Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Heroine’s Journey or Quest at Mid-Life

Ever notice how the GPS in your car never criticizes you? It never tells you that you’re on the wrong path, or going in the wrong direction. You simply input the destination and go on your way. If, you should make a right turn, rather than a left, the GPS simply says, “Recalculating…” It occurred to me how much SPIRIT is like a GPS. We simply tell SPIRIT where we want to go and start the journey. We can choose any path to get us there. There is no way to be lost. SPIRIT simply observes and gently “recalculates” as we go along. 
- Teri Goggin-Roberts at

The Heroine’s Quest involves an inner journey. It involves leaving the known or ‘outside’ world, facing unknown challenges, and returning with new knowledge. The journey at midlife involves moving down into her inner depths, leaving behind the upper world of cultural norms and roles, and descending into the Self. She may need protection from angels and guides as she learns to trust the Benevolent Universe is always providing for her.

The Heroine leaves behind the masculine realm of outer success and doing, to enter the feminine realm of Being.  She descends into her body’s knowing, and discovers the importance of taking care of her health, perhaps through facing an illness or accident. Self-care becomes primordial. She listens to her hungers, and appetites, her need for stillness and rest, her increased need for solitude. She discovers a need for food that supports her health, and exercise or movement for her muscles (but first she may feel like she is melting, a caterpillar turning into bug soup before growing her wings).

She descends into the realm of feelings and emotions, her restless heart. She learns to receive as well as to give. Pleasing others must be left behind. She removes her defensive armour, and gets in touch with grief, rage, feelings of loss, fears, mortality. She faces the shadow or dark side of suppressed emotions; she gathers the lost pieces of herself. A tempest is brewing.

She gets closer to the wild creative soul, allows herself to touch the raw, instinctive side, her sensuality and sexuality, her desire or lack of desire. She listens to her dreams.

She enters the ground of her being. It may feel like going underground, a depression, and a temporary withdrawal from the world of outer values. Her inner world calls out loudly. She rests there awhile to get her bearings. She asks herself, What am I hungry for?

To begin the return, she reconnects with the healing powers of earth and sky, trees and water, cycles of the moon and seasons, even the ground she walks on. She creates self-soothing rituals. She sticks with the quest, the questions, even when answers are not forthcoming.

She needs to reconnect with her inner knowing, her intuition, and develop trust in her IGS (inner guidance system). She explores practices that help: meditation, chi gong, yoga, expressive art, rocking movements, soothing music, naps.

She begins to heed her long held dreams, her longing to express herself, her creativity. She remembers what she used to love doing when she was young: pottery, piano, bicycling; she learns new ways to be in Flow through art: poetry, watercolour, journaling, SoulCollage(R).

She begins to speak her truth, unafraid of what others will say; she expresses and honours her core values. She finds her Voice. She is true to her Self, she owns her authenticity, her likes and dislikes; she knows her own mind. She discovers her feisty spirit is alive and well.

She enters the Guardian years, after menopause, with a new found wisdom and a desire to give back. She recognizes this has been a sacred journey. She gives thanks. She grows in compassion for herself and others.  Wise Woman or Juicy Crone, she will soon be an Elder.

She is aware now of the gifts of this journey, and returns to share what she has learned with other women.

(C) Jennifer Boire

with thanks to the authors who have inspired me to write about heroines and midlife: Maureen Murdock, Joseph Campbell, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Joan Borysenko.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Through the eyes of SoulCollage(R) Book Review

What I learned about SoulCollage(R) from reading Through the eyes of SoulCollage(R)  
by Anne-Marie Bennett, published 2015

(Note: SoulCollage(R) is a process of making a deck of cards that represent various parts of one’s life journey. There are four suits that represent either people we have loved, archetypal energies, inner personality parts and animal guides or instinctual energies).

On Facebook recently I saw a quote that read, I have been a seeker all my life and still am, but I stopped asking the stars and the books and started listening to the teaching of my own Soul. (Rumi) Stopping to listen in, and dialogue with parts of myself as represented in my SoulCollage(R) cards, is the best thing I have ever done to get to know myself better. And not only that, but it’s helped me accept all of me, the good and the bad, the light and the dark.

