The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Betwixt and Between

I had an interesting series of events over the past few days after writing a blog entry for The Huffington Post. It was called Why I Am Proud To Be A Total B*TCH!  As I was typing the words, I had a bit of trepidation come up and a sense of uh oh, should I be writing these words and validating what I had considered a derogatory term to describe women?  It wasn’t a matter of fearing being called that, but rather not wanting it to seem like I was condoning anyone’s hurtful use of it. Then as I re-read it, I felt empowered and wanted to empower other women to reframe the term Being In Total Control (or Charge) of Herself. When I think of that way, it feels like rocket fuel that empowers me. Shortly after the article was posted, I was invited to be interviewed on HuffPo Live today. After years of being on both sides of the microphone, I found myself being a wee bit nervous. Uncharacteristic of me. I can’t hide behind anything when I am that public. I sailed through it pretty well and when I watched the clip, I was only mildly critical.

Then I started to have monkey mind thoughts, such as “How much do I promote it? Will people be supportive and cheer with me, or will they roll their eyes and think I am being too self absorbed?”  It’s that “too much/not enough” dichotomy that rattles me at times.

Mostly, I am over the moon about it and see it as another milestone in the evolution of Edie.  What are your growing edges?  Where do you judge yourself?  What disenfranchised parts of yourself are you willing to claim? Where do you live in the betwixt and between?

Child’s Play

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my childhood experiences, almost in a life review format. Chalk it up to turning 56 in a few weeks. I grew up in a two parent household, with a younger sister born 2 1/2 years afterward,  so I had some time with them and with my grandmother as an ‘only child’ for a bit. When my parents told me I was going to have a younger sibling, I don’t recall any objection or feeling that my position in the family would be usurped in any way. I think my mother said that she would like to have my help with the baby. When Jan was born, I was allowed to hold her if I sat on the sofa. After awhile, I could feed her with the bottle propped up.  For a short time, I regressed and wanted a bottle too. Rather than saying no outright, my shrewd mother succumbed to my request and gave me a bottle with straight formula. I sputtered and said “How does she drink this?”  I never asked again.

Throughout my growing up years, I was surrounded by parents, grandmothers (my maternal grandmother died when I was 4 and paternal grandmother passed when I was 13), aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and neighbors. I don’t ever remember being bored since there was always something to do, somewhere to go and even when there was nothing overtly exciting on the horizon, there were books to read, toys to play with, a swing set in the backyard, a bike to ride, neighborhood pools, swimming lessons, swim team practice and meets, weekly library visits, school work (which, believe it or not, I loved doing), pen pals to write to,  movies to watch, music to listen to and sing along with, creative games to make up, coloring books and crayons, guitar lessons, Girl Scouts, Hebrew school, volunteering, chores, hanging out with friends around and about. My parents enthusiastically joined us in some of these activities as if they too were playful, goofy kids. Unlike many mothers who are relieved when September rolls around and their children head back to school, my mother wistfully said that she felt sad, since she enjoyed our company and would miss us. She truly enjoyed our company.

There was lots of affection in our home with hugs, kisses and cuddles in abundance. No one left the house without a mixture of those and the three magic words. Our friends knew that they would get the same treatment from my parents and grandmothers as well.

In conversation with friends, 0ver the years, I was surprised to discover how unusual my upbringing was. Most of them didn’t have attentive parents who made it their business to spend quality time with their offspring. Even though my parents both had jobs, when they were with us, they really were ‘present’. They knew that they were there to raise us to be as healthy, happy and stable as possible, to be of service to the world, to leave a positive imprint. I get the sense that they didn’t enter into parenthood casually or cavalierly. I think they were conscious about being good role models, not saying  (too often, anyway) “Do as I say, not as I do.”  We went to synagogue each week as a family and practiced Judaism in our home. My parents lived their faith and didn’t just talk a good game.

My career path has drawn me to work with therapy clients whose lives were not as idyllic and who faced abuse and neglect. Their family history has been a legacy of loss and trauma. I have sat with them in their grief and bewilderment. I have inwardly seethed at the injustice of what happened to them, with a “How dare you?’” attitude toward the lineage of those whose words and hands have caused pain.  When I witness children and parents in public, I wonder what their home lives are like. I pray that these little ones are treasured and treated with caring and an eye toward the kind of adults they will become, who may in turn, raise another generation, basted in love, as I was.

Sleepiphany

This being a writer brings with it a penchant for word mash-ups and unique configurations. Many in my life share that talent. Yesterday while perusing Facebook, I noticed a term coined by a fellow wordsmith Shawn Allen. He was commenting on having taken a nap and then awakened with what he referred to as a ‘sleepiphany’.  One of those delightful and sometimes holy shift moments in which we are able to shake our heads, rubbing our eyes, laughing and wondering “Who thought this one up?  Oh, right, I did.”

I have them regularly; just didn’t have a name for them. They occur while in the midst of lucid dreaming that I remember upon awakening. One such just happened in the past few hours. I was in a room filled with people in which a woman was describing a magazine interview with someone rather quirky and colorful.  I chimed in and said that I had suggested that this person be interviewed since I knew her. Not sure if I had actually written the article, but felt that if the folks in the room knew that she was a friend of mine, that they would be more inclined to read it, since they too were my friends. This woman who was rather elitist and looked elegant on the surface, and who (as I was to discover in the dream) ran a high class ‘gentleman’s club’, looked at me disdainfully and made a dismissive comment that was a “yeah, whatever.” Later in the dream, I spoke up and put her in her place, reminding her that I had credibility among my community and she was actually the newbie and interloper. The sleepiphany for me was how I had in many ways, been ‘selling myself’ for approval by those who on the surface seemed to have it together and have achieved a level of success that I desired.

