Monday, December 30, 2013

Losing mojo and finding your jomo

Have you had your fill of holidays yet? I have just had two gloriously quiet days without travel or parties, and I begin to feel like my normal, calm self for the first time. 

Here's how it went for me between Dec 20 and 27: tired and stressed after a week of Christmas parties, travelling to join 20 family members, cooking, shopping and going to bed past midnight with liberal amounts of imbibing, I lay in my darkened room two days ago and tried to summon the energy to envision my goals for 2014. I was thinking about the book I need to promote, classes to prepare, lectures and retreats to imagine, but nothing new or creative was coming to me. It felt like I had lost my mojo.

I always forget in times like these that the simplest solution is close at hand –  what restores me is usually not anywhere far away, but right here. So I lit a candle, put on some soothing music, drew a hot bath, and afterwards got out my drawing pad and coloured crayons. Voila! The mood switched from lost mojo to finding jomo. (I just learned this little acronym for Joy of Missing Out.) You too can find the joy of withdrawing from too-much activity (and not feeling like you're missing out) especially if it’s still a holiday for you, by exploring the power of doing nothing.

Doing nothing in my case, usually means doing something simple like stretching into a yoga pose, listening to Zen flute music, getting out my journal to write; in other words, it’s not nothing, but it’s no thing that serves any other purpose than just fine tuning my soul. It isn’t productive in the normal sense of serving others or getting ‘things’ on my list done. So it feels like I’m doing nothing.

Really what I am accomplishing is very valuable and healing. I am resetting my inner compass. I am setting my inner clock to my body’s rhythm, my  need for quiet and peace after a hectic week. I purposefully create some sacred space to muse in, to reconnect with my heart, which has become unplugged due to over activity and the extreme sport of mothering (meaning, Overarching Boss of Everything just took over). This usually happens when my grown kids arrive back home for the holidays, or when the house is full of family and friends and I'm busy preparing meals. I begin to see a pattern….

I am not indispensable, however, and so I told my husband (who was at home that day too), that the bedroom was becoming my retreat space and out of bounds for a few hours. He took the hint and ran himself a hot bath. Ah, my good intentions are rubbing off on him too. I also knew my 20-somethings could fend for themselves in the kitchen, and no one would starve for one day.

Speaking of good intentions, part of my conundrum and lost mojo was thinking that since it’s the new year I should be stating some goals, envisioning a plan, putting action items on my year’s to do list. But this felt too heavy to even contemplate. I was tired, burned-out from all that ‘doing’, and my brain felt too sore to envision anything beyond a nap.

So I did take a long nap just before dusk, and put off the envisioning to another day. Later,  while on Facebook, I discovered a quote that reaffirmed the power of listening in gently to where life leads us (plus I threw my own SoulCollage card reading, and the message was, Surrender to a Higher power, trust and let go….so I decided to follow that sage advice). 

"It's far more creative to work with the idea of mindfulness rather than the idea of will. Too often people try to change their lives by using the will as a kind of hammer to beat their life into proper shape. The intellect identifies the goal of the program, and the will accordingly forces the life into that shape. This way of approaching the sacredness of one's own presence is externalist and violent. It brings you falsely outside yourself, and you can spend years lost in the wilderness of your own mechanical, spiritual programs. You can perish in a famine of 
your own making.

If you work with a different rhythm you will come easily and naturally home to yourself. The soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey."   by John O'Donohue, Anam Cara 

SoulCollage card: Mercy and Compassion

Let yourself enter 2014 gently, without forcing your life into some preconceived shape. Allow your soul to guide you with its inner GPS. In other words, listen in to your wise inner self.

Happy End of 2013, and beginning of 2014, Year of the Compassionate Horse. May it bring kindness and contentment to you.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Valuing the Feminine and self-care at menopause

"In the Western world, we live in a culture that highly values productivity, assertiveness, aggression, drive, forward motion, which we like to consider as progress and have traditionally aligned with the world of work and the Masculine. We spend our lives with the on button pressed all the time, work work work. Being productive is good, however, we've created imbalance in banishing the day off, the Sabbath or rest day. The softer, inner values of rest, reflection and cultivating the artistic, inner soul qualities have become secondary. But that is exactly what we need as an antidote to being overly busy and exhausted. Getting in touch with the Feminine is an important survival tool for our planet right now, especially at mid-life, especially those in the caring professions. Taking a little down time to rest should not make us feel guilty, but somehow it does." from The Tao of Turning Fifty, Valuing the Feminine. 

Today in the Globe & Mail, two articles caught my eye. One was about a book called Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink. Author Katrina Alcorn writes that the solutions lie not in individual treatments for anxiety and mental illness, but in activism and workplace reform.

The second article, on the Facts & Arguments page, was an essay about a woman whose son is learning about menopause in school: My 12-year-old son’s not ready for menopause is the title. So the Life section of the G&M today is dealing with two of my favourite topics - moms being stressed out and menopause. At mid-life, even stay-at-home moms, who are often crazy-making busy with volunteer projects and house management, let alone chauffeuring their kids, sometimes get into this feeling of being Maxed-Out, or overwhelm.

