Beliefnet
The Bliss Blog

“Know your yeses, your no’s and your maybes. It makes life a hell of a lot simpler. You can still be flexible. But get to know them. They are there for a reason.”~CAW

Simply powerful/powerfully simple words from my friend Courtney A. Walsh who I think of as a fusion of wise woman sitting atop a mountain, basking in the elements and sharing the ‘cosmic joke’ when seekers come to her, that they had it all along (the wisdom for which they turn to her) and a silly, saucy, playfully poetic, mud pie making, finger painting pigtailed little child.

courtneywalsh

There was a time in my life, when not only did I not exercise my yes, no, maybe so muscles; I didn’t think it was ok to even acknowledge them, since I wanted to maintain the status quo which felt good most days. I hadn’t yet learned that nothing lasts forever in the form it is in, no matter how much of a chameleon/caregiver/co-dependent/good girl I was. It wasn’t until I took the Cuddle Party facilitator training  in 2005 that I stretched big time around consent and expression; saying what wasn’t being said  which I had not been doing, in the service of keeping the peace. Now, I easily express preferences, ask for what I want, go for the win-win and assume cooperation.

It was in perfect alignment with something I heard yesterday from my dear friend Peter Moses who spoke at Circle of Miracles on

The Lasting Beauty of Inner  Space

In the drama of living in the world, we are conditioned to look outward to people, things and the objects of our senses.  What a  blessing it is to have Attention turn back around to the timeless  inner dimension. Here and Now, we can know ourselves  to BE that peace and joy that we seek but never find in the changing world  of time and circumstance.  With words, music, sharing and laughter… let’s  go Inside to play!
I drank it all in, mesmerized by what my anam cara (soul friend) had to share, kvelling (Yiddish for ‘bursting with pride’), like a parent whose kid did something most marvelous, tears and goose bumps and knowing nods of resonance. A singer song writer and kids’ edu-tainer, he regaled us with stories from his own life; some I have heard many times before, but never tire of them, and showered us with love, his own songs and covers of Paul Simon and Robert Palmer songs (turning Addicted to Love to Addicted to Thought, since our monkey minds can scoop us up and carry us away with thinking about thinking, or not thinking about thinking)
Peterlovehand
In the midst, he offered some guidance about honoring our preferences, but not taking them too seriously. Our minds are meaning making machines that tell us how we are ‘supposed’ to feel about anything that comes our way. Two people can have the exact same experience and come away with diametrically opposed thoughts and feelings. Yes, I prefer that I sleep 8 hours a night, but there are just some mornings that come way sooner than I would like. Yes, I would love it if traffic flowed smoothly and the cars in front of me would get out of the way, but then I remember that I am traffic too and that there are cars behind me, likely wishing I wasn’t in front of them…except then they wouldn’t be able to read my ‘hippie bumper stickers’. Yes, I desire to have all of my dreams come true RIGHT NOW and I know that things and people and experiences may show up on a different schedule than mine. When I am in alignment with that, there is a coherence and not a ‘disturbance in The Force’.
I got a chuckle out of a line that Peter kept repeating. In his 50’s with a full schedule of teaching, speaking, recording, being a husband and father of 5 (the youngest a 3 year old little dude who reminds him that love matters most), his thoughts (like mine) sometimes slip through the cracks and song lyrics that used to flow like honey, tend these days to play hide and seek. He shrugged his shoulders and laughed “What are ya gonna do?” I am now adopting that philosophy, since I could get myself all worked up over my own ‘middle aged moments’ or just embrace them.
What came to mind was this segment from America’s Got Talent, for your viewing pleasure.
http://youtu.be/QW4RUIjOp9k Whatcha Gonna Do?

Get a<a href="http://flickr.com/photos/wolfgangstaudt/2332583053/sizes/l/"> large  </a>view! </p><br />
<p><b>Zion National Park</b> is a United States National Park located in the Southwestern United States, near Springdale,...

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”-Lewis Carroll

I am writing this on July 5, 2013 for posterity. The woman who is typing these words has lived more than 54 years on this planet, this time around and since she believes in reincarnation, likely eons more in a different form. She has loved and lost, stretched and shrunk, leapt and lurched, cowered in fear and stood center stage courageously. She can be laser focused or easily distracted by a shiny thought.  She can be serious and silly. She can celebrate the successes of others and envy them. She can be patient and petulant. She can be judgmental and understanding. Such a dichotomy she faces each time she steps out on the road. There are times when   she has not a clue which direction to turn. Her inner compass sometimes spins wildly, sending her scurrying to make a course correction.

Like everyone reading this she is Divinely Human and Humanly Divine.

