The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Crossing The Threshold

 

“Everybody wants to rush through transition like it’s a bad root canal. But transition is a threshold. It’s a sacred life appointment—the crossing from one world to another. You are compelled to let go of fear and uncover uncanny power. Transition, if you choose, is a way of being trained in magic.”-Tama Kieves

I have long been fascinated with borders and boundaries; the edges between one plane of existence and another. When I was a tween in in the late 60’s (before that term was even conceived), my family went on vacation to a locale that was on the border between NY and PA. I was amazed that if I stood on one side of the street, I was in the Keystone State and on the other The Empire State. I kept jumping back and forth between them, delighted with the experience.

As a recovering co-dependent, I have learned that appropriate boundaries are necessary for healthy relationships and yet there are times when I am called on to re-configure my sense of what that means, since I also love the spiritual concept of One-ness.  In my interactions with people in my life, there are times when I have a foot in both ‘states’ and that definitely stretches my boundaries…good thing I have been practicing yoga for the past 8 years.

I have also discovered in the past 53 years that transition is part and parcel of a well lived life; yoga off the mat. I can deny it, resist it, fight it, stomp my feet literally and figuratively, but it’s gonna happen no matter what. In an effort to push past it, I have often been lacking in compassion for myself, as if I was on a piece of exercise equipment, saying “Come on, you can do it. Five more minutes….give it some effort!” rather than coasting for a change, knowing that I am going to get through it. What if instead, I was to view it from Tama’s perspective and see it, not as a chore, but a charm?  An invitation from the Universe to dance with it as I had from state to state 40 some years ago. What if I saw myself as a magician, trained in the unseen, but deeply felt wisdom of creation? What couldn’t I do? As I release fear of the unknown (and isn’t it ALL unknown, until it isn’t?), I can leap into love, cast myself into the waiting metaphorical arms of God/dess and cross the open threshold from where I am to where I desire to be. I am eager to see what awaits on the other side of it.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl3vxEudif8 Changes by David Bowie

Questions For The Angels

 

On my way home from the gym tonight, I was listening to David Dye on Live At The World Cafe interviewing Paul Simon about his most recent release called So Beautiful Or So What?  Paul’s interesting take was that the CD was unintentionally spiritual (but in my perception, not at all preachy) and exploratory of some of the most profound inquiries we human beings can pose. One of the songs is called Questions For The Angels.

A pilgrim on a pilgrimage

Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge

 His sneakers torn

In the hour when the homeless move their cardboard blankets

And the new day is born
Folded in his backpack pocket

The questions that he copied from his heart

Who Am I in this lonely world?

Where will I make my bed tonight?

When twilight turns to dark
Questions for the angels… Who believes in angels?

 Fools do… Fools and pilgrims all over the world
If you shop for Love in a bargain store

And you don’t get what you are bargain for… Can you get your money back?

If an empty train in a railway station Calls you to its destination Can you choose another track?
Will I wake up from these violent dreams? With my hair as white as the morning moon?
Questions for the angels… Who believes in angels?

I do… Fools and pilgrims all over the world

Downtown Brooklyn

The pilgrim is passing a bill-board And catches his eyes

It’s Jay-Z He’s got a kid on each knee

He is wearing clothes that he wants us to try
If every human on the planet

And all the buildings in it

Should disappear

Would a zebra grazing in the african savana

Care enough to share one zebra tear?

Questions for the angels…

I have long been fascinated by angels. I accept that they are every bit as ‘real’ as flesh and blood human beings. Messengers from the Divine, I have felt them around me since childhood.  I am attracted to books that describe their intervention by invitation, and have enjoyed movies and tv shows that portray them as willing guides for us. Favorites have included It’s A Wonderful Life with the memorable line “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.”, Touched By An Angel which teamed up a tone deaf angel  named Monica with a belting out songstress supervising angel named Tess, and Angels in the Outfield with the reminder “It could happen.” I have immersed myself in books by Doreen Virtue and have taken workshops with Candy Danzis on angelic energies.  I have had what I can only describe as angelic encounters with folks who show up at the right place and right time, to deliver a missive and then literally disappear when I have turned my back or in one case, stuck around and then when I returned to the restaurant where this one had worked, pushing a broom to clean the floor and inquired about him, no one knew who I was referring to.

Even though I have a GPS, I often use what I call the AGS (Angelic Guidance System) to get me to my destination. There are times when I have no clue where I am going and then I ask them for information. Which route would be the best?  While on a long distance trip, I query where to stop to eat. Should I keep driving a few more miles on turn into that particular rest stop?  I ask them to ride along with me. Not sure if I can count on them to fasten their seatbelts. They are definitely back seat drivers who set my wheels in motion. Lately my inner GPS has been taking me on voyages of the imagination, whimsical and practical, being my Bliss, writing and speaking, being what I call “God’s Typist”.