When I was in the throes of peri-menopause in my forties, (the pre-menopause period last 7-10 years before you are official menopaused, or have no more periods for 13 months), I also had two pre-teens on the cusp of puberty. I remember overwhelm as the major constant feeling at that time, and on some days when I felt myself losing control and shrieking, I wondered if they should put me in a straitjacket. My precocious daughter would write me birthday cards that said, I love you Mommy, in spite of your mood swings. 

Part of the problem was giving myself permission to just nurture myself and care for my own needs. When you're on call 24-7 as a mom, and some moms are on call all day at work as well, the fight or flight hormones are always on too, and you never seem able to relax, get a good night's sleep, or even take 15 minutes to yourself to read the paper without being interrupted. You learn to respond, you learn to take really good care of others - spouses, children, parents, co-workers, siblings, but you tend to put yourself last on the list, skipping meals, rushing around like Chicken Little yelling the sky is falling.

It's a mindset, and a powerful social belief system, that pushes us to go faster and faster, achieve more and more, get more things crossed off the list. We are also highly addicted to the adrenaline rush that comes from stress and deadlines, so when it is calm and quiet, we wonder what to do with ourselves, and feel antsy or anxious. I can't even watch a 30 minute video anymore without checking my emails, going on facebook, constantly distracted and scattered.  It's a real struggle to be centered and calm, even for a quiet hermit like myself whose kids have flown out of the nest and only bug me when they need more cash in their bank accounts. 

So this little book I wrote while going through menopause, was all about Valuing the Feminine, valuing my down time, getting help from whatever modalities I could, osteopathy for sore shoulders, acupuncture, Reiki, reflexology - blessed moments of calm in a turbulent week that were like an Oasis of sanity. Self-care became my mantra, my crutch if you will, my absolute need - because if I cracked up and did need a strait-jacket, who was left to run things and take care of the household?

It really is in our best interest to slow down, do less, revise the list of things to do, cancel a few extra projects, not work until 8 pm, eat regular meals, do yoga and practice some form of centering technique whether tai chi or mediation or chi gong. We cannot serve our children, our jobs or our communities when we are fried, maxed out, and overwhelmed. Mid-life and menopause are forcing you to call a halt to the "too much" syndrome. If it's all too much, scale down. Do less. And if you need extra help from medication, hormonal treatments, herbal remedies, by all means, hunt them down. Find out what works for you. Girl friends are also great allies - just talking to someone about how you feel like you're going crazy can help you find some sanity.

Your sanity is important. Your health and well-being are crucial. You, mid-life mom, are the fulcrum, the center everyone is leaning on for support. You must be solid yourself before you can be there for them. Don't wait until you have a breakdown. Take a break, a serious reflective break, and make room in your life for your Self. If that means having a serious talk with your spouse or boss, please find the courage to go there.

The Tao of Turning Fifty is a workbook with exercises and journaling questions to help you put priorities where they belong. I'm headed to a book club meeting tonight, my first one as an author, and six or seven women will be discussing my book and looking for answers.  I know it will be a rich and rewarding evening.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Prescription for Self-Care: 10 Ingredients

I was brought up the eldest daughter in a fairly happy, Catholic, and wholly dysfunctional household with a brood of seven siblings (and depression and alcoholism in the family tree). Somehow this grew me into a highly functional, overly demanding perfectionist –harder on myself than others, with a strong tendency to morph into the Overarching Boss of Everything once I became a Mom.
My journey through midlife has partly cured me of this kill-joy attitude, by bringing me nose to nose with this miserable character (being with my kids helped too). Perhaps someone else who is just realizing they are their own worst party pooper will read this and gather some hints about how to relax and enjoy life.

10 Ingredients:
1)      Kindness to self and others: no belittlement, bullying or harsh criticism allowed. Not even yelling obscenities at aggressive drives that cut you off! Send them blessings instead and it will boomerang back to you.
2)      Right eating: finding the balance between the desire for pleasure and fun, and real nourishment, what truly feeds your body. There is no one-size fits all in terms of food – experiment, be curious, don’t follow fads. I have gone from extreme vegan to macrobiotic to carnivore before finding the right food for my body and blood sugar (steak ‘n eggs for breakfast)!
3)      Energy In is greater than Energy Out: ask yourself, what drains me and what feeds me? the two best questions to finding balance. If you are exhausted and cranky, how can you be of service to others, let alone yourself?
4)      Peace in the Heart: inner bliss, find the oasis within in stillness, submerse yourself and dive in regularly, every day if not every minute. Life is short. Heaven is now.
5)      Ease: catch up on the sleep deficit induced by all work and no play, take more down time to chill and learn the power of doing nothing: nap often.
6)      Allies and Friends: never underestimate the importance of being seen and heard by friends who love and fully support you, accept you as is.
7)      Gratitude Attitude: appreciation is a wonderful antidote to bitterness. Give thanks, give back, pay it forward. It’s a practice that feels forced at first, but grows your bliss.
8)      Creative expression: let your soul out to play: collage, art, doodling, weaving, singing, dancing, bass lessons, tai chi; include your five senses and get a whole body rush, while being in the Flow, lose track of time, rediscover childlike wonder. A powerful game changer.
9)      Embrace your shadow: accept your faults, withdraw projections onto others (the blame and shame game); practice saying “I am flawed and fabulous”, “I am Enough.
10)   Emotional Wisdom: let tears flow, and laughter ring, give hugs aplenty. Feeling is Healing. And PAIN stands for Pay attention inside Now!

OK, I left out something rather important for a blissful life, Sexual Pleasure and Fulfillment. This one took me a long time to allow (must be all that religion, wanting to be a saint and being celibate for ten years). All I can say is, allow, allow, allow.

There are many elements to happiness, of course: where you work and play, how many friends and companions really see you and ‘get’ you; the health of your children, parents, tragedies that occur, but one thing is for sure: the size of your house, car and bank account are way down on the list.

The worst Bliss Busters? Besides perfectionism, the worst Bliss Buster seems to be the pushing, striving, nose to the grindstone attitude until either burn-out, extreme fatigue or death by heart attack.

How can you find ways to move into more body ease, more supple enjoyment, more light and laughter? Put on a soothing music CD, light a candle and write about this in your journal right now.

If nothing else works, pray for guidance from your angels and guardian spirits. Our purpose on earth is to enjoy, to be in Joy, as much as possible. Besides, self-flagellation is so passé….

Jennifer Boire is a recovering perfectionist and the author of The Tao of Turning Fifty. She leads retreats and Creative Journaling classes for women in the Montreal area. 

first published on MindBodyGreen July 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

take a break

All of us need to take a break once in a while, and I will be off-line for a few weeks.

I hope you can browse the articles and blog entries on this site while I'm gone, and in Mid-November I'll be back blogging regularly.

take care

Friday, October 18, 2013

Exhaustion and the Mid-Life Woman: Letting Go

She pictured herself hanging on with all her fingers to a wooden dock, and then, after hours of cramping hand pain, finally just lifting off her fingers, letting go of the dock, letting the gentle water and waves pull her backwards, like a pair of huge motherly arms gently tugging on her from behind, guiding her down river. It would be so easy, to just fall back, stop striving, stop rushing, stop getting things done, move backwards instead of forwards. Why do we always have to run forward, move forward, progress? The sense of accomplishment was nothing to her now. It only burdened her, the constant list of things to do. She wanted to refuse to function with lists, although all her life it had kept her organized, sane, functional.

Now she simply wanted, if she could admit to the truth without guilt, she very much wanted to let go, and stop. Everything. Deadlines. Doing. Shopping. Decorating. Renovating. Driving. Registering. Volunteering. Managing. Coping. At a very deep level, the fear of her inner blank slate was going away. She wanted that white room. Actually, the fear was rising to the surface and she was seeing it, instead of hiding behind the business. And now that she looked at the fierce holding on out of fear in the face, she no longer could do it. Something, some vision of a deeper life, some need for inner psychic peace and ease, called to her. 

How ignore it now, when she was so exhausted anyway?

excerpt from a short story I am writing, started in 2005, and finally I am re-reading it and recognizing the truth of that moment. 

ps I just posted this on Facebook on the Tao of Turning Fifty page

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Menopausal Journey as Rite of Passage

Is menopause merely the cessation of your period?  Is it about losing your memory, having hot flashes,  and losing your fertility? Or is it a mid-life reorientation project? Do you feel like you're falling down the Rabbit Hole?

This journey you are embarking on somewhere in your forties is a deeper phase to your woman's journey, a developing and a continuing and it involves a lot of unknowing. It felt to me like being in a labyrinth in the woods, a circular path that branches out and leads in so many different directions it's really easy to get lost.

What is the path of a woman's life?  Especially a woman who decides to have children, who gives over her body to create another body.  How does she regain her center (if she has lost it) and how does she keep those boundaries clear - me, us, them? How does she find herself again? Menopause is part of that journey towards finding yourself in mid-life.

Menopause is not an overnight thing. It creeps up on you slowly. You don't notice it happening until one day you realize your period hasn't come this month, or maybe you’ve skipped two months and your pregnancy test comes back negative.  Then it comes back again for six months, so you forget there's something going on.  Or suddenly you notice your PMS has increased to two weeks out of the month, and if you really stop and look at it, you see your emotional landscape is a little out of whack.  Or maybe you just aren't sleeping well at night and all the Chamomile tea or hot milk can't calm the hyper little gerbil running in its cage between 2 and 4 a.m.

There are many different physical symptoms and lots of websites to describe them to you, everything from sore joints to hot flashes and heart palpitations. What my blog tries to point to is not the symptoms, but the journey.  It's as if you are on the highway to Ottawa from Montreal, and took a side road without realizing it.  You look up and wonder where you are, the landscape doesn't look familiar, the trees are in the wrong place, and the road signs post names of towns you don't remember or recognize. You need to figure out where you are.

One way you can honour your not knowing is by standing still.  The first thing to do when you feel lost is to stop running in circles, stop pretending you know where you are.  Stop and ask for help.

Someone who has been there before may help you. Someone who has been lost and found the way home again.

This mid-life woman's way has been largely uncharted till recently.  The women who came before us perhaps felt 'women's stuff' didn't matter, or the subject was so taboo, no one actually talked about it.  Or they were told it was just their uterus being hysterical. The male hero story describes the quest of the masculine, but where are the stories of the Feminine Quest?

