The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

World Laughter Day

Imagine a healing force that is fat free, calorie free, cholesterol free, portable, ageless, timeless, one size fits all. It doesn’t require a prescription, but IS habit forming, even addictive. Would you want it for the rest of your life?  I certainly would and it is an experience I engage in multiple times a day. It’s laughter.  It is something that children don’t think twice about and is as natural as breathing.

The first Sunday in May is celebrated as World Laughter Day and folks are invited to join with other ha-ha-ing humans in gatherings near and far. According to the official website:

World Laughter Day was created in 1998 by Dr. Madan Kataria, founder of the worldwide Laughter Yoga movement. The celebration of World Laughter Day is a positive manifestation for world peace and is intended to build up a global consciousness of brotherhood and friendship through laughter. Its popularity has grown exponentially with that of the Laughter Yoga movement now counting over 6000 Laughter Clubs in more than 65 countries.”

 

I grew up in a goofy family who would make up silly names for things, offering terms of endearment for each other, and other family memebers and friends. Laughter in the Weinstein household flowed as freely as the water through a running river valley. It is part of what sustained us through challenges and is a loving legacy my parents left me. My friends are funny people too; sometimes even punny people whose comments cause groans and eye rolls. I work in an environment in which humor is essential to keep me ‘sane and vertical’. When I teach workshops and classes, I give out purple feathers to remind people to lighten up and “tickle your fancy, or whatever else you have in mind.”  I have an alter ego named Feather who is a faerie-clown who was given birth during a particularly challenging time in my life about 15 years ago. Laughter was a healing balm for my emotional wounds.

My initial experience with Laughter Yoga came when I was introduced to Jeffrey Briar who had been practicing and teaching yoga for years and had made his living from acting. Now he makes his life out of laughter.  He came to the Delaware Valley to teach a workshop that would train other folks in this mahvelous modality. I was only able to attend the Friday night intro, but my friend Peggy Tileston completed the training and now offers classes in the Philadelphia area for silly souls who want to think and play outside the box. I have attended a few Laughter Yoga sessions and have felt the residual effects for days afterward.

 

According to  The American Journal of Medical Sciences, Alternative Therapies, Psychology Today,The Scientist of the University of Maryland Medical Center (as cited in The Orange County Register)

Laughter:

Enhances the immune system

Relieves stress

Reduces blood pressure

Reduces pain

Increases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers

Improves lung capacity and oxygen levels

Provides a massage for internal organs

Is contagious, like yawning

May help prevent heart disease

 

I can vouch for many of these benefits and I’m sure you can as well. What tickles you?  Comedy shows and movies?  Comic strips? Humorous books?  Jovial jokes? You can tell when you are around people for whom laughter is their life blood. They just glow from the inside out.

Take a look at the websites listed below and find some time on Sunday to join with other merry-making, chuckling, guffawing, mirth-filled, tee-hee-ing, peals of laughter people. Imagine a world in which laughter brought us all together.

 

Ha-ha-ho-ho-hee-hee~

www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOMqqI-kzHY  I Love To Laugh from Mary Poppins

 

www.worldlaughterday.org

www.lyinstitute.org

www.transformationalresources.com

Two Faces of Bliss

A few weeks ago, I saw this photo of these two darlings and couldn’t help but smile at the juxtaposition of expression. The little girl actually reminds me of my friend Georgetta who views the world with heart and eyes wide open as she takes it all in and then scatters the love back out. Now, keep in mind that she is a grandmother, therapist, addictions counselor, who in close succession completed her under grad, grad and doctoral studies while holding down a full time job in a psychiatric hospital and caring for her elderly and quite delightful mother who recently passed. She would regale us with “Lola stories” that kept us smiling broadly too. Georgetta lives her bliss.  The little boy is no less blissfilled, just experiencing it perhaps in a quieter more introspective manner.

We are taught that bliss looks a certain way, with a yahhoooooo-jumping-up-and-down-like-a-kid-on-a-pogo-stick energy, when it can also be still and silent. Some of my most bliss-filled experiences have come when sitting in meditation, walking in Nature, engaged in yoga practice or eye gazing with a Beloved.  I invite you to take a moment and recall a blissful experience; perhaps in the presence of someone else, or solo. Make it full sensory, as you touch, taste, smell, hear and see everything around you. Drink it in….sluuuurrrpp….  Where are you feeling the sensations connected with your full immersion? Allow the physical and emotional to merge so that you don’t know where each begins and ends. Now carry that with you throughout your day. Any time you are tempted to find yourself (or lose yourself) becoming distracted, overwrought or frustrated, tap into the well you have just filled to overflowing with refreshment.

Make a Bliss List. What items, experiences and people are on it?

Mine includes:

Dancing, drumming, singing, reading, writing, yoga, working out,listening to music,  meditation, chanting (kirtan), time with loved ones, exploring nature, chocolate, travel, massage, attending and teaching transformational workshops, connecting with kindred spirits, learning new things about life, the universe and everything.

