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The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Flea Market Meditation

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A gentle breeze wisped by and a tender ray of sunlight wafted down on my right cheek. I sighed in release as my sleep deprived weary body nestled into a camp chair. Like many, I have been waking up between 3 and 5 am each morning with messages that ask to be written down. Decked out in my winter jacket as the last blast (hopefully) of winter chill dissipated on a the final day of April, I closed my eyes and drifted into a meditative state with wafts of lavender and peppermint waving their tendrils. I tuned out the overlapping voices of passersby and the cars that hummed on Route 313 in my town of Dublin, PA.  In the most unlikely of places, I allowed myself to mellow out. The Dublin Firehouse Flea Market and Craft Fair is occurring and I had arrived around 8:30 am to help my friends Kim and Eric set up shop with Kim’s home made items called Peaceful Wraps. Good for what ails the body, they are comforting when heated or frozen. I have used them on neck, back and knees. They are filled with rice and all manner of yummy scents for soothing body and soul. Kim is also a Reiki Master and they are blessed with that energy of love and light.

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It occurred to me that we consider certain places spiritually enriching and others distracting. Temples, churches, synagogues and mosques are no more sacred than the grassy expanse of a local fire department in small town USA. If I can meditate there, it is a no-brainer to be able to do so anywhere. The only difference is my willingness to clear a space for the monkey mind to have its say and then feed it a banana and send it on its way.

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Enough

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Today, my friend Kristin Pedemonti, who is known as a storyteller,  writer and  up-lifter  of spirits, and who, like me, creates FREE Hugs events, dyes her hair vibrant colors (hers is pink and mine is purple) was showing off her new tattoo on her Facebook page. She is one of those ‘not-yet-met-but-recognized each other-right-away friends.’ We live a few hours away, but it turns out that there was a time when likely no more than 30 minutes separated us. Kristin is a world traveler who scatters joy wherever she goes. I look forward to meeting her hug to hug soon.

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Although I wouldn’t get body art myself, since I am a pain wimp who is now on blood thinners, (I have had henna tattoo embellishment), I told her that I needed to have the message that is imprinted on her arm tattooed on my heart. One of my perseverative thoughts is that I am not enough and by extension, what I experience in my life is lacking.

Since I am writing this on the Jewish holiday of Passover, I am mindful of the word ‘dayenu’ which in Hebrew, translates to”enough” and is part of the Passover Seder. It references the idea that had God freed the Jews from slavery in Egypt, it “would have been sufficient.” and had God fed them manna in the desert as they wandered to the Promised Land, “it would have been sufficient,” and so on. In my life, I need to recall that I am enough, have enough and do enough.

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As I was contemplating this concept, I allowed to run through my mind the myriad things I am grateful for that include: family, friends, health, a beautiful home, a Jeep that gets me where I need to go, money in the bank, work that I love, marketable skills, opportunities showing up daily, new friends that appear in my life all the time and more love than I can take in. I will be traveling and teaching in the next few months, having all kinds of exciting adventures. And yet…..there is this lingering longing for something more. A feeling of disconnect. It has been with me for as long as I can remember. A sense of insatiability. It creeps into my brain and wraps around it like choking vines that threaten to suffocate my synapses. Pretty graphic, I know…but who am I to question the Muse when she plants images in my mind? Wondering how to quell it, other than to return to a focus on appreciation for what is already present.  I tell myself that there are those who are alone, bereft of support, living in squalor, without any hope for a better future, so what do I have to complain about? It is that existential ‘homesickness for God’ that I have heard spoken about. There are times when I experience transcendent emotions that loft me above the mucking around in the mire that I sometimes find myself in. Messy human emotions, they are.