It is time to honour your own knowing, your own woman’s journey.  Questing. Know that the way out is the way in.  Going down and in will lead you up and out.

To help you with this rite of passage, I have written The Tao of Turning Fifty, What Every Woman in Her Forties Needs to Know. Check out my website at for a free excerpt.

Take good care now, and stay in touch,

also on Facebook and Twitter

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Stress and the Tired Mid-Life Woman

Are you in your forties or early fifties and wondering why you're always tired, cranky and fuzzy-brained?

I spent a lot of time blaming menopause for these symptoms, until I began to do some reading on the wonderful website of They have a ton of great articles dealing with women's health issues, and particularly issues that come to light at mid-life.

It's no secret that many women are overtired from trying to perform as SuperWoman, SuperMom or some combination of the two. Yes, we have more freedom to work in whatever jobs fulfill us, and attend school and marry who we like.....but more and more women are suffering from burnout and fatigue.  With peri-menopause adding hormonal changes to the picture, starting anywhere in your early forties (you may have 7-10 years of pre-menopausal symptoms till you are officially 'menopaused' at average age of 51), it's easy to be confused about the cause of your fatigue.

Recently I was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue in the second phase, by a functional integrative health coach. Now my doctor does not believe such a thing as Adrenal fatigue even exists, so I went on a web search for articles to send her. My search led me back to

It may, in the beginning, look like a thyroid malfunction. My levels were low at my last blood test, so I'm being followed for hypothyroidism. But being more prone to finding natural solutions and working with a naturopath as well as my GP, I began to wonder if there were herbs I could take or dietary changes to make to help improve my health and overall well-being.  This led me to the health coach, who gave me a survey that revealed the adrenal fatigue, but also that I was a metabolic protein type, (I've had blood sugar problems for years), and needed to eat more meat protein to balance my system (as well as cutting sugar and carbs). I won't go into the list of supplements I'm taking, but suffice it to say, I am also supporting my liver and adrenal glands with herbal supplements.

Four months after implementing these changes, my energy levels are back up, I feel less tired and draggy, and my mood is distinctly calmer. Soon, we will retest the leaky gut and adrenals, and see how much improved my health is from the inside.

Bottom line is, don't blame all your tiredness and fatigue on menopause, nor on your age. If something is out of whack, if you're not sleeping, or sleeping too much, do some reading on this very informative website. Check with a health practitioner, and be open to learning something new about the way our bodies operate at mid-life.  We're going through changes that are not just hormonal, but it's all one package - our digestive enzymes are less efficient, we react more strongly to caffeine and alcohol, our libido is affected; if we have adrenal fatigue, we may be dragging our feet and even have signs of depression.

Unfortunately, not all medical doctors agree on this issue:

While adrenal fatigue is well recognized in other parts of the world, there has been some skepticism about it within conventional medical circles here in the US. Many physicians are quick to point to other health issues (depression, fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism) that cause similar symptoms. We’ve found, though, that many times these issues are related to an underlying adrenal problem, and that treating them on their own with medications generally doesn’t solve them — but supporting adrenal function often does wonders.

Conventional testing only looks at extremes

Unfortunately, current tests that doctors are likely to recommend will look only at the extremes of adrenal imbalance that require immediate medical intervention: Addison’s disease, which occurs when the body’s cortisol production is severely deficient, and Cushing’s syndrome, in which the body produces excessively high levels of cortisol. 

Being stressed around the clock, working two jobs - one at work and one at home - raising teenagers, caring for elderly parents, dealing with hormonal changes - women are increasingly called on to be always on, 24/7. This puts us in 'fight or flight' mode, coping with physical and emotional stressors that drain our capacity to respond. If you suspect this might be the case for you, consult a health professional trained in Functional medicine, or begin by reading the articles on

Hope you find this information helpful,

Friday, September 27, 2013

Turning 50, er 59

I used to be able to link the blog directly to Facebook notes, but somehow that stopped happening.
What I really am doing these days, besides resting in the sun? dancing in a Musical theatre show every night this week, and preparing for an interactive lecture at Beaconsfield Library, Tuesday Oct 1, 10 am.

And thinking about how wonderful my fifties have been.

There's a life coach somewhere who said we should keep track of our victories, especially when we feel a little down on ourselves for not accomplishing much. Looking back at my fifties so far, I can see a lot has happened.

My kids hit their teens, then grew up enough to leave home and attend University in 2 different cities.

My husband has joined three different bands, and I sing along in one of them.

I wrote a book, self-published it, and attended many workshops on how to promote and publicize in this age of social media. The Tao of Turning Fifty is popular with the women who attend my classes and retreats.

Am leading more and more weekend retreats for women, and day-long mini-retreats.

Learned how to SoulCollage(R) and became a facilitator, so I can share this intuitive and creative process of self-awareness with others.

Hired a web master and created a new website to share the books, CD, and classes.Took fab author photos (bartered with a student for a class).

Recorded Musemother Relaxation CD, at home, while looking at the lake.

Sang, recorded and helped produce Friends of Peace album in our home studio.

Began teaching Creative Journaling from my home, and now am calling it the Creative Circle.

