The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Shiny Happy People

 

I was looking at my facebook page a short while ago and marveling at the beatifically beaming little faces as I beheld their beauty. Friends from all over the planet, brought together through the marvels of modern technology.  We celebrate each others’ success, comfort each other in times of sadness or sorrow. We offer prayers and delve into spiritual concepts. We offer windows into each others’  hearts and souls, even if we may never physically cross paths. We share a bond nevertheless. Some I have known since childhood (family of birth) and some throughout my life, that I call family of choice.

I had been on an interview with two of  them  tonight hailing from Canada, named  Aline Ohannessian  and Roni Lipstein. If not for the facebook phenom, it is unlikely that we would have connected, since I am here in the Philadelphia, PA area. Their show is called BEingLOVE on Souls Talking Brain and I had the joy of speaking about Life, The Universe and Everything (my favorite subject since it is endlessly fascinating). Of course, I shared about the Beliefnet Bliss Blog so more folks can join us here.

I had commented to the hosts that speaking to them via skype felt so Star Trek, so much like what would have been sci-fi when I was a kid and yet, here we were, chatting away. I laughed because it felt so natural now. As a result of the interview, my shiny-happy-people posse is growing larger.

I often think about the chain of events that led me from where I was to where I desire to be and the beyond belief people I have met as a result. It’s that Hansel and Gretel Breadcrumb Trail that I speak of often that introduced me to one person, who opened the door to another, who said “Ooooohhhh, you should meet this person!”  So many kindred spirits gathered  ’round.  Sometimes I wonder if certain experiences occur so many years earlier that may make no sense at the time, but a stretch later, bring a knowing nod and a “NOW I get it. That was preparing me to do this thing, without which having had the earlier encounter, I would not have been able to accomplish.” Cool beans how the Universe works.

Over the weekend, I drew more people into my sphere, from attending a Gay Pride event in support of LGBT folks to doing ‘yoga on the steps’ of the Philadelphia Art Museum and all the precious moments in between.  I also honor those who have been in my life in one form or antother for many years. My friends are my treasures and I am  a wealthy woman as a result.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCQ0vDAbF7s Shiny Happy People by REM

http://www.ustream.tv/user/BEingLOVEwww.beinglove.tv  BEingLove tv

Reasonable Demands

 

I grew up with parents who preached “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  Perhaps somewhat good guidance to prevent mean spirited communication, but I took it to heart in a rather co-dependent, self muzzling kinda way. It has take many years, dare I say 5 decades to trust myself to speak with tact even if I am delivering a less than desirable message. Sometimes the conversation is between myself and another person and then there are occasions when the communcation is between myself and the Universe. Sunday was one such.

For those who didn’t see yesterday’s Bliss Blog entry, I spoke about a transcendent experience that occurred on Sunday when I joined 1699 kindred spirits on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum (Rocky’s stomping grounds:) for Yoga On The Steps For Living Beyond Breast Cancer.  What I didn’t share was what happened before I set my feet and tush on my purple Gaiam yoga mat that has served me well since 2004 and has been the magic carpet that has taken me on many a journey both inward and outward.  I left my Bucks County, PA home in what I figured was plenty of time to arrive for 8:30 a.m. registration. Smooth sailing all the way, including Kelly Drive which is generally filled with cars. I was enjoying the bright and beautiful early morning sunshine, arm out the window, doing what our family called “breezing”, with the childhood admonition from my Uncle Jim “Don’t stick your arm out too far, it might go home in another car.” One of the perks of adulthood is that you get to breeze if ya wanna.  As I approached the art museum, I saw a line of folks waiting to register, that stretched a good way down the block. I turned my head to seek a parking spot. The nearby lot was full, so I curved around the block, expecting that I would find an “Uncle Jimmy spot” right away.  The same uncle who warned about the perils mentioned above was also adept at finding the perfect parking spot and he bequeathed that gift to me long before his passing. This time, the parking powers weren’t as forthcoming.  I drove around a six block radius for 20 minutes or so, feeling increasingly frustrated, about to tumble into major meltdown. Here I was on my way to a yoga event, feeling all churned up inside. I had seen several people pull into vacating spots, literally right in front of me. This felt like a test of the emergency sanity system.

It was then that I allowed myself to be less than zen and used words that aren’t in my spiritual vocabularly and let fly with a few expletives framing the word, “I demand a parking spot NOW, please!”  (still managed a bit of politeness:) Whatya know?  I drove onto a street that parallels the museum and the perfect spot was waiting for me, it was free and directly across from my destination. Bonus was that the registration line was much shorter by the time I got there. I laughed with delight and relief, wondering if it was that final push that allowed the Celestial parking attendant to open a place for my Jeep. Being raised to be nice, I have a difficult time with people who are demanding and entitled and anger is not my favorite emotional state and yet, there are times when it is called for and making reasonable demands may get you what you are asking for. At least it works for parking spots.

 

http://youtu.be/DUDtFdnn9oQ The Car Song by Woodie Guthrie

Yo-ga Adrianne!

 

 

 

I didn’t come up with the title for this entry…it came through my friend Robin Renee as a response to a question I had asked. The image you are looking at is the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Sunday May 20th, 2012. For many people, the stucture brings to mind the indomitable spirit of Rocky Balboa as his pounding feet made their way up stairs which, if you haven’t traversed them, is tough enough to walk up, let alone ascend by running.

On this day, it was the site of the 10th annual Yoga On The Steps For Living Beyond Breast Cancer, which attracted 1700 yoga practitioners of  all ages, from tiny tots to white haired elders, as well as various skill levels and experience to raise money for the organization. It was the heart and brain child of Philly based yoga teacher Jennifer Schelter, her friend Courtney Kapp; a breast cancer thriver and Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Chief Executive Director Jean Sachs. Indomitable spirits all.

