The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

On Wings

yahrzheitcandle

 

Four years ago, at this moment, an event was in the process of taking place that would change my life as I knew it. My mother was in the ‘birth canal’ on her way to her new life. A few months earlier while she was on hospice, we would have the most extraordinary conversations about what that might look and feel like. In the beginning she wasn’t certain and cried in fear, expressing that she didn’t want to die. My father had made his transition on April 3rd, 2008 and I know she missed him profoundly, but said she didn’t know if he would be waiting for her, along with her parents and brother who had preceded her. One night, we were watching the movie Beetlejuice and laughed in relief, grateful that the afterlife didn’t look like that.  Maybe it looked like the Paul Simon song called The Afterlife.  “You got to fill out a form first and then you wait in a line.”

As the time drew near, she would have what I considered prophetic dreams. One began when she was at the top of a water slide with a boy in front of her and a girl behind her. She told me in a little child’s voice that she was feeling afraid when she started, but by the time she was at the bottom, she was delighted “I was having so much fun!” And then she asked me what I thought it meant.  “What do you think it means, Mom?”  My take was that it was a foretelling of the next part of her journey. Another was of my grandmother either on or near a merry-go-round, holding a finger out for my mother to grasp. The third which was about six weeks before she joined him, she dreamed that she and father were walking on a beach, hand in hand. She gave him back the wedding ring that she kept after he died and set it on the nightstand, kissing it goodnight for the interceding years. Soon after, she noticed that the ring was gone.

I wrote about our hospice journey in my book called The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming The Ordinary Into The Extraordinary, much of which I typed at her bedside. She told me that I needed to finish it so she could read it. I responded that she needed to live a whole lot longer, since there was more to go. Her encouragement was the impetus to complete it.  There have been many miracles and ‘mom messages,’ since then, many involving butterflies. She had made the ceramic piece in the photo above, many years prior to her death and it now sits on my stove. At the moment, it is supporting a candle.

Tonight I said Kaddish for  Selma Rose Hirsch Weinstein who passed  on November 26, 2010.  In that year, it fell on the day after Thanksgiving and this year, it is the day before. The holiday was subdued for me back then, as I called to tell her I loved her, knowing that the moments were ticking away. She hadn’t wanted my sister and me to come down to Florida. She planned to take her leave with all substitute caregivers by her side. Her live-in caregiver Claudia had the weekend off, her regular hospice nurse and aide were away as well. Although I will always connect the holiday with her passing, it is still a joyous occasion, since my spiritual beliefs tell me that she really IS in the company of those she loves who saved a place for her and she was no longer in pain. She is at peace and so am I.

 

In  the Jewish religion, a candle is lit and a prayer offered the night before the actual day the death occurred.

 

This is the Hebrew transliteration and the English translation. Nowhere in the prayer is there a mention of death, but only blessing God.

Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei raba.
B’alma di v’ra chirutei,
v’yamlich malchutei,
b’chayeichon uv’yomeichon
uv’chayei d’chol beit Yisrael,
baagala uviz’man kariv. V’im’ru: Amen.

Y’hei sh’mei raba m’varach
l’alam ul’almei almaya.

Yitbarach v’yishtabach v’yitpaar
v’yitromam v’yitnasei,
v’yit’hadar v’yitaleh v’yit’halal
sh’mei d’kud’sha b’rich hu,
l’eila min kol birchata v’shirata,
tushb’chata v’nechemata,
daamiran b’alma. V’imru: Amen.

Y’hei sh’lama raba min sh’maya,
v’chayim aleinu v’al kol Yisrael.
V’imru: Amen.

Oseh shalom bimromav,
Hu yaaseh shalom aleinu,
v’al kol Yisrael. V’imru: Amen.

Exalted and hallowed be God’s great name
in the world which God created, according to plan.
May God’s majesty be revealed in the days of our lifetime
and the life of all Israel — speedily, imminently, to which we say Amen.

Blessed be God’s great name to all eternity.

