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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year

Here are some great winter quotes for you to muse on:

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”  ― Lewis CarrollAlice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass


Here's a good one on Home:

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”  ― Edith Sitwell

“Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance.” 
― Yoko Ono

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.[Meditations Divine and Moral]” 
― Anne BradstreetThe Works of Anne Bradstreet

“Snow flurries began to fall and they swirled around people's legs like house cats. It was magical, this snow globe world.”  ― Sarah Addison AllenThe Sugar Queen


Have a cozy, snug winter holiday,

Musemother


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How to find Harmony & Peace

It's the end of the year, very very soon. But first we hit the holidays, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Solstice, Christmas, the ring in the New Year...

But before that, before any resolutions come across the plate like a home run hit.....ponder this.

"Trying to be all things to all people leads to anxiety, irritability and burnout. It's time to dial it back - by about 30 per cent - and put your own well-being first."

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/giving-your-70-per-cent-can-be-better-overall/article22068990/


This excerpt from a great article in yesterday's Globe & Mail hits the nail on the head. Constantly striving to do more, faster and better only makes us less effective sometimes. It can affect our productivity by using up all our reserves of energy. We're so afraid of appearing lazy or selfish, even to our own Inner Critics, let alone our family and co-workers, that we don't know how to let up on the gas pedal. Crash and burn victims are all around me, too many cases of burn-out and chronic fatigue.

This article quotes several  life-work balance experts, such as Renee Peterson Trudeau, who say it actually makes more sense to dial it back a bit, and reserve up to 40 per cent of your energy for yourself. Take the time to slow down, put important things first, and really, finaly, tune into your inner wisdom. 

To that end, this year I have done 70% of my shopping on-line, and rejoice every time a big box is left at my door - I have a big extended family on both sides, and even with gift exchanges and name picking, there is a long list, including not only my children, siblings, but god-children and niece's new babies, etc.



I have yet to hit the shopping mall and face the wrath of tired shoppers circling the parking lot looking for a spot that isn't 3 miles away.

If you still feel like you need to feel worthy and acceptable by 'doing it all', read this article and take a deep breath. Consider the notion of "The power of Less" or "haiku productivity" - that introducing some idea of restraint on your activity may actually help you prioritize. Go from frazzled to peaceful - it's worth a try.



Love yourself, love the holidays, love your family, but save 30% of your day for resting, recouping and relaxing. Get the little elves to help you decorate and wrap and cook. 

How does that sound?

best wishes for happy festivities and Love,
Musemother




Thursday, November 20, 2014

Listening to your own wisdom

I was reminded today during a wonderful Zumba class and chat with personal trainer Brigitte that I am often being guided to trust my inner resources instead of finding the answers outside myself. We had a great talk while recovering from all that physical exertion, lying on the floor.

Twice in the past ten years I have met with creative coaches, one of whom was a channeler of 'guides', to help me find the right direction for my life and how best to use my gifts. Both times I was told, 'my guides are telling me you have to find the answer yourself.' Or, 'I think you need to go sit with the Unknown for a while and see what comes up'.

There is a booming business in clairvoyants, angelic voices being channelled and all kinds of ways to seek guidance from other people, even crystals, but the most challenging thing I've ever had to do is trust that I am receiving guidance, if I can just pay attention to the signs and signals that are coming at me, and listen to my heart.


Today, after Zumba, I was looking into some inquiry cards that a SoulCollage facilitator posted a link to. The card of the day (they pose questions, don't give answers), was What is my next step?

I thought that was pretty serendipitous so I stared at the patterns of the card, hoping to find an answer. Something vague floated around in consciousness for a while, then I thought, ok, let's just order the cards. 

Back to my inbox, an email from my sister asking if I had seen a writing submission for a magazine -  http://www.darkmatterwomenwitnessing.com  which I had not heard of, and there I found an amazing article by Deena Metzger about indigenous people, and her path as a healer. She is a writer I admire, and I know she addressed the SoulCollage conference last year, so I read her story with great interest, especially about the importance of dreams.

I had a dream that I was trying to figure out, and a line somewhere jumped out at me - about grief and grieving, that we move from the frozen part of grief to feeling grief, and that answered a question I had been asking Brigitte earlier about the remnants of a frozen shoulder. She and I were trying to get to the bottom of any emotional baggage that was stuck and hindering the healing (over 3 years now), besides the overuse of computer and bad posture on my part. 

Deena also wrote that sometimes she asks herself, how would a wise elder act, before acting. How would someone who cares for the earth, for all her relations, for community, acting out of compassion, not competition, act?

