Friday, December 21, 2007


(a poem for all mothers stuck inside the house this winter)

a woman kept in a house
is like a cuckoo in a clock
her breasts sing with milk
in the middle of the night

all night the house blows
in the wind, a cradle
on top of a tall tree
or a ship lost at sea

a man thinks he owns his wife
if she stays in the house
but once she shuts the door behind her
shuts the door on her children behind her
if she shuts the door of her mind
she can fly , no longer under lock & key

a mother alone in the house
is like a cat in a cage
with two birds, alone
in the house with two children
in the house without wings

her two breasts, two small partridges
rustle in their nest, escape
like two cups overturned,
two loose dice on the floor,
two blind mice running to get the knife.

at night the house does not rock
like a boat at sea
it is rooted, stands still
like a woman chained to a rock
awaiting rescue, like a cage
rocking on its pole

the dangerous woman in the veil
sings to the woman in the moon
she sings to the old woman
in the shoe, she sings to a woman
in anything else, but a house.

from Little Mother, Hochelaga Press, 1997
Jennifer Boire

Monday, December 17, 2007

home for the holidays

postcard to my Self (Travelling Wilbury)

Dear Home-girl,
you are at home, now. Welcome Home.

Hey girl, welcome to here. Home. This house is not your home. This city is not your home. But you are living at this unique address. Remember, you flew into this address on the first in-breath, Wahh! You will fly out one day.

Right now, this is the address of Home. Come, sit beside me and I’ll tell you a mighty secret that may surprise you – the breath inside the breath is calling you home. Hear that? I know, speedy Gonzales, you love to travel. Right now your eyes are traveling, your ears are moving, your touch excites you to discover what is everywhere, elsewhere, not here. What is bright, new, annoying, popular, loud, quiet, hungry – there – a Great Blue Heron, he’s reminding you to dive deep into the stream of home.

Stop running away, baby. Stop salivating for a New taste, a new sugar, a bite of Crispy Crème donut, sushi with wasabi, pecan pie….

Stop awhile by this sweet river, and sip. Slow your jets and shiver with delight at this new, inner sanctum, this in-site. This new sight. Old fright sloughed off. This old as humanity inner sight. Oh, laugh with delight. “You make me feel like dancin’” (spinning diva.)

Welcome back, home-girl.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The place I am longing for

Confusion wades in, disturbs my present peace. Yoga dispels it. I feel too spacey, vadic, anxious. So lie on earth, grounded in breath; an article suggests humming -- ‘lung’ --breathe in cat and dog pose to bring it down into the body…

Too much stress – car and air travel, cell phones, busyness spaces me out. Plan to spend more time honouring this physical work in the body. It feels so healing, so right, less intellectual than talking, reading and writing. That ‘white room’ by the ocean or open sky in the desert calls me. Ocean shore, driftwood, house by the sea, pictures come to mind of the retreat space I crave. Does it mean I have to move there? I cannot uproot family, but must take a break myself.

Our creative needs are not being met. We need music and words to work together, space, time, energy, less activity to accomplish it – spend a weekend envisioning it? First, healing, rest. Clarity will come when we are less stressed and harassed by the daily struggle. Kids also being pushed to the max by school, activities.

How can we down-size our life? Where can we go, where boredom won’t lead to dope and alcohol abuse? Is there somewhere more ‘perfect’ than here?

The place I am longing for is not in this world maybe, but a healing respite from ‘surface reality’ while I undergo the descent, to reclaim the feminine or ground of my being. I have entered the doorway at the bottom of the tree, gone back to the core, (Kore, ripped away from reality, entered dream time and was gone for 3 days) need to cut off the ‘busyness” of duties, household, and focus on this quest. It is real. Stop resisting. Follow the inner pull.

My fear of inactivity, passivity, entering the dark room where mother is passed out all day. I have visited the curtains but never entered there, since childhood. Am being pulled down due to extreme nervous overload. It feels like chaos…to visit the Underworld – but it is freeing to be creative, to explore the underneath side….maybe by concentrating on the breath in each moment like during labour pains, like in a kind of birth, to avoid panic, hyperventilating, suck ice chips and stay in present, focus on work at hand.

(written in 2005, in crux of peri-menopause descent)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

A woman’s Way from the Tao of Menopause


The woman’s journey is to realize her power is within her. As a woman.
Joseph Campbell, Pathways to Bliss

Some of us are becoming the man we wanted to marry. Gloria Steinem

How to Marry myself:
the worldly, practical, doer and the spiritually hungry be-ing want to marry inside the breath. Bathe in stillness as in a clear stream of breath running up and down the center of being. Feel cleansed and whole upon arising. Return to the list of things to do, calls to make.

Keep it simple, silly.


