Beliefnet
The Bliss Blog

handfeather

 

I believe in the power of music to heal. This past week at my job as an addictions counselor, I played a song for some of my clients in a group I facilitate. It’s called That Wasn’t Me and is sung by pop star Brandi Carlile. When I first heard it, it was clear that it was about recovery.  My favorite line comes in  the form of a question:

“Do I make myself a blessing to everyone I meet?”

 

It gives me goose bumps to consider that we each have the power to change lives; our own and those with whom we cross paths when we intentionally live as blessings. When I asked about people’s interpretations of the song in the group, one of the men said he thought it arrogant to think that we could do that. And then he went on to describe a conversation with his brother who asked why people at the mall kept smiling at him. His response was that he smiled first. “There you go!” That was what I meant and he got it this time. It’s the pay it forward concept at work. We never know whose life we will impact by intending to be a blessing.

From the Merriam Webster dictionary comes this definition:

bless·ing

noun

: approval that allows or helps you to do something

: help and approval from God

: something that helps you or brings happiness

In the case of the song lyric, it takes on the distinction of being  verb as well, since it calls on us to bestow blessings on others.

 

For me, it’s  a matter of mindful awareness of the ways that I impact the world around me. When I judge (which I sadly do, more often than I would prefer), I am putting toxic energy into the world. I had an experience yesterday that falls into this category.

Animal lover’s rant time):  On my way out of the parking lot at the supermarket, picking up a few last minute items for Thanksgiving dinner prep. A woman driving a Jag pulls into the spot facing me. She has a lit cigarette in her mouth and a beautiful white dog in the seat next to her. She chooses to smoke, but the dog doesn’t. She then (obviously) leaves the dog in the car to go in and even though the windows are cracked open, the animal was still sitting there in her stale smoke): Arrrggghhh. My judgment is that people who smoke around children or animals are abusing them. Even people who smoke outside and then come in and cuddle their kids are still exposing them to third hand smoke. I feel the same way when I see folks in the food, medical or hairdressing fields smoking on breaks and then they come back in with it on their clothes and hair. Can you tell that I am passionate about this?  Smoking is optional-breathing isn’t. It occurred to me after I had driven away, that I could have left a note on her windshield asking her to care about her dog’s well-being. It would have been lovingly worded. Next time I find myself in that situation, I will.
Although I would like to think that ‘my way’ is how things ‘should be’, I know that others feel that they hold the monopoly on truth as well. One way that I can ‘make myself a blessing’ is seeing the world through the eyes of those with differing opinions. Not always easy when it seems that what they are doing is destructive in some way. That is a growing edge for me.
How do you make yourself a blessing?
http://youtu.be/XKl8hDr-xm4 That Wasn’t Me by Brandi Carlile

Since I’m from Philly, where people talk like that, I invite you to take time today to focus on  ‘grattytood’  (gratitude),because what we think about and thank about, we bring about. Grateful people are happier people who can be a greater force for good in the world and send the ripples outward. Imagine a world in which gratitude prevailed and love led the way.
I do a gratitude practice throughout my day, actively looking for things I appreciate. It is isn’t a one and done kind of thing. Before I open …my eyes in the morning, at least 10 things come to mind. As I close them at night, I drift off counting my blessings. In the car, at work, alone or with friends and family, I bring them to mind.
This is especially helpful when I am in the midst of challenge and change. Who isn’t sometimes? Even The Bliss Mistress Gets The Blues.
On American Thanksgiving which is 11/28 this year, I encourage you to start the practice, if you haven’t already. Come up with at least 5 things for which you are grateful. I bet you will like it so much, that you will want to repeat it on Friday. You could get so hooked on it that you will carry it on into Saturday. Who knows, by Sunday, it could become an obsession and you could decide that it is as important as eating and sleeping. It is for me.
SO, I’ll get us started with some of the things on my list:
Love, family, friends, food, my beautiful home into which I invite all of those previously mentioned, my Jeep that gets me where I need to go, chocolate, chai, animals, The Muse who whispers inspiration in my ears 24/7, speaking and writing opportunities, abundance, dancing, drumming, music, my radio show, yoga, surprise messages, blast from the past re-connections, bonfires, massage, chopsticks, crayons, butterflies, inspiration, laughter, my childhood, magic, mystery, tears, lessons learned, rising above, travel, ancestors, rainbows, snowflakes, puddle splashing, finger painting, prayer, meditation, blessings swirling around, vibrant good health, sweet lovers, wake-up calls, do-overs, full-circle experiences, forgiveness, playouts at the gym, revelations/aha! moments, miracles, feathers, my computer, spiritual connection, messages from Beyond, overlapping soul circles, work that I love, new people who come into my life everyday.
Now, it’s YOUR turn.  Please feel free to share this with your circles and watch the ripples spread~
Wishing you as many things to be grateful for as the cranberries in the bowl above….and then some.
Much love, blissings and blessings,
Edie ?
http://youtu.be/3bzixA2XB3w  Gratitude by Karen Drucker

