Advertisement

The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

World Empathy Day

Imagine a holiday occurring every week, rathter than just once a year and with its arrival, it brings with it an opportunity for harmonious living. Guess what folks, TODAY is that day.  Dubbed World Empathy Day, by  corporate speaker and workshop facilitator Rick Goodfriend (great name for someone who teaches compassionate communication). it shows up on the calendar each Wednesday and reflects the teachings of Marshall Rosenberg, creator of  Nonviolent Communiation (NVC) In his book entitled: Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, he defines empathy as “a respectful understanding of what others are experiencing.”  Goodfriend is also a teacher of NVC.

Advertisement

How to do that, you ponder, since it seems at times that we are hardwired to only view the world and the people in it through our own narrow lens of how it all impacts on us?  I call it ‘center of the Universe-itis’ that often has me in its snarly grip. Everything from petty annoyances of my son leaving dishes in the sink when it would be SOOO much easier for him to simply put them in the dishwasher, to outright outrage over what I see in the media about the state of the planet. It’s all a reflection of my thoughts anyway, h0w I choose to interact with those events. I look at  people whose political beliefs differ from my own and wonder how they could hold those views. I witness people doing hateful and destructive things (sometimes in the name of religion) and can’t imagine if they have a conscience. I’m sure that there are some who look at me and the ways in which I choose to live my own life and can’t fathom my choices either. As my father would have said, “Different strokes for different folks.”

Advertisement

I have recently become fascinated with the construct of  mirror neurons; the system in the brain that recognizes common threads between us. It may explain why when someone falls and gets injured, we flinch and it may show us how people get so emotionally charged over a sporting event even when they are not on the field. It may also hold clues to the concept of empathy and why there is a seeming disconnect for people with sociopathic tendencies. It also explains a phenom that I have seen on Facebook. When people put forth a request for prayers, responses come whirling in from all corners of the world, even if those responding have never layed eyes on those who are asking. We really are all so connected.

It also helps to know, that at our core, regardless of upbringing, beliefs and doctrine, we all share needs for love, understanding, a sense of belonging, a purpose, peace of mind, security, freedom and ability to express ourselves. Perhaps our verbal and non-verbal expression of those needs isn’t always the most graceful and that is where a healthy dose of empathy comes in handy. Imagine a world in which we really could ‘walk a mile in someone elses’ moccasins’.

Advertisement

http://youtu.be/OCiLxRCBf40 Get Together by Jesse Colin Young and The Youngbloods

www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/mirror-neurons.html NOVA Mirror Neurons

www.emapthyday.com  World Empathy Day website

www.walkyourtalk.org Rick Goodfriend

www.nonviolentcommunication.com NVC website

 

 

.

Advertisement

The Magic of Believing

 

 

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. -Phyllis Diller

 

The end of an era, the passing of another comedic icon from my childhood. Phyllis Diller, she of the self deprecating humor and the raucous cackling laugh, died today at the age of 95. My first memory of her was of a wrinkled, rambunctious and brazen woman who stood on stages all over the world offering a glimpse in to her life (even as it was an exaggerated version). Stories about her children and husband whom she called Fang, were fodder for her act. Her way out to there hair and ugly duckling image was a put on. In reality, she was quite attractive.  She did however,  embellish her appearance with multiple plastic surgeries over the years.

Advertisement

One thing that most people didn’t know about her, was that she was a fervent advocate of The Law of Attraction, since she discovered a book called The Magic of Believing by Claude Bristol. From its pages, she learned the amazing power that comes from accepting that what we think, believe and know shapes our reality. She recognized that no one could have power over her and her choices, except the woman in the mirror.

As I am writing this blog entry, I am listening to a you tube version of the book, narrated by an actor, since Mr. Bristol died in 1951. He spoke about the idea that everything that was created, was once an idea in someone’s mind and that using these concepts can yield results “that you would never have dreamed possible.” I had not heard of the book, but clearly, I need to read it, since it reverberates with everything of which I am certain; that our thoughts are the building blocks for our present day concrete, tangible reality and can be molded to bring about miraculous results. I see it daily in my life, as things, experiences and people, appear at the speed of thought sometimes. Everything from parking spaces literally opening up in front of me a fraction of a second after requesting one, to people calling to invite me to participate with them in some form of work or play, shortly following even the most fleeting thought…”hmmm…. wouldn’t it be fun to…(fill in the blank)?”, to folks showing up in my life in rapid succession even if I haven’t seen or spoken with them in awhile.

