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The Bliss Blog

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.

 

Photo: While I was speaking with my friend Caran Kalish today about missing my Dad who had passed in 2008, I was commenting that although my mother and I had agreed on a butterfly as a symbol to represent her when she died, there really wasn't anything that connected me with him. Just  then this white feather  wafted down.  Guess  that was my  answer. <3

“The miracle comes quietly into the mind that stops an instant and is still.”- T-28.I.11:1  A Course in Miracles

I am a firm believer in miracles and messages from the Beyond. Nothing the least bit cosmic foo- foo about it. I am able to accept them so readily because I have witnessed many. A Course in Miracles defines a miracle as a “shift in perception” and contends that miracles are natural and that when we don’t see them,  something has gone awry. Lately I have been stilling my mind and clearing my vision to see them everywhere. On Monday, I went to Our Lady of Czestochowa which is a Polish Catholic shrine in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. My first venture there was when I was 14 years old and my best friend Barb’s mother took us to the annual Polish Festival. Rides, games and pierogies everywhere!  It felt like the other end of the Earth from my home in Willingboro, New Jersey. Fast forward 4 decades and I find myself living 5 minutes from this haven in the hills.

In the past month or so, I have felt adrift on a sea of emotions of all sorts with tears creating the waves. They were a long time coming following the death of my parents; Dad in 2008 and Mom in 2010.  In the service of taking care of business, I had stashed my grief away in a trunk with humungous padlocks, that was airtight and tossed to the bottom of the ocean.  I put on a brave front, saying that I knew they were still with me in Spirit, they weren’t in pain anymore and they were with each other. All meant to keep me functioning. Where was the little girl who missed her Mommy and Daddy?  She was well cared for in many ways by the 52 year old woman I had grown into the day I became an adult orphan and yet, she needed to be able to cry out her grief. That I allowed for in bit and pieces, at odd moments, but not with the wailing, sobbing release that I needed and that has become nearly a daily ritual in the last few weeks. Almost anything could start the waterworks and that’s a good thing.

Steering the Jeep up the long and winding driveway that led to the towering cathedral where visitors from around the world go to worship, I felt a hush fall over my racing mind. I wasn’t raised Catholic, mind you, but like Mother Mary, am a nice Jewish girl. I figured she would understand my call for guidance on many areas of my life that felt like they were in upheaval. My friend Caran and I walked toward the grotto next to a chapel and candle room where we saw hundreds of rosaries, scapulars, other religious objects, as well as flowers offered in tribute to the Black Madonna.

ourladyofczestochowa

Stashed in the crevices of the rock walls are prayers and petitions of the visitors. Writing and then adding ours, we sat on a bench observing the people coming and going. I was talking about my parents and Caran held me as I cried once again. I told her that my mother often showed up in the symbolism of a butterfly, but I had no such messenger from my father. At that moment, a white feather drifted down and landed at my feet. There was no bird in sight. Clearly, it was meant for me to find and perhaps my dad was dropping in to remind me that he was there. It reminded me of my friend Barry Goldstein’s song called There’s An Angel Watching Y0u.

“There’s one white feather from the sky

An angel’s watching you

There’s one white feather from above

There’s an angel watching you.”

http://youtu.be/qkG7XE-uBSk There’s An Angel Watching

caterpillarintobutterfly

Like most people, I am fascinated with the lovely creatures whose translucent wings lightly flutter as they are carried on a breeze. I watch, mesmerized as they drift to and fro, seemingly without direction. There are times when I feel the same way, and yet, like all beings on the planet, there is a purpose and intention for its existence. Butterflies symbolize transformation from one form to another, growing and changing. Just how thorough this change is, fascinates me. We have seen the caterpillar; all squiggly and perhaps fuzzy as it crawls on leaves or on our hand if we reach out for it to climb aboard. Perhaps we have witnessed a chrysalis hanging from a tree. I did two weeks ago. We have noticed the winged version that has emerged from the temporary nesting structure. What we don’t see is the gestation that takes place. I have seen it described as the caterpillar digesting itself, leaving in its wake, a mushy soup.

Butterflies have a special meaning for me, since when my mother was on hospice, I asked what she thought would happen when she passed, and she told me that she would come back as a butterfly. They have been a constant reminder that love is ever-present.

It has been easy for me to see myself as the finished product, with colorful wings keeping me aloft. I actually have wings in my car, since I am a clown who wears them as part of my costume.  What has been more challenging is accepting that for right now, I am in that stage where I am immersed in emotion soup. Back in April, I attended a weekend retreat called The Woman Within that opened the gates for feelings to flow through. Just scratching the surface. In the past month or so, more melting of the walls I had erected around my heart, has been occurring and with it, a torrent of tears. As a therapist who guides others through their losses and the pain that sometimes comes with being human, I distanced myself from my own emotions so that I could serve them.

