The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

The Now What Club

This morning, I joined two dear friends for brunch at Mal’s Diner in Skippack, PA.  After a heart-healthy workout in cardiac rehab, I had a heart- happy  meal of egg whites, spinach (no cheese), fresh fruit instead of home fries and dry (no butter) whole grain toast. Yvonne Kaye has been my mentor and friend for more than 25 years; a seasoned woman who describes herself as “ripening” and not aging, having become an octogenarian last year. Today was her 81st birthday. She is a wickedly (in a good way), wildly funny person, having weathered many a storm throughout her life, without capsizing her ship of dreams. Patricia Gallagher is also a thriver; having been through personal crises over which she has triumphed. She is known as The Angel Pin Lady and The Flower Lady, since she generously gives out both to random folks in nursing homes, senior centers, shelters and on the street. We represent three different decades, since she is slightly older than I am.

As I entered the restaurant and greeted them with hugs, I shared that I am still facing medical issues that I thought I had overcome. I described it as a “Now What?” moment that can either be seen as OMG, now what?  or Oh wow, now what? I much prefer the second, but from time to time (and today was one of them), it feels like the first is fully operational. We decided that we would call ourselves The Now What Club and use that as a springboard to encourage other people to move past limiting and self defeating beliefs, while giving full permission for feelings as they arise. I think we could give the Ya Ya Sisterhood a run for their money.

As we laughed our way through our time together, I have come to even more deeply appreciate the bonds that women share. Each of us has achieved a modicum of success in our fields, each has become a tough cookie when needed and each is generous with praise, support and direction for the others. We are ardent cheerleaders, encouraging stretching our comfort zones. Who knows what the next steps will be individually and collectively?  We have some ideas percolating.

How do you engage in ‘now what?’ thinking?  What is YOUR now what adventure?

 

 

 

Enjoy Every Moment

Feeling emotionally raw at the moment, having just returned from a day of honoring my friend Delane Lipka. I had written about another extraordinary day in a previous Beliefnet article called In the Garden of Eden that described a gathering of kindred spirits that had been organized by Delane. For decades, she had run Mount Eden Retreat and this event two weeks ago was a last hurrah of sorts. We didn’t know it at the time, but perhaps her soul knew that she would be leaving this earthly home that she and her husband Harry who died in 2007, had loved into being and  return to the Home of her origin.

On Friday night, I was sitting around a table with 9 friends as we celebrated the birthday of my friend Ken Kaplan. We had been speaking of Delane since we were all connected to her in some way. Less than 30 minutes later, one of our friends who has long considered himself Delane’s brother, received a call from another of our friends, informing him that she had passed. Shock, tears, laughter, sharing stories about her, ensued. We had the sense that she had swooped by to take her leave and say goodbye.

On my way home, I called two friends to let them know.  I felt goose bumps when each of them said, “I was just talking about Delane a little while ago.”  Seems she came to visit them too.

The graveside ceremony was attended by people from Delane’s amazing overlapping soul circles. Some of the first I saw when I arrived on this beautiful blue sky day were from my past; one who had been my Hebrew School teacher and has been a rabbi for many years, who saw my father as a mentor of sorts, and a man who had been friends with both my father and my husband.  I had forgotten that they too were part of Delane’s far flung family of choice. The usual suspects were there as well…those who were at dinner the other night and those who were at the Kindred Spirits gathering a few weeks earlier. Although we are an affectionate bunch anyway, hugs lasted longer than usual. When someone dies, those who remain rely on each other’s comfort to remember that life indeed goes on.  The service was a beautiful blend of traditional Jewish ritual and prayer, as well as sharing Quaker style of stories about her creativity, unique character, kindness, open-heartedness, and an inimitable way of embracing everyone who crossed her path.

After the service, many us went back to Mt. Eden to enjoy each other’s company and continue the tribute to Delane. I had spent many glorious weekends there at Goddess retreats that honored the Divine Feminine. In the meditation room where the workshops were held, was a window seat that overlooked an expanse of sloping lawn and vibrant green, now subtly autumnally changing, trees. I perched on the ledge as the tears flowed. I remembered so much stretching and growth that took place in that room. I laughed to myself when I thought “If these walls could talk.”

