The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Pass It Onword

passitonwordkindness

Back in November, as I was meandering the aisles at the Mind Body Spirit Expo in King of Prussia, PA, I came to a booth at which two women were beaming beatifically. In front of them was a table of simple wares. Stones engraved with a word-  gratitude, strength, inspire, forgive, and kindness, were artfully displayed, beckoning me to check them out. If you take a moment to say those words aloud, how do you feel? I am washed over with a sense of ahhhh~

That was the intent of  Wendy Marcelli and Lia Koyner whose daughters were the matchmakers who brought these two enthusiastic conscious entrepreneurs together to launch nothing short of a miracle movement. Birthed on November 1st, 2014, it comes from their desire to make a difference. That they do.

According to Marcelli, “ PassItOnword  ® was created from a real life experience that changed me. While visiting a dentist’s office,  I watched an older woman lovingly caring for her impaired sister who was in a wheelchair. I could tell the dental procedure she endured had taken a toll on both of them.”  When she witnessed the interaction, Marcelli was prompted to give the woman an angel stone that she had carried with her. At that moment, lives were forever changed and a business idea was sparked.

They considered what could happen if they took polished stones and imbued them with the loving energy of the aforementioned verbiage and a placed code on the back of each one. When someone purchased the stone, they would then go to the website www.passitonword.com to register the talisman. The next step is to share what it was that attracted them to that particular one and what the word means to them. From that point on, they carry it with them until they feel moved to pass it on to someone else with the instruction to do the same thing. The next person returns to the website and continues the tale of the traveling stone. Thus far, 65  stones have been passed along by siblings, employers, spouses and friends. One stone has traveled from the United States to Saudi Arabia. Another is inspiration for someone who is training for a race. Yet another is in gratitude for a loving marriage.

We live in a world that sometimes seems distant and disconnected,  with folks feeling like they are out there all by themselves. Marcelli shares: “What makes PassItOnword so unique is as soon as you purchase or are given a stone, you are immediately thinking about others.” That takes us out of our sense of loneliness. Even if you are not in the presence of someone, they are with you in your heart.

The pair refer to PassItOnword as a social network of goodwill.  As such, they donate a portion of the proceeds that the stones generate to  Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which fights childhood cancer  and  charity: water which is a non-profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries.

Imagine a world in which we all pass the inspiration, gratitude, forgiveness, kindness and strength onward and see it come full circle. Just say the word.

Passitonwordwendyandlia

How We Grieve

candlelit

 

“When my Guru died in 1973, I assumed that because of the important part he played in my life, and the love I felt for him, I would be inundated with grief. Surprisingly, I was not. In time, I came to realize why. He and I were so well established in Soul love that, in the years since he left his body, his palpable presence in my life has continued unabated.”-Ram Dass

I was reading an article called Learning To Grieve,  written by Ram Dass who is one of my favorite spiritual teachers, a pivotal influence for much of my adult life and who I had the pleasure of interviewing three times- once before his stroke and twice since. That paragraph jumped out at me and may explain why I grieved less intensely than I expected when my parents died.  My dad made his transition in 2008 and my mom joined him in 2010. We had a close relationship and they were key teachers of that Soul deep kind of love. One of the things I cherish about them is that they taught me how to live without them. They knew, as did I, that love survives death. Although my mother grieved her mother’s death, she was a part of our lives even beyond the time that she left her body when I was four years old. She was most definitely a Presence throughout my life.

The ring I wear was given to me by my mother before she passed and she inherited it when my grandmother died. The three stones in it have come to represent the three generations we embody. I often hear my parents’ guidance in dream and waking states. When I look in the mirror, I sometimes see glimpses of my mother. When I speak, it is as if they each come through at times. I am better able to let go of the need to have them here in body, when I know clearly that their human containers had worn out. My spiritual beliefs assure me that they are together and that they are well and at peace. As a result, I don’t fear death. It’s not that I am eager to experience it, since I have more work to do on the planet, but that when the time comes, I will be ready to embark on the next phase of this fascinating journey.

