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The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

National Lazy Day

Need permission to be a couch spud, veg out, do nuthin’?  Here it is….August 10th is National Lazy Day. I saw it on the internet, so it must be true!

“Lazy Day is your chance to goof off, and definitely not work. And, it definitely comes at a good time. Hot, muggy weather makes it easy to kick back and be lazy for a day. If summer chores are not done by now, they can just wait one more day. It is best spent on a hammock, along with your favorite summer beverage.

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Whoever said “There’s no lazy days…just lazy people.” Well, we respectfully disagree. Today is proof positive. It is indeed a Lazy Day. And, we consider that a good thing.

If you enjoy the intent of today, you will also look forward to Relaxation Day. It is coming up soon”.- www.holidayinsights.com

For this recovering Type A workaholic, that message fills me with both a sense of ‘uh oh’ and ‘oh yes’. The thought of inactivity in the midst of so much that needs to be done, is a bit frightening and yet enticing. I have an agenda and a check list of things to be accomplished in the next 72 hours which include going to the gym for my (almost) daily playout, writing a few articles, designing proposals for classes I will be teaching,  putting together and sending out promo info on the various and sundry classes and workshops already on the schedule, running errands, paying bills and cleaning a room that has become a cluttered repository for years of files and books as well as items that had belonged to my parents that I brought back with me when I sold their Florida condo. I think THAT is what has kept me from creating order from chaos; the sense of finality of sorting through their stuff. I’ll let you know how that goes when I am on the other side of that experience. The obvious delights of the weekend will be time with friends, enjoying music and play.

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For me, an occasional lazy day is like a giant reset button that allows me to replenish the energetic storage tank, since there are times when I run a quart low from all the busy buzziness in my life. My mother used to say “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” and I have found it to be true.

If I were to truly honor the holiday, what would I do instead?  Hmmmm….stay in bed a bit longer, go to a pool or the beach and lounge luxuriously with a book and (non alcoholic) drink with a colorful umbrella sitting askew in its cool depths, listening to soothing music. I would nap and float, leaving behind, at least for awhile, thoughts of  ‘gotta get it done or the world will stop spinning.’ ahhhh~

So what’s on your Lazy Day agenda?

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A soundtrack to celebrate!

 

http://youtu.be/9k6IrZ6ITyE Up the Lazy River – The Mills Brothers

http://youtu.be/dxBRcw3pvpI Lazy Day – Spanky & Our  Gang

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im8n-BYkCZQ Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer – Nat King Cole

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Once Begun

 

“Don’t be afraid your life will end…be afraid that it will never begin.” ~Grace Hansen

When we are born, we come into the world, curious about EVERYTHING. We experience life with senses ablaze, checking our surroundings out ceaselessly. That is, until we are told “Don’t touch.” and little by little, some of us shut down our sensory apparatus until our zest for exploration is squelched. To be fair, there are acceptable standards of behavior in which boundaries need to be respected. Heck, at 53, I still walk into stores in which there are breakable objects and my hands immediately go behind my back, as my mother had instructed me to do when I was young. In those cases, she would say kindly, “Look, but don’t touch.”, but it wouldn’t extend to other areas, such as nature, books, art supplies….  Fortunately, my curiosity was nurtured and not smooshed.

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In my counseling practice over the years, I have encountered many who feel that their lives have not begun and never will, or whose joy got sidetracked by abuse, trauma or loss. Outside influences had taken over their inner explorer, usurping his or her power to create the lives of their dreams and desires. It is then, perhaps that the spiral toward death, dying a little more every day, began. Perhaps that’s even when the thought of ending their lives came into play. Although I have never entertained suicidal thoughts; they have never even come knocking, I have heard from some people that the times when they are most likely to consider that as an option, are when they feel powerless over circumstances.

And then there are folks who are facing life challenging illnesses who are unable or unwilling to express their feelings about end of life eventualities. My take on this life-death continuum is that the more open we are to exploring our perceptions, the less threatening it will feel. Denial won’t prevent that day from arriving that we cross over to whatever awaits. For me, it makes the experience all the more precious and the people in my life, that much more treasured. I am open to dialogue on death as a result, not in a morbid manner, but one that celebrates life.