The lovely essays and reflections on life in the book Through the Eyes of SoulCollage(R), Reflections on Life via the SoulCollage(R) Lens, by facilitator and trainer Anne-Marie Bennett, grew out of the last ten years of her SoulCollage(R) journey, and were originally written as newsletter articles for KaleidoSoul, Bennetts’ SoulCollage(R) community. 

In this first book, of two planned books of essays on seeing life through the lens of SoulCollage(R), Anne-Marie covers two of the four suits – Community and Companions. (Council and Committee are the other two suits). Community cards are made for all the actual people who have lived, touched us in some way, or been close to us (including pets). Even teachers you have known or celebrities you admire fit here. Cards can be made to grieve and honour lost ones, and can increase our sense of connection, or “nettedness” as Bennett calls it. The Companions section has some wonderful ideas about how to receive messages and gifts from our animal guides or totems.

The book includes a list of vocabulary for the uninitiated, and a Time to reflect space to encourage readers to journal along with each chapter, as well as additional ideas for card making. She provides a link to her SoulCollage(R) cards on her website, with other resources and recommended sites and books. Facilitators can mine the book for workshop themes based on the topics in each chapter, with the author’s full permission.

There is a chapter on spirituality that I found especially appealing. Bennett sees SoulCollage as a form of prayer, as a tool to stay close to spirit. I like that Bennett describes the cards as more than just pieces of cardboard with images glued on them – they represent our wholeness, all the parts of self gathered together. Using the cards allows one to access deeper layers of soul, through active imagination and intuition, seeing patterns, themes, and writing about what one sees.

Bennett suggests that sticking close to your SoulCollage(R) cards through readings is a way of coming home to yourself. She strongly encourages makers of SoulCollage(R) cards to either do daily readings, picking two cards and sitting them on your bureau, or journaling about them, or Focused readings, where you set aside a special time and space to ask a question, clear your mind, and receive guidance from 3-4 cards you choose at random. Again, journaling is a component, as you dialogue with the cards and receive messages – in actuality, your sub-conscious selves, or inner self replying to your own questions. Bennett’s book is full of instances of synchronicity and learnings. It can be a fun, light process or one of transformation and deep healing.

After finishing the book, I spread all my SoulCollage(R) cards on the floor of my bedroom – they covered most of the room – and did what Bennett suggests – separated them by darker Neters or shadow parts, and Light Neters. I put the darker ones on the left, for no apparent reason, and the lighter, more playful cards on the right. Right away I noticed the difference in colour – the darker cards (representing anger, shame, old hurts and abandonments, painful heritage, etc) were mostly dark coloured. And the joyful, juicy creative cards (representing whimsy, joy, spirit of play, sanctuary, love and marriage, sexuality, freedom and creativity, were much more colourful and light – reds, yellows, blues predominating.

This was a very good exercise and I’m glad to have learned it from Anne-Marie’s book.

Some of my favorite essays were about learning how to trust the intuitive process. How does one begin to listen in and discover which inner parts need attention? I put a star beside a few chapters: What lights you up, and Inner Beauty (writing a love letter to the self, sealing and mailing it is a great idea and one I use in my journaling classes). So many creative moments are explored in this heartfelt, inspiring book...simple moments, from stopping to pause and admire nature, lessons learned riding the metro, to having the courage to tell all your heart.  

Read this book and discover many artful ways to pause, wonder at, and savour the moment.

You can find the book on Amazon, or read more about it here:

Jennifer Boire is a published author and a facilitator of the Creative Circle class, (creative journaling and SoulCollage(R)) and leads retreats for women.

Anne-Marie Bennett– KaleidoSoul founder, SoulCollage(R) Facilitator and Trainer lives in Massachusetts.

Friday, November 06, 2015

30 Day Soulful Self-Care challenge

I started the 30 day challenge on my birthday, Nov 4. Turning 60 last year has made me very aware of the importance of self-care, and it is a challenge because I let everything else come first.

Why is it that women (and especially since I'm a mother, so mothers) have such a hard time putting ourselves on the list?

I intend to experiment with doing something small, practical and doable every day for 30 days to feed my soul, improve my health, or otherwise practice some loving self-care.

Once I see what works for me, I can share it with you too.

If you want to follow along, day by day, see the Creative Soulful Woman Facebook page, where I will post photos and notes of this special, soulful self-care experiment.

If you want to join me, then drop me a note or make a comment about what you are doing to take good care of yourself - even if it's as small as pausing before eating to say thanks, writing in your journal for 10 minutes, taking a walk in the fresh air and filling up your inner well with kindness.


