Beliefnet
The Bliss Blog

 

 

 

“Do you think it would be as much fun, Edie, if you could trade some of the happiest days of your life for not having to experience some of the saddest? Do you think it would be as much fun if you could guarantee that some of your dreams would come true, by forgoing others? How about if only your “good” thoughts became things? Or… would you still want it all? I knew it! You take after me. ”    The Universe

 

This message came through on a morning when my brain is awhirl with a gazillion thoughts, some less than smile inducing and some actually stomach churning. They arrived via the imagination of Mike Dooley whose signature line “Thoughts become things ”   has remained in my brain since I initially heard it many years ago. Like most of you who are reading these words, I am convinced that the Law of Attraction works. I have seen things, people, money, opportunities, and even perfect parking spaces appear at the speed of thought. I have witnessed, sometimes line by line, scenarios with people as if perfectly scripted. Along with that ability comes the caveat “Be careful what you ask for….you just might get it.” and the ripple effects may surprise you. Choose wisely.

Sometimes I rub my hands together with glee at what I have called in and other times, have an ‘uh oh, now what?’ experience. Why am I surprised when what I have conceived of comes to be? If I take credit for the ‘good stuff’, can I also take responsibility for what I would see as less desirable and treasure them as important lessons? I am doing that right now, in the midst of shifts in various areas of my life. Facing the choices I have made; some decades ago, some as recently as the last moment, I am seed planting for new growth.

Mike’s aforementioned saddest moments have shown for me in the form of the deaths of loved ones, that brought with them lessons about the preciousness of life, health challenges that have invited me to slow down and allow others to take care of me, relationship changes that have been eye and heart openers…and the list goes on. As much as I might have fought these things kicking and screaming (literally and figuratively), I know that they have offered gifts in their wide open hands as I embrace life more fully and freely, appreciating each step that brought me to this precious moment.

 

http://youtu.be/Wz6W0f7-_lw Thoughts Become Things by Elaine Silver

www.tut.com  Totally Unique Thoughts

 

 

What’s your comfort zone? As a child, geographically, it was my house and then my backyard, then my neighborhood and town. As I became a teenager, it expanded outward to the more distant homes of friends and then college and a new town and now in my 50’s, it is the entire planet. The farthest I have traveled outside the United States was to Canada and Mexico, but the world awaits I am eager to hop on a plane to get there. That part is easy. The more challenging reach is beyond my emotional borders. I always considered myself outgoing and extraverted and able to converse with nearly anyone. I inherited it from my chatty father who could connect easily with folks from all walks of life. Usually I am able to ask anyone anything, going for a win-win agreement and yet there are times when I have remained stuck in the itsy bitsy circle above, rather than jumping into the larger one, fearing the in- between- not -sure -what’s- gonna- happen- space- before- I- land. “What if the person says no when I really wanted them to say yes?” The truth is I have said no when someone wanted to receive a yes from me and when delivered with love, it is easier to hear. Both have been outside my comfort zone and I teach this stuff!

Yesterday I had a chat with a friend about steering my own ship and following my vision for my work. I told him that I haven’t quite gotten the idea that I really AM in charge and don’t need to rely on other people for their approval of whether I am doing it all right. Although it was a Skype typed conversation, I could imagine him laughing at my silliness over all of it. He is one of my most ardent cheerleaders (pom poms waving all the way), so he calls me on my stuff when I become too timid or tentative. There are definitely times when as much as I seed plant for a dazzling outcome, I just want to huddle under the covers until the feeling of fear passes. I do sometimes leap back and forth between each circle, but much prefer to be ‘where the magic happens’.

http://youtu.be/dyAfjUHlFSM Brave by Sara Bareilles

 

 

 

tallit

Sharon Pearl is a Spiritual Director who has chosen to act as a guide for people who are wanting to open to the Divine in their lives. She serves people of various faith traditions, although her own path is rooted in Judaism. I met her this past weekend at the MKP USAGE Gathering. (ManKind Project USA Gathering of Elders) as she led a workshop on spirituality. She began the session with nigunim which are wordless, ritual chants that ushered us into a feeling of the sacred. I brought my djembe and the two of us added drum beat rhythms to the mix. From that point, we explored, in small groups our own spiritual paths. She asked us to recall our first powerful spiritual memory. Mine came to me immediately. I was probably 6 or 7 and was sitting next to my father in synagogue for a High Holy Day service. He was wearing his tallis (prayer shawl) and I loved to play with the fringes. He wrapped one side of the garment around my shoulder and even though I didn’t have the words for it at the time, felt as if I was surrounded and protected by the Divine Masculine. Although the Judaism of my childhood focused on God as a male entity, there were mixed messages embedded in those concepts. The judgmental aspects (as taught in synagogue; not in my home) overshadowed the benevolent, nurturing qualities. I began to cry (not unusual over the past several months) as it occurred to me that perhaps that is the feeling I have been missing for most of my life as I distanced myself from allowing for intimacy with the Divine Masculine in ways that I have allowed for with the Divine Feminine.  It also, at this moment, occurred to me that although women were not permitted to wear the prayer shawl at the time, he was setting the stage to encourage me to stretch religious boundaries. For that I honor him. All these years later, this ‘nice Jewish girl’ is an interfaith minister who does wear a tallis at times in synagogue.

