Friday, December 22, 2006

Solstice Greetings

Winter solstice

Happy Christmas, Kwanza, Hannukah, Festival of Light: today is the shortest day, and the beginning of the return of the light. The sun will stay a few minutes longer every day, until it lengthens, incrementally, into summer once again.

It’s also about Christmas trees, wrapping presents, kids going nuts with exams and then whoopee – 2 weeks off school. Yikes!

Usually it’s a hectic, crazy, too-many-parties time of year. This time I’m pacing myself; my shopping was done last week. Miracle! Still lots of time to wrap presents, for some of the 20 family members on each side. Our first party has come and gone; we danced like crazy, had a wild time, drank some great wine and survived the morning after. One down, only five more to go….

You wanna know what’s on my Christmas list? Besides diamonds and pearls? No really, simplicity would be good. I started in November by cleaning out my cupboard of old work clothes. I haven’t worked in an office in over 12 years. Why was I saving those suits with shoulder pads?

Second on my list, living in the moment, having an awareness of joy seep into me. My deepest desire is to feel that I am being guided with every step. That would take a lot of stress off. To know that I’m always in the right place at the right time, if I can slow down enough to appreciate it.

This morning I sat with an intention, a prayer, to let go and trust the higher power. Inside this frame, this container -- what is holding me? Can I let myself be rocked inside the empty space, hear the channel of breath rising and falling, echo of the great wind that breathes me? Help me let go, lose the fear, feel the love.

I have a companion on the path, a guide and I ask him for help too. He says love is stronger than fear.

He also says, “If you want to increase your blessings, start counting them.”

I wish you all a multitude of blessings!

Happy Return of the Light!


Monday, December 18, 2006

Body Guidance

"For healing to occur, we must come to see that we are not so much responsible for our illnesses as responsible to them. ...see it not as the enemy to be 'curecd' but as an aspect of [our] own inner guidance that [i]s trying to direct attention toward health enhancing changes in [] life."
Dr. Christiane Northrup, M.D. Women's Bodies Women's Wisdom

This amazing book came into my life by accident, as wisdom sometimes does. My aunt Betsy had sent it to my mother for Christmas. It sat on the coffee table, and I couldn't take my eyes off the title.

This was about 10 years ago I think, and I doubt if my mother ever had a chance to read the book (she wasn't interested at the time) because my sisters and I nabbed it. Since then I have lent it out to many women. One woman got a second opinion about a hysterectomy and ended up not having or needing one because of this book.

It led me to teach a journal writing course called Writing the Body a few years later, incorporating some exercises I learned from a workshop with Marion Woodman (i.e. having a dialogue with your uterus) with some ideas of Northrup's. I love the idea that our bodies' connection with the emotional system is so linked, so metaphorical. Breaking a leg meaning 'having to stand on one's own two feet', for instance. Breast cancer linked to too much giving, ie breasts = nurturance.

My own connection to my body seems to be blocked at the neck. I've been taking yoga classes for about ten years and although I am still a beginner in the asanas, I just started a daily practice to keep me grounded and in touch with the belly during the day. Being conscious, or mindful as some people say, requires a lot of practice. It's so much easier to live in your head!

Inside my body are so many emotions, ignored, not wanted, neglected or denied. The emotions stuffed down 'there', eaten in haste, swallowed in shame. Listening to the belly wisdom or body guidance, is about getting in touch with what is there, about letting it be, not trying to push it away, or run from it. It catches up with us anyway, in back spasms, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, chronic shoulder and neck pain, arthritis, a myriad of messengers begging us not to live in denial of our feelings.

I believe it's harder still to live with the illnesses that are a consequence of too much stuffing down.

I notice how my belly tightens when I'm hearing something that makes me anxious or afraid. Breathe into it. Stretch into it. Accept what is.

Take it easy, I remind myself. Don't sweat it. Breathe deeply.

Then I also remind myself, my body guidance will not become natural and instinctual overnight.

Fill the belly bowl with breath, let it out, and release.
one more time, now...



Thursday, December 14, 2006

Belly Wisdom Sweetness

If I could be my own healer, what would I do? Maybe lie down on the ground and just breathe, or listen to a flute playing on a recording while a chanting voice hovers in the background.

Maybe let my cat come and lie down on my belly.

Or maybe do some yoga, and get in touch with my own belly wisdom.

What does my belly (or deep feminine soul) have to say? It might invite me to

- stay inside the channel of breath
- feel the corridor of energy up and down my body
- feel the life energy inside the body temple

Inside me is a home for thought, a temple of self-knowing; my belly is a womb carrier, a soul belly bowl, a child-maker cell cooker, a sower of seeds, reaper of blood, life holder bird watcher, cloud bringer, wind no wind breath mover, compass of compassion, place of gut vision.

She, belly wisdom, echoes back distress or acceptance. Anxious yearning or presence of love.

Breathe into the belly-heart beat.

Laugh into the heart of the belly.

Find home base, here, deep inside the breath. Here, she is at home.

I am at home, in my body. Mind focussed, light on, feeling peace, acceptance of my shadow and pain, breath moves up into my heart from the belly, and up into throat, and higher. All the centers light up, root to crown.

From crown to root, all my centers lit.
I hug my body to the bone
and breathe my heart smile into my belly of peace.

That is sweet.



Monday, December 11, 2006

The soul of sexuality

Imagine living in a culture where sex was a sacrament rather than a sin! Dr. Christiane Northrup

Imagine Eve embracing the snake...

“Kundalini is a special kind of energy known in many cultures... Kundalini is said to be hot, fast, powerful, and large. It exists within the earth, within all life, and within each person. …Yogis spend lifetimes learning how to wake up their Kundalini so they may experience enlightenment. Success causes a surge of super-heated energy to travel through the body, firing the nerves, dilating blood vessels, and altering the nature of reality. Sounds like a hot flash to me.” Susun Weed, New Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way

“Orangutans do not go into menopause. Chimpanzees do not need extract of mare pee…. Only in human females does the fertility program shut down years before death.” Natalie Angier, Woman An Intimate Geography

“Sex is the mysterious binding energy that keeps the electrons spinning around the nucleus. It is the energy of God and spirit expressing itself in ever-changing, ever-evolving physical form...

It is the attracting energy that binds every part of the universe. …in the broadest sense, sex is spirit seeking expression in physical form." from Mother Daughter Wisdom, Dr. Christiane Northrup

“The clitoris is simply a bundle of nerves: 8,000 nerve fibers to be precise…twice the number in the penis.” Angier says a clitoris’ sole purpose seems to be to give a woman control over her own sexuality. Woman, An Intimate Geography

Sex and spirituality are both acts of love, according to Thomas Moore in The Soul of Sex. “Affection is one effective way to resolve the dualism of body and spirit….Affection is the process of making love sensual…giving sex the soul it needs so as not to become aggressive, manipulative and empty.

“When spirituality and sexuality come together, like yin and yang, like husband and wife, we discover our lost security. We find the vertical life, the electric axis on which deep sensation runs into lofty spirit…” (sounds like Kundalini to me)

Sex and spirit: body infused with spirit, energy, light: LOVE equals Limitless Oscillating Vibration of Energy.

Think of that next time you make LOVE.



Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sacred Sexuality and the feminine

some unrelated or related thoughts on women's sexuality:

Kundalini is the snake energy coiled at the base of the spine, or 1st chakra. Eve married the snake....initiated into her sexual being/nature.

Borysenko says menopausal women in a hot flash are awakening kundalini energy.

Pinkola Estes’ likens a woman’s heat to her intense sensory awareness that “includes, but is not limited to, her sexuality….There were once Goddess cults devoted to irreverent female sexuality…not derogatory, but concerned with portraying parts of the unconscious that remain, yet today, mysterious and largely uncharted.”

I love her story about Baubo the belly goddess who spreads belly laughs, and cures Demeter of her sadness. Pinkola Estes says arousing the libido through dirty jokes can help break up a depression… Baubo made Demeter laugh by wiggling her hips in a suggestive way. The funny thing was, she had no head: her nipples were her eyes and her vulva was her mouth; from it came juicy jokes. (Women who run with the wolves)

The throat and the vulva are linked in eastern medicine. Two mouths, one above, one below. The one below speaking a different kind of truth, something elemental, natural, of the wild nature.

more tomorrow,


Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Wild feminine

A wonderful book I lived with for over a year by my bedside and as my bible, is the Women Who Run with the wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

I love her descriptions of the wild feminine - that hungry soul who is 'famished for a life that has meaning and makes sense', who has such creative urges that living in ease and comfort can make her feel like she is living in a famine.

"If a woman is supposed to be lady who sits with her knees kissing only each other, if she was raised to keel over in the presence of rough language, if she was never allowed anthying to drink but pasteurized milk...then when she is freed, look out! Suddenly she may not be able to drink enough of those slow-gin fizzes, she may sprawl like a drunken sailor, and her language will peel the paint off the walls. After famine, there is a fear one will again be captured someday. so one gets while the getting is good."

When creative spirit is thwarted or locked away, a wild woman becomes sad, like a wild animal kept in a zoo, no matter how pampered and fed. "Too much domestication breeds out strong and basic impusles to play, relate, cope, rove, commune..." Pinkola Estes calls these women 'instinct injured'.

A woman like this gives herself away and cannot recognize her own needs.

Pinkola Estes analysis of the Red Shoes story leads her to suggest it's overlaid on top of a matriarchal story about the onset of menarche and the taking on of 'less-mother-protected life'. Amazing, that colour red - symbolizing a woman's first blood, birth, and/or miscarriage. I have to re-read this chapter! Full of interesting information that I underlined the first time round.