And that reminded me that this whole 'right shoulder', inner masculine side of me that is very competitive, and overactive, could calm down a little and listen to her inner wise elder. I have a few SoulCollage(R) cards that are African elders, male and female, and I have wondered why there were so many indigenous people in my Archetypes suit. 


Anyway, one goes in circles sometimes, bopping from one website article, to another. But today, they all felt linked, and it brought me back full circle to my own inner wisdom. I love that through journaling and SoulCollage(R) answers come to me from my own subconscious, when I am relaxed and not forcing things, just 'playing'.

and now, off to dream....

Musemother
see www.soulcollage.com for more information 
or visit my website www.jenniferboire.com





Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Five Gifts of Pro-Aging, by Marcia Newman,
Balboa Press, $11.99 US

Baby Boomers may have been at the forefront of many liberation movements, (and there are 78 million of us in the cohort) but currently, more and more women are succumbing to slavery of a different kind - to a youth-obsessed culture: dying our hair, injecting botox, nipping, tucking and otherwise refusing to accept looking our age.  Author Marcia Newman had her own aging crisis one day while looking in the mirror, and decided it was time to confront the fear of looking like her mother by letting her hair go gray.

Newman’s work as a psychologist had also convinced her that what women particularly need to do is to age consciously and comfortably, and her intention with this book is to provide some tools for a happier, more aware ageing process, mainly for women. Her chapters focus on the five gifts of the title: Authenticity, Self-healing (by allowing emotions to be felt), practicing the gift of Discernment, contacting our inner Wildness and Collaboration with others.

Newman provides journaling questions throughout the book, and a questionnaire to start off with, so the reader can assess and confront the fears about growing older, and also discover the ways we exhaust ourselves by taking care of Everything and Everybody. Part of learning a healthier conscious attitude towards aging is in learning not to feel guilty when it’s time to take care of ourselves. Living an authentic life, according to the author, means that sometimes others around you may be upset with your decisions, but healthy women are able to let go of the guilt. She offers tools to help women develop healthier instincts and boundaries and manage their own high expectations of themselves (and also release perfectionism and procrastination).

In The Gift of Discernment chapter, I especially liked her description of the exertion/exhaustion cycle-- how women love to keep busy, yet how this continuously drains our energy, because we never learn to use the brake, only the gas pedal. She suggests journaling, and asking the body for a dialogue, to check in and find out for instance, which warning signs you receive when you’re heading for an over-exertion/exhaustion cycle.  Two questions help the reader discern what their level of energy is:  what depletes you and what gives you time and space to come ‘home’ to yourself?

It’s time to get back in touch with our inner wildness, Newman says, stating that the inner Wild woman is weary from too many choices, too many electronic gadgets, and having to be pleasant and nice all the time. Her pro-aging consciousness promotes unplugging for half a day to get back in touch with nature, and finding a place that makes you feel at home, to let the mammalian side come out to play. More wildness includes allowing more time for erotic intimacy. She quotes Gail Sheehy, author of Sex and the Seasoned Woman, who describes the spicy, seasoned woman as one who wants to live a full and passionate life over 50, and won’t settle for less. 

Facing the limiting beliefs, the inner ‘dragon’ or negative naysayer, and taking steps to reduce its power over you, is crucial, according to Newman. She offers steps for allowing the inner howl to come out, and find creative joy again.

Bottom line in this book, ladies, is all about self-care. Newman rightly says that creative ideas will flow when we nurture our selves, and will also bring back more energy. Feeling more alive, less deadened, is the antidote to feeling ‘old’.  “The Universe will remind us when we go down a people-pleasing, passionless, dead-end road that we weren't in love with in the first place…..The gift of wildness will always help you find a new open road.”

The only small off note in this book is the last chapter, The Gift of Collaboration, where I felt the voice got a little preachy in that new-age way. I grow tired of reading about The Patriarchy, especially when it’s capitalized, even if I agree with her. We do live in an overly productive, always 100% on society, and  suffer from “the competitive game of compare and despair” as she calls it. I have watched one of the movies she recommends, The Burning Times, about the 50 years of European witch hunting and inquisitions, but I’m not sure why watching the list of movies she recommends will help us be more pro-aging. It was the only chapter that felt like a lecture instead of a helping hand.

Newman finishes on a high-note with some ‘feminine (heart-based) principles’ to foster collaborative learning and leadership and a Pro-Aging Women’s Credo.

