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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Women Bloggers with Heart

Be in awe of this existence.

Be in awe of this breath.

Be in awe of this life.

Be in awe.

Maharaji





I receive some beautiful messages of encouragement and love from strangers over the blogging universe. Not all of them leave email or website information so I can't reply to them except on my own comments.



I'd like to send this out to any of you reading and commenting, or not commenting.



We are all connected. We all learn from each other. And I appreciate the support of the world wide web of women :) Thank you!



Yesterday at my women's circle a health food store owner from http://www.jessynaturel.com came in to speak with us about menopause and health in general. She had so many good tips for us, about products and about basic health in general. On topic of menopause, she took one look at us and said, most of you here are probably not in need of estrogen but progesterone. We all looked at each other. What did she see?



This is what I saw: we are all busy women, with part-time jobs, volunteer work, teenagers, environmental work, all activitists of one sort or another. We all have developed our masculine sides, I presume. The feminine energy, or the idea of feminine as Aphrodite or passive or intuitive, or whatever concept I have, is not what we have chosen to develop or use to get ahead, so it is not being depleted. (this is my limited understanding of her comment - write me if you have a better idea of what the feminine is, please.)



I thought, isn't that interesting - more than one person of the healing variety has mentioned that she thinks women, in the corporate world especially, are too masculine, too yang, not in touch with their feminine side - the link to the intuition, to the unconscious messages, and the receiving end of things (yin) is less developed. Our energy is fiery and bold and accomplishes things. We are doers, busy women, overbooked, overscheduled, and overwhelmed.



I have just added a link to the sidebar, http://zenamoon.typepad.com/womenatrest/ which you should check out if you are a woman who does too much, or recognize that you may be burning out. I have trying to prevent burn-out for several years now, having seen my friends try to recover (it takes years!). Mostly I am uneven in my results - balanced one day (the days I do yoga mostly), too frazzled & busy on the others. On the anxiety producing days I burn out my energy quickly and tend to fall sleep at 8:30 pm. On the balanced energy days, I can go until 11:00 (singing, practising, playing, loving) easily.


It may seem obvious to you, but this is a new discovery for me - that I can exhaust myself by going too quickly. Sometimes I consciously decide to slow down - put on some slow music (new age flute works for me), burn a candle, take a walk down to the lake, stretch into yoga, actually sit down to eat lunch for the time it takes. Ahha, that's what was missing, peace in the belly!


I invite you women with heart to take care of yourselves today by paying close attention to the stomach meter: are you anxious, dizzy, turning in circles, forgetting everything? Stop, breathe, take a teeny-meeny-retreat at your desk or computer. Allow life to calm you. Allow yourself to receive. Open your heart, close your eyes.


There now, isn't that better?


taking my own medecine,


Musemother

Monday, May 28, 2007

Emotions are Gifts

Emotions come to as old friends, bringing us lessons about ourselves. The lesson may be; you can't change all of the people that make you angry, jealous or sad, but you can change yourself. (paraphrased from The Heart of the Soul, Gary Zukav and Linda Francis)

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

--Rumi,
The Essential Rumi, Coleman Barks, trans.

have an emotionally aware day :)
musemother

Friday, May 25, 2007

Finding the joy of menopause

“Lie back, and the sea will hold you”
First Lesson, Philip Booth

Yes, I want to tell you, there is emotional turmoil. Yes, there is pain and a descent into darkness. Yes, you may feel like you’re lost in a dark tunnel with no way out some of the time. The rest of the time, you dance and laugh at parties with a glass of merlot or cook something fast and easy for your kids like tacos. You come home from work tired and decide to read a book after supper, but instead you fall asleep at 8:30, wake up sleepless at 3:00 a.m drenched in sweat.

