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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Crone energy or how do I face the dark goddess? Getting in touch with the Fierce Feminine energy.


"I am old now: gray, wrinkled, tired, and bloated, and my joints ache, too. But I am ready to come into my full destiny—as my childhood dreams predicted—as a Neo-Amazonian Pirate Queen of my own vessel: firing cannonballs at the worldwide culture of patriarchy in the name of all that does not suck." - Roseanne Barr

Turning 60:
Because I had written a book on turning 50, I was curious about what turning 60 would bring up for me. Mostly, I could feel my energy slowing down, but ironically, I felt younger. I was finally doing work (in my 50’s) that I loved, sharing my creativity, knowledge and self-care practices with mid-life women in transition, but most importantly I felt valued and appreciated more than I ever did as a stay-at-home mom. (I know, work to do there!) However, it’s been two years now, and I’m just beginning to guess at what becoming an Elder is really about, and I certainly don’t want to be called Crone yet.

But just as I wrote a poem to reclaim and recycle that ugly word 'cunt', to re-empower myself after feeling dishonoured, shamed and diminished by that word, lately I needed to reclaim the Crone word.

Fortunately, I have many books on my bookshelves that address this issue of aging, this fear of growing older and the dread that some women feel at seeing wrinkles, gray hair and saggy body parts appear. It’s not just about the cult of youth and beauty in our culture; apparently it’s also a fear ingrained in our DNA after 500 years of witch hunts and a deadly inquisition. The following is a brief summary of the gist of some of these books any take on accepting the "crone" word.

 “Our cultures official rejection of the Crone figure was related to rejection of women, particularly elder women. The gray-haired high priestesses, once respected tribal matriarchs of pre-Christian Europe, were transformed by the newly dominant patriarchy into minions of the devil. Through the Middle Ages this trend gathered momentum, finally developing a frenzy that legally murdered millions of elder women from the twelfth to nineteenth centuries....As a rule, the real offenses of such women were (1) living, or trying to live, independent of male control; and (2) being poor.  Barbara G Walker, The Crone, Woman of Age, Wisdom and Power

Today we just make old women invisible, socially and professionally handicapped by wrinkles and gray hair in a way that men are not. As Walker notes, the “‘beauty’ industry exploits women’s well-founded fear of looking old (& not fit to be seen in public).”  But as we know, elder women used to be oracles, read omens, were attached to temples of the Goddess as spiritual wise women and healers, were doctors and midwives, health care advisers, scribes, ceremonial leaders, religious and secular teachers, educators of the young. They were honoured and valued members of society in many cultures.

This book The Crone is a compendium of the history of how old women (crones) became witches in the Middle Ages (burned, drowned, killed during the Inquisition) as well as some mythology of the Dark Goddess under her various names. It explains how women lost their spiritual and healing role when the pagan earth-based religions were outlawed. Walker’s book is a good primer.

“To envision a deity in the true female tradition, it is necessary to purge the image of simplistic or unrealistic male interpretations” ...for example “sex goddess”, “virgin Mother” “witch” or crone.” (p 174)


Another excellent resource on aging is the book by Jean Shinoda Bolen, Goddesses in Older Women, Archetypes in Women over Fifty, Becoming a juicy Crone. I love the term ‘juicy crone’ better than just plain old crone. Our creativity after menopause goes into creating things other than babies, and that’s where the “juice” comes in, creative flow. It’s important to look at what we gain as we age, not only what we lose. We’ve gained important life lessons, from facing challenges and obstacles, and amazing life-changing inner journeys from which we return with gifts of wisdom. Reading the chapter on Hecate helped me come to terms with my fear of Hecate, the ‘witch’ or crone archetype, and reminded me of the value of the descent at mid-life.

 “If you return from your own descents into the underworld, you have learned that love and suffering are part of life. By making it through the hard times, you grow in depth and wisdom. A wise Hecate then becomes an inner companion. Women friends or women in support groups gain this perspective by listening and witnessing and caring about each other as well.”

“Hecate is the goddess of Intuitive and Psychic Wisdom, often pictured at the fork in the road, at transition times. Hecate is at the crux of the situation when a woman enters the third phase of her life and heeds a pull inward. She appears indecisive or as if her energy is lying fallow, when she is in this luminal phase. If she stays at the crossroad until she intuitively knows what direction to take, she emerges renewed and replenished.”



Another favorite part of Bolen’s book is the section on Lionhearted Women where she includes a look  at some goddess archetypes that are not in the Greek & Roman pantheon, except for warrior goddess Athena, (who is however, more cerebral strategist than warrior).
Some of the primal animal images may seem overly scary to us, but she explains it as a necessary fierceness that stands up for and cares for the underdogs and underprivileged: “the archetypal energies of Kali/Sekhmet are expressed as ‘the fierce compassion of the feminine’ that China Galland found in women who are addressing major evils in our contemporary world. They have qualities that I think of as being ‘lionhearted.’ The fury of a lioness is that of a protective mother or a bereaved mother whose response is retaliatory. Kali rides out on a lion to defeat the demons, while Sekhmet is both a lioness and a woman. Theirs is a heart-motivated fury at evil that threatens to overwhelm and destroy what they hold sacred. To be a woman who is outraged and protests against powerful authority takes courage – a word derived from Coeur or ‘heart’. 


