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The Bliss Blog

Compassion Games

 

As the world prepares to honor another ‘day that will live in infamy’ tomorrow and some will focus on the horrendous violence that led to loss of life and emotional safety, there are others who will be turning their attention on reconciliation and peacemaking.  I prefer to align my energies toward ‘peace, love and understanding’. I just found out that beginning tomorrow 9/11 and for the next 1o days, compassion rules!  The Compassion Games challenge individuals and communities to practice random acts of kindness and become a Secret Agent of Compassion.  The purpose is to create a sense of planetary family, regardless of ideology, faith, culture or life practice.

All around the world, groups are gathering to offer service to others and then report in on the Compassion Games website. Who can be the kindest?  My kind of competition!

Self compassion is my growing edge since  for far too long I felt like my worst enemy, putting impediments in my way instead of embracing my inner Kwan Yin and exuding love and compassion. Often I find myself embroiled in all of the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s that come out of frustration over that which could be a simpler way of doing certain things. I have put others on a pedestal, rather than feeling like a peer who has gifts to share too. I have harangued myself into a frenzy, squelching possible outcomes.

Compassion for others seems to come more easily. Initially it is hard moving on to self care. The Goddess Kwan Yin remains an example of embodied compassion . She is the feminine incarnation of the Buddha who chose to remain on Earth until all can go to Nirvana.

Take time to tell those closest to you that you love them. Smile coyly as you think of them. As feelings wash over you, your heart and soul are being completely healed.  Then extend it to your community and embrace them with that exquisite feeling and from there; the world.

Let the games begin!

www.compassiongames.com

http://youtu.be/ZukLiEsIv0E Try Some Kindness

 

In Judaism, the 10 days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur are known as the ‘Days of Awe’ and they invite introspection on a grand scale. In my childhood, it meant going to synagogue for services that felt like they were going to last for 10 days each. As an adult, I created my own rituals which involved fasting, prayer, meditation, letting go of old patterns and ways that didn’t serve, sitting by water, immersing in nature. Far more fulfilling than praying by rote even though some of the familiarity of the prayers was comforting.

This past Sunday, I attended a service at an interfaith community of which I have been a part since 1984. Pebble Hill, located in Doylestown, Pennsylvania welcomes people from various traditions and on specific holidays, offers a flavor of that faith and invites full participation. My friends Deva Troy and Gary Schoenberg led the celebration that focused on the idea of T’shuvah (turning, as in turning over a new leaf).

One of the aspects of the service is doing a personal inventory. This could not have been more perfect timing since I have been working on my 4th step and conducting a “searching and fearless moral inventory”. We were asked to write what it is we wanted to repeat and what we wanted to change.

On my keeper list, was:

Saying I love you everyday

Being reliable

Taking care of myself in body, mind and spirit

Being real and transparent

Speaking my truth

Focus on the positive

Continue to come clean with myself and the people in my life

Continue the forgiveness process

Writing daily

Putting my work out there everyday

Being Love

 

Ch ch ch changes….

Releasing fear

Letting go of co-dependent behaviors

Releasing blame

Slowing down

Willingness to receive love and support when before I deflected it

Self compassion

Trusting in the Highest Good outcome

Walking with myself and others through whatever comes up, without rushing through it

Transforming my inner critic into an ally

 

What are yours?

 

As a group, we ate apples and honey, to symbolize the idea of bringing sweetness into the New Year. It brought together folks who had grown up in the Jewish tradition and there were but a handful of us, as well as those who had never experienced the ritual in a communal setting.

We also recited a Reconstructionist version of the traditional prayer.

Avinu Malkaynu — Our Parent, Our Sovereign

By Burt Jacobson | Prayer

 

“Our Father, our King, teach us how to make this year a new beginning. Our Mother, our Queen, teach us how to grow from the harshness of life. Our Source and our Destiny, teach us how to accept what we must accept. Our Guide and our Truth, teach us to change what must be changed.

Our Father, our King, teach us how to face disease and death. Our Mother, our Queen, teach us how to enjoy the gifts of life. Our Source and our Destiny, teach us how to make peace with our enemies. Our Guide and our Truth, teach us how we can best help our people, Israel.

Our Father, our King, teach us how we can best help all humanity. Our Mother, our Queen, let us find pardon for our wrongdoings. Our Source and our Destiny, let us return to You, wholly and completely. Our Guide and our Truth, teach us how to help those who are ill.

Our Father, our King, let us write our names in the Book of Life. Our Mother, our Queen, help us to find meaningful work. Our Source and our Destiny, help us to find inner freedom. Our Guide and our Truth, help us to learn how to love.

Our Father, our King, receive our prayers. Our Mother, our Queen, teach us how to be good lovers. Our Source and our Destiny, teach us how to be good parents. Our Guide and our Truth, teach us how to be good children.

Our Father, our King, teach us how to be good friends. Our Mother, our Queen, teach us how to be good Jews. Our Source and our Destiny, teach us how to be good people. Our Guide and our Truth, teach us how to be one with Your universe.

Avinu malkeinu (3) chaneinu va’aneinu ki ein banu ma’asim Asai imanu tzedakah va’chesed (2) Ve’hoshi’einu Avinu malkeinu (3), grant us justice and bring us salvation, Grant us justice and loving kindness (2) and bring us salvation.”

