Beliefnet
The Bliss Blog

Photo: My wise friend Tiffany Reid speaking at Circle Of Miracles this morning  about the concept of I AM-Two Most Powerful Words In The World. She captivated the group with her insights and delighted us with her humorous take on life. It was SO wonderful to see her. <3

 

This past weekend, I sat back and listened as my friend Tiffany Rae Reid shared her well earned wisdom at Circle of Miracles, which is one of my spiritual communities and where I spend most of my Sunday mornings. I had been eagerly anticipating her presentation, since I knew that folks would be in for a treat. Tiffany and I met a few years ago, when we were each doing a book reading/signing at Big Blue Marble Books in Philadelphia. We had an instantaneous recognition that we were kindred spirits who had met ‘before’. Thus began a friendship in this lifetime. Tiffany is a dynamic speaker, author and coach who specializes in multi-cultural diversity. She knows whereof she speaks since her parents were a bi-racial couple. Her book is called Color Blind~ A Mixed Girl’s Perspective on Biracial Life. She was raised by her white Hungarian mother in a suburb of Cleveland, not sure where she fit in, saying that she wasn’t ‘white enough’ for her white friends, or ‘black enough’ for her black friends which is a common occurrence for mixed race kids. In the service of acting like color didn’t matter, her mother didn’t tell her that her biological father was African American and it wasn’t until, at age 26, when Tiffany nagged the heck out of her mother, that she told her the truth. Tiffany then had the opportunity to get to know the man who had actually lived nearby her entire life, for the years prior to his passing.

She has devoted her life since then to working with multi-cultural families and educators to assist in spreading the word about the importance of inclusivity, open minded communication and respect for diversity. That was some of what she spoke about at Circle, addressing an important question that we ask weekly: “Who am I?”  For so long, she didn’t truly know who she was, since her claimed identity wasn’t fully available to her and there were missing pieces of the puzzle.  Now she proclaims; as many do that those two words I AM are among the most powerful in the Universe and that everything following them sets the stage for what comes next in our lives. If we wake up in the morning and state “I am tired, sore, exhausted….” we are owning those states for ourselves. On the flip side, if we firmly declare “I am eager, enthusiastic, grateful….”, we are putting the wheels in motion for that kind of day. I don’t know about you, but I much prefer the second.

Tiffany spoke about turning confidence into God-fidence which I interpreted to mean that all that was within us, all that we are about is connected with that Divine Source and by knowing that, I can step into world with the assurance that all is well. How would your life be different if you lived with that certainty?

www.tiffanyraecoaching.com/

www.circleofmiracles.org

 

 

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What does bravery mean to you? Does it indicate a willingness to dive off a  stable cliff into the ocean at precisely the right moment so as not to crack open your skull or jump from a perfectly good airplane, praying that your parachute opens and you waft gently down to earth? Those kind of activities have never appealed to me, although I do know people who would be pumped to engage in them or something equally physically high octane, like being shot out of a cannon.

Mine take the form of what I refer to as ’emotional bungee jumping’, during which I take all sorts of risks that involve putting my heart on the line. For most of my life, I have kept my heart partly sheltered, bundled beneath a fleece blanket. I made it appear that it was wide open, when in fact, it was ducking under cover so as not to appear too eager, too outreaching, too (dare I say it?) needy. Ewwww ick. I would NEVER want to appear that way. I have allowed it to go meandering about, offering a safe harbor, a shelter for others who have lodged in it for awhile, until they have felt able to step away and move on in their lives. Some have been clients, others friends. It seems natural in a professional context, but more challenging and at times painful when it is personal. Over the years, there have been those who have, for their own reasons, chosen to step back from relating.  I have, of necessity done what in 12 step parlance is called ‘a searching and fearless moral inventory’ when I explore my role in our interactions. If in all honesty and integrity, I can declare that I have done all I can to be loving and supportive, then the choice is theirs, for their own reasons and I have no need to feel guilty. I have learned that although I am responsible at all times for my interactions with others, I am never in charge of their feelings or interpretations of said interactions.