....Unless a woman has become callous or has armored herself against having feelings and can live in her head, it is uncomfortably easy to mentally and viscerally imagine how it feels at a body and soul level to be so treated (victims of incest, neglect, abuse).  And be helpless and totally vulnerable....Without the archetype of Sekhmet/Kali, however, brutality and vulnerability result in becoming numb, passive and docile. To be moved to overcome such evils, women need to be lionhearted in having empathy and courage, fury and restraint. While a dark goddess might do this alone, women need the support of each other; like the mothers and the Grandmothers of the Disappeared, there is some protection in numbers....The ‘enough is enough’ goddesses may bear unfamiliar names and inhuman faces, but their energy and outrage are no longer foreign to us.”  

We are all Warrior Goddesses at heart. Chameli Ardagh has a TED talk online about the Fierce face of the feminine – and she suggests  that when Shiva is with Kali, his calm presence and centered being makes her fierceness into medicine, and is not destructive.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcDCXzX_HQA

Looking at goddess mythology is helpful in identifying archetypes that may exist in our own psyches. We can empower ourselves with these images of wise, powerful, and fierce feminine deities who are more than copies of male heroes, who embody the whole of the female experience in their cycles and energy.

But what to make of the ugly old crones and witches? They represent the third phase of Maiden Mother Crone – the sacred mysteries represented by the Moon Goddesses of ancient ritual. Looking up the Crone in the Baba Yaga myth, I came across an article that seemed to be asking the same question.

“When a culture's language has no word to connote ‘wise elder woman,’ what happens to the women who carry the "Grandmother" consciousness for the collective?  Prejudicial (prejudged) attacks throughout history against older women symbolized patriarchy's feminization of fear: the ultimate fear of annihilation, to be nonexistent (no existence).  Centuries-long indoctrination limits our imagination so that we see this ancient aspect of the feminine only in her negative forms.  We see her as the one who brings death to our old way of being, to our lives as we have known them, and to our embodied selves. Our fear of the unconscious makes the Crone or Baba yaga into an image of evil.” http://www.mythinglinks.org/BabaYaga.html

I think our fear of the Old Woman, the Crone, is in part related to our fear of trusting our own intuition, our inner knowing. We have been trained to control our feelings, contain them by using the rational mind. But in so doing, we have devalued this important embodied wisdom which comes from women’s rootedness in the body, our knowledge of cycles, and the rules of nature. Most of us have no training or education in this - the old rituals are rusty from neglect, the rites of passage have been waylaid, the feminine principal itself persecuted and driven underground by fear and loathing of 500 years of inquisition.

In the olden times, the oracles and seers interpreted dreams for kings, priests and leaders, the herbalists gave out remedies for healing, and illness was seen as “an invitation from body wisdom to reconsider lifestyle choices, and help us become more conscious and aware,”  says Paula Reeves, in her book Women’s Intuition. We must learn to become seers again, to understand the language of intuition, the signals from the body which come to us in metaphor, as in dreams. Using all the resources of the internet available to us today, can also help us learn to decipher the metaphoric language in symbolic code. Tuning into our bodies, we can listen to our symptoms and learn to hear their healing messages. Many books, beginning with Louise Hays, have been published to give us a lexicon to begin the work. The author of Women’s Intuition proposes spontaneous contemplative movement as a technique for listening and awakening the knowledge stored in the body.

“The subtle healing intentions of your bodymind’s metaphor language will be overridden-ruled out as irrational-unless you intentionally turn your conscious attention to the nonverbal realm of the metaphor-to the images and spontaneous movements that are your body’s way of signaling you.”

Can we learn to believe and understand that, “Beneath every mood, each symptom, dream image or feeling, lies some unclaimed remnant of the true self, the original and as yet undiscovered, soul-filled Self.”

As for me, I want to lose my fear of the unknown, and reclaim the power of intuitive knowing, as well as revalue the sacredness of my own body’s wisdom as I am getting older. The more I practice knowing, and following up my intuition and my fierce compassionate love, the more solid it grows. The less fear I have of the future. Ageless goddesses, (not witches) that’s what we are, and once we tune into our own empowerment, we withdraw the plug from fear of the Ugly Old Hag or Witch. Dance with life, dance with beauty. Do you want to be a juicy Crone? I want to keep on living my authentic truth until the end. Happy, healthy, dead, as Christiane Northrup says in her book Goddesses Never Age.

Who’s afraid of the big bad witch? Not me.





Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Why Practice SoulCollage(R)

You've heard me talk about SoulCollage(R) often. It's a fun,

Now watch a video by founder Seena Frost (with Mariabruna Sirabella) to help you understand what it is, and why we practice this creative, learning process.

https://youtu.be/mkEKXjfOXOs


This process can help humans “wake up” and evolve into more whole beings. SoulCollage® can even help people find their passions and find more fruitful and satisfying directions for their lives.

xxxx
jenn

Why Practice SoulCollage(R)

You've heard me talk about SoulCollage(R) often. It's a fun,

Now watch a video by founder Seena Frost (with Mariabruna Sirabella) to help you understand what it is, and why we practice this creative, learning process.

https://youtu.be/mkEKXjfOXOs


This process can help humans “wake up” and evolve into more whole beings. SoulCollage® can even help people find their passions and find more fruitful and satisfying directions for their lives.

xxxx
jenn

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

MENOPAUSE POEMS: Rose Hips


Rose hips

In yoga class, surrounded by three walls of mirrors
I cannot avoid seeing my hips
49-year-old bulging handles
their wideness sinks at the wrong spot.

The truth about my hips: I find them
sturdy looking, square front on
but sideways they spread like sponges, abundant
woman fat, spread thickly like butter on sliced bread
or a baguette bulging in the oven.

Bone on bone cracks,
when I raise my legs, lying flat.
Soak those achy, creaky, un-oiled hinges
in salt foam waves,
And let my rose hips rise
like Aphrodite out of the sea.

@JenniferBoire


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Woman in fog (The cusp of menopause)


If only she could, she would give her
heart to her husband, a womb to her daughter
arms to her son. But her body lies on the floor
awaiting rejuvenation, still breathing, broken
What to do on the days when tears drop
into her soup?  It’s OK to do nothing, she thinks
except simple tasks like laundry.

She picks up a book of poems instead
reads, “Trees lose parts of themselves inside a circle of fog”*
She’s in a thick fog, has shed her leaves
absorbed moisture till she has water
on the brain,  disoriented by the shift  that wakes her
at night, puts other parts to sleep,
brought to her knees in a wave of heat and tears,
unable to exchange the chef’s hat
for the sombrero.

Her feet feel heavy, her mind dull.
She tells herself,  it is only temporary,
lie fallow, compost.

Oh the music she needs to comfort her
and the long night she’ll travel through
until the bright dawn reclaims her.

Human, faulty, imperfect,
like the low thrum she hears in Cohen’s voice.
Claiming darkness as its source,
it rings true, full of light.

*by Francis Ponge. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Menopausal Poem Series: Bug Soup


Bug soup


Inside the chrysalis

the transforming cocoon place,
low-lying renewal space,
melting is going on.

Before muscle and wing,
Before the colour and deft flight,
poor caterpillar reduced to liquid mess.

At 49, awaiting the end of bleeding
I laid low and felt my muscles liquefy,
All my energy turned inward.
No more dizzy crawling, running and doing.

Just rest
And more rest,
naps in the afternoon.

Until my beautiful wings began to grow
surround me with rainbow reflections.

Sunshine called me out.
We dried our flimsy wet things
and took off.

@Jennifer Boire



Friday, October 14, 2016

Menopausal Poetry Series

Because I love poetry, and there are so few poems about menopause out there, I have dug deep into my computer files and pulled out a series from over ten years ago when I was in the throes of it.

Here's one:



Three little pills and a Pomegranate

Muse on the table
are you food or drink?

Three little pills on my yellow placemat:
One clever red clover
renders me immune to restlessness,
cures insomnia.
Vitamin B mitigates “the change”,
Calcium Citrate coats the nerves,
protects the children from swinging
moods, banged doors.

Biting into a shiny red orb allowed
Persephone to see her mother half the year.
My prying fingers reveal a messy beehive
of oblong kernels.
Mouth puckers as crystal blobs,
nutty & tart, stain my fingers rouge.

Will it make me mortal to eat these seeds?

Already I have become human
in my daughter’s eyes.

I told Katie that her cat died.
Rocking in darkness
comforted us both.





Friday, October 07, 2016

My mid-life journey

I have always considered myself a writer, first and foremost, until I discovered in my late 40’s that I enjoy working with women in creative circles more than sitting at home alone writing. I’m also learning about my archetypes – and how my Caretaker, Spiritual seeker and Creative artist side are all balancing out in this facilitating and teaching role.

While the kids were growing up, I spent my spare time writing poetry in my little office at home, alone, without much feedback, besides the odd publication, without nourishing conversations with other women, in a competitive literary environment. On the Writers Spa trip to Taos in 2006, I was asked if I really wanted to make it in the literary world, and I realized my answer was no. I wanted to reach mainstream women, and write a blog on my menopausal journey. The Tao of Turning Fifty (2012) was born out of that blog.