“…we don’t buy into the old aging stereotypes nor endorse today’s youth worshiping…
We are responsible for our own wellness. …We are the lightworkers,
the peace bearers….We appreciate and nurture our chosen tribe
… We’ve always heard the cries of Mother Earth and are active participants in healing our planet.”

I recommend reading this book and journaling along with it, as you face the monster in the mirror, and the received beliefs you carry inside you about aging. I also believe the second half of life can be as vital and passionate as the first half. Now, if I could only get used to seeing more gray in my hair…. yesterday I swear I saw my mother in the mirror!

Musemother

link to purchase the bookhttp://bookstore.balboapress.com





Saturday, October 18, 2014

Creating Your Own Mini-Retreat




Jenn Retreat from jennifer boire on Vimeo.


How I make a mini-retreat:

Some days, I am at a loss at where to start, what to do, to jump start my creative projects or just to ground myself and begin my day. 

Especially on a Monday, it helps me to center and focus if I set aside 30 minutes to an hour for a Mini-Retreat in my bedroom.

This short video shows where I begin.

Namaste,
Musemother/Jenn

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Brave And Startling Truth poem for today


Take a moment and sip a cup of tea while reading this poem. Then get your journal out and write down your thoughts or reaction to Maya's brave words.
Musemother

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth
And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms
***
We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

~ Maya Angelou ~   (A Brave and Startling Truth)


Saturday, September 20, 2014

CELEBRATE PEACE DAY 48 Hours Peacecast

Dear readers,

This is a very special broadcast, with great music, inspiring messages of hope, young people, old people, people from everywhere in the world.

check it out!

http://www.wopg.org/   and scroll to bottom of page.

over the next 48 hours, livestreaming on your computer or laptop.

Join us, The time for Peace is Now!

love and peace
jennifer
Musemother

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Menopause and Marriage, How to Help Your Man

Hot flashes, mood swings, dealing with emotions, (especially increased PMS), anger, feeling out of control - night sweats, flooding, sleepless nights...it's all a bit much to share as a couple. Poor men who have to live with us!

What can you do to make it a smoother transition time for all?

Menopause expert Susun Weed suggests two things: take a sabbatical (if you're a mom, not really possible) or  get away as much as you can. And talk it over with your family, especially your husband or partner. Let them know what you are going through.


Here's some advice form a Menopause Forum on-line:

You really do need to communicate to those around you so that they know that what you're going through is difficult, not in your control, involuntary, and not anyone's fault including them. Why be a saint? This is a time when you need SUPPORT and UNDERSTANDING and all the TLC that you can get.  (Daily Strength)

I heartily agree. Going through Menopause may be a breeze for some small percentage of women, but for most of us, it feels like we're in the middle of a tornado, an emotional rollercoaster, and unfortunately the ones we love most are directly in the line of fire.

Taking time away was the most beneficial remedy for me - my mind was split and scattered in so many directions, I didn't know who I was or what I wanted, even in my marriage. It helped me to get away for a weekend retreat, or even just spend a day away from home, to think my own thoughts. It wasn't entertainment or distraction I was looking for, (although some women swear by Girls' Nights Out and alcohol or weed). What I wanted was a calm, serene environment, preferably with no loud noises, no radio or TV, almost a padded white room, where I could hear myself think.

Your husband will appreciate your newly recharged, serene self when you return. It's a wise investment in your couple to get away alone.

Ask for Help: My husband is not good at reading self-help books, so I needed to give him a resume of what the symptoms were, and what I was doing to help myself. Unfortunately, I had to break my leg before I was really able to ask for help. Then he got on board, made lunches in the morning, drove the kids to school, took them skiing on the weekends, and ended up spending more one on one time with them. I needed to step back from being Overarching Boss of Everything.

Menopause affects Momma big time, so naturally it affects the whole house. The best thing you can do is figure out what you need to feel better. If you suffer from severe lack of sleep, mood swings, depression, fatigue or burn-out, that just makes it worse. Get some help, see a women's health specialist, whether doctor, nurse or naturopath, and find out what's at the root of your imbalance. Don't blame all your symptoms on Menopause. If it doesn't feel normal, it's not normal. You can get saliva testing or hormone and blood tests, and get to the bottom of what is off kilter.Bottom line is, if you feel better, everyone will feel better: 

I do know this, at mid-life women are challenged with turning their attention onto them selves for a change. Proper diet, good exercise, a good night's sleep, sharing the work load with others, asking for help and not trying to be Superwoman will all help you cope better.



