Saturday, September 20, 2014

CELEBRATE PEACE DAY 48 Hours Peacecast

Dear readers,

This is a very special broadcast, with great music, inspiring messages of hope, young people, old people, people from everywhere in the world.

check it out!   and scroll to bottom of page.

over the next 48 hours, livestreaming on your computer or laptop.

Join us, The time for Peace is Now!

love and peace

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Menopause and Marriage, How to Help Your Man

Hot flashes, mood swings, dealing with emotions, (especially increased PMS), anger, feeling out of control - night sweats, flooding, sleepless's all a bit much to share as a couple. Poor men who have to live with us!

What can you do to make it a smoother transition time for all?

Menopause expert Susun Weed suggests two things: take a sabbatical (if you're a mom, not really possible) or  get away as much as you can. And talk it over with your family, especially your husband or partner. Let them know what you are going through.

Here's some advice form a Menopause Forum on-line:

You really do need to communicate to those around you so that they know that what you're going through is difficult, not in your control, involuntary, and not anyone's fault including them. Why be a saint? This is a time when you need SUPPORT and UNDERSTANDING and all the TLC that you can get.  (Daily Strength)

I heartily agree. Going through Menopause may be a breeze for some small percentage of women, but for most of us, it feels like we're in the middle of a tornado, an emotional rollercoaster, and unfortunately the ones we love most are directly in the line of fire.

Taking time away was the most beneficial remedy for me - my mind was split and scattered in so many directions, I didn't know who I was or what I wanted, even in my marriage. It helped me to get away for a weekend retreat, or even just spend a day away from home, to think my own thoughts. It wasn't entertainment or distraction I was looking for, (although some women swear by Girls' Nights Out and alcohol or weed). What I wanted was a calm, serene environment, preferably with no loud noises, no radio or TV, almost a padded white room, where I could hear myself think.

Your husband will appreciate your newly recharged, serene self when you return. It's a wise investment in your couple to get away alone.

Ask for Help: My husband is not good at reading self-help books, so I needed to give him a resume of what the symptoms were, and what I was doing to help myself. Unfortunately, I had to break my leg before I was really able to ask for help. Then he got on board, made lunches in the morning, drove the kids to school, took them skiing on the weekends, and ended up spending more one on one time with them. I needed to step back from being Overarching Boss of Everything.

Menopause affects Momma big time, so naturally it affects the whole house. The best thing you can do is figure out what you need to feel better. If you suffer from severe lack of sleep, mood swings, depression, fatigue or burn-out, that just makes it worse. Get some help, see a women's health specialist, whether doctor, nurse or naturopath, and find out what's at the root of your imbalance. Don't blame all your symptoms on Menopause. If it doesn't feel normal, it's not normal. You can get saliva testing or hormone and blood tests, and get to the bottom of what is off kilter.Bottom line is, if you feel better, everyone will feel better: 

I do know this, at mid-life women are challenged with turning their attention onto them selves for a change. Proper diet, good exercise, a good night's sleep, sharing the work load with others, asking for help and not trying to be Superwoman will all help you cope better.

But do talk to your family. Let your husband and loved ones know that this is temporary, this is not You! And ask for their help and support. Don't shove it under the rug. It's time to have another kind of "Talk", the Menopause Talk.

take good care now,

ps a great article in the Globe & Mail Life & Arts page today. Fire and rescue in the marriage bed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Menopause Mothers 10 Ways to Feed Your Soul

I have gathered the challenges and gifts at mid-life and menopause, and there are many. But as I listen to women who are still mothering, with children under their roofs and in their hair, I realize there is a great conflict that arises due to our 'late blooming' motherhood, or having children in our late 30's and early 40's.

They (children) still need our presence, but we feel uber-irritated by their constant demands. The world in general gets on our nerves, big time! We are ready for the Big Pause, but can't see how to do it.

At menopause, ladies, we are called to withdraw our over-caring of everyone else and go within, seek our authentic self, gifts and talents, and do some much needed reflecting on our life purpose. For this we need some down time.  But who will give it to us?