Grief looks all kinds of ways. When we let go of something or someone, there is a sense of loss, because we are attached to physical form. We think that this thing, person or animal defines us or is a part of us and without it, we feel less than whole; a fragment of ourselves. I have learned over the years that some day, everyone we love will die or leave us or we will die or leave them. Simple fact, that no amount of denial will alter. It helps me to appreciate them all the more. When the death of a person or relationship occurs, we cry, we feel bereft, or we may feel nothing. Numbness, as a form of protection, until we are ready to face the absence, can happen. Grief response can come in waves. There were some days when I felt despondent in the midst of missing my parents and my husband who died in 1998, and others when I experienced relief that they weren’t suffering, so then neither was I watching them experience it. The most surprising emotion was a sense of exultation, which I call my ‘transfusion from Heaven.’ When Michael died, I had that wave of what was no less than transcendent bliss. I then heard his voice say, in measured tones “This    is    what   Heaven   feels   like  all    the   time.   You   don’t    have   to   die    to   experience   it.”

Holidays can be an even more challenging time to lose a loved one or to remember the loss. My mom died the day after Thanksgiving four years ago and Michael died on the Winter Solstice, now going on 16 years. I needed to create a new sense of normal with regard to holiday rituals. Labels that identify our states are sometimes strange. I was widowed at 40 and became an adult orphan at 52.

I have heard that grief is a measure of the depth of love shared between you and the one you are remembering and compassion toward yourself as you heal, is what sustains you through it.

“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.”- Rumi

 

 

 

Recovering Human Doing

Lounging in bed, surrounded by lots of pillows and snuggled under quilts as I am typing these words. It is a drowsy, dozy Sunday morning. The radio is playing easing into my day tunes.  My standard weekend fare begins with Sleepy Hollow on WXPN which is a Philly based member supported Public Radio station out of the University of Pennsylvania.  Although I have a full, fun day ahead of me, with celebration at one of the interfaith communities of which I am a part and a holiday party at another in the afternoon, for the moment, I am in veg mode. That has become standard operating procedure for this recovering workaholic who would zoom at such a speed as to leave the Roadrunner in the dust. These days, I sit staring at the ceiling and gazing inward at my soul. My emotions are like a flowing stream remaining within its banks, rather than flooding in torrents, as they had been. I had been surfing the big waves, enjoying the ride at times, and  simultaneously fearing having them crash down on me. I put so much pressure on myself to stay ahead of the curve in all areas, holding myself to impossibly high standards for accomplishing all that was on my ever growing to-do list.

I still have responsibilities and deadlines, but they are far more manageable and I am not left feeling exhausted afterward. Hard to have imagined a year ago that I could have felt this way and have enjoyed doing nothing as much as I had enjoyed doing everything. On December 12th, I celebrated my six month heart-aversary. On that day in June, I experienced a re-birth and chance for a do-over, for which I am immensely grateful. I am amazed that I have been able to acclimate to my pared down schedule without going stir crazy or thinking myself a slacker as I had in the beginning of the process.

I have claimed my new identity as a human BE-ing, rather than a human DO-ing. It suits me well.

Profoundly Honest

“We must learn to be profoundly honest.”-Panache Desai

Wise words from one of the most engaging speakers I have had the pleasure of hearing. Back in 2011, I attended the Celebrate Your Life Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. I had not, at that point, known of the British born teacher who exudes a sense of calm welcome. That is, until he began the workshop that was held in a room in which the temperature felt chilly. I wondered why this was so, and then discovered the reason in fairly short order. As he spoke, he paced around the circumference of the room, ever more rapidly, his voice speeding up as well, generating energy that took the form of heat. Self love and acceptance of our innate beauty was a theme. By the time I left class, I felt as if I was levitating a few feet off the ground.

Truth-telling was part of my upbringing on an overt level. My parents expected honesty from us; somehow knowing when we had our fingers crossed behind our backs, and yet … there were times when emotions were repressed and words held back to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. Lying by omission. “Don’t tell so and so (fill in the blank), since it will worry/upset them.”