Anyway, three cheers for the wild feminine! She will not subsist on crumbs, on little sips of fresh air. She will not be stifled, nor held back. "The wild force in a woman's soul demands that she have access to it all." We have adapted to captivity, but it does not suit us. Our instincts may have gone underground, but they are still steaming hot. Our bodies carry the ancient memory of being free, of feeling safe to be a woman, of being strong, sensitive, loving and fierce. All in one.

I, myself, am tired of living small, tired of squishing my 'freedom fighter' into a shoebox. I ache for all the women who are kept indoors, underwraps, who must serve and serve and never have a voice. It seems a small thing, to voice one's opinion without fear. But that voice rings out loud and clear, and clangs a bell in someone else's ear, who has the ears to listen.

I'm raving a bit here, loosening up the tight strings. While my daughter nurses a muscle spasm in her shoulder....from striving too hard, doing too much, already a little perfectionist in training at 14.....

good night,


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Awakening compassion

Many of us, through different religions, have developed an image of God, perhaps as an impersonal form of divine creative energy, like the big bang that birthed the cosmos, or as a benevolent parent-- father or mother (more usually, stern father).

Throughout Christian history, God is painted as a Father figure, but the essence of his concern and love is often presented in its mothering energy as a breast offering milk, in the form of the Madonna.

I prefer not to humanize the God energy in any particular way, but having been brought up Christian, my habit has been to pray to Our Lord. So now I add Our Lady, to balance the masculine image with a feminine one. My most intimate connection to the divine presence is through meditation, through contemplating the stillness in motion, or the source of life within, which can be felt inside the body, and has no gender.

But the idea of god’s gender sticks – which is why the Tao appeals to me. It is interesting that the ancient Chinese called the Tao the Mother of the universe – as well as saying it was nameless and formless. In her book, A Woman's Journey to God, Joan Borysenko quotes a well know Taoist woman philosopher Dr Zhang I Hsien (known as Lily Siou) as saying, “Female and male, called yin and yang in Tao, give joy to each other. They support each other and give life to the next generations… A universal law of Tao is that when the yin is complete, it gives birth to the yang. When yang is complete, it reaches satisfaction and gives energy to the yin; yin is the mother of yang. Both reach the fullness of their potential and give birth to the opposite.”

I find it useful to set aside trying to figure out whether God is male or female, and imagine these powers as feeding each other and birthing each other in the great swirling spiral of light and dark matter that is the universe, continually growing and expanding, dying and creating new life.

In the meantime, I am developing a love of feminine images of the sacred, in whatever form and from whichever culture. They are mostly new to me, so carry no cultural or religious baggage. My current favourites are Our Lady of Guadalupe from Mexico and Kwan Yin, the Buddhist goddess of compassion. Perhaps this represents what I need most in my menopausal journey right now – compassion towards my self, more rest, less judgment, less demands made on myself, and more understanding of my limitations.

Do some research on your own dear readers, to find a mother god image that speaks to you, or attend a class I am giving in January at the West Island Women’s Centre on Embracing the Feminine, sacred symbols of motherhood.

Email me for more information, if you like.



Thursday, November 30, 2006

What is the feminine?

“To redeem the father meant finding the feminine spirit in myself!
Linda S. Leonard, The Wounded Woman, Healing the Father Daughter Relationship

Talking with a close friend recently about her lack of fathering, and how this lead to difficulties in her relationships, I suggested she read The Wounded Woman by Linda Schierse Leonard. That made me open up the book again, and dive into the quandary of what feminine means. I don’t know what it means except what has been conditioned in me. In my case I felt a rejection of anything that smacked of the brainless, hysterical stereotype of the feminine that I had absorbed. In the 60’s, this involved make-up, pointy heels, sexy skirts and hair do’s every Friday, or for mothers, having a perfectly kept house, and cooking with an apron on. I was not going to be one of those women.

If I patterned my idea of the feminine and masculine on my parents, and most psychologists would say this was true, then whatever my mom did was feminine, and whatever my dad did was masculine. She was not a perfect sample of femininity by the time I was conscious of this however. My mother was married to the house as a house-wife. My father left the house with his briefcase and suit every morning, and returned exhausted every evening in time for supper and a nap in his big armchair. When he was home, that chair was strictly reserved for the king of the household. (Mom had a chair too, a gold swivel rocker, but she preferred one end of the couch near a good reading lamp).

She hated housework, yet cooked meals that were practical and economical, due to eight children and a tight budget. She preferred her books to doing volunteer work at church. My dad worked in the larger corporate world of electronics and engineering, and later in a government trade department. He dressed like a business man, brought the newspaper home, cut out articles he wanted me to learn about, urged me to excel academically, and saved for me to go to university. He seemed successful. He got angry when things at home were not running smoothly, and that made my mother weep in her room. My dad was the disciplinarian, the authority figure, my mother was the emoter.

Rejecting the role of housewife was a part of the 60’s women’s liberation; we were moving into the masculine world of university and work, moving up, or so we thought. But what had we left behind? What was never taught us about being a woman because our mother’s wishes and desires and dreams were subordinated to her husband’s and father’s? What about her stories, her life beyond the house-wife role? I knew little of that side of her.

If, traditionally, the feminine side also represents feelings, sentiments, sensitivity, spontaneity, and the masculine, authority, rigidity, discipline, and obedience, and these were aligned with female and male behaviours respectively, we can understand why there is difficulty in human relations. No man or woman is all feminine or all masculine.

So back to the million-dollar question: how does a woman find the balance of feminine and masculine in herself? And if we don’t even know what the feminine is, because it’s only been seen through masculine eyes and ideals, how to even begin to imagine it?

Wearing men’s clothing, adopting masculine emotional habits, may have been a necessary part of the liberation of women, but Leonard feels that “now the time has come for women to wear their own clothing and to speak out of their feminine wisdom and strength. The feminine – what is it? I don’t think we can define it. But we can experience it and out of that experience try to express it via symbols and images, art forms through which we can be in the mystery of that experience and yet somehow articulate it too. ...One of the challenges women have today is not only to be open to the experience of the feminine but also to try to express it in their own way.”

Often, Leonard adds, we don’t feel we can use our mother as a model… “men have been defining femininity through their conscious expectations of what women can and cannot do and through their unconscious projections on women. …Ultimately women have to tell their own stories out of their own personal experience and feeling...”

…“If a woman really values herself and acts out of the unique realm of her needs, feelings, and intuitions, creates in a way that is hers, and experiences her own authority, she is then able really to dialogue with the masculine. Neither is she subservient to the masculine, nor does she imitate it.”

What would happen if one woman told
the truth about her life? The world
would split open..

from poem Kathe Kollwitz by Muriel Rukeyser

When you find out, let me know.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

women's wisdom quotes

Gloria Steinem:
If women are supposed to be less rational and more emotional at the beginning of our menstrual cycle when the female hormone is at its lowest level, then why isn't it logical to say that, in those few days, women behave the most like the way men behave all month long?

Virginia Woolf:
When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet. . . indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.

found on wisdomquotes website

Have a good day!


Monday, November 27, 2006

Talkiing in Circles

Whew, what a weekend! Our women's circle held a retreat at my chalet up north, where eight of us feasted, talked, walked in nature, shared and cared and raised our serotonin levels. We also told each other our life stories, in a nutshell, because each one of us has had a life full of challenges and blessings.

And I learned again the power of women's talk: the power of listening to one another tell our story. It's the power to see yourself in someone else's tale, or marvel at how they have transformed adversity and tragedy into wisdom and generosity, giving back to their families and communities in spite of what was not given to them, or perhaps because of that lack.

Telling my story, in my own words, and seeing heads nodding in affirmation. A confirmation that I exist, that in my short time on the stage of life I have learned many lessons; telling my soul's journey.

I count my blessings, and am grateful to have found such enlightened women - such ordinary women with huge hearts. Women who have suffered and celebrated. Women who have birthed, and grieved deaths and loss.

Our circle is a small drop of water in the ocean, but it may be that millionth circle that will make the difference. We come together to learn, to share our resources, to grow in understanding. Perhaps our consciousness will raise - and make a ripple effect into our homes, families, communities.

In the circle, one more women becomes aware of her need for self-awareness, self-knowledge, inner peace and healing. One more woman embraces her gifts. "A safe place to tell the truth is a healing space," says Jean Shinoda Bolen. "Every time that a woman musters the courage to speak and it proves to be safe, trust grows and the psyche gradually heals. When others listen with compassion, invisible wounds and scars gradually heal."

"Women's circles become a womb space, where dreams and plans are incubated, and a place to voice them and be supported to take our first steps. ...When fierce compassion and concern for justice is the focal point of a circle, that circle will energize the women in it and is a circle with a centre." (from Urgent Messae from Mother, Gather the Wmen, Save the world, Jean Shinoda Bolen).

These are just some of the benefits of a circle. We learn to balance the feminine and masculine energies, to encourage a more egalitarian society.

What richness, what abundance we all can share!

in love,


Monday, November 20, 2006

Wisdom for Dummies

Tools for Gaining Essential Wisdom:
how to tune into body guidance.

The following is my anti-dote to all the Self-help books and gurus out there telling us what to do, what to eat, how to exercise. I believe our wisdom is close at hand, right within us, and very doable. If we can listen to our need for rest, food, inner peace, we can give ourselves the healing we need.

In my experience, this involves trust too, and knowing that I am enough. I have enough. I do enough - stop the worrying and the rushing and let the Universe take care of things. This is my challenge, right now, and I share it with you because it is simple, if not easy, to start following your body's guidance right now. The motto is, keep it simple.

