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The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Creative ADHD

While on the plane heading from Philadelphia to New Orleans for my first ever visit to attend Jazz Fest with friends, I was perusing the in flight mag called American Way- since my carrier is American Airlines. Being a writer, editor and former publisher, I always read the Editor’s Note to see what’s what in the rest of the publication. This one grabbed me instantly because the human subject was is one of my favorite songwriters- Neil Young. The journalist, Adam Pitluck was sharing an experience he had while listening to erstwhile rather raunchy radio host Howard Stern. Howard’s guest was the iconic Mr. Young.  Howard asked a natural question about his songwriting process.

“Do you spend hours a day sitting in a room alone somewhere waiting for inspiration? When Neil Young is creating, how does it happen?”

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The response that had me nodding my head in agreement was ” Whatever I’m doing, if I have an idea, I stop what I’m doing and I do that.”

Call it creative ADHD if you like, but it works for me. If my attention is lured away by The Muse, I need to heed the call, or the ideas sometimes slip into oblivion.  If I am somewhere sans computer, I jot down the thought on whatever paper is handy. I have been known to use napkins, paper bags, my iPhone or appointment book. When inspiration strikes, who am I to shoo it away?

As I am writing this, I am standing at a charging station at the Charlotte, NC airport waiting for the next flight. This writer’s life is exceptional. Here I am, doing what I love, writing slice of life stories for my pleasure and hopefully yours. I am taking you along the journey with me and you didn’t need to pack a bag, buy a ticket or leave the comfort of home. We creative souls are blessed to be the ‘hollow reeds’ through which insights flow.

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When I travel, I prepare well so that I can be spontaneous if the need arises. I smile at and have conversations with cool people. This flight from Philly to Charlotte was short and I combined power napping and being to read a newly published book written by my friends Mali Apple and Joe Dunn, called The Soulmate Lover. I immersed myself in all kinds of juicy imaginings as I call in the Beloved who I know will show up from wherever he is at the moment.

Case in point …as I was writing those last few words, my attention was drawn by a large, fluffy four legged named Vinny. His person, Jackie informed me that he was a therapy cat who works with children on the autism spectrum and older adults. How could I miss this opportunity to have a conversation with the two of them?   She asked me if I knew the music of Marcia Ball. I do. Not sure if she will be at Jazz Fest. Vinny posed prettily for a photo and then sauntered into his cozy carrier and Jackie and I hugged goodbye.

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vinnycatandjackie

I am eager to see what writing prompts pop up throughout the week as I pay attention to the creative sparks that dance before me.

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Pump Up The Volume

Having just returned from a workshop called Fearless Relating, facilitated by my friends Reid Mihalko and Monique Darling, I am awhirl with all kinds of ideas and awash in emotion. In the re-entry process, I am integrating what feels like a lifetime of experience. If you have ever been to an immersive retreat, then you know what I’m talking about. I entered into it with the intention to clean up the symbolic cobwebs that have been lurking in corners and under beds for, oh, just like forever. Knowing that I am prone to wearing my therapist’s hat- an occupational hazard, since I have been doing counseling in one form or another since 1979, I made it clear from the get go, that I was off duty and that I was there for my own healing.

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Be careful what you ask for. In very short order, I was called on to face a longstanding issue- emotional expression and especially the one called anger. In my family, it was rarely shown, voices were not often raised, although I recall my father saying “That burns me up,” with regard to work related issues in particular, while swigging Maalox. On the flip side, we were encouraged to be happy, loving and in gratitude mode. All good on the surface.  I held back expressing sadness often, since my father used to say “What hurts you, hurts me.” Now, some would find that a compassionate, empathetic statement of support. I internalized it, even at an early age to mean that if I felt sad, daddy would feel sad and I didn’t want to be responsible for that. I became a good little co-dependent, believing that it was my job to take care of the emotional wellbeing of people in my life. Any surprise that I became a social worker/therapist/minister/teacher/writer/radio host whose work is all about relationships? I would also hear him say “If that’s the worst thing that ever happens to you, you’ll be alright,” as a means of encouraging resilience. Again, it could be interpreted in different ways. My parents modeled resilience and while it couldn’t be called stoicism, it was  certainly emotional control.