Two years ago, I was turning into bug soup. I didn't know it, but inside my chrysalis, all my ragged edges, horns and spotted caterpillar shape, the multiple legs and little prickly bits were melting, turning into bug soup. All I knew is that I felt mush-muscled. Only God knew what shape I would take or how my wings would form, which colours scintillate brightly. Some wild blue turquoise, yellowy green, or maybe something completely different than the rose or fuchsia I imagined.

I felt tired, not only physically, but mentally tired of resisting this quiet destiny. No flames, flamm├Ęches or fireworks; it was low-key and subterranean, a lying low until strength could be gathered for flight. The peri-menopause is the period before the coming cessation of bleeding, not wholly begun yet because I was still bleeding profusely every 28 days, except for one month missed. This was the chrysalis phase, an in-between transition—I was not yet transformed, not of one world-- the young energetic past--nor of the other (mellow, old and wise) but on a shuttlebus between the two states. Perhaps 49 is not the end of energy and youthful vigour (although in the sorry shape I was in, both hips and shoulders aching, it felt like it).

Yes, the tears come easily, and even a little something wrong upsets you. But what I want to talk about is the joy that follows, the big joy, not just a little joy, that comes finally after the dust settles, or after you come blinking up out of the tunnel, into the place where you don’t recognize yourself. Once you come up into the clear mountain air, a small ray of sunshine appears, then a whole bright day ahead.

Where did I find my joy? In discovering I was ready to serve – not like before, not to forget myself, to give all my power away, to be a good girl and get kudos or to please others, but opening to being a fully satisfied, complete woman, a woman with power, ready to use that power for a greater good than my own personal fame or wealth. In discovering I have wings, and in learning how to spread them – not to fly away – necessarily, but to rise above the pettiness, jealousy and drudgery of my own mind, to find the purity, clarity, and peace of heart within. Oh, my wings are real; they are white and muscular. But they shine invisibly, growing out from my heart center.

Where did I lose my joy? In making myself small, too small to see. In resentment, and fear of speaking out, fear of owning my truth, fear of what my neighbour thinks of me, fear of challenging my fear. I can feel it hunched a little in my neck and shoulders, still, but it’s leaving, being cleared away by the work I am doing and the grace of god/s. I am an ordinary woman with extraordinary powers. The power to love, the power to inspire by my actions, the power to forgive myself for being human and making mistakes.

Where do I find my joy? In sharing the wealth: in hearing your stories, and in sharing mine. In making it brand new, each new day.

My life story is fairly ordinary: I was a child, I learned to love; I loved people who hurt me, but I have also met a caring, gentle man and have two children with him. On my woman's journey I have bled once a month since I was fifteen, and now at 51, I have finished. I have been in the liminal space, in between young and old, but I am still in the middle years. From here, I can look backwards and forwards, but my pleasure is to stay right here, right now, in the present. And breathe, once more, into the closer, immediate present.

So in the middle of feeling stuck in the chrysalis, I came to the Writer’s Spa in Taos, at the center of the Tao, the mountain that is sacred and has no name. Its subject attracted me: creativity, and the word “spa”. To be pampered as a writer, to belong to a tribe of women trying to express their creative selves, to find healing and answers as to why I am so stuck with all my projects. There was no lack of creative ideas, but I felt as if I had no power to move ahead, or push forward, in fact, I was a bit tired of pushing myself. I’ve been in transitional phase of birthing perhaps – no apparent movement or downward pushing yet, yet….the cervix slowly dilating, and pushing out is the next step. It will take all my strong courage.

So it’s been a few days in Taos, the fourth day – each night facing fears, exorcising demons, shivering under my covers after bad dreams – of plaster walls caving in and water damage to my house, forgetting my kids at the dentists; all kinds of stuff creeps in when the coyotes are howling after midnight and you can’t sleep. Or while driving towards a huge black cloud covering the whole hemisphere and streaked with bolts of lightning…almost hitting our car as we sped along a single lane highway on the way to the hot springs.

