Beliefnet
The Bliss Blog

What if video cameras could be used to eaves-watch and record not just crimes, but acts of love and kindness?  Imagine what they would see with their ‘electric eyes’. I had the delight of waking up to a video this morning that showed people all around the world, hugging, kissing, acting goofy, acting responsibly, helping people move stuck cars, clean up messes and generally stirring up love mischief. This was recorded to the tune of the Supertramp hit ‘Give A Little Bit’. I laughed and teared up a bit as I watched the mini demonstration of love in action.

It was created by an organization called Love Everybody that was founded by musician and philanthropist Kenny Alphin (Big Kenny). The mission of the organization is to “Highlight the good, inspire greatness & encourage mutual responsibility for the betterment of humankind.” That he seems to do as part of their work which has included helping to construct a school in Kenya, fund scholarships in Appalachia, entertain Special Olympians, and raise money to feed  homeless children.

What if you could be an even greater force for good in the world than you already are? What steps would you take to follow the mission statement above? It starts with the first thought that crosses your mind when you come to waking consciousness each morning. No matter how tired I am; like this morning, I direct my thoughts toward the difference I can make in the lives of those I touch. If I am feeling grumpy and out of sorts, I acknowledge it and then re-direct it since I know that attitudes are contagious. I sometimes listen to inspiring music to begin my day or watch videos like this one and it is a course corrector and attitude adjuster. At times I look around my room and observe the light and colors; the items that surround me, many of which are gifts from dear ones. How could I feel (for very long, at least), anything less than blessed? From that point, there is sometimes a conscious plan to follow the marching orders I am given each day whether it is to volunteer, open doors for people, call a friend who may be challenged by life circumstances, smile at someone I pass, letting someone go first out of a parking lot or across an intersection. It doesn’t take much and the ripples are endless.

So, today, give a little bit (or a lot)  of your love. You may never know the difference it will make.

www.loveeverybody.com

http://youtu.be/G_RCB32KKzM  Shocking Footage

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When the clock reads 5:36pm tomorrow it will mark the moment when I made my entrance into the world this time around (since I believe in reincarnation) with a grand ‘ta-da!’  Likely there was also a wail of dismay that I was no longer immersed in womb-warmth and on some level my soul knew I had major work to do. Blessed to have been planned and wanted by my parents who adored each other, I never doubted that I was loved. It occurred to me recently that if I was on time, I might have been conceived as they celebrated my dad’s birthday on February 13th. I used to tell people, quite innocently that I was born the day before they were married, since their anniversary was October 14th. They would be quick to add, that it was two years AFTER their wedding day. My mom shared the story of my birth many times. She and my dad had gone out to dinner the night before (that would be tonight) and she had lobster something or other and a chocolate dessert. No wonder chocolate has remained my drug of choice.  She woke up with what she at first thought was a bout of indigestion. It turned out to be me ready to make my debut. She arrived at what was then called Pennsylvania Lying-in Hospital (a.k.a. the maternity ward) in Philadelphia, PA as the labor began. Pacing the halls, she stood in front of the nursery and looked in the window to watch the newborns. Almost all of them were singing a kid-chorus except one little boy. A doctor walked over to the still infant and took off his diaper. As soon as he did that, the wah-ing began. My mother laughed, her water broke and soon after, I showed up. I like to consider that laughter ushered me in. I was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around my ankles, 5 lbs. 4 oz. and a few days after had lost a pound since I kept falling asleep during feeding. The nurses advised my mother to ping me on my feet to wake me up to eat. I think  that foot and ankle thing contributed on an unconscious level to three broken ankles, and podiatric problems that led to wearing clunky ‘corrective’ shoes to rectify being pigeon toed and flat footed. My mom would teasingly say that I should be grateful that the cord was around my ankles and not my throat. For that reason, I think I have had this push-pull, conflictual relationship with moving forward. I have often dashed at light speed and then screechingly thrown on the brakes out of uh-oh fear of both success and failure. I have had life lessons about standing my ground as well.

Throughout my life, I would remind them that I was an alien baby left on their doorstep and sometimes they believed me, since I was quite out of the box with my mental meanderings and interests. As a child, I would sit for hours in a park up the street (if my mom couldn’t find me around the house, that would be the first place she would look), gazing at trees, making faerie villages. I would write other worldly stories in my head. In my pre-teens, I read The Search for Bridey Murphy which is a classic about past life exploration. I made astute observations about life, the Universe and everything that would have friends wondering what the heck I was talking about. Even now ‘normal people’, social conversation is nowhere near as interesting as exploring spirituality music, mysticism, multi-cultures and what makes people tick.

I am the consummate Libra; seeking balance in the midst of dis-equilibrium, conflict avoidant at a huge cost at times. No surprise that my radio show is called It’s All About Relationships since that is my directive and daily marching orders. My relationships are my treasures.