From the Yamim Noraim supplement of Congregation Mishkan Shalom, Philadelphia.

Used with permission of the author

http://youtu.be/eUw4TY9H4-g Avinu Malkeinu by Phish ( a rather unusual version)

 

“Is love not meant to be expressed in every second that you are breathing the breath of Life itself?”-Judith Kusel

This line, penned by a South African author,  grabbed me by the heart and wasn’t about to let go when I read it this morning. When I consider that glorious sensation of being in love with life, I am filled with awe. You see, love has long been a mystery to me. I have never quite figured out if it is an emotion, a verb, an energy, or simply a state of being. Maybe it is all of those things and even more, beyond my human comprehension. What I do know is that it is indispensable, my life blood, the air through my lungs. It is what animates me. In this moment, I am listening to gentle piano music that carries on its notes, the signature of the musician through whose fingers love flows. When I awoke a short while ago, I noticed the sun streaming through the curtains and felt the crispness of nearly Autumnal air, confirmed by seeing that the temperature was 45 degrees (rare for this time of year here in the Philadelphia area, but welcome after heat waves this summer) and it felt as if Mother Nature was scattering love, beckoning me into this day. My fingers are caressing the keyboard, since for me, writing is an act of love. I am anticipating heading out later today to be with friends at  an event at Anahata Yoga (anahata is the Sanskrit word for the heart chakra) where there will be many expressions of love. Last night, I attended a concert during which my friends Deva Troy and Elaine Silver offered musical love, the resonance of which I’m certain is still hanging around the room at Pebble Hill Church in which fans gathered to sing and clap along. Hugs were plentiful and had me smiling as I drove home. When I stepped out of the car, I was engaged in flirtation with the stars that winked down from the ebony sky. Crawling under the comforter, I felt lulled to sleep and dreamed vividly.

Opening emails this morning, I read this beautiful story that came, as if special delivery, on the same topic. It was written by Jennifer Pastiloff who is a yoga teacher and writer in Santa Monica, California. She speaks of an encounter in a library with a man named David who was wearing a sign that bore two simple words:  BE LOVE. Smiling, she asked to take a photo of him and then he handed her the placard and asked her to wear it for two hours. She complied and wore it to her yoga class and noticed with delight, the responses she received.

Although we don’t all carry a sign around with us, we can all live and breathe the love that we were born to be. How do you embody love?  For me, it is as natural as smiling at ‘strangers’ who don’t remain that way for long, since we are all joined at the heart. It takes the form of sending reiki and prayers if someone is hurting physically or emotionally. It shows up in commenting on someone’s sharing on Facebook, reminding them that we are all such mirrors for each other. It (and this one has been challenging for me) is also about letting love in; not deflecting it when people want to do things for me. It is also connected with trusting that a benevolent Universe has my Highest Good in mind, despite appearances at times.

Head out into your day BE-ing Love incarnate~

As I was finishing this article, the song The Verb To Love by Todd Rundgren came on the radio…perfect timing. http://youtu.be/dyZ8y2YCFVM

www.judith-kusel.com

www.jenniferpastiloff.com

http://www.dailygood.org/story/531/be-love-jennifer-pastiloff/  Read Jennifer’s story here on Daily Good

www.anahatayogawellness.com

www.devatroy.com

www.elainesilver.com

www.pebblehillchurch.org

 

 

 

Tonight I interviewed David Bedrick for my show called It’s All About Relationships. He is a therapist who was trained in process oriented psychology and ‘meets clients where they are’, which is what I, as a social worker was taught to do as well. Where we are really IS the only place we can start the therapeutic journey. He is the author of the book called Talking Back To Dr. Phil which answers the idea of main stream psychology that seems to be more about action and the mind, rather than deeper insight that can lead to profound healing.

As we were speaking, it occurred to me that an effective therapist is someone who ‘walks with’  his or her client, accompanying them on their journey. I’m not dissing anyone’s therapeutic style or education/orientation, but I have discovered that when I sit with, walk with, BE with the one sitting before me, as they are baring their heart and mind, I can tap more deeply into what they are saying or not saying. I have noticed that when I am allowing for full presence with myself, I offer it to them as well.

A recent change has allowed me to get real with the woman in the mirror, peeling off layers, taking off the mask, daring to bare what lies beneath, being patient while I sometimes sit in the muck and mire. Intimidating, as I confront my scary monsters that lurk and hiss, showing fangs and threaten to topple my sometime precarious house of cards that makes up my life. Last week as I was in my office in a drug and alcohol counseling center, I was uncharacteristically silent much of the time, listening rather than giving instruction, being rather than doing. My clients seemed more forthcoming as a result and believe it or not, I felt more ‘productive’ than when I spoke more. The beauty of silence allowed them to really be heard.

Over the years, I have been amazed at the ultimate resilience of my clients, many of whom had survived horrendous abuse and debilitating trauma. I was at times, in a desperate scrambling search for whatever might ‘kiss the boo boos and make them all better,’ since it was sometimes excruciating to bear witness to their pain, even as honored as I was to be able to do that. I sometimes rushed them through their process and as a result, may have cheated them of true healing. These days, as I am more at ease with my own pain, I can be with theirs as well. I am willing to be a companion on their healing journey.

Thanks, David for that reminder.

www.talkingbacktodrphil.com

www.vividlife.me to hear our interview archived