Volunteered at the West Island Cancer Wellness Centre teaching journal writing for one year.

Organized a fundraiser Golf Benefit Tournament in Montreal 2012, with my husband, for TPRF and 60 Million Girls foundations.

Helped organize a Concert for Peace at the Hudson Music Festival summer 2013, fundraiser for and wrote an article about the successful (and unforgettable) musical event.

Recently enrolled in a year-long course (in French) to become a Facilitator of Rituals, with Ho Rites de Passage.

Performing with my quartet and in some group numbers, Still in the Mood, musical revue with Hudson Music Club at the Village Theatre. (a life-long dream!)

so there it is, only some of what I've done in my fifties, 
I feel better already!
aka Musemother

Friday, September 20, 2013

Peace Day Watch Livestream broadcast Now

If you are interested in Peace

If you don't know where to start to feel peace

If you want to be inspired by music, dance, poetry, videos about Peace

Watch the video to the right of this blog.
Today and Tomorrow, all day, all night, until Sunday morning ET 6 am



and check out  WORDS OF PEACE

Friday, September 06, 2013

Mid-Life: Ripe with my own Knowing

Ripe is defined as something that has matured: having arrived at a stage of growth or development as to be ready for reaping or eating, as in a grain or fruit, or a high point of development or excellence, as in a human being.

Sometime in your mid-40's you may start to get a whiff of fall changes coming. You can smell those tomatoes ripening on the's not mid-summer anymore. You might not be looking forward to this kind of ripening, even though it may turn out to be the best time of your life.

Every season has it's challenges and discoveries, but somehow, for a lot of women turning fifty is a big one. It may be the fear of growing older, wrinkles, gray hairs and pudgy love handles. It may be fear of losing your shiny fertility, mourning (or celebrating) the closing of the baby factory. It may be facing a knee or hip replacement, or even your own mortality, or the grave illness of your parents.

But the joys of turning fifty, for me, far outweigh the slight inconvenience of any changed facial features and hair colour, or having to deal with new creams, hair dyes and oh yeah, more Zumba. The calm acceptance and internal joy didn't come right away though - at first it was all topsy turvy emotions, upside down confusion and a lot of questions.

Being a work at home mom, the big question was what to do now that the fledglings had pushed off out of the nest into university. They didn't need me hovering, there was no more school to volunteer at, and I felt distinctively un-useful, unneeded, but also free! After a few small pangs of grief at letting go, I realized the upside: no more cranky voices calling Mom! down the hallway when they couldn't find their cell phone or their favourite pair of socks. No more laundry baskets overflowing in the hallway. I could buy eggplant and cook my favourite spicey meals!

But what would I do with my new found time? and what did I want to do?

This is where my journal came in handy. I asked myself a lot of questions on my Quest. And, being a perpetual learner, I also took courses, went on weekends away on retreat or to workshops, sniffing out that ever elusive Purpose to my Life. I had already gone back to school in my 30's, and gotten two degrees over ten years, so that was not the object of my search.  It took a few years of trial and error, but I ended up back where I had started - teaching writing classes to women,but with some new tools to add to my journaling classes, (SoulCollage(R) so that it morphed into a more Creative Circle. I also wrote a book on the mid-life transition and menopause and incorporated those learnings into my classes as well. (The Tao of Turning Fifty).

Above all, though, my biggest realization was how important self-care, down time and rest and napping were to keep me sane and balanced. And somehow, my own need of self-nurturing, self-kindness and compassion has lead me to help other women nurture themselves and put themselves on the list. Developing an inner coach and realizing how loud my inner critic were was a big part of that.

So the mid-life journey has been a circular one, not linear, not outer goal oriented, but more inner goal oriented. I asked myself, What do I need to make me happy? How can I use my skills and talents to give something back? What do I love to do? What will make me feel fulfilled and aligned with my purpose?  With over half my life gone by, and many accomplishments (including two beautiful, healthy children, by some grace), turning fifty was a good time to re-evaluate, re-assess, look into my deepest heart's longing and allow it to surface. This involved getting some help to re-imagine myself as a retreat leader, doing what I love to do - with a focus on yoga, meditation, visualization and more time swimming in that centered core place that feels so nourishing.

Entering one's fifties is high time for becoming a little more mature - and the ripeness I'm feeling is that connection to my inner knowing. A little more confidence in following my intuition, a lot more of being sure of what I want, what I am willing to do, the kind of people I want to be around. Last night my husband was talking about his own future - at what age he would like to retire, how much of a nest egg we will need, and then he added, what I want is to be around people with Heart!

I had to laugh, because both of us are nearing age 60 now, and after 30 years of marriage, at least we can agree on this - no more wasting time on cocktails, business meetings, fundraisers, parties and events where there is no Heart. And that's what the ripeness of my own knowing has brought me. Knowing what I love to do, and who I love to be with.

Happy Mid-Life Journey to you,

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Peace Day is Coming up

Back to school, back to teaching classes, back to blogging....

September is full of 'back to's and here's one more : back to Peace for People

a series of short videos for International Peace Day, and the latest is my favourite:

Peace and War

Jennifer aka Musemother

Friday, August 09, 2013

The Art of Finding Yourself Through Journaling

“Wonder occurs when you decide to live, to endure and assign meaning to your experiences.” Christina Baldwin, Life’s Companion, Journal Writing as a Spiritual Practice.