I am also keenly aware of the temptation to take personally, someone else’s request that I change something I am doing.  Most of us like to believe we are cruising through life, doing what comes naturally to us, not intending to step on the toes of others. When people have pointed out that they would like me to do something differently than my inclination, I take pause and consider the choice to maintain the same actions, determining the likelihood of healthy relations with them. These days, I more often respond out of self examination and mindfulness than knee jerk (how dare they!) reaction. Also becoming more assertive and setting boundaries; a skill that has become more habitual in the past few years, even though I knew it was necessary eons before. As a result, my relationships are far more harmonious, in integrity and alignment with my values. I have been (even if it is challenging), bravely stepping back from relationships that no longer support themselves. A friend challenged me to consider that if I am the only person rowing the boat and I cease doing that and the boat stands still,  then I may need to be on another boat.

I wanna see you (and me) be brave!

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

 

No, not the mother of many who resided in overgrown footwear….but the rather the one who ingested a winged insect(:

Today, while waiting for my car to be serviced, I was delighted to have spent time in the company of a vivacious and precocious 3 1/2 year old named Kaisha. She was there with her daddy who was waiting to have his car to receive maintenance as well. When the pair walked in, she plunked down on the chair right next me; all curly haired, multi-layered, colorfully outfitted cutosity. Her own footwear were sparkly sequined black boots, over tights and a  black net tutu with pink and black designs on the top, a tiny black hoodie and a pink barrette pulling one strand of hair back from her adorable little face. I bet you can see her right in front of you. She carried a glow in the dark pink hoop that we took turns spinning, peaking through and she put on her head like a crown.

Then she spied the book on the table next to me and asked me to read it to her; not once, not twice, but three times! How could I refuse such a charmer? And so, I sang the words “There was an old lady who swallowed a fly” …..spider, dog bird, cat, goat, cow and horse and finally succumbed and made her transition to her next life. I always wondered about the reaction of children who are read that story. I thought it was pretty weird when I was a kid.  Is it a cautionary tale not to put things in their mouths that don’t belong there? Is it an endorsement for vegetarianism since it doesn’t warn against swallowing carrots, spinach or grapes?

When they left, the father thanked me for keeping her entertained and then one of the men who worked at the shop, smiled and said that he wished that his daughter had a grandmother like me, since both his mother and his wife’s mother have since died. I felt moved  and honored. I have had plenty of practice lately with another 3 year old charmer; my son’s girlfriend’s little one named Collin. I will have to see if he would like that story. He would probably get the giggles from it.

http://youtu.be/qC_xO2aN_IA  I Know An Old Lady- Judy Collins

Everyone we now know and love was once a stranger. I live by that maxim when I consider that there was time when those dearest to me weren’t even on my radar screen. Taking into consideration past lives, I acknowledge a familiarity and soul friend recognition when I ‘re-meet’ some folks. I have connected with people in all sorts of circumstances ranging from classes and workshops, to supermarket checkout lines, from spiritual communities to the gym, from parties to professional settings, from coffee shops to  chiropractors’ offices. Opportunities are everywhere.

What about ‘random’ pair-ups of those who have never before laid eyes on each other? I saw a video just now that featured such a feat via CBS News On The Road. Film-maker Richard Renaldi took to the streets of New York City with his camera and a revolutionary idea. Gather together two or more people who have not yet met and pose them for photos. The trick is to take those who on the surface would seem to be polar opposites in terms of age, cultural and socio economic background and have them in short order seem as if they are bosom buddies, dear friends, close family members. The results were stunningly beautiful. I found myself experiencing goosebumps as  I watched magic unfold. On a few occasions, the models seemed uncomfortable (two men who stood rather stiffly side by side), but for the most part, it looked like many had known each other all their lives.

I would love to have been part of this project. Perhaps Richard will be doing this in Philly (The City of Brotherly Love… I add and Sisterly Affection)

This speaks volumes about our common humanity; that we are more alike than different. That we are indeed family of choice and chance.

Watch and be moved.

http://youtu.be/SELDTUaHRxQ Touching Strangers by Richard Renaldi

www.renaldi.com