The search for meaning and purpose is rarely a straight line. There are many dead-ends, wrong turns, swamps of despair, mountains to climb, but as Carolyn Myss says, we have a blueprint in our souls, and if we follow our excitement, our passionate likes, we will uncover the energy we didn’t know we had, that has been pushed down or covered up. Following our ‘loves’, what we used to do and love, gives us a big hit of an endorphin, pleasure rush. For me, getting back to dancing and singing on stage with the Hudson Music Club was 100% more fulfilling than reading my meager poems in front of a static and often unappreciative audience. I rediscovered my Performer self, by following my love of singing.


Lately, taking classes in expressive arts and working with creative process has awakened my inner child-artist self. The one who loved drawing and colouring, sketching flowers and seedpods in my science workbook at school, before somebody shut me down in Grade four by accusing me of copying someone else’s work in an art class. Now I’m integrating this love of art making into my Creative Circle, and have reinvented myself online as Creative Soulful Woman. Naming and Claiming my creative energies has been so empowering.

At mid-life, we are free, more than ever, to rediscover what we love, to get into Creative Flow, find out what makes us glow. It’s high time to let go and release what no longer serves you or makes you feel small. It’s time to tune in, receive inner guidance, and get help from intuitive clues.
Ask yourself, What do I love? What would I do if it weren’t so selfish? (especially if you’re a caretaker type).

My own Caretaker/mother and Artist/performer selves are no longer in conflict. My kids have flown the coop and I am free to pursue my hobbies and creative interests (as long as I don't overload my self with lists of things to do and house projects!)

How about you? Can you carve out some time just for you? 

Make a plan, pencil it in, take a class, put on your dancing shoes, buy a bike. It’s time to enjoy the rest of your life.

See www.archetypes.com for a quiz to find your Archetypes

Jennifer Boire
Creative Soulful Woman

find me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn

NOTE: New On-Line Class called Her Journey: The Heroine's Quest at Mid-Life, 8 weeks, weekly conference call, begins Wed. Oct 12. 7:30 PM EST, all calls recorded, more info and registration on the website. www.jenniferboire.com





Friday, September 09, 2016

Living Selfishly: Circling the Self

A friend and mentor just pointed out to me today that selfish means: circling the self.

Why is it so hard to give myself (ourselves) what I/we need?

The body aches, or is hungry or tired, or the brain hurts, and we are just plain exhausted, yet we keep on keeping on. We are built for struggle, it seems, not ease. Feel uncomfortable giving ourselves comfort. It feels selfish!


I can only speak for myself. This has been a year of struggle between my Hermit Self and my Productive self. Lately, in my collages and art, I see a weary circling, a need for rest, and a strong determination to continue, both at the same time.  I am determined to make my Voice matter. I am weary of marketing, promoting, and pushing myself "out there", wherever that is. That "self" wants to stand up and be counted, but she's tired of figuring out ways to do it and longs for Solitude to muse in.

I feel the urge to communicate, to have deep conversations about what really matters, to connect soul to soul with creative, conscious others and I feel the call to rest and meditate and do yoga. That sense of connection will be renewed soon, with my women's circle which has been on hiatus all summer,  starting up again next week, yeah!

It is always about me circling the Self, wanting to nourish it, give it some real food. And it's about your circling your Self. It is me sending out feelings, emotions, information to others around me, and me also receiving information, emotions and feelings back. Choosing to hit cancel, delete, or Save and savour.

Right now, I'm offering an online class, but no local in-person classes. After ten years of facilitating workshops and retreats, maybe something is shifting. I'm paying more attention to my own needs, and SoulCollage(R) has helped reveal the parts of self that need nourishing. that Hermit self will not be ignored! (Using a creative process like SoulCollage(R) has been a revelation to me).

This year that I've dedicated to vision questing with mythos journey and Cat Caracelo, this year of living selfishly, is starting to affect my conscious choices. The needs start as a little whimper of complaint, or a burble of joy, or a simmering of hushed energy that I can't name yet. Then I put pen to paper, or pastel to art journal or glue to image, and voila, something flows creatively from Source and names itself.


So circling the Self, I am learning about this human life, this humanity, its gold mornings and darkish nights. Its greedy off-kilter face-stuffing addictive behaviors, its child-like wonder, its magical and musical delights.  I am all these. I am none of these. I am enjoying my many creative circles where I can share with other like-minded women on-line.

Mid-life is a time of transition and learning about sacred selfishness. I am working on an e-book by that title in fact, some tips for soulful self-care for body and soul. Something I want to give away to anyone who reads this blog, signs up for the newsletter or takes a class with me. I'll let you know when it's ready!

Just a little bit of giveaway to help you be more selfish! In a good way, of course.

xxxx
jenn
www.jenniferboire.com
Her Journey: The Heroine's Quest at Mid-Life begins on-line, and with a weekly conference call, Wed Oct 12. See my website for more details and description.



Living Selfishly: Circling the Self

A friend and mentor just pointed out to me today that selfish means: circling the self.

Why is it so hard to give myself (ourselves) what I/we need?

