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The Bliss Blog

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As I am typing these words, I am curled up on a comfy couch in a B & B (or more appropriately ‘bee and bee’) called The Hive. It is located in the Ontario Canadian town of Leskard. I trekked up here on Friday from my Bucks County, Pennsylvania home, taking to the roads at 8:30 a.m. and arriving (three potty stops and one gasoline stop later) at around 5:00 pm. The roads were clear, with minimal traffic as I listened to music, sang, danced (yes, I dance in the car sometimes…and as I was doing so, I remembered a story told to me by a Canadian friend who was stopped by a police officer here in the states for doing that!)  and enjoyed the brilliant summer scenery en route. I was excited to arrive to celebrate the wedding of my friends Shayne Traviss and Tim Emberley who embarked on their relationship 18 years ago when introduced by a friend.

Shayne and I cyber-met back in 2011 and then he introduced me to his partner at a conference all three of us  attended that year.  At the time, Shayne was launching additional radio shows on Vivid Life to enhance an already stellar line-up. He offered me the opportunity to create my own show, called It’s All About Relationships. As we worked together, albeit long distance, we got to know each other well. When he told me that he and Tim were tying the knot, I was thrilled and began making plans for heading Northward.

When I stumbled out of the car, I felt as if I had stepped into a faerie land paradise as I was greeted with a hug from Elsii Faria who is co-owner, with Kevin Craddock of The Hive. I breathed a sigh of surrender as I entered  from drivetime into playtime. This eco-friendly haven tucked in the woods has a European country side elegance to it, with natural touches, such as river rocks around the wood burning stove, polished to a high finish hardwood floors, plush bath towels, big bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash in the spacious showers, rather than the rather wasteful mini bottles, as well as my favorite, peppermint soap at the sink. The breakfast, which is self serve, includes organic juices, almond and soy milk, cereals, eggs, fruit and bread. The Hive is also a holistic retreat center where I will be teaching next year. What makes the place all the more wondrous is the love that goes into it.

Over the weekend I met hug to hug, friends  I had only known via the marvels of modern technology and the phenom of Facebook:  Crystal-Lee Quibell , Sharon Quirt, Jodi Clauss Salata, Jeff Brown, Susan Frybort and Milana Vinokur. I had the joy of re-uniting with another friend Eloise Morrison and my angel-agent Raquel Benavidez.  When I checked into my room, I found a lovely Canadian care package from Shayne and Tim that included a mug with a bear on it, maple syrup, votive candles, a box of Smarties and ketchup potato chips, as well as a beautiful card that had me in tears.


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After a bunch of us arrived, Shayne led us on a tour of the grounds and showed us where the ceremony would take place the next day. The wonderland includes a clear flowing over rock tumbling stream. Icy cold, it chilled the heat from the drive and the mud between my toes was a welcome relief. Gathered on the deck were the families of Tim and Shayne and together we dug into pizza, salad and a rainbow decorated, sparkler bedazzled birthday cake. In addition to celebrating nuptials the next day, Shayne was turning 41.

The morning of the wedding dawned bright and breezy, as requested, rather than the possibility of rain that was forecast. Clearly, the weather devas were with us. Country chic decor highlighted the festivities, as patchwork quilt blankets, with bottles of mineral water, goblets and picnic baskets were scattered across them.

The ceremony was officiated by Spiritual Minister Sharon Quirt who created a sacred space in this impromptu chapel in the woods that began with cleansing, with the burning of sage, coming from a Native American tradition. She then spoke of the relationship between these two men who have seen each other through joys and challenges. They were garbed in black jeans, white shirts, suspenders and bow ties made of bird feathers, as were their male attendants, with the women wearing flowing white with earrings and hair clips similarly embellished and Sharon having donned a pale blue print dress as she presided over the ceremony. A handfasting ritual incorporating a Tibetan scarf that was wrapped around their joined hands reinforced the idea that their lives were bound one to the other and that with each knot tied, they hearts were as well. They acknowleged that although it was not their intention, they might inadvertantly hurt each other. They affirmed that it was indeed their intention to love and support each other for the long journey they were on. Sharon asked us all to join in the bond with them as we suppported their marriage. We all enthusiastically agreed.

