Monday, December 26, 2011

Sunny December, Happy Boxing day. Kick aside a few boxes, wrap a few more presents, traveling day, going to visit folks in Ottawa for our second Christmas celebration.

If you are still celebrating Christmas or feasting, take good care, drive safely, get some sleep before you hit the road....stay well. Happy Healthy and Whole, that's my wish for this coming year 2012.

In the middle of the holi-days, I found myself missing my yoga class, so I stretched out in the bathtub this morning, letting Epsom salts and hot water ease my muscles into lengthening, after a full day of standing, cooking, cleaning, running, serving my eighteen guests yesterday. It was a gloriously warm, friendly family gathering, with fun and games, good wine, an organic turkey with all the trimmings - mashed potatoes, peas, cranberry sauce (Julien takes a picture of something bubbling red and dark brown around the edges in the pot - look at this cool picture Mom, what is it? Oh no, I forgot the cranberries...very caramelized by then).  Brothers-and-Sisters-in-law pitched in with Tourtiere brioche, and Christmas snacks and cookies. Nephews brought home-made mustard (grandmaman's recipe) and nieces brought Cookie Dough Mix in a jar - all layered and ready to mix and bake, wonderful gifts home-made.

Christmas Day was foggy and snowy. Like this picture of first snowfall. 

We watched a movie of my nephew's wedding, saw our happy faces and tipsy dancing, pumpkins and apples as decor in late September.  We opened our gifts, sang songs, and thanked our lucky stars to have such a big happy family. Those who couldn't be with us were missed - till New Year's Day. It's just the beginning of the holiday marathon....

I'm following my own advice today, and taking a wee nap....

then onwards and upwards...
Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Just reading Wikipedia and Aurum Astrology blog from sister Sue Raven, find out the real meaning of the solstice.  Why did people around the world, even before Roman times and the Saturnalia, celebrate the sun in the middle of winter? Of course it has something to do with the longest night and the return of the light - apparently solstice comes from the Latin: sol for sun, sistere for to stand still, because from earth perspective, it appears that the sun stands still for a moment.

So I guess ancient philosophers thought, we should stand still too and honour the sun.  Dec 22 at 5:30 am is the beginning of the solstice in fact. But we can start celebrating tonight.

I plan to put up the Christmas tree with my kids who have just arrived from their various Universities. We'll have their favourite meal (French onion soup) and decorate the tree with bright shiny things, and remember all the wonderful moments we spent together in 2011.

Usually people wait until the New Year to make their resolutions, but my astrologer sister suggests that the new moon following the solstice on Dec 24, would be the best time to plant seeds for the coming year.

One way to do this is to write a list in your journal or on a piece of paper of what you want to attract for the new year. What is it you would like to feel? Can you imagine in your heart, instead of activities, feelings you would like to experience, ie more joy, harmony, peace and serenity.

Write them down in the present tense, like you do for affirmations.

example: I attract loving and gentle people to me in 2012.
I experience peaceful resolutions with co-workers.
My heart is full of abundant love for those around me.
I manifest what I truly desire.

Write it down, then burn it in the fireplace or over a candle (with something fireproof underneath).
Let your wishes fly away, let them go, so they have a better chance of manifesting.

May you live consciously, with peace and joy as your heart companions in 2012.
Happy Celebrations, Kwanza, Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah...

ps sign up for new classes or free newsletter at

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Women's Wisdom at Fifty Gets Better

New evidence from a survey done recently shows that women ages 50 - 65  feel the happiest and most fulfilled at this stage in their life (from author Dr. Christiane Northrup, in the introduction to her new Wisdom of Menopause; see her facebook page for an excerpt).

Why does this not surprise me? Somewhere in your fifties, your kids grow up and leave home for college, or if they live at home become very busy in their own lives and need their mother's less; women in our age group are mostly well-educated and have kept a foot in the world of academia or business by either working part-time or volunteering; and women in this age group finally feel empowered enough to speak up and say "Enough" when something doesn't suit them. And now they have the time to explore their own interests without feeling selfish.

We grew up in a different world, where children were meant to be seen but not heard; where often we are encouraged to not toot our own horns or be boastful. We were taught to be good girls, to serve others before ourselves, to think about waste and share, giving the best cut of meat to the person at the head of the table. Some of us were practical, and put aside our dreams to earn a living. We didn't talk back to our superiors and obeyed authority - well, ok, some of us did. I admit that although I was supposed to be a good girl, when I hit the teen years the urge to kick against the pricks (whoever I thought they were at the time: school principals, unfair parent's rules, French teachers) kinda took over.

But many of the women in my Creative Journaling classes nod their heads when I talk about the good girl upbringing, and many of them are just becoming comfortable in their forties and fifties with the idea that it's their turn to speak up, and with taking time for their own projects or for self-care.  In class, we do all kinds of exercises to empower ourselves, to find our Voice, to shut up the Inner Critic,  to speak our own truths. Because our women's wisdom is not whispering anymore, she's practically yelling - this is how I feel. Listen to me! It becomes imperative for women at mid-life to listen to their own intuition, to stand on their own two feet, to express how they feel, to speak their truth, to be true to themselves.  And if it feels very empowering to do this in your journal, it is even more empowering to do this in a group of like-minded women.