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One thing that helps me through this, is lightheartedness and playfulness. Yesterday, as I was pulling up to the drive through at the bank, where I was making a deposit, I saw my friend Connie Keener through the window as she too was doing biz with the teller. We waved and smiled and then I blew a kiss which she caught and sent back. When the teller turned around and greeted me, I told her that Connie might have been blowing the kiss at her too. She then asked if the last time I was there, I had sent a feather through when I returned the envelope in which she had placed my money. I told her that I had indeed and when she asked the reason for it, I shared that I am a clown whose character is a faerie named Feather, that it reminds me of the concept in one of my favorite movies:  Forrest Gump in which the feather is like a character that wafts about and has me questioning whether things happen by chance or on purpose. I prefer to see them as occurring by Divine design. It also encourages people to lighten up. I give them out at my presentations and some people (like the teller who told me that she kept it at her work station) who have attended several, keep them nearby. One woman told me she had taken hers on a road trip with her and it had visited several states. Since I keep some in my car, I handed her another one..because you can never have too many. She smiled and asked if there was anything else she could do for me. As I always do, I told her that she could deposit a million dollars in my account. I figure it doesn’t hurt to ask. She told she would get right on it. Since I believe in setting intention, I know that anything is possible. Including accepting that I AM ENOUGH!

 

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Free Fall or Free Flight?

“It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways of doing things, but it’s that place in between that we fear. It’s like being between trapezes. There’s nothing to hold on to.” ~ Marilyn Ferguson

In that betwixt and between mode in which I feel like a trapeze artist in mid air. I know I need to let go of the swing I have been on so that I can stretch out and grab the one ahead of me. Doing my best to see it as free flight rather than free fall. Not always easy when in the past nearly two years, I have experienced shingles, a heart attack, kidney stones and adrenal fatigue and as a result, find myself in a mode that looks almost nothing like it had 24 months prior. Back then, I was working full time and then some as a social worker in a psychiatric hospital and after leaving that job to save my own sanity, was employed in an outpatient drug and alcohol rehab. That led to 12 hour + days seeing clients who were in the throes of addiction and then coming home and writing for hours.  Sleep was spotty at best and I used to claim that it was ‘highly over-rated.’ I cheated myself out of vitally needed rest, even forgoing naps, since I thought I wasn’t being productive if I wasn’t active. I worked twice as many hours as I slept some nights. Even the most resilient body (and I thought I had one) rebels when not given the attention it requires.

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The next step was to accept a dream into reality job offer as a full time web content writer in the field of mental health and recovery. It was perfect since I could work from home, was in a realm in which I was intimately acquainted, both as a professional and person in recovery from workaholism and co-dependence.  All through out as I marveled at the seeming perfection of this situation, there remained a lingering thought about waiting for the other shoe to drop and that it was too good to be true. I gave it my all and a year and three months later, my premonition manifested as 3/4 of our creative team was laid off due to budget cuts. I took a deep breath and with my characteristic resilience, I applied for other writing jobs. In two weeks, I had secured two others. One I have to this day and the other was sadly short lived when the non-profit site that hired me, didn’t receive the funding that the founder of the company had intended. I have picked up assorted free lance gigs and on a daily basis, am scouring the various job sites for others. In addition, I am gathering speaking jobs, promoting workshops I offer, host my radio show and see assorted clients in a counseling office. I am also co-authoring one book and editing another.  Seems like I am busy, and I wonder how I handled all of this AND my full time jobs.

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The trapeze analogy comes into play when I contemplate that over the next few months, I will be traveling and teaching throughout the country….and in the mean time, I am in that vulnerably unsettled space of not knowing how and where I will land. That’s when I engage in dialog with the Divine and the answer is always the same, “Have I ever dropped you? Has anything ever not worked out even better than you imagined?” Sighing, I have had to agree.

I am just smart enough to pick the brains of those with expertise in areas that I don’t have, so I turned to my friend Dan Poor who is a high adrenaline performance athlete, acrobat, gymnast, dancer, trainer, coach who jumps off of high towers into pools of water, sometimes lit on fire. I figured he would have some insight into the symbolic soaring I have been doing.

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He says, “The exhilaration of letting go happens when all the pieces leading up to that moment are in place, and the time is right! Trapeze artists, like high divers, make sure all the requisite “lead-ups” can be performed with unconscious competence, that the equipment is reliable, that the mind and body are rested and focused, and that the first attempt at the new skill is performed with an assist from a trusted partner who gives us a “hup”, or “call”, at just the right instant! When all the work has been done, and the moment arrives to let go, the ride truly becomes flight!”