I am spending today cleaning, food shopping and prepping for a gathering of friends and family tomorrow to celebrate my 55th. The quirky kid that I was had no idea my life would be as it is now; filled with delights of creative flow, surrounded by immense love and infinite possibility. I am asking those who attend to come up with 55 things for which they are grateful and/or 55 things they want to call into their lives in the next year. I encourage you to do that as well. Counting our blessings create more blessings and the world can sure use more blessings. As I blow out the candles, I will thank my lucky stars for all of them and for the gift of  love and life that I unwrap with great joy each day!

 

 

A metaphor for life that I contemplate often is what I call The Hansel and Gretel Breadcrumb Trail. I gaze over my shoulder and see where the little crumbles have landed and follow them backward to take note of the meandering and sometimes seemingly random steps I have taken to stand on the ground on which my feet are placed in the present. One of the unsolved Mysteries that I delight to contemplate is this:  Do things happen on purpose, designed by the Infinite or contracted before our birth OR do they occur randomly and God is as surprised as I am at the way events shake out?  How about free will? Is it about letting the kite string out only so far, so that the kite doesn’t soar off to who knows where, buffeted by the winds of change, crashing into trees? Does that mean I am a control freak because I want the kite to remain intact? Can I truly (as I spoke of in the last Bliss Blog entry) surrender and trust that my kite won’t tear and will remain aloft?

Each day, I awaken and ponder what the day will bring. Right now, it is drizzling in suburban Bucks County, PA; crimson and golden leaves wet with sky-tears. Listening to the music of  kirtan artist friends David and Mira Newman in a live stream concert that was held at the intimate setting (Jamey’s House of Music) of another Philly local friend Jamey Reilly, beckons me to awaken. Eyes open enough to type, but wishing to sleep more, since my nocturnal cycles have been off and have been waking me up at dark-o-clock more frequently. Dreams about death, sex, transformation and transition, loss and love intertwined have visited me lately. Because I have become adept at lucid dreaming, I don’t fear them and instead, welcome them as guides. They are the commentators of my life and I, more often lately, heed rather than resist, since it really is futile.

In a few days I will be 55 and greet it with anticipation and a wee bit of stomach twitching trepidation since I don’t know what will occur in my next turn around the sun. In the past year, many delights have come my way, which includes my radio show, more writing venues welcoming my words, meeting and loving new soul friends and treasuring those who have been with me, speaking, teaching and traveling.,,,,more please this year when my deepest heart longings come to be….what a way cool ride it will be~

http://youtu.be/djpnsqdNabM Sitting by Cat Stevens

 

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Tonight as I was facilitating a support group at the drug and alcohol outpatient program where I work as a therapist, we were exploring the concept of surrender.  Many of the 12 steps that are the foundation of AA and NA are about letting go of the substances and the behaviors connected to them as well as the beliefs and attitudes that may have shaped them in the first place. Some of that involves making   “a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.”  If that ain’t surrender, I don’t know what is.

One of the women asked “How do you know if you have really surrendered?”  That one stumped me, since often I have convinced myself that I have let go when in reality I am still holding on the tail of the kite. Confession time: I am a bit of control freak, wanting what I want when I want it, as I want it, but am also still carrying co-dependent tendencies that sometimes have me tap dancing around, so as not to alienate or otherwise displease whoever it is that I am asking to  meet needs. I then spoke about the Nestea Plunge from the commercials of my childhood in which someone fell backward into a pool in total surrender mode. I recalled a time when I was walking on the grounds of the psychiatric hospital where I had worked for 11 years, musing about the state of my life, grumbling a bit and Spirit (in a gender neutral voice asked, not for the first nor for the last time) “Have I ever dropped you?  Have things  turned out better than you imagined in most cases?”  Nope and Yup. At that moment, a truck rumbled by bearing the words Guaranteed Overnight Delivery (G.O.D). I laughed at the cosmic coincidence. I can tell when I have surrendered when there is no sense of micromanaging the details of my life, when I can say with all sincerity that I am turning it over for real this time.

One key example is the seeds that I planted 20 years earlier to interview His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I did all I could to prepare, reinforcing the desire, creating the conditions and then letting go of the time, leaving it in the Divine’s metaphorical hands. On July 17, 2008, the dream turned into here and now reality. As much as I wanted it to occur, I knew someday it would, which made it easier to let it go and trust. Would it be that easy in daily interactions with our fellow beings. I know that I have no control over what anyone else thinks, says, feels or does, nor do they have that control over me and my whims and actions. If someone asks what I want, I think, “I want you to interact with me the way I interact with you,” because after all, we know that ‘my way is the right way’ (said tongue and cheek, but don’t we act like it is so?)

Another friend uses a sentence that to me represents the ultimate in surrender. He first encourages preparing and then says “The event will go as the event will go.”

The Serenity Prayer says it so beautifully:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change.

The courage to change the things I can.

And the wisdom to know the difference.

-Reinhold Niebuhr