I see the same thing in my Women's Circle: we need allies, we need to be heard, we need to believe that our voices matter, our feelings matter. And this is what loops back to the feeling happier and most fulfilled - if you can believe in yourself enough to switch career paths, or go back to school, or use your talents in a creative project - publish a book, send out some poems, take an art class, become a teacher and leader of younger women, it makes your heart Sing. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy - it makes a woman very happy when the Self is fulfilled, when her voice is heard, when she gets to do what really turns her on, without worrying that she might be taking up too much space, or not doing enough 'good deeds' for others.

So get out the drums, sing your song loud and clear. The world will be a better place when you explore what makes you truly happy - find what makes you feel fulfilled, and watch even your health and well-being improve. Women in their fifties and sixties are changing the world - Welcome to the best years of your life!

happy self-exploring

Friday, December 09, 2011

Mid Life Creativity

There's so much more to menopause and the mid-life transition than raging hormones and sleep deficit. There is a rebirth of creative energy to explore, a re-channeling of fecund fertility from making babies into making your dreams manifest in the world. What did you used to love doing when you were pre-teen?  when you were a teenager? when you were in your twenties? and what have you left lying on the shelf waiting for your passionate attention to relight?

This year, my 57th year, I am exploring so many avenues - a new website, two new books, and most recently a CD recording project with my husband and some of our musical friends.  Years ago, over 25 years ago, we all hung out together, meditated, wrote beautiful songs about inner peace and love, it was groovy man. Flash forward from 1982 to 2011: the same group have gone their musical ways, have each formed bands, written music or played in garage bands, sung in folk groups, accapella choruses and quartets....and here we are, after a month and a half of recording, with a brand new CD of old and new music, in English and in French.

Nothing short of miraculous, I know! Anyway, just to show that that creative energy does not die in your twenties. As my husband Jacques was saying, there is still a storehouse of songs and music to explore. It's very heartening actually to see just how much is waiting to burst out of us, if we give  it the creative loafing time needed to create in.

So, get to it - explore your unfulfilled dreams. Take an art class, join a little theatre club, learn how to play the flute....take singing lessons or join a chorus!  Write your memoir, dance the Brazilian salsa....there's no stopping this mid-life Creative Energy!

enjoy your holiday prep time, and check out Friends of Peace Les Amis de la paix on Facebook.

Musemother aka Jenn

Friday, December 02, 2011

What a Wonderful Life, When I'm Calm

Are you already frazzled and worried abut the holiday stress ramping up? Shopping, baking, cooking, planning for meals with extended family(ies), kids gift lists, driving you bananas?

Take a break and consider some of the calming remedies you can do to help feel more serene in the middle of the rushiest season of the year:

Calming remedies and actions you can take

In her newly updated best-selling classic, New Menopausal Years The Wise Woman Way, Susun Weed offers a number of approaches women can use to calm jangly nerves, achieve greater overall calm, and cope on-the-spot with stressful situations.

For instant calm, Weed suggests one or more of the following simple calming exercises, herbal allies, or movements, and can give you more details on how and why they work:

Unfreeze yourself: Curl up in a fetal position (on your side with keens drawn up), breathe deeply, and hum. You may want to rock back and forth. Concentrate on what feelings want to emerge. Do not be surprised if grief is what you are really feeling.

Focus your eyes: Look at anything, steadily, with concentration, and breathe deeply. Feel a warmth in your upper abdomen; breathe; focus.

Conjure an image of safety: Imagine a huge image of safety, such as a cowrie shell, the palm of Buddha or Christ, a giant mother’s lap, or a cloud of pink light. Surround the object of your anxiety with this image. Fear locks up movement and speech; a clear visualization can unfreeze you.

Take an herbal calmative: Tincture of red clover is a profound relaxer and soothing calmative. Its salicylic acid content (similar to aspirin) makes it an excellent pain reliever, too. Motherwort is also effective. Motherwort is not sedating, but calming, leaving you ready for action, not flying off the handle or bouncing off the walls. Try 10 to 20 drops as soon as you feel your nerves starting to fray or just before a stressful event. Repeat every five minutes if needed.

Try yoga postures. Yoga postures, yoga breathing, and quiet, focused meditation soothe the sympathetic nervous system instantly. Regular practice alleviates anxiety, often permanently. 

N.B. Forward bends are particularly calming for the nervous system, anything with your head lower than your heart.

adapted excerpt from New Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way by Susun S. Weed.

Enjoy the holidays, it's a wonderful life. Give yourself the self-care you need to enjoy the season!

remember you are a wonderful, loving, creative person!
ps see Musemother on facebook