Then one day I had a nurturing, healing massage that helped open up the shoulder and neck muscles and release the fear I’d been holding. I had a coaching session where I discovered I wanted to be a popular or self-help writer, and work with ordinary people, not a literary wunderkind. My face lit up as I found it, my joy of speaking in my own voice to other women instead of competing with the intellectuals of the lit world. And that is where I really found my joy, in the openness to not knowing, in the void I need to relax into. Finding fearlessness in rappelling down the mountain inch by inch, landing on a safe ledge to stand on, then finding there is water down below and I can float on an air mattress, and let the sea support me.

Ah that is where my joy is, in being supported by the universal ocean. The trust I am learning to feel inside. That is worth gold; that feeds and nurtures me.

Rappel away, menopausal ladies. Let the sea hold you.

musemother
(written last summer in Taos; apparently found today because I needed to remind myself!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

After ecstasy, the laundry!

Zen saying.

There's a new me being born, one who listens more and shrieks less. It's something to practice.

This morning, first day back after a whirlwind trip to Dijon and Paris, (oui, le vin est bon)brought me the Monday morning blues on a Tuesday. After wakefulness from 4 a.m. on, while normal time and body caught up to each other, at 6:30 it was finally the real 'wake-up call', time to prepare coffee and toast for those who were leaving for school and work. I had the good fortune of meditating alone after that, and in the midst of that peacefulness, fell asleep.

So far so good, but the main thing on my list this sunny day is laundry. Five suitcases worth of it. That was the monster facing me, or so I thought.

Two loads already started last night, allowed me the luxury of a 30-minute yoga stretch before I went downstairs and faced the 'cafard' - a messy kitchen and piles of dirty rumpled clothes. While I was sitting on the cushion listening to the yoga teacher's soothing voice on tape, it occurred to me that my blahs and blues had already dissipated. That choosing to stretch and relax before beginning my chores felt really good. (I'm not always disciplined enough to do yoga at home alone although I aim to practice 3 times a week).

Even more subtle was the realization that I had made a choice this morning, to follow the inner desire for peace in the belly and heart, instead of listening to the annoying inner tape of 'you're so lazy, the house is a mess, look at all you haven't done yet, why can't you be more organized' etc. This voice is so close to my own that I often confuse it for really being me. But it is a defeatist voice, a cruel voice, a voice that allows no pleasure, no self-gratifying breaths, and never eases up on me. It pushes and pulls me, if I let it, into a tizzy of do's, should's and haven't done's. It keeps me always on edge, and even pushes me over the edge on occasion. I renounce that voice!

So here on my cushion, the revelation was welcomed: I can choose the morass of confusion, worry, anxiety and 'not good enough' or I can choose one-thing-at-a-time peace of mind. Slow down to being, not doing - gawd I have said this often. It needs saying again, to myself.Be here, now. Rein in the wild horses ready to split off into frantic hurry mode. Ignore the negative voice that would rather just stay in bed and give up the battle before it has begun. The only battles are interior ones. The ugliest fights are the ones I have with myself.

A long time ago, my teacher described the path of consciousness as being razor-edged - to the left and to the right are the abyss, and the student walks in the middle path. It's not how I pictured it then, as a warrior doing battle with evil darkness. It's in the small choices, the little moments of clarity over confusion, the moments where I keep my feet on the path, my eyes focussed on the core of being. And take small steps forward. Enjoying the moment, and the walk.

Learning to enjoy,

Nameste,
musemother

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Menopause - the Yogini's Wisdom Way

I have kept a copy of this article - Menopause the Yoga Way - since 1996. Must have been saving it for a future date - that's almost ten years ago. I was peri-menopausal then, and now I haven't had a period in 2 1/2 years.

This morning in Yoga class, I was lying on my mat during relaxation pose, and just before briefly drifting off to sleep, I remembered the article, and looked up the benefits yoga can bring to a tired middle-aged body.

