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Queen Mama Donna's Daily
Donna Henes is an internationally renowned urban shaman, award-winning author, popular speaker and workshop leader whose joyful celebrations of celestial events have introduced ancient traditional rituals and contemporary ceremonies to millions of people in more than 100 cities since 1972. She has published four books and currently writes for the Huffington Post, Beliefnet and UPI (United Press International) Religion and Spirituality Forum, and serves as ritual consultant to the motion picture industry. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice and consultancy in Exotic Brooklyn, NY where she offers intuitive tarot readings and spiritual counseling and works with individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.
"Henes has a new land for us ladies who want more from life and it's called 'Sovereignty in Midlife.' If you haven't become Queen of yourself yet, this is a must read book."
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The Queen of My Self: Meaning, Moxie and Majesty for Midlife Women
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Living an Organic and Orgasmic Life with Coach Betty
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January is designated Self-Love Month. And if it weren't, I, Queen Mama Donna, would have declared it so! But why stop at just one month? February is a love month, too. Let's proclaim our love and devotion for our own true life-long lover this month. And every month to follow.
There is only one person who is absolutely guaranteed to be with us loyally every day until we die. She is our own best friend. So we might as well love her! Will you join me in showering your Self with love starting right now?
With blessings of Self-love,
Loving yourself...does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion.
- Margo Anand
The Universal Golden Rule
Most of us were raised with some version of The Golden Rule. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
The Golden Rule teaches that we should treat others as we, ourselves, would wish to be treated. This basic ethic is repeated in a multitude of variations in the texts of all the great religions of the world. And, really, what else is there to say?
If thou lookest for justice, choose thou for others what thou chooses for thyself.
Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not unto others that you would not have them do unto you.
If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
This is the sum of all true righteousness: deal with others as thou wouldst thyself be dealt by. Do nothing to thy neighbor, which thou wouldst not have him do to thee after.
No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.
Indifferent to worldly objects, a man should wander about, treating all
creatures in the world as he himself would be treated.
What is hateful to you do not to others. That is the entire Law, all the rest is commentary.
The Universe is the Mirror of the People, and each person is a Mirror to every other person.
As thou deemest thyself, so deem others; then shalt thou become a partner in Heaven.
Irrespective of their nationality, language, manners and culture, men should give mutual aid, and enjoy reciprocal, peaceful pleasure by showing in their conduct that they are brethren.
The good man ought to pity the malignant tendencies of others; to rejoice over their excellence; to help them in their straits; to regard their gains as if they were his own, and their losses in the same way.
And ye harm none, do what ye will, lest in thy self-defense it be, ever mind the rule of three.
That nature only is good when it shall not do unto another whatever is not good for its own self.
There is an important caveat here. Notice that there are endless permutations on the theme "Do Unto Others What You Would Have Others Do Unto You." Or, "Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself." Not one - not one single one - says anything like "Love Thy Neighbor More than Thyself."
It is very clear that love of thy neighbor is predicated on the assumption of love for thyself. How can we, after all, love humanity as a whole and not love ourselves? Are we not included? If we are not human, what are we? Some slug-like subspecies? Deities on high, exempt from the human struggle? Rocks?
Imagine the world full of people who honor their own sacred worth and grant that same respect to every other person on Earth.
What a golden world it would be.
Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.
- Lucille Ball
Despite the rude awakenings, the unsettling physical and emotional chaos of midlife and all of its frightful, presumed ramifications, an amazing number of women find this stage to be the most personally fulfilling and satisfying of their lives so far.
A recent Gallup survey of women aged fifty to sixty-five revealed that fifty-one percent of them feel happier now than they have ever before. This compares to only ten percent who thought the happiest times in their lives were their twenties, seventeen percent who were happiest in their thirties, and sixteen percent who liked their forties best.
Just what are we to make of this apparent feeling among so many women that we believe ourselves to be better off once we have lost possession of the very characteristics and trappings that society seems to value most in us - our sexual allure and childbearing capabilities?
