The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Global Love Day

I’m writing this entry on May 1st, which is the official Global Love Day, but the posting will carry over into May 2nd for the simple reason that I consider every day one in which love is to be honored, treasured, cherished, lauded, heralded and blessed. My thesaurus brain could come up with other verbs,  but you get the picture. I remember hearing about this holiday a few years ago through its founder Harold Becker who chose 12 years ago to bring attention to all that was beautiful and sacred about life and so he created The Love Foundation to be the voice for love.

Each year, The Love Foundation encourages people world wide to express love through art, music, poetry, spoken and written word. There are events happening everywhere; check out the link  www.thelovefoundation.com They focus on the idea: Love Begins With Me.  I like the question WWLD? (like WWJD?)  What Would Love Do?

In 2006, I answered the call and submitted an essay (see below) and wonder of wonders, got notification that it had been chosen to receive The Director’s Award for Essay. Soon after, a certificate (suitable for framing:), some colorful stationary and I forget what other little gifties, arrived in the mail. A broad smile lit my face and a glow emanated from my heart for days afterward. That’s the power of love.

Here is the essay.

Shining Forth

Within each of us, glows the spark of the One who created us. It was implanted when we took our birth. It’s

what unites us in both a common humanity and Divinity and can stand up to hatred, fear and violence.

When we sit in silence within the stillness of our minds and fullness of our hearts, we can feel its

inexorable pull and the call to love without limits. What would it be like to truly love with God’s heart

(whatever you perceive God to be)? Who could you possibly judge or condemn? What if you could turn

that same compassionate eye to the man or woman in the mirror? On the altar in my bedroom sits a statue

of Kwan Yin, the Chinese Goddess of Compassion, given to me by a friend. She is a constant reminder of

the need to face myself with gentleness.

We are taught that we should “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Nowhere in there are we told to love them

more than or instead of ourselves and yet, so often that is exactly what we do. What that leaves us with is

the sense that we have to prove ourselves worthy of love, which is the farthest thing from truth. I have

discovered that you can’t give what you don’t have. When we recognize that we are love incarnate, then it

is so much easier to offer to those whose paths we cross, whether it be family, friend or stranger, the totality

of who we are. In the Rastafarian culture there is the concept of “I and I”, rather than “you and me”,

indicating that there is only one of us here, fully worthy of loving and being loved. I have also heard of a

greeting either in African or Native American tradition that references each person as “my other self”. What

we do to others (whether that be two-legged, four-legged, winged, finned, flora or fauna), we ultimately do

to ourselves. By virtue of being born onto this planet, we can’t escape the intricately beautiful web of life

into which we weave our shared dreams and visions. In Hindu tradition, the greeting “Namaste”, with

hands in front of heart in prayer pose, translates to “The Highest or Divine in me honors/recognizes the

Highest/Divine in you.” A friend of mine honors his Jewish roots and his yogic practice by combining

Hebrew with Sanskrit and greets others with the blended word “Shalomaste”.

Each of us is so powerful, when armed with love. We can make such a difference in the lives of those who

surround us, even if we have never met. One life impacts on another. One kind word, one caring deed may

plant a seed that may take years to root down, but blossom it will.

One of my dearest role models for from-the-heart compassionate living, is His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

Since the late 1950′ s this political/spiritual leader in exile has taken a stand for mutual honoring and

respect. I had the great joy of hearing him speak at my alma mater, Rutgers University in September of

2005. What he shared, mirrors my deepest understanding of the meaning of love in all fullness.

He expressed that in this period of time, the concept of ‘us and they’ can longer afford to exist. “It’s just

‘we’. Destruction of your enemy is now an outdated concept.” He feels that as human beings, we need to

practice “internal disarmament”. He continued: “Attachment is always biased; the closeness feeling you

have is only toward your friend. Compassion as a sense of concern is unbiased. It depends on the

recognition that others are just like myself. Today’s attachment may become tomorrow’s hatred.”

