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The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Divine Obstatunity

 

I saw that phrase for the first time on Sunday and knew it was calling out to be written about. A facebook friend name Liz Teska had used it to describe an experience where she felt her beliefs were being tested. I experience that, oh, only every day. We can look at life challenges as obstacles that impede us, thwart our best efforts and knock us literally or figuratively on our butts or as opportunities to stretch our comfort zones. I sometimes refer to them as AFGO (Another Friggin’ Growth Opportunity) that I hadn’t realized I had asked for until they showed up, bearing gifts in their outstretched hands. What if everything that happens in our lives, including the losses, broken promises, disruptions in our comfortable lives, incoveniences, demands placed on us, were really orchestrated or at least co-created by One whose only intention is our Highest Good.

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Today I was having a stream of consciousness conversation with my friend Ondreah about many ‘obstatunities’ that occurred over the past 20 years, beginning with my husband’s diagnosis of Hep. C in 1992. What brought it to mind was a class I attended on HIV and STD’s on Friday that is a requirement for my job as an addictions counselor. One of the conditions spoken about was that insidious liver disease, that if unsuccessfully treated can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and eventually death. The instructor was reviewing the symptoms, means of transmission, prognosis and treatment. With that, I was tossed back in time to recall how, as primary caregiver, I was called on to inject him with Interferon, do IV antibiotic infusion and provide personal care. It wasn’t heroic, but necessary and the ‘in sickness and in health’ part of our wedding vows.  When my parents became ill, I stepped into that role again. It was an honor to provide care for them as well. With each subsequent passing, I felt strengthened and more resilient. I believe that when someone we love dies, they leave a piece, a spark of the love that they will alway be, right here with us. It is what allows me to keep from fearing death; mine or that of others. It is what keeps me stretching beyond my comfort zones in so many areas of my life.

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In my role as minister, I officiated at memorial service on Sunday for the uncle of a friend. Driving into the windswept Jersey shore area, ahead of the storm, that will go down in history bearing the name of a friend of mine in addition to that of a certain scientist with a penchant for grave robbing and patchworking body parts together. Ondreah and I laughed and spoke a great deal about death since it was right there in our faces and because I am coming up on the 2nd anniversary of my mother’s death on 11/26 and the 14th anniversary of my husband’s death on 12/21. Even though the grief surrounding both of these losses is subdued, it is no less crucial as an obstatunity for moving beyond my previous interpreation of what it all means. In the midst of our conversation, we lapsed into our own raucus version of The Doors song   People Are Strange. In preparation for the tempest, we then hummed the Wicked Witch of the West theme song from the Wizard of Oz. I think we needed comic relief and it worked. During the service which was held at the firehouse, since Bob had been a firefighter for many years, I kept thinking “I hope there isn’t a fire and these guys all go running.” The timing was perfect and no alarm went off. What a relief.

These days, obstatunities abound and I know that I continue to grow and stretch as if on monkey bars.

http://youtu.be/GJY8jJkDoMY  People Are Strange- The Doors

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The Great Unboxable

As is always the case, my friend Jacob Nordby comes up with phrasing that delights and bedazzles me and as is often so, they could have come from my own imagination. On Monday, while spending the day writing several Bliss Blog entries in anticipation of the possibility that power could go out in the midst of Hurricane Sandy, I saw his facebook posting in which he referred to God as “The Great Unboxable”. It struck a deep chord in me because I tell folks that “Love is my religion and God’s too big to put in a box.” Another friend, Tom Osher calls out the name of the Divine with three initials ATI  (All That Is). I have friends who were raised in traditionally religious homes who now ‘order off the menu’ and I have those in my life who have fundamentalist beliefs. I don’t have the right to tell anyone what to believe spiritually, feeling that is between your own heart/mind and Whoever/Whatever you believe in.

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Many wars are waged because humans disgagree on how to refer to the Creator. How silly is that?  I was raised Jewish and in my earlier years, had the Judeo-Christian perception of God as a male entity outside myself who provided nurturing and protection as well as judgment. It felt like such a confusing juxtaposition for the little one who sat next to her parents in synagogue and read from a prayer book, words in both English and Hebrew. It wasn’t until I was a young adult that I fully appreciated the seeds that were planted in my formative years, even as my beliefs have become hybrid since then, absorbing and integrating inspiration from other faiths.  I have come to see that spirituality is about love and acceptance and not hellfire and brimstone judgment for those deemed ‘hopeless sinners’. On occasion I hear people refer to themselves as being “God fearing.”  I would prefer to be God loving. In my childhood, I adhered to the wishes and guidance of my parents, out of respect and love, and not fear. I graduated in 1999 from The New Seminary in NYC, founded by a priest, minister, rabbi and imam…kind of like the opening line of a cosmic joke. The motto of the school is “Never Instead Of, Always In Addition To” which encouraged us to weave our religious origins with new thoughts and understandings.

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Each day, I have a conversation with God/Goddess/All That Is, and sometimes it feels like a dialogue and sometimes a monologue. It resembles a comedy routine on occasion,  and a petulant little kid temper tantrum at others,  but mostly it is a heart to heart, and the words don’t matter. Much of the back and forth is a celebration of my blessings as I express gratitude for what I desire, even if it hasn’t yet transpired. Someone recently told me that the definition of a visionary is someone who can experience internally what it is they want, even if it hasn’t yet arrived. They just KNOW it will. I would definitely put myself in that category.