How to get closer to me, to my singular truth, or way, (a woman’s way) like Joan, hearing voices in the light, and Mira, dancing to her own music, or Teresa, despairing of being judged a heretic but heeding an experience so intimate, so her own, that even punishment or excommunication from her religious faith could not dissuade her. Although self-doubt was present, she surrendered to the piercing of her heart –

And so, not to put myself in that league of illustrious company, still, I invoke these ‘mothers of spirit’ if you will, and say, I am ready to hear my own rhythm – at least, I want to be open to hearing it, to follow that narrow path within, where the going is by feeling, letting go of maps, books, guides, all those who say go here, do this, and wish to give me explanations, for I have been lead far astray, until I doubt my every step. Or run so quickly over the path, my feet barely touch the ground.

All I ask or will, is that my two feet remain on the ground, connected and even if losing my reason is the thing I fear most in this world, I am willing to listen deeply and find the inner strength necessary to take each step from a new perspective, one from inner conviction.

A voice coaxes-- says, I have always been here; you have always listened to your parent’s wisdom, your teacher’s insights, your friend’s admonitions, your children’s voices. Now, before you go any further down the wrong road – wait – what do you mean by wrong? If I do not know what is right? So skip right and wrong. Feeling.

I have been told to start finding out how I feel – what I feel. This numbing busy-ness stresses me – carries me out on a wave too far from shore, there is risk of drowning. All right then, now - I am listening. Guide me. I say to my self – if you are the One I have run from all this time and now, you are so close and in fact, inside my right ear whispering to me, then guide me. I have lost my trust in politicians, in self-help books, in science and religion, in philosophy, tragedy and comedy – where else is there to turn?

So if there be guides awake in the night, angels lighting my path, let me listen to you. And then, listen to my beating heart, my ragged breath, and carefully attend, and tend to, the tiny tendrils of inner thought, of being before thinking – If there be a place to find wisdom, here it is. It prefers a sideways glance --stops when looked at directly. No glaring eyes.

“Suffering is part of the feminine…a sense of loss of all, even capacity for action, a loss so deep nothing matters.” Inanna, Descent to the Goddess

There are those sleeping who are awake,
and others awake who are sound asleep.

Some of those bathing in sacred pools
will never get clean.

And there are others
doing household chores
who are free of any action.

Lalla, 14th century Kashmir

to be continued

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Heart as path and destination

Am I the author of my existence? no.
Am I the driver of my life's journey? yes.
Did I create the path I am driving on? (still no answer to that one)

I am wondering about where thought can lead us - is it true that we create our reality by our thoughts, that I can visualize what I want, and focusing on that draw it to me?

I guess it depends which reality we are talking about.

The house I live in, the job I do, the family I interact with, are one level of my reality. But there is a space inside my heart that is already enjoying serenity and tranquility, is anchored in deep waters. On the surface, the waves may be choppy, the storm may be howling. But in this deep protected place of the heart, another weather system predominates. And this, too, is real.

In that deep contentment where the heart is full, my desires seem to pale. I still want to get paid a good salary, have recognition for work well done, interact with my children without too much angst, rest when I am tired. But there is not the driving need to get all my fulfillment from my surroundings, because inside my cup is full. It helps me relax into life and appreciate what comes.

This river of full-heartedness exists inside of me, you.

So I guess my previous post about The Secret and its hype, in response to Bella's blog about the Secret and its hype, is about acceptance and not-knowing.

Bella used childbirth as an exampe (the field in which she works). I saw it in my own experience of two very different births. The first one, I was letting the doctor and hospital schedules run things, and not trusting my body very much. I imagined that if I wanted a natural childbirth without drugs or intervention, it would pretty much happen. The I Ching that day said "reality never coincides with its ideal". Well, after a day of being induced with oxytocin didn't help bring a child down, a week later I danced myself into labour, then spent a fruitless night with contractions and no dilation.

The next day, after hours of intense back labour (and more drugs to speed things up), I was begging for an epidural. They put it off as long as they could so as not to delay things any more. It was a relief when they gave it to me, and after pushing a short while, finally, beautiful blue-eyed Julien slid out of me. I was so tired, but too excited to sleep, transformed by his passage through me. Of course, the journey had just begun.

I was determined the next birth I would listen to my body, but after two weeks of waiting past a 'due' date, Caitie's arrival was helped along by an old grandmother's recipe of castor oil, sex and sit-ups; she blasted out of me on the back seat of the car on the way to the hospital after 1 1/2 hours of labour. While I was relieved that she was pink and breathing, and laughed all night with relief, there really was no way of picturing that in advance. We considered our prayers had been answered, in a way, because no doctors or midwives were in attendance, just my husband catching her slippery body and covering her with his shirt.

We also lost two babies to miscarriage previously; and grieved those little fish thrown back into the sea. Was it ambivalence about having children? or nature's way? We had to surrender to those realities.

