The Bliss Blog


I was a busy-buzzy kid; always on the move. In a day’s time, I could be seen riding my bike, swimming, coloring, playing with dolls, digging in the garden, skating, hanging out in the woods, reading, and being with friends. I eschewed naps after probably four years old; not wanting to miss out on having fun. As a result, I have rarely been bored. That’s the upside.

The humorously downside is that my mind is easily distractible.  I can be in the midst of one activity such as writing this article and another thought pops in, like what I need to do later in the day and I make a mental note to take care of it; or an idea for an additional article dances in front of me, waving its hands. I also notice that I am pulled away from what is in front of me by Facebook, emails, a reminder to call someone or check my appointment book to make sure I get where I need to be on time. And then there is a prompt to switch the laundry, turn off the water boiling on the stove so it doesn’t dry up and scorch the pot. That almost happened last year, when I forgot.

Although I was never given a formal diagnosis, I suspect that I do have some form of ADHD. If so, I come by it genetically, since my father had a hard time sitting still. He was nearly always in motion, except when he would nap, which he could do standing up. Even so, he managed to work full time as a milkman and bus driver throughout his lifetime; remember his routes and the people he would encounter along the way. He also volunteered in our community, raised my sister and me along with my mother, had a full social life and friends. He also made time to run on the junior high school track across the street a few times a week, with our dog Hukki. A master at multitasking which I have become as well. Although I might make it look easy, it really does take intense concentration at times, to remain on task and complete one thing before moving to another.

Recently, my sister Jan sent me an article to which I can relate completely  Although I am not yet a senior citizen; at 58, I call these my ‘middle aged moments,’ and not senior moments, as the author refers to his or her ‘oh, look, a squirrel!’ distractions. The other difference is that I do eventually finish what I started. It is a necessity in the various lines of work in which I engage. As a writer, I have deadlines to meet. As a therapist, I have clients to see at specific times and days. As a minister, ceremonies to officiate. As a speaker places to show up on time.

A relatively new tool that purports to assist people in quelling distractibility is called a fidget spinner (pictured above). Some of my adult and child clients use them and vouch for their benefits. Seems that I don’t need one since I have one in my brain that feels like it is perpetually in motion. One thing that I notice making difference is being methodical in my actions. When I empty the dishwasher, as I did this morning and put everything in its place, it has a zen-like quality. It also sets me up to have a more easily flowing day.

Yesterday also presented an opportunity to test out that dynamic. A friend had asked me to work for her food business called One Love Catering at a Philadelphia event called Reggae in the Park. People lined up all day long for the luscious Caribbean food, redolent with the flavors and aromas of Jamaica. It involved setting up, food prep and serving from steaming silver trays. In order to maintain calm, I brought myself to a sense of one thing after another,  in a generally graceful dance with my co-workers. It helped that the music wafting through the air provided a sonic backdrop.  Each time I would hand the meal to the person in front of me, I would silently bless the food and them. Perhaps that is a key to maintaining focus so that my mind need not spin ceaselessly.

As I am writing this article, I am listening to this music for deepened concentration.


As I am writing this, I am nursing a painful bout of plantar fasciitis in my left foot. I’ve had it before over the years, but not as persistently. Working out and being on my feet a lot are two of the physical causes. I have been treating it with stretching, massage, and Reiki, as well as spending less time using the elliptical and treadmill and more time on the bicycle and weights at the gym. I have been rolling a bottle of ice water underneath it, got orthotics for my sneakers and have been taking Tylenol if needed.

I know that many physical conditions have emotional components. In Louise Hay’s book entitled You Can Heal Your Life, she highlights some of the root causes of bodily issues.

Feet: Represent our understanding – of ourselves, of life, of others. – Foot Problems: Fear of the future and of not stepping forward in life. (there was nothing specific for heels or plantar fasciitis).

These both resonated for me since even though I am confident most of the time and with hindsight, know that I have survived everything that has ever occurred in my life, so I know I will get through anything waiting in the future, there are times when I hold myself back. Sometimes these are internally motivated choices, born of uh oh, what if I fall or fail?  fears. There are other moments when impediments show up unexpectedly. Recently, as I have become more visible with my work and words, folks have made observations based on their own life experiences and world views that have seemed to run counter to my beliefs about myself and my work in the world. My initial reaction was one of protection and defensiveness since much of what I do and hold dear are central to my claimed identity.

These in-your-face experiences have me taking my own inventory and examining my intentions and actions and see if they are in alignment.

One of the ideals I live by is the Buddhist principle of the Three Gates: Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary? The first two are pretty easy for me to follow. The third, not so much. I consciously need to ask myself why I want to express certain things. Maybe it is because I can. Maybe because I ‘can’t NOT’ share. Perhaps it is to inform. Perhaps it is to justify, explain or just plain want to be right. The last one is not easy to admit.

