A Long, Slow Summer

cc Robert Couse-Baker

I wish for you a slow, slumbering summer (or winter, if you’re on that side of our planet). A time of deep rest and recuperation. If that isn’t possible for you right now, I hope that you can take the moments when you find them, and allow them to bring you a deep peace.

I find myself moving more slowly this summer. And, even though I launched a new company, I’m not rushing anywhere.

Every weekday morning begins with swim team. I’ve been a swim team mom for seventeen summers now, and my last teenage son is still hanging in there. But I’m very aware that this could be his last summer on the team, and so I’m particularly relishing the early trips to practice and the driving from pool to pool.

I sense that this is the last summer my middle son will want to spend at home as well. He has rented a year-long apartment for college this coming year and wants to stay on campus next summer and find work in town.

So, this will be the last summer of figuring out interesting ways to feed my vegetarian middle child and cart him from place to place. I have to admit it’s been a colossal pain in many ways, but as the weeks have rolled by, I find myself becoming more mindful and deeply appreciative as I do my mothering chores.

It’s all gone by so quickly.
And there just isn’t that much work left to do.

I also have a grown son who is grown, so I am aware that the mothering job is never done.

But it shifts.
Everything shifts.

Everything beautiful shifts. Everything difficult shifts.

If. You. Let. It.

Holding on is what causes the pain in our lives.
So, today, on this gray summer morning, I invite you to take a good look at your life and see where you struggle to hold to what you hold dear when what you really need to do is let it go.

It’s a risk, I realize. It might not come back. Or, it will come back in a new form and maybe that frightens you a bit.

But letting go opens beautiful space in your life, love. And blessings are waiting in line to find a path to Beautiful You.

So, if you can, let us know what you can let go of today in our comments below.

With deep love and appreciation,


photo: Robert Couse-Baker, flicker

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A Report from the Bottom

Fran Taylor

I’m changing my life. I hit bottom a couple of months ago with my “business” and gave myself notice.

I quit.

I couldn’t take the pushing.

I love Life After Tampons, and I know that you do, too. But all the shape-shifting in the world was not going to make it my life’s work.

I think it’s supposed to be something different than that.

Now, as far as life “bottoms” go, this was a blip. I mean, truly, I’ve held one of my children while she died.

Nothing trumps that.

And that, my love, is the first gift of Rock Bottom. When you hit the bottom, you got nowhere to go. There is no bargaining, deal-making, or manipulating that you can try that will “get you out of it.”

You have to sit with the suck.

But, if you do that, if you have NO OTHER CHOICE than to do that, you get the greatest gifts you can imagine.

You get the gift of the RISE.

And, here at Life After Tampons, we are Women Who Rise.

I allowed myself the “failure,” I allowed myself the death of my dream, I cried a lot, but I also made space for hope to reappear.

And, of course, it did — because the roots of hope are firmly planted in the bedrock of your greatness.

And your greatness begins at the bottom.

Here are some things to try when you hit Rock Bottom:

  1. Stay There – Don’t try to move too quickly. Actually, if you’re truly at Rock Bottom, you won’t have any other choice. You will have been slapped into stillness.
  2. Take Care of Yourself – Breathe. Eat well. Move your body. Restt.
  3. Wait for It – Slowly inspiration will appear. In my case a whole lot of “coincidences” came together. I had subbed for a flute player in a local orchestra and that turned into a full time gig! Now, playing in an orchestra has been a life-long dream of mine. Forty-two years after first putting the instrument together, my dream has come true!
  4. Accept Yourself – As much as I want to be a delicate flower of a “spiritual” person, it seems that my truest gifts are just kind of completely earthly. I’m a genius in the kitchen. I’m pretty good at putting ideas to paper. And, if I get up on a platform to speak, I’m gonna take you on a magical roller coaster ride through laughter, tears, and back.


But I’m NOT a tiny little yogini radiantly gliding through life.

I’m more of a blue-collar guru. My Pop Pop was a butcher. I’m the first person in the history of our family to go to college. I have size 10 feet.

I’m kind of clunky.

And I’ve survived an awful lot. I’m far from the most-damaged person who has ever lived. But I KNOW about the fall – and the RISE.

And that is where my new work seems to be taking me.

More on that soon.

