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The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

The Lifeguard is Off Duty

On vacation for the week and while shopping in Hilton Head, I saw a t-shirt that read “Lifeguard off duty. Save yourself”. I laughed as I purchased it for someone at home. I was tempted to get another one for myself, but I resisted. I was a lifeguard in my 20’s in Willingboro and even more than 30 years later, I still occasionally practice ‘savior behavior’.

I have come to accept that despite my sometimes erroneous beliefs that I know what is best for someone else, I have no clue what goes on in his or her mind and heart and the reasons they feel as they do about certain experiences. If I lived their lives, I might think and act as they do. What has me believing otherwise is that I had long believed that I was responsible for the happiness and healing of others in my life. I was asked recently about the helplessness I feel when I see someone I know, acting in counterproductive and self neglecting ways.

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Perhaps they have jumped in to waters that were too deep, unprepared to swim. Maybe, feeling bold, they deliberately paddled out too far to get away from the shoreline where it felt safe. One thing I recall when taking my Red Cross WSI training was that it was important to wait for someone to stop struggling and go under before attempting to rescue them. Although it seems counterintuitive, it makes all the sense in the world, since if I went in to get them, in panic mode, they would likely pull me down with them. I can’t tell you how many times outside the water, I have allowed that to happen. Friends, partners and family members were sometimes willing and occasionally unwilling recipients of my well meaning, but potentially misguided attempts at protecting them from internal and external perils. When they had sometimes lovingly told me to ‘bug off,’ I would, but feeling miffed, wondered why they wouldn’t want Mighty Mouse to come and save the day.

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That’s when I realized that it truly isn’t my job to fix, save, heal and cure anyone. I can be of support and encourage self efficacy. I can love them and model self love. I can offer ideas if they so choose to use them. I can help them make the best decisions possible for themselves, without thinking that I know better. I can remind them to wear literal and symbolic sun screen. And I can wear it myself.

 

I laughed as I watched this, since I can relate to some of the images and lyrics.

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Our Final Thoughts

Earlier this year, I wrote an article that focused on the multitude of thoughts that careen through our heads and the impact they have on the shape our lives take. Going deeper, I have been exploring the trajectory from there to here and the possibility that our final thought could come at any time. Most people avoid thinking about their ultimate thoughts before closing their eyes for one last time in this incarnation. I would like mine to be about gratitude for the many blessings I experienced, the family and friends who have surrounded me, the do-overs and second chances that have been afforded me, and the creative gifts that I have chosen to unwrap and share with the world. I also contemplated how I would want to be remembered, since it sets the tone for how I live each day.  That would be that I lived as love incarnate and spilled it over everyone and everything I touched.

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I asked friends about their version of this question and they shared nakedly and boldly.

“What a ride!”

“Love/God/Goddess.”

“She made a difference.”

“She loved.”

“I survived.”

“Maybe that I inspired someone to be their better self.”

“Woop, woop ! I am almost home. Remember me by the love I spread.”

“I can’t wait to see my parents and grandparents to tell them they were right! I liked to be remembered as funny, knowledgeable, creative, supportive and loved.”

“I would like my last thought to be about feeling happy and satisfied…that I had loved and been loved…knowing I had left the world a better place than I had come into it. I would like to be remembered for being someone who made a positive difference in the lives of others…who was a courageous, strong, smart, funny and caring individual.”

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She traveled all over the world. She built a fortune in real estate. She climbed mountains by bicycle and on foot. She loved her girl, her man and her animals. She wrote amazing books and screenplays. She was on the NY Times bestselling list and walked the red carpet! She even won a medal in the Senior Olympics. What a beautiful life.”

“Last thought– “Not yet, I’ve got to turn off the stove!” Remembered–“He made me smile.”

“Wow. Look at how much sh*t I did. So many experiences. I have Loved. I have lived. I hope to be remembered for ALL of me. She was one of a kind.”

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“I would hope my final thoughts would be of happy times. I would like to be remembered as kind, funny, giving and inspriational by those who loved me.”

“S/he who dies w/ the most Joy wins…. I think I will be excited.”

I would love to be considered/remembered as a loving friend and a kind person.”

“Man, what a blast! He explored til he couldn’t.”

I echo many of their sentiments and live fully and freely, rich and juicy, so that with my last breath I know I have not missed a thing.