Friday, October 30, 2015

Can I live my life from the center?

This morning in yoga and in the short meditation afterwards, I felt like this:

soft mothering pulse, vibration
at the mother root of belly being
we long to feel rocked as if we were infants
I long for that all embracing feeling
of being loved, touched with love
seen with love,  heard with love.
we don't find it often in the grown-up world -
in the growing up years we may be hugged and held
but we were also scolded and scorned.

mom sang lullabies to us at bedtime
and she also swatted us away like flies.
she did rock me on her lap - I can still remember
being pushed off that lap and sent to the back seat of the car
on a long trip, station wagon full of kids.

mothers are not the endless source of loving
but that womb-rocking they do for nine months
is what we remember
as love
as nourishment.
this morning in shivasana, lying on my back
with knees up over a bolster
I just let go and breathed
and the mother-root energy pulsed
in the center of every outbreath and inbreath
and I felt rocked and held -

that hug we long for
is always there, but much quieter
than the noisy world in your office or kitchen.
it doesn't clamour to be felt
but the absence of that rooted-ness
is what scatters me
in a million directions.

I am a heat-seeking missile
when it comes to that Presence.
I want to zone-in, get close,
and closer,
hum, purr, rock,
stillness in motion
rocking my child's heart
back to comfort and release,
back to Ahhhh....

can I live from that center?


Friday, October 09, 2015

8 Steps for Improving Negative Energy

When negative energy surrounds you, what do you do? 

Having a shitty day? I am easily affected by bad weather, bad news and bad moods. Some days I swear the planets are lined up against me (Mercury retrograde anyone?). But I refuse to be own worst enemy. Especially with the fading light in fall, and the coming winter in the Northern Hemisphere, I need help to counter that bad soul-sucking negativity and fight my tendency to wallow in downright depressing thoughts. 

Here are 8 powerful game changers that really work for me:

Stop: stop listening to the hate messages, whether from outside you or inside your own mind. Step Back. Remove yourself from the victim/target mode.

Feel: drop down into your solar plexus, put your hands on your belly. Now do a body scan, letting your attention go from the top of your head down to your feet, and breathe through any tension or tightness you find. Purposely send breath to those tight, frightened spaces. Either do a sitting forward bend, or roll over into standing rag doll, and just breathe long, deep breaths for a minute. Let your feelings bubble up and don’t be afraid to feel what you feel. You will survive!

Listen in: how do you feel now? Write down what is coming up for you – tears, anger, fears, relief? Let it out on paper.

Change the inner tape: notice the old messages you are hearing and where they come from. Is that your mother’s voice haranguing you? Your oldest brother, your Grade 10 English teacher telling you you’re not good enough? Too fat, too lazy, too loud, too whatever? See next point for rewriting the script.

Enlist help of Inner Coach or Best Friend for support: rewrite the script with the help of an Inner Coach that you imagine (a friendly, encouraging voice) or call up a real best friend. Counter every negative statement with a positive one. Critic: You never listen, you talk too much. Inner coach: When you are interested you listen closely.

Playlist: play some uplifting music. Music helps me shift into softness, self-compassion and wellness. Find your Lift me Up songs and play them, in your Iphone, on your stereo, on Spotify. Strong, Beautiful Woman by is a great example.

I find Deva Premal’s yoga music very soothing too. 

Move your body: if you still feel lousy, get up and shake it off, literally, shake your body all over for 5 minutes or go for a brisk walk. A change of pace, change of air, and physical movement will help bring you out of that blue funk.

Enlist the help of Mama Nature : sit at the roots of a tree and breathe your bad feelings down into the ground, into the tree, and breathe in the green healing energy of that Mama tree. Release, release, release and make room for new healing energy. It’s as close as the ground you walk on, the air you breathe. Do like a tree and breathe out the bad stuff.

Get Creative: pull out the crayons, felt tip pens, doodle or draw a mandala.  (Just for the fun of it, release the perfectionista within and don’t judge the outcome, just enjoy the process). Move pen on paper and let the Joy of Colour lift your spirits. If that feels too daunting, browse some magazines, cut out some bright, colourful images, and make a collage. You can do this! 15 minutes, tops.