The body aches, or is hungry or tired, or the brain hurts, and we are just plain exhausted, yet we keep on keeping on. We are built for struggle, it seems, not ease. Feel uncomfortable giving ourselves comfort.


I can only speak for myself. This has been a year of struggle between my Hermit Self and my Productive self. Lately, in my collages and art, I see a weary circling, a need for rest, and a strong determination to continue, both at the same time.  I am determined to make my Voice matter. I am weary of marketing, promoting, and pushing myself "out there", wherever that is. That "self" wants to stand up and be counted, but she's tired of figuring out ways to do it and longs for Solitude to muse in.

I feel the urge to communicate, to have deep conversations about what really matters, to connect soul to soul with creative, conscious others and I feel the call to rest and meditate and do yoga. That sense of connection will be renewed soon, with my women's circle which has been on hiatus all summer,  starting up again next week, yeah!

It is always about me circling the Self, wanting to nourish it, give it some real food. And it's about your circling your Self. It is me sending out feelings, emotions, information to others around me, and me also receiving information, emotions and feelings back. Choosing to hit cancel, delete, or Save and savour.

Right now, I'm offering an online class, but no local in-person classes. After ten years of facilitating workshops and retreats, maybe something is shifting. I'm paying more attention to my own needs, and SoulCollage(R) has helped reveal the parts of self that need nourishing. that Hermit self will not be ignored! (Using a creative process like SoulCollage(R) has been a revelation to me).

This year that I've dedicated to vision questing with mythos journey and Cat Caracelo, this year of living selfishly, is starting to affect my conscious choices. The needs start as a little whimper of complaint, or a burble of joy, or a simmering of hushed energy that I can't name yet. Then I put pen to paper, or pastel to art journal or glue to image, and voila, something flows creatively from Source and names itself.


So circling the Self, I am learning about this human life, this humanity, its gold mornings and darkish nights. Its greedy off-kilter face-stuffing addictive behaviors, its child-like wonder, its magical and musical delights.  I am all these. I am none of these. I am enjoying my many creative circles where I can share with other like-minded women on-line.

Mid-life is a time of transition and learning about sacred selfishness. I am working on an e-book by that title in fact, some tips for soulful self-care for body and soul. Something I want to give away to anyone who reads this blog, signs up for the newsletter or takes a class with me. I'll let you know when it's ready!

Just a little bit of giveaway to help you be more selfish! In a good way, of course.

xxxx
jenn
www.jenniferboire.com
Her Journey: The Heroine's Quest at Mid-Life begins on-line, and with a weekly conference call, Wed Oct 12. See my website for more details and description.



Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Mid-Life Mothering and the Heroine's Quest

In some parts of the world, it's back to school week. In others, it's after Labour Day weekend, in a few more days. This year, I have only one child headed off to university out of town, for her last year. My son has flown back to the coop (almost, not living at home),  living in the same city. It always makes me wonder about my mothering role - when they are not at home anymore, and don't need me as much, but are still tethered to me by phone messages and texts.

What does it mean to have children later in life? I was talking to my hairdresser today, who has done a lot of weddings this summer, about the age women are getting married. She says most of them are in their 30's, but some as young as 24 (my daughter's age). Fifty years ago, this was probably the norm - my mother got married at age 21, and was done having kids by age 31 (eight in ten years, wow!)


My story was different, and I determined to be a different kind of mother. As I told my hairdresser, I got married at age 29, and wanted to have kids right away. But two miscarriages and seven years later, we had our first when I was 36, and my second child at age 38. I felt young, I looked young, but when you flash forward 12-13 years later, I was 46 and hitting menopause or pre-menopause as my kids were hitting puberty.  Not a pretty sight, lots of hormones flying in the air, lots of attitude, pouting, and mood swings hitting the fan!

It's not something we plan for - so many women getting married and having children in their 30's do not even think about menopause yet, they are focused on finishing school and getting in some working years before having children. But I wish I could tell them, from the vantage point of my wise old 61 years, remember that Mid-Life is only a decade away - and your priorities shift again. Mid-life has actually been the richest period of my life, and my 50's have been the most satisfying and creative years. But as I was leaving my forties, it didn't feel that way. There was a period of descent into overwhelm, confusion and lost wondering, where I was not sure of the way anymore, or of who I was, after so many years of intense mothering full-time (and writing part-time). The only way I got through it was with journaling, blogging and writing a book, The Tao of Turning Fifty about my rollercoaster ride through menopause.

The Heroine's Quest at MidLife 
Now in my early 60's, I have a much stronger handle on what the mid-life transition is about. It's about transition! It's about change. It's about redefining our sense of self (yet again). It's about finding mean and purpose and understanding our own story.