I have come to recognize that how things appear and how they truly are, could be worlds apart. The measure of success and achievement changes for me often. When in the past, I thought it looked like being ‘on the big stage’, in the spotlight, in demand, I now know that it is far simpler than that. Some days it shows up like just breathing in and out, rather than scrambling for sometimes elusive treasure. When in the recent past, I would have been cultivating, seed planting, digging into numerous fields, covered with grit, grime and mud to the point of exhaustion, these days, I am far more leisurely and mindful about it. How do I want to expend energy as I find myself needing  daily ‘down time’ since the heart attack in June?  Paradoxically, I have discovered the adage my mother used to share (“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.”) is true. Ironically, I seem to get more done as I slow down and ease into it.

I look forward to more of these inspirations and would love to hear about yours.

 

When You Dream- Barenaked Ladies

Love Poems to God

Words come from a Divine Source, as far as I am concerned. since my writing (as if does for other wordsmiths) ‘writes me’.  It flows through me and not from me. There are times when I have looked back at journal entries or articles I have penned over the years and think “Who wrote this?  I don’t remember writing this.” There are times when writing feels like prayer; devotional and primal. It is like worshiping at the altar of creativity.

Part of what feeds my soul are the words of those referred to as ‘ecstatic poets’; Rumi and Hafiz. Much of what they write can be construed as sensual and outright seductive. They can also be viewed as love poems to God. The book entitled The Gift that contains golden nuggets from Hafiz was indeed a gift from a lover. We used to read to each other from what became dog earred pages. I have treasured memories of the man who remains a dear friend.

Here are some of my favorites for your reading pleasure:

 

It Felt Love


How

Did the rose

Ever open its heart


And give to this world

All its

Beauty?


It felt the encouragement of light

Against its

Being,


Otherwise,

We all remain


Too

Frightened.

 

 

 

These Beautiful Love Games


Young lovers wisely say,


“Let’s try it from this angle,

Maybe something marvelous will happen,


Maybe three suns and two moons

Will roll out

From a hiding place in the body

Our passion has yet to ignite.”


Old lovers say,

“We can do it one more time,

How about from this longitude

And latitude -


Swinging from a rope tied to the ceiling,


Maybe a part of God

Is still hiding in a corner of your heart

Our devotion has yet to reveal.”


Bottom line:


Do not stop playing

These beautiful

Love

Games.

The Seed Cracked Open

‘It used to be

That when I would wake in the morning

I could with confidence say,

”What am ‘I’ going to

Do?”

That was before the seed

Cracked open.

Now Hafiz is certain:

There are two of us housed

In this body,

Doing the shopping together in the market and

Tickling each other

While fixing the evening’s food.

Now when I awake

All the internal instruments play the same music:

”God, what love-mischief can ‘We’ do

For the world

Today?”

 

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

 

– Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

 

LOVE IS THE MASTER

Love is the One who masters all things;
I am mastered totally by Love.
By my passion of love for Love
I have ground sweet as sugar.
O furious Wind, I am only a straw before you;
How could I know where I will be blown next?
Whoever claims to have made a pact with Destiny
Reveals himself a liar and a fool;
What is any of us but a straw in a storm?
How could anyone make a pact with a hurricane?
God is working everywhere his massive Resurrection;
How can we pretend to act on our own?
In the hand of Love I am like a cat in a sack;
Sometimes Love hoists me into the air,
Sometimes Love flings me into the air,
Love swings me round and round His head;
I have no peace, in this world or any other.
The lovers of God have fallen in a furious river;
They have surrendered themselves to Love’s commands.
Like mill wheels they turn, day and night, day and night,
Constantly turning and turning, and crying out.

Are you in awe yet?  If not, read some more of their brilliance~

 

Previous Posts

Betwixt and Between
I had an interesting series of events over the past few days after writing a blog entry for The Huffington Post. It was called Why I Am Proud To Be A Total B*TCH!  As I was typing the words, I had a bit of trepidation come up and a sense of uh oh, should I be writing these words and validating wha

posted 10:57:39pm Sep. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Child's Play
I've been thinking a lot lately about my childhood experiences, almost in a life review format. Chalk it up to turning 56 in a few weeks. I grew up in a two parent household, with a younger sister born 2 1/2 years afterward,  so I had some time with them and with my grandmother as an 'only child'

posted 8:59:02am Sep. 28, 2014 | read full post »

Sleepiphany
This being a writer brings with it a penchant for word mash-ups and unique configurations. Many in my life share that talent. Yesterday while perusing Facebook, I noticed a term coined by a fellow wordsmith Shawn Allen. He was commenting on having taken a nap and then awakened with what he referred

posted 8:00:10am Sep. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Love Poems to God
Words come from a Divine Source, as far as I am concerned. since my writing (as if does for other wordsmiths) 'writes me'.  It flows through me and not from me. There are times when I have looked back at journal entries or articles I have penned over the years and think "Who wrote this?  I don't r

posted 11:18:21pm Sep. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Unremarkable
We all like to think of ourselves as extraordinary, exceptional, and  a slew of other superlatives. Is there anyone who wants to feel ordinary, as if they have not accomplished anything of note? Chances are, since you are reading this, you have indeed achieved a modicum of success. Likely you le

posted 12:02:42am Sep. 25, 2014 | read full post »


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