I hope these tips help you move that negative energy out, and some positive uplifting energy in! I know it works for me.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What I offer: Creative Soulful Sanctuary

The SoulCollage® process thrives in a sanctuary -- a spacious temple of safety and healing set apart from ordinary life, where time slows down and people can drop into deeper self-awareness to meet and hear the wise voices of their own Neters. Participants return to daily life with their world subtly changed. With practice, a participant may internalize the energy of the sanctuary, easily catching sight of -- and insight from -- the Neters flowing all around her/him.

As a SoulCollage® Facilitator, I see my role as the Guardian of the Sanctuary, one who prepares and holds the sacred space; one who fosters the conditions that allow each person to do their own solitary soul-exploration, freed from any input or interference from others. This soul-work can be enhanced when done in a community -- with the help of silence.
 - Seena Frost.

This is how I see myself as well, as a Creative Soulful guardian of the Sanctuary, one who offers support, and a place where this important soul-work can be done by each one.

There are so many ways to feel a connection with the soul. Seeing any human being smile touches something in my soul, but newborn babies especially so. Feeling seen and heard by a loving circle of women opens my heart. Nature’s beauty stirs a feeling of joy inside.  I love Seena Frost’s description of sanctuary. That is where I want to live! And I’m musing lately on more ways to provide this.

I believe we are all creative, and we all have a soul. But creative soulfulness is something we need practice at. I offer support by providing a space and sanctuary for classes and retreats, and even on my Facebook page, so that in your over-filled busy days and weeks, you can pencil in a little time, or maybe a whole day or weekend, to feed your need for Soul Food.

What I am offering:

The Creative Circle class is in full swing on Tuesday afternoons since September 22, 2015. Classes include poetry, SoulCollage(R), mandala, doodling, and mixed media expressive arts. Drop ins are available for $40, onetime fee.

SoulCollage(R) Workshop: I’m headed to Calgary on Oct 24 for a one day mini-retreat and SoulCollage workshop entitled Playing with Creative Soulfulness (10 am – 5 pm). RSVP for more info.

Hummingbird Retreat-Tap into Joy: If you’re thinking about going south this winter, consider a 4-Day retreat in Costa Rica, February 21-24, with myself and yogi/shaman Brigitte Bauhart. $750 Canadian. 

Includes: Joyful Yoga on the beach, walks in a Tropical Rainforest, creative expressive exercises, SoulCollage(R). Time to nap or swim. Expand your joy with dancing and a Sunset cruise. Extra: excursion to visit Hummingbirds. If you love to play creatively and soulfully, this is for you!  (There is room for 6 participants to stay the whole week; cost includes 4 day retreat, all meals during retreat; and a sunset cruise. Deposit required by Nov 1). Register at

NOTE: My website is being updated, to make the site mobile phone friendly and simplify the information. I had fun recording a welcome video this week (see below).  Should go live early October.

Don’t forget to like the Creative Soulful Woman Facebook page at

stay in touch!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Valuing the Feminine Way

"Let's put a woman's mid-life struggle for self-care into context. 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 by 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, when so many workers are burning out, especially those in the caring professions. taking a little down time to rest should not make us feel guilty, but somehow it does.

"How do you get in touch with and strengthen your connection with the Feminine? on the most basic level, you acknowledge it whenever you take care of your body through conscous eating, exercising, bathing, resting, healing and lovemaking. you also  nurture your connection to the Feminine by listening to your emotions and feelings." from The Tao of Turning Fifty What Every Woman in her Forties needs to Know.

I would also add, creative flow and soulfulness are great antidotes to overwhelm, and they help us reconnect to the Self and find our wholeness. It's also lots of fun to be creative. We are all creative beings.

Explore your creative soulfulness today!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Which one of these can you incorporate into a daily ritual or practice to help you FEEL and listen to what your soul is saying? Try one on for size today.

Centering breath: take 5 minutes to connect with your belly breath, and come home to Calm. Release busy thoughts, and breathe.

Communion with Nature: sky, earth, stars, trees, birds, moon, walk outdoors 15 minutes

Grounding practice – when spinning too fast, slow down and breathe roots from your feet into ground. Really feel your breath coming down into your feet, down into ground.

Beauty: let yourself be enthralled by the veins on a leaf, a bright green bug, the indigo at twilight

Expressive arts: have fun with collage, doodles, acrylic paint, any artistic expression – move your body to music, add a little bit of creative play. What new thing can you try?  photography, water colour, drumming?