Advertisement

What magic occurs when YOU believe?

Leave ‘em laughing, Phyllis!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma0FbWLSOcU&feature=related  An interview with Phyllis Diller

http://youtu.be/9fS8HYc7O3o The Magic of Believing by Claude Bristol

Advertisement

Floating Down the Delaware

 

One of my favorite summertime activities is grabbing a big rubber inner tube and taking it to the Delaware River near my home in Upper Bucks County, PA. When most folks in the region think of the Delaware, what comes to mind is the portion that flows through Philadelphia which is no one’s idea of a place for an afternoon of relaxing IN the water unless on a boat or perhaps by the water at Penns Landing. The water flows clean and clear many miles upriver and rocks worn smooth by centuries of activity can be easily viewed through its surface. Yesterday, my friend Ondreah and I drove up the winding roads to the home of her sister Liz  and brother in-law Dave in Milford, NJ where a few blocks away, the river awaited us and two irridescently colored plump inner tubes were hanging out on their picnic table, eager to go for a swim.  Slathered in sunscreen, toting the tubes and water bottles, we trundled down a rocky. muddy path and into the cool river. Liz took pictures of the intrepid travelers, about to go on a few hour adventure. The sight of the two of us, tubes tied together with rope lest one of us drift too far, clambering on board, after a few hysterically laughing attempts, was I Love Lucy-meets-America’s Funniest Home Videos material. I joked with Ondreah that we were quite the Lucy and Ethel duo (not sure which of us was which), but she had even tied her blond hair up in a bandana, reminiscent of the 50’s style in which Lucy had worn hers. Off we went!

Advertisement

The water was comfortably high, so that our butts didn’t bump the bottom too often; only twice in the 2-plus hour journey did we need to stand and unsnag ourselves, but even with all of the rain we have gotten in the past few weeks, the river wasn’t running too fast. We marveled at the show of nature, with many winged ones accompanying us; a few ducks paddling about, three turkey buzzards circling above us, (she joked that they were eyeing us for lunch), an eagle buzzing by and a plethora of herons; a few uttering raucus cries as they launched themselves from partially submerged tree branches. The leaves waved greeting as we leisurely drifted by, vivid hues of green that in a month or so, would be crimson and golden, heralding autumnal change. A portent of those days to come were a few that had already jumped ship and were floating on the surface of the water after spiraling downward. Shadow and light played on the tree trunks, as we mused about the idea of mirroring. Was the water mirroring the cerulean blue, cloud scattered sky or was the sky mirroring the aromatic cedar water? This conversation was juxtaposed with our pondering about the various relationships with the people in our lives. On this day, I was having a bit of a struggle with someone in my life in which we represent aspects of the other from which we would much prefer to dis-associate ourselves and yet we are reflecting surfaces. Can’t escape it any more than the water and sky can escape each other. I have been practicing learning how to embrace the shadow side of myself, refraining from only seeing the “la-la land sweetness and light” as he has been confronted with his own brilliantly shining light aspects, from which he sometimes hides.

Advertisement

As we neared the ending of our watery sojourn, muddy and eager to wash up, I found myself sighing with appreciation of the gift I had offered myself; time with a dear friend, immersed in nature, really doing nothing, allowing the river to carry me to my next destination.

http://youtu.be/anjT71N4PGM Take Me To The River by Talking Heads

Advertisement

In My Heaven

 

There are as many perspectives on Heaven, likely as there are people on the planet. For some it is physical realm in which peace prevails and they never age. For others, it is a reward for a life well lived here on Earth. Still others feel they have to sacrifice joy here to have it there. My take on it is that we can create Heaven on Earth by our thoughts, choices and actions. What would your life be like if you lived as if this terrestrial realm could be celestial?

