The Bliss Blog


Like most people, I am fascinated with the lovely creatures whose translucent wings lightly flutter as they are carried on a breeze. I watch, mesmerized as they drift to and fro, seemingly without direction. There are times when I feel the same way, and yet, like all beings on the planet, there is a purpose and intention for its existence. Butterflies symbolize transformation from one form to another, growing and changing. Just how thorough this change is, fascinates me. We have seen the caterpillar; all squiggly and perhaps fuzzy as it crawls on leaves or on our hand if we reach out for it to climb aboard. Perhaps we have witnessed a chrysalis hanging from a tree. I did two weeks ago. We have noticed the winged version that has emerged from the temporary nesting structure. What we don’t see is the gestation that takes place. I have seen it described as the caterpillar digesting itself, leaving in its wake, a mushy soup.

Butterflies have a special meaning for me, since when my mother was on hospice, I asked what she thought would happen when she passed, and she told me that she would come back as a butterfly. They have been a constant reminder that love is ever-present.

It has been easy for me to see myself as the finished product, with colorful wings keeping me aloft. I actually have wings in my car, since I am a clown who wears them as part of my costume.  What has been more challenging is accepting that for right now, I am in that stage where I am immersed in emotion soup. Back in April, I attended a weekend retreat called The Woman Within that opened the gates for feelings to flow through. Just scratching the surface. In the past month or so, more melting of the walls I had erected around my heart, has been occurring and with it, a torrent of tears. As a therapist who guides others through their losses and the pain that sometimes comes with being human, I distanced myself from my own emotions so that I could serve them.

Lately, I have been recognizing all of the losses that turned me to mush on the inside that I have tried desperately to cover over with vividly hued costumes, blissful statements, glorious descriptions of my amazing, magical life so that people wouldn’t be able to see the tears and fears behind the façade. Both exist within me; I would just prefer to acknowledge the first. The calling is for me to see the beauty in both the joys and challenges, the caterpillar soup, as well as the magnificent creature that emerges.

Years ago, I discovered that I had become an emotional contortionist, essentially bending over backward to please people. If not, I reasoned, they wouldn’t approve of me or love me and then where would I be? I would tie myself up like a pretzel, in business, primarily since our livelihood was based on happy advertisers and readers. Guess what?  It didn’t work and I ended up with an emotionally twisted spine, numerous arguments at home and unsatisfactory business dealings. All of this because I wasn’t being true to myself and living in a sense of integrity within myself. In the interceding time, I have been able to take a different perspective. What I thought was necessary for my survival was a less than skillful way of discovering that I have no responsibility for what others think and how they perceive me. It ties in with don Miguel Ruiz’ Four Agreements concepts. I am learning (and it is a process) to put into practice the most challenging (for me) two:  Don’t take anything personally and Don’t make assumptions. What others are going through in their lives is not about me. In relationship, (in whatever form they take), I am learning to step back and allow for process to occur. So often, I have moved to heal or fix someone else’s pain because it has been uncomfortable for me to watch them struggle. I also recognized that as a healer, there is a temptation to make myself indispensable to people in my life. I reasoned that if I was able to help them with their challenges, then they couldn’t possibly abandon me. The truth is, no one ever abandons us. We may do that to ourselves at times. The truth also remains, that God never abandons us.

Several years ago, I experienced what many would call a ‘dark night of the soul’ during which I had almost no appetite, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t concentrate. I basically sleep-walked through my days and tossed and turned at night. I called on loving friends and family who guided me through it and recognized that I was revisiting two themes from the past. A little background first on the events of that time:   I interviewed two women for a magazine for which I was writing: twin sisters who are psychically gifted. At the end of the interview, Allsyon said:  “I asked you a question twice. Did you hear me?”  I replied that I hadn’t. She said, “Who’s Michael?” Goosebumps rising on my arms, I told her that Michael had been my husband who had died 5 ½ years earlier. She went on to say that he was there with them and that he was showing them a doorway or threshold that I was walking through and also moving vans. They felt that I would be moving within 3 years.  (I didn’t move myself, but in 2011 which was 6 years later, after my mom died, I did move her belongings from her condo).