Journaling: Staying in touch with my soul, by listening to what it has to say and writing it down: I feel, I need, I sense, I remember, I want, I desire, I am. Or simply, What does my soul have to say about this?

Dreams – keep a journal by your bed, stay in bed 4 minutes longer to capture your dreams. Dr Estes says every night we dream 5-7 “stories”, our soul’s way of teaching  and reflecting to us what is going on in our lives. Learn how to decode the metaphors by writing down all the nouns and verbs and watching the associations that pop up.

Bookstore browsing: pencil in a one-hour book store browse; let your intuition guide you to a new  book

Cup of tea with that book: pencil it in your agenda, 10 minutes 1x a day.

Relaxation – find a CD* that soothes you, 20 minutes before bedtime or take a 30 minute nap. Do like the cats and dogs do and find a comfy blanket in the sun to curl up in. (*Sounds True, Eversound)

Meditation, mindfulness: 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour – what do you need to really satisfy your soul’s desire for stillness, inner peace?

Tai chi, yoga, chi gong: can you move your body mindfully once a day, stretch first thing in the morning, do some tai chi at lunchtime, or do a little downward dog before bed?

Make a playlist for your mood: sunny upbeat, darker days, stress free, happy rock ‘n roll, soulful R&B


Tend your inner garden and water your soul with these practices.

namaste, Jennifer

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Creative Soulful Woman

What does it mean to be a Creative Soulful Woman?


Your playful child-spirit is alive and well
You get excited when you're in discovery mode
You have an openness to new ways of seeing
Flow is your optimal condition, where you lose track of time
You are unafraid to try new things
If you are afraid, you gently push past fear
You are willing to learn
You are not rigid, not pinned down, you go with the flow
Making & sharing your art makes you happy!
Expressive arts feed and nourish your Joy.


Your child-like heart sees the wonder in the world
You feel things deeply, intensely
You are gifted with a big heart and a way of being 
   that respects others
Intuitive, you listen to the deeper, inner call
You are highly sensitive and open to receive
You seek the light while allowing the shadows to be
    illuminated: growing in self-acceptance
You are drawn to mystery like a sunflower to the sun
You are learning to be comfortable with not knowing, uncertainty
You allow your senses to be activated in creative ways
You want to learn to practice self-nurturing
You allow time for pleasure in little things: blue sky, red cardinals, green moss, the natural beauty of the world
Music, poetry, art, dance: feed your soul

Soulfulness means coming from a place of balance and harmony – an equilibrium or alignment between what we think, fell, say and do. And taking an inner approach to prioritizing our life – work life, family life, personal life – in the pursuit of activities that nourish and enrich every aspect of our life.” – Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D.,

You are a creative soulful woman!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Soulfulness in women has a season and a cycle

Where are you in your soul cycle?

The psyches and souls of women also have their own cycles and seasons of doing and solitude, running and staying, being involved and being removed, questing and resting, creating and incubating, being of the world and returning to the soul-place. 

 ~ Dr Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs

stay tuned on for new Creative Soulfulness page, classes and SoulCollage workshops in the fall

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Creative and soulful means

I think creativity expresses itself through us like water seeking its own level will flow anywhere, even upwards and backwards.

Flow is a key word. When I play with my creative materials in my Art Journal, whether with collage, pastels, crayons or felt tip pens, I lose all sense of time. I enter the zone of Flow. Time is fluid.

Soulfullness, to me, is a state of being in flow also. It has a quality of openness to my emotional state, to the colour of my mood. Listening to the blues can feel soulful, or dancing in the kitchen to Laura Nyro songs while cooking up tomatoes for spaghetti sauce. Or sitting down in the morning to center myself in meditation before jumping up to start the day.

I am musing this summer, reading and writing, and not blogging much, but a new page will appear by the end of summer, hopefully, with more thoughts on how to be Creative and Soulful.

How do we nurture the soul? By revering our own life. By treating it as supremely important. By reaching for the best within ourselves. By learning to love it all, not only the joys and the victories, but also the pain and struggles.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Creative soulfulness for Women

How does one begin to be creatively soulful? And why does it seem so imperative at mid-life to find our creative flow?

I use the word soul the way I've heard it used in Jungian texts and psycho-spiritual books I've read to mean the animated, inner essence of a human being that appears to feed us, and also need nurturance.