We have lost our youthful looks and stamina. We have lost some vision, some hearing, some memory. We have lost the pigment in our hair and the elasticity in our skin. We are also losing our battle against gravity and the advancement of time.
We have lost the children we raised and we have lost our chance to have the children that we didn't have. We also stand to lose our parents, our old friends, our spouses. We are in danger of losing our time left on the job, our visibility and our very lives.
So how does it compute that even while we are mired in loss, we have never been happier?
Because we have discovered that we actually like who we have become!
Everything worth having costs something, and the price of true love is self-knowledge. Becoming acquainted with yourself is a price well worth paying for the love that will really address your needs.
- Daphne Rose Kingma
We Queens have taken on the challenge of change, and with our eyes wide open we have engaged in the daunting process of learning who we are now and who we
choose to become. It is important to us to know that our thoughts and feelings count, that our work and interests are meaningful, and that we, ourselves, matter. Our growing Self-confidence propelled us to reach for and attain our own authentic personal power.
We have come a long way and it has been quite a journey. We have dreamed the dream and done the work, and walked the long, long highway. We have struggled to discover, comfort, cosset, encourage, and change our Selves. Now, finally, gloriously, joyfully, we have arrived at our destination. The station of our authentic sovereignty. And don't it feel grand?
I don't like myself, I'm crazy about myself.
- Mae West
As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself,
and less critical of myself. I've become my own best friend.
As you get older, it is easier to be positive.
You care less about what other people think.
I don't question myself anymore.
I've even earned the right to be wrong.
So, to answer your question, I like being old.
It has set me free. I like the person I have become.
I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here,
I will not waste time lamenting what could have been,
or worrying about what will be.
And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).
-Amber A. Penrose
Lately, like many of you, I have been waging an assault on clutter. I have been digging into the recesses of my closets, drawers, and shelves, and tossing, recycling, and reclaiming my possessions. During this frenzy I came upon some old photograph albums and took a break to sit down with them.
I sorted through pictures that I had not seen in decades and to my shock and delight, I discovered that I was quite a good looking young woman.
Who knew? Not me. I was never happy about my appearance. Never satisfied with my face and body. Would that I had that strong, supple, sexy body now.
What a waste!
This is nothing new, of course. In my experience, most women don't see and appreciate their own beauty. There is always something to complain about. To fret over. To work on.
The Dove® Soap Company has a wonderful program called Dove® Movement for Self-Esteem. Their slogan is, "Imagine a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety."
They recently funded a study called "The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited." The research found that:
- Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (up from 2% in 2004).
- Only 11% of girls globally are comfortable using the word beautiful to describe themselves.
- 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful.
- 70% of girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.
- 57% of all girls have a mother who criticizes her own looks.
- 67% of girls ages 13 - 17 turn to their mother as a resource when feeling badly about themselves compared to 91% of girls ages 8 - 12.
- 80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful, but do not see their own beauty.
- More than half (54%) of women globally agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic.
How sad is that? And how stupid, given the overwhelming number of beautiful women and girls on every corner in every country.
I serendipitously found the following quote in the fabulous book, Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver:
"When I was in my thirties, I had these little square hips left over from being pregnant and I just hated it. I kept thinking, 'All those years before, I had a perfect glamour-girl body, and I didn't spend one minute appreciating it, because I thought my nose had a bump in it.' And now that I'm old, my shoulder hurts and I don't sleep good and my knuckles swell up, and I think, 'All those years in my thirties and forties I had a body where everything worked perfect. And I didn't spend one minute appreciating it because I thought I had square hips.'"
Let's start making lists of what we love about ourselves, our appearance, our personality, our presence. Let's make really long lists.
What do you love about you?
Have a Love Affair with Your Self
A great way to pamper yourself with the attention and affection that we all crave - that we lavish on others, but never think to give to ourselves - is to have a love affair with your Self.