 

Music is soul food for me. I not only listen it for entertainment. I  immerse myself in it, splash around in it, roll in it, slurp it up. Angel is the third sonic culinary creation by South Jersey based singer songwriter Lew Doty. Newly released at the time of year when people are more angelically aware, Angel offers both soft-soothing melody and bouncy-dance-y tunes to which I can imagine celestial beings bopping and swaying along. Doty’s velvet smooth voice reminds me of one of my favorite singers,; Nat King Cole. We met at a house concert at which he performed,  in the 1990’s when he was musician in residence at  The Center For Conscious Living in Moorestown, NJ. Although that is still his home base, he makes the rounds at other New Thought communities. It is as if the Divine is singing through him, using him as the proverbial ‘hollow reed’.

Doty’s spiritual practice and music  are informed by the writings and teachings of Ernest Holmes who was a spiritual writer and teacher and the founder of Religious Science, also known as “The Science of Mind.”  To put it into perspective:

Science of Mind uses a five-step affirmative prayer called spiritual mind treatment. The five steps are:

1. Recognition—know that God is all there is.

2. Unification—know that you are one with God.

3. Declaration—state your word for the circumstance you want to manifest.

4. Thanksgiving—give thanks for your word being acted upon by the Law of mind.

5. Release—“And so it is!”

The CD presents God as a welcoming presence that has our Highest Good in mind at all times. As I listened to it in the car and at home, I felt comforted, inspired and challenged to move past my own limiting thoughts.

Angel opens with the chant Day Becomes Me which feels like a sunrise call and response that had me sighing and stretching to greet the day.

Day becomes me

Day becomes me

Day becomes me

I

become the day

Peace becomes me (etc.)

Joy becomes me (etc.)

Day becomes me (etc.)

 

Humorous I Found The Buddha reminds the listener that The Buddha can be discovered anywhere, including the car, in a book and at the mall. The song invites releasing of selfish desires to be of ‘selfless service’ and express selfless love.

Sweetly sung Day Lily espouses the beauty that exists even if for just one day and that the memory of such exquisiteness is carried with us. With this song, Doty dares us to embrace change.

One With The Life of God is ushered in with percussion  as it declares affirmatively, using what is said to be two of the most powerful words we can speak:

I Am

I am one with the life that creates this life,

I Am

I am one with the life that creates this life

I Am

I am one with the life that creates this life

I am one with the life of God

I am one with the mind that creates this mind (etc.)

I am one with the mind of God

I am one with the love that creates this love (etc.)

I am one with the love of God

 

Dreamy I Become You is a close your eyes and sway as you imagine being one with all that is, no separation.

I can touch the sky

I can walk on water

I can taste the sun

I can touch you . . .

Can you touch me?

 

How The World Is Changed is a New Thought primer with the lyrics:

I speak my word into the Law

The Law of Mind

The Mind of God

This is how the world is changed

This word is powered by belief

Belief in God

Belief in Me

This is how the world is changed

 

Creation Chant invites the listener not only to dream and wish, but to put legs under their desires by focused intention, attention and action with a certainty that a beneficial  outcome is assured.

If I set my mind to it,

And I speak my word into it,

Then I let my heart pursue it,

The Universe will do it

 

My Beloved offers joyful juxtaposition and a recognition of seeming opposites as it states:

To gain the Power I release all power

To gain abundance I must give to receive

To gain intelligence I lose my mind

To see it clearly I must believe

 

Grace of God is an invitation to the Divine to be companion along the path we all walk.

Oh, grace of God, follow me home

Oh, grace of God, follow me

Grace under fire

Gracing this heart of mine

Oh, grace of God, follow me home

Oh, grace of God, follow me

The song ends with a quote inspired by the Bhagavad Gita

“O, Arjuna

Those who live in wisdom see themselves in all and all in them, who have renounced every selfish desire and sense craving tormenting the heart

Establish yourself in mindfulness and live free from lust, fear and anger

Throw down your sword and shield

For the war rages within!

Cast off the armor you, yourself have created

Grace

Mindfulness

Surrender . . .

are the only way home”

 

As Angel enfolds the listener in its wings, the chant called The Rest of Me, closes this lovely CD that will embed itself in your soul.