New Yorker Cartoon

'm preparing an on-line course in October for the first time, and am very excited to offer mid-life women (whether in their 40's, 50's or 60's) a chance to look at the story arc of their lives, and be their own Heroines. By that I mean, be the main protagonist in your own story - not necessarily Superwoman or Wonder Woman, but an ordinary woman going through the ups, downs, sideways moves, two steps forward, four steps backwards that constitutes a woman's cyclical life. The story we tell ourselves adds to our sense of the meaning and purpose of our life.

We may not be facing dragons and slaying monsters, on the outside at least, but we are facing challenges every day. Choices we make, juggling a home life and work life and children's lives, and still trying to find a sense of Self somewhere in there. The older we get, the more obstacles we've faced, the more achievements we have accumulated, the richer the stories that we will look back on and say, Wow! I did that, I went there, I can see the story unfolding (but often, only in hindsight).

"Our personal myth-or story- provides a way for us to understand our origins, who we are, where we belong, and whether our life has meaning. If we can be aware of our own story as it unfolds, we have a better chance of understanding and making friends with our lives. Mythic patterns provide guidelines or maps." The Heroine's Journey Workbook, Maureen Murdock.

If you are in the middle of a mid-life transition, or are curious about how to reclaim your story, or name what are living right now, I hope you'll check out this on-line offering -

Her Journey: the Heroine's Quest at Mid-Life, an 8 week class to help you reframe your midlife journey as a sacred task.

More details and Registration on my website: www.jenniferboire.com

Jennifer
xxxx

The Tao of Turning Fifty, https://www.facebook.com/TheTaoOfTurningFifty
and Creative Soulful Woman  www.facebook.com/creativesoulful 


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Falling apart at mid-life





I remember weeping in the bathtub

I remember muscles soft like mush, a broken knee, walking with crutches

I remember healing in the sun-filled solarium in winter, listening to Yo Yo Ma

I remember falling apart

I remember  getting a frozen shoulder a few years later, after bursitis, and walking 2 large dogs every day; the acupuncturist said, can’t anybody else walk the dogs?

I remember tears, and playing lullabies to soothe myself to sleep

I remember daily naps, in the afternoon

I remember asking my daughter to tuck me in at 8:30 cause I couldn’t stay awake

I remember sleeping with a heating pad under my shoulders, intense pain

I remember backing out of many volunteer jobs because I could not handle the stress; And then my shoulders got better

I remember being disappointed in myself

I also remember how hard I tried to be good,  to be counted on, and reliable and how I felt ashamed of not seeing things through.

But my brain was mush, my legs were mush and I was in a fog, lying in pieces on the floor

I wrote poems about this, but nobody wanted to hear them

I could not hide my failing apartness, nor my wicked mood swings

I needed solitary confinement or a straitjacket, not to harm my children with all the yelling.

I yelled a lot, for no reason

As I said, the walls were not holding

It was a time of falling down

And ceasing to pick myself up.

It did not last forever. 

t just felt like it.

Jennifer Boire



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Self-Love: a Book with Useful Tools for Growth

I admit I am a bit of a self-help book junkie. There is always a new book on my night table, one that I am convinced will heal my wounds, change my life, advance me past my fears into a great fulfilling life of my dreams. That's what they all promise, right?

But sometimes you come across a book that really does have tools you can use and feel the effects of immediately. Sometimes, one of your mentors (this time, Dr. Christiane Northrup, an author I admire) points you in a direction that feels like an important next step, and I'm very grateful I stumbled on the link in her newsletter.

The book she recommended is The MindBody Code, by Dr. Mario Martinez. The subtitle says it all: How to Change the Beliefs that Limit your Health, Longevity and Success. That may sound like a tall order, but I promise you, it's not another 12 week course in journaling, chakra realignment or magical thinking.

I found a really good interview and synopsis of the book online (below), so I won't write my own review here. Check it out:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/miriam-ava/gratitude-speaks-dr-mario_b_7302106.html

Suffice it to say, this week I've been reading the book, and writing in my journal as I do some of the simple exercises. I had put the book aside for several months, then some members of my family came to visit, which usually triggers some old wounds and past emotional snaggles. So it almost jumped off the bookshelf for me this week, and I opened it randomly to the chapter on Forgiviness as Liberation from self-entrapment.

I have read a lot of books lately on self-care, self-love, lovingkindness, and while they offer worthy affirmations, thoughts and exercises, somehow I always get tripped up by not being able to put them into practice. Dr Martinez says that's because underneath our good intentions to love ourselves, are our feelings of not being worthy and deserving.  He uses simple tools to bring to mind memories of wounds, then bringing to mind memories of corresponding "healing fields". "What heals is the mindful recognition that you are the owner of these empowering deeds", he says.

There is much more to this, and of course, I'm still reading and rereading the book, so I'll let you check it out for yourself, and learn how to rescue your empowerment and feel gratitude and self-love increase in your life.

Enjoy!
Jennifer




Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spring Energy


I am learning something powerful and useful in my 61st year. I'm starting to become more aware of what feeds my energy and what drains my energy, and where my cycles flow up or down.

