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The Bliss Blog

“La clave es vivir sin prisa, pero sin pausa.” (The key is to live without hurry, but also without pause).

My friend Greg Petitti shared this thought on his Facebook page today. It  had me pondering the meaning since it seems paradoxical. As someone who has lived her life in hurry mode, or as one friend described it, “like you are running around 100 mph with your hair on fire,” I question what it would be like to really take pause. Opportunities to do so have presented themselves in the form of meditation, yoga, time in nature or just sitting in silence by myself or with others with whom it is comfortable. When I am in that sacred space, I can re-evaluate my life and determine if I am on the path that will take me where I most want to be.

When I asked him what it meant and how it was possible to accomplish both things, his two word answer was, “with joy,” to which I replied, “I can do that.”  It is something that I engage in every day. I call it living a joy drenched life. Maybe the re-frame means not pausing in the action of joy; because I have come to see it as a verb; just like love.

Since I experienced a major life shakeup wake-up two years ago, I recognize how in the past, I did indeed put my life on pause; not fully living my joy, even though (good actor that I can be at times) it would seem to others who observed me, that I did. The truth is, for many years, I sleep walked through life, on auto pilot. I thought I was being spontaneous, when in fact, I was relinquishing responsibility for my own happiness. I let others and their opinions be the arbiter of my reality, instead of claiming my own truth.  I tiptoed through my days, fearful of setting off landmines; some I had planted and others tossed by others.

How do I actively engage in a life without pause?

Last night, I attended Greg’s 55th birthday party and was delighted to be part of the overlapping soul circles that comprise his world. One of his roles in my life is challenger of my thinking, stretcher of my comfort zones who calls me on my stuff when I play it too safe. He dares me to reveal the real. Such a mixed blessing at times.

This morning, I headed down Rte 95 to the Philadelphia International Airport to pick up Phyllis Klaper who has been a Facebook friend for five years. A few weeks ago, she tossed out the idea of coming up from South Florida to my neck of the woods and, with delight (and not pause), I said a hardy (and heart-y) YES! In the past few hours, we rambled on about life, the Universe and everything. With many of the same perspectives on life, we found ourselves laughing at some of the absurdities of our thoughts and the ways in which our mischievous monkey minds trick us into believing that certain things are true, when they are just NOT.

The next few days I will be immersed in music at the XPoNential Music Festival in Camden, New Jersey that is hosted by WXPN. Sunshine, cool breeze off the Delaware River, familiar faces of old friends and new folks coming into my life, singing, dancing and basking in the awe of it all.

On Monday, I will traipse into Philadelphia during the DNC to offer FREE Hugs to willing recipients as a Hugmobster Armed With Love. This will be an experience of a lifetime, as my intention is help defuse tensions that politics can induce.  Who knows how many lives this will touch.

And I will do it all, ‘con gioia’. Thanks, Greg, for the reminder.

 

 

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.”-Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi – 13th century Sufi poet

I love this quote so much that I commissioned an artist friend Shari Kestenbaum Ubechel to paint it in spiral form on a drum I purchased from her many years ago. Each time I see these words, I am reminded of that unbreakable thread of connection to the woman who used to live here in Pennsylvania and was led to move westward to New Mexico. A fairy spirit (how I see her) blessed with artistic ability, Shari is most definitely in touch with nature and the rhythms of the Universe. I giggle when I think about a pivotal event that occurred in her life as she was visiting a place I had enjoyed when I had immersed into the healing Ojo Caliente hot springs. Not sure of the exact details, but that is where she and her husband Norbert met. My take is that when kindred spirits are scheduled to meet, they do.
A second think link connects me to another friend named Michael London, who is a hybrid: A Wharton grad, business professor and singer songwriter who takes the poetry of Rumi and sets it to his own music. We met via a mutual friend named Pat Harmon (now Harmony) who invited me to come to Michael’s CD release party many years ago. A photographer, with a keen eye, she had done a photo shoot for him.
The first time I saw the words of the ecstatic poet whose languaging speaks to the Divine Beloved (I think of them as love poems to God) as well as the Human Beloved, I felt a sense of Home. He was beckoning my heart too and I was helpless to resist. Why would I want to, when the call was so strong to embrace the truth that we are One?
I have many in my life with whom I can lie down in that metaphorical and literal grass and muse about life, the Universe and everything, as well as being still and silent. I am also amazed, but not surprised when I show up at the right place and the right time for certain encounters.
Yesterday I spontaneously went to Great Clips in Doylestown for a quick hair cut. Since my hair is wash and wear short, sitting in the chair is generally a brief experience. I always end up having fascinating conversations with the one whose scissors are snipping away. Charlie is a career hairdresser who loves her work, as she told me and enjoys talking to her customers. I shared, as I always do that hairdressers are privileged listeners like cab drivers, bartenders, therapists and clergy, she smiled and mused about the reasons for that dynamic.
When I told her that one of my hats is that of a motivational speaker, her face brightened even more and she asked how she could get started doing that. I asked if she was involved with a faith community and she said she is part of a small church in the area. I suggested she ask about speaking to the congregation. She mentioned that she is involved with a group of women there with whom she acts in a mentoring/cheerleader role. I added that it would be a natural place to continue her own motivational ministry. She liked that idea and plans to pursue it.
What field will you lie down in today?  Who will you ask to join you there?