So I guess I see it this way: I am driving the car, but I do not create the path in front of me. I may take side trips over rocky terrain, then come back to the smooth highway. I may exit for coffee and gas or find shelter from the rain or snow on the side of the highway. I may extend my trip or have it shortened. But I can enjoy the ride, no matter the weather, trust that the highway will bring me to my destination. The ride, with the heart as guide, is more pleasant. A compass to help me find my way home.

knowing only one thing for sure,
I carry home with me, whither I wander,

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Tao of Letting Go


If you realize that all things change,
there is nothing you will try to hold on to.
If you aren't afraid of dying,
there is nothing you can't achieve.

Trying to control the future
is like trying to take the master carpetner's place.
When you handle the master carpenter's tools,
chance are that you'll cut your hand.

Ancient wisdom: the thing about the Tao Te Ching is that it still makes sense, its essence rings true. We are thousands of years away from that Chinese 'time and place' but still Lao Tzu makes perfect sense.

Just read Bella's blog about The Secret, and how painful it is when bad things happen to 'good' people. How disease, hardship, a difficult birth, all bring us face to face with a larger reality: I am not in control. Even if I use my 'affirmations' every day, or prayer, or positive thinking, I cannot always draw to me what "I" want or desire.

There is comfort in knowing that a higher power or creative force, whatever you want to call that 'master' carpenter, is shaping something for me. There is peace in letting go of 'wishing' the future into being.

My most powerful experiences are not of being the conductor of my own life, designing, creating and drawing towards myself what I can imagine, but of having gifts unfold that I had never imagined, whether jobs, houses, children, projects, friends or challenges....that come my way through no apparent design of my own, and yet, at a deep level are exactly what I need (and not always what I want). Growth feels painful at times.

Yet aren't we in the 'earth school', as I told my husband this morning, as he left the house for another day of battle on the financial frontier. You just duck some days, (keep the ego low to the ground), keep centered in the midst of the fire.

Peace is not the absence of war, peace is found deep within you, says Maharaji, a living sage.

If I wait for the external world to bring me peace, I will wait a long time.

Sigh....deep sigh. I want to begin each day with a new breath, a new moment, and let the serendipity and synchronicity of life surprise me. And bring me strength within to focus on the light, yet accept the dark.

If I can lift my chin, look up from my inner kaleidoscope of desires and wishes and wants, and appreciate this day...

learning to let go,

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Building a mini-retreat

Sometimes a retreat away is not possible. Sometimes, although every bone in your body is calling to get away and find time alone, you have to stay home.

Because I'm a stay-at-home mom, and have dogs and cats too, when I can't get away physically, I make myself a mini-retreat. I can spare an hour, even two at least once a month.

The original idea came after I attended a retreat called the Writer's Spa in Taos, New Mexico, with Jennifer Louden, Comfort Queen. (Especially during your menstrual time, or anytime during menopause, these times set aside for sacred space are very nurturing and comforting. A great way to slow down and meet your inner feminine).

Recipe for a mini-retreat: (in any order you like)

Unplug the phone.

Light a candle from Zena Moon candles http:// http://

Meditate in silence for as long as you comfortably can.

Put on some soothing music (Nigel Holton, Eversound, Zen flute or Pure Peace)

Stretch into yoga on the floor, open your hips, legs and chest in Pigeon Pose or just lie in corpse pose and surrender.

Open Native American animals cards and do a Medicine Wheel Spread
(like a tarot deck, inner wisdom through our healer animal spirits)

Write in journal, sit and feel whatever emotions arise. Acknowledge them, without judgement.

Make a cup of herbal tea to calm stomach.

Don't turn on the computer or read emails until later.

Put off laundry, the list of things to do, and rushing anywhere;

Hope you have a wonderful inner peace retreat! It works for me.

(don't forget to blow out the candles!)


Friday, November 16, 2007

Essence of wisdom

Tao Te Ching #14

Look, and it can't be seen.
Listen, and it can't be heard.
Reach, and it can't be grasped.

Above, it isn't bright.
Below, it isn't dark.
Seamless, unnameable,
it returns to the realm of nothing.
Form that includes all forms,
image without an image,
subtle, beyond all conception.

Approach it and there is no beginning;
follow it and there is no end.
You can't know it, but you can be it,
at ease in your own life.
Just realize where you come from:
this is the essence of wisdom.

If we consider the source of our wisdom as the source of being, wow, that opens up all the stops.

It may mean slowing down and breathing into your center.

It may mean, accepting and flowing with the life force inside your body.

It may mean temporarily letting go of control :)

It may mean finding your voice.

It may mean speaking from authentic experience.

It may mean you are a wise woman, before you get old.

be close to your wisdom today,

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What if a woman listened to herself?