An affair with your Self enables you to know, own, and honor yourself as a unique and individual entity. To admit your abilities and limitations, your talents as well as your truculence on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual planes, and to love your Self unconditionally with compassion and no judgment attached.
Get to know your Self
- Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings, your fears and fantasies.
- Spend some quality time alone together - just you, yourself, and you.
- Turn off the computer, the phone, the fax, and the TV.
- Put on your favorite music, or simply savor the silence.
- Entertain a program of non-directed Self-discovery.
- Stare out the window or into a candle flame or a mirror.
- Clear your mind of inner chatter and let it wander where it will.
Take interest in your Self
- Engage in projects of Self-expression in order to reconnect with your higher nature and your inner best Self.
- Do an exercise tape.
- Go for a run, walk, swim, or bike ride.
- Read your Tarot cards. Consult the I Ching. Do yoga.
- Meditate. Drum, chant, dance.
- Write in your journal.
- Transcribe your dreams.
- Create an altar.
- Paint a picture or your walls.
- Sing silly songs.
- Have a good cry.
- Pound on pillows and scream.
- Laugh out loud.
Please your Self
- Work at establishing a warm, rich atmosphere for your own physical comfort and aesthetic enjoyment.
- Indulge in a variety of sensory delights.
- Surround yourself - your body, your home, and to whatever degree possible, your office - with the colors, textures, sounds, and smells that you love and that express your personality.
- Light candles and incense.
Court your Self
- Get all dressed up purely for the fun of it.
- Take yourself on a dream date.
- Go somewhere you have been meaning to go.
- Do things that you love.
- Buy yourself special treats.
- Compliment yourself, applaud and appreciate your strength and your beauty.
- Whisper sweet somethings in your ear.
- Tickle your fancy.
- Pull down the shades, turn off the lights, and dance till you drop.
- Massage your body with sweet oils.
- Kiss yourself.
- Make hot love to your Self.
- Make yourself a marvelous breakfast in the morning.
- Send yourself flowers with a note saying, "I love you."
These exercises in Self-appreciation and affection are not meant to seal ourselves off from others forever, or to replace any current or future relationships, but to make sure that we do not get involved for the wrong reasons - out of lonliness or fear or desperation. We emerge from these Self-love exercises with the secure knowledge that we are our own best lover. And when - and if - we choose, we are able to share that love with someone special who will understand how very precious it is and return it in kind.
The Queen's Court is a gathering of sovereign women of a certain age - our dear peers - who graciously offer information, guidance, inspiration and encouragement to each other.
We Queens know what we know. And we know a great deal. Our experience has made us wise. So, feel free to consult with our cyber council/counsel when you are need of sage advice or wish to explore a particular topic of interest.
I received this letter from a sister Queen who desperately needs advice and encouragement. Please send your responses to her sad situation. She is clearly in need of some Self-loving energy.
I am a 53-year old woman, almost a Queen, then dethroned by depression. After starting meds I felt wonderful, until my dysfunctional family brought me down to my knees. Once again I am a serf. I have left my phone off the hook lately, and it helps. I have the dearest pets. They are all I have and I am grateful for them and treat them like kings and queens. Maybe one day I can get my mojo back. If I succeed, I promise I will never take shit from anyone again. My gloves are off.
Hello, dear Queen,
Thank you for your courage in sharing your sadness. It is good that you have decided to protect your space and peace of mind by not answering the phone. But by keeping it off the hook, you are also isolating yourself from anyone else who might be trying to reach you. Perhaps you might consider getting an answering device so that you can accept or delete your messages at will.
I am glad that you have animals to love and to love you. They are such a joyful source of unconditional love and affection. I do hope that some of the articles in this Self-Love issue will inspire you to shower your Self with the support and appreciation that you crave. Try to give your Self some of that same Queenly treatment.
I also hope that the readers of The Queen's Chronicles who might share your situation will offer you advice and encouragement based on their own experiences with depression.
In the meantime, I offer you blessings of Self-love to sustain you,
xxQueen Mama Donna
Come on, Queens. Tell us! How do you shower your Self with love?