Blessed, praised, honored, exalted, extolled, glorified, adored, and lauded
be the name of the Holy Blessed One, beyond all earthly words and songs of blessing,
praise, and comfort. To which we say Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and all Israel,
to which we say Amen.

May the One who creates harmony on high, bring peace to us and to all Israel.
To which we say Amen.

 

I know she has her wings~

Allowing Others To Effect Their Own Destinies

Most Sundays find me at Circle of Miracles, which is an interfaith spiritual community created 19 years ago by Rev. Hannelore Goodwin. It is where I, and many who attend the ecumenical services, find family of choice, inspiration, community and healing. The room is a warm and welcoming place where Doug who has gladly taken on the role of greeter, opens the door and his arms for hugs shared with anyone who is willing. One of the highlights of my week are ‘Doug-hugs’ that remain with me long afterward.

The service has a regular flow that includes reading what is called the Declaration, in which we literally declare what it is so, that we are ‘free spiritual beings’ who choose how we live this life. Although I have said this prayer a gazillion times since I first started attending in 2001, this line jumped out at me yesterday.

“Freedom is letting go of my judgments and allowing others to effect their own destinies.”

Like most people, I have hot buttons, pet peeves, judgments and ‘if I ran the world’ thoughts. They sometimes spill over into verbal expression, and often in written form; couched, as best I can, in tactful, diplomatic ways.  Mostly they remain in my brain and may never find their way into the light of day. When I do share them, it is with the intent to find win-win solutions, help people through their struggles, assist in having a ‘shift in perception’ which is one of my favorite definition of a miracle per A Course in Miracles. But…what if what their soul needs is to muddle through without my intervention? Who decided that I was granted the right to say anything unless my answers were solicited?  And they really are just my answers which may or may not be a fit for the other person.  I am learning to refrain from practicing ‘savior behavior’ for the sake of my own health and sanity.

Another ‘but’ coming up here…since on a spiritual level, we are all ONE, what I do impacts on you and what you do impacts on me. Do I have the right to have my unhealed places, my stresses and messes spill over into your life? If I am not aware that I am stepping on your toes and you call out “YOUCH, that hurts!”, you are alerting me to the fact that what I am doing, is having a negative effect on your wellbeing. Now that I know and if I keep on doing it, then I am deliberately causing pain. NOTHING gives me the right to continue to do that….no history of abuse, no illness, no addiction, no anger nor desire for revenge, no sense of entitlement would warrant conscious continuation of pain hurled at you. And yet….people do it everyday and justify it, because of their own feelings and beliefs.

One only need to follow the media frenzy lately about the multiple allegations of abuse by a well known Canadian talk show host who got canned when his accusers stepped forward, as well as actions purported to have been committed by a beloved comedian and actor who is remaining silent about the charges in the ‘court of public opinion’ that he is facing. Did these men not think their behaviors would have a detrimental impact on the women who are now coming out of their closet of fear and shame and speaking out? If they did know, clearly they didn’t care.

Does allowing others to effect their own destinies preclude conscience?  I don’t think so.  Sometimes conscience whispers in a still, small voice; more often, it is a loud roar that blows back our hair and knocks us on our butts. Listen to it before it gets to that point.

 

The Only Life You Can Save

One of my favorite wise woman poets is Mary Oliver whose words touch my heart in ways that few others can; as if they could have come through me as well; so personal they are. Today, while visiting my former place of employment, one of my co-workers pulled out an anthology consisting of the works of various wordsmiths. He opened to a particular page and said that this one was for me. I have read it many times over the years, but today it rang with a loud and true clarion call that shook me to my core.