Joseph Campbell encouraged all to “Follow your bliss.” I invite you to BYOB-Be Your Own Bliss…your style, your way, ever evolving in exquisite spirals of light and color, out into the cosmos~

 

http://youtu.be/LF-HquxImgg Follow Your Bliss by Bryan Rason

Free Flight

 

This photo tickled me when it showed up in my message feed this week on Facebook,  for many reasons. One is that it quoted my friend and inpsiration, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He knows first hand the power of love and the investment of heart and soul into embodying its essence. The other is the beatific look on the face of the person who is wafting about from heaven to earth. Many years ago, if that were me, the look would have been one of panic, feeling as if I were in free fall rather then free flight. These days, I am trusting more often that even when I take physical and emotional leaps of faith, the safety net of Spirit is there to catch me.

Each day, we all take risks…heck some days, just getting out of bed feels like a daunting task as the inner child whines…”Do I hafta get up? Can’t I just stay under the cozy covers for a bit longer?”  I have found that there is always some delight awaiting me when I do put my feet on the sky blue carpeted floor for the first time each morning. It could be the sound of the birds serenading me awake, the dappled sunlight through the curtains, leaving patterns on the closet door. It could be remembering how blessed I am to have such wonderful, loving friends and family and exciting adventures to persue. I set challenges before myself, to be more mindful, rather than mind-full (like an overflowing sink full of dishes…maybe that’s why I always make sure my kitchen sink is empty of them before going to bed…ask my son:) . I open my heart to allowing love to move through, without impediment. I meet new people every day, because I know how much we enrich each other’s lives. I expand my horizions, thinking outside the box. I offer love as if chocolate on a plate. Some people, believe it or not, don’t like or desire chocolate.

Yesterday was Global Love Day and I decided to give out heart stickers. The first batch went to the tellers at the bank when I went in to do business. They smiled with delight and asked if they could keep me there yesterday. On my way out the door, I offered one to a man who was walking in, and although he smiled, he politely declined. Offering love can be risky too, since the thought of ‘what if they say no?’, can accompany it. I have learned that receiving a ‘no’ isn’t a rejection of me and doesn’t need to disempower me in any way. I can keep on offering and see what happens. At my job as a social worker in a psychiatric hospital, I continued to scatter the hearts, giving  them to my co-workers. To a one, they all said yes. One of the docs took two; one for each of her children. People put them on their clothing and badges. On my way out the door, I tucked a few stickers under the windshield wipers and in the door of the car of my friend Peggy since I didn’t have any in my pocket to give her when we saw each other at lunch time. One of the psychiatrists saw me by her car, and asked what I was doing. I assured him that I was ‘vandalizing with love’ and gave him a few as well. He walked away smiling.

So were they great achievements?  Not in the grand scheme of things. Were they risky? Not much. And yet, we  may never know the impact of our actions on the lives of folks whose paths we cross. My growing edge and yours might look different. Some of my emotional bungie jumping risks involve putting my creative work out there for all to see and critique, to ask for what I deserve in terms of compensation for my work, to stand on stage and share what I have learned over the past 53 years. One of the most challenging risks is acknowledging my struggles, since I want it all to look effortless…at least my ego does. I know how blessed I am, so often I have dialogues with myself that sound like “What the heck do you have to compain about when you have so much?” and then I hear the voice of friends echoing in my ears…”Stop being so hard on yourself!” That’s when self compassion takes the wheel and the words “Sweetheart, you have just as much right to kvetch as anyone. Just don’t stay there.”  That’s when I can move from ‘oy to joy’ by remembering how I have safely landed after every experience I have had.

What risks are you willing to take today to allow yourself to enjoy the excitement of free flight?  Happy Landings!  <3

http://youtu.be/UF5V2PEujqs  If I Were Brave by Jana Stanfield

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

 

Previous Posts

Pass It Onword
Back in November, as I was meandering the aisles at the Mind Body Spirit Expo in King of Prussia, PA, I came to a booth at which two women were beaming beatifically. In front of them was a table of simple wares. Stones engraved with a word-  gratitude, strength, inspire, forgive, and kindness, we

posted 6:55:55pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

How We Grieve
  "When my Guru died in 1973, I assumed that because of the important part he played in my life, and the love I felt for him, I would be inundated with grief. Surprisingly, I was not. In time, I came to realize why. He and I were so well established in Soul love that, in the years since he l

posted 1:24:56pm Dec. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Recovering Human Doing
Lounging in bed, surrounded by lots of pillows and snuggled under quilts as I am typing these words. It is a drowsy, dozy Sunday morning. The radio is playing easing into my day tunes.  My standard weekend fare begins with Sleepy Hollow on WXPN which is a Philly based member supported Public Radio

posted 8:56:41am Dec. 14, 2014 | read full post »

Profoundly Honest
"We must learn to be profoundly honest."-Panache Desai Wise words from one of the most engaging speakers I have had the pleasure of hearing. Back in 2011, I attended the Celebrate Your Life Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. I had not, at that point, known of the British born teacher who exudes a s

posted 8:51:37am Dec. 12, 2014 | read full post »

Thriving Artist
Last night, I attended a holiday gathering for a group of talented artists, writers, publishers, radio hosts, producers, as well as PR and marketing folks. Needless to say, I was in my idea of heaven. The Center City Philadelphia Restaurant where it was held is called Bliss. What a perfect place for

posted 10:50:24am Dec. 10, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.