I would love to continue this thread of discussion. Please send your ideas, opinions and personal experiences about any aspect of women and power.
Please send your questions or responses to: email@example.com
Your letters will be printed in the next Queen's Chronicles.
The Queen's Correspondence
Thanks so much for taking the time to respond to The Queen's Chronicles.
Please keep your comments coming. And do feel free to make suggestions about content you would like to see. Or anything else, for that matter. It is a joy to connect with you.
Letters In Response to the December 2011 Issue:
Loved your newsletter, as usual, my dear. Just a note on Etta - saw a little piece in the paper the other day that she is very ill and possibly near her transition. Sending a Queenly blessing to her. I was blessed with seeing her live years ago at the Botanical Gardens in Denver - what a powerful woman!!!!!!!! I carry the depth of her power and love within ever since. Truly a Queen!
Yes, I agree, building the New Earth this winter (the feminine void) is so important, as we prepare to burst forth in the spring with new foundations, new structures, and new forces of love and oneness that this planet has not seen in quite a long time! The Divine Feminine rises with dignity, wisdom, truth and harmony for all. 2012 is the year of the dragon (lady), in a good way, of course!
- Cynthia, HI
Etta James died on January 20, 2012, just 5 days before her 74th birthday. Please see her obituary after The CIrcle of Concern in this issue.
Great issue! Loved that Koko Taylor was included. So sad about Etta James. Listening to her now.
- Diane, NY
I absolutely loved the article about women blues musicians. I love the blues and used to sing them in a local band. I also really enjoyed seeing the video of your grandmother playing blues guitar. She's really good!
- Mona, IN
That blues guitar-playing grandmother is really great, but she is not my grandma. This video was on YouTube and whoever posted it called it "My Grandmother."
Another wonderful issue! Today I listened to a VHS of Simon & Garfunkel in Central Park in 1982. Thought you would like to be reminded of the first line of "The Sound of Silence": "Hello Darkness, my old friend!"
- Queen Karen, NJ
Winter's darkness has never been my friend, though I know people who revel in it, mostly those who read voraciously, or quilt, or ski. Every year I try to make the best of it, but in part through your writings I am coming to see the dark times as a time gestation of ideas and respite for body, and a time to indulge my love of making things. So off I go to try again, maybe I should add sleeping and day dreaming to my to do list also.
- Lorraine, PA
I enjoyed reading your intro (Hail Queens). Very thoughtful and feels true. We don't really have much of a place for darkness in our culture, except in the dark and denied. Nice to let the darkness, and sadness, have some heart light. Om shanti,
- Amy, NY
I think you are right. We women sure do know how to sing the blues! I really relate to that. What an exquisite way of working through troubles, pain, and disappointment. Wish I had a better voice! Thank you for such a moving Chronicles.
- Devorah, OR
It's so great to be a boomer woman. There is so much I want to do, share, and learn during the second half of my life. The Queen's Chronicles inspire me to reach out and live big. Thank you for the monthly encouragement.
- Jennifer, Australia
Thanks for always being an inspiration to so many of us with all that you do.
- Hilary, BC, Canada
I so enjoy reading your monthly Queen's Chronicles!
- Hemetra, PA
Thank you for all your wise writings. I really appreciate them, the details, the research you do, and how you weave it all together.
- Jayne, NJ
Very nice articles, Mama Donna, as always.
- Janet, CT
Letters in Response to the November 2011 Issue:
Thank you Mama Donna for all that you do. I look forward to reading The Queens Chronicles for the wonderful positive energy. Please let your Queens know that there are a few of us Kings who also experience the empty nest problem. We need guidance and understanding also at this time in our lives. A male is supposed to be strong and not let those 'little things' bother him. A caring sensitive male is often at a loss because we don't fit in to what society views as the 'normal' male. I am separated, retired, and my children have long since gone, and I, too, feel the pain of the empty nest.
- Steven, WA
Please send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your letters will be printed in the next Queen's Chronicles.