But do talk to your family. Let your husband and loved ones know that this is temporary, this is not You! And ask for their help and support. Don't shove it under the rug. It's time to have another kind of "Talk", the Menopause Talk.

take good care now,
Musemother/Jenn



ps a great article in the Globe & Mail Life & Arts page today. Fire and rescue in the marriage bed. 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Menopause Mothers 10 Ways to Feed Your Soul

I have gathered the challenges and gifts at mid-life and menopause, and there are many. But as I listen to women who are still mothering, with children under their roofs and in their hair, I realize there is a great conflict that arises due to our 'late blooming' motherhood, or having children in our late 30's and early 40's.

They (children) still need our presence, but we feel uber-irritated by their constant demands. The world in general gets on our nerves, big time! We are ready for the Big Pause, but can't see how to do it.

At menopause, ladies, we are called to withdraw our over-caring of everyone else and go within, seek our authentic self, gifts and talents, and do some much needed reflecting on our life purpose. For this we need some down time.  But who will give it to us?

Susun Weed suggests a year's sabbatical for women at menopause, but that ain't happening when you've got kids at home. How to deal with this split in consciousness, and divided loyalties without dropping the ball on mothering, or on self-care?

Here are some practical  ways to soothe your soul and your need for creative introspection without feeling Guilty:

1. Find some like-minded women to share some deep talk with. Being seen and heard feeds your soul. You'll feel less crazy once you realize you are not alone, you are not the only one who is sleepless at night and hot flashing all day. Quit tearing your hair out, and let down your hair with your sistahs!

2. Release the Good Girl 'tude right now! Good mother, daughter, wife - we were trained for this from an early age, especially if you were born in the 50's. Give yourself permission to be SELF-FUL, not selfish. A little more self-compassion will go a long way. Do something JUST for YOU once a week, or once a day if you can swing it. When is the last time you bought yourself from roses? Repeat after me, I am worthy and deserving!


3. Practice peace - whether it's breathing, centering, meditation, yoga, chi gong, tai chi or a cup of herbal tea  - find some time to find your own rhythm and you will feed your soul's need for tranquility and silence. Just cut out one of those volunteer activities and make time for Peace.

4. Body work to release stress and get in touch with emotions. You need to feel to heal. Choose the modality that works for you - Reiki, massage, EFT, Rolfing, Shamanic journeying, talk therapy. Stress freezes our muscles, and when we bury our feelings, they end up Exploding in PMS - don't let the Bitch Goddess take over your life.  Dealing with feelings is healing!


5. Learn to RECEIVE: this is the hardest but the most rewarding thing on this list. OVERGIVING is our #1 downfall or trap, as women and mothers. Enlist the help of your family in daily tasks. Don't let the well go dry, or you'll have nothing but bitterness and resentment.  See #4: getting a massage is very nourishing, not just for your body and skin, but for your inner self who needs to fill up the well before she can give out again. Weekly would be good, monthly may be more realistic, but once a year is NOT enough.

6. Eject the Superwoman Mantle: learn how to say no, and ask for help. Takes practice, I know, but it's worth it. You cannot do it all alone. You are no longer capable of Multi-tasking, so give it up!

7. Embrace the end of Fertility- make peace with the end of your cycle. Face your fears of entering a new cycle. You're not old, but 50 is a meeting with mortality and a limited time frame. You can't mourn the empty nest yet, but you can celebrate the growing maturity of your kids, and realize how quickly the nest will be empty. Soon, now Mama, soon. Journal about it, and celebrate your Menopause with some cronies.

8. Get Creative: your new cycle involves creatively exploring that energy that used to go into making babies. Your energy is moving up and out of the womb center into your Heart, throat, Wisdom and Insight centers. Growing your intuitive powers and Dreams. Listening and Expressing this new found creativity is essential for your happiness. Find out what you LOVE to do, then Flow with it! Many women go back to school, or take pottery or piano classes, creative writing, SoulCollage(r), photography - what turns you on?

9. Recognize this is a Sacred Journey - a Heroine's Quest. Your life stages have brought you this far. How can you learn to see the symptoms of menopause as gifts? ie Fatigue is a message you need to rest more. Hot flashes are really just Power Surges. See the Soulful Woman website and listen to the Gold Tent for more about the gifts of Menopause: http://thesoulfulwoman.com.au/the-gold-tent/

10. Give yourself a break before you need a breakdown. REST is the most essential nutrient for the menopausal mom. As important as good nutrition and exercise. Your body is the vehicle - you can't pedal to the metal all the time. Take good care of you, and just lie down and rest, as often as needed. Write yourself a prescription for Self-Care. I will rest whenever I feel overwhelmed.

