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The Bliss Blog

 

I am always learning something new from my clients in the Drug and Alcohol counseling program where I work as a therapist. Since many of them attend 12 step meetings, I am accustomed to hearing them use what I call ‘bumper sticker-ese’ such as “One Day At A Time”, “Let Go and Let God”, “We are only as sick as our secrets”, “Easy Does It” and “There but for the Grace….”  Today, we were speaking about what it takes to remain sober in the face of the challenges that they bump up against each day. One incredibly insightful young man said these words that put a smile on my face, “The juice is worth the squeeze.”  Think about it for a moment. What does it mean to you?

What comes to mind for me is the idea that anything worth doing is worth doing well. If there is something I desire to experience or attract into my life, I need to be willing to roll up my sleeves and  put my all into it. It might mean getting a little messy and pulpy. I may need to risk feeling like a drip. I might even be inclined to tell a knock knock joke…”Knock knock. Who’s there?  Banana. Banana who?  Knock knock, Who’s there? Banana. Banana who? Knock knock. Who’s there?  Orange. Orange who? Orange you glad I didn’t say Banana again?”  Worth the squeeze means a wonderful exchange for what I put into the endeavor.

I remember back in  January of  1981 when I was on a 10 day Outward Bound Course in New England; think snow, and bitter cold. On our last day there, we were asked to run up a hill where a treat would be waiting for us. I charged up the incline, drenched in sweat under my woolen pants, vest, flannel shirt and long johns by the time I reached the top. The delight was freshly made orange juice, ice cold and refreshing. Never before and not since, has it been that good. THAT was definitely worth the squeeze.

There are many things I wish for in my life. I can wait around for the perfect moment for whatever it is to arrive. I can wait until I am exactly as I want to be in order to experience true happiness. I would be waiting a looooonnnnng time.  I much prefer the proactive approach in which I set my intention, extend my reach, put legs under my ideas, take the steps, enlist support, put my heart and soul into it, be ‘all in’ and see it through to fruition (no pun intended:)

 

 

 

What if you saw this classified ad in your local paper this morning, as you drank your coffee, tea, chai, juice or in my case- fruit and veggie smoothie? Would your heart leap with delight because you were just waiting for this opportunity to step out on the stage of life or would it sink, because you aren’t sure who ‘yourself’ is?  I always knew who I was at my core, but oftentimes donned costumes so as to play various roles that were expected of me. Good girl, daughter who wanted to make my parents proud of me, friend who could be counted on, excelling at school student, highly competitive swimmer, vivid imaginista, loyal partner, co-dependent caregiver who exhibited ‘savior behavior’-who wanted to heal, save, fix and kiss the boo boos to make them all better, the go-to gal for answers to dilemmas, spiritual gypsy, the one to call at whatever o’clock to pick my brain (or whatever was accessible), fun playmate, silliness incarnate. But what if, just below the surface is someone who wants to break free of those roles and refuses to be typecast?  What if there is a wild woman who is way more sensual, outspoken, daring to be different and not attempting to blend in for fear of rejection?

I have role models in my life for those characters that I could play should I choose to be braver than I am at times. They brazenly and vulnerably share all aspects of themselves, feeling that to hide is to diminish the Divine creations that they are.  Yesterday, I was in conversation with someone I had just met and he made an assumption about me based on my appearance. I was wearing a dress, make up, sparkly flip flops, dangly earrings and very short cropped hair. Somehow the topic turned to sexuality and he commented that it was possible that I preferred women as partners because of my hair length. I smiled coyly and asked “How do you know whether I do or not, on that one criteria?”  I chided him for his stereotyping perspective. Whatever my preference, it is amusing to consider that someone would make that statement when people, whether Gay, Straight, Bi (or as I refer to it ‘fluid’) look various ways. The most masculine appearing woman might be straight as an arrow and the most ‘girly girl’ might be female-partner focused. The most effeminate seeming man, may prefer female partners and the most buff, Marlboro-man looking dude may be married to another man. My big question is why the heck should we care?

As I explore the various and sundry aspects of myself, I give full permission to simply BE, without limiting myself or being type-cast. I will always get the part of being ME.