"What if woman allowed herself to listen once again to her own sensitivities? To listen to the ways in which she is unhappy? What if she allowed herself to trust what her tears are trying to tell her?

No, not this way, No your life has no meaning lived this way. No…No…slow down, rest. Fill the kettle slowly. Listen! as the water in its slender stream flows down to fill the waiting kettle.

A woman age 55 speaks of her struggle:

Oh the time, the endless pressure of time Even when I have a whole day, I still can’t get to my own things – I don’t even know what they are…

I vacuum, do the bookkeeping, always production-oriented…the endless realm of keeping busy…when I was young, my mother always expected us to keep busy…she couldn’t imagine my need to have time for myself…if one of her daughters would be a bit quiet or inward one day, she would right away immediately accuse us of being lazy and gives us a task to do.

In my dreams there is a quiet chamber, an inner corridor for which I’m always searching and can never quite get to…a quiet, dark place…where I’m allowed to just sit…alone …and be still.

What if a woman were to allow herself to trust her own unhappiness and to make life changes – that would allow time and place for her to experience her life as it lives itself out slowly, moment by moment? To allow herself time and place to be present to her own burning fire, the water springing from the rock of her own experience…to allow herself to leave behind the jet plane, the express lane, and simply to be, there, for a moment, present to her own life?

What if a woman trusted her own tears enough to listen to them, to make real changes in her individual schedule, and to see if those changes spread to her office, her committee, her religious group?

What if she trusted her anger, her irritation, her illness, even her depression, as signs that her own life was calling to her?

What if a woman allowed herself to leave a mode of doing that does not nourish her, that actively makes her unhappy? What if it were not so difficult? If her upbringing had not sought to teach her to be dutiful, moral, caring, giving, helpful, productive and loving…at all all others.

….it is often finally a woman’s own pain and sadness that make her change her life. Finally, it is impossible to deny her feelings any longer."

taken from Circle of Stones, Judith Duerk, Woman’s Journey to Herself

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tao Te Ching Wisdom for the day

True perfection seems imperfect,
yet it is perfectly itself.
True fullness seems empty,
yet it is fully present.

True straightness seems crooked.
True wisdom seems foolish.
ture art seems artless.

The Master allows things to happen.
She shapes events as they come.
She steps out of the way
and lets the Tao speak for itself.

another excerpt says,
Rushing into action, you fail.
Trying to grasp things, you lose them.
Forcing a project to completion
you ruin what was almost ripe.
Therefore the Master takes action
by letting things take their course


Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.

Is it just my imagination, or is everything I'm reading today in the Tao Te Ching aimed at inviting me to let go, let things take their course, stop worrying, controlling, obsessing, striving, pushing too hard, going too fast?

step out of the way.....

So the wisdom of the day would be that. Let yourself go with the flow, and stop paddling up stream. It's a lot easier to let the boat follow the river. Row if you must, but you will advance more quickly when you let go to the river's current.

Life is a current. I can ride the waves of my life, being buoyant, being still in the center, and letting the ups and downs come. It takes a focus on what is real, what is permanent, to allow myself to not get upset by the changes, by what is impermanent.

If I look back a year ago today, I was unsure of the future, I was hoping things would change more quickly. Then boom, a few months later we had heard of a new house on the water, I applied to teach at the women's centre, life and the river kept flowing. Now we are renovating, and I am teaching. If I look towards the future, it is still uncertain, i.e. I have no way of knowing for sure what is coming.

But I am starting to trust the flow.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Moon LIght

Have you looked up at the moon lately?

Last night at sunset I went for a walk in the wide soccer field behind my house. The setting sun was filling the western sky with pink and gold, while in the east a partially full moon was rising, slung low in a grey sky with a luminous haze circling it.

It felt very healing to look at the moon, and I wondered why I don't get outside more often in the evening to watch it.

It felt good to know that letting the moon light touch me, its rays on me, could actually influence the state of harmony with my inner feminine essence.

Watch the moon ladies and gents. It's going into full bloom this week on Wednesday. It does not promote panic or madness, that's an old anti-womanist scare tactic from the Inquisition days.

What it promotes is beauty, self-awareness, and getting in touch with your natural energies. Women may have participated in orgiastic rites at the full moon that caused the Church to worry about people switching to paganism (it looked like too much fun probably)!

Let's find our selves in our cycles and keep in touch with the moon. She, he, it....does it matter if it's a lady in the moon or not? The moon's cycle is aligned with women's cycles, and it doesn't hurt to let a little moon light shine on you.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Inner Wisdom and a higher power

Wisdom for women begins with learning to connect with our own inner wisdom. For too long we have been told what to believe, what to feel, what is ok to feel or think. The authorities we listen to have usually been male, either scientists or religious leaders, the 'keepers of truths'.

For some of us, it's a radical concept, to find our own connection to spirit within, and yet more and more of us are experiencing that connection.