Tonight while on the elliptical at Planet Fitness, I was watching So You Think You Can Dance?  (fitness oriented shows motivate me to stay longer and sweat more) and was amazed by this brother and sister who performed. What was so miraculous went beyond their obvious talent, but that 6 weeks earlier, the pair had been in a serious car accident in which she was uninjured and he was considered DOA, and lay in a coma for 3 days with all kinds of broken bones and lacerations. He emerged, not only walking, but with the ability to dance with such grace and beauty that it brought goosebumps.  So, my questions for the angels are “What intervention took place that allowed this miracle to occur?  Were y’all there with protective ‘wings’ spread?” I would like to think that in the moment of impact and in the days that followed, they were indeed there because a call for love invited them.

If you could ask questions of the angels, what would they be?

http://youtu.be/SrMioT5MUqY Questions For The Angels by Paul Simon

Take Five

 

This Bliss Blog entry was inspired by radio host of Your Story Matters; Angela Schaefers who uses a wonderful tecnhique to handle life stuff happening.

She says “I have taught myself and my adult daughters to ‘Take Five’, take five minutes to remember five things to be grateful for. Though we are not always together we will call or text one another with our ‘Take Five’. We often remind each other to ‘Take Five’ when one of us are having a discouraging day or moment!”

What a brilliant idea, since gratitude nourishes body, mind and spirit.  It is a portable skill that takes no special equipment, can occur in a heartbeat, can be done in silence, outloud, in writing or song and dance. I love doing an atty-tood of gratitude dance. It starts with wiggling my toes (today, with cherry red toenails for a splash of color), moves up my ankles to my legs, wiggling my hips, bouncing up and down, swaying to music that is sometimes only in my head, if not on the radio, arms reaching up and out, bopping about, silly smile on my face. I can’t help but be in feel good mode.

In this moment, my Take Five:

I am grateful to be inside under an intact roof in this rainstorm, with air conditioning that works.

I am grateful for my family and friends who are my treasures.

I am grateful for creative work that I love.

I am grateful for my connection with Spirit.

I am grateful that I have the opportunity to stretch and expand my comfort zones as I embark on exciting new adventures.

Even if you are not feeling particularly blessed, I can guarantee that by doing this, you will experience a lightening of your load, an upliftment of your mind. an elevation of your energy, a lilt in your step…get the picture?  When gravity’s dragging you down….look up.

Take Five to listen (well, 5:30)  http://youtu.be/vmDDOFXSgAs

www.yourstorymatters.net

Holding Pain

 

In learning to hold both our pain and our pleasure we can embrace the Bliss that is always available. – Dr. Jennifer Howard

 

Holding pleasure is always my first choice, as it is for most folks. Throughout my life, I have avoided pain as best I can, denied it when it arrived. pushed past it,  and yet I have learned that it can often be a powerful teacher. As a child, I had the requisite boo-boos from falling and skinning my knees, spraining my ankles and on three occasions, had broken them (6th, 8th and 10th grades).  I was diagnosed with asthma around 4 or 5  and spent years in the doc’s office for allergy shots and check ups, and nights in the bathroom, inhaling steam to open my constricted lungs. I grew up in a family in which care, but not over-protection was offered and I was a rough and tumble kid at times…biking, skating, sledding, swimming, getting muddy, hanging out in the woods. Emotional boo boos were not as comfortable for me. I put on a smiling face and made things look better and easier than they were.  I learned to be a chameleon and go along to get along, to fit in when I felt weird (an alien baby left on my parents’ doorstep as I sometimes gleefully informed them).

It seemed like that behavior served me at times, but in retrsopect, I can see where it hindered my growth and kept fully genuine connection at bay. Even now there are times when I act as if everything feels good, when some days, it just plain sucks! I have learned the difference between pain and suffering, but when I deny distress, it has an opportunity to go underground for a bit and then resurfaces, perhaps in a more clever disguise. Better, I have learned, to recognize it, address it, ask it literally what it wants me to learn, because when I do that, it isn’t as daunting to move through. I am allowing myself to hold and be held in that pain state, to permit it to be soothed and ameliorated. It is only then that I am able to be fully human and real and in my work with clients/attendees at my workshops and classes, I can hold space for them to move through their own painful experiences so as not to deny or exacerbate. It is a necessity for this recovering co-dependent. There was a time when I would take on others’ pain in order to avoid my own, which of course would come back to bite me in the tush more times than I can count. I became an empath (think Counselor Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation) which is quite an honor and can at times bring with it vicarious traumatization. One of my many hats is that of a social worker who is privy to stories that would curl most people’s toes (and not in a good way): I sometimes need to shake it off, sweat it out at the gym, cry it out in the car and cleanse if off in the shower, since other people’s pain sometimes sticks to me like burrs that you would collect on the hem of your pants if you were walking through the woods.

Friends have reminded me over the years, that I have the right to acknowledge pain and challenges rather than brush them off, since after all, I reason that other people have it much worse and I have little to complain about in my life. Mine is legitimate as well and when I gaze backward in time, I can marvel at what I have gotten through, relatively sane and vertical.

Most of the pain I endure comes from within…the negative monkey mind chatter, the subtle and overt put downs, the self deprecating, seductive dance. It is when I  bless it all, the pain and the pleasure, embracing the aspects of myself that are petulant and disgruntled, I emerge restored.

http://youtu.be/StcMnwyhpdQ Benedictus by The Strawbs

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