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Monday, March 17, 2014

The Tao of Turning 60


What does it mean to turn 60? Since I’ve written the book on turning fifty, and am now 59, it seems people want to ask me, what about the tao of turning 60? Will you write that book. If I do, what would I write about?

The celebration of the journey from baby to young girl to youth to young married wife to student and writer and mother, then menopause and wise woman, teacher and facilitator? Might be a place to start, by feeling grateful. Instead of what I have done mostly all my life, complain complain complain about the hardships, the curves thrown at me, the things that have not turned out the way I wanted.

It was not without adventure that I set out on this journey, born eldest of eight children in a small house in the country that quickly grew too cramped. Little mother, helper and caretaker, house cleaner, house mother, secretary, poet, writer and proofreader, volunteer and organizer, communicator… oh the roles I have played, cook and breastfeeder, birther and nurse, playful sister and overarching boss of everything.

But turning sixty is not to look forward in fear and loathing of getting older, but in celebration of all that came before. Failures as well as successes. Forks in the road, unexpected turns, returns and circling back as well as moving sideways and forwards, crab-like. Ok there are wrinkles and aching joints and stiffness, but some of that is within my control and there’s no point complaining.

I want the comfort and grounding of the continuing present, as the circular spiral path of my life continues;  I am not looking ahead so much (although there is a part of me that is reassured by money in the bank account once my husband and provider retires). Physically I want to remain strong and active, so I know there is work to do, or ‘fun’ to have, in yoga, walking, zumba and dance. Some stretching and relaxing of overused muscles, some breathing and centering in meditation and yoga. A lot of letting go.

My heart has grown and stretched too – to the new babies that come along in the extended family as nephews and nieces marry and grow their families. We are 25 on each side! And still growing. 


My heart also stretches towards new friendships and women I meet in classes, lectures and retreats. I am learning, still taking classes, stretching my inner growth in rites of passage training and women’s circles and creative exercises. Life is too short to stand still and become cemented in one spot. My roots move with me, I am a dancing tree who feels connected by my underground spores to all the trees around me.

Sixty may bring health challenges, but I am conscious and aware of how my diet, exercise and movement or lack of it affect my health. I can only do what I can do, stay in the middle ground, not get caught up in extreme health fads, but listen to my body’s guidance. My emotional health needs care to – can I listen and embrace sorrow, sadness, joy, grief and happiness? Conflict with children and spouses or friends? It gets easier the older I am. I know that I am flawed, and fabulous, but can I allow others their flaws too, without hope of changing them? Acceptance and compassion are life lessons I am learning, loving kindness not only towards the self but to others, less judgment (oh that is an easy trap to fall into), less shame and blame, and more laughter and reassurance.

 Good company, flexibility and awareness. I don’t know what else I want – a bit of travel, but not too much. New vistas, but mostly, a comfortable home that reflects colours and fabrics and spaces I love to be in, and the added comfort in knowing my own center travels with me everywhere.


I may have Ireland, Italy, Provence, Australia and the wilder side of ancient Persia and China on my bucket list, as well as the barren landscapes of Arctic and Newfoundland, but I am patient and not in a hurry. My own backyard has treasures that have not been uncovered completely. I can explore this new inner landscape of meeting women at lectures and in public, women who have the same need for understanding their journey, the whys and wherefores of creative transformation at mid-life.

I am enjoying this 59th year, and am in no rush to move ahead, but as life is moving, always, I need to stay flex and move along with the current of this river – with curiosity and awareness, alert, relaxed and trusting. One day at a time.

I do look forward to seeing grandchildren, to growing older with my ‘chum’ and husband, to seeing more family added to our tree. A bountiful harvest then, that is what turning 60 means to me.

A bountiful, beautiful orchard full of ripe trees and juicy fruit. And feeling loved and held in the center of it. Community, family, and love.

namaste
Musemother






Friday, March 14, 2014

Jennifer's Crazy Wild Adventure in Virtual Blog Touring

Day 5 of the Blog Tour is at MinniePauz, a site with a sense of humour!

http://minniepauz.com/reading/guest-articles/mid-life-moms-and-the-hot-flash-clash

and yesterday, Day 4 I had a great interview with Sahara at Literary Diva:

here's the link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/diva29/2014/03/13/literary-diva-presents-author-jennifer-boire#.UyEh5-Y4m30.email


Day 4's blog post was at Sensibly Selfish: http://sensiblyselfish.com/ Self Care is Your Medicine.

Day 3's post: http://www.menopausegoddessblog.com/2014/03/12/menopausal-journey-a-rite-of-passage/
Menopause Goddess is a great site, full of interesting facts and articles.

Day 2's blog was over at Morgen Bailey's Writing Blog, about all things for writers. 5 Tips for Creative Self-Care is a post everyone can relate to, not just menopausal women:
http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/guest-post-5-tips-for-creative-self-care-at-mid-life-by-jennifer-boire/



Have a great weekend. I'm ready for a break from blogging! headed out to the lake and snow.