Over the years, I internalized that message and its companion- thank you, Thumper – “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Even with my training as a therapist, I struggled at times with expressing my truth, for fear of disapproval and ultimately, rejection. I have since learned the art of tact and diplomacy, without sugar coating, and still delivering the message, at least to others. It is when I am faced with my own exploration, as I have been doing in waves since the life changing heart attack in June, that I have a huge amount of ‘coming clean’ to do. Internal housekeeping. Getting the cosmic cobwebs out of corners, opening the proverbial curtains, letting the symbolic sun shine in, scrubbing the metaphorical refrigerator shelves; throwing away the ‘biology projects’ left to fester. I have had plenty of time to do that in the last half of  2014.

What has come of it all, is that for many years, in the service of desire not to lose the body-mind-spirit nourishment from my family, I wore many masks and thought of myself as an imposter. Unlike many, I didn’t feel like I had to earn love, but rather, I figured out how to keep it, by that Shirley Temple tap dancing I have occasionally described in this column. I made it all look good, getting good grades, making friends, playing nicely in the sandbox, excelling however I could, when underneath the façade, I knew the infrastructure was crumbling. Still, I kept the frenetic pace; determined to stay a few hundred yards ahead of the fears that were snarling and baring their fangs. They hissed and howled their “Not enough, you’re doing it wrong, you can’t keep up, someone will discover that you aren’t as smart, loving or capable as you pretend you are. You will lose it all, if you don’t keep the wheels in motion,” messages. I presented an emotional Photo Shopped image, hiding the lines and wrinkles, lest people turn away.

One can only maintain that pace for so long. My workaholism, born of parental models for ‘doing it all’ became my savior and tormenter, keeping me in motion, offering success and insanity simultaneously. If we know that a project will be labor intensive, but also that there is an end point in sight, we can keep up the pace. In my case, there was no end point and I was prepared to keep on keepin’ on indefinitely.  Spirit intervened and put the brakes on in the form of the series of health challenges- shingles, heart attack, kidney stones and adrenal fatigue. I could still rebelliously rev my engine; and believe me, I have attempted, but to what benefit? Letting go of the compulsion to prove myself and still maintain professional performance. Even after all these years as a therapist and journalist, I still face learning curves as I add to my repertoire and continue to fill my tool kit. Even though the term ‘best practices’ makes me cringe at times, since there is no ‘right answer’ to every question, I am all about excellence and not halfway measures. I put my heart and soul into what I do.

And as Lily Tomlin as Edith Anne used to say  while blowing raspberries: “And that’s the truth.”

Previous Posts

Pass It Onword
Back in November, as I was meandering the aisles at the Mind Body Spirit Expo in King of Prussia, PA, I came to a booth at which two women were beaming beatifically. In front of them was a table of simple wares. Stones engraved with a word-  gratitude, strength, inspire, forgive, and kindness, we

posted 6:55:55pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

How We Grieve
  "When my Guru died in 1973, I assumed that because of the important part he played in my life, and the love I felt for him, I would be inundated with grief. Surprisingly, I was not. In time, I came to realize why. He and I were so well established in Soul love that, in the years since he l

posted 1:24:56pm Dec. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Recovering Human Doing
Lounging in bed, surrounded by lots of pillows and snuggled under quilts as I am typing these words. It is a drowsy, dozy Sunday morning. The radio is playing easing into my day tunes.  My standard weekend fare begins with Sleepy Hollow on WXPN which is a Philly based member supported Public Radio

posted 8:56:41am Dec. 14, 2014 | read full post »

Profoundly Honest
"We must learn to be profoundly honest."-Panache Desai Wise words from one of the most engaging speakers I have had the pleasure of hearing. Back in 2011, I attended the Celebrate Your Life Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. I had not, at that point, known of the British born teacher who exudes a s

posted 8:51:37am Dec. 12, 2014 | read full post »

Thriving Artist
Last night, I attended a holiday gathering for a group of talented artists, writers, publishers, radio hosts, producers, as well as PR and marketing folks. Needless to say, I was in my idea of heaven. The Center City Philadelphia Restaurant where it was held is called Bliss. What a perfect place for

posted 10:50:24am Dec. 10, 2014 | read full post »


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