Advertisement

One of my favorite stories is one that I think of as ‘feeding each other in heaven’. When I looked it up just now, I found a Hassidic Jewish version, a Christian version and a Chinese version:

There is an ancient Chinese parable about an old man who knew he would die soon. He wanted to know what Heaven and hell were like. He visited a wise man in his village to ask “Can you tell me what Heaven and hell are like?” The wise man led him down a strange path, deep into the countryside. Finally they came upon a large house with many rooms and went inside. Inside they found lots of people and many enormous tables with an incredible array of food. Then the old man noticed a strange thing, the people, all thin and hungry were holding chopsticks 12 feet long. They tried to feed themselves, but of course could not get the food to their mouths with such long chopsticks. The old man then said to the wise man “Now I know what hell looks like, will you please show me what Heaven looks like?” The wise man led him down the same path a little further until they came upon another large house similar to the first. They went inside and saw many people well fed and happy, they too had chopsticks 12 feet long. This puzzled the old man and he asked, “I see all of these people have 12 feet chopsticks too, yet they are well fed and happy, please explain this to me. The wise man replied, “in Heaven we feed each other”

Advertisement

 

 

“There is an old Hasidic story of a rabbi who had a conversation with the Lord about Heaven and Hell.‘I will show you Hell,’ said the Lord, and led the rabbi into a room containing a group of famished, desperate people sitting around a large, circular table. In the center of the table rested an enormous pot of stew, more than enough for everyone. The smell of the stew was delicious and made the rabbi’s mouth water. Yet no one ate. Each diner at the table held a very long-handled spoon–long enough to reach the pot and scoop up a spoonful of stew, but too long to get the food into one’s mouth. The rabbi saw that their suffering was indeed terrible and bowed his head in compassion.

‘Now I will show you Heaven,‘ said the Lord, and they entered another room identical to the first–same large, round table, same enourmous pot of stew, same long-handled spoons. Yet there was gaity in the air: everyone appeared well nourished, plump, and exuberant. The rabbi could not understand and looked to the Lord. ‘It is simple,’ said the Lord, ‘but it requires a certain skill.  You see, the people in this room have learned to feed each other!’

Advertisement

 

A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said, “Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.” The Lord led the holy man to two doors. He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew which smelled delicious and made the holy man’s mouth water. The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful, but because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths. The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. The Lord said, “You have seen Hell”.

Advertisement

They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man’s mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking. The holy man said, “I don’t understand.” “It is simple,” said the Lord, “it requires but one skill. You see, they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy think only of themselves.”

When I consider the people in my life, both living and in their own version of heaven, I imagine that kind of endlessly long table, filled to overflowing, not only with food, but the nourishment of joy in each others’ presence. There is music, dancing, everyone’s favorite dishes,  fireflies lighting up the night, a campfire around which people drum and cavort. I am sitting with my parents, grandparents, as well as other loved ones who have passed, a long line of ancestors and those who they never had the chance to meet in this lifetime. I welcome new guests at the table each day….today, perhaps you will join us and bring your friends and family as the tribe grows incrementally and the overlapping soul circles widen.

http://youtu.be/kBMCFPQSeJY In My Heaven Mary Chapin Carpenter

Previous Posts

The Width of An Eyelash-The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Yesterday, I saw the much heralded film : The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Even without benefit of viewing its predecessor, I enjoyed it immensely. It may have had something to do with the demographic I am now in. Although most of the characters were twenty or more years my senior, I could r

posted 2:32:11pm Mar. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Through The Eyes of Love
Yesterday, my friend Joan made a comment on Facebook about a painful interaction with someone in her life. "I've been looking at myself through the eyes of someone who doesn't love me, but trying to see love." My response to her was this: "If you are looking at yourself through the eyes of someo

posted 10:37:32am Mar. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Sara's Smiles- Lift The Cloud, Inspire The Joy
  The Philadelphia Flower Show is an annual event that heralds the coming of Spring. This Winter weary woman who hadn't attended in decades, was eager to immerse in beauty. Little did I know that it would go far beyond the blossoms and butterflies that lent their color and wonder. I was offe

posted 8:01:28am Mar. 26, 2015 | read full post »

We Never Know Who We Will Touch With Our Words
It is no secret that I am addicted to words. As a career writer, I live and breathe their essence. They delight me to no end. They are the beat of my heart and the blood that flows through my veins. They are a source of emotional, spiritual and physical support. They feed my right livelihood work th

posted 2:31:37pm Mar. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Inhaling and Exhaling
Breathing is necessary in order to sustain our corporeal existence. Inhaling and exhaling, over and over. The average human takes 12 breaths per minute which comes out to 17,280 each day. This doesn't factor in times of exercise. It is something that most people do without even thinking about it, un

posted 9:39:37am Mar. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

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

All reported content is logged for investigation.