Susun Weed suggests a year's sabbatical for women at menopause, but that ain't happening when you've got kids at home. How to deal with this split in consciousness, and divided loyalties without dropping the ball on mothering, or on self-care?

Here are some practical  ways to soothe your soul and your need for creative introspection without feeling Guilty:

1. Find some like-minded women to share some deep talk with. Being seen and heard feeds your soul. You'll feel less crazy once you realize you are not alone, you are not the only one who is sleepless at night and hot flashing all day. Quit tearing your hair out, and let down your hair with your sistahs!

2. Release the Good Girl 'tude right now! Good mother, daughter, wife - we were trained for this from an early age, especially if you were born in the 50's. Give yourself permission to be SELF-FUL, not selfish. A little more self-compassion will go a long way. Do something JUST for YOU once a week, or once a day if you can swing it. When is the last time you bought yourself from roses? Repeat after me, I am worthy and deserving!

3. Practice peace - whether it's breathing, centering, meditation, yoga, chi gong, tai chi or a cup of herbal tea  - find some time to find your own rhythm and you will feed your soul's need for tranquility and silence. Just cut out one of those volunteer activities and make time for Peace.

4. Body work to release stress and get in touch with emotions. You need to feel to heal. Choose the modality that works for you - Reiki, massage, EFT, Rolfing, Shamanic journeying, talk therapy. Stress freezes our muscles, and when we bury our feelings, they end up Exploding in PMS - don't let the Bitch Goddess take over your life.  Dealing with feelings is healing!

5. Learn to RECEIVE: this is the hardest but the most rewarding thing on this list. OVERGIVING is our #1 downfall or trap, as women and mothers. Enlist the help of your family in daily tasks. Don't let the well go dry, or you'll have nothing but bitterness and resentment.  See #4: getting a massage is very nourishing, not just for your body and skin, but for your inner self who needs to fill up the well before she can give out again. Weekly would be good, monthly may be more realistic, but once a year is NOT enough.

6. Eject the Superwoman Mantle: learn how to say no, and ask for help. Takes practice, I know, but it's worth it. You cannot do it all alone. You are no longer capable of Multi-tasking, so give it up!

7. Embrace the end of Fertility- make peace with the end of your cycle. Face your fears of entering a new cycle. You're not old, but 50 is a meeting with mortality and a limited time frame. You can't mourn the empty nest yet, but you can celebrate the growing maturity of your kids, and realize how quickly the nest will be empty. Soon, now Mama, soon. Journal about it, and celebrate your Menopause with some cronies.

8. Get Creative: your new cycle involves creatively exploring that energy that used to go into making babies. Your energy is moving up and out of the womb center into your Heart, throat, Wisdom and Insight centers. Growing your intuitive powers and Dreams. Listening and Expressing this new found creativity is essential for your happiness. Find out what you LOVE to do, then Flow with it! Many women go back to school, or take pottery or piano classes, creative writing, SoulCollage(r), photography - what turns you on?

9. Recognize this is a Sacred Journey - a Heroine's Quest. Your life stages have brought you this far. How can you learn to see the symptoms of menopause as gifts? ie Fatigue is a message you need to rest more. Hot flashes are really just Power Surges. See the Soulful Woman website and listen to the Gold Tent for more about the gifts of Menopause:

10. Give yourself a break before you need a breakdown. REST is the most essential nutrient for the menopausal mom. As important as good nutrition and exercise. Your body is the vehicle - you can't pedal to the metal all the time. Take good care of you, and just lie down and rest, as often as needed. Write yourself a prescription for Self-Care. I will rest whenever I feel overwhelmed.

So try healing and feeling instead of yelling and freezing up, finding peace instead of feeding the frazzle. Anger and impatience are all symptoms that you are Doing Too Much and need to get away.

It's your time, baby, and even though Mothering is a challenge right now, you will get through this. It is temporary insanity, I promise you. I made it through without a huge bill for therapy, and my kids at 22 and 24 seem really well adjusted and are still speaking to me! And if you really feel like the straitjacket is calling you, get away on Retreat!

Take good care of you, darling, Mother Nature is begging you,

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Turning 60: Looking in the Mirror

Have you looked in the mirror and thought these thoughts?