Sound familiar?

My intention is to consciously choose where to go, by  noticing where my feet are planted, where I want to end up and then take the first step to get myself there. The tricky thing for me has to do with time and deadlines. If I knew, really KNEW that it didn’t matter how long it took to reach a destination, but that I needed to keep taking the steps, resting when called on, moving ahead when able and willing, then I would likely feel a greater sense of peace about it all. It took 20 years to manna-fest the interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2008, from idea to actuality. When it finally happened, did  I complain that it took so long?  Nope, I reveled in the reality of it. I wonder sometimes if our ‘destiny’ is patiently waiting for us to show up where it is. Kind of like a stage set that wants us to step on to it so it can fulfill its purpose. That can be around a relationship, money, career, creative outlets, health, home….

This is what I am programming into my inner GPS today:

Professional dream into reality desires today- since I can ask for them (and so can you)…  have my book picked up by a major publisher ( it was self published originally), write for O magazine, interview Oprah and Ellen (not just be inter…viewed BY them), write for HuffPo, have my stories published in Chicken Soup For The Soul, do a TEDtalk, speak at world wide conferences on BYOB (Be Your Own Bliss) in whatever form that takes. Continue to be a positive change agent, showing folks that they can live ridiculously amazing lives and be a greater force for good in the world. Thank you in advance, Universe for these coming to be. And for guiding my feet along the path~

 

 

Any Road

 

Give me that plenty of that guitar.
But I’ve been traveling on a boat and a plane

In a car on a bike with a bus and a train

Traveling there, traveling here

Everywhere in every gear
But oh Lord we pay the price

With the spin of the wheel with the roll of the dice

Ah yeah you pay your fare

And if you don’t know where you’re going

Any road will take you there
And I’ve been traveling through the dirt and the grime

From the past to the future through the space and the time

Traveling deep beneath the waves

In watery grottoes and mountainous caves

But oh Lord we’ve got to fight

With the thoughts in the head with the dark and the light

No use to stop and stare

And if you don’t know where you’re going

Any road will take you there
You may not know where you came from

May not know who you are

May not have even wondered

How you got this far

I’ve been traveling on a wing and a prayer

By the skin of my teeth, by the breadth of a hair

Traveling where the four winds blow

With the sun on my face, in the ice and the snow
But oooeeee it’s a game

Sometimes you’re cool, sometimes you’re lame

Ah yeah it’s somewhere

And if you don’t know where you’re going

Any road will take you there
But oh Lord we pay the price

With the spin of the wheel with the roll of the dice

Ah yeah you pay your fare

And if you don’t know where you’re going

Any road will take you there
I keep traveling around the bend

There was no beginning, there is no end

It wasn’t born and never dies

There are no edges, there is no sides
Oh yeah you just don’t win

It’s so far out, the way out is in

Bow to God and call him Sir

But if you don’t know where you’re going

Any road will take you there And if you don’t know where you’re going

Any road will take you there

If you don’t know where you’re going

Any road will take you there
(Yeah hey! Ah ee ah! Ah he ah!)

 

http://youtu.be/mFblhcQjKeY  Any Road by George Harrison

 

On the eve of Independence Day here in the U.S., I am pondering just what it means to enjoy freedom. I could wax philosophical and political about what our Founding Fathers might have been thinking when they signed that iconic document The Declaration of Independence and then went to party at City Tavern in Philly, ( I actually waited tables there in my 20’s and went back to visit it earlier this year. It hadn’t changed much and the spirits that I ‘felt’ while I worked there, were still hovering about.)

 

citytavernThe holiday brings with it fond memories of planting little American flags along the edge of our suburban South Jersey garden, going to the parade with my parents and sister; dressed in red, white and blue, excited to hear the drum beat that I could feel reverberating in my chest, that heralded the start of the annual march down Levitt Parkway in Willingboro, of decorating my bike with colorful streamers and of picnic celebrations with my cousins and splashing about in our community pool. Oh, and then there were the fireworks that lit up my heart as well as the star sparkled darkening sky!  No matter what culture folks hail from, fireworks always elicit the universal response of “oooohhhhh……..ahhhhh”

All of that aside, I feel drawn to the ideas of personal freedom and what that means to me. For such a long time, I have held myself hostage to antiquated and archaic beliefs about who I think I am and what I imagine my worth to be. I had  fancied myself only as valuable as I thought other people thought I was and as cute, precocious, academically gifted as the adults around me told me I was. The major problem with those perceptions is that if I met them, then I expected myself to keep on meeting them. “Little Shirley Temple, tap dancing for attention”, as you may have seen me describe myself here before. Fun for awhile, since it garnered me kudos; oppressive later, since I felt hemmed in when I didn’t always meet my own expectations and I danced even faster to keep up. All these years later, I am still doing that. While it can be fun at times, mostly, it is simply exhausting. I began this article before bed, long about 11:30pm and am now finishing it at 5:29a.m,  determined to complete it, not leaving it dangling too long. Meeting personal deadlines is one of my values.

