The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Keep Me In Your Heart

 

A few days I ago, I had an epiphany in a supermarket aisle as a display of Mothers’  Day cards caught my eye. Their vivid imagery, filled with colorful flowers, ribbons and bows reached out to me and a tear came to my eye. This will be the second Mothers’ Day for which I will not send a card to the woman who raised me with devotion and love; unless I choose to address it in care of Heaven. What occurred to me was that I need not use a stamp to send a mama-missive. She received it the minute the thought crossed my mind. My missing her was fleeting, my thought perpetual. There are, of course what my sister Jan calls “I-miss-Mommy-days”, when we 50 something year old women wish she were in front of us or on the other end of the phone so we could regale her with tales of delight or disappointment. She always knew what to say to mend a broken heart or celebrate a triumph. Her “There are plenty of fish in the sea.”, response to an adolescent relationship breakup was frustrating at times, but oh so true, as experience would have it. When she would offer “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything all.”, it caused me to consider the impact of my words AND simultaneously fed my co-dependence, since being a ‘good girl’ who didn’t want to make waves, became my M.O.  Her guidance to “Walk in like you own the joint.”, enables me to connect with people, interview celebrities and ask for what I want (most of the time) without stuttering.

I was blessed to have been raised by a woman who saw the highest in everyone who crossed her path. Before she died the day after Thanksgiving of 2010, as we were planning the funeral at which I officiated as I did for my father 2 1/2 years earlier, I asked her what music she wanted. Her response was “I want that song…you know, the one you played for Daddy’s funeral and Uncle Jimmy’s funeral.”  I knew exactly which one she meant. I don’t think she knew that it was written and sung by the same rough and tumble dude who offered the world “Werewolves of London”,  “Lawyers, Guns and Money”,  and “Excitable Boy”; all she knew was that the lyrics of the song Warren Zevon wrote when he knew he was dying, spoke to her.

At the moment, I feel at peace with the approach of the Hallmark holiday that will be here in a few days as I listen to the song and know that I will keep her in my heart for more than awhile <3

http://youtu.be/RMTKb-pgxGI Keep Me In Your Heart For Awhile by Warren Zevon

 

The photo of my mother Selma and me was taken a few years ago at the birthday party of the mother of a friend. It remains one of my favorite of the two of us.

Taking A Stand For Love

 

Tonight I came home to some amazing and ground breaking news,  that President Obama spoke out in support of same sex marriage. As a minister who marries committed heterosexual and homosexual couples, I couldn’t have been more delighted.  There may be some folks who are reading this entry who disagree and to that I say “To each his or her own.”; not wanting to debate. That did occur on my facebook page this evening as someone had really strong feelings in opposition.

My take on it has always been that love is love is love; and a relationship is about the ‘person and not the plumbing.’ From a spiritual perspective, it is hard to believe that a loving God would create people who love those of their own gender and desire relationship, only to be condemned and vilified for it.

One of the classes I teach is called The Taboo Subjects: Sex, Religion and Death and in an exercise I ask the participants to imagine a world in which things were the opposite of what people who have ‘heterosexual privelege’ experience. What if everything they saw and heard from the media was all about same sex couples?  How about if only same sex couples were permitted to make health care decisions for their partner or heterosexual couples were banned from being covered under their spouse’s insurance plan? Imagine if only Gay people could adopt children and straight people were banned from becoming parents?  What would it be like to have to keep your lover undercover or risk being stared at if you were seen holding hands on the street?  How about if you were fearful of being outed as ‘one of those’ people?  Think about what it would be like to be in fear for your safety if people with hate in their hearts harmed or killed you or someone close to you because they or you chose to be in relationship with someone of the opposite sex?  It makes for lively discussion with alot of  “Hmmm… I never thought about it that way.”

May all hearts and minds be opened by love~

http://youtu.be/wromJL364I4  ” I Do ” was Inspired by the many gay couples being married at San Francisco’s City Hall in 2004, Maryann and Ron Sfarzo composed and produced “I DO” the first ceremonial wedding song to celebrate same sex marriage.