Every time I look in the mirror, I understand this is just the beginning for me (at 49). I just want to shoot myself.
I am so sick of my body, I just wear baggy clothes
i hate looking at myself, and trying new clothes on in changing rooms. 
I wouldn't dare do it naked. !!! Eeeekkk....!!

A lot of menopausal women go through a period of self-hatred it appears. I know I've had moments like that, especially when I was down in the dumps, in the midst of menopause misery, with twenty extra pounds and a feeling of general despair. Love handles, saddle bags, my hips swimming in extra fat like the Venus of Willendorf!

But today, on the cusp of 60, I feel better about myself than ever. What happened to make the difference between 49 and 59? A lot of work on myself, a little therapy, some Energy Healing and Reiki, some workshops and courses on Rites of Passage, and mostly, in leading workshops and classes for women I have come to understand myself, and the whole mid-life process, so much better. But I'm still a bit stuck on a few aging issues.

It's a work in progress, right? my life, my self-acceptance, my compassion for myself instead of the harsh inner criticism I usually shoot myself down with. 

Looking in the mirror is especially fraught with mixed emotions.

This morning, looking in the mirror quickly, running a brush through my hair on the way to a Grooming appointment for my little shitzu who looks ragged and messier than I do, this is what I saw:

Today, I feel like I should maybe not colour my hair brownish red again, but allow the silver and grey to shine through. My roots are showing! does that make me look like a lazy person, or slovenly, or just tired?

I look at my face in the mirror - after putting on five different creams - a cleanser, a toner, anti-aging serum, face tightening, eye corrector and a day or night cream with SPF - a new ritual started only a month ago, with Arbonne natural products (or mostly natural!).

Fact: I have had two basal cell carcinomas, so I need to protect my skin from the sun, and the top of my head, my scalp, with a hat.

Fact: I want my skin to be a little tanned, less cadaverous white, but not burn.

Fact: my wrinkles are not overly visible, it's my double chin that bothers me, but mostly in photos (taken at a weird angle, or leaning back too much).

Fact: I think I still look youngish, I still feel young. Until I notice the way some cashier or bag boy at the supermarket looks at me, or rather, doesn't look at me.

Fact: recently, my breasts have perked up again. Less saggy. Is it the weight loss? the low carbs hi protein diet helped me lose 15 lbs. Is the zumba and yoga classes, more exercise? I like what I see, for the first time in years.

My tummy has a bit of an overhang, especially where my horizontal scar is from that ectopic pregnancy umpteen years ago. But it's not too visible under tight T's.

My legs are still slim (but then, so are Mom's at 83, always have been).

Mirrors are tricky. They can be my worst enemy. Sometimes I prefer not to look, but my bathroom is full of's hard to avoid. I do like to check out my silhouette in store windows. Is that vanity? or just checking that I haven't been swallowed up in body fat like Jonah in the whale.

How do you feel when you look in the mirror? Are crow's feet, laugh lines and saggy bottoms getting you down? 

Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Taking the Pain out of Sex

Many, many women at mid-life find sex painful.

Some find it painful because of vaginal dryness, but some have deeper issues. Have you heard of vulvodynia? a chronic condition that affects the labial area. Or Vaginismus - involuntary clenching of vaginal muscle?

Only because a friend of mine in her early fifties complained about vulvodynia, had I ever heard about this ailment. She ended up seeing an energy worker/naturopath who helped her understand the issues behind the pain.

The Globe and Mail published an informative article in June 2014 : Read it here:

I hope if you experience vaginal pain, or pain during intercourse, that you will strive to get some good medical advice, or even seek some alternative health advice from energy workers, homeopaths or osteopaths. There are many facets to our pain bodies: mental, emotional, spiritual and physical. It can be wonderfully freeing to imagine four different ways your body is sending you a message on all 4 levels.

Be curious, don't be satisfied with a doctor telling you nothing is wrong, it's only menopause. Or worse, writing you off as a hypochondriac. Women's sexual energies are changing at mid-life, and you must pay attention. Your kundalini energy (or wild feminine) is rising. Do not be afraid of it, or sweep it under the rug.