"Many prominent yoga teachers agree that the practice of yoga not only alleviates the disruptive physical aspects of the menopausal years, but facilitates a spiritual alignment that inspires women to accept and nourish this inevitable change of life. Menopause, they say, can be profoundly empowering if encountered as a spiritual adventure and opportunity." (from article by Ellen Sander, Yoga Journal Issue 126 Feb 1996)

I am not quite a yogini yet, but I'm interested in whatever offers empowerment. I have practiced gentle yoga for over 10 years and still feel like a beginner. Beginner's mind is what the Zen teachers tell us we need to have, so I guess I'm in the right place. With yoga, I am still a baby, even if my body has turned 52 years old. Yoga is a godsend for my aching joints, stiffening hips and bursitic shoulders, as long as I don't overdo it. That's why I stick to the gentle yoga, not the vigorous ashtanga varieties.

If you're interested in a natural approach to menopause, you might check out the benefits from yoga postures: it's been proven to balance the endocrine system, and smooth out hormonal and glandular changes. Postures such as shoulder stands and forward bends have a calming, cooling effect to counter hot flashes and bring fresh oxygen to your blood. (downward dog, half-dog pose, corpse pose are also mentioned) Joint mobility increases with the gentle stretching of yoga, and yogic breathing and focused meditation can tone and soothe the nervous system. Yoga asanas can lower blood pressure and heart rate, release muscular tension, improve sleep and reduce fatigue. Susun Weed, quoted in the above-mentioned article, suggests menopausal women could benefit from an hour or more of yoga or t'ai chi a week. It is also an excellent weight bearing exercise to help prevent osteoporosis, and stops height loss by ensuring the disc spaces between vertebrae remain supple.

Susun Weed also recommends women in peri-menopause gain up to a pound a year, as a natural protection against thinning bones (you store excess estrogen in your fat cells). Imagine being comfortable with a little more roundness on your figure!

As for me, after my hour-long class this morning, I felt rested, relaxed and calm, my normal restless, anxious state soothed, my head clear and focussed, ready to embark on another busy day of errands, appointments and web site editing (a volunteer job I am currently doing for wordsofpeace.ca, soon to go live).

It made me want to spread the good news - that being grounded in the breath and moving with the body in yoga is an easy antidote to menopausal symptoms. Again, the menopausal message is all about self-care:

"When a child is going through puberty, we're patient with her. In menopause you have to be patient with yourself. Women should realize this change is normal and natural and give ourselves some time to be quiet. It's a time to relook at your life. your life is going to be totally different. You're not as involved with your family: you need to be more involved with taking of yourself." (Yoga Journal article).

So lovely ladies, love yourself, love your bones, love your round curves, your dolphin thighs, your menopausal bellies. Help yourself to a little soft space to breathe in.

What I wish for you as I head off to France for five days of overeating and drinking wine: peace in the belly, as well as peace in the heart :)

luv
musemother

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Journey

by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

My mom came up this weekend, and it's my daughter's birthday tomorrow - plus she had a big dance recital this weekend - 5 shows in four days - so it's been a busy weekend and lots of tension, getting places on time, and going out to eat.

It was a great gift that my mom (76) could come up and visit, and see her grand-daughter, all long-legged, elegant and beautiful in her dance costumes (ballet, ballet jazz, modern and hip-hop).

We are three generations of women with bad nerves, tight shoulder muscles and anxiety, but today, we let go and hung out a bit together; it was sunny, and warmish, a good day to sit outside.

That was as nice a mother's day gift as anything. The flowers were nice, too, and the cards. And my sister cooking brunch for us, and helping clean the kitchen, prepare supper. And the long talk we had while watching the Ottawa Senators beat the American team....

To top it off mom and I watched Monster-in-Law tonight, with my one-time mentor Jane Fonda (only long distance and through the movies mentor). We laughed our heads off a few times.

It's been a long day, but I just wanted to wish you a Happy Mother's Day and end of Mother's Week - but I'll still be reminding myself and you to Mother Ourselves, next week.

luv
musemother

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Gifts of Midlife

While I'm in the mood for quoting books, another great resource for women of all ages is "A Woman's Book of Life, The Biology, Psychology, and spirituality of the feminine life cycle", by Joan Borysenko.