We don’t have to be an articulate speaker or revered leader to make a difference. We simply need to

embody the Divinity we are. I invite each of us to live fully from the heart, shining forth that “God spark”

that we were before we took our birth and will always be beyond time. In this way, together we can be a

greater force for good in the world.

We are all family of choice and chance…honor all your relations <3

So today and every day how do you choose to express love?

My friend Shawn Gallaway invites you to make that decision with his definitive musical statement. www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wPhiS_7hyM

 

Parking Mojo

 

In my family, we have what we call “Uncle Jimmy parking spots”.  My mother’s brother Jim would always find the perfect spot wherever he would go. Over the years, I have found spaces right in front of where I want to go, including on South Street and Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, in New Hope, PA and one in Manhattan at 5 pm on a weeknight and it was FREE!  Then, a few years ago, when an interfaith community in which I am involved, called Common Ground Fellowship brought Michael Beckwith in to speak, I parked a few blocks away and when I came back to my car, there was a $20 bill right next to it.

My uncle died about 5 or 6 years ago and when I went to see him in the hospital a week or so prior, I told him that was a legend among my friends and that I loaned them my parking mojo. He smiled and said ” I will always find you the perfect parking spot.”  and so he does <3

This is the ideal example of The Law Of Attraction in Action. Our minds are so magnetic to ideas and thoughts that either empower us or discombobulate us. We have become accustomed, in many instances to accept ‘that’s just how things are’, when they don’t work according to our desires. The short circuit comes into play when we buy into the mistaken belief that we are powerless. Couldn’t be farther from the truth. How often have you cast a wish out into the Universe, only to hold on to the tail of it, not wanting to fully surrender it and then weighted it down with the thought..”Oh, it’ll never happen.” and then guess what? It snaps back at you): I notice on a daily basis when I get mired in the muck of that type of mental meandering and then as quickly as possible, reel myself back in.

When I am driving somewhere, I set intention before I arrive that the perfect spot will be available for me right when I am there. Sometimes I have driven around the block a few times and the space literally opens up just as I am approaching it. It is not limited to patches of gravel or tar with white lines around them, but also with opportunities, people and experiences.

What is your driving force?

http://youtu.be/DUDtFdnn9oQ  Car Song Woody Guthrie

 

All In

 

Tonight I had the exquisite joy of having dinner with my editor, Pamela Maliniak who I think of as a literary midwife. She takes a book from conception to birth and beyond. We met a year ago this past February at an event where I was a speaker and I knew immediately that she was the one to hone and polish my book entitled: The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary. As we worked together, we became friends and I value her perspective on all aspects of life, not just the written word. I joked that even though she is young enough to be my daughter, in many ways I feel she was the midwife to help me birth myself.

As we sat across the table from each other, catching up on each other’s lives, she was offering her feedback on my work, including some leaps I am taking, and said that I was an ‘all in’ kind of person. I sensed what she meant was that I put my heart and soul into everything I do. She would be right about that, since I was taught by my wise parents that giving something my all, even if the outcome wasn’t necessarily as I might wish it to be, was a measure of success. There was a time in my life when I was a laissez faire/ go with the flow kinda person, not wanting to rock the boat or make waves. I was hesitant to shine, to overshadow anyone else. I felt as if my energy could be overwhelming at times. I have since learned that life is like the hokey pokey; it’s more fun if you put your whole self in. AND I have learned the art of being subtle;  discerning ‘when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.’ I was telling Pam that there were times when I feel like a little girl playing jump rope and waiting for the exact right moment when the rope is up in the air to take that leap into its arc. Sometimes ya just gotta go for it.

.

 

Athletes appreciate this  concept. I remember as an age group swim team member from the time I was 11 until I was 18 (and then coached for three summers after that), the thrill I got from giving it my all, from the moment I signed up for an event, until I emerged, dripping from the pool, leaving chlorinated vapor trails in my wake. There was no room for even a shred of ‘oh well, whatever…’ when it came to competitive swimming. I won alot, not all the time, but enough to provide evidence that practice made a difference. I saw a large return on investment of my time and energy

Since the book has come out, I have been investing as much time and energy as I can with sharing it with the world and there are times when I feel I am neglecting this newborn, what with my full time job and various and sundry additional responsibilities. Any other creative souls feel that way?