I meandered about the grounds, both with friends and by myself, drinking in the blessing of this place. A favorite spot was a hammock beneath some spreading pines. It was there that I used to lie during the retreats and call my mother who lived in Florida for many years before she died. I would say, “Guess where we are, mom?” and we would hang out there together. Today, I returned to the swinging structure and spoke with my mom without need for the apparatus that had connected us, instead speaking soul to soul. She and Delane would have bonded, had they met, having some good laughs together and speaking about this messhugenah (Yiddish for ‘crazy’) daughter.

One of our friends who saw Delane as her “adopted Jewish mother,” is Elaine Silver. A talented singer songwriter, she recalls that Delane used to encourage her to “enjoy every moment.”  I can hear her voice sharing those words and hold them in my heart, since I too know that life is precious and that everyone is on loan to us.  Elaine penned this song on the flight from Florida where she lives, to come up for Delane’s funeral, as a way of paying tribute to our dear friend.

 

Enjoy Every Moment
c. Elaine Silver Music, BMI”
Enjoy every moment
Enjoy your life
When you enjoy every moment
You shine your lightThe love of God is blessing you
The light of God protects
The power of God is watching you
And Its presence re-directs   you toEnjoy every moment
Enjoy what’s here
When you enjoy every moment
The Truth is clearLife is good and life is grand
And laughing seals the deal
Reaching out your arms and hands
With hugs that help to heal

Enjoy every moment
Enjoy your life
When you enjoy every moment
You shine your light”

 

 

 

Cardia-versary

This morning marks 3 months since I experienced the kind of pain that cracks you open and has you revealing the emotional viscera that had long lay dormant. Literally at this moment, I was captured by the symptoms of a heart attack- searing heart burn pain, jaw tightness and wringing wet sweats. I say this, not to re-live it, but to celebrate that according to one of my health care professionals, I beat the 50/50 odds that had me surviving AND to remind others to pay attention to symptoms and offer good self care. Once upon a time, I thought it was just a term that I tossed out to my clients and those who attended my workshops and presentations; particularly those in the helping professions. For me, it meant getting by as best I could so that I could keep up with my crazy-busy schedule and meet my responsibilities. Eating on the run, sleeping when I could squeeze it in, fitting  ‘playouts’ at the gym 3-5 times a week. Now it means eating consciously, sleeping 7 or more hours a night, cardiac rehab (where I actually sweat more than ever I did at the gym:), walking daily, working from home with ‘normal people hours’, actually napping when I need to.

I had an appointment at our local Health and Wellness Center this morning, for another test and smiled when I realized how easily I walked from my car to the front door, when I could barely take a few steps without feeling winded at my initial cardiologist appointment and needed to take the elevator to the second floor. Today, I moved like a woman on a mission and actually charged up the steps, not having to stop and catch my breath.  I attribute my ability to speed up, with the choice to slow down. Not as much of a paradox as you might imagine.

In taking time to take time, I have added more of it to my existence. Although I don’t fear death, I still prefer to live a bit longer. More adventures to have. More hearts to open. More souls with whom to dance.

Happy Cardia-versary to me!

So glad that I’m Alive  (Thanks, Michael Franti for the soundscape)

Cosmic Coincidence

My definition of cosmic coincidence are those events that have me shaking my head in bewildered awe, asking “What are the chances that such a thing could happen?”  My answer is always the same. “100%, since it occurred.” It is that encounter with just the right person, hearing a song on the radio right after you were humming it, getting a message from the Universe in the form of a book, letter, phone call or email. Right person, right place, right time. They occur every day in my life and likely, yours too. You just need to be open to receiving them and then recognizing them when they show up.