For instance, this winter I laid low., very low, lots of resting and napping to get me through the cold winter and lack of light. On sunny days, I sometimes laid on the rug with the cat and dog, soaking up the light. I made a lot of art, collages and SoulCollage(R), but no lesson plans.

My coach had suggested to look at my calendar and schedule a year in advance, and notice in which parts I felt most inspired and energetic, and when I usually felt low energy. Up until now, I used to begin teaching classes every January and April following the school year. But this winter, I realized I'd be tired after the holidays and put it off.

And put it off, and put it off.

I spent the months of January til March recuperating, as well as dancing and singing in a Broadway show, but I didn't teach any classes. (I did lead my first long distance retreat, in Costa Rica, which was fun & challenging). But I kept thinking my energy would come back, and it finally did - once the play was over, end of March!

In some ways, this has been a Year of Living Selfishly, by which I mean, soulfully listening in to my Self to see what need comes up first  - what my body, heart and soul need.  (and since my kids are studying out of town, it's mostly  'me time' anyway). It's taken a lot of patience, (and I am not by nature very patient) but I'm learning to listen in.  Actually, I keep thinking I've found the "next thing", the next project, the ideas on the back burner come forward, and then go right back to simmer mode. It's been hard to not dig up the roots and stir the earth around the little shoots to pull them up out of the ground.

I did, however, come up with a Seasonal Retreat plan. Instead of deciding last minute, I've actually got a women's spring retreat http://jenniferboire.com/event/sacred-self-care-retreat/booked for April 30 and one for August 6 (Summer Retreat). The Fall and Winter retreats will be end of October and end of January. 4 Seasons, 4 Retreats.

What have I learned about myself in this process? that there's no point pushing things - I'm a Type A person who likes to organize and plan ahead - but this is not a full-time job for me, there is no where to punch in. I am my own boss and I can adjust my schedule. What I do need, at this venerable age of 61, is to envision my work as a cycle that feeds me as well as feeding other women - all the Creative Circle classes and retreats I've lead in the last 8-10 years, have been very fulfilling. But as a teacher and facilitator, sometimes I'm on the "leading" side of things and not receiving as much as I need to.

I'm just musing here, but it is slowly become clearer. I journal every morning, and that helps me see patterns. I practice collage in my Art Journal and SoulCollage(R). I make myself mini-retreats to check in on a weekly basis and ask for guidance.  Having a creative life is not a linear thing, and surprisingly, I'm just learning that.  The spiral of life, and of life energy, moves in and out, around and back. The cycle of the year, of the months and the moon, is connected to my energy cycles and even sleep cycles.

So it begins with listening in. It begins with circling my self, with keen awareness. Sitting down and paying attention, hearing the still small voice that guides me so subtly. Making a friend, yes, befriending that soul energy that is flowing underneath my list of 'to do's and my activities. Changing gears at the last minute, if it feels right to.

Mapping and making art with Cat Caracelo has been very nurturing and nourishing. thanks to this artful process, I'm gaining new insights.

Spring Energy is definitely here!



Thursday, April 14, 2016

Where is Beauty, A Poem for April, National Poetry Month

WHERE IS BEAUTY?

in the eye
or somewhere inside
the body

HUMMING

on its wheel

Bask

in sunlight

Study the humility
of grass

the steadfast
trees

Hold on to this breath-thread

reins
to calm my
restless

heart



Jennifer Boire


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sacred Self-Care Retreat

L’ERMITAGE STE CROIX
SATURDAY APRIL 30/SAMEDI LE 30 AVRIL
9:30 TO 4:30 PM
Restorative yoga & guided meditation with Debra Leibovitch
Creative Play/SoulCollage(R) with Jennifer Boire

Spring is here: It is time for some sacred self-care, some down time, some tranquil restorative movement. It is your time now, to receive tender nurturance and find Creative Flow. Let this day long retreat in a natural beautiful landscape soothe your soul and help you restore your energy.

As we open our eyes and our hearts to the always, already present holding environment which is our true nature, we behold the drop of grace which pours through the eyes of everyone we meet, including that unknown precious one that we see when we look in the mirror. And then all that could possibly remain is an unshakeable faith in love’s perfection.  - The Mystery of Holding

COME JOIN US $90 INCLUDES LUNCH
REGISTER AT: www.jenniferboire.com


Monday, March 07, 2016

Writing and your Creative Process



image from: www.wanderlust.co.uk/magazine/articles/


Someone asked me today what my creative process was like. Did I use a pen and paper, or type directly onto a computer? Did it really take me four years to publish The Tao of Turning Fifty? And that started a long conversation, in which the following tips came up. Some of them I am trying for the first time, like doing different kinds of writing at different times of day.

Make it special: I’ve moved my desk three times in the last year, and each time there was something ‘not right’ about the spot – view great, internet connection lousy, or no view, great desk and internet. Or Room is too cold! I need some sun and a warm sweater. So finding the right spot is important, in the quietest corner of your house preferably, or if you need noise and stimulation, find a busy cafe somewhere out of the house, but make it your “special” spot. It helps to create a routine.