(For example, the first rule is so simple, you'll laugh. But it has been trained out of us since childhood.)

l. Eat when you are hungry. Stop when you are full. Practice feeling satisfied. Eat sitting down. Enjoy your food. Let yourself be served once a week.

2. Sleep when you are tired. Take naps whenever possible. Set your body clock by going to bed at a reasonable hour. Find your own need, or minimum hours of rest.

3. Strike two items off your to-do list every day and be happy with that. Do not be a slave to ‘getting it all done’.

4. Take time to light a candle and sit in silence once a day, to center yourself. Make inner peace a priority.

5. Stretch, shake your body, dance, do yoga, walk, or move a new muscle. Wake up your body every day.

6. Go pee when you have to – respond to the first call. This is harder than it sounds.

7. When you have your monthly period, give yourself what you need – either rest or exercise. PMS is the result of not listening to your body guidance. Sit with your center and find time to relax. Hot water bottle or pilates? Your gut will guide you. This is your time to be alone; your intuition is stronger now. Pay attention.

I have found, that when I learn to take care of myself, and treat my body less harshly, more lovingly, I naturally become less harsh and more loving to others.

Balance effort with relaxation. Learn compassion for yourself. Be kind.
This is essential feminine wisdom.

ps I am trying to put these into practice, one day at a time. As a confirmed 'woman who does too much' and chronic worrier, this is also my antidote to stress.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Motherhood as a heroic journey

Joseph Campbell calls motherhood a heroic task. What do heroes do? They confront dragons, you say, and look like Hercules or Jason and the Argonauts. They travel afar, bring back treasure, or save the country from ruin. Mothers don't do any of that.... but:

Giving birth is definitely a heroic deed, in that it is the giving over of oneself to the life of another. …It’s a journey – you have to move out of the known, conventional safety of your life to undertake this. You have to be transformed from a maiden to a mother…a big change, involving many dangers.” Joseph Campbell, Power of Myth.

He also adds that in the heroic journeys of mythology, there is a place everyone wishes to find - like Siddhartha on his journey - and that the ultimate place to find is within yourself. "There's a center of quietness within, which has to be known and held. If you lose that center, you are in tension and begin to fall apart." (The Power of Myth). Ultimately, the adventure of the hero is the adventure of being alive. We are all heroes in our own story.

How are mothers heroes specifically? I've been thinking about this for a while now. First there is the body cycle we have to deal with and learn about - monthly periods, hormonal ups and downs, PMS. Then trying to get pregnant is an adventure - not always easy. For myself, one ectopic, and two miscarriages later, I finally had two pregnancies that held strong. Having your body transform and look as if you have swallowed the moon, not to mention all the hormonal changes, loss/gain of appetite, strange alien movements inside your body, fears of losing your old 'self'....all lead up to the big moment of Birth.

The ultimate transformation - when one becomes two. Talk about transmutation of substances (bread and wine into body and blood....)! A human being struggles through labour, contractions, and a huge force stronger than herself pushes the baby out through an impossibly narrow birth canal. Voila! Delivered! Separation. A hero is born on her journey, whilst another sleeps, exhausted from the battle.

But that is just the beginning. The new mother will be called upon to give unstintingly her own body as food to the new one, on demand 24-7; she'll be called upon to respond unselfishly to its constant needs, and go beyond what is humanly possible - in spite of lack of sleep, long days of seeming drudgery (domestic tasks), which may be blissful or may appear boring, on the outside. To nurture a human life, totally dependent on your own for its care, to ensure its survival.

And where then, is the quiet space in the centre? From where all athletes and heroes move, when they find it? That is the source of her heroism - to find her own Self in spite of giving it away on one level, day after day.

I think mothering challenges a human being to find that quiet space or risk being torn apart by conflicting emotions. Old patterns are like dragons that attack us. It's hard to give what you didn't get - we feel assailed by modern books and experts' guidance, by our parents' patterns - how to find our own 'best' way? our own wisdom?

Right now, I'm in a bit of a mourning phase - my teens are growing independent, aware, alert to their own path, their own desires, and seem to need me less. There are no more long, leisurely hugs or reading sessions on my knee. There is less 'mothering' to do. Letting go is required, so they can fly on the strength of their own wings (and strong opinions!) while I watch and listen. My own mother went through this eight times! I was not always kind during my detaching years...

My mothering journey has brought me to a realization that I have more healing to do and more forgiveness of myself and my mother. Suffering my own sense of loss of closeness with my daughter, I remember what my mother said, how I switched from being her best friend to her enemy at age 13. How to heal the past, and therefore be wholly in the present... with compassionate love.

Wish me luck on my journey towards wholeness, as I wish you luck on yours.



Monday, November 13, 2006

Saying Yes to Change

Weekend with Joan Borysenko, Kripalu Centre

I have one door on the doorknob of the future,
one hand on the doorknob of the past,
I am standing in the hallway of the present moment.

I came to the edge of the Unknown again.
I came empty-handed.
I came needing to let go of impatience, anxiety,
and wanting to know!

I let myself be in uncertainty,
and learned how to calm myself with my breathing.
There is no paint in rushing forward.
In the now there is only peaceful acceptance, curiosity.

When I focus on the future, anxiety and fear are my companions.
When I tell the story of my ego's past, I miss the deep wonder and curiosity about spirit.
I stay stuck in old patterns of doubt.

When I come back to centre, peace and a deep trust
begin to develop.
I let go of pessimistic thinking - of 'never' and 'always'.
I relax into knowing that I am taken care of by a force
larger than me.

I belong to the Beloved, I melt into the field of being.
I want that deep Intimacy.

Let me be an instrument of thy Peace.

blessings to all of us who want to know,


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Harmony and balance in the mist

November mists and rain today. Tree trunks black and green with moss furring their trunks, bronze leaves of the oak still on the tree, and a calmness pervades my neighbourhood.


She who is in harmony with the Tao
is like a newborn child.
Its bones are soft, its muscles are weak,
but its grip is powerful.
It doesn't know about the union
of male and female,
yet its penis can stand erect,
so intense is its vital power.
It can scream its head off all day,
yet it never becomes hoarse,
so complete is its harmony.

The Master's power is like this.
He lets all things come and go
effortlessly, without desire.
He never expects results;
thus he is never disappointed.
He is never disappointed,
thus his spirit never grows old.

This morning I was disappointed that the sink was still clogged. I had expected to be able to do it myself, or that my husband could wind his fish tool down there and clear it. We were stymied. Called the plumber at 7:00 a.m.

In spite of this, sitting in meditation this morning was very very peaceful, scintillant and exquisite. My mind was easily absorbed by the peaceful play of breath and the pool of calm within. There is nothing I love more.

Every day is a new day. I leave the disappointments behind, decide not to live in frustration. Surrender my expectations. One day at a time, one moment at a time, I can do this.

Chi, kundalini, tao, prayer of the heart, wisdom, peace: this experience has no name because it came into being before words. It is the "hu" in human, the "be" in being. Human, being.

Savour this......and the mist. If you find the world too dark, said Maharaji, turn on your own light. If we all turn on our lights, the world will be less dark.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Clogged sinks and Tao

Well, what a day! Waiting for the computer repair guy to show up (Hi Fred!), and doing dishes, making chicken broth... stupidly I poured some chicken fat down the drain, adding soap and hot water (well, luke-warm) and praying it would make it through....guess what?

So I call the plumber - will Drano do it? No, madame, never use that acid stuff, it eats your pipes.

OK - his advice; plunger, then boiling water - but wait - check the internet first. Good idea!

I found lots of good advice, like wear rubber gloves, stuff up the second sink hole with a rag so the junk or boiling water doesn't scald you; and, use baking soda and vinegar followed by boiling water 30 minutes later...

I do all this, plunge valiantly if inefficiently, slipping and sliding in my sink with my rubber gloves brightly on.

Nope. Still clogged. Then I did what any sensible woman does - I turned my attention to bills to be paid, hems needing fixing, phone call to the bank, practicing my songs for the choir, and lo....half an hour later, the sink had drained!

I think it was the mix of vinegar and baking soda - like a little volcano right in your sink, remember those Gr 4 science experiments your kids did? Lotsa fun.

Now that my sink is unclogged, and my second batch of chicken broth is cooling, (saving the inedible boiler chicken I baked the other night from being thrown in the garbage), I guess I'll put the chicken fat into the garbage this time.

The Tao in all this? Well, I was headed off to the dry cleaners, the Mall, the Future Shop and 3 other stores to do all my 'commissions' in one hour - when I suddenly realized I was getting panicky and rushing again. I turned around and headed back home, with only two errands done - and practiced my songs while unplugging the sink.

I got less done, and I am less stressed. My consolation is that the sink is now unplugged, and I am still breathing :)

take it easy,


Monday, November 06, 2006

The Tao makes her radiant

My favourite translation of the Tao Te Ching is by Stephen Mitchell (Harper & Row, 1988). He comes closer to colloquial expression and what I imagine the old Chinese sage must have sounded like - sometimes irreverent. Like in the following entry, #20:

Stop thinking, and end your problems.
What difference between yes and no?
What difference between success and failure?
Must you value what others value,
Avoid what others avoid?
How ridiculous!

Other people are excited,
As though they were at a parade.
I alone don’t care.
I alone am expressionless,
Like an infant before it can smile.

Other people have what they need;
I alone possess nothing.
I alone drift about,
Like someone without a home.
I am like an idiot, my mind is so empty.

Other people are bright;
I alone am dark.
Other people are sharp;
I alone am dull.
Other people have a purpose;
I alone don’t know.
I drift like a wave on the ocean,
I blow as aimless as the wind.