I went to a workshop with Joan at Kripalu last fall. She is a very warm, caring person and great presenter. I liked how she used a lot of short breaks to help us get back in touch with our own 'body guidance' by breathing into the belly. I especially like her chapter in the above-mentioned book on The Midlife Metamorphosis. She names the gifts we come into in mid-life as authenticity, emptying, and rededication to the feminine values of relatedness, respect for life, (the 'tend and befriend' impulse we have in times of stress). She quotes Margaret Mead talking about the midlife years as a time of "postmenopausal zest".

So it's not just a time of descent into fuzzy brained forgetfulness and hot flashes. On the bright side, we become more vocal, more self-reliant, more emotionally mature. We move with integrity from our own values, free to make our own judgments about what is right for us, not afraid of what people think. "This is not about selfishness ... it's about self-ness, being self-full, soul-full, trusting yourself deeply enough to know that if your commitment is to act with integrity you will by definition relate with care, compasion and love, so that you don't have to be afraid that by being yourself you won't care for others." (Borysenko quoting Janet Quinn)

Borysenko names one of the gifts as 'emptying'. Emptying out closets, giving away clothes we no longer wear, clearing up credit card debt, deciding to make do with one car instead of two, learning to live lightly. I have a friend who recently left a relationship and is in between jobs, in between houses, and living apart from her kids, two of whom are grown up and working. She is definitely in a mid-life transition on all levels. All she has is her computer and a suitcase or two of clothes, while her furniture and belongings are in storage. While this is a scary and challenging time, I told her I envy her the freedom she has. Life is allowing her to make choices she never had to make, (even simple ones like what to eat for supper) to learn to trust her own knowing, find her strengths.

I often fantasize that I live alone in a little house in the woods, with less material 'stuff' to take care of. And this spring, my closets are definitely going to get a thorough emptying, as we prepare to move in the fall (yes, it's a smaller house).

But it's my head that needs emptying most of all. I have stopped writing poetry for a while, stopped reading novels, stopped caring what goes on in the intellectual world of writers. I want to get in touch with the feeling mode, with the new way I want to feel - grounded, joyful, authentic, in touch with core values. My favourite place to be is not reading a book anymore, but stretching into downward dog in my yoga class (or more truthfully, lying in corpse pose in relaxation).

Borysenko reports that the number of women between forty-five and fifty-four will increase by one half (from 13 to 19 million) by the year 2000 (wait a minute - we're 2007!) - so our time has come!

Midlife women are taking over the world. Time to let people now we're taking our place, taking up space. And pushing for peace :)

Enjoy your gifts,

musemother

Mothering our Fears

My daughter went for a massage yesterday, as part of an ongoing treatment for back problems. The massage therapist noted she had many knots in her back (at age 15). Yes, she's stressed at school, stressed in her 10 hours of dance classes during school (ballet jazz, ballet, modern, hip hop), and probably stressed by her over-critical mother. She's in the minefield of teen years at highschool, which doesn't help either. The massage therapist suggested breathing exercises or meditation might help.

I started to reflect that although I experience inner peace when I sit and practice, it hasn't really changed my personality which is prone to anxiety and a little fearful of new situations. I do use breath to calm my self down in those moments. And I have used herbal supplements.

This morning I picked up my herbal bible: The New Menopausal Years by Susun Weed, and it opened right at the Anxiety/Fear/Extreme Nervousness page, to this piece of women's wisdom:

"'Have you noticed?' whispers Grandmother Growth. 'Your hot flashes and menstrual irregularities disrupt your normal patterns, make openings for your buried fears to emerge. Welcome these fears; they bring memories. Memories of childhood, memories of other lives. Often these memories find easiest access to your consciousness through fear. If you reject your fear, it will immobilize you, shorten your breath, leave you speechless, and dim your full delight in life. Approach with curiosity; let your fear bring you gifts of self-awareness. (Note how dilated the pupils become in fear. Anxious eyes take in everything.) Hold my hand. Say 'Im afraid" and take a step forward."