So try healing and feeling instead of yelling and freezing up, finding peace instead of feeding the frazzle. Anger and impatience are all symptoms that you are Doing Too Much and need to get away.

It's your time, baby, and even though Mothering is a challenge right now, you will get through this. It is temporary insanity, I promise you. I made it through without a huge bill for therapy, and my kids at 22 and 24 seem really well adjusted and are still speaking to me! And if you really feel like the straitjacket is calling you, get away on Retreat!

Take good care of you, darling, Mother Nature is begging you,
xxx
Musemother




Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Turning 60: Looking in the Mirror

Have you looked in the mirror and thought these thoughts?



Every time I look in the mirror, I understand this is just the beginning for me (at 49). I just want to shoot myself.
I am so sick of my body, I just wear baggy clothes
i hate looking at myself, and trying new clothes on in changing rooms. 
I wouldn't dare do it naked. !!! Eeeekkk....!!

A lot of menopausal women go through a period of self-hatred it appears. I know I've had moments like that, especially when I was down in the dumps, in the midst of menopause misery, with twenty extra pounds and a feeling of general despair. Love handles, saddle bags, my hips swimming in extra fat like the Venus of Willendorf!

But today, on the cusp of 60, I feel better about myself than ever. What happened to make the difference between 49 and 59? A lot of work on myself, a little therapy, some Energy Healing and Reiki, some workshops and courses on Rites of Passage, and mostly, in leading workshops and classes for women I have come to understand myself, and the whole mid-life process, so much better. But I'm still a bit stuck on a few aging issues.

It's a work in progress, right? my life, my self-acceptance, my compassion for myself instead of the harsh inner criticism I usually shoot myself down with. 

Looking in the mirror is especially fraught with mixed emotions.

This morning, looking in the mirror quickly, running a brush through my hair on the way to a Grooming appointment for my little shitzu who looks ragged and messier than I do, this is what I saw:



Today, I feel like I should maybe not colour my hair brownish red again, but allow the silver and grey to shine through. My roots are showing! does that make me look like a lazy person, or slovenly, or just tired?

I look at my face in the mirror - after putting on five different creams - a cleanser, a toner, anti-aging serum, face tightening, eye corrector and a day or night cream with SPF - a new ritual started only a month ago, with Arbonne natural products (or mostly natural!).

Fact: I have had two basal cell carcinomas, so I need to protect my skin from the sun, and the top of my head, my scalp, with a hat.

Fact: I want my skin to be a little tanned, less cadaverous white, but not burn.

Fact: my wrinkles are not overly visible, it's my double chin that bothers me, but mostly in photos (taken at a weird angle, or leaning back too much).

Fact: I think I still look youngish, I still feel young. Until I notice the way some cashier or bag boy at the supermarket looks at me, or rather, doesn't look at me.

Fact: recently, my breasts have perked up again. Less saggy. Is it the weight loss? the low carbs hi protein diet helped me lose 15 lbs. Is the zumba and yoga classes, more exercise? I like what I see, for the first time in years.

My tummy has a bit of an overhang, especially where my horizontal scar is from that ectopic pregnancy umpteen years ago. But it's not too visible under tight T's.

My legs are still slim (but then, so are Mom's at 83, always have been).

Mirrors are tricky. They can be my worst enemy. Sometimes I prefer not to look, but my bathroom is full of them....it's hard to avoid. I do like to check out my silhouette in store windows. Is that vanity? or just checking that I haven't been swallowed up in body fat like Jonah in the whale.

How do you feel when you look in the mirror? Are crow's feet, laugh lines and saggy bottoms getting you down? 

Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you.

Musemother


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Taking the Pain out of Sex

Many, many women at mid-life find sex painful.

Some find it painful because of vaginal dryness, but some have deeper issues. Have you heard of vulvodynia? a chronic condition that affects the labial area. Or Vaginismus - involuntary clenching of vaginal muscle?

Only because a friend of mine in her early fifties complained about vulvodynia, had I ever heard about this ailment. She ended up seeing an energy worker/naturopath who helped her understand the issues behind the pain.