I am different from ordinary people.
I drink from the Great Mother’s breasts.

Isn't that great?

I love this entry! It makes me feel so relieved, it dissipates the heavy weight that descends on me looking at the pile of books to read beside my bed. I do not need to be ‘smart’ or ‘bright’. I can accept being dull from time to time (grin). Coleman Barks, the translator of Rumi and a great American poet, spoke at a conference in Massachusetts I had the privilege of attending two years ago. On the last day, during questions and answers with the many astute and devoted poetry lovers, he said, “I am often confused and I have no particular aesthetic.” Fantastic! What a relief to not have to belong to a school of thought or a style of poetry. Why not just be aimless as the wind, drifting like a wave on the ocean, breathing in the wisdom that comes from the senses. Why not feel like an idiot sometimes, and give the thinking brain a break?

This summer I remember being so tired from reading and thinking that my brain hurt; even the scalp on top of my head was sore. At the Taos writers’ spa, I mostly took advantage of the great yoga classes, the massage and reiki treatments; I wrote a bit in my journal. And I felt guilty for not writing every day or working on my many project ideas. But my body and brain needed the spa part of the week more than the writer part.

Amen. Here's to drinking from the source.

Another similar Tao Te Ching entry, #21, about what keeps the mind busy:

The Master keeps her mind
always at one with the Tao;
that is what gives her her radiance.

The Tao is ungraspable.
How can her mind be at one with it?
Because she doesn’t cling to ideas.

The Tao is dark and unfathomable.
How can it make her radiant?
Because she lets it.

Since before time and space were,
the Tao is.
It is beyond is and is not.
How do I know this is true?
I look inside myself and see.

Wow! Bravo for Lao Tsu and his inimitable expression of his own experience.
We can all look inside ourselves and see!


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Meltdown in menopause

Boy oh boy, for some of us, the meltdown is happening. Some days, tears come too easily, nerves crack and necks go into spasm. I remember feeling like that off and on last winter.

I think the metaphor of the butterfly is very apt - the cocoon phase, the liquefying (yes, the bug disappears so the wings can be born), then the transformation into a veiled beauty with colourful swirls. But when the caterpillar is getting fat and sleepy, and munching her leaves, she has no idea what phase is coming ahead. We're not much more knowledgeable, having lost the women's wisdom that used to be passed on from mother to daughter.

So here's a heads up - the liquefying feels like falling apart, feels like the fragile, vulnerable and often weepy side of the cycle - and it lasts until it lasts. The only remedy for me was rest, massage, rest, and naps. Oh yeah, lots of love surrounding you helps too. But it ends, the rollercoaster calms down, comes to a stop. Here's how I described it, while it was happening to me.

Bug soup

Inside the chrysalis
The transforming cocoon place
The low-lying energy renewal space
There is melting going on.
Before the muscle and wing,
Before the colour and deft flight,
The poor caterpillar reduced to a liquid mess.

And that is exactly how it felt
At 49, awaiting the end of bleeding
The big change.
I lay low and felt my muscles liquefy,
All my energy turned inward.
No more dizzy crawling, running and doing
Just rest
And more rest,
Even naps in the afternoon.

Until my beautiful wings began to grow
And surround me with rainbow reflections.
Sunshine called me out.
We dried our flimsy wet things
And took off.

No matter who or what needs you today, don't forget to make space for yourself, be compassionate to yourself. You are worth it.

with love,


Friday, October 27, 2006

Centering Balance Wisdom

Often I find my own wisdom by re-reading journal entries from a few months before. Lately I've been feeling out of balance again. After working so hard at finding it and maintaining it, I got back on the dizzy busy wheel of activity and temporarily lost my center.

Here's the advice I gave myself back in July:

Each woman must find her own inner peace during the "Change" process. In the struggle to shed my old skin and be reborn, I need to find what is true for me - I'm dizzy from looking outside to others, in malls, on T.V., in advertising, in films, in psychologists, self-help books and health fads - what is right for me? where is my truth. I have to stop using other people's lives as a guideline - I AM UNIQUE - I am my own barometer.

If I am unwell, out of whack, I need to search in my diet, my exercise program, my schedule, the things that stress me and my family - where am I out of balance, unwell, dis-eased? I ask my grandmothers, angels dakinis and guides to help me find out what makes sense for me.

Answer: When I make time for sitting in my sacred space, I begin to feel that life is taking care of me, always surrounding me; even in cancelled plans I feel mercy and compassion working. I open myself to being mothered by life - I lie down with my head in her lap, my forehead soothed; my aching brain relaxes and lets go its crippling fear of abandonment, betrayal, rejection. I am loved - that is the bottom-most need on my ladder of needs. I am safe, I am loved. My life is not in danger but my lifeline to peace is - if I let my anchor be shaken, broken or moved.

Dig deep, darling - this rose bush needs protection from wind, storm, frost, insects. With proper water, light and shelter, I flourish. My roses grow abundant on every branch, my perfumed fragrances waft onto the night air, sweetness envelopes my flesh; the odorous kisses of mother Life on my being I cherish and hold close to my lips - nectar of life, dew of morning, bejewel my petals with drops of water in sunlight. On the fresh morning grass is the moistness of evening rain leftover; during my early walk through the garden, Mollie's paws get wet as we gambol, sighing, inhaling the lavender's scent, following our noses to jasmine's bloom and perfume.

In my garden, there is birdsong, and the feathered plumes of red astilbe, pink malva and golden yarrow curve towards the sun. After the gardener trims and prunes, recutting the edges, new life bobs up from the ground, alive and energized, plumped up like a woman with a new hairdo - primped and pampered.

In my heart, that is how I want to feel, nurtured and cared for. I am the gardener. I tend and care for my whole being, body, mind and soul. I pray for nurturance and guidance. And to remember that my center, my balance, is right here, right now, in the present. I remember to slow down, and breathe. That is my wisdom.

May the blessing of life's gift surprise you,


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Muse schmooze

One of my reasons for going to Taos New Mexico this summer was to see Georgia O'Keeffe's sky and desert landscape. It did not disappoint.

One project on the back burner is a collection of poems written in Georgia's voice, taken from her letters published in various biographies of her. They are languishing on my laptop.

Another project is the Tao of Turning Fifty, which I re-worked a bit yesterday, and yet another, Eve's Quest, a performance piece/play. I met an actress today who is interested in playing Eve - and pushed me to start workshopping it. Well, she didn't push, she just nudged. And I jumped at the bit.

Must have been all that schmoozing, last night, at the QWF Schmoozapalooza: we did a speed schmooze - sorta like speed dating - 2 minutes to tell your life story, or what projects you're working on to another writer. A quick way to meet other writers, holed up in their holey-holes writing in isolation. I met a short story writer who said she had read my blog! have to figure out how to put stats on my blog - then I'll know who you are out there reading me.

Hi to Anne - and Beth - whom I met last night, amongst others.

So now I'm a bit more inspired to get to work -

Schmoozing with my muse,


Monday, October 23, 2006

Menopause as transformation

"Be at peace with your menopausal metamorphosis. Like puberty, like birth, menopause is a process not aided by hormonal manipulaiton. Extra progesterone is for pregnant women, not emerging crones." Susun Weed, New menopausal years, the Wise Woman's Way

The message Susun gives in her book on herbal approaches is more than just good medicine. It's common sense.

She urges women to pay attention to their bodies' signals, listening in, paying attention to dreams also, and keeping records of our cycles. Talk to other women before you decide what is 'normal', she counsels. Change in menopause is normal. Trust your instincts.

I think this is the hardest thing about women's cycles to accept: they are changeable, and menopause is all about change - I think for the better. Once the rollercoaster of symptoms subsides, and even during it, a measure of deep peace installs itself, a knowing deep in our bones of rhythms so ancient.

Like the seasons, our cycle is never still. Like the moon, we wax and wane. Why resist? Accept the power of change, the power of the body's wisdom.

Easy for me to say, I hit menopause 2 years ago, and the rollercoaster of hot flashes, PMS, night sweats and mood swings has greatly subsided.

The only thing I mess about my periods is not knowing where I am in my cycle - something new for me to get to know, how the menopausal woman follows the moon.



Friday, October 20, 2006

women's power and menstruation

extract on women's power from The Sacred Hoop, Paula Gunn Allen

menstrual taboos are about power: "The truth of the matter as many Indians see it is that women who are at the peak of their fecundity are believed to possess power that throws male power totally out of kilter. They emit such force that, in their presence, any male-owned or -dominated ritual or sacred object cannot do its usual task. For instance, the Lakota say that a menstruating woman anywhere near a yuwipi man, who is a special sort of psychic, spirit-empowered healer, for a day or so before he is to do his ceremony will effectively disempower him. Conversely, among many if not most tribes, important ceremonies cannot be held without the presence of women. Sometimes the ritual woman who empowers the ceremony must be unmarried and virginal so that the power she channels is unalloyed, unweakened by sexual arousal and penetration by a male. Other ceremonies require tumescent women, others the presence of mature women who have borne children, and still others depend for empowerment on postmenopausal women. Women may be segregated from the company of the whole band or village on certain occasions, but on certain occasions men are also segregated. In short, each ritual depends on a certain balance of power and the positions of women within the phases of womanhood are used by tribal people to empower certain rites. This does not derive from a male-dominant view; it is not a ritual observance imposed on women by men. It derives from a tribal view of reality that distinguishes tribal people from feudal and industrial people.