Last night, I was facilitating a women’s support group and we were talking about healthy vs. dysfunctional romantic relationships. The participants were sharing their experiences with accepting less than loving behaviors from current and/or previous partners and I told them my philosophy about teaching people how to treat us, about setting and sustaining boundaries and standing for what we believe in with regard to relationships. “That’s because you have self worth,” one of them chimed in. Sadly shaking my head, I responded that I didn’t always value myself enough to say yes to what I wanted and no to what I didn’t want and stick to it. As a result, I experienced personal interactions that were less than desirable and I gave an example of a relationship that was 4 months in duration which was “Three weeks and three months too long,” since the red flags started waving after the first week, which I chose to ignore in service to avoiding loneliness.  When the man’s apartment looks like your teenage son’s bedroom and you don’t want to sit on the couch….run!  It was when a dear friend asked where my sparkle and joy went, that I woke up and broke up.

In short order, I began the process of setting myself free from accepting less than what I deserve and desire in all areas of my life. I love ritual and lists and so I offer my Declaration of IN-DEEP-IN-DANCE. I encourage you to write your own break away from tyranny treatise.

I declare in-deep-in-dance from:

Self limiting thoughts and beliefs.

Internal put downs that can become external realities.

Unrealistic expectations and “you should know better” chatter.

Excessive caretaking that tires me and disempowers others.

Denial of pleasure for fear of what others might think.

Piling on too much work that is hard to get out from under.

Dwelling in the past as if by doing so, I will somehow keep certain events from ever having happened.

Anger and resentment that keeps me stuck in the muck and mire.

Judgments of self and others.

Expectations for how I think they and I SHOULD behave.

The insane need to keep proving myself again and again.

 

I declare in-deep-in-dance to:

Set intention and watch it come to fruition, blossoming brilliantly.

Ask for what I want, regardless of the answer.

Stretch comfort zones at my own pace.

Rest and re-create.

Experience pleasure without guilt.

Be an example to myself, rather than a holier than thou one for others.

Accept myself AS IS, knowing that change will come more gracefully that way.

Be at peace, rather than seeking it outside myself.

Enjoy my sacred sexual self.

Speak from the heart, even if it isn’t pretty flowers, sunshine, unicorns and rainbows.

See and be (see myself doing what I want and then live it, full out)

Trust that all is in Divine order, as an antidote to my lament that things aren’t happening at my desired pace.

Attract love and abundance in all forms.

 

Let freedom ring!

http://youtu.be/MezUEIBKfyk 4th of July- James Taylor

 

 

 

 

Photo: Wanting to cull the collective wisdom here again, since you all had such brilliant ideas when I asked a question earlier in the week.  Here goes...how do you handle a relationship (romantic, housemate, parent-child) when your priorities and theirs are different when it comes to noticing when things need to be done (housekeeping as an example)?  Although I am by no means white glove clean, my rules for myself are : If you take it out, put it away where you found it. If you drop it, pick it up. If you make a mess, clean it up. If you borrow it, return it. Don't expect anyone else to clean up your literal or emotional mess. It just feels respectful, not holier than thou and to me, it reflects how I feel about myself and anyone else with whom I share space.  It feels good to accomplish tasks, like dishes, having a clean kitchen when I go to bed, (especially after a party:) stepping back and seeing that my lawn is mowed and weeds are whacked and that I can put away clean and folded clothes. Do you grin and bear it?  Do you clean up someone else's mess yourself?  Do you nag and nudge?  Do you simmer and stew over it?  Do you ask for change?  Have you noticed change? Your answers are likely to become part of an article, since I KNOW this is a common issue. Thank you <3
Earlier in the week, I posed this question on Facebook and was amazed by the responses that came in.
Wanting to cull the collective wisdom here again, since you all had such brilliant ideas when I asked a question earlier in the week.  Here goes…how do you handle a relationship (romantic, housemate, parent-child) when your priorities and… theirs are different when it comes to noticing when things need to be done (housekeeping as an example)?  Although I am by no means white glove clean, my rules for myself are :
If you take it out, put it away where you found it.
If you drop it, pick it up.
If you make a mess, clean it up.
If you borrow it, return it.
If you break it, repair or replace it.
Don’t expect anyone else to clean up your literal or emotional clutter.
It just feels respectful, not holier than thou and to me, it reflects how I feel about myself and anyone else with whom I share space.  It feels good to accomplish tasks, like dishes, having a clean kitchen when I go to bed, (especially after a party:) stepping back and seeing that my lawn is mowed and weeds are whacked and that I can put away clean and folded clothes. Do you grin and bear it?  Do you clean up someone else’s mess yourself?  Do you nag and nudge?  Do you simmer and stew over it?  Do you ask for change?  Have you noticed change? Your answers are likely to become part of an article, since I KNOW this is a common issue.
Here is what the group came up with. I noticed that no men chimed in, so I welcome them here.