Tonight brought a series of them. I had planned on attending a candle light vigil in honor of Suicide Awareness Day in my community of Doylestown, PA. It was sponsored by a local mental health center called Lenape Valley Foundation where I had worked several years ago. Its purpose was education and support, as well as a way of honoring those who had lost loved ones. I sat with a therapist friend named Susan who had 4 family members end their lives and afterward interviewed her about her experience. I then mentioned that I would be going to a baseball game on Sunday for Recovery Day (which focuses on healing from addictions) and wondered if she wanted to go with me since I had an extra ticket. I had already asked two friends who are also in the field and neither could go. We laughingly agreed that they both said no, so she could say yes!  It also turned out that the rehab that is co-sponsoring the event at the game is one she had wanted to visit and this gave her the opportunity to do so. Cosmic coincidence #1 .

After we said our goodbyes, I walked over to the Doylestown bookstore to meander around. Who should I see, but two other friends, Chris Pattay and Jon Satin who call themselves The Possibility Coaches. They lead monthly book discussion groups.  They invited me to join them. I asked what book they were focusing on and it turned out to be a pivotal read from back in college- Man’s Search For Meaning, by Victor Frankl. They were pondering the reality that some of those captured by the Nazis as he had been, had thrown themselves against the electrified fence upon entering the concentration camp. He wondered what allowed some people to live through the holocaust, while others determined to end their earthly existence since they didn’t want to endure the certain hardships that were to come. This is very much like what some who commit suicide might be feeling. Cosmic coincidence #2.

I had mentioned that my friend Yvonne Kaye had viewed Victor as a mentor and had actually spoken with him shortly before his death. As it turns out, someone in the group had just spoken of  Yvonne. Cosmic coincidence #3.

I looked over at the woman sitting next to me and noticed that her work badge indicated that she was a hospice caregiver. I told her that my cousin Jody worked with her as a social worker, and  her face lit up.  Cosmic coincidence #4.

A few minutes later, as I was heading back to my car, in the twilight, I see a woman walking a French bull dog, who was introduced to me as Murphy. It was my friend Heather whose name was hanging in the air, since I had told Susan they should meet, as she is an outspoken advocate and educator for recovery as well. Cosmic coincidence #5.

It’s my belief that God has a tremendous sense of humor and is likely laughing along with me at the Divine timing of it all. I wonder what cool connections S/he has in store for me tomorrow.

Previous Posts

The Now What Club
This morning, I joined two dear friends for brunch at Mal's Diner in Skippack, PA.  After a heart-healthy workout in cardiac rehab, I had a heart- happy  meal of egg whites, spinach (no cheese), fresh fruit instead of home fries and dry (no butter) whole grain toast. Yvonne Kaye has been my mentor

posted 10:10:09pm Sep. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Enjoy Every Moment
Feeling emotionally raw at the moment, having just returned from a day of honoring my friend Delane Lipka. I had written about another extraordinary day in a previous Beliefnet article called In the Garden of Eden that described a gathering of kindred spirits that had been organized by Delane. For d

posted 10:03:50pm Sep. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Cardia-versary
This morning marks 3 months since I experienced the kind of pain that cracks you open and has you revealing the emotional viscera that had long lay dormant. Literally at this moment, I was captured by the symptoms of a heart attack- searing heart burn pain, jaw tightness and wringing wet sweats. I s

posted 10:56:19am Sep. 12, 2014 | read full post »

Cosmic Coincidence
My definition of cosmic coincidence are those events that have me shaking my head in bewildered awe, asking "What are the chances that such a thing could happen?"  My answer is always the same. "100%, since it occurred." It is that encounter with just the right person, hearing a song on the radio r

posted 10:05:23pm Sep. 10, 2014 | read full post »

Transformation Takes Determination
As I was on my daily walk today, decked out in my navy blue t-shirt with the word TRANSFORM scripted on the front of it, it occurred to me that if I want to transform any aspect of my life, there are several essential ingredients. 1-Quoting Joe Jackson "You can't get what you want, til you know

posted 9:19:57pm Sep. 08, 2014 | read full post »


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