What feeds the soul? Contact with nature, according to Carl Jung. Getting our hands in the dirt and gardening, for instance. Letting our love of the night sky draw us outside to stare at the myriad little dust particles of light in the dark. Swimming at midnight on a quiet lake listening to loons. All these simple and yet magical experiences touch a part of us that is non-rational, non-business like, unconcerned with the bottom line, rent due and bills to pay. It brings us a deep feeling of satisfaction, of awe and wonder. It brings us back into a conversation or contact with our feeling 'soul'.

What else feeds the soul? Beauty in whatever form appeals to you. Beautiful colours at sunset, patterns and textiles, wallpaper and carpets can feed my daughter's designer soul. My artist soul likes to play with images and photos and make collages. My poet's soul likes to play with rhyme, metaphor and juxtapositions of neat sounding words. My musician's soul loves to sing harmonies, listen to soothing music, go to Blues concerts and lose myself in the rhythms of djembe classes.

There are so many ways to feel a connection with the soul. Seeing any human being smile touches something in my soul, but newborn babies especially so. having someone on the street stop and notice me long enough to smile and say Hello is also soul nurturing, especially in the city where we tend to walk on by, striding purposefully to our next appointment.

Creative soulfulness therefore is something I am developing as a way to offer space and sanctuary for classes and retreats, so that in your busy schedule, your over-filled days and weeks, you can pencil in a little hour or two, or maybe a whole day or weekend, to feed your need for Soul Food.

the tools I use have not changed, but I am expanding my learning this summer. So far I have taken a Creative Journaling class with le journal creatif teacher Alexandra Leroux, filling up my art journal with doodles, collages, drawings and poetry; a mandala class at the Musee des Beaux Arts de Montreal with my daughter, using compass and ruler and paint and coloured crayons to find the still center in the middle of a circle; and later this summer I'm headed to Colorado to study with the author of Women Who Run With the Wolves, Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes in a facilitator training called Singing over the Bones. I'm very excited about that, to integrate her teachings and storytelling techniques into my creative soulfulness.

Stay tuned for a website tune-up in the late summer, and new class offerings for September 2015 as well as details on a winter retreat in Costa Rica in February with myself and yoga/chi gong/shamanistic leader Brigitte Bauhart.

Namaste, and have a great summer
xxx aka Musemother

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Love the Fool in You

I love this post, found on Facebook.

The Shadow side of us includes all the parts we neglect, deny, want no part of. The parts that are too much, too little, too sensitive, too loud.

I practice self-accepance by making SoulCollage cards for the Fool in me, the Whiney crybaby, the Stoic one, the out of control Bossy one, as well as for the sides of me I love and accept.

check out for a short video explaining how easy and fun it is, or visit my website at under Retreats and Classes.


Monday, May 04, 2015


Mothering, mid-life transition and menopause – doesn’t sound like a fun mix, does it? It can be a stressful time, and you definitely need to take care of yourself, but you also have to have fun!

image found on Pinterest

Now that my kids have flown the coop, I’m rediscovering the hobbies and activities I used to love doing as a child, and exploring new ones. For instance, when I was in high school, I remember spending hours making Bristol board-sized collages . Yet I hadn’t done it in over forty years. Two years ago I discovered SoulCollage® (, so much fun and a lot of self-discovery.  I also joined a Sweet Adelines chorus 8 years ago, and that led to singing with a barbershop quartet and lots of fun performances. I hadn’t been on a theatre stage since high school, but a recent musical theatre experience of ABBA songs made me feel happy and alive.

FIND YOUR INNER CALM through small daily creative and soulful practices at mid-life. Take classes, experiment, find out what you are passionate about – I bet you it’s something creative!

1.   Get Creative and Flow –doing any artistic or creative activity using your right brain is the #1 way to slow down and love your life: get in the FLOW. (Flow is when you lose track of time, and are totally absorbed by doing something you love). Try journaling, SoulCollage®, writing poems; tell your stories to your grandchildren, take up crocheting, gardening, floral arranging,  pottery classes, piano lessons. You’ll stay young longer.

2.   Listen to your Intuition: get in touch with your wise inner self; to cultivate this, allow more down time for getting in touch with your intuition. Journaling is a great way to do this. Or get out into the woods, take a walk, and breathe in the natural world around you. Pause and appreciate life.

