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The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

You Are What You Choose To Be

This morning, I heard this Jackson Browne classic called The Fuse that was the perfect prelude to an interview I had with Beth Long who is the editor of Doylestown Hospital’s news letter. She and I had last had a sit down conversation right before Thanksgiving. The topic back then was my feeling of gratitude that I had experienced a heart attack, since it turned my life around in as yet unimaginable ways. Today, as I approach the one year ‘cardio-versary’ on June 12th, she wanted to do a follow up to see how I was progressing.

What came to me so powerfully is that I make conscious choices each day about my heart health. It isn’t just about diet and fitness routines, although I do adhere to them. It is more connected with the emotional heart stuff that had me offering care for others when I wanted it myself. It is about deciding how and with whom I will invest my time and energy. Instead of doing things because I am expected to, I do them when they serve me as well. Ongoing self sacrifice can be depleting.

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One of my favorite lines from the song I referenced is “Forget what life used to be. You are what you choose to be.” It is another way of saying that your history is not your destiny. We are always presented with options to consider. I am no longer on auto pilot. I ask myself sometimes moment by moment, what it is I want to do and how it will be of benefit to myself and those I encounter.

Are you living from the past? Do you see yourself as being simply a product of your experiences, rather than your conscious choices of which way to turn on the path on which you are walking?

“It’s whatever it is you see that life will become.”

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Wars Not Make One Great

Today is Memorial Day in the U.S. which commemorates those whose lives have been taken on the battlefield. It has become a harbinger of summer, although the season doesn’t officially begin until the solstice on June 21st at 12:38pm. Cookouts, parties and parades are part and parcel of the extension of the weekend. People sometimes use the greeting of Happy Memorial Day, which pushes buttons, since there really is nothing happy about war and the toll it extracts on many generations of families. My father was a veteran of the Korean War and WWII and loved watching military shows like Combat, McHales’ Navy, Hogan’s Hero’s and my favorite M*A*S*H. I joined him, as we sprawled out on the living room floor. Three out of the four injected humor into a deadly serious subject. The final episode of M*A*S*H on February 28, 1983 was the most watched and highest rated episode of a television show of all time with 125 million viewers. I was glad to be one of them. What I particularly enjoyed about the series was the ways in which it managed to bring heart and soul to a dismal environment that the characters found themselves in. With ironic laughter and a clear anti-war message, it got itself heard.

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I consider myself a peacemonger who knows that there are ways to break through the blocks that have people going head to head at each other, rather than heart to heart for/with each other. There are those who will be reading this who may believe that war will always exist and that it is justified. I know that my father would have been one of them. That was one of the few subjects about which we disagreed; tree hugging hippie that his daughter turned out to be. He didn’t glorify war, but thought that there were some things worth fighting for. He had been a Golden Gloves boxer in the Navy and had learned to be a tough guy while growing up in South Philadelphia. He did, however, have the heart of a marshmallow, who could cry easily and embraced family, friends and strangers alike. I guess I would call him a peaceful warrior. Perhaps I would call myself that too, since I have causes for which I take stands, but with my words and not weapons or fists.

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I think of the line from Star Wars that is uttered by Yoda when he and Luke Skywalker meet for the first time when Luke tells this little green sage that he is looking for a great warrior. Yoda responds “Wars not make one great.”

It is in that spirit, that I offer peace to the souls of those who are no longer in body and healing to the hearts of those whose loved ones have died as a result of war.

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On My Way Back Home

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Packed and ready to return home following a week in Hilton Head, SC with my friends Barb and Glenn. Feeling refreshed and revitalized. Like most vacations, it began ages ago and was over in the blink of an eye.  In a seven day span, I swam in the pool, walked on the beach, splashed in the ocean, made new friends, took pictures, read two books, did my radio show, wrote articles, slept late, spent nightly Jacuzzi bubble bath-time, had stranger than usual dreams, and basked in Vitamin D, with copious amounts of sunscreen. I ate relatively healthfully, considering the temptations that were all around. Did a lot of sighing as I gazed at the cloud formations scattered across the cerulean sky.

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One of the most treasured aspects of the trip was that I had some pretty deep conversations with both of my friends. Although Barb and I have known each other since we met on the bench at a swim meet on competing teams at 14, we have never spent this kind of concentrated time together. We reminisced about our youth and mused about our futures. Glenn and I bonded over music and spiritual concepts, although he wouldn’t call them that. He does like the idea of serendipity and synchronicity.

While away, I learned a great deal about myself. For example, I have come to understand that I can both work and play; feeling accomplished and rested. I need not work to know that I am purposeful. The happies I experienced this week, in the midst of  just being, allows me to be of greater service, since often I feel gived out. At the moment, I feel replenished.

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Some people feel as if they need a vacation from their daily lives. I endeavor to live a life from which I don’t need a vacation, since I spend time in nature, go to the gym, and get a monthly massage and pedicure. Travel has become a recent part of my life, visiting family and friends and intend to do more in the near future.

 

 

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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.

Previous Posts

You Are What You Choose To Be
This morning, I heard this Jackson Browne classic called The Fuse that was the perfect prelude to an interview I had with Beth Long who is the editor of Doylestown Hospital's news letter. She and I had last had a sit down conversation right ...

posted 6:50:34pm May. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Wars Not Make One Great
Today is Memorial Day in the U.S. which commemorates those whose lives have been taken on the battlefield. It has become a harbinger of summer, although the season doesn't officially begin until the solstice on June 21st at 12:38pm. Cookouts, ...

posted 2:57:32pm May. 25, 2015 | read full post »

On My Way Back Home
Packed and ready to return home following a week in Hilton Head, SC with my friends Barb and Glenn. Feeling refreshed and revitalized. Like most vacations, it began ages ago and was over in the blink of an eye.  In a seven day span, I swam in ...

posted 9:17:08pm May. 22, 2015 | read full post »

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 »

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