 

 

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What does it mean to be a nomad?  A wanderer, a wayfarer; one who has no permanent home. This could be seen as both blessing and bane. In the newly birthed CD by singer songwriter and instrumentalist Ed Creamer, called Becoming Nomad, it seems as if it is the former. The runes on the cover spell out the word Nomad and the labyrinth design beckons the listener to enter and move through their own Hero’s Journey, since this structure and meditative tool offers both a way in and out, one step at a time.

It brings to mind the J.R.R. Tolkien quote, “Not all who wander are lost.”

In the opening track Becoming Nomad, Creamer goes within to observe his thoughts and allows for guidance to arise as he embraces the experience of love and loss. “The journey is the gift of love I find. As I wander, I never feel I’ve lost my way. Becoming Nomad is my destiny. The symbol of my life is my labyrinth, it’s the key. It’s the choice to reach the center. The gateway to my peace.”  Guitar and hand clapping rhythm accompany the poignant words.

A Secret Sky ponders what awaits beyond this incarnation.  “At the end of my days, with no strength left, I’ve given all I can give. Just before my last breath, you will comfort me, with precious treasures”.  This selection evokes a sense of soaring and a reassurance that “Love is the bridge for us,” between where our feet our planted at the moment and where we may be going when we ‘leave the building’.

The roaring guitar riff in Rubble has a darker side that accompany the lyrics wailing, “Break down your barriers,” which stand in the way in of recognizing true identity and dancing on the detritus left behind, “even if you dance alone.”

It’s Okay carries a reggae feel with steel drum sound opening the song. Creamers’ signature line, “Stay loving,” is a highlight of this upbeat, dance-able piece. I found it hard to sit still while listening; although it is challenging to type and dance at the same time. The lyrics: “Remember always, it’s okay. All love all the time, it’s okay,” would do Bob Marley proud.

Echoing chanting opens the song Seagull as a  dark dialog occurs between man and bird.  “Seagull, you fly across the horizon into the misty morning sun. No once asked you where you were going. Nobody knows where you’re from. You fly all around, until somebody shoots you down.”

Amazonian rain stick and percussion pulls the listener into By The Fire  “Sparks fly from their eyes. Rising passion sizzling,” are the words growled seductively to a samba beat. Hip swaying, eyes closed, being carried along willingly in this positively incendiary song.

Power of tears reminds the listener, “My tears are not a weakness. My tears are a cleansing. My tears reflect your love. Sacred power. A healing.”  Tears are the unspoken words of a narrative that express what can’t otherwise be shared. Creamer sings of a painful leave- taking that allowed them to flow. “It’s the sacred power of tears,” that is  the healing we experience as result.

Fingers caressing piano keys in  Light carry the words “Light the only real creation, light discovers ancient mysteries….the source without ceasing,” is the sweet beauty of this transcendent selection.

The final cut that ushers the listener out of the co-creation with the Divine, is called I rest in God.  It begins withWe ask for peace today and still this is the midst of turmoil.”  and ends with the idea that when releasing the illusion of control over life and ‘sinking into stillness’ as well as ‘resting in the peace of God,’ it is possible to rise above fear and limitation. The crescendo of life.

The quality of Creamer’s voice calls to mind a combination of two of my favorite songsters: Van Morrison and Randy Newman.