3.   Love your body:  move your body every day; join a Zumba or Salsa class. Find out what foods make you calm, (greens or protein for example vs sugar and caffeine). Make friends with your emotions through a body scan and/or relaxation exercises (see link on side-bar for Musemother’s Relaxation CD). Listen to the small signals before they become bigger, i.e. don’t let minor health issues or emotional upsets get swept under the rug.

4.   Be Mindful: the best anti-stress medicine is to use your breath in Yoga, Tai-Chi, Chi Gong or Meditation for calming the parasympathetic nervous system. New neuroscience research shows that when we meditate, the areas of the brain associated with stress slow down and the parts associated with feelings of joy, peace and compassion become active. It’s another way to experience FLOW in the body… and it’s as simple as doing some alternate nostril breathing or yoga, or focusing on a centering breath technique. 

5.    Play with friends! Energize yourself. Are you a couch potato? the weather is nice, get outside, play soccer, walk in nature or go lawn bowling. Remember what you used to love doing –singing and dancing? Join a theatre club or chorus (sharing fun activities with others is a known endorphin booster).

Bonus tip: One more habit you can build in to feel better, is to change your negative self-talk and fears by working with affirmations. When you change your thoughts and words, you change your beliefs and core vibration. Here are a few samples to get you started:

Sample positive affirmations for well-being (make up your own, write them down and read out loud):

1.   I am centered, happy, and healthy.
2.   I am worthy and deserving of love.
3.   I fully embrace my personal power.
4.   Each part of my life is balanced with my need to rest and rejuvenate.
5.   I joyfully embrace my creativity.

Happy Creative Self-Care!

CALM: Creative, Artistic, Loving, Mindful.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Facing the fear of Mid-life Changes

Recently I spoke on 50 Ways to Love Turning Fifty at a local library. Near the end, when I opened up the discussion among the women present, it became clear that the real subject was the fear of going crazy with pre-menopausal changes. Every woman is different, of course, but many complain of unaccounted for mood swings, a strong need to be alone, a serious lack of sleep, a libido so low it's scraping the floor. There are a host of other emotional symptoms that come along with the hormonal changes.

Often, doctors don't seem to be aware that women need a heads up – women don't only want to know if their estrogen or progesterone is high or low. They want to know that they are not going crazy. They want to know that some of this is normal, and may hit them in their 40's before they're even thinking about menopause. (Average age is 51, but peri-menopause can start 7-10 years before that).

If you have any overwhelming emotions or issues, it's definitely worth talking to a health professional, whether it's naturopath, homeopath or an open-minded doctor, to find out how to mitigate the symptoms. Sometimes the emotional rollercoaster is worse than any physical hot flashes etc. Sometimes, seeing a therapist may be called for, to help clear away any emotional ‘stuff’ you've been sweeping under the carpet for too long. 

Bottom line is this: take care of your self. Lighten your load, let your family know when you need help, rest when you can, make yourself less busy. It’s time to accept that there are major changes afoot, and you need to assimilate all this 'stuff' coming up. Get away when you can, and most importantly, talk to girlfriends who are open to talking about menopause.

There is a chapter in my book The Tao of Turning Fifty about the descent of Inanna, a wonderful ancient story about a woman being totally stripped of all her powers in the underworld, then returning with new life. It reminded me of my own menopausal journey, which in some ways was a journey into the dark caverns of frozen emotions. There definitely is a return to the surface, as you let go of the old stories and return with new understanding, new clarity and refreshed vigour. Don't lose hope!

I hope this book will be a lantern in the darkness or a guidepost to  women who are experiencing turmoil and are not sure which way is up. I can see now that some of the physical issues I was facing in my forties and fifties, the bursitis, frozen shoulder and a broken leg - were physical manifestations of my inner journey. Ways that I was 'allowed' to slow down, and receive extra love and tender care. Ailments that forced me to treat myself with kindness and compassion, instead of pushing on past my limits

So this is a reminder to you, if you are travelling through mid-life and experiencing any turmoil, that you are not alone. Other women have been there, are voyaging along with you. Please take good care of yourself. Don't put self-care off -- don't put yourself last on the list. Your family, husband and children deserve the best of you. 

You are worthy and deserving of taking a creative break, of rest and good nutrition, as well as healthy exercise. Get out our journal, or call up a friend, and talk to someone today about how you feel.