Monday, March 28, 2011

Menopausal Journey and the Feminine

The gift of the menopausal journey is the wisdom to know when to rest, to listen to our feminine wisdom.

Too often we align ourselves with the outer values of the work force:  production, performing, success and goal-making - and these drive us forward until we hit the brick wall of exhaustion.  Helen Luke, author of  Woman, Earth and Spirit, The Feminine Symbol and Myth say this is because we don't value the feminine values of receiving, openness, and holding space. The feminine fertilizes in the dark space where the seed lies in the earth, receiving nourishment, light and water and heat from above. It is the earth's nature to foster growth in the dark so that the seed may reach up to the light. This inner fertilizing of our soul growth is as important as the creative output phase.

The soul needs tranquility, and rest, not only fire; inner cultivation occurs in the darkness by resting, finding completeness and wholeness from within.  "The way back and down to those springs [water of life] and to the roots of the tree is likewise the way on and up to the spirit of air and fire in the vaults of heaven." Luke

If we don't give ourselves time to rest and be still, to listen within, due to the pressure to perform and feel worthy, then we "scorch our inner garden with the destructive fire" according to Luke.  We burn up, we burn out. We feel dry and empty.

So if you are feeling scorched, and in need of some fertilizing power, think about what elements you need to help you rest and go within.

Consider going on a retreat, or making yourself a mini-retreat for an hour, by unplugging the phone, the computer and emails and writing in your journal. Even over lunchtime, you can make a mini-retreat by walking outside in the sunshine, finding a shady tree to sit under, reflecting on the waters of life that nourish you and what they may be.

Fifty is strong. Fifty is the end of the burdens of retarded childhood, one’s own and one’s children’s.  It is freedom from menstruation. It is full of power. It is being totally alive and having plenty of time to be alive.  Louise Mattlage, Women and aging


Friday, March 25, 2011

Inner Peace and Adrenaline Rush

Life goes by so quickly - my god - it was yesterday I bought a new printer, and today it's already 5 years old, the printer head can't be replaced because the model doesn't exist anymore. It cost me $350 to buy this Canon printer/scanner/fax and today I replaced it for $129 plus tax.

Watching people downtown on Tuesday night, St-Denis and Ontario Street, I was struck by the speed we were all moving. I was rushing, late to a poetry reading sound-check, they were rushing - Ginette Reno was doing a launch at Theatre St-Denis, we were all dressed in black or dark winter colours, and walking as quickly as we could, pushing past the slower ones.

Last night driving to a practice with my quartet just after supper time, I saw commuters still coming home from the train station, walking to their homes, everyone seemed to walk so quickly - probably hungry for their supper.

Is it just me, or have we speeded up the pace of life? I don't feel old yet, at 56 I'm certainly not one of the old fogies driving at 30 Km, but I feel allergic to all this speed and rushing. I have been used to it, even addicted to the adrenaline rush for years now. Running, rushing, pushing myself to go faster and get more done. And yes, always meditating every day, so allowing some time for slowness. But modus operandi was fast faster and fastest.  I pride myself on getting back to people within the same day of receiving a request - why I have no idea.

I'm listening to a CD for my retreat: I will only go as fast as the slowest part of me is good to go....I am gentle with myself (Karen Drucker and it feels so soothing.  I want to slow down the pace so I can bear it, so my body can keep up, so that my inner peace can catch up with me.

Menopause has slowed me down somewhat. The sore shoulder has slowed me down somewhat. Doing retreats and leading writing workshops brings me into the present where my enjoyment is, and more and more, I choose to move at that rhythm.

What do you think? Is slowing down an option in this hyper-fast world?


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Heart Centered Healing

Since October I have been living with a frozen shoulder, and seriously questioning the source of its restricted movement - was I being asked to do less, to rest more? Yes, partly. Was I being asked to relinquish my self-stated role as Overarching Boss of Everything (at least in my household)? yes, partly.  Was it about surrendering to my left side, my receptive, feminine side and letting go of the yang, masculine active side? yes, partly.  But today I heard another piece of the message.