The Globe and Mail published an informative article in June 2014 : Read it here:   http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/pelvic-physio-strives-to-take-the-pain-out-of-sex/article19055103/

I hope if you experience vaginal pain, or pain during intercourse, that you will strive to get some good medical advice, or even seek some alternative health advice from energy workers, homeopaths or osteopaths. There are many facets to our pain bodies: mental, emotional, spiritual and physical. It can be wonderfully freeing to imagine four different ways your body is sending you a message on all 4 levels.

Be curious, don't be satisfied with a doctor telling you nothing is wrong, it's only menopause. Or worse, writing you off as a hypochondriac. Women's sexual energies are changing at mid-life, and you must pay attention. Your kundalini energy (or wild feminine) is rising. Do not be afraid of it, or sweep it under the rug.

Pelvic physiotherapy is a recognized treatment in North America. Your ob-gyn may not have the necessary skills to help y ou, but hopefully she can refer you to a qualified therapist.

Tami Kent has written a wonderful book called The Wild Feminine, http://www.wildfeminine.com/, which offers helpful visualisations and exercises for you to get in touch with the energetic side of this area. She is also a pelvic physiotherapist, if you live in the Oregon area. There is a resource section in the back of the book to help you find similar therapists.

It pays to be present to our bodies' messages. Take good care of you!

in health,
Musemother


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Facing Aging at mid-life

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-BHqIAtohA5E/UJJbqESaFuI/AAAAAAAAAUg/23NYea2Trww/s1600/aging+beauty.jpeg

I thought I knew a lot about mid-life, having already written a book on turning fifty, The Tao of Turning Fifty, (see book page at www.jenniferboire.com); it's  essentially a heads-up about the emotional turbulence of menopause and the mid-life transition. But this year I'm 59, and turning 60 in November. I want to write about it, but realize I don't have a clue about what it means to turn 60. It's definitely on my mind. 

I know it's on my mind because I am not telling anyone I'm 60 - I'm definitely still 59, and holding. Usually in other years, I have been anxious to add 6 months to my age and bump myself up to the next birthday's age. But not this year. It is a milestone, a major one, although maybe not as major as 65 - mandatory retirement age in some countries.

I did get a letter from the Quebec government asking me if I wanted to start receiving my old age pension or wait until I'm 65. It's a paltry amount, barely over $100 a month, so yes, I can wait for that. But it made me sit up and think, wait a minute, I'm just getting started. I'm not retiring yet!

Having raised a family and worked mostly at home for over 20 years, I have just begun to discover the freedom of having a work life, and an identity other than mother. I'm leading classes and retreats for women, and still studying and learning new things. I just completed a year-long training in facilitating rituals, for instance. And I'm auditioning for an ABBA based musical theatre show in the fall. Now that my kids are studying away from home, there is room for ME, and MY projects. Mid-life has been the great liberator, once I got through the ups and downs of menopause.  Does turning 60 mean I'm entering a new phase?

On the down side, I do see signs that I am not accepting aging very gracefully. I still dye my hair to cover the gray. I find it makes me look pale and tired when I let the roots grow out, - I've tried it twice now - there's just not enough glamorous shiny white hair to provide contrast. And I just bought a slew of facial products, natural based of course, to apply to my skin morning and night. Cleanser, toner, aging serum, skin tightening masque, and all. I never thought I would be a client for beauty products. See, roots showing and frown lines:



Wikipedia puts mid-life in a depressing framework: "Middle-aged adults often show visible signs of aging such as loss of skin elasticity and graying of the hair. Physical fitness usually wanes, with a 5–10 kg (10–20 lb) accumulation of body fat, reduction in aerobic performance and a decrease in maximal heart rate. Strength and flexibility also decrease throughout middle age. However, people age at different rates and there can be significant differences between individuals of the same age."

Since it's on my mind a lot, I'm trying to come up with a ritual to help women see the positive side of aging, and not just worry about wrinkle lines, laugh lines, crow's feet, saggy boobs and love handles. I realize there are many upsides - there's a rich harvest to this time of life, right? It's time to start reflecting on where you've been and where you are going, who you are, your authenticity. Instead of fearing old age, perhaps we can look at those fears and see them in a new light. Drop the external mask, and find the real inner beauty.

Reading Anam Cara by John O'Donohue www.johnodonohue.com/books, I fell eagerly upon the chapter Ageing: the Beauty of the Inner Harvest. He relates the four seasons to the seasons of the body, and of course, fall is the time of ageing. It's a book that talks a lot about the need for solitude and a quiet place to be with your own soul.

