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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year Begins (Again)!


(image of rising sun in the east, early December 2009)
How did we get here this fast? I mean, it was just a few months ago I was making resolutions about no more resolutions, and here it is, time to sit down with my journal and dream my way into what I want to have happen in 2010.

Here it is end of December, and the lake is (almost) freezing over with some cold mist rising from the snow and ice, creating zigzagging patterns over the surface, and some open water....it will take a few more days of minus 10 Celsius to get totally solid.  The setting sun is throwing yellow light over the whole sifting misty lake, quite magical (not as magical as seeing the landscape on Pandora, in Avatar, but hey...see http://www.avatarmovie.com/).

Here is my list of things I am already ready to receive (not 'what I want', or 'goals' nor resolutions, but what I am already thankful for because it is being provided).

I am grateful for the lakeview and the wide open sky in front of me.
I am grateful for the space to write in and create.
I am grateful for the continued health and independence of my teenaged children.
I am grateful for the continued happiness and fulfillment of my husband.
I am grateful for new opportunities for music and singing.
I am grateful for lots of growth and learning.
I am grateful for my new book Tao of Turning 50 being published and widely distributed.
I am grateful for being financially independent.
I am grateful for providing for my family.
I am grateful for many many retreats and women's circles.
I am grateful for thousands of more readers of my blogs.
I am grateful for helping thousands of women uncover the unknown.
I am grateful for my continued health and stamina, so I can create more wisdom sharing venues.
I am grateful for uncovering networks of women with similar ideals and values.
I am grateful for partnering with like-minded women.
I am grateful for the ability to focus on my new projects and publishing.
I am grateful for being able to travel and work with writing mentors like Nathalie Goldberg.
I am grateful for being with thoughtful friends who care about my needs and my work.
I am grateful for sharing love with so many people.
I am grateful for my large extended family on both sides and their health.
I am grateful for being loved.
I am grateful for being cared for.
I am grateful for new horizons opening up.
I am grateful for taking risks and stepping forward.
I am grateful for sharing these steps with all who are interested.
I am grateful for another year of creativity, in song, in laughter.
I am grateful.

Thanks to this creative universe we live and thrive in, thanks be.

(and special thanks to my mother, my sisters and brothers, for a wonderful 3 days with them in Ottawa this past weekend)

musemother/jenn

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Ragged Edge of Modern Life

Here we are on the eve of Christmas, wrapping presents, running to the Pharmaprix for last minute stocking gifts because we just realized Janie has 2 more than Johnnie, and forgot about the cat and the dog's stockings....

awakening from a short sleep because of partying with neighbours the night before, more tired than yesterday...

sex is just a dream you had the other night, it didn't actually happen....

too pooped to coop, and forever catching up with more caffeine, and weary to the bone.

What do the latest health studies call this?  Adrenal fatigue syndrome (or another name for burnout according to an article in Vogue's December issue, the reason I bought the magazine, called The Ragged Edge). http://www.vogue.com/

We are all plugged in more than ever, and our nerves are over stimulated and 'hypertweeted'. Not only mid-life women are being treated for stress-related illnesses, but women in mid-life are particularly vulnerable. "When we're under ling-term stress, our adrenal glands continually churn out high levels of the hormone cortisol. Eventually the adrenals can't sustain that level of activation, cortisol levels plummet, and our body can no longer respond effectively to stress." Dr. Amy Saltzman, M.D. in Menlo Park California, Vogue December issue 2009.

I've blogged about adrenal fatigue on ms menopause blog (http://www.msmenopause.blogspot.com/) and there are wonderful articles at http://www.womentowomen.com/ on this subject.

It's a bit like having the fight or flight option on your adrenal glands always on 'on'.  We wear ourselves down by the constant beep of the phone, computer, email, blackberry, calling us to action.  Everything feels like an emergency when you are always rushing, or addicted to the adrenaline fix, as Cheryl Richardson calls it in her book The Art of Extreme Self-Care.  It's difficult to unhook ourselves from being always reachable, always available, yet it causes a severe attention deficit as we try to multi-task our way through our days, dealing with clients emails, stirring the stew pot on the stove, helping Janie with her homework and catching the 6:00 news on TV at the same time.

What if you use this holiday as a real unplugged vacation?  Go somewhere where there is no internet.  Unplug the computer and the phone, and just sit in front of the fire unwrapping presents and sipping hot chocolate, or even better, get outside and get some physical activity, skiing, snowshoeing, swimiming (if you live in Hawaii or Australia).

Get lots of Vitamin B, fish oil land asian ginsent. Eat well, rest, and devote at least a little bit of time every day to doing nothing - be that by watching your breath, sitting in zen meditation or looking out the window at the amazing changes in the sky moment by moment.

Happy Holidays, Happy Restfulness,
May the new year bring you permission to feel more serenity, tranquility and love,

musemother/jenn

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bindi miracle party


Not the best photo of me, but we were seriously focused on applying a red dot to each other's foreheads, at our women's retreat supper, which evolved into a bindi miracle party.

Wikipidea had this to say about bindi dots:

The area between the eyebrows (where the bindi is placed) is said to be the sixth chakra, ajna, the seat of "concealed wisdom". According to followers of Hinduism, this chakra is the exit point for kundalini energy. The bindi is said to retain energy and strengthen concentration.[4] It is also said to protect against demons or bad luck.
In modern times, bindis are worn by women of many religious dispositions in South Asia and Southeast Asia, including Muslim and Christian women, and is not restricted to Hindus.