Among the tribes, the occult power of women, inextricably bound to our hormonal life, is thought to be very great; many hold that we possess innately the blood-given power to kill--with a glance, with a step, or with a judicious mixing of menstrual blood into somebody's soup. Medicine women among the Pomo of California cannot practice until they are sufficiently mature; ....So women of the tribes are not inclined to see themselves as poor helpless victims of male domination. Even in those tribes where something akin to male domination was present, women are perceived as powerful, socially, physically, and metaphysically. In times past, as in times present, women carried enormous burdens with aplomb. We were far indeed from the "weaker sex", the designation that white aristocratic sisters unhappily earned for us all."

Origins of PMS: (due to hormonal imbalance.) From Dictionnaire des malaises et maladies

"It is the rejection process, and guilt that have started to come to the surface. For a woman, the menstrual period is a reminder that she lives in a universe dominated by men. PMS indicates that situations are making me question my perception as a woman in relation to my femininity, especially if I wish to succeed in a professional career. I could be troubled, confused or influenced by stereotypes imposed by society.

affirmation: I love myself, and accept myself as I am, and I let myself evolve."

Some food for thought, for women who bleed,

with love,


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

the secret of life

I just watched the movie trailer for The Secret - it looks so intriguing, I want to watch it. My women's circle and I may view it later in November at the chalet retreat weekend.

But today, in the grey skies and rain, walking the dog around the block and scuffing my shoes on wet leaves, I knew this: the secret of life, for me, is only a breath away. It lives inside the tree bark that I love to look at, it hovers in the moistened grass, and at the tips of red oak leaves. It follows me everywhere, but I am too busy thinking to hear or see it.

My secret, your secret, the pulse of life keeping you alive, is that you are already a success. You are alive, and if you can appreciate the beauty of that gift, the secret begins to unfold, one breath at a time.

I know, it sounds too simple. Many look for it and do not find it. It is hiding under our very noses, inside our very hearts. It is tangible and real. Sometimes, we need to be shown where, and how, to look.

Peace of mind is one breath away.

Look for it.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Fall Inwards

It is fall, and it's gorgeous in Montreal. Gold and orange and a bit of red, amid lots of green - actually one tree in the back window fills my room with orange and yellow light; the rest of the trees are either green, yellow-brown, or empty. It has been a strange, slow fall, for leaves.

My energy this fall, usually high in the weeks preceding my scorpio birthdate, is a little more tranquil. Heady energy one day, slow and quiet lull the next. This is a good thing.

Have you ever noticed where energy comes from? When I have a hectic, social weekend with lots of wine and food and friends, Mondays are hellish, sluggish. When I have a quiet weekend, with lots of home time and music and singing, time with my hubby to talk and time to watch the kids dash out the door, I wake up rested and ready for the new week. Believe it or not, I just noticed this fact this weekend. Duh! you say.

Last night I watched a video of Maharaji speaking to dignitaries in Thailand - he was so passionate about the peace within, about savouring and enjoying existence. And he said something that struck me: when you go to sleep, it's the end of the day, but also like a little death. You wake up and start all over-- the next morning the sun rises on a new day, and a new life.

Think of how many chances we receive to get it right - one day at a time, a chance for me to not rush through the day and the lists, but stay open to the possibility of something new, a fresh breath, a surprise gift from the day. Can I stay open to that for more than five minutes?

I'm on my way out the door now, to walk the dog, and sniff the grass, and discover what the day holds for me.



Friday, October 13, 2006

A Woman's Way

today is Friday the 13th. A very lucky day for women who follow the moon, because there are 13 moons in a year.

Here is an excerpt from my forthcoming collection, The Tao of Turning Fifty.

Tao Te Ching # 42

The Tao gives birth to One.
One gives birth to Two.
Two gives birth to Three.
Three gives birth to all things.

All things have their backs to the female
And stand facing the male.
When male and female combine,
All things achieve harmony.

Ordinary men hate solitude.
But the Master makes use of it,
Embracing his aloneness, realizing
He is one with the whole universe.

My note: Stephen Mitchell makes liberal use of the masculine and feminine in his translations, sometimes making the Master female, sometimes male. But always, it is a question of the one becoming two. The folllowing entries are written about a woman’s way, and are intended as support and inspiration for anyone going through peri-menopause and menopause. Just so you know you’re not alone. Here is some of my newfound wisdom:

Women are lunar

Listen to the moon mom’s wisdom:
She waxes.
She wanes.
She is not full on 100 watt bright
all month.
She has a dark period.
She hides for a while,
Rests up for the month of creative fullness ahead.
Slow down,
Your pain will grow less.
You may want to bully your way through
But bulls are not cows.
Take time alone, sit down on earth,
Look up at the moon, and
ask for guidance.
Squat in frog pose for cramps, drink nettle tea.
Listen to your mom.
She’s got wisdom.

Note: How to marry myself: the worldly, practical, doer (beaver energy) and the spiritually hungry be-ing (snake energy) want to marry, inside the breath. So I let myself bathe in stillness, in the clear stream of breath running up and down the center of being. Feel my self become cleansed and whole. Then return to the list of things to do, calls to make.

Follow the Kiss principle: Keep it simple, silly.

with love,


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Breaking news: Bees can fly

"My mother gave me a bumblebee pin when I started work. She said: "Aerodynamically, bees shouldn't be able to fly. But they do. Remember that." Jill E. Barad

I've been reading a book called Odd Girl Speaks Out, ed by Rachel Simmons, about girls, bullies, cliques and jealousy - and remembering my own years in high school -- it's no picnic.

First you have to figure out how to dress, how to wear your hair, how much make-up to wear; then you have to figure out how you fit in. Are you unique? are you one of a kind? Nobody seems to want to be singled out as 'different', yet everyone wants to be 'special' or unique. Of course not everyone is part of the 'popular' clique - maybe you belong with the library card carriers, nose in a book all the time; or the computer nerds, who may call themselves privately brilliant, not nerdy. Or maybe you're a sports jock or a hip-hop dancing cheerleader. Everybody (even in schools with uniforms), gets stuck in a niche somehow, partly based on how they look. And what the crowd (or gang) thinks counts.

I remember not fitting in anywhere - altho clever in grade school, I turned out not to be a 'browner' or nerd. Some classes I was good in, history and English. Others I was lost in, *science and math*. In others, I got detentions every week for not handing in homework on time (home economics) or for swearing at the teacher (French). This made me part-time member in the 'rebellious' gang, the ones that wore jeans and liked to smoke cigarettes outside the school doors. Having an attitude, being snarky with everyone, becoming cynical and sarcastic, and having a mean mouth, were easy skills to acquire, but being a girl, I also wanted to be liked, to be pretty, to have a boyfriend. It was an odd mix.

Being 4'11 and 80 pounds for most of high school didn't help me attract the right guy either. Changing best friends every year kept things fresh, but it wasn't until I started hanging out with 5'8" tall Janet did I start to have real fun, and become a "Keep on Truckin" type of girl. We liked to dress in overalls or second hand Sally Ann dresses. We felt we were originals. But sometimes we made ourselves feel better aobut not belonging to the 'popular crowd', by picking on a little guy with black polished shoes and a briefcase we called "Little Prick".

I am not proud of our amaturish attempt at bullying. We followed him in the hallways, whispering insults behind his back about the way he was dressed, or the weight of his briefcase. We even kicked him once in the seat of the pants - either Janet or I. We made his life miserable for at least part of one year, possibly Grade 10.

It was early days of feminism, and I wonder if we thought it made us more powerful to pick on someone younger, and male. Paradoxically, the year after, we gave a shy newcomer with long hair and flannel shirts the opposite treatment. We made him our special friend and member of the Keep on Trucking society. He was almost mute he was so shy, but Janet joked with him and made jolly so that he began to actually smile in public.

What is all this rambling about high school years? I have a daughter, who is in and out of a clique of the same friends since Grade One. I have a son whose group of friends expanded in high school from one to six or seven. They are both tightlipped about what goes on amongst high school friends. But I know sometimes those friends can be mean back stabbers, gossiping, and downright mean. And that some days they take it all in and don't know how to react or respond. I know my son can be kind and generous, and also mean and sarcastic. I know my daughter is sweet and kind, and other times judgemental and snooty. And I know some of those girls have been in real emtoional trouble, and felt excluded from the 'gang'.

The odd girl in my life was me. I eventually learned to speak up for myself. And keep up with the tall girls.

So I hope my daughter (who is already taller than me) learns to value her own opinion, and her own intuition as well as the 'gang's. And that whether she wears the right hairdo or the right pyjamas to a sleep-over is not what will make or break her friendships. Most of all, I wish them one true friend in their life time. And I wish them the knowledge that even those unwieldy looking things called bees, so un-aerodynamic, can fly.

their mom, jenn


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The feminine face of God

Clearly, it is time to ask ourselves where we are going. And…where we are going, is back into daily life. The women…spoke not only of the need to slow down and create an opening for awareness of the sacred in our daily lives, but of the need to embody, to enact, to be a vessel of that awareness so that it flows into all our relationships.” The Feminine Face of God

Finding my own yoga practice: my breath, my belly, little egg inside the universal flow, I reach up my spine to Father sky, lay down on my back on Mother Earth. We have been such poor one-sided creatures, forgetting our mother, ignoring her power and love. Somewhere in the cosmos, our sparks and beams dance in the sacred dance of union, male and female, yin and yang, mountain and stream, ocean of light inside the belly, inner me inside of me, caress inside of me, the birth and rebirth of me. There is no life without mother birthing all her creatures. You may call her nature, earth, Gaia, you may name her virgin but she is still the source of the wet moist breath, hot blood, firm bone, waters salty and sweet, milk of life and kindness. Her lungs have blown into your mouth the air you depend on, so do not spit into the wind.