 

 

 

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My To-Do List

Writing this the night before heading southward with my friends Barb and Glenn to Hilton Head, SC for a week of fun in the sun. It is the first long vacation I have had in more than a decade. They invited me to take the time to veg and just BE. That in and of itself is restorative and will help me return refreshed. There will be some writing that will emerge and I know I will be inspired to create by being around the ocean. Even as I am now 12 hours away from our final destination, I can smell the salt air and feel the breeze and melting sun across my skin. I can visualize digging my toes in the sand, swimming, practicing yoga on the beach and gazing up at the clear, cloud scattered sky by day and star sparkles at night.

In order to be ready to travel, I needed to complete tasks that included writing and submitting articles for the various venues that  publish my work. Laundry, packing, grocery shopping, plant watering, cleaning my house so that I can come home to some semblance of order, which has become important lately.

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Then it occurred to me that even more important is the to-do list that is more about inner order. Taking a deep breath and recalling what matters.

Enjoy every moment as it arises like the ocean waves in which I will be immersed by Sunday.

Sing with the seagulls that will likely serenade us.

Count my blessings, like the infinite grains of sand.

Immerse in love as deep as the fathomless sea.

Play joyfully with the light as it beams down from the heavens.

Celebrate the magnificence of this life as it unfolds.

 

 

 

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Filling the Well

My friend Cass Forkin is a devout Catholic who doesn’t merely pray. She walks the talk. Cass is the founder and director of The Twilight Wish Foundation that grants wishes for seniors. She is also, like me, a miracle manna-fester and consummate cosmic coincidence creator. Today gave us an opportunity to road test that.

As I was driving home from the gym, I was contemplating whether I wanted to stop somewhere for lunch or wait until I got home. I passed a food truck that announced that it was serving Greek cuisine. The last time I enjoyed food from that part of the world was about a month ago with my friends Dan and Mike on South Street in Philly. A moment later, a car turns in front of me, with signs and bumper stickers that told me that the driver was Cass. I pull up next to her on Route 611, roll down my window, honk the horn and wave excitedly. She joins me in the greeting and says she is on her way to a Greek restaurant in Doylestown, PA and invites me to join her and her friends Meredith and Lisa that she planned to meet there. Of course I had to say yes.

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She then tells me that my appearance was no mere accident. She had been focusing on her relationship with Mother Mary and had a dream/vision that she was to ‘clean out’ Mary’s Well, which is a sacred site in Nazareth. Literal or metaphorical cleansing? What she came to understand is that it is important to keep our own spiritual wells in good shape. How can we fill someone else’s if ours is crumbling or bone dry?  We can’t. Doesn’t stop us from trying, does it? She acknowledges that both she and I are focused on keeping others from going thirsty when we are sometimes feeling parched, thus her particular delight that we crossed paths today.

I replenish my well by means of prayer and meditation, listening to music, being with kindred spirits, dance, time in nature, breathing in the life sustaining air, doing right livelihood work that I love, being of service, digging in the dirt, sweating at the gym, walking barefoot in the grass or sun, splashing about in water, writing …of course, writing, reading, singing, drumming, curiously exploring the world, setting intention each day to magnetize miracles.

Previous Posts

The Lifeguard is Off Duty
On vacation for the week and while shopping in Hilton Head, I saw a t-shirt that read "Lifeguard off duty. Save yourself". I laughed as I purchased it for someone at home. I was tempted to get another one for myself, but I resisted. I was a ...

posted 9:45:16am May. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Our Final Thoughts
Earlier this year, I wrote an article that focused on the multitude of thoughts that careen through our heads and the impact they have on the shape our lives take. Going deeper, I have been exploring the trajectory from there to here and the ...

posted 11:08:09am May. 19, 2015 | read full post »

My To-Do List
Writing this the night before heading southward with my friends Barb and Glenn to Hilton Head, SC for a week of fun in the sun. It is the first long vacation I have had in more than a decade. They invited me to take the time to veg and just BE. ...

posted 9:09:30pm May. 15, 2015 | read full post »

Filling the Well
My friend Cass Forkin is a devout Catholic who doesn't merely pray. She walks the talk. Cass is the founder and director of The Twilight Wish Foundation that grants wishes for seniors. She is also, like me, a miracle manna-fester and consummate ...

posted 9:45:34pm May. 14, 2015 | read full post »

Mary's Well
My friend Cass Forkin is a devout Catholic who doesn't merely pray. She walks the talk. Cass is the founder and director of The Twilight Wish Foundation that grants wishes for seniors. She is also, like me, a miracle manna-fester and consummate ...

posted 9:15:58pm May. 14, 2015 | read full post »

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