 "The beauty and invitation of old age offers a time of silence and solitude for a visit to the house of your inner memory. You can revisit all of your past.Your soul is the place where your memory lives. ... "In actual fact, old age, as the harvest of life, is a time where your times and their fragments gather. In this way you unify your self, achieve a new strength, poise and belonging that was never available to you when you were distractedly rushing through your days. Old age is a time of coming home to your deeper nature , of entering fully into the temple of your memory where all your vanished days are secretly gathered awaiting you.

Ok, so 60 is not that old. Maybe I need to dance with that world 'old' a little and find some new associations with it. Some old things are really good, like an old friend, an old worn pair of jeans that fit you just right and aren't too tight, an old comforter or quilt that has been well loved and kept you warm all your life or an old suede jacket passed down from your mother that has a special patina to it.

I invite you to muse on what ageing brings up for you. What does turning 50 mean? what does turning 60 mean? Is there less of something, or more of something? Does life seem less rich or more rich? I'll be musing on this in the weeks to come, and blogging here, so come back and check it out.

namaste,
Musemother

ps Our time is limited. If you make it age 80, you will have had 29,200 days on the planet. Which means that when you're 40 you only have 14,600 days left. That may sound like a lot, but it definitely feels finite; it won't go on forever. The age of 50 particularly seems to bring up fears of mortality for many people. It's do or die time. Literally. (see http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4291/50-Ways-to-Love-Turning-50.html) 



Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Finding my Tribe at Mid-Life


What an amazing time this is! I don’t know if you follow astrology but there’s been a lot of planetary movement and eclipses, lots of opposing energies, lots of upheaval in the climate, in countries, and in our relationships.


But June is also that time of year when we celebrate graduations, and congratulate our kids on their talents and skills at end of year concerts. A time of ripening energies as another cycle ends, and a new season of Summer Solstice begins. It’s soon the end of my Creative Circle classes, the end of the Menopause Circle, and the beginning of a summer school with Ho Rites of Passage, where I will finish up a year-long training in ritual facilitation.

I feel especially grateful because both my children have grads this year, and last weekend was my 30th wedding anniversary. Two of my sisters came to celebrate with the 100 or so guests, as we boogied to a 70’s theme and amazing music.

What I want to really celebrate is this new found tribe of women surrounding me, in many circles of all kinds. Last Saturday, I found myself on the dance floor with my sisters and closest  girl friends, and many others of our ‘tribe’. I can still see an image etched on my brain of us ‘sistah’s’ dancing to Papa Was A Rolling Stone (remember that one?)…right up close, in front of the band. It felt blissful - feelings of closeness, of friendship, and more than that, of support, and ‘we’ve got your back’. As well as the pure joy of dancing to live soulful music, thanks to Sonja Ball’s fantastic band.


I had done something uncharacteristic a few days before and asked for help in the party planning. So many friends gave us a hand, shopped with me at Costco, moved lawn furniture, put up lanterns, pasted on Peace signs; my daughter flew in from NYC to add garlands of flowers and psychedelic lamp shades to the décor, and for once, I accepted all this help and didn’t try to do it all myself. We were shopping and decorating for 3 days for this epic 70's party.

Maybe that’s why Dr Northrup’s newsletter today struck such a chord in me today: 

“The feminine is about standing for the highest in others versus worrying about competition. It’s finding your tribe of sisters who will be there for you—and support you when you cry, when you fall, when you need someone to help with a meal. It’s understanding that interdependence is more powerful than independence—that it’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to ask for help.

It means that it’s time to take the phrase “I should be able to do this myself” and transform it to “I really appreciate your assistance. It makes it so much easier.” And it’s time to allow others the privilege of giving to you—and for you to learn how to graciously receive.”

As I have a tendency to be a solitary, independent soul, this is a new learning for me. Some of us have been trained to do it all ourselves, to never show a sign of weakness, so this is good medicine for us. Time to celebrate our interdependence with all of creation. At a recent Sweat Lodge in May, I got in touch with my need for Mother Earth/Terre Mère, for grounding and sustenance. All my relations, we said, as we clambered into the heat on all fours. Yes, all plants, all animals, all humans, are my relations. I depend on them for my existence.

So that’s my invitation to you (and myself) this June, and for the whole summer season. 

How can you let down your guard, be less self-contained, ask for help? How can you begin to open up to the feminine art of receiving from others, getting support, not trying to Soldier On no matter what, (which often leads to bitter resentments and hurt feelings when no-one reads our minds). 

How can you open up to, and accept, your belonging in the tribe?

Have a wonderful summer, this incredible time of abundance and celebrations.

