The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

On the Elevator

backtojoybook

 

Yesterday I received a surprise in the mail. It was a tiny pocket sized book called Back To Joy that was compiled by author June Cotner. It contains tidbits of wisdom from the likes of Anne Lamott, John Welwood, Winston Churchill, Helen Keller, Rachel Carson, Og Mandino and someone else who is grateful to be in such fine company.  I had forgotten that I had sent in a contribution to the book until I opened to page 81 and saw these words.

“I had gotten on the elevator, intending to go to the 4th floor. Instead, it headed for the basement. There were two others with me. One said. “Sometimes you need to go down to go up,” and the other said “At least you’re on the elevator.”

Pretty wise commentary.  At the time, if memory serves, I was facing many ‘elevator rides,’ during which my life felt like someone had pushed all of the buttons at once and I needed to stop at each floor and see what was there when the doors slid open. Sometimes they all looked the same and other times, I wondered what planet I was on.  These days, I feel like I have a bit more control over who pushes my buttons. I decide whether to walk through the portal when the bell rings. I choose who rides the conveyance with me. Sometimes it seems like I am riding on the Wonkavator,; the glass elevator manned by Willy Wonka, that can go backward and forward, slantways and sideways and even through the roof of any confining space I may find myself in. It is only as limited as my ‘pure imagination’ allows it to be.

There is the temptation to keep pushing the button to call the elevator, in impatience. Once we press it, it has already been called to fetch us. What if I choose not to climb on board and remain on the ground floor?  I have experienced fear of symbolically entering what could seemed like a confined space, imagining what could happen if I couldn’t exit when I wanted to. Taking the stairs seems safer, since I get to decide whether I ascend or descend on my schedule. Maybe that’s where the ‘God thing’ comes into play. Trusting that this is really about spiritual ‘upliftment’.  Guess I’d better get on the elevator.

 

 

www.junecotner.com

Wabi Sabi Walls

wabisabifauxfinishwall

 

 

The Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi is defined in Wikipedia as: ” A comprehensive  Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”. 

I look at as ‘perfection in imperfection’. Kind of like life.  I see that everything is in perfect alignment; by Divine Design.  When I do that,  it is easier to accept the unraveling that occurs in my own life. It can look like a change of plans, just when I think I have everything mapped out. It can present as needing to meet my son whose car had a major meltdown, nearly forty minutes South of  where I was, to have AAA tow it to his mechanic and then immediately zipping back North to take someone else to an appointment and then back home to meet a writing deadline. It shows up as if it was a whirlwind of activity that sometimes sets me off-kilter, but nowhere near as much as it had in my over the top busy-buzzy days. I am much more go-with-the -flow and this new pace and attitude suits me well.

I am not a perfectionist by nature, but at times, an aspect of my alter-ego that I call ‘Perfectionista’ does peek her snooty nose with glasses slid down the end of them, around a corner and points out all of the raggedy edges of my life and those of others as well. As a grammar geek, I tend to notice misspellings, poor grammar and misplaced punctuation. Sometimes I will be reading a book and wonder if the editor needed glasses, since several errors were evident. My rule about that is not to tell the author, since there isn’t a whole lot to be done about it after the fact. It goes along with my belief that it’s ok to tell someone that their zipper is down and the ‘barn door is open,’ or if they have spinach between their teeth, but not if they have a run in their stocking. The first two they can do something to rectify, the third they can’t. When I go back and look at some of my own writing, I sometimes cringe when I see that I have missed a few boo boos as well.

This past week, my friend thriving artist friend Paul Dengler who is a Forrest Gump impersonator, as well as a musician and faux finish painter, has been re-doing a  room in my house that is to become my office/haven. Once it is complete,  I need not work at my dining room table as I am at the moment. Before he took brush to wall, I pointed out spots on which drywall was bumpy and uneven from the last time the room was patched up and painted by someone else. He assured me that with the painting style he would be doing, I wouldn’t notice them anymore. Sure enough, when he showed me his handiwork tonight, they were nearly indistinguishable from the rest of the room. I knew they were there. He knew they were there and we laughed at the perfect imperfection of their presence.

 

Clothes Make The Man

As I was speaking with a client today, we were discussing ways that people learn who they are and how they re-create themselves when major life changes occur. I remembered a scene from one of my favorite films:  Joe vs. the Volcano. Tom Hanks plays Joe Banks who  has a dreary, gray life, with predictability, as if in a Groundhog Day existence day after day. He goes to see a doctor who tells him that he has a ‘brain cloud’ and has a few months to live. In the mean time, he is encouraged to go for the gusto. Hard to imagine for someone who doesn’t have a clue how to think outside the box. He meets a wealthy man who makes him an offer that he can’t refuse. He will be wined and dined, sail on a private yacht to a tropical island, be treated like a king ….. and then jump into a volcano to appease the island deities.