Lately, I have been recognizing all of the losses that turned me to mush on the inside that I have tried desperately to cover over with vividly hued costumes, blissful statements, glorious descriptions of my amazing, magical life so that people wouldn’t be able to see the tears and fears behind the façade. Both exist within me; I would just prefer to acknowledge the first. The calling is for me to see the beauty in both the joys and challenges, the caterpillar soup, as well as the magnificent creature that emerges.

www.womanwithin.org

Years ago, I discovered that I had become an emotional contortionist, essentially bending over backward to please people. If not, I reasoned, they wouldn’t approve of me or love me and then where would I be? I would tie myself up like a pretzel, in business, primarily since our livelihood was based on happy advertisers and readers. Guess what?  It didn’t work and I ended up with an emotionally twisted spine, numerous arguments at home and unsatisfactory business dealings. All of this because I wasn’t being true to myself and living in a sense of integrity within myself. In the interceding time, I have been able to take a different perspective. What I thought was necessary for my survival was a less than skillful way of discovering that I have no responsibility for what others think and how they perceive me. It ties in with don Miguel Ruiz’ Four Agreements concepts. I am learning (and it is a process) to put into practice the most challenging (for me) two:  Don’t take anything personally and Don’t make assumptions. What others are going through in their lives is not about me. In relationship, (in whatever form they take), I am learning to step back and allow for process to occur. So often, I have moved to heal or fix someone else’s pain because it has been uncomfortable for me to watch them struggle. I also recognized that as a healer, there is a temptation to make myself indispensable to people in my life. I reasoned that if I was able to help them with their challenges, then they couldn’t possibly abandon me. The truth is, no one ever abandons us. We may do that to ourselves at times. The truth also remains, that God never abandons us.

Several years ago, I experienced what many would call a ‘dark night of the soul’ during which I had almost no appetite, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t concentrate. I basically sleep-walked through my days and tossed and turned at night. I called on loving friends and family who guided me through it and recognized that I was revisiting two themes from the past. A little background first on the events of that time:   I interviewed two women for a magazine for which I was writing: twin sisters who are psychically gifted. At the end of the interview, Allsyon said:  “I asked you a question twice. Did you hear me?”  I replied that I hadn’t. She said, “Who’s Michael?” Goosebumps rising on my arms, I told her that Michael had been my husband who had died 5 ½ years earlier. She went on to say that he was there with them and that he was showing them a doorway or threshold that I was walking through and also moving vans. They felt that I would be moving within 3 years.  (I didn’t move myself, but in 2011 which was 6 years later, after my mom died, I did move her belongings from her condo).

Later that day, I received the shocking news that a young woman whose wedding ceremony I had performed a year and half  prior, had been killed a few days earlier in a car accident and her  husband was standing on my doorstep asking me to offer the eulogy at her funeral a few days later. I could do nothing but hold him and cry with him. Words escaped me, except to say that I would be honored to speak at Katie’s funeral. The next night I came to Pebble Hill which is one of my spiritual communities, to hear Robin Velez speak. She is a gifted channel and healer. During her presentation, she invited me to the front of the room. I explained to the audience that this wasn’t a set-up and Robin hadn’t even known I was going to be there. Her stern admonishment?  “Stop explaining, stop justifying. It’s killing you. You need to decide here and now, do you want to live or die?” Through tear-filled eyes, I responded that I wanted to live. She then told me that I needed to completely let go of Michael and as I told her that I had, she shook her head. She then asked me what I wanted. I told her that I wanted to trust in love again.  She informed me that it was about trusting myself. A while later as I left, I remembered one last detail regarding Michael that I hadn’t attended to. I still had his ashes in my bedroom. What kind of message was that sending the Universe about readiness to move on to a new relationship? A few days later, my dear friend Susan Duval helped me to bury the urn in Pebble Hill’s memorial garden. I also made a decision to find a new home for my cat Amira, since my allergies had become full blown and more than a little uncomfortable.  During the week, it became abundantly clear that I was re-living old grief. I was releasing, letting go, turning over every aspect of my life as I had more than five years before. My body had been reacting as it had then too when I was in the throes of bereavement. I had convinced myself that I had successfully moved through the loss gracefully and in some ways I had. All of these events triggered the reactions I was going through. No accident that this all occurred around Memorial Day. An interesting phenomenon occurred that was a side benefit of my clearing.  Two weeks earlier the garbage disposal stopped working. I hadn’t gotten around to getting it fixed. On Memorial Day, Pat Harmon (a.k.a. Harmony)  was over for breakfast. I was washing the dishes and had just put a juice glass on the rack to dry. I made some comment about how quickly things happen and at that point, the glass jumped or slid off the rack and crashed into the sink. I cleaned up the shards and carefully put my hand in the garbage disposal to take out anything that remained within it. I thought, “What the heck?” and flipped the switch for the garbage disposal and was rewarded with the sounds of it roaring to life. As I had cleaned out my own garbage, it too was no longer on overload and could process as well.

That summer I had begun practicing yoga. Having been surrounded by both practitioners and teachers for many years, my interest had been sparked, but what set it aflame was attending a tantric yoga workshop in March of 2004. There I met people for whom it is a way of life. I saw first hand the emotional, spiritual and physical benefits of this ancient art and so the practice began. First at home on my own, then with a friend and diving into classes, I am enjoying a physical flexibility that I have never known.  Even as I practice the asanas, I feel that I am called on to stretch further emotionally than I ever have before as old paradigms fall away. I am reaching beyond my preconceived limitations to what I know is true, rather than what I fear is so. I am recalling the phrases from A Course in Miracles: “What is real cannot be threatened. What is unreal doesn’t exist. Therein lies the peace of God.”