I am also an ‘all in’ kind of person when it comes to relationships. My friends know that they can count on me to follow through with commitments and be present in times of need. I know that relationships thrive when the parties engaged in them trust that they are not, as my mother referred to them “fair weather friends'; there only for the good times.  You can’t be totally commited…..sometimes. That’s where don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements comes in handy.

The First Agreement states: “Be Impeccable with Your Word.  Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using words to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love. “

To me, being in integrity calls for saying what I mean, meaning what I say and not saying it mean. While there is room for negotiation, since life circumstances can be unpredictable and fluid, the majority of the time, I am on target with impeccability. Now the avoidance  of ‘using words to speak against’ myself could still use some re-focusing, since at times (so I’ve been told), I can be far too harshly self critical.

I invite you ask yourself about the areas in your life, when you have had one foot on each side of the line between what you have now and what you want to achieve. Don’t be a ‘mugwump’, with your mug on one side of the fence and your wump on the other.

 

 

 

Faith and Belief

 

I was watching a brief clip of the interview that Oprah conducted with one of my favorite teachers/authors of  a subject near and dear to my heart:  “life, the Universe and everything.’. His birth name is Richard Alpert, but he is known as Ram Dass (which is Sanskrit for ‘servent of God’).  A nearly life long student of exploring both the outer reaches and inner well of the Divine, his books have titles such as “Be Here Now”, “Grist For The Mill”, “How Can I Help?”  His spiritual journey brought him from his birth religion of Judaism, to Atheism, to Hinduism and the teachings of his guru Neem Karoli Baba. His experiences and friendship with Timothy Leary and psychedelics-to-acheive-enlightenment are legendary, but these days, he is embraced as a man who has used his spiritual wisdom to move through a life changing experience that occurred in 1997 when he was, as he poetically phrases it “stroked by God” and immersed in what he has come to refer to as ‘fierce grace’ and made a movie by that name to catalogue his journey.

I have had the extreme blessing of interviewing Ram Dass three times in the past twenty some years and he holds a special place in my heart, since I met my husband Michael at a lecture Ram Dass gave in Philadelphia in 1986 in a rendezvous that seemed pre-ordained.

In this interview with the queen of daytime tv, Ram Dass shares what he perceives as the difference between belief and faith. To illustrate; he points to his head for the former and his heart for the latter. My perspective is the same. So many times in my life, when I have faced struggles  and pain, I have questioned my beliefs, but never my faith. That has held steady. I challenge my beliefs daily, actually.  I ask myself “What would someone have to believe in order to be having the experiences I am having?” The answers then line up in front of me….”Oh there you are, self doubt. Hello, fear, what are you trying to tell me?” An inner dialogue then ensues. Even in the midst of the seemingly darkest times in my life, with the illnesses and subsequent deaths of my husband and my parents, I knew for certain that God/Goddess/All That Is had my back.  Never did I ask “why me?” since it was a laughable question and I could hear the munchkin voices singing in my ear “because, because, because, because, because…”

The most profound line for me in the clip you are about to watch is this : “In the moment is where you see God.” When I immerse myself in the here and now, present moment, regardless of how stunningly beautiful or painful, I am feeling that connection. It is always there; in my perspective, God doesn’t go anywhere. I have been the one who had taken a step away from the awareness of the Source of Love.

 

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=b30LSiFVxPM&feature=youtube_gdatawww.youtube.com/watch?v=b30LSiFVxPM&feature=youtube_gdata Ram Dass and Oprah

http://ramdasstapes.org/articles_final.htm

Interview with Ram Dass New Visions Magazine  “Still Here Now” 2002

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