Whether you believe in a guardian angel or the universal spirit, a mother goddess or divine synchronicity, guidance is available if we are open to receiving it. In my yoga class every morning, we make an intention for what we need to receive through our practice that day. it's a powerful way to ground yourself in the here and now, manifest what you need. Some very popular books are going the rounds right now, explaining that what we think and what we attract to us are connected, ie The Secret.

"When you sincerely invite in the sacred (your inner guidance or spirit) to assist you with your life, you are granting permission for your life to change." Dr. Christiane Northrup, Woman's Bodies, Women's Wisdom."

For many women, getting past the male image of God is important to their new understanding of their spirituality, so they focus on a 'sexually affirming image of power and beauty', ie a mother god.

Perhaps this is a way of reimagining the divine spark as living in our own female body, and undoing centuries of abuse stemming from Eve and the apple. Women need to know that a female body and its sexuality are brimming with creative spirit, brimming with love and goodness. We need to reconnect with sexuality as spirituality, instead of splitting the two. Spirit's highest expression, for me, is the creation of a human body, and that begins with conception or sex.

So, let's reclaim our connection with our bodies, and celebrate the gift of being a woman. Someone once said, if you want to increase your blessings, then start counting them. I begin with the prayer of thanks for being born a woman.


Monday, September 3, 2007

The Tao of Menopause #2

Tao Te Ching, #3

If you over esteem great men
people become powerless.
If you over esteem poessessions,
people begin to steal.

The Master leads
by emptying people's minds
and filling their cores,
by weakening their ambition
and toughening their resolve.
He helps people lose everything
they know, everything they desire,
and creates confusion
in those who think they know.

Practice not-doing,
and everything will fall into place.

Well, empty nesters and menopausal women with an urge to empty their closets, will relate to the Tao entry above. At least, in my case, after twenty years of reading books, writing essays and poetry, attempting to 'fit' in a literary world, and after much soul searching and confusion about 'what's next', I have finally come face to face with the fact that most of what is 'literary' bores me. My mind can use some emptying, as well as my closets. There is too much 'stuff' in my 5 bedroom house, weighing me down. There is too much thinking in my mind keeping me away from feeling my core. I create confusion when I think I know too much, anyway. Clutter.

Lao Tsu says the solution is to practice 'not-doing'. Stephen Mitchell, in the preface to his translation of this gem of wisdom, says 'not-doing' does not mean doing nothing, but losing oneself in the flow of doing, the way an artist loses himself in his work, or a dancer in the dance. The mind is tricky in that it creates separation between the heart and what we are 'doing', self-doubt, self-criticism, negative thinking keep us removed from the feeling of 'flow' or core. If I align myself with what I have learned to focus on inside, the feeling of the heart, the separation is removed.

I want to pay attention to the real desire of the heart, my thirst for self-knowledge, of the longing for peace felt deep in the belly. My ambition may become weak on the outside, for accumulation of objects, cars, possessions, for recognition and fame, for keeping up with the neighbours. I may decide to empty my house of extraneous furniture and belongings and call the Sally Ann to come do a big pick-up. But how to empty the mind of its forgotten clutter of concepts?

Only in the recognition of my thirst for self-love, for harmony, can I find my real ambition: to appreciate the curcumstances of my life (gratitude), and flow with trust in the rightness of what life presents every day. To learn how to flow peacefully from home time to work time to supper prep time to teen chauffering time, without feeling squeezed inside because there is no 'me' time.

Finding pleasure in taking care of my needs, sitting in silence daily, listening closely to my emotions, to finding balance, to grounding in and accepting Life: in my ambition to become a human being, not a human doing.

Heart to Heart.
Everything will fall into place.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Tao of Menopause

The Tao of Menopause is where I am going to comment on readings of the Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tsu, something I have been reading for a couple of years, at random. The translation I work from is Stephen Mitchell's, and I love its simple poetic flavour.


Some say that my teaching is nonsense.
Others call it lofty but impractical.
But to those who have looked inside themselves,
this nonsense makes perfect sense.
And to those who put it into practice,
this loftiness has roots that go deep.

I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

Three little things, yes, and so difficult for me to achieve! It seems I started out with simplicity, with wanting nothing but the basics, living close to the source, and as I grew into a child, and then an adult, 'wanting' things, desiring recognition and achievements, gathering and accumulating relationships, furniture, clothing, art, books, children, persian carpets, a bigger house....the simplicity escaped. Patience has never been one of my virtues, and compassion, I thought, was for the weak and needy.

Oh but the wisdom life brings: in menopause the motto for me has been simplify! unload! empty out closets, give away houseplants, make do with less. Too much clutter, too many remote controls, too much stuff, too much confusion, makes me long for simplicity.

Patience I will work on, God, but give it to me quickly!