Musemother/Jenn

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Blog Tour Day 2 Morgen Bailey

Hey folks and readers,
if you're following along, the blog tour is on Day two, at Morgen Bailey's blog for writers:




Here are the Facebook links for today and yesterday on Book Marketing Services and on The Tao of Turning Fifty:

Giveaway, Day 1 and Day 2 –



don't forget to enter the Giveaway contest to win great prizes.

and please leave a comment on the blog posts or 'like' and share them, if you find it of interest!

thanks for playing with me this week!
jennifer

Monday, March 10, 2014

Blog Tour Starts at Menopause Chit Chat

have a look see over at this great website and resource for Menopausal Women


Day One of Book blog tour

let me know how you like the interview,

xxx
Jennifer/Musemother


Friday, March 07, 2014

MEDIA PRESS RELEASE JENNIFER BOIRE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jennifer Boire, info@jenniferboire.com
Focusing on the transformative powers of menopause and changing the mindset of women who feel overwhelmed at mid-life.

Montreal, Quebec, CanadaMarch, 2014 –In The Tao of Turning Fifty: What Every Woman in Her Forties Needs to Know  author Jennifer Boire uses a light touch and gentle humour providing her brand of women’s wisdom on matters such as Where Did My Libido Go? Tango at Mid-Life, Feeling Like You’re Going Crazy, Menopause is Not a Disease, and How to Cultivate Your Own IGS System (inner guidance system).

This interactive workbook for women at mid-life is a must read for women in their forties to learn the blessings and challenges of menopause. It treats menopause as an awakening, a transformation on a woman’s journey with the focus on self-care through journal prompts, as well as exercises to calm and center.

Boire is passionate about the subject and says “The Tao of Turning Fifty grew out of research done for my blog, and interviews with women approaching or already past menopause. In my own experience, it felt momentous, like a psychic shift, or heroine’s quest, so much more than just hot flashes and low libido. I want every woman in her forties to know what is coming, to educate herself, to honour and prepare for this important rite of passage and mid-life transition that is menopause.

Kirkus Reviews called the book “a pragmatic guide doubling as a workbook that examines how to find inner balance during a woman’s tumultuous midlife change. Boire masterfully encourages introspection and engagement in her book, which brings Eastern philosophy and Western lifestyles together to deliver what every woman in her forties needs to know.” They summed up their review referring to it as “an interactive workbook for women wanting to find harmony and understand the inevitability of life’s physiological changes.”

Boire begins a five day virtual book blog tour on Monday, March 10th ending Friday, March 14th, 2014 organized by Book Marketing Services, http://www.bookmarketingservices.org.

The Tao of Turning Fifty, What Every Woman in Her Forties Needs to Know by Jennifer Boire
Printed by Little Red Bird Press, 146 pages
ISBN: 978-1466378117
Paperback: CDN $12.30
Kindle Edition: CDN $9.99

The Tao of Turning Fifty, What Every Woman in Her Forties Needs to Know  is available online from Amazon.com, Amazon.ca,  Chapters Indigo and Barnes and Noble. For more information, visit http://jenniferboire.com/.


Contact: Jennifer Boire, info@jenniferboire.com

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

BOOK BLOG TOUR STARTS MONDAY

MARCH 10-15 Book Blog Tour starts - a new guest post every day on five wonderful websites.

The Great Graphics for my Book Blog tour are on this link: (also dates and addresses)

http://www.bookmarketingservices.org/jennifer-boire/


If you are a woman in peri-menopause, feeling overwhelmed with teenagers, aging parents and no time for you, then follow these blog posts for some helpful tips and overall encouragement

and share the links on facebook, twitter, wherever you hang out with your menopausal buddies.

thanks!
Jennifer
www.jenniferboire.com
author The Tao of Turning Fifty, What Every Woman in Her Forties Needs to Know



Tuesday, March 04, 2014

On Being Selfish, and Mothering Myself

I am reading a book about daughters who feel unmothered (for whatever reason, losing a mother, neglectful or absent mother, narcissistic and over critical mother). Will I Ever Be good Enough, by Karyl McBride. http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/resources/dr-karyls-blog/ 

It helps explain why I have never felt ‘good enough,’ why I keep so busy, and why it feels selfish to take time for me. So I wondered, if I could invent a kind, supportive mother for myself, what would she be like?

My ideal supportive female guide would listen to my worries, soothe my brow with a calm hand. She says, there, there. It’s all right. Don’t sweat the small things –even the big things are out of your control. Stop worrying about your grown kids.

She encourages me in my creative projects, tells me I deserve a morning off to just muse, write, listen to soothing music at least once a week. You deserve more playtime – sunshine and walks outside. You are allowed to enjoy your life –supper with your husband, watching Hercule Poirot movies, snuggling on the couch with dark chocolate and a bowl of popcorn. You can breathe into meditation and yoga every morning because you love to do that. You can pour rose scented Epsom salts in a bath and soak your tense muscles. Lie down and rest for 30 minutes in the afternoon.

When I’m sick, she brings me bowls of hot broth and tea, soft Kleenex. She reminds me not to eat fatty stuff when I’m sick, just dry crackers. She reminds me of my mom when I was little.