Summer is still with us - yes - but in my mind and heart I am turning towards fall, preparing classes and defining just what it is I am offering through the Creative Circle class: creative journaling with SoulCollage®.    

Some of the benefits of journal writing have been explored in books, studies and you can certainly google them on-line. Everyone has a slightly different focus or purpose for journaling. Here are some of the things this class incorporates:

·           Learn 7 different journaling techniques  (free writing, poetic writing, affirmations, gratitude lists, soul dialogue, creative doodling/ visual journaling)
·           Delight in discovering your own story, patterns and meaning through journal prompts
·           Learn SoulCollage®,  an excellent right-brain activity: creative, intuitive & fun
·           Use mindfulness, body presence and relaxation exercises including guided visualizations to enhance your journaling and  over-all well-being
·           Get in touch with and develop your intuition through journaling
·           Discover your Inner Feminine: lineage, family stories, inherited myths
·           Make connections with other like-minded, caring women in the Creative Circle

“Journal-keeping is a means of documenting the spontaneous flow of your life and growth. It is a vehicle for experiencing the present more fully and also witnessing past patterns and setting goals for the future. Lucia Capacchione, The Creative Journal, the Art of Finding Yourself

see my website for Registration Details in mid-August

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer time and the fish are jumping

Sorry, the posts are few and far between.

I try and post something on my Musemother Facebook Page a few times a week, and there's also the Tao of Turning Fifty page on facebook for daily posts and inspiration.

The blog, well, it's on the back burner during this summer hiatus.

come back and see us soon! when the fall winds blow in....

happy trails, happy sailing


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Peace on the Inside

TPRF is doing a lot of great humanitarian work, and has an innovative program called Food For People. But recently they have expanded their Peace Education Program.

Watch this short 6 minute video about Peace Education Program in prisons.


Monday, July 08, 2013

Poetry for Hard Times

Have you ever noticed that in times of need, or celebration of a life, people turn to poetry? We don't think of poetry often, most of us, (myself not included), or read it, but when it's time for a funeral, a baptism, a wedding or something momentous occurs, we need the intensity and beauty of powerful words sculpted into deeper meaning.

Reading the paper this morning, I saw this poem in a notice about a young girl's short life:

“When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.” 
― William ShakespeareRomeo and Juliet

Beauty,  isn't it?

So here's something beautiful you can do right now - look online for poems about things that matter. You'll find a ton of them. Do a google search by theme. For example, I have a bunch of middle aged poems on my other blog - wisdom for women, and poems for lots of occasions.

My other favourite source is Garrison Keillor's great selection: Good Poems.

Here's one by Denise Levertov, a poet I discovered in a creative writing program:


The fire in leaf and grass
so green it seems
each summer the last summer.
The wind blowing, the leaves
shivering in the sun,
each day the last day.

A red salamander
so cold and so
easy to catch, dreamily

moves his delicate feet
and long tail. I hold
my hand open for him to go.

Each minute the last minute.

enjoy every minute of this lush, green summer!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Mom’s Salary

(written several years ago and salvaged from my computer for your reading pleasure).

SoulCollage Card

This week in the Social Studies section of the Globe & Mail I read a fascinating statistic: the average stay-at-home mom in the U.S. could be earning the same salary as a top advertising executive or a judge, according to $134,121. Her real work includes the earning power of ten jobs: housekeeper, daycare teacher, cook, computer operator, laundry worker, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, chief executive and psychologist.

Well, I’ve discussed that kind of salary with my husband, and it just isn’t in the budget. But it certainly made me feel better to know my actual financial worth. Now I know why I don't have time to go back to 'work'. It got me thinking about multi-tasking, and how that word doesn’t describe doing more than one thing at a time anymore, since I’ve turned fifty and can’t split my brain in five directions, but it still applies to the multi-job description of M.O.M.

Yesterday I was walking the dog around the block (they forgot that in the list of job descriptions) when I saw one of those corporate housewives at work in her garden. A nanny rushed out, portable phone in one hand. The woman gardening pulled off one earthy glove, and the chief executive took over, giving instructions and making decisions. I bet there are thousands of housewives in suburbia managing small armies of staff (usually part-time or on contract) to help us manage our little domains. For instance, on Monday, the Sears repairman was here cleaning out and hosing down the Heat Pump, while two more blue-clad technicians were vacuuming the air ducts and furnace; the man from Val Morin Pools was pumping stagnant water from the in-ground pool and a gardening specialist was spraying my bushes with dormant oil. I was rushing from backyard to basement to the front door, signing cheques and keeping the puppy out of their way.