Pelvic physiotherapy is a recognized treatment in North America. Your ob-gyn may not have the necessary skills to help y ou, but hopefully she can refer you to a qualified therapist.

Tami Kent has written a wonderful book called The Wild Feminine,, which offers helpful visualisations and exercises for you to get in touch with the energetic side of this area. She is also a pelvic physiotherapist, if you live in the Oregon area. There is a resource section in the back of the book to help you find similar therapists.

It pays to be present to our bodies' messages. Take good care of you!

in health,

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Facing Aging at mid-life

I thought I knew a lot about mid-life, having already written a book on turning fifty, The Tao of Turning Fifty, (see book page at; it's  essentially a heads-up about the emotional turbulence of menopause and the mid-life transition. But this year I'm 59, and turning 60 in November. I want to write about it, but realize I don't have a clue about what it means to turn 60. It's definitely on my mind. 

I know it's on my mind because I am not telling anyone I'm 60 - I'm definitely still 59, and holding. Usually in other years, I have been anxious to add 6 months to my age and bump myself up to the next birthday's age. But not this year. It is a milestone, a major one, although maybe not as major as 65 - mandatory retirement age in some countries.

I did get a letter from the Quebec government asking me if I wanted to start receiving my old age pension or wait until I'm 65. It's a paltry amount, barely over $100 a month, so yes, I can wait for that. But it made me sit up and think, wait a minute, I'm just getting started. I'm not retiring yet!

Having raised a family and worked mostly at home for over 20 years, I have just begun to discover the freedom of having a work life, and an identity other than mother. I'm leading classes and retreats for women, and still studying and learning new things. I just completed a year-long training in facilitating rituals, for instance. And I'm auditioning for an ABBA based musical theatre show in the fall. Now that my kids are studying away from home, there is room for ME, and MY projects. Mid-life has been the great liberator, once I got through the ups and downs of menopause.  Does turning 60 mean I'm entering a new phase?

On the down side, I do see signs that I am not accepting aging very gracefully. I still dye my hair to cover the gray. I find it makes me look pale and tired when I let the roots grow out, - I've tried it twice now - there's just not enough glamorous shiny white hair to provide contrast. And I just bought a slew of facial products, natural based of course, to apply to my skin morning and night. Cleanser, toner, aging serum, skin tightening masque, and all. I never thought I would be a client for beauty products. See, roots showing and frown lines:

Wikipedia puts mid-life in a depressing framework: "Middle-aged adults often show visible signs of aging such as loss of skin elasticity and graying of the hair. Physical fitness usually wanes, with a 5–10 kg (10–20 lb) accumulation of body fat, reduction in aerobic performance and a decrease in maximal heart rate. Strength and flexibility also decrease throughout middle age. However, people age at different rates and there can be significant differences between individuals of the same age."

Since it's on my mind a lot, I'm trying to come up with a ritual to help women see the positive side of aging, and not just worry about wrinkle lines, laugh lines, crow's feet, saggy boobs and love handles. I realize there are many upsides - there's a rich harvest to this time of life, right? It's time to start reflecting on where you've been and where you are going, who you are, your authenticity. Instead of fearing old age, perhaps we can look at those fears and see them in a new light. Drop the external mask, and find the real inner beauty.

Reading Anam Cara by John O'Donohue, I fell eagerly upon the chapter Ageing: the Beauty of the Inner Harvest. He relates the four seasons to the seasons of the body, and of course, fall is the time of ageing. It's a book that talks a lot about the need for solitude and a quiet place to be with your own soul.

 "The beauty and invitation of old age offers a time of silence and solitude for a visit to the house of your inner memory. You can revisit all of your past.Your soul is the place where your memory lives. ... "In actual fact, old age, as the harvest of life, is a time where your times and their fragments gather. In this way you unify your self, achieve a new strength, poise and belonging that was never available to you when you were distractedly rushing through your days. Old age is a time of coming home to your deeper nature , of entering fully into the temple of your memory where all your vanished days are secretly gathered awaiting you.

