Beliefnet
The Bliss Blog

I first encountered the remarkable Courtney A. Walsh (CAW) via Facebook and was beckoned into her wondrous wordsmith world immediately. With the same quirkily colorful imagination, she felt like a kindred spirit immediately. I met her this Spring when I drove up to Rhode Island for my nieces’ graduation from Johnson and Wales. From the minute I walked into her eclectically decorated apartment, I felt very much at home.  A piece of her writing called Dear Human has gone viral.
“Dear Human:
You’ve got it all wrong. You didn’t come here to master unconditional love. That is where you came from and where you’ll return. You came here to learn personal love. Universal love. Messy love. Sweaty love. Crazy love. Broken love. Whole love. Infused with divinity. Lived through the grace of stumbling. Demonstrated through the beauty of… messing up. Often. You didn’t come here to be perfect. You already are. You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous. And then to rise again into remembering. But unconditional love? Stop telling that story. Love, in truth, doesn’t need ANY other adjectives. It doesn’t require modifiers. It doesn’t require the condition of perfection. It only asks that you show up. And do your best. That you stay present and feel fully. That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back up and play and work and live and die as YOU. It’s enough. It’s Plenty.”-Courtney A. Walsh
I have yet to meet her ‘partner in co-creative mischief’, Maria Gutierrez-Ferrar with whom she has designed a workshop called Happily Ever Now, but was fascinated with this moving, grooving force of nature. I welcome you to enjoy this interview with these two he(art)ists.
Edie: We are so accustomed to the idea of ‘happily ever after’. Why do you call your work Happily Ever Now?

 

Maria: For me, We truly only have “NOW” as we know, happiness is a choice not an outcome of our situation. I’ve worked with hundreds of women that tell me, I’ll be happy when…I lose the last 10 lbs, or I get that face lift or the love of my life shows up or whatever… Unless we are happy NOW none of those things will TRULY , completely & PERMANENTLY happen ! We’ll end up unhappy again and again!

 

Edie: Why is passion so vital to our lives?

 

Maria:  Passion is everything! The lifeforce behind any action! If we love what we are doing it resonates with everyone and everything. The Universe/Source responds in kind. Otherwise we are just meandering about trying to figure “it” out. Most people aren’t even sure what “it” is! They just “FEEL” unhappy! How did you each discover your own unique passion and purpose? Through years of PAIN, emotional , spiritual and ultimately physical ! I am not advising anyone to take this path! But for me it was necessary. I dishonored myself and my body for most of my youth. To mask the pain of physical, mental and sexual abuse I turned to drugs, alcohol, sex , food, you name it. My road of recovery led me back to myself and my first passion “DANCE” Music and The Arts! After having 20 years of recovery I was able to share the tools that helped me CREATE a life beyond my wildest dreams!

Courtney:  Passion to me is actually quite a peaceful experience now. It’s not all fireworks and show. It’s a feeling of: “Yes, this nourishes me. This is where my juice is. This has heartmojo.” And it has its own magnetism. Its own agenda. Purpose flows from there. It isn’t this hyped thing to me. It’s really subtle. Organic. Flowing. My purpose is really to write my heart out. To tell the deepest and highest truths people think, know and feel but are often afraid to say. To be willing to show up, get out of the way and let Spirit move through me. Pain? Yeah it’s a part of any progress. The flavor in any cosmic stew. But I really do feel more and more that the entire planet is moving from pain/struggle to ease/thriving. It’s so new and foreign we don’t even fully know what it looks or feels like yet. Learning through pleasure and fun is just as valuable and noble to me now.
I find passion and purpose most in presence. Presence is multidimensional. Meaning I can hold many realities and possible timelines and vibes at once…and choose the ones I want to activate and recognize the ones that no longer serve me. Soul weaving. Energy conducting

 

Edie: What tools do you encourage people to use to uncover their own?

Maria: STILLNESS/ MOVEMENT/ DANCE/TUNING IN/ PLAY because our bodies have an innate intelligence and reconnecting to that heals us. Only by healing the “FEELING” of disconnection to ourselves and others can we begin to see the magic in our lives. This next paragraph was written by Misty Tripoli who created “The World GROOVE Movement” (which i have been facilitating for over 5 years) for this exact purpose. “The mental, physical, and emotional benefits of utilizing your creativity are endless. If you start from the inside out and nurture your spirit first, you create a healthier more harmonious inner environment for the optimal function of your cells, organs, and systems that sustain your life. Yes, it matters what you eat. Yes, it matters how you move, but even more important than these is how you think, how you feel, and how authentic and creatively expressive you are in your life.” Through this movement we have helped thousands of people around the world connect to themselves in an Authentic Way! check out www.theworldgroovemovement.com

Courtney: So we’re going to write. We’re going to dance. And talk about anchoring and growing conscious, heart-centered business models and engaging a true individual/global prosperity mentality. We’re going to get in our bodies. And share our voices. And support and encourage and push and catch each other. Because as the Dalai Lama so eloquently said: “The world will be saved by the Western woman.” And I’d add: when she loves herself genuinely and gently with a wild abandon and total freedom? The world benefits enormously. It took me a long time to even begin to start aching for this kind of self love. To see it as grace and not selfishness. To see it as radiance and not ego. I still forget every day. And then something jars me from me soul amnesia or conditioning. And then I remember again. So that’s what we are here to do. Keep helping each other? Remember.