I view myself as a strong and resilient woman.. My parents taught me how to do whatever it takes to creatively take care of myself, to pick myself up when I have fallen, to be of service to others, to be independent and not need to rely on other people AND on the flip side, to live in community, as well as to give and receive love in word and action. As a result, most of my romantic relationships have felt out of balance and I have taken on the emotional caregiver role, deflecting the care that the men in my life may have wanted to offer or sending out signals that I am not available for it. Sadly, I think I have missed out on a lot. Joyfully, I am willing to change that pattern and am willing to allow men to take care of me as well.  Not sure if Sharon used these words or if they came through me, but I heard the sentence “Everything that came before is preparation for this moment,” and the question “Can I love enough?” Love isn’t just about giving, but receiving the love offered by others too.
I have dear and supportive male friends who are part of my family of choice. I have asked a few of them to help me create a ritual in which they will be present as I share the things I have withheld saying to men throughout my life which includes my father, other male relatives, teachers, friends, lovers, my son, and the Divine Masculine. In that circle, I am willing to allow for vulnerability which I had not previously. I am feeling nervous and anticipatory as I contemplate the possibilities and the doors it will open.
Holy listening for me is about opening my heart as well as my ears to the infinite messages that come from all Sources.

www.sharonpearlma.com

Most who know me are aware that writing is my passion, bliss, life blood, heart beat and sanity. It is the primary way that I communicate with world. It is also my means of retaining memory of what has happened in my life; anchoring in my experiences, lest they slip away. A few hours ago, I left the company of soul friends, new and longtime. I had attended the  MKP -USA Gathering of Elders in my backyard of New Hope, PA. The acronym was USAGE which to me, has a few meanings. One is U-SAGE (claiming that role full out as wisdom keepers and sharers), another is Use-age (we are still useful as we age). At nearly 55, I am proud to bear the title of elder and call myself a seasoned woman. Men and women traveled from all over the country, two whom I met, from Canada and another from the U.K. We each brought our unique sense of life that came from at least 5 decades of experience. This event was born of the ManKind Project and those who attended were part of the New Warrior and Woman Within communities. I attended the Woman Within training in April of this year and describe the experience as “heart being blown wide open and I still find some pieces of shrapnel lingering.” All these months later, new insights come popping up daily and I sometimes don’t recognize myself.  Some of the weekend, the women were doing our healing work while the men were likewise engaged and then at times, we would work together.

I was asked to speak there a few months ago, but had made other plans by that point. I was ‘supposed’ to be out of the country,  leading a retreat, but clearly Spirit had other ideas for me. Rather than teach, I attended as a participant and felt no need to be ‘on.’  The keynote speaker for the weekend was Grandma Aggie (Agnes Baker Pilgrim)  part of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers who travels world wide speaking on healing the planet  and all life on it. I was asked to take on a role that I feel blessed to have filled, that of chauffer and tour guide for her and her daughter Nadine who travels with her. Cleaning out the back of the Jeep so as to accommodate suitcases and a wheelchair, I was excited at the opportunity to be in their presence. At 89 years old, she now has 5 generations of her family that are living and thriving. Her way of speaking is straightforward and compassionate, determined and loving. She challenged us to be aware of our purpose , have faith, believing in ‘something higher than our heads,’ ask for assistance from ancestors who have crossed over, leaving with our cups full, passing power to each other, as well as walking in truth and balance. I found her to be funny and approachable. On the day I met her, she was wearing fringed buckskin which I can imagine would be hot and uncomfortable after awhile, so she asked if I could take her somewhere so that she could buy a blouse that would be cooler. Naturally, I brought them to my favorite store in New Hope, called Shop of India. The owner named Nilam is from India and has the sensibilities of an old fashioned shop keeper who knows what her customers like and picks out pieces to try on. Back in 2008, she chose the outfit I wore when I interviewed His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In conversation in the car, Grandma Aggie, Nadine and I bonded over our shared experiences of being in his presence and what delightful and precious times those were.

grandmaaggieandme

She  enjoyed perusing the wares and picked out a beautiful black embroidered tunic and seemed designed just for her. I was concerned about having had them out longer than anticipated and made a comment about folks wondering if I had kidnapped them. Nadine laughed and said, “Oh no, honey…….we kidnapped you!” and commented over and over that our excursion was one of the highlights of their weekend.

Photo: Grandma Aggie, Phyllis Newman, Nadine and me outside the  the USAGE Elders' Gathering.

(Grandma Aggie, Phyllis Redman who was one of the event coordinators and Nadine)

The rest of the weekend was filled with many workshops, a talent show,  dancing, drumming, meditation, prayer, good food, opportunity to bond with kindred spirits, laughter and tears that lend themselves to upcoming entries.

This is a blessing common among the Tzutujil Indians of Guatemala: “Be blessed with long life, honey in the heart, no evil, and thirteen thank-you’s.” –

At the closing of the retreat, we were wished that and it is what I offer you as well.

See more at: http://www.elizabethharperneeld.com/2009/06/blessings-honey-in-the-heart-and-thirteen-thank-yous/#sthash.RH9YTbsG.dpuf

 

http://youtu.be/wRLSH5WuVqg You’re Aging Well- by Dar Williams

www.mankindproject.com

www.womanwithin.org