 

Jennifer Schelter

I attended for the first time in 2009 at the invitation of my high school friend Abe Morris, whose wife Andi is a two time breast cancer survivor whose team of supporters in their pink and black t-shirts this year is called ‘Andi’s Girls’ in double entendre’ reference to her body parts as well as the team members although some of her ‘girls’ are really guys, manly men all(:  Andi had been on the board of directors of the organization at the time. On that particular day, the wind and rain threatened to cascade a hardy and heart-y band of a few hundred entrepid souls over the stairs and into the Schuykill River near the museum. I wrote about the experience in my book, entitled The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary. The chapter is called Mammogram Mambo.

Andi and her brother

 

Yesterday’s weather could not have been more picture perfect, with broadly beaming sunshine that matched the spirits of the crowd who stretched and sweated, sang and meditated to the music of the divine Yvette Pecoraro. The experience was ushered in by NBC10 journalist Lu Ann Cahn, herself a two decade thriver. She and Jennifer Schelter encouraged all gathered there to strengthen and support each other and to know that no one need go it alone, whether we ourselves were facing a life changing diagnosis or knew someone who had. Throughout the one hour class, we were asked to bring to mind those whose love and support had sustained us and those who had triumphed over cancer and others who had left this plane as a result. My friend Cindy fits into the survivor/thriver category, since not only is she well, but she educates and advocates for prevention and health conscious choices and it was partly for her that I dedicated this practice. Although my mother who died in 2010 did not have cancer, thinking about her passing and the role she still plays in my stretching in ALL aspects of my life, brought tears. It isn’t unusual for me to cry on the mat, but this was particularly poignant.

Lu Ann Cahn

 

I was moved by the way Jennifer wove concepts into the practice, encouraging us to plant the gardens of our lives, to be heroes to ourselves and those in our lives,  as we did ‘hero pose’ invoking the spirit of community and cooperation. We did partner yoga exercises as well, and one in particular had a take home message that struck a chord in me. I worked with a woman named Randy who was parked on her own magic-carpet mat next to me. The asana was ‘boat pose’ and we were asked to grasp each others’ wrists and put our feet together and then lean back with our legs raised at a 45 degree angle. Because our hands and wrists were a bit sweaty  and kept slipping apart, we weren’t able to lift our legs. It wasn’t until we let go and spread our arms wide and just our legs do the work themselves, that we were able to fly unencumbered. We were then guided to sit back to back as we offered loving support. I liked the idea that somebody ‘had my back’.  The exercise ended by inviting us to bow in honoring, holding our hands in Namaste’ (prayer pose) in front of our hearts as our foreheads touched each others’ and we breathed in gratitude and blessings for each other and all those surrounding us.

 

 

Randy

I saw many friends from the yoga community and some I missed who I found out later were in the midst, including my friend Bill Tourtual, engaged in ‘wheel’.

 

One of the most cleverly named teams was called Tutus for Ta-tas (:

 

Oh and by the way…the question I had asked was “What would Rocky say about all of these folks on his steps?” to which Robin answered: “Yo-ga Adrianne!”

 

www.yvetteom.com to hear Yvette’s mystically mesmerizing music.

 

 http://thebreastblog.wordpress.com  Cindy Greb’s Breast Blog where she journals her journey.
www.lbbc.org  Living Beyond Breast Cancer    Even though the event is over, the ripples remain and there are still funds to be raised. The goal this year is $320,00 and folks can still donate for services that benefit women with breast cancer.  Go to the website for more info AND if you feel so moved, sign up for next year!  You will be so glad you did.
www.yogaonthesteps.org  Yoga On The Steps
The song that guided us all on our way home~
http://youtu.be/T1D3ejwQiVg  May the Long Time Sun sung by Snatam Kaur

 

Creating Time

I laugh as I write this entry, since as much as I was delighted when this book arrived in my mail box, I had to set it aside for a bit, since I didn’t have time to read it!  SO, that’s how I know that this heaping scoop of deliciousity was written for me and all of those creatives out there who dare to dive into delight!  Creating Time:  Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life came from the oh so fertile imagination of author and Muse Marney Makridakis. The cover is as colorful as a newly blossoming flower with symbols and imagery, doorways, portals, a butterfly (you know I’m gonna like that one:), an angel. a clock, a guitar, each at a point on a clock face. It beckons the reader to peruse the pages and take in a wealth of ideas to expand and enhance their horizons.

Although there is a format and structure, Marney acknowledges that busy people may need to skip around(:   I loved her use of contractions such as ARTbundance and at the end of each chapter are what she calls ARTsignments that allow for stretching our concept of time. Even though I don’t consider myself a graphic artist, I feel inspired with tickles and giggles of “Oooohhhh, I want to do that!” when I see what she and the other featured artists have created with found objects, paint, paper and boxes, to name just a few.

I just opened to the chapter “Creating Time Through Flow: Time Sighs When You’re Having Fun” and was moved by the idea of being in the zone, which is how I experience writing. When I am immersed in word soup, it seems as if time stands still and it is just me and the letters as they move from mind to fingers to keyboard.

The concepts of gratitude,  ritual, transcendance, synchronicity, kairos (gives me goosebumps, this one…since it is defined as numinous: supernatural, spiritual, holy) and of course, love are generously sprinkled throughout.  Each chapter leads with Poetic Pause such as

Time as crisp creases

Ancient origami dreams

Commit to each fold

Gorgeous and lush photos of artwork by contributors are scattered throughout this 268 page invitation to live a drenched with color life as you embrace each precious Now Moment. ~

www.ArtellaLand.com

http://youtu.be/FIzMeFBnwRI

 

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