The music that enhanced the service and the celebration that followed, was offered by a sweet couple named Sarah Frank and Luke Fraser who call themselves The Bombadils, so named after a characted in the Lord of the Rings series. Celtic-folk-mystical-magical is how I would describe them.

The food was phenomenal and simple. Cheeses, bread, fruit, sweet treats abounded.  The wedding cake was a luscious vanilla with custard filling shaped like a pineapple, enwrapped in gold fondant.

Far and away, the sweetest treat was the love fest that occurred all weekend long. I will carry the residual energy with me as I make the trip back home.

For Shayne and Tim (change the lyrics a wee bit), wishing you a life long loving relationship. You are off to a grand start. <3

 

As I was making my way from my home in beautiful, bucolic Bucks County, PA to North of the border Canada for what I know will be a magical wedding of my friends Shayne Traviss and Tim Emberly, I was tuning in to various radio stations as I lost signals and then picked them up once again. I happened upon religious programing on which a couple was being interviewed about the death of their youngest daughter shortly after her birth. The were tearful as they described the emotional roller coaster they had been on at the time of her passing and since then. They expressed their belief that since they were faith-filled and devotional, that they would be spared hardship and trial, but they had come to accept that life happens, regardless and loss is part of it. The show host reminded them that their was no quid pro quo with God, to which they agreed.

As I contemplated events in my own life, from the ectopic preganancy I experienced, to the  Hepatitis C diagnosis my husband had, which led to his death, to the loss of our home to Hurricane Andrew in Homestead, Florida in 1992, to my parents’ passing, followed by a series of health crises and financial challenges, I too have come to the same conclusion as this couple. God didn’t make any of it occur. My take on it  is that God/Goddess/All That Is, has been the strength and comfort that has sustained me through each of them.

I smiled when I realized that all really is well and that I will get through the financial uncertainties I am facing at the moment. I reminded myself that if those thoughts weren’t hammering at me, I would be enjoying the journey to Ontario, where I am right now as I am typing these words. Freshly showered, after the 8 1/2 hour trip,  hugging the grooms and other friends  when I arrived, some who I met for the first time, since knowing them for years via Facebook, a traipse through the woods, wading in the icy cold creek, getting muddy sneakers, walking barefoot in the grass, watching the wedding rehearsal, enjoying the mixture of salad and pizza and lemon infused water, followed by a sparkler and rainbow decotated birthday cake to celebrate Shayne’s birthday tomorrow. I enjoyed the dimming sky and lively conversation.

Okay, so back to the car ride…right after I listened to the interview, I was again flipping through the dial and a song came on that had me laughing and saying, “Got it.” It was a Jon Bon Jovi classic called Living On A Prayer. Even though the story line didn’t resemble my own journey, the title grabbed me. Less than an hour later, as I had crossed the border from NY to Canada, guess which song came back on another station, just in case I hadn’t gotten the message the first time. Now I knew I was truly taken care of and that all I may doubt, on the other side, has assurance that per Christian mystic Julian of Norwich, ““All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

 

 

 

 