If it is that important to me, I handle it and move on. I have worked out of my home for years and I want it clean when clients come in so I set my mind to get er done mode without resentment.  As far as kids, I had a friend that settled things with her teens by throwing whatever they left around in a clean trash can and making them pay for the return of items. I thought it was brilliant.

Got to work together..however if it bothers you and not them take care of it and move on.
What if it happens consistently?
Come up with a contract..an agreed plan with consequences if not kept.
I think you need to pick your battles. If you can come up with a plan that the other person would do that you would appreciate  and its keeps harmony then both parties are happy.
 Each person must practice a bit of “distress tolerance”
These are especially good questions to ponder before marriage. You can love, love, love the person, but if you are not compatible in lifestyle you can end up with way too many compromises. Then it’s difficult to melt into equilibrium. Slobs and neatnicks don’t blend too well. You could buy a duplex and live next door to each other. Haha!
 Living in a house with my husband, my 23 year old son, my 35 year old daughter and my granddaughters ages 3, 11 and 14, this is a HUGE problem.  We are all at very different levels of neatness/cleanliness.  My husband and I are on the same page, always have been so there is no issue there; we do what needs doing and it doesn’t matter who does it.  The rule for us has been, you spot it, you got it.  However, I am the most rigid in the house about the rules.  (I am frequently referred to as the Neatness Nazi) My son is a sporadic cleaner – wait until it’s God-awful and then go on a whirlwind cleaning session.  My daughter and her girls are slobs, plain and simple.  So I tend to go through the gamut of the aforementioned behaviors.  I very often to it myself (grumbling a bit).  I will nag and announce the rules in a rather loud voice.  I will often ask sweetly.  It is whatever works.  The most helpful part of all this is – my husband and I have a bedroom on the first floor where the living room, kitchen, our bathroom and our offices are.  So we pretty much consider that our portion of the house – and it is always kept up to snuff.  The rest of the gang have their bedrooms, another bathroom and the laundry room upstairs – their portion of the house and my husband (who is way more tolerant than I am) says hey, if I don’t have to see it and live with it, I don’t really care.  Sadly, I DO CARE.  I CAN ALMOST HEAR THE CHAOS UP THERE and eventually I will venture into no-man’s land and clean it up.  So I guess the overall answer is, if you want it done, do it yourself because these other crazy people just don’t see it the way you do and really can’t fathom why it upsets you so much. And I must add – I love them all dearly and wouldn’t trade any of them.  (And I’m positive they have to bite their tongues around me because I am a Neatness Nazi.)  🙂
When I cook, I do not sit down to eat until the kitchen is cleaned up!
Transparency, personal responsibility, acceptance.  First share how this is for you, so that they know – “When the kitchen isn’t clean, I feel … and I would like to request … How do you feel about that?”  If they are on board with changing, great – you can follow up with more transparency and communication.  If not, or if they say they will change but don’t, then you need to decide if this is a relationship dealbreaker.  If yes, set your boundaries and move on.  If not, accept that this is who they are and do the personal work necessary to be OK with it.  Check in deeply with yourself and if having the kitchen etc. clean will make you happy, clean it yourself or make arrangements to hire someone else to do it.  Keep yourself in the awareness that you are choosing to be with these people and choosing to take this on.
I ask but, at the end of the day, I have to decide if sharing the space with them is worth knowing that more often than not, if I want my standards kept, I’ll be doing the work to keep them. If it is, I’ll do it myself because I enjoy the results. If not, time for them to pack.
It’s hard, in my experience, to make adults shift from their level of tidiness at home. Is it Anal vs. Relaxed? Or Clean vs Slob? Part of why I got divorced. My 2nd hubby and I are very close on the Clean-O-Meter.
This made me laugh, because right on our refrigerator and in your handwriting is a well worn RULES that you wrote out for me. Do I read them – always. Do I follow them – hardly ever. Do I need them – YUP!. Just seeing them still brings a feeling of warmth and caring – that and a little yellow ball with a message that lives in my bedside table.