So why a red dot? it no longer signifies a married woman, but it might have a source in the red blood at menstruation. The colour red is sacred because it is the colour of blood and symbolizes life in many cultures. The moon mother's blood is called wise blood, especially when it is withheld by menopausal women, making them Wise Women.

The third eye is a place of insight, where the ultimate vision of the Absolute can be seen with the inner eye. (The Woman's Dictionary of symbols and sacred objects) So wisdom above and below is connected with the red dot or bindi, a powerful symbol of womanhood.

The night of our bindi miracle party, we were telling our first menstruation stories, how it was for us. Sometimes it lead to lots of laughter, some of the stories were more sombre and tearful.

It was not something any of our mothers would have taught us to celebrate. So we decided to celebrate it ourselves, informally, in this little ritual.

While we did, we talked about our daughters, and how they may want or not want to be gifted with a symbol of insight, or jewellery more likely, along with a basket of pads, tampons or paraphanelia of 'woman's stuff'. Listen to our voices get hushed when we talk about 'women's stuff'. Why is the taboo so strong, still?

Just found this info on another site about bindi symbolism:
http://archives.chennaionline.com/style/Beautytrends/beautytips/bindi.asp

Some scholars see the red colour as a symbolism for blood. We are told that in ancient times, in Aryan society, a groom used to apply his blood on-his bride's forehead as a recognition of wedlock. The existing practice among Indian women of applying a round shaped red Tilaka called Bindiya or Kumkum could be a survival of this idea.

Do you think it more likely it's men's blood or women's blood originally?

enjoy the day,
jenn/musemother

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Giving the Gift of Music

"This life is yours. It is a gift that you have been given. Understand the beauty that is dancing in front of your very eyes. You are the stage where the peace dances. This is your time. Grab the request for peace in your heart; find the contentment in your life."
Prem Rawat

The other gift we have been given is the gift of music - I love to sing, I love music in all forms, and I especially love barbershop or accapella singing in 4-part harmony.

This past Saturday was our Christmas Concert, the West Island Chorus of Sweet Adelines, and my quartet got to play a little part.

Here is a link to our 2 songs : Mary Did you Know and We Need a Little Christmas. I'm singing tenor, on the left.

Take a look!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrE4wT3SvUA


Christine Roy sings lead (long blonde hair), Marian Morkill sings Baritone (far right) and Jean Kelly sings Bass (short blonde hair).

We share a passion for singing and performing - thanks ladies for all you do to make singing with you so much fun!

jenn

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Listening for My Own Wisdom

"I listened for the faint sound of my own true voice, buried far below all of my identities and roles and accompplishments, below my shoulds and my have-tos, my fears and my hopes.

..."Finally, slowly, I began to hear the voice of my deep womansoul crying out for a life of my own, pleading for a chance to discover my own unique song; to dance to my own choreography; to define my own purpose, direction, and vision, separate from what the world expected of me; separate from trying to be good and stay out of trouble.

I heard her saying, You are enough; just you, just who you are; you are good enough. You can stop proving it now. It's safe to come out; trust me, I will lead you. Trust this process. Trust that you are not alone." I Am A Woman finding Her Voice,

I just re-read this on an earlier blog posting, and can't believe this is still my theme! But I am putting it up here again today, to remind myself, and any of you who need to hear it, that now is the time to Listen In carefully for your own wisdom.

I am always too busy for this. Every day, I get up and meditate, ok, that's a good start, but my journal sits on the desk not used, my yoga strap waits on the chair for me to lie down and do some leg stretches, the list of things to do and things to shop for is right here beside me, and I managed to pay some bills and get toilet paper holders installed - but look at the time! 11:12 a.m. and I didn't manage to write anything in my journal, or sit and calmly listen for my own inner wisdom today.

When will I make time? If I don't schedule time for writing in my journal it doesn't happen. Or rarely, on a whim, once every two weeks. I am blogging more often, and also at http://www.owningpink.com/, which is a great place to find unconditional love and support, and read about finding your mojo. I've started editing a poetry collection, and I sent out copies of my Tao of Turning Fifty to friends for comments and feedback. So yes, small steps towards acknowledgeing my Womansoul.

Had lunch with a close friend from way back on Tuesday, and she is going through menopause. The thing that she misses the most is finding her own rhythm - needing time alone so she can find out what her rhythm would be like, if she didn't have to cook meals for someone else, oversee homework, be interruped in her creative process by house management details and daily stuff. She's a dancer, movement director, choreographer living the precarious life of grant to grant funding for projects, with no fixed income.

I thought her point about rhythm and being constantly interrupted was so apropos - finally at menopause you think the kids are big enough to handle breakfast alone, drive themselves to appointments (note: I had to interrupt meditation this morning at 8:15 to drive daughter to college for exam because my son was exceptionally not going today), and you think, I love my family, love my spouse, but I just need to find TIME for ME. It sounds so selfish. We are trained not to put ourselves first. But I think it becomes a necessity, and if you are a creative person even more so, to put yourself on the TO DO list.

Ok inner voice, I'm going to schedule you in, right now. And then I'll get to the errands, appointments, bills, and things.

sigh,
jenn/musemother

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