During menopause our adrenal glands take on extra work and can become depleted, over-reacting in stressful situations to make us feel anxious over small decisions, triggering hot flashes and leaving us feeling mentally blank. We can find out which herbs feed the adrenals.

Susun Weed suggests even one massage can decrease anxiety and fearfulness; another way to let out the frozen feelings is to curl up in a fetal position and breath deeply while humming. You may get in touch with some buried feelings, some grief or rage or tears.

In our society, we are very blocked with our emotions. The childhood message we may have received was, be a big girl now, don't cry. Don't cry over spilled milk. Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile. (that was my mother's favourite song). Anger especially was not ok, and grief was to be hidden after a very short mourning period. Fear? I don't think any parent wants to breed fear in their child, but if you were scared of the dark, scared of meeting new people, scared of your new school, you were probably encouraged to go beyond it and not feel it.

Did anyone ever tell me to be friends with my fear? to allow it to speak, to make it feel safe so I could hear its small voice? I've loved rose oil for a long time now, and Susun Weed says it's a good scent to calm your sene of anxiety and fear. Put some on your breastbone or your wrists, so you can smell it all day when you need to remind yourself everything is ok.

She also suggests we need to claim our boundaries, to make ourselves feel safe. To create the physical, psychic and emotional boundaries that we really need to feel safe.

So if like me, you sometimes feel anxious, don't flee it or mask it or medicate it. Talk to it first, Breathe with it, even nourish it. Exercise is another good remedy, and if you need more help, calcium is also good for your nerves.

This book is full of good solid remedies, friendly advice, women's inspiration. My women's circle has invited someone to come and speak to us on Menopause, and I've asked her to bring some copies of Susun Weed's book. It may save us some expensive therapy.

best wishes,
musemother

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Self Care for Menopausal Babes

If you are menopausal or peri-menopausal, as so many of my friends and acquaintances are realizing they are, you have been or will soon be confronted by some form of fatigue - either from insomnia, night sweats or nurturer burn-out. Perhaps you are working as a teacher, nurse, secretary or in some other helping profession. Perhaps you have full-time work at home, or perhaps you have an ailing parent you are caring for as well as your children.

The most important Mother's Week (I've just extended it from one day to one week!) message is the one I received in my in-box this morning from Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom and Mother-Daughter Wisdom. I think it's so important I'm passing along an excerpt to you:

"One of the biggest challenges women face is learning how to care for themselves while caring for others. It requires a delicate balance between what often feels like polar opposites. I’ve spent a lifetime studying self-care. And I’ve come to the conclusion that good self-care is the single most important aspect of our health, period. The programming of self-sacrifice leads ultimately to health-destroying sentiments, such as guilt, resentment, anger, and other emotions linked to high levels of stress hormones. Self-sacrifice feels wrong to us on a soul level—our spirit gravitates naturally to joy and happiness. That’s why self-sacrifice ultimately makes us sick and keeps us stuck in dead-end situations."
Dr. Christiane Northrup's e-health newsletter excerpt

Unforunately some of us have been programmed to be good girls, and give selflessly to others without thinking about ourselves. Sometimes it takes a major health challenge, like burn-out or chronic fatigue syndrome or breast cancer, to make us stop and take a look at how we are emptying our feminine container, giving our energy away, and losing our joy.

My wake-up call was a broken leg, and a small cyst in my left breast (which turned out to be filled with a thick creamy substance!) The message took me a while to figure out - but while I was lying in bed with a cast, I had time to think and reflect. I also had time to listen to how my husband was dealing with a busy household, and time to talk with him in the evening about my feelings. I learned I had to speak up and ask for what I wanted (help with kids, help in household), especially in the sensitive area of sexual pleasure. I learned a lot of things.