His lightning, her rain; his totem, her face; his pole, her ground; his mountain, her dance; his clouds, her wind; they breathe together in unison. Dig into the sand, it fills with water. We are matter filled with spirit. We are female infused with male, and male infused with female. Mortal infused with immortality.

Over night, love changed direction. I reached up and grabbed the wind.

Excerpted from The Tao of Turning Fifty, A Woman's Way
by jenn

Monday, October 02, 2006

Heart of Gold

And the funnel of light poured gold through the fontanel, into the filigreed girdle, the center of being. As it filled her, all words emptied. She no longer knew her names and in the tremulous light, as shaky breath poured up or down, this namelessness puffed up the skin like a balloon. The heart loosened from its string and floated in a circular flight, sky underneath, earth above, silent turning, in this gold sea.

Skin, voice, light. Meaning, sex, memory, longing, cry. Into her ears and eyes. No longer anchored to the useless words, only bubbles in water, no voice to call out with. And anyway, One hears her. Tongue nestles in the receiving place, at rest. Stay there, embraced, with prow of canoe pointed at the river’s mouth.

A flute sound in her ear, she turns. What was that? Lost it. Begin again, sit and learn. Listen. Not speak. How to get back? The door is unlocked. She has never understood. Thinks there is work to do. Hopped a long time on one foot on the wrong side of the door.

This day she finds it - still where she left it. This time, heart is quieter, less frantic, willing to be faithful for a few minutes, days, or weeks. Will they ever turn into longer than moments? This waking dream she falls into, out of.

Ah, the heart is made of gold.

Whatever you practice, that you will become good at. Maharaji at Amaroo, September 2006


Monday, September 25, 2006

Howdie Mates

Well I got on-line down under so here's a brief message from Oz land. We are living in a tent with Wallabees nibbling like deer on the grass behind us. The birds sing a cacophonous
wake up call that lasts one hour, from 5 - 6 a.m. And Maharaji spoke to us last night about the search for God. How wonderful it was to sit and listen - feeling that serenity and peace within, and knowing that He, or "IT" or the Creator, whatever you call that energy of love, is within us all the time.

So we have four more days to be in tune with the wonderful nature here, (minus the snakes), and get in tune with our own selves - it's an opportunity of a lifetime - accepting existence, as he put it last night. And it lasts a lifetime.

Lovely to be here, wish you were here :)



Tuesday, September 19, 2006

No more cheat codes

Life is not a video game. No cheat codes allowed.

There is nothing I would like better than to find a web site with all the answers. What is coming up next for me? Will I find a full-time job, start a publishing company, return to teaching, go back to school and learn how to heal the emotional damage that strains the body's health, find the magic link that makes me a cool mom with wonderful kids...wait, I already have that last one.

No, there are no short cuts. Day to day. Breathe, Panic, Breathe - Relax! Receive.....Today was a wonderful day. Packing, ironing, running errands, getting ready for a long trip - that always energizes me. I woke up singing and danced in the kitchen while making breakfast and coffee - it was only 6:45 but I was high....

My daughter is happy she got some new clothes, my son is off to a hockey game and turning 16 while we're away - so he's happy - 'hey, no parents and I'm having a party!' My nephew is supervising, don't worry.

But I told him, no more downloading cheat codes cause they bring viruses into the computer.

Not much to report except that I am taking a break from writing this blog - see you all in October. I am catching a plane to Honolulu with my sweetie, and then we're flipping the world over and heading down under.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Honouring the inner masculine

Ok, to even the debate, let's talk about the inner masculine and inner feminine, instead of calling it the sacred whatever. The inner masculine is about the fathering you received, according to Linda S. Leonard, author of The Wounded Woman, Healing the Father-Daughter Relationship. I found all kinds of archetypes and images that resembled my relationship with my father, in this book, which I originally read over ten years ago, and recently picked up again.

My father's legacy to me was neither all positive or all negative, but since I left home at age eighteen, and especially as I had children and questioned the parenting I had received, I have focused on the negative - the rageaholic angry man who threatened us with verbal abuse, yelled at us for minor infractions and seemed to lose it for no reason at all. The patriarch, the authoritarian 'boss' of the household who made us feel tense and uncomfortable and seemed to belittle my mother's opinions and attitudes, in spite of proclaiming a deep love for her. The man who behaved inappropriately with women and girls.

I can't begin to describe my parents' co-dependent relationship, but suffice it to say, I was a father's daughter - the eldest, the one encouraged to excel, praised for my brain as well as my looks, made to feel special, the apple of his eye. On the other hand, while he encouraged me to pursue my interest in theatre as a hobby, he pooh-poohed writers and artists as likely to be starving in attics or alcoholics, (although he paid for my sister to go to art highschool and loved to paint himself). He just didn't think they were good careers.

Reading about the armoured Amazon woman archetype, I saw myself in that image; somehow accepting my father's image of me as strong, intelligent, rational and in charge, also led to an overidealizing of the masculine qualities of strength, hardness, and self-protection that lead to a terrible burden of over responsibility and joylessness basically - and sore shoulders - maybe cause it drove the playful feminine underground. I saw my stay-at-home mother (another bohemian artist in her soul) as the weak one without power (and in this situation she mostly was). But if women turn themselves into ambitious, competitive fighters to get ahead in the world and turn our backs on the softening influence of the feminine, of spontaneity, we negate a part of ourselves and become too serious, rigid, lose the joy of life. Leonard describes some of the mistakes we make when we imitate this rigid idea of the masculine, like this:

"This young woman's Amazon armor covered up a shame of her femininity so that she overrode the demands and needs of her body. She also mouthed a theory that there was really no difference between men and women. And she treated her body that way, not acknowledging the changes of body and mood brought on by her menstrual periods." Linda S. Leonard

Of course I am interested in how we override our monthly cycles, and our bodies in general.
So I am reconsidering my father's legacy, since his death two years ago. I remember the artist in him that painted a stained-glass window with water colour paint and black tape on our huge front window, the Madonna and child image he outlined in tape on the family room window. He was a quirky eccentric, his yard was never mowed on time, the weeds drifted over to the lawn of the extremely nit-picky neighbour who happened to be my vice-principal at high school. He collected old cars that rusted out while they waited for him to 'repair' them with my brothers and his yard was the 'shame' of the neighbourhood, or maybe just of me.

But he was also a warm, sensitive man, who taught us a love of story, and language. He loved Little Theatre; before we were born he acted and directed plays. He played piano and sang, mostly after a few beers, and he loved literature, opera, music in general. He taught me a love of the French language and I followed my own dream to Montreal, and married a French Canadian.

Now that I'm beginning to recover my inner masculine's positive side, I hope this frees up my creativity! that's the promise Leonard holds out. That conscious recognition or naming of the beast, brings light; that seeing the shadow or dark side of my father as part of myself, and seeing his good qualities as part of myself too, will heal me.

here's to reclaiming the inner masculine, the man with heart.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Montreal killing spree

We were having our women's circle meeting, just an hour ago, we were focusing on the socialization of boys, as a possible topic, the bullying, humiliation, that turns boys into aggressors, the obsession with video games, that makes them withdraw from family, the differences in pre-teen soft-hearted sons who love to hug and talk, and then later sarcasm and hardness sets in - when my husband called and told me there was a killer loose in Dawson College, downtown, and that he had just crossed over to Alexis Nihon and shot at people there. I didn't see that mentioned on the TV on CNN, but it's happening right now!

We all got shivers, we all stood up and held hands (it was the end of our meeting), and closed our eyes and said a prayer for the people injured, but mostly for the sad, misguided injured boys who are doing the shooting - this is real time - and I have goosebumps just thinking about it. What can we do to mother better, to provide safety? We in our suburb are so privileged, and part of our mission in this circle - apart from informing ourselves on health for women, mothering teens, menopause, etc. is to find a worthy local cause and contribute to it, to help in some way build a better community.

Boys need attention, too! I want to see my son grow up to be an open, communicative, loving individual who is able to express his emotions, including anger, constructively, not withdraw into video games, TV or computer and shut out the interactive social world around him. Whoever damaged these young men (I heard they were in their 20's and there's more than one - one has been killed by police, maybe two), probably a combo of neglect, abuse, and being put down once too often, made them dream of claiming power for themselves with a gun, taking life as if they were the all-powerful creator who gives and takes.

I can only pray for them. Pray for the scared kids at Dawson (some of whom I may know) who are running home to safety right now, to be with the ones they love and be held, comforted, in love.

Individual peace, self-love, care, respect for our children, our elderly - all this is needed NOW! And let all parents pay a little more attention to their kids, today...don't let them slip away.

I'm on my way to pick up my daughter at her high school, and yes, next year my son is going to CEGEP, and I was thinking about Dawson College as one option.....

signing off,


Fathers mother too

Yesterday, I saw part of the solution to our current imbalance of feminine and masculine - the first was a man carrying a baby on his hip, at the door of a garage where mechanics were fixing his car; the second was another man with a baby on his hip (two in the same day! must be a message there), reading books in a mall. They looked completely at ease and natural.

Feminists have written books about this, Nancy Chodorow I think, that when men learn how to take care of children, not only will it give the mothers a needed break, it will teach them about empathy, compassionate caring, communication - when you have to find out what a crying baby needs it brings out all your non-verbal communication skills, as well as the verbal ones when the 2 year olds try to tell you what they want - my son's first words were 'ba'ketball' and 'papa' . That last one floored me, cause I wanted him to say 'mama' first. But Dad had been walking him up and down the hallways during his first six months of colicky evenings. And changing his diapers and giving him baths, and getting pooped on.