We extend hearty congratulations to our multi-talented circle of Sister Queens for their impressive accomplishments and successes.
To love what you do and feel that it matters - how could anything be more fun?
Robin Bady, NY; Alessandra Belloni, NJ; Lynn Book, NC; Janet Carter, NY; Amanda Gordon, NY; Marcy Gordon, NY; Barbara Hammer, NY; Julir Harrison, NY; Carol Tandava Henning, NY; Krissy Keefer, CA; Annie Lanzillotto, NY; Stephanie Skura, NY; Ekere Tallie, NY; and Debra Wanner, NY; on their performances and/or performances of their work.
Barbara Carellas, NY, Ecstasy is Necessary (Book); Anne Crosma, AZ, The New Immigrants (Book); and Suzanne Hosang, FL, An Awakening, Mapping Your Dream, Volume I (Book); on their new publications.
Helčne Aylon, NY; Janet Culbertson, NY; Lauren Curtis, NJ; Cheri Gaulke, CA; Susan Grabel, NY; Julie Harrison, NY; Bonnie Sherk, CA; Linda Stein, NY; Robin Tewes, NY; Mierle Laderman Ukeles, NY; Linda Vallejo, CA; and Martha Wilson, NY; on the exhibitions of their artwork.
Sharon Mesmer, NY, on her new home.
Annie Lanzillotto, NY, on receiving the John & Roise Petracca & Family Award.
Send your good news, achievements, accomplishments, successes and celebrations so that our international circle of sovereign sisters can send you blessings and accolades.
And we are glad to so. It is a joy and a privilege to share in the fortune of another woman. I recently heard Oprah say the saddest thing ever - "The hardest thing about being successful is having someone to be glad for you."
It takes a centered and confident Queen to break that pattern. There are 60 million thrones out there. One for each of us. There is plenty of purpose, passion and power for us all. May we use it well!
It is important that you recognize your progress and take pride in your accomplishments. Share your achievements with others. Brag a little. The recognition and support of those around you is nurturing.
- Rosemarie Rossetti
Please Offer Your Purest Thoughts, Your Heart-Felt Prayers, Your Great Good Feelings, And Your Very Best Blessings For Healing and Peace of Mind To:
Adrianne, NY; Alison, TN; Amy, NY; Bebee, DE; Berenice, NY; Betty, AL; Chrissie, NY; Dana, CA; Dani, WI; Dominique, NM; Dee, NY; Erica, New Zealand; Glenys, Australia; Joanne, CA; Jo, AZ; Judith, NY; Karen, NJ; Kathleen, PA; Kay, NY; Kazuko, NY; Kimi, NJ; Lorie, KY; Lydia, CO; Lisa, PA; Lucia, TX; Mari, VA; Mary, MD; Naomi, DC; Pat, MA; Patsy, NY; Pearl, NY; Randi, NY; Ruth, NY; Sandi, NY; Sandy, CA; Sheryll, CA; Shirley, IN; Sherli, CA; Sid, PA; Smriti, CA; Susan, MA; Susan, NC; Terri, FL; Wicki, NY; and Yvette, NY; who are in the process of healing themselves from illness, accident, injury or surgery.
Amy, NY; D. Barbara, NY; Kimberly, NY; Kimi, NJ; Linda, NY; Linda, NY; Maureen, NY; Meryl, NY; Dee, NY; Patricia, Australia; and Regi, CA who would benefit greatly from some spiritual support.
Ali, VT; Annie, NY; Chrys, NY; Deni, NY; Erica, New Zealand; Gail, NY; Kathrine, Denmark; Lois, NY; Marla, NY; Nancy, NC; Roslyn, NJ; and Sharon, FL; the caregivers who are in weary need of care themselves.