I learned I was not superwoman, and could not do it all alone.

I learned that nobody else wanted me to be self-sacrificing anyway.

I learned through therapy (after my father passed away and more emotions came up) that I had always felt I wasn't 'enough', not good enough, not pretty enough, etc. And that I overworked myself out of needing to feel worthy. I had a hard time saying no to volunteer jobs for instance, especially if they had a nice title attached like 'coordinator' or 'vice-president'. My self-worth was lower than I imagined. And I was keeping myself too busy to wonder why I felt depressed, stressed and over-extended.

It's a long slow process towards self-honesty, and learning to be true to myself. On the road, I am learning how making myself invulnerable cuts me off from feeling close to people. How controlling others is a technique that used to work for me in my dysfunctional childhood home, but how it doesn't work with my own family now. How pushing myself beyond my comfortable limits makes me end up going over the edge and useless to those who rely on me.

Self-care involves dumping a lot of old baggage that doesn't serve me anymore. Guilt, resentment, anger and stress were making me a very cranky person. That's not the woman I want to be. Menopause has been a gift for me, in that it has forced me to pause and reflect, and dig deep. In that descent into murky waters, I have found some healing. I have begun to accept myself, know my limits better.

I hope you will not wait until something breaks. Heed the warning signs, the tension in your neck and shoulders, the explosive anger and PMS, the extreme fatigue and insomnia, and take action. Slow down. Be kinder to yourself, and that will increase your capacity for kindness to others. If you lose yourself, or your health, you can't help anyone anyway.

One way you can do this is to be mindful of your own body rhythms. See the Women's Wisdom blog (link on the left) for Seven Tips for body guidance.

Keep it simple, and find your joy :)
musemother

Monday, May 07, 2007

Centering in Peace

This morning I sat with myself in the quiet, and let myself sink into the core of peace at my center. There is nowhere else I want to be. There is nothing more important that needs doing.

This is a radical change of awareness, and a necessary one for me.

Finally, I am losing interest in running myself ragged, in losing myself in frantic activity, in senseless doing just to get things done on 'time'. My list of things to do is still there. And yes, the laundry is getting done thanks to a lovely machine in my mudroom. A few more piles await. There are phone calls to make, and people to see.

It's not like I'm a monk in a monastery. I spent a busy weekend preparing for our annual choir competition, then singing for 6 minutes on a big bright stage in Springfield Massachusetts with the Sweet Adelines Region 1. Superb singing, and accapella entertainment all weekend, even on the bus ride home. I came back to my family of teens, dog, and cats, and to a wonderful roast pork lovingly cooked by my husband (his first). The busy beat goes on.

But the thirst, from deep in my heart this first day back, was not to catch up on emails, or read the newspaper back to back, but to sit and feel the warm glow inside me. I must feel this calm centre. I must drink from this oasis. No more eliding, sliding and gliding away from it. Here is nurturing, here is self-care, here is delight, and much much more than this - Maybe only my big toe has gone under the waves, but the ocean beckons. Lose your fear, baby, come in. All the way in.

Being human amounts to this: be conscious and enjoy every moment. Move from there. Be aware of your need - slow down and feel it. I can't tell you why it's important. But it is. Like food, like water, like breath.

See for yourself, feel for yourself, don't take my word for it.

Visit tprf.org (link on left) to find out more. Or wordsofpeace.com. Become your own best friend.

have a wonderful new leaves bursting out kind of day,
musemother
ps this week I want to talk about Mother's Day, self-care, mothering ourselves, and so much more. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Buds and Birds

So the birds are out building, and the buds are showing, it must be spring - it even warmed up a bit today.

Just a quick note to say I'm back on the blog. After a busy week, learning new skills, learning about myself, digging deeper for conscious awareness of the core of being. Instead of acting and reacting from habit.

no time for longer message right now,
will return,
musemother