Ritual: some of us don’t like to do the same thing twice, others like to perform little rituals of preparation. It could be as simple as lighting a candle or making a cup of hot Chai, but if you prime your subconscious mind that ‘this is how my writing time begins’ with an additional signal or ritual, it can help you get past the mind blocks your inner critic throws at you, like ‘now is not a good time, there’s all that laundry waiting’, or “now is never a good time, you suck at writing”. I may need to light some incense or play some 70’s music (David Bowie) to inspire me to write about my teen years, for instance. That’ll put me right back in my 16 year old bedroom with the turntable and my younger sister sharing a room...egads!

Treats: add a treat to the ritual! Don’t look at writing as a punishment, and crack the whip. Get out the licorice or dark chocolate. Give yourself a reward for getting your bum into the chair and doing it. Make it something not too distracting: vodka or rum may lead to relaxation, but you might not get very much writing done. Then again, whatever turns you on....

Writing schedule: this has never worked for me. Every year, I make resolutions, I rearrange my priorities, I skip yoga so I can write...today I decided that realistically, mornings are best for creative writing: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings I will write for 90 minutes, in my journal, long hand. And in the afternoons, I will give myself another 90 minutes for ‘business’ writing on the computer: Facebook posting, quote gathering, promotional blurbs and blog writing. We’ll see if this works. My theory is that as I finish meditation at 8:30 a.m. or so, and  my journal is close by my bed, the morning time will be best for musing and creative writing. Then again, my kids are studying away from home, and once my husband leaves for work I have the house to myself. Choose a time that works for you. And one you will actually be able to do.

Know your self: this sounds obvious, but you need to be able to describe who you are, what you do, what your expertise or area of knowledge is, why you want to write this book – I am ....is a powerful beginning. Think of those 30 second elevator speeches that force you to summarize everything you know into a few short lines. You’ll need this on your book jacket.

Network with the people who love what you love: there are many more readers of books out there than you realize. Don’t get discouraged by all the books already published (I know the feeling, it hits me whenever I enter a bookstore). Join a writers club (www.shewrites.com for example), connect with other writers and you’ll learn tips, share experiences, and maybe find your audience (depending on whether you are a fitness instructor or a romantic novelist). MindBodyGreen http://www.mindbodygreen.com/  has published several articles of mine, and now I’m looking at TinyBuddha http://tinybuddha.com/ to find like-minded readers.

Hire a copy editor: if you are self-publishing, and want this to turn into a viable book, don’t just proofread and correct your own spelling. Hire an editor, a neutral third person whose only job is to see what is working (or not) in your syntax and punctuation. They will also be a good first reader in general. Get a few quotes and compare. I found a good one, in Canada, at http://www.editors.ca/hire/index.html.

These are just some of the things that help. If you have anything else that works for you, please feel free to share it with us!

Jennifer


Thursday, March 03, 2016

Why Practice Self-Care


Why practice self-care?

To replenish energy, renew faith in life and yourself, be playful, express creativity and be more productive, everyone needs more down-time.

Sometimes a vacation is in order, but sometimes those vacations leave you more tired than when you left!

A Retreat is a special invitation to relax in your core, to attend to that sacred self-care you’ve been putting on the back burner for too long. A retreat is set up for you to take some time for reflection in your journal, to do some creative mapping of your inner soul, connect with other like-minded souls, and rejuvenate your energy with lots of rest and healthy food.

If your retreat is in a tropical paradise like Costa Rica, even better! Sun, sand, beach, ocean waves to soothe the frazzled spirit and provide a warm, gentle, green eco-friendly environment to refresh yourself in. I just came back from the Hummingbird Retreat, and feel so energized and renewed.
It was really a treat, to bathe in the ocean twice a day, practice chi gong under a mango tree, visit with a hummingbird in the Hibiscus flowers every morning and eat a healthy lunch around the pool. We made a lot of SoulCollage(R) cards, and did a few Readings. We practised our Hummingbird dance and attracted some stray cows wandering down the beach. We honoured the Full Moon with a fire ceremony and burned away what was no longer serving us. Mostly, we rested and played and nourished our souls.
A huge thanks to Brigitte Bauhart, ShamamamaNextDoor, for inviting me to participate in the Creative part of this retreat.

Going on a retreat is definitely part of sacred self care.

If you are curious about what a retreat looks like, or would like to know more about my retreats please contact me at info@jenniferboire.com  You can also sign up for my monthly newsletter on the website.
 
 
“The hummingbird spirit animal symbolizes the enjoyment of life and lightness of being. Enjoy the sweetness of life, lift up negativity wherever it creeps in and express love more fully in daily endeavors. ...The hummingbird generally symbolizes joy and playfulness, as well as adaptability. “