That is my Achilles heel.  Remember the Greek tale about the son of  Thetis who took her son to the River Styx so he could be rendered invincible? She dipped him in the water, but his heel didn’t get submerged. In battle, an arrow struck him in that foot and he succumbed.  Mine was struck by the thoughts that I had stepped on toes and had said what I wanted to for all of the aforementioned reasons. It is also the desire to be viewed in a certain light. Most people in my life do see me as I want to be seen. A friend recently mentioned that those who question my words or actions are preparing me for greater visibility, since the greater the visibility, the more intense the scrutiny.

I admire the work of Brene’ Brown whose own willingness to bare her soul allows me to bare both my soul and soles.




Throughout my life, my father used to utter these wise words, “You never know what tomorrow brings,” as his way of honoring the present moment. Although he wouldn’t quite frame it that way, since he was a worrier at times who projected into the future what could go wrong as a way of warding it off, I chose to drink that advice in and slurp the metaphorical juice from the bottom of the glass, not wanting to miss a drop.

A few days ago, Facebook offered up its daily blast from the past memories. Six years ago, on 4th of July weekend, I went to a gathering that my friend Nancy Hesch held in her park-side (Peace Valley Park in Doylestown, PA) home. Friends, fun, food, laughter, and love were served up in abundance. As I looked at the photos of a few friends and myself, I teared up a bit as I realized how dramatically life had changed for all of us in the interceding turn of the calendar pages.



278800_2218729905932_4327743_oOndreah Johnson (standing in front, with longer hair in the first picture) had been diagnosed with breast CA early this year, (which she refers to as ‘C’ as she rides the ‘C train’) and has now completed chemo (which she calls IV meds) and is preparing for a lumpectomy on July 25th. I have ridden the locomotive with her as we find the blessing in the mess, the humor in the haze of unpredictability. We laugh at the most bizarre things.

Phil Garber (dark hair and beard) has been in and out of the hospital for cardiac surgery and kidney issues. I visited him yesterday as he is in the CCU of Cooper Hospital in Camden, NJ and offered Reiki to this man who has been my son’s father figure since Adam was 14 and in need of a supportive male role model after my husband died when he was 11. Phil has been his go-to guy for everything. Adam is now 30 and about to get married in August. The intention is for the two of us to walk him down the aisle together.  He refers to me as his ‘baby mama’.

Janet Berkowitz (light, short hair) is Phil’s wife who has been his stalwart support throughout this many decade health ordeal that Phil has faced. She has had kidney issues and longstanding mental health challenges, as has Phil. Both are peer supports for other consumers and for many years, have run Suicide Anonymous meetings, both in person and on-line. She uses her creative gifts to help her keep on keepin’ on. Both are resilient thrivers.

The fourth member of this crew is Gary Schoenberg who became a dear friend in 1998 when he came from our interfaith spiritual community called Pebble Hill when we were sitting shiva for Michael. He has seen me through all kinds of wild rides and as a psychologist has offered guidance tinged with a deep sense of spirituality. A few weeks ago, I was delighted to have attended his wedding to the beautiful Clare Fisher-Davies and read a passage from The Song of Solomon. She is now a welcome addition to my family of choice.

Six years ago, I had no clue, that a heart attack was waiting in the wings for me, as a result of a way too fast paced lifestyle, lack of self-care, poor sleep habits, limited boundary setting and not honoring my own heart as I did others. On June 12th, I celebrated my third cardiaversary with a FREE HUGS stroll through Philadelphia.

These pictures and the delight we shared on that day is a potent reminder to treasure each day and the people who are gifts in our lives.


July 1, 2o17

In a few days, America will celebrate its birthday with parades and picnics, fun and fireworks. In my childhood, it meant time with extended family and friends engaged in all of those activities and remain in the recesses of my mind and heart. I smile in recollection. For me, as a world citizen and not just one born in the U.S, it is is not about patriotism and nationalism. I embrace a multi-cultural and multi-spiritual life. My celebrations this weekend will include drumming circles, potluck gatherings, pool lounging and offering one of my FREE Hugs events in Philly. The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection awaits.

I also think of this as the perfect opportunity to declare my own freedom which I break down into two categories:

Freedom from and freedom to, in order to change my life.

I declare independence from 


a belief that I can’t be financially prosperous

denial of my talents

limiting thoughts of any kind

my history, knowing that it need not be my destiny

feeling intimidated by anyone

not enough/too much thoughts about myself

envy of those who have what I want in life

carrying the weight of the world

self-judgment about being single for so many years


judgments of others

fear of speaking my truth

asking for only what I think people will say yes to

pitching my work for fear that it/I will be rejected

second guessing my choices

I declare freedom to

live out loud

take my light out from under a bushel

be colorful

be bold and badass

release caring what everyone thinks about my choices

love whoever and however I choose

ask for whatever I want, being able to accept the answer no matter what it is

rock the boat and make waves

go out on a limb

be on the world stage

do a TED talk

be in a committed life relationship with the love of my life

be emotionally naked and vulnerable

live authentically

shrug off disapproval

determine what I want and go for it, audaciously

take the time to BE and not do, more often

be self-compassionate

let go gracefully

be open to receive

Feeling my freedom~