Thank you for being part of my tribe!

Musemother/Jennifer

Note:

Friday June 13th: Creative Woman’s Soul Retreat, yoga/journaling/SoulCollage®. Registration has been filled.
  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Let it Rain Peace!


short video by a wonderful speaker

let it rain peace!

Post by Words of Peace Global.

Wishing you a peaceful, rainy day.

Musemother


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Full Moon in Scorpio and Mid-Life tasks

Reflection on the May 14 Full Moon, 2014


"This Scorpio Full Moon asks us to contemplate the most important law of life—facing what needs to die and acknowledging what wants to live—so we can understand what we value and what supports our future growth. 

We cannot grow further as individuals or as a world until we accept don Juan’s wisdom to take ‘death as our adviser’. We fear death and refuse to face it until we are forced to—unfortunately, we are facing death because we let climate change get out of hand instead of dealing with it years ago. 

This Scorpio Full Moon can push us to face what we’ve refused to face and finally acknowledge the task." 
~ Cathy Lynn Pagano, http://www.wisdom-of-astrology.com/

What I feel is that mid-life women go through this stage as part of their journey. We are over fifty, we are facing a finite length of time, and our own mortality. And we are renewing our identity and perhaps letting go of our old self to welcome in something new we can't quite imagine yet. 

At mid-life, this ‘dying and letting go’ is one of our most important tasks. 

It means doing the underground work, the sorting and dividing, looking at all the tasks we do, the projects left unfinished, the projects not yet born but simmering, the patterns that no longer serve us, and looking also at what ignites a fire in our heart, what makes us truly come alive. 

It is time to let go and burn what is draining, exhausting and depleting our energy, and welcome in what is gratifying, promotes growth and allows us to feel one with our authentic self.

Ask yourself, where is my power? What feeds its root? What brings you the greatest Joy? Believe in yourself and find the Courage to go for that.

Yes, it means dying to the old ways, and allowing rebirth to happen.

It means cutting away what makes us feel small, what keeps us limited.

On a personal level, what is pushing you to take action?

What is calling you to move towards living an optimal, creative life?

 I found that Journaling and SoulCollage(R) were two really great tools that helped me reflect and find my own answers. (As well as a lot of books, classes and on-line workshops to further clarify). If you need help with getting started, visit my website, check out the book The Tao of Turning Fifty, or just pop me a question in the comment box or my email info@jenniferboire.com

Namaste,
Jennifer
Musemother
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Monday, May 05, 2014

Give Yourself a Gift for Mother's Day

"We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit."  - ee cummings 

What does every mother long for, deep in her heart?
Speaking for myself, I can say that when my kids were little I longed for a weekend morning to sleep in and not have the kids come and wake me up at 6:30 am. I longed for time alone to think my own thoughts, and once I hit menopause the need to get away and was even stronger.
I did give myself permission to get away on retreats and writing workshops for weekends, and once even for a whole week. But more importantly, I began to make time during the week for little moments of reflecting time, journaling or yoga or just listening to quiet inspiring music to soothe my woman's soul.
Once I learned about SoulCollage(R), I began to integrate making card collages and images into my retreat time. These days it's usually a Monday or Friday morning, when I can push aside the emails, phone calls, house errands and laundry to just sit and breathe quietly while I write in my journal or make a collage.

Why do I do this? 
My woman's soul is fed by solitude, quiet, and creative journaling, as well as writing down my dreams. I am a very social person with lots of friends and a busy schedule, but once a week, I need to have my time alone, to focus just on me. Sometimes my daily journal only gets a ten minute jot down, but during these mini-retreats I just let myself go and write for longer, or colour in my art journal, making doodles and expressing how I feel today.


This is what today's doodles look like. How I feel, and then How I want to feel.

It feeds my soul, and soothes my agitated mind. It encourages a dialogue between my left and right brain, it helps me understand what I'm feeling. I often find solutions to questions and quandaries I have by the time I've finished writing or drawing.

So for Mother's Day, give yourself a gift - create a time and space for your woman's heart and soul to be nourished. 
And if you need help with journaling exercises, there are some great books out there - 
Jennifer Louden has published several books with retreat exercises for women http://jenniferlouden.com/products/books/ 

and there's some great journaling questions for women at mid-life in my own book, The Tao of Turning Fifty, What Every Woman in Her Forties Needs to Know (free excerpt at www.jenniferboire.com), order on-line.

Happy Mother's Day!
Musemother
ps check out The Tao of Turning Fifty's page on Facebook