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Each day, I create my life anew, with intention to experience wonder, to encounter amazing people and have extraordinary experiences. As I open my eyes to the new morning, along with them, I open my mind to fresh ideas and my heart to abundant love, so that on the day my heart stops beating out life rhythm, I can acknowlege a life well lived.

 

Time of Your Life
Another turning point; a fork stuck in the road.
Time grabs you by the wrist; directs you where to go.
So make the best of this test and don’t ask why.
It’s not a question but a lesson learned in time.
It’s something unpredictable but in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life.
So take the photographs and still frames in your mind.
Hang it on a shelf In good health and good time.
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial.
For what it’s worth, it was worth all the while.
It’s something unpredictable but in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life.
(music break)
It’s something unpredictable but in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life.
It’s something unpredictable but in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life.

 

http://youtu.be/1PK2R0IwCiY Time of Your Life by Green Day

 

 

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Creative Intelligence

I remember seeing a question on line recently about creativity; wondering whether we are born creative or if it is something that can be learned and honed. I tend to think that it is a bit of both. Since we ARE creations ourselves, it would stand to reason that we are capable of creating. Think about a child who plays with his or her food, or makes mudpies or finger paints.  All exquisitely messy and fun endeavors. There may be no conscious intention to make anything in particular from the ingredients, just being led by guidance.  One of my favorite authors, Richard Bach, describes it beautifully:  “You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self. Don’t turn away from possible futures before you’re certain you don’t have anything to learn from them.” 

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What does your inner learning creature look like?  Mine is a cross between a kool-aid hair-colored punk rocker (minus the tattoos and multiple body piercings:) who looks a bit like Cindy Lauper,  sings like Annie Lennox, paints like  Georgia O’Keefe, dances like Gabrielle Roth and writes like Nora Ephron. A composite creative soul, indeed. Creativity is in my blood, since as a child, I loved making up stories about things I would see around me. I would create faerie villages in a wooded area in a nearby park, I would color, paint, sing and dig in the dirt, imagining that I was tunneling to China and once, hitting a water pipe a few feet down in the garden near the strawberries my father had planted, really thought I had arrived! My imagination was encouraged by the adults around me. I think that is one way we become thriving (instead of starving) artists. Unlike many stories I have heard, I don’t ever recall being discouraged from following the beckoning of the Muse. She has become a close companion and lover, accompanying me 24/7, in my waking and sleeping dreams.

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Sometimes she calls in night images that aren’t particularly pretty, but they serve a valuable purpose that stirs up and spurs on even greater depths of creative wisdom. In the past few nights, I have immersed in visions about tyrannical storm troopers who kill family members who visit a man who is encased in a cyber-suit that he has traded for relieving horrific headaches. His deal with whoever offered him that option is that he never see loved ones again, lest they be vaporized. Another included offering aid and shelter to a woman who was fleeing an abusive marriage and a third was about witnessing chains around the heads of three generations of a family also caught up in violence and destruction. What the heck is going on in the psyche’ of this self proclaimed pacifist?  When this has happened in the past, it has been a wake up call for me to take a look at areas in my life where I am terrorizing, vaporizing and otherwise abusing myself. Where am I obliterating my creative flow even as it is being called forth even more vibrantly? Taking a deep, cleansing, letting go breath as I am typing these words.

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I love being around creative people and among my friends are musicians, dancers, actors, writers, directors, producers, radio show hosts,  photographers, graphic artists and designers. Like attracts like and each of these folks are what I call works of he(art) who put their hearts and souls into their work in the world. In their presence, I am inspired.

Last week I taught a class on creativity for professionals who work with folks that have mental health diagnoses. One of my favorite exercises that I led them through, was designing a Creativity Tree on whose branches, they would hang words and images that represented their own playful inner learning creature. Each person (with one exception) used crayons and markers on vividly colored paper to draw their picture. One woman ‘ordered off the menu’ and cut out a tree and pasted leaves on it and wrote words that expressed her own creative genius. I hope that they all took them home and made them ‘frigerator art that they proudly displayed.

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Everything that has ever manifested in physical form was once an idea in someone’s mind. Take time each day to envision at least one thing, experience or person you want to call into your life.

You have the capacity to derive immense enjoyment from the challenge of creating in form what you have pictured in your imagination. –Martha Beck, Enjoyment in the waiting…Insight from Martha

www.youtube.com/watch?v=dipFMJckZOM Vincent by Don MacLean

 

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Isn’t This World Enough?

