The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Half The Sky

I remember when I was in college reading the words “Women hold up half the sky.” What that meant to this budding feminist who marched for the ERA (which got defeated in part, because of a silly notion that it would mean shared public restrooms), was that we as a gender were as vital as men when it came to our value and roles in society. What it really was about was equal pay for equal work at a time when the going rate was 59 cents for every dollar a man made. According to an article in TimeU.S,  called Why Do Women Still Earn Less Than Men? (April 20, 2010)  ” U.S. women still earned only 77 cents on the male dollar in 2008, according to  the latest census statistics. (That number drops to 68% for African-American  women and 58% for Latinas.)”

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1983185,00.html#ixzz1oUbRYQv2

 

It isn’t about male bashing, it is about standing side by side with men. It is about safety for women, who need not worry about walking alone. It is about freedom in our own bodies, saying yes or no to touch, whether by a partner or stranger. It is about teaching girls that they matter and need not fit a stereotype for appearance. It is about say no to abuse of any kind. It is about choice of who to love; knowing that it is about the person and not the plumbing. It is about education for all. It is about economic and decision making power.

March 8th is International Women’s Day, celebrated around the planet. The theme is Connecting Girls: Inspiring Futures

World wide initiatives include:

– Global, United Nations: Women and men united to end violence against women and girls
– Canada, Status of Women (Federal Gov): Strong Leadership. Strong Women. Strong World: Equality
– Australia, UNIFEM: Unite to End Violence Against Women
– Australia, Queensland Government Office for Women: Our Women, Our State
– Australia, WA Department for Communities: Sharing the Caring for the Future
– UK, Doncaster Council: Women’s Voices and Influence
– UK, Welsh Assembly Government: Bridging the Generational Gap
– UK, Accenture: Stretch Yourself: Achieving 50:50 in the boardroom by 2020
– USA, IBM: Women@IBM: Success in the Globally Integrated Enterprise

 

A few years ago, I wrote what I call my Wo-manifesto; a statement of who I am as a work in progress and what I stand for.

I live full out, regardless of what anyone thinks.

I refuse to dim my light for anyone in order for them to feel comfortable.

I accept all the abundance that the Universe off ers.

I forgive myself and others for perceived slights.

I live with compassion both inwardly and outwardly.

I see my own beauty, without the ‘yes, but’s’, and ‘ if only’s’, simply . . . as is.

I move with grace, dancing to whatever music I hear.

I sing out with enthusiasm.

I speak my truth.

I welcome Love in all forms.

I refuse to second-guess myself.

I tell the people in my life what they mean to me.

I keep my heart open.

I imagine beyond limitations.

I mirror back the beauty in others I encounter.

I walk barefoot literally and figuratively.

I refrain from ‘guilty pleasures’ and instead simply call them pleasures.

I ask for what I want, knowing that I may not receive exactly as I have asked.

I accept what is for the Highest Good.

I embellish my body with colors, fabrics, and designs that make me feel good.

I move on when a situation warrants it.

I sit with my own feelings, not pushing them away out of fear.

I surrender to ‘what is’.

I trust in Divine timing.

I unburden myself of excess baggage.

I live in integrity.

I am genuine and transparent; what you see is what you get.

I am learning to be subtle.

I say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ with equal ease.

I ask for what my work is worth without

stuttering, and I expect to receive it.

I emotional bungee-jump, enjoying the ride in free-fall.

I stand in my own Truth.

I breathe.

So, what is your wo(man)-ifesto?

www.internationalwomensday.com

 

Greener Grass

I saw this quote this morning and knew it beckoned to be shared.

“When the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, it may be that they take better care of it there.”  – Cecil Selig

How often do you longingly gaze at someone else’s life circumstances and wonder  “Why them and not me? How come they have the relationship, home, job, friends, success of MY dreams?” and then lean on the fence between your metaphorical yard and yours, admiring the green sprouts? What if, instead of pondering with a blend of resentment and resignation that it will never happen for you, you consider what it might have taken for that person to be having their experience and for you to be having yours?  I ask myself a similar question often:  “What would someone have to think or believe to be having the experience that I am having?” I pose that query in both celebration that things feel grand and in working on solutions for circumstances that in that moment, don’t feel so hot.  Without fail, it comes down to attitude.

In those times when I recognize the boundless blessings that surround me, I see them everywhere. And in the moments, when I am feeling disgruntled, it is generally because I am seeing the world through smudgy glasses. I admit that there are some situations over which I have no control. People have expectations for who I ‘should be’ or what I ‘should’ be doing. Rules, regulations and the illusion of time dictate that I have a structure to follow, that rebel as I might, are the agreements I make in order to live as an independent, self supporting, responsible adult. I can fight them, metaphorically kicking and screaming and still they are there.