May Their Spirits Rest in Peace:
Paula Frances Arnold, NC
Deedy Breed, FL Ocean Breeze, CA
Gayle Clark, MD
Barbara Ettelbrick, NY
Frimette Louise Griffin, FL
Kelly Holland, OR
Etta James, CA
Michele McKee, NY
Loretta Mims, LA
Kerstin Monroe, MI
Sybil Shane, CA
Linda Wilson, AR
With Heartfelt Condolences:
Sally DuPlaix, MA
Margaret Flanagan, NY
Marianne Haggerty, NY
Milagra Holland, OR
Myeba Holland, OR
Elizabeth Kadetsky, NY
Jill Kadetsky, NY
Miriam Linna, NY
Courtney Monroe, MI
Marcy Neumann, AZ
Christine Pattee, CT
Maryanne Powers, FL
Deborah Rose, AR
Wendy Seibert, LA
Rachel Tuckman, MD
Terry Tuckman, MD
So many gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind,
Is all this sad world needs.
- Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Please send your requests for physical and spiritual healing and positive energy so that the powerful women of The Queen's Court might send their prayers and blessings to you in your time of need.
Farewell to a Queen of the Blues
In the Black and Blues issue of The Queen's Chronicles I highlighted Etta James as a Blues luminary. The lady sang the blues from the depths of her soul. She lived the blues, too, and unfortunately, the blues ultimately did her in. She died last month at the age of 73.
She was born Jamesette Hawkins in Los Angeles to a low life mother - a scam artist, drunk, and junky - who was never there during her youth. She never knew her father, but the word was that he was Minnesota Fats, the famous billiards player.
Etta's spirit was saucy and restless and could not be contained. She was a rebel and a hell-raiser who had troubled and raucous relationships with her family, the men in her life, and the music industry.
"The bad girls ... had the look that I liked," she wrote in her 1995 autobiography, Rage to Survive. "I wanted to be rare, I wanted to be noticed, I wanted to be exotic as a Cotton Club chorus girl, and I wanted to be obvious as the most flamboyant hooker on the street. I just wanted to be."
Despite her success, she suffered from low Self-esteem and battled drug addiction for many years. Her struggle with that heroin demon sucked her dry and dissipated her tremendous talent. "My management was suffering. My career was in the toilet. People tried to help, but I was hell-bent on getting high," she wrote of her drug habit in 1980.
She also struggled with her weight, and had to perform from a wheelchair when she got older and heavier. In the early 2000s, she had weight-loss surgery and shed some 200 pounds.
After decades, she finally overcame her drug habit and resurrected her career, performing into her last years. Her final triumph came when President and Michelle Obama danced to her iconic hit, "At Last" at the Inauguration Ball. But that sweet victory was sullied by her being snubbed when the tune was performed instead by superstar Beyoncé.
Oh, Etta. If only you could have come to love your Self as you were loved by your fans.
It was because of your email that I attended Menopause the Magical Teleconference. I was humbled by the experience. You were fabulous and I really, really heard your message. One million thanks.
I especially resonated with your story about entering a packed subway as The Queen of Self Esteem who loves her Self. Loved it! (Did you hear me roar?)
Here's my subway story. (I lived in NYC for 40 years until I recently said goodbye to Mayor Bloomberg and moved to Philly).
I enter the subway and sit across from a fine looking light brown-skinned gentlemen. I decide to bathe in the beauty of this man and did the once over starting from his shoes and noticing each detail. When my eyes reached his, I heard myself say "busted". Ok whatever.
We happen to get off at the same stop. As we stood shoulder to shoulder before the doors opened at Grand Central Station, I turned to him and said, "Every day I fall in love with something or someone. Today I choose you!"
That started a sweet relationship that taught and still teaches me a hell-of-a-lot about speaking my truth.
- Irma, PA
Please Submit Your Royal Reports. Tell us about your Self and/or your Queen Group: Who, what, where, when, why? What Queenly topics do you explore?
What projects do you engage in? Describe some golden moments.
It is my hope that as more and more women rise to reign in the fullest potential of our supremacy, we will harness our purpose, passion, and power and direct it toward creating a more balanced and peaceful world. This is the legacy of Her majesty.
Midlife Crisis into
Your Crowning Achievement!