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#72053 - 12/05/04 10:39 PM Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
Dotsie Offline

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Ladies, I want to introduce Daphne Steven to you. She has posted in our forums in the past, but it's been some time. Since I read her book, Watercolor Bedroom: Creating a Soulful Midlife, I've wanted to invite her aboard. I thought the holiday season might be a good time for her to be among us. In addition to chatting about her book she can help keep us sane during the holiday season.

Here's some information about Daphne and her book. I hope you'll come back and converse with her soon.

Daphne’s a psychotherapist and life coach who has written extensively on feminine spirituality. In her book she shares a peek into her life as wife, friend, mother, daughter, and grandmother. You’ll see yourself among the pages and embrace her spirit for life. The Questions for Reflection at the end of each chapter were most helpful. Thanks to Daphne I learned things about myself that have been waiting to be discovered for years. I guess I’m glad for my new discoveries. Some hurt, but it’s still a good thing.

Daphne will help us have a stress free holiday season and teach us how to care for ourselves. Visit her site if you’re interested in ordering her book.

Continue reading to learn more about her book.

Midlife is an invitation to move into the center of life. More than a transition, it is a time of deep initiation, of claiming our wisdom, and of stepping into our authority as co-creators of our lives and shapers of the world. In fifty-two short chapters, Daphne Stevens offers pithy insights about coming of age, letting go of the things that no longer serve us, and creating a vision for the second half of our lives. Through Daphne's personal story, glimpses drawn from mythology and religion, and suggestions for self-exploration and journaling, this book will encourage and companion you in embracing the grand adventure of midlife.

"I wish I could spirit my way into every home and place this book onto the table. In Dr. Stevens' presence, the soul breathes more spaciously. We touch the deeper mysteries of everyday experience, see our own problems in a friendlier light, and find the gentle comfort that only her Watercolor Bedroom can offer."

--Dianne Skafte, Ph.D.
Listening to the Oracle (HarperSanFrancisco)
Depth Psychology Chair (retired), Pacifica Graduate Institute

"What a delightful, personal, nurturing peek into one woman's journey of creating a life that fits for her—a truly comforting, wise Grandmother God life. A blend of A Room of One's Own and The Woman's Comfort Book. I enjoyed it immensely."
--Jennifer Louden
Comfort Secrets for Busy Women (HarperSanFrancisco)
creator, www.comfort

"Daphne Stevens' wisdom echoes long after reading this book. Like a pioneer, she has mapped a new journey into midlife for women—one of adventure, hope, and self-renewal."
--Lisa Groen Braner
The Mother's Book of Well-Being (Conari Press)

#72054 - 12/05/04 10:57 PM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
Daphne Offline

Registered: 07/30/04
Posts: 40
Loc: Macon, GA
Hello ladies,

First, Dotsie, thanks much for your introduction, and for the honor of being your holiday Featured Author. It's always fun to hear what your forum participants are thinking, and I'll look forward to exploring any issues that come up in response to the holidays, my book, midlife--or most anything else for that matter.

Let's hear it for staying sane in December!


#72055 - 12/05/04 11:34 PM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
smilinize Offline

Registered: 11/08/03
Posts: 3512
Loc: outer space
I for one can use all the help we can get with sanity this month.
Any special tips for midlife Christmasing. Like, how does it differ from previous Christmases? Socially, financially, hormonally, and other ways?

#72056 - 12/06/04 06:16 AM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
Daphne Offline

Registered: 07/30/04
Posts: 40
Loc: Macon, GA
I enjoyed your web site! A great thing for women to share history through theatre--and you have great variety of production choices too.

How does midlife Christmasing differ from other times? As the "sandwich generation," we're sometimes challenged to take on more. We're less energetic than we were in our twenties and thirties--and we often have symptoms of menopause like "cottonhead" and depression and fatigue and so on. Since our financial resources are often greater, we're sometimes expected to do more, too. But our salvation is this: We're also more mature in our thinking. We can say "Enough! Let's make some conscious choices this year." Or, at least, "I'm making sane choices this year for myself."

I personally decide each year how I'll celebrate Advent, since that's my tradition. Some of it is overtly spiritual, like going to church Sundays and walking and meditating in the mornings. Some of it is just taking better care of myself: One year I scheduled regular massages in December. Another year I avoided eating sugar between Thanksgiving and Christmas (hard to do during the Eating Season--but I sure felt better that year.) This year, I got my gifts bought and wrapped by Thanksgiving Day, so I'm avoiding trips to the mall. Just making a choice every year helps me stay out of the holiday "autopilot" mode.

At midlife we're hopefully less prone to get into competitions about who can cook the most or decorate the best or whatever else. Some years we do the whole baking thing--it's fun to make gingerbread houses with grandchildren--but we do it because it's fun, and not because we have to. Other years, we might decide not to do a particular thing. (Decorating a Christmas tree might be mandatory when we have kids at home, but not so important when we're in midlife.)

But I'm curious about how other people cope. What do you do to stay low-key during the holidays?

#72057 - 12/06/04 08:50 AM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
Pam Kimmell Offline

Registered: 01/27/04
Posts: 1423
Loc: Warrenton, Virginia
Hi Daphne - it's nice to have you here! To answer the question about mid-life and the holidays....just in the last couple of years have I accepted that I don't have the energy I had when I was younger and I've slowed myself down. No more frantic last minute shopping; no more cooking huge meals with 7 different vegetables and two or three entrees. NOPE! I've cut back and decided to really enjoy the holiday spirit. I let people bring a dish along when they come for a large group meal here, and like you have done I've shopped earlier so I'm not out in the crowds.

I'm still doing all the things I've always done - but I've "scaled back" it seems I have more time to really ENJOY the holidays! [Big Grin]

#72058 - 12/06/04 10:54 AM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
Welcome! I think having you here with us this month is going to be so enlightening and I'm really excited about you joining us.