Ok, so 60 is not that old. Maybe I need to dance with that world 'old' a little and find some new associations with it. Some old things are really good, like an old friend, an old worn pair of jeans that fit you just right and aren't too tight, an old comforter or quilt that has been well loved and kept you warm all your life or an old suede jacket passed down from your mother that has a special patina to it.

I invite you to muse on what ageing brings up for you. What does turning 50 mean? what does turning 60 mean? Is there less of something, or more of something? Does life seem less rich or more rich? I'll be musing on this in the weeks to come, and blogging here, so come back and check it out.


ps Our time is limited. If you make it age 80, you will have had 29,200 days on the planet. Which means that when you're 40 you only have 14,600 days left. That may sound like a lot, but it definitely feels finite; it won't go on forever. The age of 50 particularly seems to bring up fears of mortality for many people. It's do or die time. Literally. (see 

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Finding my Tribe at Mid-Life

What an amazing time this is! I don’t know if you follow astrology but there’s been a lot of planetary movement and eclipses, lots of opposing energies, lots of upheaval in the climate, in countries, and in our relationships.

But June is also that time of year when we celebrate graduations, and congratulate our kids on their talents and skills at end of year concerts. A time of ripening energies as another cycle ends, and a new season of Summer Solstice begins. It’s soon the end of my Creative Circle classes, the end of the Menopause Circle, and the beginning of a summer school with Ho Rites of Passage, where I will finish up a year-long training in ritual facilitation.

I feel especially grateful because both my children have grads this year, and last weekend was my 30th wedding anniversary. Two of my sisters came to celebrate with the 100 or so guests, as we boogied to a 70’s theme and amazing music.

What I want to really celebrate is this new found tribe of women surrounding me, in many circles of all kinds. Last Saturday, I found myself on the dance floor with my sisters and closest  girl friends, and many others of our ‘tribe’. I can still see an image etched on my brain of us ‘sistah’s’ dancing to Papa Was A Rolling Stone (remember that one?)…right up close, in front of the band. It felt blissful - feelings of closeness, of friendship, and more than that, of support, and ‘we’ve got your back’. As well as the pure joy of dancing to live soulful music, thanks to Sonja Ball’s fantastic band.

I had done something uncharacteristic a few days before and asked for help in the party planning. So many friends gave us a hand, shopped with me at Costco, moved lawn furniture, put up lanterns, pasted on Peace signs; my daughter flew in from NYC to add garlands of flowers and psychedelic lamp shades to the décor, and for once, I accepted all this help and didn’t try to do it all myself. We were shopping and decorating for 3 days for this epic 70's party.

Maybe that’s why Dr Northrup’s newsletter today struck such a chord in me today: 

“The feminine is about standing for the highest in others versus worrying about competition. It’s finding your tribe of sisters who will be there for you—and support you when you cry, when you fall, when you need someone to help with a meal. It’s understanding that interdependence is more powerful than independence—that it’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to ask for help.

It means that it’s time to take the phrase “I should be able to do this myself” and transform it to “I really appreciate your assistance. It makes it so much easier.” And it’s time to allow others the privilege of giving to you—and for you to learn how to graciously receive.”

As I have a tendency to be a solitary, independent soul, this is a new learning for me. Some of us have been trained to do it all ourselves, to never show a sign of weakness, so this is good medicine for us. Time to celebrate our interdependence with all of creation. At a recent Sweat Lodge in May, I got in touch with my need for Mother Earth/Terre Mère, for grounding and sustenance. All my relations, we said, as we clambered into the heat on all fours. Yes, all plants, all animals, all humans, are my relations. I depend on them for my existence.

So that’s my invitation to you (and myself) this June, and for the whole summer season. 

How can you let down your guard, be less self-contained, ask for help? How can you begin to open up to the feminine art of receiving from others, getting support, not trying to Soldier On no matter what, (which often leads to bitter resentments and hurt feelings when no-one reads our minds). 

How can you open up to, and accept, your belonging in the tribe?

Have a wonderful summer, this incredible time of abundance and celebrations.

Thank you for being part of my tribe!



Friday June 13th: Creative Woman’s Soul Retreat, yoga/journaling/SoulCollage®. Registration has been filled.