Spring is here and my list of household projects has taken on a new ‘ampleur’. I put on my facilities manager’s hat from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. when I don the chauffeur’s cap to pick up two girls from after school dance class, then switch to the chef’s hat for meal preparation time, and retire after supper to an outside activity, choir rehearsal, and coaching session with singing and choreography, accapella style. Home at 10ish, my army sergeant voice booms out – all lights out now! After a quick toothbrush swiped over my teeth and a brief flossing (I am my own dental assistant), I turn down the covers and remove all the hats to entertain a short dialogue with my hubby (co-producer, co-author, co-manager and major salary provider) before succumbing to deep sleep (oh yes, there was also a brief interlude as child-psychologist after school with fifteen-year-old who is itching to go downtown and check out the club scene and has girls tattooing hearts on his arm at school. We need to hire a road hockey coach or enroll him in basketball for the summer: intense physical activity needed to ward off spring fever.

As I lie there, the birthday party planner kicks in: Kaye’s fourteenth birthday in two weeks and I’ll be away at choir competition. Must help her poor Dad plan for an afternoon pool party for 10 adolescent girls, evening sleepover for four ‘best friends,’ and next day drop them off at Bazoo for a pillow-making party. Tomorrow morning, must not forget the personal trainer will arrive (actually a close personal friend of mine who charges very low rates) to prod me into shape with a big ball and five pound weights attached to my arms…then I’m going shopping for leather furniture and a desk for the new home office I plan to create, to entice hubby to work from home within five years. Then he can really call himself co-manager. Soon he’ll be wearing ten hats, just like me. Then maybe I can retire.

Yep, now that I’ve run through all the jobs on my to-do list, I can sleep. Just wish there was somewhere to punch in and pick up that paycheque…. My hat's off to all you chief executive moms out there

So next Mother's Day, you can insist they give the Chief Executive a day off.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Right to Write

I am stepping into a new relationship with my writing . After my lovely retreat in Paris, where my writing coach gave me some deep questions to ponder, I decided I love working in my quiet room with the window on the lake, but I need to make some changes. My writing arm and mouse hand/shoulder have been acting up for two years now, and it was time to get a new computer and move my work into the office with a good desk, chair and ergonomic set-up. Done. Check.

I needed to make a writing schedule I could stick to, that still leaves room for laundry, meals and exercise. Since this Monday, I have been giving myself two hours a morning to read/write/journal  and explore my various projects that have been simmering on the back burner – a long poem series on Georgia O’Keeffe, some stories and poems about my father, and a whole lot of other stories that need reworking.

Like the Russian dolls my son gave me in Paris, I have many layers inside of me, many talents and things I love to do. It’s hard for me to stick to just one thing. But I’m going to give this writing thing a good fighting chance. Reading The Right to Write by Julia Cameron, recommended to me by Karen Ely, is helping me understand that writing is also about listening. Listening in, letting the soul be called by the specific things in this world, the red-wing blackbird bobbing on a maple branch, the smell of the peonies on my kitchen table, the ouch of a stubbed toe on a metal chair leg.  Letting my inner ear hear, and transcribing what transpires.
Anyway here is what came out of my workbook about my new focus:

No to dizzy spinning busy-making craziness
Yes to Calm Center

Yes to my work space inviolate and Boundaries around writing time

Yes to Exploring relationship buildilng, developing new ways of being together and alone
Yes to long distance mothering and having faith in their ability to function without my intervention

Yes to allowing my energy and concern to be on my work, primariily

No to the habit of pleasing others first
Yes to solid “I” centered focus

No to being the little wifey
Yes to sharing creative energies andprojects with like-minded artists

No to letting all consuming volunteer projects online overwhelm me

Some items on this list scare me, and feel a tad selfish. I guess that’s a sign that I have a ways to go to value my own work, worth enough to make time for it and commit.
I’ll be writing the blog less frequently this summer, but you can join me on Facebook anytime, on either Musemother’s page or The Tao of turning Fifty page.

Enjoy the good weather – it’s bound to turn up soon!



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What is the colour of your writing?

I visited the Musee du Jardin de Luxembourg exhibit on Chagall today, and aside from the sheer number of paintings and the work, I was struck by his use of colour. On my way out, I bought the magazine describing the exhibition and inside of it was a lexicon of the symbols he used (goat, rooster, couple, musicians) and the colours and what they represented.

According to one author, Chagall said, Blue is the colour of my soul. (Of course another author said, he just said that to blow off curious people asking too many questions). But I like that his soul had a colour.

I'm in the middle of a writing retreat, so I began to read more about Chagall, and it turned into a few pages about my own choice of colours, especially in clothes I'm wearing. It began as an inquiry in my journal about that woman who likes pink shoes and an orange shirt she hasn't worn yet. It turned into a discussion of colour and what it has meant to me at different periods. And the reasons behind why I haven't been writing lately.

So can going to an exhibit be a muse for your writing? or seeing a painter prompt a poem or a prose piece? Not that unusual, perhaps, except I hadn't thought of it on my own, the writing facilitator suggested it as an artist date with myself (a concept from Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way).

Reading it back tonight after supper, to a listener for the first time, I was pleased with the piece. Then Karen, the retreat facilitator said, I think you're writing again!

So what colour will trigger your writing? your creative juices? can you get outside your room or house and go for a walk and notice something you have never seen before, and get inside some inspiration from outside? what surprised me is that it doesn't always have to come from your 'imagination' or inside your head.