In the meantime, I did want to share that I’ve created a new little offering for people who want to troubleshoot an area or two of concern in their lives. If you got trouble, you can check it out over on my Jennifer Boykin site.

Here’s the link.

Love, Jen

photo: Fran Taylor, flickr

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Father’s Day for Fatherless Daughters

Me, young, with treats

I hate Father’s Day.

Every year I get to look at all of your happy pictures and words of adoration on Facebook and try to prove to myself that I’m a good person by pretending to be happy for all of you.

But I’m not really happy.

I’m pissed.

It’s kind of like when my baby died and I had a really hard time seeing all the happily pregnant women who still had living babies.

It wasn’t just the surviving pregnancies that pushed my envy button. It was that I had been robbed of my own innocence.

I could never have another wonder-filled pregnancy. Because I knew what it felt like to give birth and then hold your baby while she died.

Watching everyone else celebrate Father’s Day is a lot like that.

I’m a grown up. I’m supposed to “get over it” and be happy for all the rest of you. But I’m really and truly ANGRY at all the innocence that those who have had fathers get to feel.

You get to feel a safety and love that I have never known – that I can’t even imagine.

Or at least that’s what it looks like from this side of the celebration.

As I get older, some of my friends are now grieving fathers who have recently died. And, while I feel empathy for their pain, I also have a hard time relating.

I mean, at least you got the man for your whole damn life.

I got a sperm.

That’s what I told my mom once when she referred to my father as “my father.”

“I didn’t get a father,” I said. “I got a sperm.”

I know it’s harsh, and somewhat offensive. But it’s also the truth. Besides, what’s even more offensive is to raise yourself in a fatherless world.

When you are a fatherless daughter, you never really know what protection feels like. That means you have to defend yourself all the time.

Thus, you live defended.

When you are a fatherless daughter, no one teaches you how to live successfully with other men.

This complicates every male relationship you will ever have your whole life.

When you are a fatherless daughter, and you have sorrow in your life, you never have strength and protection to turn to for solace.

You life your whole life unprotected.

There is no man to go to for wisdom. Thus, you develop unevenly. You are skewed toward the Fierce Feminine, and that is not such a bad thing, except for this:

You live your whole life braced for trouble. And, if you are not careful, you can get really really bitter and resentful of all men.

If you don’t want this to happen, you have to do “your work.” Uck.

What this means is that you have to spend years and thousands and thousands of dollars talking to professionals about “abandonment issues.”

It’s not fair it’s not fair it’s not fair.

I know. Life isn’t fair.

And I’m supposed to balance this essay out by sharing with you all the mitigating factors – all the “goodies” you get because you are a fatherless daughter.

I could tell you that I’m strong as shit. But really, if you scratch past the outer veneer of that strength, what you find is a whole lot of protected vulnerability.

When you live in a fatherless world, it’s easy to live in a hyper-vigilant state. You have to train yourself to relax. To be. To trust.

Don’t even get me started on all the god issues you have to confront. If you have a father, you probably never considered this – but most major religions ascribe male qualities to their deities.

How are you supposed to trust or rely on a “God the Father” if you never experienced an earthly father?

What does the word even mean?

It’s incomprehensible.

And that is the most difficult part. There is a whole area of social literacy that is lost to you when you are a fatherless daughter.

Since you have never had the experience of fatherhood, you can never really “get it” when others talk about their fathers.

So, one day a year, all of us fatherless daughters sit by and smile while the rest of you celebrate the guy that gave you all that strength, love, and protection.

And the rest of the year, we muddle through on our own, because we have lived without that strength, love, and protection every damn day of our lives.

But, hey, Happy Father’s Day, everyone.


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We’re Having a Quilting Bee — er, Blog Post

flickr, Bunny Safari

flickr, Bunny Safari

Hey there, Beautiful You. Today’s topic is “confusion.” I’ve got some, maybe you’ve got some. And I was simpering and whimpering about mine until I realized I could “bring it to the team.”

So, here’s what we’re gonna do: I’ll write the first line, and you come in with the next line or two (in the comments). The next woman who wants to add to the piece quilts her own patch (writes her own lines.)

Please forgive me, but my first line is a little off color, because, well, — frustrated.

Here goes:

It’s probably high time I share this with you – but, truly, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. This is so uncomfortable because THE FUTURE IS COMING ANYWAY.

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