Compassion for myself.....learning this one out of 'no choice'. A broken leg, a sadness in the soul, a feeling of bug soup meltdown in the chrysalis....menopausal midlife change brought me challenges, health wise and emotion-wise, that have helped me learn compassion. It means "to suffer with" someone. As we learn from our own suffering, so we can be com-passionate with someone else's sufferings.

The nonsense Lao Tsu teaches comes with life experience, is more than mere words.
Its roots go deep.

Feeling is believing,


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Kundalini Power and Nettles

Remember that the turmoil and strife and heat stirred up in menopause are likely connected to your kundalini power.

One nourishing herb, according to Susun Weed, to help balance the drying effects of kundalini's heat, is Stinging Nettle.

"Stinging nettle infusion replaces the nutrients and proteins that Kundalini uses up. By strengthening the adrenals and kidneys, and increasing stamina, nettle helps us surf the waves and ski the slopes of our hot flashes.Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a wonderful ally for the woman who is awakened by night sweats, whose hair is falling out or becoming brittle, whose energy is flagging (or gone!), whose vagina is dry, who wants to avoid adult-onset diabetes, for the woman who wants to increase her metabolic rate, improve the flexibility of her blood vessels, strengthen her immune system, and find ease for sore joints."
Susun Weed's website under Kundalini and Menopause

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Reply from Belly (see letter on musemother link)

Dear Jenn,
You were born with me, and you came into the world after living nine months in a female belly. Little jenn used to dance me around in stretchy pants, roll tumble wrestle and play. Then you got broken into and stopped trusting the world or the signals I gave, inside and outside violations. No one to count on, or show you how to trust your belly/body. So you cut yourself off at the neck.

Stopped hearing me down in the nether regions. I had to speak volumes with limited vocabulary and images. Symptoms - gas, cramps, aches, pain, now you listen better.

I love that you will listen now, but slowing down to be with me is what I need more of, not words and promises. I like it when we breathe together. I can help you regain trust in the world and in yourself. Stay close to my wisdom, the center of breath is with me, and my peace will be your peace.

There are two doorways to protect me - upper and lower bonda. Respect me, my boundaries are your boundaries. Rely on this inner connection. Stop. Feel. Proceed. Check in with me.

I speak volumes without words.

your belly

Friday, June 15, 2007

Inner Wisdom and the Belly

Our bellies are our second brain. You know it as 'gut feeling'. That feeling in your gut that says, nope, don't want to jump off that high rock. Or, not sure I can say yes to this request. Or, go for it! Why can't we trust our belly's wisdom? Maybe the myths and stories around women are partly to blame.

Pandora's box
For instance, many of us have heard or read a short version of this myth, written by the Greek poet Hesiod in the 8th Century BCE.

Zeus was angry at Prometheus for giving the gift of fire to mankind, so he ordered Hephaestus to mix earth with water, implant in it a human voice and make it beautiful and desirable in the form of a maiden with a face like a goddess. Athena taught her to weave, Aphrodite planted longing and sorrows to permeate her body, and Hermes gave her the mind of a bitch and the character of a thief (see what the early Greeks thought of women?). (Classical Mythology)

She was the first mortal woman. For a wedding gift, sly Zeus gave Pandora a beautiful box and told her not to peek inside or open it. But she did, of course, and out flew all the evils and illnesses, plagues and pestilence into the world. Only one thing remained; at the bottom of the box was hope.

Just like Eve, Pandora was blamed for all the evils in the world.

But behind the story is an error in translation from Greek into Latin, in the 16th century. 'Pithos' meaning vase or jar became pyxis meaning box.

So the Vase or water jar that is the symbol of woman's womb and accompanies many goddesses in artwork (Aphrodite & the sign for Acquarius are just two), became something less than a gift. Pandora means All Giver, or all gifts, another name for Rhea, the Great Goddess, the female image of the power of life.

Woman's belly is Rhea's vase. "Woman's belly is the sacred source of life."

So love your belly, and listen to its wisdom. Give your belly a hug today :)

story adapted from The Woman's Belly Book, Finding your Treasure Within, by Lisa Sarasohn, Self-Health Education, 2003 and Classical Mythology.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Womb Energy: uterus and ovaries

I once read an article that had a great title: Motherhood takes Balls!

That would be ovaries, on us darling. "Our ovarian wisdom represents our deepest creativity, that which can be born only through us," says Dr. Christiane Northrup, my favourite authority on women's bodies.

Ovarian power - think of it - not just for creating babies, but for allowing our creativity to come through us, not through the intellect alone.

"Ovaries are at risk when women feel controlled or criticized by others or when they themselves control and critizie others." (Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom)

Yeesh, better be careful, I think, coming from a long line of hyper-critical women.