One of the perks of the job is a new wardrobe. He rides a cab to a city and asks the driver where he should go shopping and what kind of clothing he should purchase.  The brilliant response:

“Banks. Clothes make the man. I believe that. You say to me you want to go shopping, you want to buy clothes, but you don’t know what kind. You leave that hanging in the air, like I’m going to fill in the blank, that to me is like asking me who you are, and I don’t know who you are, I don’t want to know. It’s taken me my whole life to find out who I am, and I’m tired now, you hear what I’m saying?”

See, we are all very much like Joe. We sometimes want other people to define us. We want them to tell us who we are and how we should act. Then we feel constrained, judged, misperceived. We may end up thinking we are inauthentic. Perhaps we are. How can truly be ourselves, when we don’t have a clue who that is?

I have learned  that it is a whole lot of fun to find that out. What do I like? How do I choose to live my day to day? Do I surround myself with people and items, music and activities that nourish me?

One thing that would be fun to do is to make an I AM list:

Start with those two words and then let flow whatever comes through. Don’t censor or edit. Be raw and real. You may be surprised with what you come up with. Be aware if the adjectives or nouns have their origins in your childhood or if they developed later in life. Notice if you take on other people’s perceptions of you, or if you are your own woman or man, based primarily on your view of yourself.

Do you dress, act, look, feel the part of that person who you are discovering or perhaps re-creating? If you are not happy with the self- descriptives, who or how would you like to be?

If clothes do indeed make the man or woman, wouldn’t you rather be clothed in glory?

Changing Your Mind About God

I was listening to an  NPR interview today with author Scott Chesire whose initial book  is called High As the Horses’ Bridles, which is a reference to an image connected with Armageddon. It is a novel, but in part, is based on his own experience as a Jehovah’s Witness. In his conversation on Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane, he speaks of ‘fleeing’ the church over twenty years ago. He acknowledged being part of a community that was exclusionary and condemned those who didn’t believe as they did, to hellfire and brimstone death. He had been a child preacher, as had a few of his friends. He said that while he didn’t have spiritual visions or revelations, he had dreams. “Conversations with the Divine was alive and well,” in his tribe, so it was unusual for him not to have them. Part of the belief was in an angry, vengeful God. Seems that Chesire no longer believes that.

He discovered that for some, there is comfort in the thought of the Apocalypse. “It is an attempt to have (loss and death) have meaning.” As he wrote the book, he found that people he thought of as ‘others’ when he was in Jehovah’s Witness, were considered separate. “There is an other, there is a me, there is a right, there is a wrong,” is what he was taught. Religion is meant to be about unity and not divisiveness, but for many, it has become that.

Cheshire’s says about his main character Josiah’s take on spirituality. “He’s not so sure faith is a thing that can ever be lost.”

He adds: ” Life is not a movie. I think it is a process, the loss of faith. Loss of faith comes from something more profound, which is religious disappointment.”

When I heard that line, it occurred to me that in my darkest, most frightening times, there was no loss of faith and God hadn’t let me down. It was more about changing my mind about God. Who S/He is. Who I am in connection to that Source. What I expect of the Divine. When I was a child, I thought God made things happened or prevented things from happening. Now I know that the God of my understanding, to use a 12 Step term, changes moment by moment. I was with a few people today in my personal life who were facing crises. What I said to all of them, was that, for me, Spirit is that with which I am in constant contact and gets me through whatever arises. It is that sense that ultimately all is well, regardless of appearances. It is what pulled me through several life crises in the past twenty years or so. When I continually change my view of God, I feel more enlivened, more trusting that I will land on my feet and better able to express that to others; not in an airy fairy, cosmic foo foo way, but rather, in a deeply grounded way.

One thing I do know, is that no matter how often I may change my mind about God, God never changes Her/His mind about me. For that I am eternally grateful.

 

 

Previous Posts

On the Elevator
  Yesterday I received a surprise in the mail. It was a tiny pocket sized book called Back To Joy that was compiled by author June Cotner. It contains tidbits of wisdom from the likes of Anne Lamott, John Welwood, Winston Churchill, Helen Keller, Rachel Carson, Og Mandino and someone else wh

posted 9:26:51pm Jan. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Wabi Sabi Walls
    The Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi is defined in Wikipedia as: " A comprehensive  Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete".

posted 9:31:09pm Jan. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Clothes Make The Man
As I was speaking with a client today, we were discussing ways that people learn who they are and how they re-create themselves when major life changes occur. I remembered a scene from one of my favorite films:  Joe vs. the Volcano. Tom Hanks plays Joe Banks who  has a dreary, gray life, with pre

posted 10:22:22pm Jan. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Changing Your Mind About God
I was listening to an  NPR interview today with author Scott Chesire whose initial book  is called High As the Horses’ Bridles, which is a reference to an image connected with Armageddon. It is a novel, but in part, is based on his own experience as a Jehovah's Witness. In his conversation

posted 10:18:52pm Jan. 19, 2015 | read full post »

Songs Beyond The Traffic-Music Review
  I met Susan Herrick back in the 1980's when this music therapist turned singer songwriter was beginning what has been a twenty some year musical journey. A multi-instrumentalist and sacred sound healer, she has a 2  1/2 octave vocal range that can seem like various instruments in and of itself

posted 11:12:29am Jan. 17, 2015 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.