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What became abundantly clear through the course of the weekend was that anger comes out when I witness injustice; someone being harmed, or people deliberately causing damage of some kind. It is like I am feeling FOR them …righteous indignation, a sense of  “How dare you?” I can feel my hackles being raised and I’m like a protective Mama bear, charging to the rescue of her cubs. A friend who was there had asked me how I deal with my own toes being stepped on, or boundaries being crossed. I generally don’t get angry then; sometimes frustrated, but then I step back and clarify my needs with that person. It somehow feels like a ‘waste of emotion’ to get angry, like ‘what good is it going to do?’ He pointed out that it needs to be verbalized but not sustained. Kind of like a little kid who falls down, skins her knee, cries over the boo boo, gets it patched up and then is back on the playground. What we resist, persists; I know that well.

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Reid used two powerful analogies that really resonated with me, around the theme of stored emotion. The first was a pile of newspapers that we allow to accumulate and we think that if we attempt to burn them, they will become a raging conflagration. The other is a closet filled with golf balls. If we open the door, we are afraid they will come crashing down around us. The trick is to be aware of them in the first place and be willing to face them as they arise so that they don’t overwhelm us . I am learning to do that after all these years.

In one of the exercises, we worked with a partner and non-verbally shared an emotion and the other person was to tell us what they thought we were feeling. As I exhibited anger, I noticed that I was squeezing my fists in the way I would if I was having lab work done and the syringe was approaching my arm, ready to draw blood. Sometimes I do need to work myself up to even feel the emotion that has seemed dangerous when I have witnessed others showcasing it. Like a wild animal, I feel a need to tame it, lest it take hold of me in its jaws and tote me away for a hearty meal. Learning that it serves a valuable purpose if it can propel me to positive action. Pumping up the volume, knowing that I am in charge of the control switch.

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The Event Will Go As The Event Will Go

ediereidmonique

 

Rolling the clock back to the spring of 2005 and I find myself in the 5th floor walk up apartment in Manhattan of Reid Mihalko and Marcia Baczynski. Surrounded by blankets, pillows and pj clad strangers, save my brave friend who trekked the few hours up there with me, I was attending a workshop that would become a way of life for me. Cuddle Party  is a  relationship enhancing, communication and boundary setting workshop. It just so happens that consensual, non-sexual, nurturing touch that could include snuggles, cuddles, hugs and massage are part of the world wide phenomenon that was created by Reid and Marcia as somewhat of a social experiment that blossomed beautifully. Although I am cuddler by inclination, it had never occurred to me that an entire workshop was being wrapped around it like a comfy quilt. By the time it had ended and we were helping to fold blankets and tidy up the space, I knew that it had to be brought to Philadelphia- appropriately named The City of Brotherly Love and I was equally certain that I was going to have to become a certified facilitator so it could stay here. That summer, Reid came to the area to facilitate and I embarked on the training program. By January of the following year, I was named Cuddle Party facilitator #27. Now there are around 100 people certified to teach this workshop worldwide. In the interim, I have facilitated over 250 of them up and down the East Coast, from here to Virginia and Maryland. It has been one of my greatest joys and honors that attendees have trusted me to create a safe space for them to explore relationship matters and facilitate healthy touch.

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A few years after I took the leap into the ‘puppy pile,’ way across the country in Utah, another affectionista, named Monique Darling entered the realm of Cuddle Party facilitator. We became friends when we had support calls as she was going through her certification process. Her enthusiasm matched mine and to date, she has offered 369 of them. When the opportunity came to team up with Monique and Reid to teach in my neck of the woods, I was giddy with delight. She and Reid have taught together, she and I have taught together, but I’ve not taught with Reid. Let the games begin …. as we put on the books, what we were referring to as an ‘epic event’. Between the three of us, we figure we have facilitated close to 1000 of them.

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Since they were each coming on separate flights, I was to pick them up at the airport. A few days afterward, I discovered that they were due in 90 minutes or so before the event was to begin, which wouldn’t allow much time for travel and then set up. I took a breath and remembered wisdom that Reid shared a long time ago, when I would call him, nerves all aflutter, right before my first few workshops. He would say “Darlin’, the event will go as the event will go.” I would sigh, smile and proceed to accept the truth in it.