As a 57 year old woman penning these words, I am amply aware that I have accumulated some baggage in my lifetime. From the moment we are born into families, we are threaded through with ancestral messages; spoken and silent. As we move through childhood, adolesence and adulthood, we pack into our ever enlarging duffel bags, relationships, beliefs and behaviors. Some take the form of addiction and illness; others, emotional tsunamis that threaten to capsize our boats in the midst of the vast oceanic expanse with no rescue in sight.
When we find ourselves encountering another with whom we want to emabark on a journey, we notice the size of the baggage they are toting around. Some are overburdened with symbolic suitcases handed down to them by family legacy, while others are accumulated over time. It is at that moment, we have the opportunity to decide if we want to grab handles and hoist shoulder straps and haul away the luggage. If it is done with and not for the other person, with the expectation that it is a shared endeavor and that it is acceptable to put it down and rest for a bit, then it is manageable.
As a recovering co-dependent, workaholic, I have, sadly chosen to hoist, haul and carry the various sized containers brought into relationships. My marriage was the greatest example of said behaviors. In the 12+  years we were together (we met on October 24, 1986 and Michael died on December 21, 1998), I vacillated between willingly sharing the load and feeling obligated to do so. His history followed him into the marriage and in some ways, became our shared destiny. Although I saw clearly how many valises he toted in his life, I convinced myself that with enough love and determination, we could unpack them and toss some of what they contained. Giving us both credit, we were able to lighten the load  and by the time he died from end stage liver disease, some healing had taken place and I would like to think that he took the next leg of his journey, baggage-free.
In conversation a few nights ago, with my  face to face friend Greg Bullough., we were talking about the dynamics in relationships that involve said satchels. It continued onto the Facebook thread of another friend,  Tom Ziemann.
Greg: “Gee, it seems possible actually to love someone’s ‘baggage.'” It helps when you own a matching set, I guess.”
 

Edie: “You did mention that in our recent conversation too. Remember I said that I prefer carry on that can fit in the overhead compartment, or under the seat, rather than steamer trunk.”

 
Greg: “Truth to tell, most baggage is carry-on, when properly packed and handled. Much is simply a small personal item. It’s as often as not the handler who turns it into a steamer-trunk by not handling it well. “

It becomes light when someone says, “Let me help you carry that, and you can help me with some of mine.”
 
Seems to me that if we claim our own baggage, check it at the gate and decide if it meets weight and size standards, then we can travel light.

A few days ago, I was in conversation with my long time friend Brian Farias. We met back in the early 90’s, if memory serves. He is a creative soul…a musician, music teacher, band leader and spiritual explorer. He lives cross country in Las Vegas and I am in the Philadelphia area. The last time I saw him was Halloween weekend 2015 and we went to the infamous Las Vegas strip. He was ensconsed in a Gumby costume and I was garbed in a pirate wench get up. His partner Kent was clothed in his civvies and watched with amusement as people greeted Brian with classic line from the Saturday Night Live skit, featuring Eddie Murphy; “I’m Gumby, dammit.”

Whenever he calls, he begins the conversation with, “So, Miss Edie…are you stopping to smell the roses?”  He is one of the many friends who remind me to sloooow my pace and enjoy life to the fullest. I usually sigh and refresh my memory. I was on my way to have lunch with another dear friend, Sandy Andersson who I refer to as a chiropractor (and now yoga teacher) “with hands and heart of gold.” I had already written a few articles and took a break to socialize; so symbolic rose smelling was happening.

I was telling him about my upcoming trip to Toronto for my friends Shayne Traviss and Tim Emberly’s wedding, followed immediately by hopping on a plane that will wing me westward on my first journey to Portland, Oregon, where I will be meeting my new ‘family of choice,’ invited and hosted by a soul friend named Tom Ziemann.  There I will begin what I am calling my Portland Miracle Tour as I will be teaching three times that week. I shared with Brian that in preparation, I needed to get my ducks in a row so that I could relax enroute. I have check lists of tasks that have to be accomplished in addition to my regular routine.

He laughed and asked if I had ever actually seen ducks stay in a row. I joined him in chuckling and admitted that they mostly meander and don’t always walk in linear fashion. Kind of like my wandering mind, that needs to be lassoed back in when it goes too far afield. Lately,  it has been going off into every direction, as I move backward down the numbers line with should woulda coulda, what if and if only, thoughts and leaping ahead with “Ooohhh, how cool would it be to….” images.  Remaining present has been an interesting endeavor.

I am learning to allow events in my life to unfold and finding that the results are, more often than not, just ducky.

 

 

 

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