Each of these songs bring with them a sense of certainty within the ‘just don’t know’ of life that all is for the highest good. Without knowing the artist, it is not difficult to imagine that this is an ode to major life transition for him. A personal and professional triumph.

This morning, my eyes opened and I looked with delight at the time on the clock: 8:04 am. For the first time in months, maybe even years, I have been getting seven to eight hours sleep a night. What a relief, when a few years back, I was lucky to sneak in five or six with a work schedule of 12 or more revolutions around the clock. That led to several serious health crises. Even as recently as a few weeks ago, I would be wide awake in the wee hours. I attributed it to being an empath and picking up on all of the chaotic energies on the planet. I had become a repository for the pain and struggle of the people around me as they faced illness and injury, loss of loved ones and financial changes. How can anyone with a heart and mind not be impacted by world events on top of it? Gun violence, bigotry, murder on mass scale, rape, abuse, environmental devastation, addiction, unspeakable loss impacting people on a daily basis. I wonder how those on the receiving end of such acts can function. As a therapist, I have witnessed off the charts resilience among my clients. As a friend, I have listened to stories of atrocities committed and I am honored to know these souls and see what they have transcended.

I kept attempting to push it away and bury it in hustle and bustle. Blessedly, I have my writing skills to get me through the darker times; a candle for me to light my own way. As I am typing these words, the mid morning rain is providing a counter point for emphasis, washing away the sticky humidity that I know awaits beyond my door. I can allow the tears that represented my own inner water works to cleanse me as well. Alone and in the presence of supportive friends, I have let them flow. There was a time when I would refrain from crying, since I wondered if the torrents of tears  would ever stop. Of course, they did. They always do. I also denied that I had normal and messy human emotions, subsumed in the service of keepin’ on keepin’ on. After all, how could I hold everyone else together if I was falling apart? What I discovered, paradoxically, is that if I am fully human; strong and vulnerable, I am more reliable and capable.

This past Sunday I spoke at Awakened Heart which is a New Thought church based on Science of Mind teachings. I visit there four times a year or so and I always feel welcomed home when I head down the stretch of highway that takes me the 90 minutes or so door to door. Hugs and smiles abound. This time, I shared on the topic being raw and real. Standing in front of the congregation of kindred spirits, I offered my take on the dynamic of vulnerability and self revelation. Being emotionally naked and baring our hearts to each other is no task for wimps. I pondered the idea of asking for what we want being riskier when we are invested in the answer. I also focused on the concept of self assurance. If I am at ease and peace with who I am and how I present myself in the spiritual, emotional, physical and mental realms of my life, then it almost doesn’t matter how anyone else perceives me. If I am able to nourish myself from the inside out, then I don’t require it from another. Does it mean I don’t still want to be loved and affirmed? Of course not. No woman or man is an island and we are intertwined. I laughingly told them that I live with the paradox of wanting to be loved best of all and being embarrassed about being recognized; sometimes when I am washing up at the ladies’ room sink. “I know you from Facebook, or I heard you speak, or read your writing, or you’re the hug lady,”  are some of the statements made when I have my hands under running water. The last time was right after spinning class at the gym and I was red faced and wringing wet with sweat. Another woman in the class knew me from a local Facebook group and the FREE Hugs events I organize. Blessedly, I had the presence of mind not to ask if she wanted a hug.

How do you want to be seen?

I shared with the group that I had two  major fears.

  • Losing my marbles and memory, since both are essential for writing and speaking articulately. I have noticed that the more deeply I connect spiritually, the more the mundane fades away. Names, directions, what I walked into a room to fetch or do, seem less accessible than once they were. I have learned to smile and laugh it off, attributing it to middle aged/wise woman moments and the proverbial hard drive being full.
  • Being incapacitated and requiring consistent care. When I had the heart attack two years ago, I annoyed myself with thoughts that I wouldn’t rebound and would have to rely on others. As a result of changing lifestyle, including cardiac rehab which has now progressed to four to five times a week workouts at the gym, spinning class, and recently at three mile hike on steep and rocky terrain. I have more than proven to myself that I can hold my own in the face of challenges.

I am also awakening to the realization that joined with others, I am more powerful than I ever imagined. Yawning and stretching with y’all as we greet the new day together.

 

 

 

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