In tending to my own lush lawn that is my life, I take responsibility for its upkeep, weeding out discontent, fertilizing it (sometimes life circumstances supply the manure:), keeping it from drying out, by watering it with love and self-compassion and then enjoying the waving blades of grass tickling my tootsies. Sometimes with childlike abandon, I roll around in it, laughing with delight.

How are you tending your grass?

Everyday Meditation

Meditation means something different to each person who engages in it. For some, it is a brief reprieve from the buzzy-busy business of life, for others a disciplined spiritual practice. In this easy to absorb, thorough guidebook, called Everyday Meditation: 100 Daily Meditations for Health, Stress Relief and Everyday Joy, author and long time meditator, Tobin Blake offers ideas and inspiration to create a practice that best serves the one who contemplates using it to enhance his or her life. What prepared him to write this book is, as it says in his bio on his website:

“He received his formal training in meditation through Self Realization Fellowship, which is an international organization with more than 500 temples and centers worldwide, founded by the great Paramhansa Yogananda. He was initiated in Kriya Yoga – SRF’s highest meditation technique – in 1995.” Tobin is also a student of A Course In Miracles.

I have to admit, that I read parts of this book while sitting in a chair at a nail salon, my feet immersed in warm soothing water, in anticipation of a pedicure. A Jackie Chan film was playing on the tv to my right and I found myself being distracted by his antics. The lovely woman offering nurturing for my footsies and the butterfly blouse wearing client to my left, laughed as they watched me go back and forth, head down in my book and up to chuckle with Jackie and his co-star Jennifer Love Hewitt as they did flips and kicks and turns to defeat the villians in the movie. So often it is with people who meditate. So many things call for our attention and we remind ourselves over and over to bring our focus back and ever back.

Tobin views meditation as “mystical moments that infuse life with meaning and a renewed sense of purpose.” and adds that “meditation is the practice of actively making yourself open to this experience and the far more compelling states that can follow.”

As chapter by chapter unfolds, he introduces the reader to three concepts:

Daily practice in which the 100 day shared journey will allow the experience to be that much richer the more it is experienced. Like any exercise, we become stronger and more flexible and the process that much easier and beneficial.

Understand and deal with the resistance. What often arises is the ‘I don’t wanna.’ reasons for not engaging, all the stuff that can come to the surface that we would choose to push back down.

Reprogram the waterfall refers to the endless flow of thought and monkey mind chatter that entice us away from our meditation.

The book then opens the door to the practices themselves as  on Day 1 Tobin begins simply with sitting meditation (zazen) and breathing. Day by day, the experience deepens as the focus shifts to themes such as the chakras (wheels of energy in the body, each with its own color and resonance and purpose), the present moment (Day 31), the law of reciprocity (Day 60), forgiveness (Day 65), freedom (Day 83).

What it all seems to come down to is that each of us is our own best teacher and that folks like him, are guides who have traversed the path ahead of us, scattering lotus petals of wisdom like those that embellish the cover of the book, but it is up to us to scoop them up and use them as they best serve to bring us to a sense of samadhi.

www.tobinblake.com

www.newworldlibrary.com

 

The Divine Arsonist

 

If I didn’t know better, I would swear that three of my favorite authors: Dan Millman, Richard Bach and Dorothy Bryant had collaborated on the newly released novel entitled The Divine Arsonist. In the style of Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Illusions and The Kin of Ata Are Waiting For You, business man turned gifted writer Jacob Nordby mines gold in this page turner that I reluctantly needed to stretch out over a week’s time when I really wanted to take the journey with him in one fell swoop.  Autobiographical allegory is the way I would describe the tale of a suit and tie professional who lived ‘the good life’ as defined by society, when in reality, he was dying a little bit inside.

He hears a call of something beyond his culturally prescribed existence that led him to take a trip to his woodland cabin in Idaho. There he meets the first of several guides who usher him into a world that challenges, terrifies, gratifies and ultimately heals him. The thread that runs through each powerful chapter is a knowing of who we truly are. Nothing is as it appears to be and Jacob is invited over and over to surrender, breathe and believe. The transformation that he describes in a vivid, gut twisting, soul streaming manner comes at the cost of letting go of all he thought was true and exchange it for something even grander. The purpose of this metamorphic/metaphoric adventure was to allow him to take his place as one whose calling is to be an even greater force for good in the world. Honest, succint, without pretense; he draws the reader in and it is hard to imagine declining the invitation. Regardless of gender or culture, the reader will recognize herself or himself in its pages.

This book is positively incendiary!

www.yourawakenedself.com

 

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