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!