 

Edie: Can anyone become what I call a master manna-fester?

Maria: I say YES! but I’ll let Courtney answer this one! Why do folks settle for less than what they desire and play small? FEAR! we deal with this a lot in GROOVE. Fear restricted movement which will creep into your life eventually! and Visa Versa, Big, Bold, stepping out in a huge way with movement will ultimately free you in day to day life! I’ve seen it work miracles!

Edie: Courtney, you call yourself a conscious warrior and Maria, a Groove facilitator. What does those titles mean to you?

Maria: We call ourselves GROOVE facilitators not teachers or instructors because honestly we have no Idea how you should be moving your own body!!! NO ONE does! In order for us to TRULY connect to our authentic selves we MUST LISTEN to ourselves first and then move. NOT COPY SOMEONE ELSE!!!! We facilitate a safe and free space for that magic to happen! What are participants likely to experience in your playshop? The JOY of moving, dancing and playing that you enjoyed as a child. Reconnecting to your AUTHENTIC SELF! ALL OF IT! and the FREEDOM to be YOU!

Courtney:  Actually the term Consciousness Warrior wasn’t my term but I do like it. I’m more like a Love Ninja. I sneak up on you—full frontal attack and BAM…whack you with love nunchucks. Mostly by destroying all notions of what you thought love was (obligation/sacrifice/self denial/codependency) and replacing them with ideas that feel more real, whole and empowering. (Omg…love the word nunchucks…now I’m envisioning somebody “chucking nuns” which is a hilariously naughty visual. for this former Catholic schoolgirl!). I do like CAWnsciousness because it incorporates my initials. But anyway labels schmabels…sometimes we don them and shed them like clothing.

REGISTER at   http://www.movedbysoul.com/#!happy/c23ev

www.squeezingthestars.com

http://www.theworldgroovemovement.com

 

 

 

 

This Wednesday is Rosh Hashanah, also known as The Jewish New Year. For me as for many others,  it begins a time of reflection and renewal and allows me to look more deeply within to see where I am needing to re-align. The word that is used to describe one intention is ‘t’shuvah‘.  By definition, it means ‘returning’. I like to think of it as turning over a new leaf, partly to see what lies beneath it as well as to experience a do-over. As I consider my life in the past 5 1/2 decades, I am amazed at the adventures in which I have engaged and the stalwart companions who have joined me for the ride. I am also in awe of the beautiful re-awakening that comes when I tune in to the messages from Spirit. Many’s the time when I have felt discouraged, wondering why events took the turns that they did, only to discover a grander plan than I had in mind. It has me constantly questioning if some things are beshert; Hebrew for meant to be or if they are random, like the feather floating on the breeze in the movie Forrest Gump. The reality is that it doesn’t  matter, since life unfolds in our favor, regardless of appearance. I muse about the idea of soul contracts which means that before we set our little baby bottoms on the planet, we made an agreement to engage in certain experiences with various players. Sometimes we are puzzled about the rules of the game since they seem to change without notice. Nothing makes sense at those time, and I am reminded of something a friend told me “Don’t judge your life by how you feel in this moment.”

There are also times when I have (in 12 step parlance) made ” a searching and fearless moral inventory”, taking a look at choices I have made and actions I have either taken or failed to take. Those are often the most humbling as I wish I had made other decisions, but also am assured that had I taken a different route, I might not have met those who I hold dear now, or have engaged in learning experiences that have made me stronger or more resilient.

Turning and re-turning ~

http://youtu.be/sU4ZDqJrRgU Return Again by Neshama Carlebach

 

“Love is like a friendship caught on fire.  In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.“- Bruce Lee

I have been blessed to have had many loving souls in my life; some have been platonic friends,  some romantic partners for a few years, others have been lovers/friends with benefits/kindred spirits with no expectation that it blossom into long term life partnership, but the love remains. Once upon a time, I was monogamously married for nearly 12 years to a man who had his own wounds to heal that I was at a loss  as to how to kiss and make better. Love and turmoil existed side by side and I didn’t know which would show up on any given day.  We brought out the best and worst in each other and I contemplated my choices to stay or go, but was afraid that I would not be able to raise our son on my own. The road took an unexpected turn when six years into our marriage, he was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. It is a serious liver disease which, if left unsuccessfully treated, is fatal. For another six years, we rode the waves and at times got seasick. It often felt like we were clinging to a life raft with sharks nipping at our toes. I would say to God “You know my heart, you know my prayers.” without specifically voicing what they were, since I felt I didn’t need to. He was in and out of the hospital for years, as the physical and emotional side effects of Interferon and the disease itself, set the tone for our home life. Add to that, attempting to keep our magazine afloat (Visions 1988-1998), losing our home in Homestead, Florida to Hurricane Andrew, relocating back to Pennsylvania, raising our son who came to us with his own challenges which thank God, he has moved through and is living a fulfilling life. This recovering co-dependent caregiver tread water through much of it, just getting by without drowning. When Michael died on December 21, 1998, there was a tremendous sense of relief which I was embarrassed to admit for many years. It was a combination of gratitude that he was no longer suffering and I didn’t need to witness it and that the choice to leave was now out of my hands, since he ‘left’ first. That pivotal moment, when he took his last breath, opened the doors to the life I am living now that is filled with opportunities to do even more work that I love and draw into my life, amazing people who enrich me immeasurably.

