Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and sixtieth, is of non-fiction author Jennifer Boire. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Author Jennifer Boire, MA, has published two books of poetry and survived menopause while shepherding two pre-teens through puberty. She has been blogging about menopause and mid-life since 2006 (over 50,000 hits). In her research and many interviews, she discovered what women need to hear most is that they are not going crazy.
She leads Creative Journaling classes and retreats for women at mid-life to help them cultivate faith in their inner resources.
To-dated her books published are… non-fiction: The Tao of Turning Fifty; Little Red Bird Press, 2012; poetry: For the Birds, Little Red Bird Press, 2011; Little Mother, poems and birth journal, Hochelaga Press, Montreal, 1997. CD Holding the song, poems; chapbook, A Place of Trees (story of Eve reimagined). Her website is www.jenniferboire.com.
After dropping out of university in Radio and TV Arts at age 19, Boire went back to school after getting married (age 30) to garner a B.A. then a M.A. in English, Creative Writing in Montreal. Despite wanting children right away, it took seven years for this gift to come along; in the same year she started the Master’s degree. Mothering full-time, studying/teaching part-time, and writing poetry in the wee hours while breastfeeding, taught her the value of women’s friendship and support. Becoming a mother was fraught with difficult emotions. Her first published book of poems, Little Mother, addressed the light and dark side of mothering, her childhood and her mother’s alcoholism.
Hit by a tsunami of hormones and emotions again at menopause, Boire began blogging about her findings on the mind-body connection and the healing journey of this rite of passage. Dr. Christiane Northrup’s book, The Wisdom of Menopause had a huge impact on her, as well as several of Joan Borysenko’s books on handling transitions and preventing burn-out. Observing several women friends handle burn-out and recovery, and the effect this had on their health at menopause, also motivated her to write a book. It became clear that, in spite of all the medical information available, very little was written about how to handle the emotional changes surging at peri-menopause. And how the medical profession barely recognizes that this period lasting 7-10 years before official menopause even exists. She already knew the value of her women’s circle, of women getting together to share their thoughts and feelings, and feeling seen and heard on this passage through mid-life.
Teaching journaling classes for women since 1999 also showed her that the best way to present this information was through offering women a workbook where they could sit and reflect on some simple writing prompts, and find their own inner guidance. Journaling is a proven tool for self-discovery and healing, as well as a great way to cultivate your inner knowing.
Dr James Pennebaker, a professor in the Department of Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin and author of several books, including “Opening Up” and “Writing to Heal,” is a pioneer in the study of using expressive writing as a route to healing.
“When people are given the opportunity to write about emotional upheavals, they often experience improved health,” Pennebaker says. “They go to the doctor less. They have changes in immune function. If they are first-year college students, their grades tend to go up. People will tell us months afterward that it’s been a very beneficial experience for them.” https://www.utexas.edu/features/2005/writing/
The Tao of Turning Fifty grew out of research done for her blog, and interviews with women approaching or already past menopause. Boire describes her own experience, as a momentous psychic shift, much more than just hot flashes and low libido. Her goal is to let every woman in her forties know what is coming at mid-life and menopause so that they can educate themselves, as well as prepare for this important rite of passage.
While this is not a medical book; it does address the symptoms, the hot flashes etc. But mostly it addresses the emotional terrain, the rollercoaster of feelings a woman goes through in peri-menopause. It is a much-needed heads-up, or wake-up call for every woman in her forties who is not even thinking that menopause is just around the corner. As a workbook, readers can journal along with, it is unique. And the relaxation and centering exercises are very empowering.
The Tao of Turning Fifty addresses women who feel overwhelmed at mid-life. With gentle humour, Boire offers insight on matters such as Feeling like You’re Going Crazy, Finding Time Alone, Learning How to Say No and Where Did my Libido Go, along with relaxation exercises and tips to develop better self-care habits. “Don’t wait for a breakdown”, she advices, “a broken leg or a break-up, to thrust you into self-care mode… treat your Self with tenderness and compassion.”
And now from the author herself: