The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Labyrinth

Like many spiritual practitioners, I chose to engage in a ritual to honor the numerologically auspicious date of 11/11/11 .  As timing would have it, I happened to be in Sedona, Arizona on Friday. In the midst of the Red Rocks vortices, which are said to amplify energy,  it seemed like Divine Timing. As much as it may appear to be ’cosmic foo-foo’  to some, I have discovered that in the process of awareness of vital life force, I am strengthened and my intentions are magnified.

I had heard that there was a labyrinth walk near the home of the friends with whom I was staying, which felt like an immediate YES! to this fast paced soul who had dramatically slowed down in my week there. Driving on the main thoroughfare of Rte 89A, I turned into the parking lot of St. Andrews Episcopal Church.  I walked to the site, joining the growing gathering of gracefully aging hippies like myself; many enwrapped in colorful garb; works of he(art) themselves. The first person I noticed had a familiar face and with arms outspread, big grin across his face. I realized it was my friend Larry (a.k.a. Hugman) who had moved to Sedona a few years ago from Maine, but I met him 14 years ago in Pennsylvania when, as a clown, I entertained at his son Gabe’s 6th birthday party.  He pointed to the hat perched on his head and I recognized it as one my husband had made long ago. He called them Heavenly Headwear: Hats For People With Heads (the tag line came from a question asked by a friend…”who are they designed for?”, to which Michael had answered “People with heads.”)   Now nearly 13 years after his death, Larry still wears Michael’s creation. It is a blue and white batik design with a sun face in the middle. I smiled in remembrance since 11/11  was also the day that he had entered the hospital in a coma while awaiting a liver transplant. Five and half weeks later, he made his transition. This year, there is nary a twinge of sadness. I send him a blessing to wherever in the Universe he is at the moment.

Drums and other percussion instruments were made available to us and of course I indulged in this since it is one of my favorite activities, as we slowly encircled the painted blue design modeled after the labyrinth in Chartres, France.  We entered one by one, sent on our way by a woman who offered each of us the blessing of remembering who we truly are, as she invited us to gaze into our own eyes in a mirror that she held before us.  Slowly step by step, I moved through the winding path, at home in my own heart and mind for the first time in quite awhile. Quieting the chattering monkey mind that would have liked to have skipped through the path, instead I took step by step as if pulled along a stream. I was able to pause (of necessity actually) since the man in front of me slowed his pace, and not feel impatience, as if somehow I needed to move on to my next activity. This moving meditation moved me from the inside out.

As I reached center of the design, a yoga mat had been lain there and I felt called to place myself in child’s pose with the thought of the Rumi quote:

“Today, like every other day
I wake up empty and frightened.
Don’t go to the door of the study
And begin to read a book.
Instead, take down the dulcimer.                                                                                   
Let the beauty of what you love
Be what you do.
There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

As I walked out the other side of the labyrinth, I felt a deep sense of peace wash over me and I knew I had indeed moved through a portal into a new state of being. Will the world change as a result of the numerical synchronicities?   Seems to me that more likely, it will shift because we are willing to do so. 

 http://youtu.be/TypAzKe2kAs The World Is What You Make It by Paul Brady

Spice For Living

While I was visiting my friend Dianne in Sedona, we perused neighborhood yard sales on 11/11/11/, since she was searching for fireplace tools.  We were guided by signs and arrows pointing the way to places that might have had what she was seeking, but I was drawn by something even more powerful…divine signs. We pulled up in front of a house with the garage door open and were greeted by a woman named Carol who wore a baseball cap with the words “Wally’s General Store” stitched on it. She offered fresh brewed coffee and home made cookies. In all my years of  yard sales, I have never seen that. She then went on to explain that there was a theme to this event. Her elderly neighbor had recently died; with his wife preceding him. They had no children and it seemed that his neighbors were surrogates. Carol and another woman; I think her name was Ann, cleaned out Wally’s house. He used to own a store in Oregon, so her garage was a re-creation of Wally’s place. Tools, kitchen ware, a blast from my past Charles Chips can were some of the items. Then one particular relic drew my attention. Small in stature; large in  impact. It is the illustration for this blog entry. The sides of the spice can carry the words “Ingredients: Faithfulness, Gentleness, Goodness, Joy, Kindness, Patience, Peace, Perseverence, Protection, Trust, Truthfulness and Unselfishness.”

On the back of the container, was a tale as sweet as the intended ingredients:

 ” THE STORY BEHIND LOVE

For many years, a man watched his wife take a locked box down from the cupboard. She would unlock the box, take a pinch, sprinkle it over whatever she was cooking, relock the box and return it to its place. One day, while his wife was away, his curiosity got the best of him. He went to the cupboard, took the box down and opened it. To his surprise, it was empty. He turned it over and on the bottom was written the word LOVE. Don’t keep your LOVE  locked up in a cupboard, Keep it within easy reach and use generously.   SO…..though not in your recipe book, into  everything you cook, put a big pinch of LOVE.

How do you integrate love into all you do?

When was the last time you sprinkled love all around and on people who may not have been aware of it?

 Do you withold that which is really the spice of life?

How about offering flavorful opportunities for folks to recognize that they are the bakers of the bread of life?

Are you willing to spice up your relationships with this condiment that knows no limitation or condition?

http://youtu.be/Jge668g6QAQ  Cook With Honey by Howdy Moon

Smiling at God

 

Every day, I open myself to divine guidance and yesterday, mine came in the form of a message from my friend Cass Forkin who asked if while I was in Sedona, I would pick up a bracelet of deep spiritual significance for her from the Chapel of the Holy Cross.  Had she not asked, it would never have occurred to me to go there.  Raised Jewish, Catholic shrines were not part of my upbringing, although I do like going to Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown and sitting peacefully in meditation.  As I drove up the winding road to the site, I found myself taking deep breaths and not just because of the physical altitude. I felt as if I was experiencing spritual upliftment as well. Walking up the path, I noticed visitors from all over the planet who had come to this haven surrounded by energy vortices and it was confirmed when I signed and then perused the guest book. My typically busy mind slowed dramatically and I found my pace did as well; meandering through the gardens and sculpture of angels and St. Francis, a Madonna and Child. Entering the chapel itself, I was delighted that the reverent hush was puncuated by the laughter of a young child.

As I was leaving the gift shop, which carries all manner of interfaith items,  after picking up the bracelet for Cass, I heard a song that had signficance for me. Ordained as an interfaith minister in 1999 from The New Seminary in New York City, this piece was a response to the call to serve. It is called Here I Am Lord. I found myself singing along as time rolled backward and I was in the grand and glorious Cathedral of St. John the Divine on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. Enrobed in white, drenched in sweat on a sweltering June day since the huge gothic structure is neither air conditioned in the summer, nor heated in the winter, I joined my classmates as we walked down the aisle to answer the call. Since that time, I have been honored to join loving couples (same sex and heterosexual), welcome babies into the world, be present at the time of passing and officiating funerals, performing rites of passage. My own spiritual practice is enhanced as a result, as I have learned that everything is spiritual; from washing the dishes and doing laundry, to taking a shower and shoveling snow,  if done with attention and mindfulness. As I was heading back to the car, this image beckoned my attention….flowers that reminded me that since God is always smiling in my heart, it would be my honor to return the favor.

Words and Music by Daniel L Schutte
© 1981

Genesis 46:2
“And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night,
and said, Jacob, Jacob.  And he said, Here am I.”

 

I, the Lord of sea and sky
I have heard my people cry
All who dwell in dark and sin
My hand will save.I who made the stars and night
I will make the darkness bright
Who will bear my light to them
Whom shall I send?Here I am Lord
Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go Lord
If you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart.I the Lord of snow and rain
I have borne my people’s pain
I have wept for love of them
They turn away.I will break their hearts of stone
Fill their hearts with love alone
I will speak my word to them
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord
Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go Lord
If you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart.