Think of the uterus as the rich dark earth in which the creative seeds from the ovaries grow in time. Our uterus, Northrup says, is energetically related to our innermost sense of self - symbolic of our dreams, the parts of us we would like to give birth to. "Its state of health reflects her inner emotional reality and her belief in herself at the deepest level. The health of the uterus is at risk if a woman doesn't believe in herself or is excessively self-critical." (WBWW)

Try this excercise: lie down somewhere comfortable, with a pad of paper and a pen nearby. Ask yourself, if my uterus could speak, what would she say? If she was an object, or a room, what colour would she be? If she had a name, what would it be?

Put your hands on your belly before starting, and breathe deeply. Feel your self contact your uterus and ovaries within. Let any images or colours come to the surface of your mind. Stay with the feeling. See what comes up. Then write it down.

One more thought, Carolyn Myss (medical intuitive) suggests that fibroid tumours represent the creativity that was never birthed, inlcuding fantasy images of ourselves that have never seen the light of day. Or possibly our life energy flowing into dead-end jobs or relationships we have outgrown.

This is just a more imaginative way of looking at our bodies, as representing our highest wisdom, often expressed in a metaphorical language not unlike the language of dreams. You are the best interpretor of these images and symbols. It's time to start a dialogue, today.

You've got Ovaries, Baby!


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Message from Queen of Heaven

Dear ladies, queens of your households,

May you give yourself a few moments of peace today to experience the blessing of rest.

I, goddess Ishtar, reclining on my chaise-lounge, would like to encourage you to do what I do at the full moon, when my heart is full too. I have been busy for two weeks now, waxing into fullness, mounting tides, climbing mountains, blessing fields with my rising energy. Feeding, cleaning and folding, like you, my daughters, who are sisters and mothers. Birthing, caring for the ill, the babies and needy ones. And now, before the descent of the next two weeks’ waning time, I pause for a day, in stillness. I lay my feet on my golden couch by the window, where I can listen to bird song and watch the sun rise in the sky.

Let the world continue to spin without me for today. I remove the Queen headdress and crown. I remove the staff of power from my hand. I remove the girdle of fertility, the sandals of activity, the bracelets of charity to others, and I lie on my couch and am fed.

The pure water of the river cools me. The breeze reminds me of my breath. I rest.
And the world restores me to myself.

I invite you to partake of this Sabbatu, or Heart’s Rest, too.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Magnificent Seven

Rules for Right Living

eat right

drink right

sleep right

poop right

breathe right

think right

talk right

move right

(not necessarily in that order) :)

learned from Naturopath Anouk Lepage

Happy Spring Cleaning!


Friday, March 30, 2007

Simple Exercise for Grounding

Root to Crown:

your root is mother earth, your crown is father sky

sit on the ground and breathe in
receive energy coming up the spine from the earth at your root,
feel your sit bones grounding

breathe out - let your belly rise and fall (put your hands there if it helps)

breathe in- let the energy enter through the top of your head
and fill your belly with light

breathe out - I am connected to the life force moving through me

Hands on Belly: I fill myself with breath. I allow life to fill me with inner calm, peace.

feel at peace with earth and sky, sit here and breathe in this way for as long as you like



ps this exercise is taken/adapted from A Woman's Belly Book

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Where is your Sacred Feminine?

Ok - I just googled the Sacred Feminine and came across all kinds of debates about whether Mary Magdalene should be seen as Jesus' wife, a sacred harlot, inferior to the Virgin Mother Mary, and lots of Christian sites that react to Brown's book DaVinci Code, etc for even bringing up the subject of a divine feminine who is other than Mary the Mother of God.

I have read a lot of the literature recently, and have come up with my own idea of what is sacred - and what is feminine. (The question of whether we have a sacred masculine has never even crossed my mind, probably because we are all supposedly made in "god's image" and he was a Father. But Marion Woodman has called it the creative masculine or imagination.)

Here's my take: women have something divinely natural about their bodies that makes them co-creators with the Universe - they have a reproductive cycle that brings forth new life (yes, sperm is part of it too). But women have a monthly cycle that follows the moon in its waxing and waning - two weeks of building creative energy, two weeks slowing down towards the period of rest or bleeding time. Lots of people have written about how intuitive we are at this time, so I won't go on about it here. But that is the female body's link with the Universal Energy, through getting to know our bodies. And if we could link the sexual, creative aspects of our bodies with the divine aspects of universal energy....voila, Sacred Feminine. (Many other cultures have already imagined this by the way: Isis, Ishtar, Shakti, Demeter, Cybele).

To my early Christianized child's mind, it was comforting to hear stories about a Divine Father - but the Divine Mother was a virgin who had never had sex! So for all the people who resist the idea of making Mary Magdalene a spouse or consort of the son of God, just imagine for a moment that the sexual and the spiritual have been divided for so long, it is refreshing and liberating to imagine a beloved in the arms of God (and by her own choice, not as a child sold/given away to a temple to service men sexually, as someone suggested was part of the ancient rituals).

