at TinyBuddha to find like-minded readers.

Hire a copy editor: if you are self-publishing, and want this to turn into a viable book, don’t just proofread and correct your own spelling. Hire an editor, a neutral third person whose only job is to see what is working (or not) in your syntax and punctuation. They will also be a good first reader in general. Get a few quotes and compare. I found a good one, in Canada, at

These are just some of the things that help. If you have anything else that works for you, please feel free to share it with us!


Thursday, March 03, 2016

Why Practice Self-Care

Why practice self-care?

To replenish energy, renew faith in life and yourself, be playful, express creativity and be more productive, everyone needs more down-time.

Sometimes a vacation is in order, but sometimes those vacations leave you more tired than when you left!

A Retreat is a special invitation to relax in your core, to attend to that sacred self-care you’ve been putting on the back burner for too long. A retreat is set up for you to take some time for reflection in your journal, to do some creative mapping of your inner soul, connect with other like-minded souls, and rejuvenate your energy with lots of rest and healthy food.

If your retreat is in a tropical paradise like Costa Rica, even better! Sun, sand, beach, ocean waves to soothe the frazzled spirit and provide a warm, gentle, green eco-friendly environment to refresh yourself in. I just came back from the Hummingbird Retreat, and feel so energized and renewed.
It was really a treat, to bathe in the ocean twice a day, practice chi gong under a mango tree, visit with a hummingbird in the Hibiscus flowers every morning and eat a healthy lunch around the pool. We made a lot of SoulCollage(R) cards, and did a few Readings. We practised our Hummingbird dance and attracted some stray cows wandering down the beach. We honoured the Full Moon with a fire ceremony and burned away what was no longer serving us. Mostly, we rested and played and nourished our souls.
A huge thanks to Brigitte Bauhart, ShamamamaNextDoor, for inviting me to participate in the Creative part of this retreat.

Going on a retreat is definitely part of sacred self care.

If you are curious about what a retreat looks like, or would like to know more about my retreats please contact me at  You can also sign up for my monthly newsletter on the website.
“The hummingbird spirit animal symbolizes the enjoyment of life and lightness of being. Enjoy the sweetness of life, lift up negativity wherever it creeps in and express love more fully in daily endeavors. ...The hummingbird generally symbolizes joy and playfulness, as well as adaptability. “