I love watching my almost 16 year old son, 5'10 and a voice as deep as gravel, playing with his 6 year old cousin, teaching him how to dive off the diving board, or letting himself be splashed in the hot tub by the little imp. This was beyond the call of duty, and it lasted almost a week during their visit last summer; although I'm sure he found it irritating to be on call for his cousin, he never said no. He always went swimming with him. And ended up laughing and having fun, too.

What I am grasping at saying here, is that it's a human thing - not a monopoly owned by women - to be caring, loving, and caretaking. If more men took care of their elderly parents, their toddlers and children, and more men probably are, then we will uncover the deepest secret - fathers can 'mother' too. It's a human capacity we all possess - some of us just need more practice at it. Some of us, even women, need to mother ourselves, too. Get good at the softening up, the self-love that allows us to love others.

Hey, I'm just learning the power of this stuff. Mid-life is forcing me to soften before rigidity breaks me into pieces. My body is a great teacher, my kids are great teachers, life is a great teacher. Earth is a great school.

It's not a feminine thing, it's love.



Tuesday, September 12, 2006

september 11 come and gone

Ok, there are worse things to do than to remember five years ago what happened in NY. The sky was literally falling, Chicken Little, and it wasn't a nightmare, it was on TV. People jumped out of buildings on fire. Dust and debris everywhere, chalk white faces running.

I thought it was WW III and worried that I didn't have any water in the basement, or food stockpiled.

My kids and I (teenagers) talked about it, in the sense that they asked if they could watch TV, Oprah was interviewing someone who checked one of the terrorists in at the airport.

I am so wary of Harper and Bush using this anniversary as a new scare tactic to get more money, more arms, more soldiers killed in a losing battle in Iraq and Afghanistan. If the mothers were running the country, do you think they'd be sending off their sons and daughters to foreign lands to get slaughtered? I know we're all 'one community' on the planet now, but how far do we have to go?

When bombs and arms are making such big money for people, do we even get to negotiate? Is there a feminine way here? could women get to negotiation, empathy, compassion for others, and turn the tide? we'd have to get Iraqi and Afghani women the power to change things, the power to speak up, the power to have a Voice and be heard. Is that why we are fighting the Taliban forces?

I'm meeting my Women's Circle tomorrow, and I hope we find some sustaining, nourishing talk about how women can make a difference. Bringing up kids right is part of it - my son was holding back from punching his sister yesterday - she was punching him cause of some teasing comment he made - and he said, I wish you were a guy so I could hit you back! even if I gave him permission to hit her (hey, she asked for it, she's a tease too), he wouldn't. started a whole debate about how guys naturally shove, kick, punch each other (partly as play), and how girls do it differently - yeah, all the talking is behind the back, in some quarters. Would we really rule the world differently?

My daughter said in the car today, So Mom, you run for President - (we've got Prime Minister's here, dear).

I stuttered, well, I don't like politics.

She said, Yeah, I hate it too and I wouldn't last a minute.

So who are these brave women who will run for power and make a difference?


Monday, September 11, 2006

Being here now

Dear fellow travellers, today is a new day, a beginning again, for spirit and intellect and body to harmonize. Here is my day's truth: ego looks outwards for guidance. Mind wants to row the boat upstream. Spirit wants to let go and follow the current of life like a river, go with the life force whereever it leads. Dizziness happens when outer and inner eye are not aligned!

I've had vertigo since the end of May, over three months ago. I took it as a clue from the body to begin slowing down, the going inward that menopause has brought me to. But I just found this note (above) from July - that had the answer plainly written. I keep wanting the future to unveil itself, but my happiness and subject matter are hidden in the present moment. Only in the Now, can I feel anything, let alone be guided by the inner eye.

So I am grateful to have been reminded to look here and now, not in tomorrow.

Whatever you love, you are. Rumi

Let your love longing through your tongue
let there be laughter and singing
let the tears fall willingly into your mouth
let the salt and sweet rejoice together.
Life in human form is full of contradictions,
the bitter-sweet melds and molds our hearts.
I ask the Universal soul to practise some song through me.

My morning began with a subtle surrender to the quiet presence within my heart.

For poetry and wisdom about the heart and inner peace,



Friday, September 08, 2006

Recording the journey

The Birth Journal that became a book

When I became pregnant with my first child, I had just enrolled in a Masters in Creative Writing program, something I had wanted to do for a long time. I had also wanted to get pregnant for a long time, but after two miscarriages and one ectopic pregnancy, it was not a sure thing. Seven years and a BA in English later, I did get pregnant, the winter of my first year in the Master’s program. Now that I was becoming a mother, it seemed like nature had given me a subject for my thesis. I wanted to write about the taboos surrounding the female body in pregnancy, and issues such as masturbation, female sexuality, my relationship to my watermelon belly, as well as my changing relationship with my husband.

After my son’s birth, I continued to write sporadically in my journal, always on the lookout for poems, but also to record the sensation of breastfeeding, the feelings of loneliness and anger brought about by isolation in the house all winter, the new separation of my life in the house and his life at work – my husband being the breadwinner and me being the little wife and mother. After the birth of my daughter, I took a sabbatical for one year, but kept writing. My journal was a life-line, and one day I showed it to my thesis supervisor. I didn’t consider it “poetry”, but she liked it. She thought it captured my voice, the intimate details and rhythms of the life-changing event that was my first pregnancy. So I included it in my thesis, to add to the book of poems.

After I graduated a local publisher was interested in the book, after being rejected a few times because it didn’t fit into either the poetry or prose category, and being told that maybe I should just write prose. My first book, Little Mother explores the taboo issues about my mother’s alcoholism (first written about in a taboo journal), includes my birth journal from the first pregnancy, and poems about breastfeeding, birthing, baby’s bodies and women’s friendships, culled from my journal.

I think every mother should keep a journal of her pregnancy, her hopes and fears for herself and her baby, as a record of that unique time in her life. Now that I am losing my memory at menopause, (only partially!) I am so glad I wrote it all down.


Thursday, September 07, 2006


A haiku of mine is posted on Rasu Seiro's blog at : "Last Chance of Salvation" There are some other fine haiku posted on his site. Check it out.

Here's one by Roo Borson:

When no one is present,
but it appears that someone is present
autumn is here.

here's three by me:

3 fall Haiku

Crows in the bare trees
before the full moon came
and the long night of rain.

Her breasts lengthen
as the years shorten.
She adjusts her shoulder straps.

Orange and gold gone,
bleak limbs wind-shorn,
yet beautiful in their leaning.

why I need to love my mother as myself

You're going to see more poetry on this site, and also more news from my on-going research into the importance of women's cycles and making this information more widely known. Two great web sites are (museum of menstruation) run by Harry Findley, and Check them out.

Why I need to love my mother as myself (written and read for a retreat, Women's Bodies Women's Hearts, I organized almost ten years ago).

Because we have the same root
Because we are not the same
becaue we have the same female parts
because we have a vagina, vulva, breasts
because men love to snuggle with our bodies
because children love to snuggle with our bodies
because men desire to own our bodies
because children own our bodies
because other women know the sadness in our bodies
because we belong to each other
because we belong to the ones who come out of our bodies
because we belong to the ones who mother our bodies
because we mother others
because we shared the same body
because we belong to no-one and to ourselves alone
because we need to mother ourselves alone
because the need to be mothered needs to be let go of
because the need to be mothered is a deep longing
because the infant we were and the infant we are, is
because we have the same root: ovaries, uterus, placenta, umbilical cord
because the tree of this root reaches back to our grandmothers, all the way back to the first mother
because my daughter has the same root
because I must love my daughter as myself
because until we love ourselves we are not free
because our emptiness is connected to why we are mothers
because we must love our bodies as ourselves
because we must honour our bodies as ourselves
because we must fill the gap
because we must feel, because there is a hole to be filled
because there is a gap between what is felt and what is filled
because emptiness cries out for forgiveness
because if I do not mirror my daughter's self to her, she will never love her self
because we are women
because we have no self love
therefore, I must love my Mother as my Self
in so doing, I Mother Myself.

(c) Jennifer Boire


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Queen takes her menopausal rest

Message from the Queen of Heaven

Dear ladies, queens of your households,
May you give yourself a few moments of peace today to experience the blessing of rest. I, goddess Ishtar, reclining on my chaise-lounge, would like to encourage you to do what I do at the full moon, when my heart is full too. I have been busy for two weeks now, waxing into fullness, mounting tides, climbing mountains, blessing fields with my rising energy. Feeding, cleaning and folding, like you, my daughters, who are sisters and mothers. Birthing, caring for the ill, the babies and needy ones. And now, before the descent of the next two weeks’ waning time, I pause for a day, in stillness. I lay my feet on my golden couch by the window, where I can listen to the bird song and watch the sun rise in the sky.

Let the world continue to spin without me for today. I remove the Queen headdress and crown. I remove the staff of power from my hand. I remove the girdle of fertility, the sandals of activity, the bracelets of charity to others, and I lie on my couch and am fed.

The pure water of the river cools me. The breeze reminds me of my breath. I rest. And the world restores me to myself. I invite you to partake of this Sabbatu, or Heart’s Rest, too.



Monday, September 04, 2006

bug soup

Bug soup

Inside the chrysalis
The transforming cocoon place
The low-lying energy renewal space
There is melting going on
Before the muscle and wing
Before the colour and deft flight
The poor caterpillar reduced to a liquid mess.

And that is exactly how I felt
At 49, awaiting the end of bleeding
The big change
I lay low and felt my muscles liquefy,
All my energy turned inward.
No more dizzy crawling, running and doing
Just rest
And more rest,
Even naps in the afternoon.