Perhaps the Sufi's have it right (Rumi) when they say we are all the beloved of god. But I like the idea of seeing breastfeeding, menstruating, childbirth and other aspects of physical humanity manifest in the female form having a Divine function as well. And thank god/ss for birth control and freedom of choice so that modern women do not feel enslaved by pregnancy and childbirth, at least in my part of the world.

What I do to balance out my 'language' problem with using the term God or Lord, is that if a prayer bubbles up inside me, I address it to Our Lord and Lady. It's not perfect, I know the universal energy of life has no gender, but I do this to balance the programming I received as a Catholic. It links me to the ancient mythology of the Sacred Marriage, that perfect balance found in the union of opposites, of male and female (see The Hebrew Goddess for a discussion of how the holy of holies in Yahweh's sacred tabernacle relates to the sacred marriage ritual).

Sacred feminine - is the yin as opposed to the yang, the receptive, moist, creative, inward, intuitive side that is in both males and females, and seemingly since it's less active, it's seen as less essential in our busy world. Yet millions of Chinese are dying this year due to overwork (they call it the mattress culture - they sleep under their desks not to miss a minute!). Connection? We are so outward focused, so work and success oriented, so Yang and masculine in our culture of work, that there is little value placed on the yin, the receptive center, the place where we rest.

Sabbath has been lost, the sabbatu or heart's rest, the sacred day off of Ishtar, Queen of Heaven at the full moon, when she was menstruating.

Anyway, getting off topic a bit - Kundalini energy is inside of all of us too, men and women, and it's not yin, although it could be visualized as the fiery hot flashes that menopausal women experience, and therefore connected to the sacred feminine.

Just thought I'd add to the mish-mash of ideas on the topic of Sacred Feminine, a topic close to my feminine (yet father's daughter) heart.

originally posted on musemother in 2006

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Women are lunar

To the moon mom’s wisdom
She waxes
She waneth.

She is not full on 100% bright
All month.
She has a dark period
She hides for a while
She rests up for the month of fullness
Coming ahead.

So slow down
Your pain will grow less
You may want to “bully” your way
Through these few days
But bulls are not

Give yourself flaxseed oil, fatty fish
and magnesium for cramps, or
squat in Frog position,
put a castor oil packs 60 minutes on your belly
for heavy bleeding (is someone
or something
draining your life blood away)?

Grab time alone
To sit on earth
Listen to your belly.
Ask for guidance
And a boost of

Trust your mom
She’s got wisdom.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Seven tools for Gaining essential Wisdom

Tools for Gaining Essential Wisdom: tuning into body guidance.
(with thanks to all the women who have inspired me: Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Joan Borysenko, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Marion Woodman and special thanks to Maharaji for showing me the well of peace within).

I believe our wisdom is close at hand, right within us, and very doable. You don't need a book to tell you how to tune in. You need to learn how to live close to the body/belly/heart.

If we can listen to our need for rest, food, inner peace, we can give ourselves the healing we need. In my experience, this involves trusting myself, and knowing that I am enough. I have enough. I do enough - stop the worrying and the rushing and let the Universe take care of things.

This is my challenge, and I share it with you because it is simple, if not easy, to start following your body's guidance right now. The motto is, keep it simple.

(For example, the first rule is so simple, you'll laugh. But it has been trained out of us since childhood.)

l. Eat when you are hungry. Enjoy your food sitting down and notice when you feel satisfied. If you are really adventurous, let yourself be served once a week.

2. Sleep when you are tired. Take naps whenever possible. Set your body clock by going to bed at a reasonable hour. Can you find your own need for rest?

3. Strike two items off your to-do list every day and be happy with that. Do not be a slave to ‘getting it all done’.

4. Take time to sit in silence once a day to center yourself in the breath. Make inner peace a priority.

5. Stretch, shake your body, dance, do yoga, walk, or move a new muscle. Wake up your body every day.

6. Go pee when you have to – respond to the first call. This is harder than it sounds.

7. When you have your monthly period, give yourself what you need – either rest or exercise. PMS is the result of not listening to your body guidance. Sit with your center and find time to relax. Hot water bottle or pilates? Your gut will guide you. This is your time to be alone; your intuition is stronger now. Pay attention.

I have found, that when I learn to take care of myself, and treat my body less harshly, more lovingly, I naturally become less harsh and more loving to others.

Above all, be kind to yourself. Balance effort with relaxation. Learn compassion for yourself. And remember, whatever I bless flourishes, whatever I criticize falters. (from the Woman's Belly Book)

ps I am trying to put these into practice, one day at a time. As a confirmed 'woman who does too much' and chronic worrier, this is also my antidote to stress.

bless you,