You need only to
claim the events of your life
to make yourself yours. When you truly possess
all you have been and done, which may take some time,
you are fierce with reality.
American/Scot psychologist and writer (1884-1968)
When I started introducing the
Queen in workshops and articles as a helpful archetype
for midlife women, I received many requests for detailed
instructions on how to become
a Queen. "Dear Mama Donna," women would write, "I want to
be a Queen, too. How do
I access my power? How can I feel good about myself? How
do I change my life? How
do I find magic and spiritual wisdom? How do I know what
to do? How do I learn how
The reality is that I cannot possibly know how anyone else
will attain her Queendom. I only know how I came into mine,
and that is largely through hindsight. The truth, my truth,
at least, is that there is no one truth. We must each find
our own way in this world. As a shaman, I teach through
example, but not through dictum. I can and do offer information,
exposure, personal experience, encouragement, inspiration,
suggestions and support to my constituents, but I cannot
— dare not — pass judgment or establish rules
and laws. It is simply not for me to say.
When my students and clients come to me for help and spiritual
guidance, I listen to their concerns and embrace their needs.
I pat them on the back, give them a good, swift kick in
the butt, or let them cry on my shoulder, as needed. I can
tell them what I did in such and such situation, how I did
it, what I learned from this or that lesson, but I cannot
tell them what they should do. How do I know what their
souls need? Only they know what they know. I can, of course,
aid them in reaching into the well of their own deepest
wisdom, and help them to hear the messages from their best
inner Selves. A woman who has attended several of my workshops
recently hugged me and told me that I had changed her life.
"Well, no, of course, I didn't, honey," I assured her. "You
changed your own life." The fact of the matter remains that
I could not give her what was not already hers.
You take your life
in your own hands, and what happens?
A terrible thing: no one to blame.
American writer (1942-)
Each one of us has a story, a myth, a legend to write, to
paint — and to live. The shamanic assumption from which
I operate is that every person has her own mission in this
lifetime: her own path, her own dreams, her own symbols and
sensibilities, her own visions and designs, her own way of
learning, her own personalized hard-won lessons. That we each
have our own singular life to live. That every one of us must
figure out for ourselves the fullest, richest, most effective,
ethical, and satisfying way in which to do it; and moreover,
that each and every one of us possesses the wisdom, the power,
and the responsibility to make it so.
The story of our lives is ours to create. We can design our
own roles and ideals, compose the scripts, and author the
sagas of our own futures and that of the environment around
us. While we cannot necessarily control the circumstances
and influences that present themselves to us in the course
of living, we can choose how we will respond to them when
they do arise. Our power of choice is our sole control in
the world. With each new paragraph, each turn of the page,
each new dawn, each moment in time, each blink of the eye,
we are gifted with another opportunity to exercise our right
to choose. Coffee or tea? Lemon or milk? Right or left? Stairs
or elevator? Vacuum? Vote? Cheat? Trust? Care? Dare? Change?
What paths we take, what decisions we make influence how the
story will proceed and who we will be from this day forth.
As George Eliot reminds us, "The strongest principle of growth
lies in human choice."
The difficult times that we encounter in our lives might tempt
us to dull our senses and opt out of any upsetting experiences,
choosing not to let things "get to us." We often try to ignore
the hard parts — pain, fear, guilt, grief, confusion,
anger, and disappointment — dilute their impact, drown
them out in an endless list of pleasurable addictions: soporifics,
anesthetics, mood enhancers, caffeine, food, hormones. We
can even turn ourselves off altogether. The point is we don't
have to engage in the emotional upheaval. Nobody is making
us. We could choose to drink cabernet and watch Public Television,
play cards, play it safe, every night for the rest of our
lives if we wanted to. It is an option. It is ultimately up
to us whether we succumb to the unexamined life or try to
figure out what the hell is going on inside us and around
us, and engage in it, alter, change, and grow with it, so
that we might fulfill our greatest destiny and dreams.
If you have made
mistakes, even serious mistakes,
there is always another chance for you.
And supposing you have tried and failed again and again,
you may have a fresh start any moment you choose,
for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down,
but the staying down.
Canadian-born American actress &
Co-founder of United Artists
At midlife, we are at a major crossroads in our lives, and
we can choose to move ahead, turn right or left, stay where
we are, or go back where we came from. The Queen chooses always
to choose, to involve Herself fully in the process of Her
life and living, and to actively direct the drama of Her myth.
She urges us take up the challenges of changing,
of aging, engaging in all that life has to offer. And She
reminds us to look upon the difficulties, disruptions, disappointments,
fears, and failures we have experienced as important life
lessons, without which we could never hope to ascend to a
throne of responsibility and rule. She encourages us to entertain
the entire palette of our emotions, for there is where we
find our strength and knowledge and true value. Some things
in life just have to be learned the hard way and evading them
is counter-productive and eventually destructive. The only
way to get
through them is to go
through them. There is
a wonderful old African-American Spiritual that says, "So
high, you can't get over it.
So low, you can't get under it. So wide you can't get around
it. You gotta go through
I postpone death
by living, by suffering, by error,
by risking, by giving, by losing.