Later that day, I received the shocking news that a young woman whose wedding ceremony I had performed a year and half  prior, had been killed a few days earlier in a car accident and her  husband was standing on my doorstep asking me to offer the eulogy at her funeral a few days later. I could do nothing but hold him and cry with him. Words escaped me, except to say that I would be honored to speak at Katie’s funeral. The next night I came to Pebble Hill which is one of my spiritual communities, to hear Robin Velez speak. She is a gifted channel and healer. During her presentation, she invited me to the front of the room. I explained to the audience that this wasn’t a set-up and Robin hadn’t even known I was going to be there. Her stern admonishment?  “Stop explaining, stop justifying. It’s killing you. You need to decide here and now, do you want to live or die?” Through tear-filled eyes, I responded that I wanted to live. She then told me that I needed to completely let go of Michael and as I told her that I had, she shook her head. She then asked me what I wanted. I told her that I wanted to trust in love again.  She informed me that it was about trusting myself. A while later as I left, I remembered one last detail regarding Michael that I hadn’t attended to. I still had his ashes in my bedroom. What kind of message was that sending the Universe about readiness to move on to a new relationship? A few days later, my dear friend Susan Duval helped me to bury the urn in Pebble Hill’s memorial garden. I also made a decision to find a new home for my cat Amira, since my allergies had become full blown and more than a little uncomfortable.  During the week, it became abundantly clear that I was re-living old grief. I was releasing, letting go, turning over every aspect of my life as I had more than five years before. My body had been reacting as it had then too when I was in the throes of bereavement. I had convinced myself that I had successfully moved through the loss gracefully and in some ways I had. All of these events triggered the reactions I was going through. No accident that this all occurred around Memorial Day. An interesting phenomenon occurred that was a side benefit of my clearing.  Two weeks earlier the garbage disposal stopped working. I hadn’t gotten around to getting it fixed. On Memorial Day, Pat Harmon (a.k.a. Harmony)  was over for breakfast. I was washing the dishes and had just put a juice glass on the rack to dry. I made some comment about how quickly things happen and at that point, the glass jumped or slid off the rack and crashed into the sink. I cleaned up the shards and carefully put my hand in the garbage disposal to take out anything that remained within it. I thought, “What the heck?” and flipped the switch for the garbage disposal and was rewarded with the sounds of it roaring to life. As I had cleaned out my own garbage, it too was no longer on overload and could process as well.

That summer I had begun practicing yoga. Having been surrounded by both practitioners and teachers for many years, my interest had been sparked, but what set it aflame was attending a tantric yoga workshop in March of 2004. There I met people for whom it is a way of life. I saw first hand the emotional, spiritual and physical benefits of this ancient art and so the practice began. First at home on my own, then with a friend and diving into classes, I am enjoying a physical flexibility that I have never known.  Even as I practice the asanas, I feel that I am called on to stretch further emotionally than I ever have before as old paradigms fall away. I am reaching beyond my preconceived limitations to what I know is true, rather than what I fear is so. I am recalling the phrases from A Course in Miracles: “What is real cannot be threatened. What is unreal doesn’t exist. Therein lies the peace of God.”




Like many who are reading this article, I have been participating in Oprah and Deepak’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge, which is all about the love that exists within and around us at all times. Sometimes it begins my day and sometimes it ends it. Either way, I find myself drifting on the tones of his soothing voice. This morning, our focus was Miraculous Independence.

Today’s Centering Thought:

All I seek is within.
Our Sanskrit mantra:

Om Bhavam Namah
I am absolute existence. I am a field of all possibilities.
We have been taught that what we desire in terms of success, love, worthiness and value are external when in truth, all that we could ever want is already a seed within us, waiting to burst forth in beauty and magnificence. Deepak quotes a line from the movie Jerry Maguire that some find romantic, but makes me want to gag and that is “You complete me.” We are not incomplete beings, but rather whole unto ourselves and when we live in that state, it makes it that much easier to connect with other whole beings without an obligation to fix, save, heal or cure anyone. As a recovering co-dependent who lately has been coming to terms with what I have perceived to be my own sense of fragmentation, this meditation could not have been more fortuitously timed.
Perhaps some feel that makes us self absorbed or ego-centric. Quite the contrary, since when I know that I am able to glean treasures from within, I have that much more to share with you and the rest of the world. Call it God-Spark or Divine Love; it is what we are. From that well of Infinite Possibility, we can bring up the sweetest water imaginable. From a practical day to day perspective, it means that I am less likely to be ‘gived out’, since the Source never runs dry. As a Reiki Master, I have learned that the life force energy comes through me and not from me. In that way, it is always available and I need only to call upon it to be offered to myself or anyone else who might request it.
Such is it with love.

"Don't wait for the light to appear at the end of the tunnel. Stride down there... and light the bloody thing yourself." ~ Sara Henderson <3

This meme reminded me of an experience I had several years ago. I was lying on the massage table of my friend Ute Arnold who practices a modality she created called Unergi which is body psychotherapy that speaks to all aspects of our being, as it speaks back to us and to her as the practitioner. There is a treasure trove of information in the temple that totes around our soul.  I had gone to see her to take a look at some long standing core beliefs about what I thought I needed to do or be in order to be accepted and loved. It was planting the seeds for what I digging deep to excavate now.

She asked a question about a particular situation in my life with which she was familiar and I replied that I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. She smiled and asked an even more important question to the effect of “What if you didn’t need to wait for it and could bring the light in with you?”  I laughed in response and said that I would be able to see more clearly what was around me, instead of fumbling around in the dark. How often I have done that, guessing and then second guessing what I was ‘supposed to do’, rather than stating with certainty because I had the information I needed that came from that which I could only receive by observing?  Way too often. Laziness?  Maybe. Not wanting to look at the drippy and echoing walls of a damp, cold cavern? Probably. Ducking for cover should a colony of bats come flapping on through?  You betcha!  My bats have taken the form of fears of failure and success, choices made out of expedience that have come back to bite me in the tush, saying yes when I meant no, saying no when I would love to have said yes, but felt unworthy of the gifts that were offered, unrealized dreams, unfulfilled expectations I created for myself. Rather than hiding from their sonar that beams in on me, I can allow them to eat the bugs on the cave walls, that bug me. The Cave-Mumford and Sons