bill murray photo: Bill Murray bill-murray.jpg
Inspired by this as posted by art therapist and coach Jennifer Gildred on her Facebook page since it speaks volumes about the courage it takes to be visible
Bill Murray  -on his acting teacher Del Close.
“Well, he was a guy who had great knowledge of the craft of improvisation. And he lived life in a very rich manner, to excess sometimes. He had a whole lot of brain stuck inside of his skull. Beyond being gifted, he really engaged in life. He earned a lot. He made more of himself than he was given. Came out of Manhattan, Kansas, and ended up hanging …out with the Beats. He was incredibly gracious to your talent and always tried to further it. He got people to perform beyond their expectations. He really believed that anyone could do it if they were present and showed respect. There was a whole lot of respect. He taught lots and lots of people very effectively. He taught people to commit. Like: “Don’t walk out there with one hand in your pocket unless there’s something’ in there you’re going to bring out.” You gotta commit. You’ve gotta go out there and improvise and you’ve gotta be completely unafraid to die. You’ve got to be able to take a chance to die. And you have to die lots. You have to die all the time. You’re going’ out there with just a whisper of an idea. The fear will make you clench up. That’s the fear of dying. When you start and the first few lines don’t grab and people are going like, “What’s this? I’m not laughing and I’m not interested,” then you just put your arms out like this and open way up and that allows your stuff to go out. Otherwise it’s just stuck inside you.”
Jennifer goes on to ask: “So my question (to myself) and to you:  Are you letting your good stuff stay stuck inside?  What helps you let it out for all the world to enjoy you more? One way for me is definitely playful improvisation.”
My instinctive reaction was to say, “Of course I pour all my good stuff out there, holding nothing back.”  That may be how it appears from an outside perspective, but on the inside, I am sometimes tremulous. The monkey mind has a field day with that one. “Play it safe,” it screeches, hurling a mushy banana. “Don’t reveal too much,” it wags its hairy finger at me. “What will people think if you share THAT  about yourself?,”  it howls wildly.  And yet, I witness others in my life who ‘dare to bare’ emotionally and verbally, risking rejection in the service of authenticity. Playing it safe and small, tiptoeing out into the world keeps me where I am now, which is ok, but the call of something more, as expressed in my friend Karen Drucker’s song, is irresistible. Do I answer it or remain pseudo safely ensconced in what is familiar and not too terribly risky?  It is the child who felt different and otherworldly, so she held back at times, within the push-pull energy of wanting to celebrate it as uniqueness. It is the teenager who felt awkward and not quite cool enough to hang with the ‘in-crowd’, but covered well, since all these years later, some of her high school friends thought she had it all together. It is the seasoned woman who spent decades in relationship caregiver mode, who now finds it easier to be a relationship expert than in a relationship. It is the professional writer and speaker who desires center stage to share the messages she has opened to, who sometimes wants to hide behind the curtain, lest she be revealed as an imposter.
I ask myself this morning, “Am I willing to put myself on the line, risking whateveh…. in order to be fully present?” It is so much easier to be the wind beneath the wings as a journalist and interview notables than to BE one. Although I am not afraid of physical death, I have faced what I would consider emotional obliteration and never want to return to that mode. That was so long ago and yet as I remember it, the feelings come rushing to the surface as if it was yesterday. Can I improvise, using the best of what I have learned in the interceding few decades to ‘unstick’?
 Are you willing to answer the call?  Just imagine the standing ovation.
http://youtu.be/GmZYWOgv0eI The Call of Something More (Karen Drucker) as performed by Cathy Angell

Abracadabra ....writing a Beliefnet Bliss Blog article connected with this picture.

I was inspired by two Facebook postings today and both were so good that I wanted to combine them in one Bliss Blog. The first came from Arielle Ford and the second  from Katrina Mayer. Both are inspiristas  who have a broader view of how life can be and each one encourages readers to live from the heart, dream big, daring to ask for what they desire and are willing to support people in seeing their vision through. Kind of like someone else I know intimately.

Arielle had a lovely magic wand image in hers and invited friends to ask for a wish to be granted with her charged up instrument and Katrina offered: “Don’t measure the day in minutes. Measure it in miracles.” Both are unbeatable and yet, how often are we willing to boldly request what we desire without the monkey mind squawking at us about unworthiness to receive or unlikelihood of our wishes becoming physical reality? I know I face that gremlin every day and still I cast more intentions out there than just about anyone I know. It’s kind of like when you are planting a garden. You never know which seeds will take root and grow in the fertile soil, so you plant a bunch rather than a few.  Mine take the form of creating a loving, sustainable, healthy, fun, safe, growing relationship with a Life Partner who will do the transformational work with me that I so adore doing and for which I welcome wonderful compensation.

When I contemplate the concept of miracles, I am brought back to what A Course in Miracles defines as a ‘shift in perception’.  Whenever I change my thoughts, I am literally changing my mind (altering the way it operates) and sometimes it really IS like changing a poopy diaper. The first miracle of the day arrived when my eyes beheld the sun streaming in through my curtains, and my mind was actually working well enough to write something articulate pre-6 a.m. Another showed up in the form of a healthy, strong body that had a blast doing my ‘playout’ at the Planet Fitness, yet another when an opportunity arose to write for another venue and still another when I contemplate my radio show tonight. Now, in the grand scheme of things, those don’t sound like over the top razzle dazzle activities. For me, a miracle is anything for which I am grateful, before, during and after which means that I am experiencing them 24/7.

The photo above includes a magic wand that my friend Peggy gave me when I left my full time job a year ago at an inpatient psychiatric hospital. As I thanked her, I asked playfully if she couldn’t have given it to me while I was still working there, since it would have come in handy. These days, I take it with me as a prop for workshops I teach. Feel free to use it to make your wishes come true…abracadabra! Wishing you miracles ordinary and extraordinary <3

http://youtu.be/rweU-FFE6Ww  Sarah McLachlan Ordinary Miracle

www.arielleford.com

www.katrinamayer.com