Yes, I did have a loving, caring mother, but mid-way through my childhood, she became overwhelmed with caring for a house of children, and alcoholic. She counted on me and my sister to help cook, clean and organize laundry. She tried to check out of her life when I was sixteen. Then went into rehab.

I was a good daughter, up to a point. Around age 15 I began to act out (it was the 70’s, what didn't we do!). We dared our mothers to discover our trespasses. They surely would have reined us in if they knew the half of it.

In the last year of my twenties, I fell in love, got married, went back to school, and got pregnant, in that order. Writing poetry and becoming a mother pushed me back into healing the mother wound. In my first book, Little Mother, I poured out my nostalgia, and my distress at an imperfect childhood. It became an exploration of the dark and light side of motherhood. I loved my kids passionately and yet needed time alone to write. I felt split down the middle.

Fast forward to menopause – the grand awakening to self-care. The therapist I went to see for anger management issues said, you have to learn to be more selfish. The very word was anathema to me. I felt useful doing volunteer work. I guess I had a strong good girl streak. But when I broke my leg skiing one year, something else broke down. The capable superwoman cracked. I could not take care of everyone if I didn't take care of me. My body was hurting, my shoulders ached. I kept taking on too many projects and responsibilities, trying to find my self-worth. I wanted to get out of the house, and my therapist suggested I teach at the women’s center.  

So I began. In the middle of my menopausal journey, I began to teach what I needed to learn. How to be selfish, how to carve space and time for my creative side, for my own sanity. How to ask for help. How to honour my need for time alone, and soothe the restlessness.



At menopause, the rocky road to healing began. I learned to mother myself. If I was tired, I took naps. If I was sad, I sat in the bathtub and wailed. If I was hungry before meals, I ate snacks. I was not very good at this, often blowing up at suppertime. The kids would say, eat something mom, you’re cranky.

Finally, my two kids were grown. I had mothered them sufficiently, taught them a few useful things about laundry and cooking. They both chose to go to school away from home. I had the quiet house to myself, my sanctuary, so I began to lead retreats and classes from home. Slowly my class has grown from five women four years ago to eleven in two classes this session.  I am still teaching exercises for discovering what you want to do with your life, what you love, what you would do if it weren't selfish.


I have to thank my therapist, Fani, for teaching me that I needed to be more selfish. And Jennifer Louden for her Woman’s Comfort Book http://jenniferlouden.com/ which helped me create a self-nurturing voice. Dr Christiane Northrup’s books on menopause and women’s wisdom http://www.drnorthrup.com/and Joan Borysenko http://www.joanborysenko.com/ for her wisdom about transition times and burn-out. I have many teachers and mentors, but long ago, Prem Rawat  http://www.premrawat.com/ showed me an inner practice that is my root, my anchor, how to find stillness in my center.

For all the teachings, and the journey so far, I am truly grateful.

xxxx
Musemother
ps I also want to thank my mom, for being there.

Journal questions for you:

If I could relax and let go, what would I do just for fun?
If I could let go into joy, receive creative joy, what would I do?
If it weren’t selfish, what would I love to do?



Sunday, March 02, 2014

Creative, Playful Mood


Play:  I think my biggest challenge is to be playful. When my children were little, no problem. They climbed all over me, as I lay on the floor like a mother lion. We did finger painting together,spent time doodling with pencil crayons or felt pens, slid down waterslides, ran through the sprinkler, went to the local pool - you have no choice but to be playful with little kids around. But these days, at mid-life, my natural, serious side would rather sit in an armchair and read a good book. (Lately, Louise Penny's murder mysteries are captivating me. She's an international best selling Canadian writer living near Montreal, whose stories are set in the Eastern Townships and Montreal area).

But even a bookworm like me needs to get out of the house sometimes, and the further from my computer, the better. Say, down south for a vacation weekend, like this photo above, taken in Miami in January. I forgot to bring my straw hat with me, and the only available head cover (necessary protection from the strong sun) was this blue one. In this photo I am wearing my only other item of blue clothing.

When I was a little girl, my mother used to dress me and my younger sister in the same dresses, but different colours. Sue was always blue. I was in pink or red. It took me a very long time to be able to look at anything blue. it just wasn't my colour. Now, I see that as a form of playfulness - to see myself in blue.

Exercise is not something I normally associate with playfulness. Although I used to love down-hill skiing with the kids. Now, cross-country skiing has taken the place of downhill, since I broke my knee skiing over ten years ago. I don't skate much either. But Zumba has made exercise fun. That Latin music and those crazy quick salsa steps are so much fun, AND they get your heart beating. It makes it easier to segue into lifting weights or doing the plank when you spend 30 minutes dancing and laughing in a living room with friends.

What do you do for fun? Do you consider yourself a playful person, or a creative person? It's funny how our self-image can get stuck by a lifetime of habit. I will be 60 this year, and am just getting serious about playing.

Next week I'm going to be playing on some other blogs: doing a Book Blog Tour. Every day starting March 10 there will be a link on this blog to the host blog where I'll be giving you some tips on being Sensibly Selfish, Creative Self-Care, Mid-Life Moms and the Hot Flash Clash, and others.

Stay tuned and stay playful! (Winter is almost over.)

Musemother/Jenn
www.jenniferboire.com



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