I left for the airport with plenty of time to spare, mentally going through the checklist in my head about what needed to be done to prep for the workshop as soon as we arrived. As I was enroute, I get a message from Reid that his flight would be an hour late. Not even a moment of panic, but still a thought “Now what are we going to do?,” arose. Immediately, a spark of brilliance and the words “Call Rusty,” came through. He was going to be attending and knew the area, so I called him and he was more than happy to be Reid’s airport shuttle service. Whew~ I could let that one go.

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I pulled up at baggage claim just in time to scoop up Monique, since her flight was early. Laughing along with Spirit’s sense of humor, we headed for my friend Christina’s lovely home in the woods where the workshop was taking place. As it turned out, we arrived in perfect timing and began the teaching and 20 minutes later, Reid and Rusty arrived and he merged seamlessly and the workshop flowed smoothly. At the end of the evening, participants floated out the door on an oxytocin high and I felt elevated for so many reasons; one among them that I really had surrendered outcome, without attempting to control it. What a relief and such a departure from my habit of attempting to micromanage. Ahhhhh~ Surrender is a beautiful thing.

 

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Make Every Day Earth Day

edieandworld

I am an earnest Earth advocate since it is the only planet we have and I want it to continue to sustain life for a long time to come. I also honor what Gaia- the Greek name for the Goddess as embodied by the Earth,  does for us each day. She hosts breathable air, drinkable water, plants, animals and human life. She does it without expectation of return AND YET, if we neglect her, like any mother, she will no longer be able to care for us. We shortsighted human beings erroneously believe that we can continue to take her for granted without consequences. Ain’t gonna happen.

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On April 22nd , 1970, John McConnell, Gaylord Nelson and Denis Hayes planted the seeds for the eco-fest that now  has taken on epic proportions as the need for environmental awareness has reached a crucial level. Earth Day, according to Hayes, it is “the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year.”

Being environmentally conscious is more than about what we think, but also what we do. Some steps to take:

Reduce, re-use, recycle

Walk and bicycle when you can, rather than drive

Take public transportation

Combine trips

Take re-usable bags, not just for grocery shopping, but all purchases. They can be washed and dried

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Compost food scraps

Eat organic and locally grown food when able

Stop smoking~ since the toxins in cigarettes pollute your lungs and the air of those who don’t smoke

Reduce energy consumption- turn off lights when out of the room

Turn off water when brushing teeth, washing or shaving since there is no need to let it run

Run the dishwasher when full

Sign petitions that ask legislators to take action on climate change

We also feed the collective soul of the planet with our thoughts and energy. Consistently angry thoughts, hatred and violence pollute the stream of consciousness that flows though each of us. Consistently loving thoughts clean it up.  If we embrace the planet and all inhabitants on it, we will leave a thriving home for the next seven generations.

Partner with the planet and each other.  Together we can make a difference.

Previous Posts

Creative ADHD
While on the plane heading from Philadelphia to New Orleans for my first ever visit to attend Jazz Fest with friends, I was perusing the in flight mag called American Way- since my carrier is American Airlines. Being a writer, editor and former ...

posted 1:01:19pm Apr. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Pump Up The Volume
Having just returned from a workshop called Fearless Relating, facilitated by my friends Reid Mihalko and Monique Darling, I am awhirl with all kinds of ideas and awash in emotion. In the re-entry process, I am integrating what feels like a ...

posted 8:51:07am Apr. 27, 2015 | read full post »

The Event Will Go As The Event Will Go
  Rolling the clock back to the spring of 2005 and I find myself in the 5th floor walk up apartment in Manhattan of Reid Mihalko and Marcia Baczynski. Surrounded by blankets, pillows and pj clad strangers, save my brave friend who ...

posted 10:47:25pm Apr. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Make Every Day Earth Day
I am an earnest Earth advocate since it is the only planet we have and I want it to continue to sustain life for a long time to come. I also honor what Gaia- the Greek name for the Goddess as embodied by the Earth,  does for us each day. She ...

posted 1:36:35pm Apr. 22, 2015 | read full post »

Life Is Lumpy
This morning, I was reading a newsletter sent by my friend Kurt Koontz. In it he was described his latest adventures in the Big Apple. He had taken a few forays to the 9/11 memorial and was deeply moved by what he saw there. Although I have not ...

posted 3:54:58pm Apr. 21, 2015 | read full post »

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