In that spirit, I am embodying that ‘unconscious competence’ that he and I have talked about a lot in which our minds and bodies are so practiced at certain skill, that they instinctively know what to do. I am taking all kinds of leaps of faith and trusting that my safety net is in place and should I fall, will be held and caught and as I have so many times in the past, bounce back and start again. Ready to fly freely.

 

 

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Bending Over Backward or Standing Your Ground?

Many years ago when I was married, my husband would describe me as “an emotional contortionist who would bend over backward to please people.” Not sure how he came up with that, but, to this day, I still think of it as brilliant. It shone a light on my then overwhelmingly co-dependent mindset. I had been raised to be kind, polite and caring. “Don’t make waves. Don’t rock the boat,” were spoken and unspoken messages in my family. Paradoxically, I was told by my mother, “Walk in like you own the joint.” My father would remind me that,  ‘They put their pants on one leg at a time like you do.”  How I integrated those seemingly disparate instructions still confounds me to this day. It heralded challenges in relationships since being widowed at 40. Partners, friends, family and clients would be the witnesses to my feats of flexibility as I would say yes when I really wanted to say no and no when I truly desired what they were offering, out of a sense of uncertainty that I had really earned it. Rarely did I believe I was entitled to love, attention, affection, nurturing and praise ‘just because.’ There needed to be a sense of quid pro quo/one hand washes the other in my relationships. I would attempt to cement my place in the lives of those I valued by doing, giving or at least offering. Who wouldn’t love a caregiver?

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At 57, I have the perspective that early versions of myself brushed past. Perhaps with age, really does come wisdom. I have discovered that, for me (and I would guess I am not alone) attention, affirmation and affection are essential nutrients, on par with air, food and water. Yes, I can tend to my own needs, love the woman in the mirror and still desire it to be mirrored back from others. Noticing when the tank seems to be a quart low. The temptation is to return to earlier, dysfunctional ways  of being, scavenging for low lying nuts and berries that have fallen from the trees. Rather than doing that, I would much prefer to reach higher for richer fruits. I am also speaking up and standing up, not only for others who have no voice, but for myself as well. Still not a boat rocker, by I am a wave maker.

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A few years ago as I was working at an outpatient drug and alcohol rehab, I facilitated a support group for women in recovery. I taught them the ‘walk in like you own the joint’ concept and actually had them strutting their stuff around the room. One of the participants laughed about ‘getting her swagger on’ in her daily life. This same woman happily shared that in certain relationships, especially with her ex-husband, she had not only been a proverbial door mat, but wall to wall carpeting. She happily announced that this was no longer the case.

This former ‘deer caught in the headlights,’ emotional contortionist who was almost always looking over her shoulder to see if the propriety police were watching, is taking all sorts stretches, on and off the yoga mat, standing her ground and strutting her stuff.

Previous Posts

Flea Market Meditation
A gentle breeze wisped by and a tender ray of sunlight wafted down on my right cheek. I sighed in release as my sleep deprived weary body nestled into a camp chair. Like many, I have been waking up between 3 and 5 am each morning with messages ...

posted 11:20:56am Apr. 30, 2016 | read full post »

Enough
  Today, my friend Kristin Pedemonti, who is known as a storyteller,  writer and  up-lifter  of spirits, and who, like me, creates FREE Hugs events, dyes her hair vibrant colors (hers is pink and mine is purple) was showing off her ...

posted 4:08:08pm Apr. 27, 2016 | read full post »

Free Fall or Free Flight?
"It’s not so much that we're afraid of change or so in love with the old ways of doing things, but it’s that place in between that we fear. It’s like being between trapezes. There’s nothing to hold on to." ~ Marilyn Ferguson In that ...

posted 11:58:40am Apr. 25, 2016 | read full post »

Bending Over Backward or Standing Your Ground?
Many years ago when I was married, my husband would describe me as "an emotional contortionist who would bend over backward to please people." Not sure how he came up with that, but, to this day, I still think of it as brilliant. It shone a ...

posted 10:38:29am Apr. 20, 2016 | read full post »

When Fear Comes Calling
A come clean here. This morning, as I was preparing for a radio interview on which I was on the guest side of the microphone, I was slammed with overwhelming fears, feels and tears. The title of the segment on Vivid Life Radio was The Successful ...

posted 2:45:26pm Apr. 12, 2016 | read full post »

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