Until my beautiful wings began to grow
And surround me with rainbow reflections.
Sunshine called me out.
We dried our flimsy wet things
And took off.

you will find the honey

You will find the honey that you need, little bee
when you begin to seek the feminine in me...
the sweet well of being, the power of now.

So she is back, the quiet woman by the blue-tiled pool. The grasses this year are even taller and tinged with mauve on their grain tips, the azure salt water of the pool is crystalline, inviting, but the weather has cooled; a dry breeze blows through the birch trees, moves the floating rings around the stone-edged water. Over a simple lunch of Ry-krisp, avocado, tomatoes and sprouts ,she admires the swaying grasses and briefly closes her eyes to hear a cicada ringing its loud buzz overhead. Silence, except for the public works trucks beyond the cedar hedge. She imagines she is back in the peaceful life of the ashram (when she wasn't busy cooking for ten people) -- the simple stark bedroom, white shag carpet and blue cloud wallpaper. A lit candle and a small photo the only decoration, her white comforter and foam mattress her only furniture.

Compared to her present house, with its many rooms, library, home-office, vast gardens of perennials, that lifestyle was bare and simple. When she longs for a simpler life, that is where memory flashes back to - not the chaos of her overcrowded family home with seven siblings, but a few brief years of service and meditation. She is simplifying things, but in any case, the blank white room is the reference point - the stillness of a room alone, and this is her week without children, before the week of retreat without spouse or cats or dogs.

Reading the newspaper induces anxiety, stirs up the idea-making machine. This is not a time of goal setting but of clearing, emptying out, entering the void and trusting, going past her fear, time to discover whether she, alone, is enough. Her contribution will not arise out of anxiety, fear and panic. First, pull back. Keep out of sight. Find the inner alliance, ask for help in finding like-minded people for encouragement. Like last night, she hadn't asked for anything, and yet there appeared the most gorgeous double rainbow, brilliantly fluorescent in the dark grey sky. For twenty minutes it followed them as they left the trailer park where the kids were staying for one week, the sun in back of them, dark clouds in front. As the sunset began, a bronze-tinged mist filled the southeast sky and purple and grey clouds in the northwest - spectacular skies! isn't that what she was eager to see in Taos, the play of sky and cloud and desert expanse - god's paint board. She prays to be ready for the changes coming, for leaving part of herself behind, and for finding a truer understanding. A strong woman fearful of opening up to her own unknowing.

(written July 24, one day before trip to New Mexico).


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Quotes for Wild Women Writers

"Women must learn the self-love, the self idealizing, the self mythologizing that has made it possible for men to think of themselves as persons." (Intro to Rising Tides)

"There are legions who're singing sweet, hitting all the expected notes at the right intervals. But how to hit the wrong notes because that's where the feeling takes you...the meaningfulness and intensity of this kind of struggle in the writing can't be carried by artifice." Tess Gallagher.

"Without mirrors, the self does not exist." (a woman writer has to read somewhere or write who she is, a real identity other than the false image projected of how/what you are). Margaret Atwood

"Menopause is a metamorphosis, like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. The caterpillar needs a cocoon, and sodo you. One of the most important things you can do during menopause is to take time for you. Go into your cave, go into your cocoon, go into your room and shut the door." Susun Weed

On the edge of chaos, your conscious mind is not as functional - there are too many conflicting impulses, lack of clarity and confusion. Check in with the breath, let the sand settle, come inside, like being deep underwater during a storm. You find you can breathe down here oddly enough, and you look up and see storm clouds, flashes of sunlight, waves and seaweed overhead. Deep in the calm belly of the sea, in that womb-like space, you float freely. No roots, no fear of falling, you are held safe and warm, in the rhythmic pulse of life, breathing in and out. You slow down your heartbeat to this rhythm. Now, your body is your pen--what is it you want to write? (myself)

what is the feminine?

In response to some who emailed me privately, and brought up the question, what do I think of as the feminine? I guess I am using it two ways: in the standard way of calling a way of dress or style as 'feminine' as opposed to a masculine style of dress etc., which comes from our social conditioning. But in the most profound way of embracing the feminine, what I refer to is the yin as opposed to the yang, the hidden source of creative power that powers the universe; the moist cave we were born out of, a mother's womb, or the small voice inside that counsels us that the Keres Indians call Thought Woman. I do believe that men and women each access their own wisdom differently, and the our bodies have different kinds of power. I think that as women we have been overly masculinized, modelled ourselves after men, and have lost the particular 'feminine' wisdom ways of the body, in our pursuit of intellectual excellence.

The spirit has no gender, but humans have classified and engendered everything, so I guess it helps me to use these terms. In French, every noun is either feminine or masculine - it's hard to get away from it. So for me, what has been belittled in me, i.e. the parts of the body, what has been mocked or trashed, what has not been useful to my advance or success in school, the non-rational, the intuitive, the healing power of a mother's hands, the knowledge of who is calling me before I pick up the phone - I associate that with the feminine. And it needs reclaiming. In ancient times, the Queen of Heaven and Earth had many powers - the feminine power was not only nurturing and life giving, but she was envisioned as a warrior woman. The Great Mother was dancing the dance of creation, birth, life, death, famine and abundance. Is it only a metaphor? or does invoking the feminine bring power to women?

It's important for me to get in touch with what has been maligned by religion, in my case, the Catholic religion. My body and it's holy discourse, it's bleeding and breeding, has been misaligned with 'sin' or absence of God/spirit. Matter/mater/mother is where we all begin. The original woman, Eve, was not the source of a fall from Grace, but was our wise Birth Mother. The old ways of burning women with healing power has made us fearful of the expression of our truth. In a mythological sense, the essential feminine breathes through the universe, as does the essential masculine - the marriage of the two is a divine intercourse. That is a story that needs rewriting - to put the divine consort back into God's arms.
Retrieving my hidden affinity with the feminine way of knowing is healing me in some way I can't easily put into words.

What I know is this, if I see myself as created in the image of god, with both feminine and masculine parts, and I celebrate my physical femaleness as holy, and understand the responsibility having a female body holds as part of creation, honour and respect it, and understand it is to be as holy as the masculine, if I can hold onto the double image of Lady and Lord, (even if I know the creative energy needs no gender), it helps me feel stronger, more balanced. My body's wisdom is connected to having a cunt instead of a penis - it's that blunt. Uterus, ovaries, vagina: are power places that need re-sacralizing. To re-invest the female body, with feminine power. To write it with milk, as Cixous expressed it.

To celebrate what I am, body mind and spirit. Female body, mind and spirit. To counter the prevalence of belief that stems from eons ago: "These heretical women - how audacious they are! They have no modesty; they are bold enough to teach, to engage in argument, to enact exorcisms, to undertake cures, and it may be, even to baptize." (Tertullian)

I leave it up to the men to do their own work. Finding out how to balance the masculine and feminine in themselves. To soften what is too hard, to strengthen what is weak. To honour and respect the feminine power within themselve, and in the women around them.

If you know what the 'feminine' means to you, please write and let me know. I am still stumbling in the dark.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Embracing the feminine

Hi there. I changed my template and the blog came back! Hope you like the new look.
Blogging at age 51 (yes the previous article was written a few years ago and revamped this week), means I am challenging myself to learn new skills - computer programming not being one of them.

I am loving the reading I am doing about the feminine, and hope you enjoy learning along with me. It is not easy to go against everything you've learned and try to find out what is really "feminine" about yourself, especially if you, like myself, have always hated anything to do with that word. I used to associate it with blondes and bimbos. Now there's a heavy judgement!

Lately, I've tinted my hair with blonde highlights. I find myself wearing a skirt more often, (the colourful one I bought in Sante Fe was just the first!) And feeling less inhibited about my very female body. Yesterday in the pool, I actually took off my bathing suit top and swam with breasts touching the cool water - we have a cedar hedge keeping it very private, but I still felt like a radical exhibitionist!

I normally don't even look at myself in the mirror, let alone brush my hair or put on make-up - since I don't work outside the house it doesn't seem necessary to 'put a face on'. But my 14 yr old daughter is very fashionista, and has a cool sense of her own style, and very feminine ideas on female beauty - she has long hair, which she likes to get styled, shaves her legs, loves to buy make-up and jewellery. I guess at her age I went through all that too, but then rejected it as being too 'feminine', too confining, too stereotyped. At 17, I was wearing overalls one day and high heels the next. Probably confused about what it meant to be a girl. In the 70's, sexual liberation and feminism meant we could dress like guys, act like guys, swear and smoke like guys, drink and party like guys - at least we thought we needed to, to be free. These days girls are showing off their belly-buttons and wearing tiny tank tops for the same reason. (at least, I hope that's the reason).

I have to confess I am not a radical feminist anymore. But I have started to appreciate the softer side of me, the swishing feel of skirts against my sometimes shaved legs, the curve of hips that are definitely starting to look like the Venus of Willendorf model. The breasts that are resonding to gravity and travelling southward on their own. What's next- nude sunbathing?

Embracing the feminine at this stage of my life means dropping the mask, embracing my quirky eccentricities, finding out what makes my heart dance - I made a cool collage yesterday that boldly stated: Follow your heart - put the world on Hold - and juxtoposed the words Crystal Butterfly - Earth Angel - Sexy Beast and Sinfully Good - it's all in there - the mix of sensual, sexual and spiritual that makes the feminine such a wild ride. Hormones are just the tip of the iceberg, ladies. Get your feminine on!

ps the secret code of women is what makes my heart dance!