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.”
Mary Oliver

After Ted read it to me, I thought about all the times I spent majorly over-extending myself, because I thought I had to. I contemplated how I invested more into my clients’ recovery than they did,  like I had last New Years Day when I told them that if they cared enough about their sobriety to show up for group, I would be there for them. and when I arrived, I discovered that two out of  seven were there. How I worked for free, for ‘exposure’, rather than either getting compensated or turning down speaking gigs, out of fear that they wouldn’t bring me on board otherwise.  I recall how several years ago, a coach I was working with advised me to “Ask for what your services are worth, without stuttering.”  I do that now and most of the time, I receive it. It is about valuing myself, rather than allowing someone else to place a value on me. We teach people how to treat us. What we accept, we reinforce. Making these choices has literally saved my life. Thank you, Mary, for that reminder and thank you, Ted for the gift you shared today.

Abby’s Light

AbbySchumer

 

When a light comes into the world, we hope that it will last indefinitely, knowing that eventually it will fade. When a child is born, a parent doesn’t expect that his or her light will diminish before it has a chance to fully express itself…and yet, sadly it happens.  Abby Schumer was such a one. Her family lives in our community of Doylestown, PA and although I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting her, I am feeling as if I have a small glimpse of the gift she was to her family and those who did know her.

Described by her parents Meg and Mike as someone who cared deeply about others, a curious soul, an avid reader, colorful and playful….taken too soon when on March 24, 2012, she died of brain cancer. Unimaginable pain and loss, but her parents, taking a page from Abby’s book,  are resilient thrivers; as I define it- people who have not only survived challenge or trauma, but have gone on to help others as a result.

Today on what would have been her entre’ into her teen years- her 13th birthday, our  Bucks County Commissioners have proclaimed  Nov. 19 as Random Act of Kindness Day in the county in Abby’s honor.

“Kindness is a way of showing others that they count, even in the face of hostility and selfishness, making a stand for positivity,” said Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia as she read the proclamation. “Random Act of Kindness Day is a worldwide celebration of simple kindness that encourages people to tap into their own human spirit and share it with others, thereby nourishing and strengthening their communities.

“Abby Schumer is local inspiration for the movement here in Bucks County. At the young age of 10 she understood the importance of doing meaningful things for others,” the proclamation continued. “We challenge all Bucks Countians to do something kind for a friend, a loved one, or even a stranger for no reason at all.”

The Schumers have set up a Facebook page that you can visit to learn more about this amazing little girl and the legacy she left  www.facebook.com/abbyslight/

On this day, and all others, I invite you to join me in showering kindness in all forms. Please share this with any and everyone you can. In that way, we can spread the Light that Abby will always be~

 

Previous Posts

On Wings
  Four years ago, at this moment, an event was in the process of taking place that would change my life as I knew it. My mother was in the 'birth canal' on her way to her new life. A few months earlier while she was on hospice, we would have the most extraordinary conversations about what t

posted 6:39:45pm Nov. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Allowing Others To Effect Their Own Destinies
Most Sundays find me at Circle of Miracles, which is an interfaith spiritual community created 19 years ago by Rev. Hannelore Goodwin. It is where I, and many who attend the ecumenical services, find family of choice, inspiration, community and healing. The room is a warm and welcoming place where D

posted 10:52:04am Nov. 24, 2014 | read full post »

The Only Life You Can Save
One of my favorite wise woman poets is Mary Oliver whose words touch my heart in ways that few others can; as if they could have come through me as well; so personal they are. Today, while visiting my former place of employment, one of my co-workers pulled out an anthology consisting of the works of

posted 8:40:05pm Nov. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Abby's Light
  When a light comes into the world, we hope that it will last indefinitely, knowing that eventually it will fade. When a child is born, a parent doesn't expect that his or her light will diminish before it has a chance to fully express itself...and yet, sadly it happens.  Abby Schumer was

posted 8:32:41am Nov. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Light Filled Holiday
This morning, I saw a meme on a friend's Facebook page that expressed: LIKE if you plan to be politically incorrect by saying "Merry Christmas" this holiday season. My response to her was: "If I know what people celebrate, I will greet them with their preferred sentiment. I have friends of many diff

posted 9:01:36am Nov. 18, 2014 | read full post »


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