 

Music has the power to transform, to entertain, to delight, to comfort and heal. Some songs just blow me away. I heard one that would fit that category on my way home from a township meeting that addressed the killing of the son/grandson of friends of mine, by a police officer. He was unarmed, handcuffed and yet the situation got out of control and a young and promising life was snuffed out senselessly. Although I had never met him, I have known his parents and grandmother for the past 15-20 years. I can only imagine what this might be like for them, since no one expects to bury their child or grandchild. Together they have a strong and eclectic spiritual practice and are part of my interfaith community. I sense that is what is getting them through this unthinkable situation. The room was filled to capacity and there were others in the hallway. A few of us addressed the town council  and I sense that they heard us. I looked into each of their eyes as I spoke, reminding them that the line between mental health and mental illness is remarkably thin and that anyone could cross it. I told them that I imagined that they each knew someone with a psychiatric diagnosis and any of these folks could have been in this young man’s situation. I added that I’m certain that the officer who shot  him had not woken up that morning with the thought that he was going to kill some kid and he must be going through his own private hell as well.

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What also crossed my mind was the family and friends of a friend of my sister Jan who were mourning her passing yesterday. Her name was Leah Stevens and her faith got her through many months of treatment for the cancer that eventually led her to her next life. I didn’t know her personally, but from reading the multitude of postings on facebook as she took her journey from diagnosis to death, I felt as if I did. How loved she was, what a gift she was to those who crossed her path. She clearly had a sense of humor. When she went to see Bruce Springsteen in concert and met him backstage,  he signed her bald little head(:

Another friend is facing a major shift in a close relationship and still another is dealing with the impact on her family of her father in-law’s dementia.

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My heart is also with the families of those killed in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and a movie theater in Colorado and everyone whose names we may never read or hear and whose faces we may never see who daily encounter violence. As I am calmly and safely in my home, writing these words, I am humbled and grateful that my needs are taken care of and my ‘problems’ are more inconveniences than anything else. I have seen my way through what might be labeled ‘tragedy’, including the deaths of my husband and parents, as well as the loss of a home and business to a hurricane. Like everyone reading this, I have survived everything that has ever happened to me, because I am here to tell about it.

As I was driving through winding country roads, I witnessed an exquisite sunset, with cotton candy pink clouds sprawling across a baby blue blanket sky. The aforementioned song called Isn’t This World Enough? is performed by Scottish indie music perfomers Admiral Fallow was the perfect soundscape to accompany my visual skyscape. Like most songs that I hear for the first time, it found a home on my favorite radio station WXPN out of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Love your husband and love your wife
 Isn’t this world  enough?
The gas that lets you live your life
Isn’t this world enough?
All those living in splendour and in sunshine
 Isn’t this world enough?
 Those who seek calm going under the knife
 Isn’t this world enough?
Isn’t this world enough?
Isn’t this world enough?
Those who seek calm from  under the knife
Isn’t this world enough?
You’re searching for answers  in clouds and under rocks
 Isn’t this world enough?
 You statch your collar  and pull on Sunday socks
 Isn’t this world enough?
 You’re seeking tips of  the cap from your superman but
Isn’t this world enough?
 You’ve just gone  blind
you’re a human stopped clock
 Isn’t this world enough?
Isn’t this  world enough?
Isn’t this world enough?
 You’ve just gone blind
you’re a  human stopped clock
 Isn’t this world enough?
So love this vessel while  you’re aboard
There will be no deposit back from a cosmic landlord
 You  don’t need to hang your hat on belief in bumper stickers
There will be no  love lost just pull on that ripcord
 Isn’t this world enough?
This world  enough? This world so…
Isn’t this world enough?
 Isn’t this world  enough?
 There will be no love lost
 just pull on that ripcord
 Isn’t this  world enough?
Isn’t this world enough?
Isn’t this world enough?
 From your first exhale to your very last breath
 Isn’t this world enough?
As I listened to the song on the radio and then half a dozen more times as I am writing this, I am filled with gratitude that indeed, this world is blessedly more than enough for this opt-mystic lover of life and all it contains, even the messy, painful, challenging aspects. I ask that you keep all those I mentioned in your hearts and prayers.
http://youtu.be/wMoneBHE5nY Isn’t This World Enough? by Admiral Fallow
www.xpn.org  WXPN 88.5
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