I will hold your people in my heart…

www.czestochowausa.com/

www.chapeloftheholycross .com

http://youtu.be/EcxOkht8w7c  Here I Am Lord

 

Here I Am Lord  http://youtu.be/K6fYAiqV-Bs

Why I Write

In the wee hours of the morning, I read this facebook posting by sex educator and author, Pamela Madsen. It reached a place deep within the recesses of my mind and echoed with a great big YES!

  • This is why I write, wisdom from Anaïs Nin “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” When we write about our experiences – we get to truly savor and roll things around in our mouth for a while. Writing slows down pleasure, and brings it back to us well after the actual event. I deeply encourage all of your students of pleasure and life to begin to write. Start with a journal, or go right for the blog. Don’t waste the infinite possibilities of your experiences. Taste it twice. Just your morning wisdom from Pamela!”

 

Writing is my lifeblood, my heartbeat, the breath that expands my lungs. As grammatically incorrect as it may sound, I say that I can’t NOT write. It is what soothes my soul, eases my troubles and tickles me to no end. It is the first thing I want to do when I wake up ( unless I have company on the other side of the bed, of course) and it has been my soporific when I can’t stay in dreamland.

Since childhood, I had been fascinated with words and as a friend refers to it, I am a ‘verbivore’ whose sustenance comes from the written or spoken expression. I was weaned on stories: Dr. Seuss and Little Golden Books, Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Highlights Magazine lined bookshelves in my suburban New Jersey home. My parents read to us and my mom took us to the library down the street for Story Hour. My library card was a key to the treasure room in which precious gems overflowed their containers. No way could I escape the delicious fate of becoming a writer. No way would I want to.

I have long considered writing a way of inviting people along for the ride when I have lived life full out. Even in the midst of activity, I have had the thought “I wonder how I can express this so that my readers will feel as if they were right there with me?” While that is an admirable thing to do, it is also short sighted. I much prefer Pamela’s take on it, since it serves both purposes as I allow myself to engage in pleasurable pursuit as well and can savor the experience. The same concept goes for any type of enjoyment. We experience it in anticipation, while it’s occurring and in memory, allowing it to sink in and rush through our bloodstream with a sense of ahhhh and awe simultaneously.

Writing is part of my spiritual practice as well, since it keeps me connected to the Divine. There have been times when I have felt like “Major Tom” in the David Bowie song “Here am I, floating in my tin can, far above the world.” and it has been writing that has kept me symbolically tethered to the “Mother Ship”. It has saved my sanity over and over.

The Muse is my sweetheart, keeping me company during those dark nights of the soul, holding space for my emotions and has been my play buddy when I am skipping through life.

I encourage people to express themselves through word-pictures, whether or not they feel they have writing talent. It is sourced through their own experiences, viewed through their own lenses and shared through their own heart-perceptions. A true and clear reflection of who they are. Is there anything more beautiful than that? 

One of my favorite books that taps into creative writing is called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It is a primer on entering into the realm of imagination and mining treasures for oneself and others to enjoy. Julia shares   “Creativity requires faith. Faith requires that we relinquish control.”  Yikes!  That has been one of my greatest lessons of late. Over and over lately, especially since being a newly published book author, I have ; very much like a new parent, been called upon to do what I can and then surrender outcome. You see, there is such an illusion of control in our day to day lives, that we really can shape our entire destiny. I have come to understand (and my understanding morphs, depending on circumstance) that all I can do is all I can do, and then it is out of my hands.

The artist and writer SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy) scatters her words into the wind that waft gently or dance deliciously in various books that entice the reader to open the doors to his/her own creative soul. One specifically on writing is called Juicy Pens Thirsty Paper. Imagine your paper slurping up your words! 

 

www.juliacameronlive.com  Julia Cameron

 

www.planetsark.com  SARK

One of my favorite quirky songs about writing My Baby Loves A Bunch of Authors by Moxy Fruvous http://youtu.be/5MeQK7JtLpU

 

 

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