At Walt Disney’s Fairy Tale Wedding, “I DO” has been added as one of their song selections offered to gay couples. Since 2004 “I DO” has traveled across the US into Canada and the UK.

A special Thank You to the couples that have chosen “I DO” for their wedding.
“I DO” can be found on CD Baby or by going to http://ido.sfarzoproductions.com

Wild Thing

The literary world said farewell to an icon today as author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak died at 83, from complications of a stroke. His book, Where The Wild Things Are was a staple from my childhood as I imagined the wild rumpus that Max got to enjoy in the delightful dream world he entered. As a goodie two shoes kinda kid, I found Max’s bravado both apalling and appealing.

What I didn’t know is that he also wrote a fun song that I get to hear fairly often on my favorite radio station WXPN 88.5 in Philadelphia on a show hosted by a kid in grown up clothing. The show is called Kids Corner; the host Kathy O’Connell and the song is called Pierre. Once again, it is about a recalcitrant child whose refrain “I don’t care.” gets him….well, you’ll have to listen and discover for yourself.

From reading through news stories today, it seems that Maurice’s art was a response to a childhood of frailty, illness, fear; growing up during WWII  as  Jew in the shadow of the Holocaust and feeling outside acceptability as a Gay man. Although his claim to fame is as a children’s author, he was also a songwriter and set designer. He collaborated with Carole King on the tv special Really Rosie.

His gems include “In the Night Kitchen” (1970) and “Outside Over There” (1981), which together with “Where the Wild Things Are” form a trilogy; “The Sign on Rosie’s Door” (1960); “Higglety Pigglety Pop!” (1967); and “The Nutshell Library” (1962), a boxed set of four tiny volumes comprising “Alligators All Around,” “Chicken Soup With Rice,” “One Was Johnny” and “Pierre.”

For me, Maurice made scary monsters not so scary after all and upon awakening, we somehow always end up home.

Sleep well, king of the beasts~

http://youtu.be/70U47cNi7sA Pierre sung by Carole King

http://youtu.be/syAtmgKqc9c Chicken Soup With Rice sung by Carole King

Impermanence

Although I am not a practicing Buddhist, I have several friends who are and whose example serve as guides for me to live a life in harmony with love and compassion. One such friend is Greg Schultz (a nice Jewish boy who took his Buddhist vows several years ago). He was also the yenta (matchmaker) who opened the door to my interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama back in 2008.  For many years, Greg has brought in a group of monks from the Drepung Gomang monastery in India. These men are gifted in the art of chanting and the creation of a circular work of art called a mandala. Each one is embued with prayers for  such lofty concepts as healing, love, compassion and enlightenment; but made from matter. They are comprised of tiny grains of colored sand that are meticulously placed in the intricate design. I have witnessed several being constructed. The one pictured above was created this past week at Sun Dog Yoga in Doylestown, PA. The monks spent several days in prayer as they created magic. Once the mandala is complete, it is then deconstructed with the sand pushed into a pile. The once rainbow-hued image becomes a mish mosh of non-descript gray sand. Some of it is placed in a body of water, so to bless it and the rest put in baggies for folks to take home with them. The practical side of me thought to ask how the monks manage to spend days bent over the pattern on the floor. “Don’t their backs hurt?”, I asked my friend Kathy Sweeney who was hosting the monks during their stay in the area this time around.  “They get chiropratic work done by Mahan Rishi Singh Khalsa.”, she answered. He is a friend of ours who is an American born Sikh.

The Buddhist concept of impermanence  comes into play here, since nothing lasts in the form it was once in. A few years ago, when I was first introduced to the monks and their artistic gifts, it occurred to me that just like that colorless sand at the end, was no less once that gloriously colored medium, so too when we are ‘deconstructed’ at the end of our lives, are we no less the beautiful creations we were born to be. Om Shanti~

 

www.gomang.org

www.sundogyogastudio.com

 

http://youtu.be/10084L3Pqsc Construction and Destruction of a Mandala

 

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