What if we viewed ‘the God of our understanding’ (to use a 12 step term) as being unboxable?  For some people, it might feel too frightening, since they need to feel sheltered by the box and for others, it would feel freeing since it would they are becoming out of the box thinkers.

http://youtu.be/W5pL04O8fPc  God In The Box

 

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Frankenstorm

 

I posted this Facebook update last night:  “It is so eerily quiet at the moment as those of us on the East Coast are waiting for the you-know-what. Asking for calming, storm soothing energy to be offered, seeing all for the Highest Good. Having made it through Hurricane Andrew in Homestead, Florida in 1992 (even though our house didn’t): I trust in Divine perfection, since it enabled us to move back here.”  At the moment, it is 7:30 a.m on Sunday morning. and after interrupted sleep, I am prepping for more than just this day. I awoke at 4 something with the thought that I needed to take care of some details, such as laundry, in case the power is out and I noticed that my son had stashed almost every towel in the house in his room. They are now pleasantly tumbling in the dryer. I filled pitchers with water and plastic bags with same, as recommended, to keep the freezer colder longer. I have a cell phone car charger, flashlights, candles, blankets, potty paper, non-perishables, took everything in that could fly about outside and what I couldn’t haul in, put bricks on top of them. Taking care of tasks helps me to stay calm. No use in panicking anyway, since it only feeds the fears. The storm shares a name with a dear friend who has been teased and praised for it. She, I reminded her, is a force of nature and asked that she chat with her namesake to fizzle it out and turn it into a spritz. I lend my energy to that cause too.

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I laughed as I went back to bed for a few hours, recalling how I fastidiously cleaned our house in Homestead a day or so before Hurricane Andrew slammed into it and the only thing I left undone was a pile of laundry on the bed, prior to evacuation. THIS time, I have been folding and putting clothes away, perhaps a wee bit supersititious. Last time, a month or so prior to Andrew’s arrival, I had expressed a heartfelt desire to move back home from Florida to Pennsylvania and in retrospect, thought I should have asked for a clean, safe, neat and easy way to return, rather than via storm surge and Wizard of Oz winds. THIS time, I am specificially intending a smooth ride through the storm.

Later today, in my role as a minister, I will be officiating at the memorial service of the uncle of a friend in New Jersey and am making a 2 hour trek to get there. Seeing easy travel to and fro and that when I return home, my power will still be on and I engage in my normal routine. With that thought, comes a deep appreciation for all the creature comforts I do have, since many do not, on a regular basis. Never will I take them for granted, since I do remember the days 20 years ago post-hurricane (August 24, 1992) when I didn’t have them. Blessed to have had my parents’ home to stay in, that all three of our animals (dog, cat and rabbit) made it through safely, and that our insurance company (State Farm) took very good care of us.

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Join me please in prayers (however you do it), that all is well on the other side of the storm.  Be safe, folks. Take necessary precautions. Don’t drive if you don’t need to.  That being said, evacuate if you are called on to do so. AND remember that your four legged, finned and feathered loved ones need to be looked after too.  Just because I am also advising calm and not panic and fear, doesn’t mean in any way that I am not taking this seriously.  Grateful in advance for the blessings that arise from this experience.

http://youtu.be/Obfci1CIqq8 Like A Hurricane-Neil Young

www.stuffosaurus.com/s/donotfeedfears/

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Cracked

Church Bell Swinging

 

“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in” – Leonard Cohen

Like many of you who are reading this entry, I want things in my life to feel phenomenal and flow effortlessly. At the moment, it doesn’t feel quite like it.  Throughout the day,  I have been consulting with my friend Mike Chadwick who is a computer whiz about my right livelihood tool, my link to the world, a source of education and entertainment, that was reluctant to start this morning. Once it did, then something else conked out too. I took it to Best Buy from whence it came and a very nice and quite capable young man named Zach, gave it a once over and suggested something to repair it which I purchased from them. As I am writing this, the new program is humming along quite nicely, thank you very much and along with it, its hardware host and its owner.

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In the past few weeks, glitches have been occurring in what I would like to be a seamless, crackless existence. First I lost my iphone (and it was returned unharmed after camping out overnight in the bushes in my front yard) and then I misplaced my credit/debit card (it too is being replaced after the original was canceled) Then clients who had scheduled appointments at my counseling job (like the one I had now) canceled or didn’t show. One person I spoke with recently feels that she is addicted to complaining and doesn’t know how to stop it. She sees it as more of an issue than the substance abuse for which she is being treated. It is a wake up call for me to be aware of places where I am more focused on problem solving than solution finding. I would rather be in the latter state. I’ve needed to postpone workshops because of scheduling snafus for participants. In the face of all this, I am doing what I suggest clients and students do, since I believe we teach what we need to learn AND I practice what I preach the majority of the time. I am taking slow, easy, deep breaths, taking care of the practical components of what needs to be handled and then surrendering it to the Cosmic Tech Support Team. I know that I am always protected and held safely, so that no amount of ‘mal-ware’ can ultimately do me harm personally. I am allowing the Light from within and above to stream up and out, in and all around. I am trusting that the Highest Good outcome will prevail. I know that my computer and I are Higher Powered.

http://youtu.be/W-vSfwIJkjY Ring the Bells-Leonard Cohen

 

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