There are no clouds up in the sky

It’s just the rest of me

Wombats, fish and pygmies

All reside within me

Some days I gaze into the stars

With nothing else to do,

I trail off into Universe

 

www.lewdoty.com

 

 

buttefliesarefree

“The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly.”—Richard Bach

 

This is an excerpt from my book: The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming The Ordinary Into The Extraordinary. I share it today in honor of my mother, Selma Weinstein who passed 3 years ago today. May her memory be for a blessing.
I began writing this final chapter sitting comfortably in a blue and gray tweed seat onboard the Amtrak Auto Train en route from Sanford,

Florida to Lorton, Virginia. I gazed out the window waiting for the train to take me to my new life—one without parents physically

accompanying me. My father took his leave on April 3, 2008, and my mother joined him on November 26, 2010. She passed peacefully, with

the hospice nurse by her side. Orchestrating it perfectly, my mother made sure that neither my sister, nor I, nor her devoted live-in caregiver Claudia

were present. I had spoken with her earlier in the week, asking if she wanted me to spend Thanksgiving with her and she declined, telling me it wasn’t

necessary and that she was ok. I reminded her that it was likely, then, that I wouldn’t be there until the very end. I fully anticipated holding

her hand and watching her take her fi nal breath. It wasn’t to be. By Wednesday, when I called her for our morning check in, she

told me she didn’t want to talk. When I contacted her on Thanksgiving, to tell her I love her, her voice was barely audible. The next morning,

I spoke with the hospice nurse, who informed me that this formerly vigorous woman “was very weak” and couldn’t speak. I asked the nurse

to kiss her for me. I then heard the voice in my head say clearly, “Mom is never going to call you again,” and the tears began to flow. A few

minutes later, I said to my father: “Take care of her now,” and then corrected it. “Take care of each other.”

Less than an hour later, my sister called and informed me that our mother had just died. My reaction was visceral, as a howl of “Oh no!”

emerged and the sobbing began. As I sat at my desk at my full-time job as a social worker in a psychiatric hospital, it occurred to me that now

there was no rush to travel the 1200 miles south to the home in which she and my Dad moved in 1989. She was already gone. When my father

died, I arrived four hours prior to the time his heart stopped counting out the flow of his life. My sister and I traveled from our respective homes of New

Jersey and Pennsylvania, girding ourselves for the ordeal of being motherless daughters. As I entered the Philadelphia International Airport, a smile

lit my face. “She did it again,” I thought, choosing likely the least busy travel day, since it was the day after Thanksgiving and most people were

still likely at their destinations.

My mother’s Toyota Camry ® is tucked in with the other autos, hopefully playing nicely. It is filled with well packed boxes that represent

more than 20 years of the life that she and my father shared in Ft. Lauderdale—and the three decades prior to that. It amazes me when I

consider how objects are both personal and impersonal. In reality, they are not flesh and blood beings, but they reflect the style, sense, and

sensibility of their owner. Elegant and playful clothing to be donated to The Salvation Army®, which I know she would like other women to

enjoy, are waiting in bags in her front hallway. Kitchenware in one of the boxes that I remember from my childhood include a glass rolling

pin, a hard-boiled egg slicer, and (I will endeavor to describe it here) a wide plastic straw-like object with serrated edges that is to be dug into

an orange so that the juice can be sucked out. A tarnished silver teapot brought over as one of the few possessions of my Russian immigrant

paternal grandmother is nestled amidst the newspaper wrapped ‘good china’ that we used at Passover.

My thoughts spin back to a phone conversation a few weeks ago when her mind was still sharp and her ‘gravel Gertie voice’ as I referred

to it, since her constricted breathing made it hard to project, was still comprehensible. Often we would take imaginary trips together—

sometimes going ice skating on a pond, bundled in warm clothing, sipping hot chocolate afterward. Other times we would go to a park

and play on the swings, our feet feeling like they were touching the sky, or ride on beautifully painted white alabaster horses on a carousel. Her

favorite place to ‘visit’ was Hawaii, since although she and my father traveled extensively in their later years, they had never visited the 50th

state.

“So Mom,” I inquired, “Where are we going today?”

With little girl excitement, she responded, “Oh, we’re going to Hawaii, to a luau. But no roast pig.”

“Ok. A kosher luau, then. And what will we do there?”

“We’ll dance the hula and get lei-d.”

I grinned, knowing that she meant having leis draped over our heads. “So, two wild women out on the town, getting lei-d. I like that

idea.”

She joined me in raucous laughter. And then I asked what we would be eating at the festive occasion.

“S’mores.”

For the uninitiated, s’mores are a yummy and decadent combo of graham crackers, melted marshmallows, and chocolate bars. My mother

and I share a love of most things sweet—chocolate being a lifelong drug of choice. “Mom, I don’t think they serve s’mores at luaus. I would bet

that they serve s’mores in Heaven.”

“I hope so,” was her delighted answer.

I will have to wait until she tells me if that is the case.

http://www.liveinjoy.org/order-book/ To read the rest of the book(:

http://youtu.be/Iq0XJCJ1Srw  Nature Boy by Nat King Cole (one of my mother’s favorite songs)