I like everything you describe for your idea of a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas, but I have to say that for some of us, some of the things you've offered are not possible....what then? I know I cannot go out and buy everything ahead of schedule, for instance. I've tried buying through out the year and I felt this lack of joy when buying something. It's kind of hard to think "christmas" in June...

Of course I think you're saying we should make our own choices and ones that enhance our enjoyment of the holidays, and don't give in to the ones that we did in the past, the ones that were forced upon us....and this is all great, but sometimes outside factors dictate or limit us. Like time, money...just for starters.

I guess I'm playing the devil's advocate here...

your thoughts?


#72059 - 12/06/04 10:56 AM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
p.s. What's "cottonhead?" Is that where we eat our young? If so, I'm all for it...

Am I going thru menopause? Why yes, how did you know?


#72060 - 12/06/04 11:25 AM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
Sher Offline

Registered: 08/09/04
Posts: 242
Loc: Midwest
You know, I remember thinking in my twenties that going through menopause would be wonderful. Putting a stop to periods would be worth anything I had to go through, I reasoned.

And now here I am at forty, in what the doctor lovingly calls premature ovarian failure, feeling like "old age" has just been dumped in my lap. I'm not very excited about the whole thing.

So much of who I am has been called into question since this diagnosis. Not by anyone on the ouside, but by me. Every day that I swallow my estrogen with my morning coffee, I'm reminded that I'm different now. And I haven't yet determined exactly what that is going to mean.

It's hard to do this with a ten-year-old at home. We've had to have discussions about hormones and moods and I hate it. I chart my moods, my hot flashes, my appetite and everything in between so that I can begin to control this thing somehow. When I notice that I have had a wonderful day, with clear thinking and no evil mood swings, I feel so thankful I can't even tell you.

I surely didn't mean to vent here. I guess I'm sort of tired of pretending like this is ok with me, when it's not ok with me at all. Even though I have to put on this show for everyone in my life, I know I'm safe here to be honest.

#72061 - 12/06/04 01:28 PM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
Daphne Offline

Registered: 07/30/04
Posts: 40
Loc: Macon, GA
Pam--I've done the same thing. I rarely cook a full meal during the holidays, unless it's something that can be thrown in the crock-pot. Then I send my husband or one of the kids out for salad stuff and pull out some bread from the freezer to make a meal.

One of my clients had her kids sign up for what they wanted to cook this Thanksgiving. She bought the groceries, and they all gathered in the kitchen Thursday morning. The all had a great time, and she didn't feel exhausted at the end of the day.

JJ--thanks for playing devil's advocate. (As I recall, you're a Georgia girl, too, and we truth-telling Southerners have to keep eachother in line.) I myself get tired of "experts" making glib suggestions about how to have a stress-free holiday. They probably have a big staff or lots of money to execute their ideas--I don't, although I have a husband who cooks, and I have more time than I did when I was younger.

I've tried it all--buying Christmas in June (less than inspired, and at this stage of life, I forget what I've bought and end up buying twice!), fighting the crowds in one massive December shopping trip one year, and doing it in November like we did last month. The point is not to go on autopilot. Autopilot--that numb, duty-bound trudging forward that turns us into exhausted victims--is a significant symptom of burnout. And when we get burned out, we get sick, physically and/or mentally. At the very least we get just plain resentful. It feeds into menopausal symptoms, including "cottonhead," which is Marian McCain's (author of Elderwoman) word--that confused, disoriented sense of overwhelm that is characteristic of PMS and midlife.

You're right--we can't re-do November. But we can check in with ourselves day by day. This week I've decided to scratch going to a midweek party that seemed like an option a month ago. I'm just too tired after the weekend--and determined to get rested up for a full weekend coming up. I'm re-focusing on the reality that mine is not a cookie-cutter family, and we don't have to do things the same way every year. (In fact, my mother is in the severe stage of Alzheimer's, so my family of origin is pulling together in more real ways than in our "cookie cutter days.") The "But we've done it this way every year!" syndrome is draining--every Christmas is different.

The other thing that helps me is to schedule some time--my work allows me to take a week--after Christmas to recover. During that week, my husband and I take naps, go to the movies, read, and do what's pleasurable. Just anticipating that break ahead can get me through some hectic days. But you're right, JJ--not everything works for everybody.

Sher--Premature ovarian syndrome must be hard. It's struggle enough to be around fifty and dealing with teenagers and menopause symptoms. When were you diagnosed? I hope you're getting the support you need to deal with whatever grief that's there. It's an insult to gulp hormones so early--yet it forces the issue of learning to honor the body and listen to yourself day by day. Menopause requires that we spin a cocoon in order to undergo the transformation of this time of life. That's real hard when you're still facing the demands of school functions, driving children to meet appointments, etc.--and especially hard if you're daughter is getting into puberty herself. I hope you're able to enlist some support and just let this year be what it wants to be. Glad you're in this particular group.

#72062 - 12/06/04 02:28 PM Re: Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. soulful midlife
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
Is this woman a blessing or what? I for one am so thankful you are here. I see that you completely understand where we're coming from and that helps so much when reading your explanations.

Thanks for being here and just fyi...I'm from Alabama, my real name is Georgia and I think people just get that confused. No prob....Southern is Southern, am I right?

I think what you do after the holidays is absolutely wonderful. I dream of doing things like that. But when you are a single-income family, it's tuff to do without a week's pay...however, you have inspired me to do two things...

1) Read your book
2) Make a new goal for next year of a week off after the holidays. I will have to prepare for it, but it is VERY do-able (is that a word?). I can't think of a better way to start off the new year!

Okay, so keep posting. I'm listening...I'm listening!


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