A friend of mine, Lauren Young had set up an interview with me over the phone as practice for a class he is doing at the NHC ( He began by asking me if I had any questions - and the only thing that really popped up for me was a question relating to the shoulder injury.  He told me it was not related to doing too much, but more related to the heart energy and its expression being stuck. He suggested it was an energetic blockage, like a bunch of tangled knots in my shoulder, but coming from my heart's desire for full expression. (I first typed this as 'nots' in  my shoulder....hmmm)

While listening to him, I was getting an internal message that this might also be linked to my desire to be more public, more out there in the world with my message for women, with a new book I'm writing, the retreats and workshops I lead and need to publicize better.  And also about the need to protect myself, the push-pull conflict of wanting to be more available for new opportunities, and yet fearful of how much I want my private time for myself, for quiet reading, reflection and resting.  It could also be about how I manifest my energy in the world - as loving energetically flowing person, or as fearful of being judged, vulnerable, unloveable person. Finally, what I learned is that the most important power I have within me is the power of my intention. What do I truly want?

This was an important new understanding for me, and I look forward to exploring it some more.

It was very helpful to have a trained, intuitive counsellor bring clarity and guidance on this issue. Thanks Lauren!

I subsequently had an energetic healing treatment with Lauren, and much of the pain was removed immediately. That night, some of it came back, as I had overused my newly freed arm in writing all afternoon. I will need a second treatment, it hasn't gone away completely. But I also learned about a book by Donna Eden called Energy Medecine and ordered her Kit on-line.

If you haven't done so already, check it out. Everyone should know how to improve their energy and move towards healing what is stuck!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reclaim Empty Space for Yourself

Self-care is not about self-indulgence, it’s about self-preservation."—Audrey Lorde

I'm preparing a retreat for March 27, and as always, the exercises that call out to me to offer are usually things that I am working on myself or are close to my heart.

It seems life is always too busy for us to take a moment for ourselves. A busy mom, with three kids, in my yoga class today was complaining of sore legs, and the instructor asked, do you ever get a chance to sit for 10 minutes in the day? No, she replied, quizzically, as if this was unheard of.

I well remember those days of small children and non-stop activity. Life with young adults who have their own lives and barely check in for meal times is quite different.  But I still make myself crazy busy some days, and forget to stretch when I'm on the computer, or resist getting out for a walk in the sunshine with my dog because of the 'list of things to do'.

Here are a few suggestions for reclaiming that empty space on the agenda and filling it with Me Time (for your sanity and health, adapted from Oprah magazine).

Do one thing at a time.Don’t make the bed while brushing your teeth, check your voice mail while eating lunch or half listen to the kids while glancing at the news.

Get lost in the flow....learn a new musical instrument, write in your journal, sketch in a notebook, swim laps in a pool.
Stolen moments: take those tiny nooks of time to walk to work, eat lunch outside on a bench, make dinner without answering the phone, breathe deeply and check in with your body every hour or so, gaze out the window and daydream; The practice of doing nothing feeds your need to replenish, which is just as important as the to-do list.

Be silly. Do one fun, spontaneous thing that makes you laugh – dance alone, blast a CD during morning commute, eat a lollipop in public. 

Take a half-hour walk with a friend and leave your cell phone at home. Focus on discovering something new in your surroundings you’ve never noticed.

Give yourself a day of doing nothing, to balance the days of doing too much. Rest, or engage in joyful activity - what will recharge you?
Attend a one-day retreat, Sunday, March 27, Spring Wellness Retreat, H-OM yoga studio in Hudson. $75. 10 am to 4 pm. Bring a lunch. Come recharge your batteries with creative journaling exercises and gentle yoga.


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

International Woman's Day Call Out

Today I browsed several women's websites and blogs, and honestly have to say, WoW! there are a lot of seriously inspiring women who are Influencers and Leaders in the world. Here are a few: Eve Ensler, found of V-Day and writer of the Vagina Monologues (, Oriah Mountain Dreamer, author of The Invitation (, Lissa Rankin, doctor, author and founder of, Joan Borysenko, author of a new book on burnout: Fried, why you burn out and how to revive (; Alexandra Pope, author of The Wild Genie and expert on the benefits of the menstrual cycle ( and Janet Connor, author of Writing down your Soul, one of the books that has influenced me most this past year and Jennifer Louden who is re-inventing herself from the Comfort Queen to a teacher of teachers, at

There are many more, but I'll stop the list here - I have a wonderful women's circle here in Beaconsfield, and I send my love and appreciation to all 10 of them, plus the 37 wonderful women in the West Island Chorus, a barbershop chorus in the Sweet Adeline's family, and the three lovely ladies in Over the Top Quartet with whom I sing.  All my female friends - who know who you are - who bring me such support and love, and companionship, and are always available to raise a glass and say cheers!

To the women in my writing workshops, to the fellow yoginis in my yoga class, to my yoga instructors, to my mother and sisters, to all the women who have crossed my path and are probably on my email list....Happy Women's Day!

thanks and praise,