For years, I was content to have a foot loose and fancy free life, making choices that primarily impacted me, immersing myself in friendships and my work, which at times, felt like a satisfying lover itself. A few years ago, a psychic told me that my Muse would be my partner. I wondered which way she meant it; that the person who would be my inspiration would also be my relationship partner or that my primary relationship with be with my creative outlets. Up until now, it has been the second and now I welcome the first in addition or as my son used to say when he was a child and was asked what flavor of ice cream he wanted, given the choice between two, would say “I’ll have both of each.”

I have questioned what it is that has kept that One at bay. I have made the ‘lists’, envisioning the kind of person I would like to attract, have, as many have suggested, embodied those same qualities, not expecting someone else to ‘complete me’, cleared out clutter from my life, am certainly not a couch potato sitting at home, but rather, visible and as many would describe me; a social butterfly. I am taking care of myself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I surround myself with beauty and attract what I need in all areas of my life, including perfect parking spots. I would love for attracting the ideal partner to be as easy.

I was meeting with my dear friend and mentor, Yvonne Kaye yesterday and in the midst of all too familiar of late, tears, she asked about my availability to myself. I told her that I was getting better at it, revealing more of who I am to myself and the people in my life. Not fearless, but putting the fear out there so that I am acknowledging my quite real and human vulnerability which I would rarely do in the past since I had equated ‘falling apart’ with being unreliable and needy. After all, if people couldn’t count on me then of what value would I be to them? Would they stick around because I was enough?

Perhaps the reason I haven’t yet attracted an available partner is that I  haven’t been available to BE one. I have had this shiny façade up that I would think would draw someone to me, but rather, it deflected possible partners because it wasn’t real. Maybe even intimidating and overwhelming. I do my best not to be high maintenance but that sometimes can come out looking like people pleasing or being overly accommodating. The illusion of approachability perhaps. I want to be genuine in all of my interactions and these days, am doing more of that and no one is disappearing.

I am blessed to have so many cheerleaders on this playing field; my friend Jaz among them. We figured that we have known each other in various and sundry ways since 2006 when the Universe brought us together. He is the one who dubbed me ‘Bliss Mistress’ and dared me to live up to the moniker. In a long distance conversation that spanned the continent (He is in Nevada and I am in Pennsylvania), he told me that I deserve someone who loves me fully and helps me feel adored. As much as my heart was agreeing, my head was still caught up in the past when that didn’t seem to be so.

I read an article in Elephant Journal (for which I also write) this morning about relationships called Stop Compromising Yourself For Love by Blake D. Bauer. I relate so closely to this that I could have written it myself(:  For way too long, I settled for what I thought others were willing to offer rather than I what I truly wanted  since I feared I wouldn’t receive it and then what would it mean about my worthiness to receive? Nothing really, since sometimes NOT getting what I thought I wanted was a blessing in disguise that led me to even better outcomes. Being in the in-between is most challenging for me, between letting go of what didn’t serve to make room for what was for my Highest Good.

Since so many of my friends know that I  desire a wonderful partner, by way of psychic  invitation to this person, I have said that there will be quite the welcome party!

My friend Peggy told me that I need to stop settling for crumbs in my life and painted a juicy scenario by saying that I deserve the whole cake and a wonderful partner who will feed it to me. She went into a little more detail about the ‘how’, but some things I will keep to myself (another recent choice) to savor the image.

I open myself to the One who comes bearing the confections of the heart.

 

www.elephantjournal.com./2013/08/stop-compromisingyourself-for-loveblake-d-bauer/  Stop Compromising Yourself For Love

heartsbunches

 

Breathe in the warmth of this place, allowing yourself to feel a sense of welcome
It is your own love, your own beauty that beckons you inside
How long has it been, since you have crossed this threshold?
The door has always been open, the invitation always extended
Will you accept it now?

Through the windows streams sunlight, casting rainbow designs on the walls
As prism glass reflects the scattered sparkling illumination
The floor beneath your feet is soft
Caressing your skin as you tap your bare toes on its surface
Daring to dance upon it to the lilting music that only you can hear.

The table is set with all manner of lusciousness
Nourishment for body and soul awaits you
Always plenty to savor and share; a bounty spread before you
Every imaginable treat to delight your senses
The sweet aroma that curls around you.

The mirror on the wall reflects your exquisite nature
As you gaze into the eyes of the One who has been with you
Through all eternity, questioning what has kept you from recognizing
Your own ineffable Divinity
Express your adoration for the God(dess) who winks back at you.

Feel the all-embracing comfort of this structure that was created
Brick by brick, log by log, though your daily intention
The experiences and the people you draw into your world
The thoughts that permeate your mind
The wild magic of your infinite imagination.