Dare to do something different, shake up your schedule, pencil an hour with your camera, mix up the arts a little, and allow yourself the freedom to find a new path, just for today.

that's all for now, from Paris,

Friday, May 24, 2013

Creative Life

Ah to read about Paris, Hemmingway, Frida Kahlo, Anais Nin, the golden era for me that was their world in between the wars.....and to be in Paris reading these books, hmmmmm, stirs the creative juices.

But if I was hanging out with surrealist painters and writers, today, in whichever arrondissement the current artists are sitting in cafes in, perhaps I would be bored to tears or find them wacky and weird.

Instead, we are making our own creative fun by walking the streets and bridges, Pont des Arts, Pont Neuf, going from cafe to cabaret, in three different quartiers, drinking cafe creme or rose, a little bubbly... It's very conducive to the fertile muck stirring a writer needs - to budge from her rut, her comfortable world, and explore the City of Light. Having conversations with cab drivers about the lousy economy and listening to Leonard Cohen dance me to the end of love.

Actually, it's very dark and rainy today, cold, a good day to stay indoors and read the life of Frida Kahlo, parts of which were in New York and Paris, rubbing shoulders with Georgia O'Keeffe and Andre Breton, Henry Miller and Anais Nin.

c'est tres sympa, as they say. To be moody and cold in week I have a real writers' retreat booked for myself, a few blocks away, and maybe I'll tackle this O'Keeffe-Kahlo project that has been tickling my mind for a few days now.

Until Monday, hopefully the sun will come out, we'll put on our walking shoes and shop for our baguette and fromage.

salut les mecs!

a  Paris (where there ain't no cure for love)

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Empowering the Feminine within: A woman who follows her own heart

“The things women are most yearning for---such as deeper connection, spiritual awakening, self-expression, creativity, right livelihood, creating an enlightened world for generations to come---all require a new level of Feminine Power to bring them forth.” Jean Houston

A woman who follows her own heart has learned to listen to her intuition.
A woman who follows her own heart listens to her body guidance.
A woman who follows her own heart shares deeply, listens deeply, is present with others.
A woman who follows her own heart feels her fear, acknowledges it, but is not held back by it.
A woman who follows her own heart is always expanding, growing, learning.

A woman who follows her own heart discovers her true desires and interests.
A woman who follows her own heart is impatient to get started.
A woman who follows her own heart believes in herself, and her creative powers.
A woman who follows her own heart is able to say no, and speak her truth.
A woman who follows her own heart knows the value of doing nothing, of rest and recuperation.

A woman who follows her own heart knows that to go down and in is preparation for coming out and up.
A woman who follows her own heart is a source of calm, a balm for others.
A woman who follows her own heart leans inward in times of trouble, but is not afraid to ask for help.
A woman who follows her own heart knows that angels and guides are watching over her.
A woman who follows her own heart knows her own value.

A woman who follows her own heart accepts herself as she is, flawed but fabulous.
A woman who follows her own heart lets her children be flawed and fabulous too.
A woman who follows her own heart stands her ground.
A woman who follows her own heart knows how to be grounded in root energy.
A woman who follows her own heart lets go to the flow of synchronicity.

A woman who follows her own heart trusts the Universe and knows she is loved.
A woman who follows her own heart has a constant companion and Friend within.
A woman who follows her own heart reaches out in compassion to those who suffer, she has been there too.
A woman who follows her own heart creates an atmosphere of love and caring around her.
A woman who follows her own heart remembers where her Joy is.
A woman who follows her own heart laughs from the belly.

A woman who follows her own heart loves her body and knows she is beautiful within and without.
A woman who follows her own heart forgives herself for her mistakes.
A woman who follows her own heart is in love with Beauty.
A woman who follows her own heart is in touch with her feminine power.
Any woman who follows her own heart can learn to be this woman.

Any woman who is aware of where she is and how she feels, and doesn’t try to pretend to be something different, can be this woman.

You are that woman with heart, unfolding, becoming, and realizing herself as the goal.

Heart is the Hearth and Home of you. Come home to your heart!


Thursday, May 02, 2013

10 ways to spoil Mom for Mother’s Day (without spending money)

If you’re a mom, what would your favourite gift be? Mine would be free time just for me. Here are some ideas for gifts that don't cost anything, except a little loving attention.

You could leave this list lying around the week before Mother's Day or ask your kids to give you a coupon with one of these ideas on it, instead of spending money on a bauble or another coffee mug that will gather only dust on your shelf.

1. Make her some fizzy bath salts: follow these easy steps at
2.  Give her a coupon in a home-made card promising to clean your room or do own laundry.
3.  Make her favorite breakfast and serve it to her in bed (Dad can help!)
4Give her a foot massage. Don’t know how?
5. Having someone else cook dinner is a great gift! Pasta is easy…
6. Write mom a poem: a funny limerick, a short haiku, or make an acrostic with her name
7. Pick some wild bluebells and make her a spring bouquet. 
8. Remember her favourite colour and use it to make a home-made card.
9.   Make her a frame with pictures of her favourite kids (you!).
10.  Coupon for free babysitting for a spa day (idea from Dad, a whole day off!)

Happy Spring!

ps another great gift idea for a mom in mid-life (in her forties or fifties) is the book The Tao of Turning Fifty, What Every Woman in Her Forties Needs to Know, which gives tips and exercises for self-care and mothering yourself!