The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Balance Your Life Balance The Scale

I met Jennifer Tuma -Young a few years back when she and I spoke at an event for an organization called Enchanted Makeovers which restores and transforms shelters, making them a welcoming and vibrant place to be. Her newly released book does for the body and soul, what the aforementioned company does for buildings. This self titled “Inspirista” whose work in the world motivates people to live their best lives from the inside out knows whereof she speaks when it comes to healthy shedding of layers. When I heard her story of a 100 pound weight loss, I was astonished since it was hard to imagine that this svelte woman had ever carried around that much additional emotional/physical baggage. The additional triumph is that she has kept it off for ten years. Having lost 40 some pounds myself in the past two years, I am aware of what it takes!  Tuma-Young’s background includes having a Curves franchise in the family for which she works, so that ‘feeds’ her skill set that she offers to readers.


Balance Your Life is really about that…a sense of maintaining equilibrium in our day to day lives when the expectations that as women in particular, we are counted on to be all things to all people. I’m sure men struggle with this as well, but it is more prevalent among the female population. The book shares portable and easily applicable tips for re-creating yourself. They include journaling, visualizing joy, moving your body, recognizing your value beyond what you do for others, and goal setting.

She incorporates the S.M.A.R.T method, utilized by motivational coaches and speakers.

S= Specific  M= Measurable A= Attainable  R= Relevant  T= Tangible  

Tuma-Young’s book also encourages healthy eating without tumbling into the pitfalls of stringent dieting as she explains the facts and functions of food. She helps readers face the fears of  immersing in a new way of living and holds their hands as a sister-companion on the journey, since she continues to traverse the sometimes treacherous path herself. As  a business woman, coach, wife and mother, she wears many hats well. This consummate story teller shares her own vulnerabilities with grace and poignance that will have the reader nodding along. Self love is a primary ingredient in maintaing balance in our lives.


Balance Your Life closes with an invitation to sparkle in our own lives, with our family and friends, in our community, behind the wheel of the car and at the table. By reading this book, you too can become a self loving, lightened up, layered off inspirista.



Serenity Prayer

I can’t begin to convey how many times a day these words run through my sometimes way over-active mind, like oars in a rapidly running river, pushing away the water and propelling me forward as gracefully as possible. In some instances, the tide threatens to capsize me and yet, when I recite them, a sense of calm descends, like a warm, comfy blanket wrapped around my sometimes shivering shoulders.

They were attributed to theologian Reinhold Niehbuhr. Here is the text that was used in a sermon he offered in 1943.


God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the thingswhich should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,

Enjoying one moment at a time,

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,

Taking, as Jesus did,

This sinful world as it is,

Not as I would have it,

Trusting that You will make all things right,

If I surrender to Your will,

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,

And supremely happy with You forever in the next.


The first portion of the prayer is used in 12 step recovery programs such as AA  and NA (Alcoholics Anonymous  and Narcotics Anonymous) as a way of reminding folks that they need not go it alone. As an addictions counselor having been in the recovery field for 30 some years, I have seen the power of these simple words to guide and comfort. As someone who has been in recovery from co-dependent, caregiving, ‘savior behavior’, for umpteen years myself, I carry a coin in my wallet that I received in a CODA (Co-dependents Anonymous) meeting 15 or so years ago, that has a butterfly on one side (how appropriate for me since it is my totem animal guide, a metaphor for transformation and the image in which my mother assured me she would embody when she would visit after her passing in 2010) and the Serenity Prayer on the other. When I reach into the coin purse, I can feel it as talisman that grounds me.


What does serenity mean to you?  To me it means a feeling of calm in the midst of the storm, a certainty that “And all shall be well and All manner of thing shall be well,” as was so eloquently express by 14th century Christian mystic Julian of Norwich. A turning point in her life was when, in the throes of illness,  she had a vision of Jesus and in the aftermath, many years later, wrote a book entitled Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love.

For this solution finder, the next portion of the prayer is a bit trickier since I don’t like the idea of not being able to snap my fingers, wave my magic wand and sprinkle faerie dust on a problem, kiss it and make it better. Acceptance is that Nestea Plunge that I take daily, easing back into the metaphorical arms of God, trusting that I will be safely caught and cradled.


Wisdom, hmmmmm…to know the difference between what I can change and what I can’t doesn’t mean giving up or quitting. It still requires giving a situation my best each time. It takes discernment, sometimes on the fly, if I don’t have much more than a brief pause to contemplate options.

What I have learned is that it, like anything else I desire to master, is a moment to moment practice.

Wishing you serenity~  Jack’s Bielan’s  “Serenity (The Serenity Prayer Song)”, featuring Robbyn Kirmsse’


Slumber Party


As I am writing this entry, I am curled up in a chair  in a room at The Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill, NJ. My roomates, Ruth Anne Wood and Kaya John and I have been chatting and giggling for hours about all manner of things, including relationships, faeries, sex, out of body experiences, synchroncities, our work in the world, monkey mind inner critic obnoxious voices, music, movies,  loss of loved ones; two legged and four legged, and The Beatles (Kaya is writing a book on the subject called When Life Sends You Lemons Make LennonAid:  One Woman’s Victory Over Childhood Abuse). It would be an understatement to say that she is a wee bit obsessed with The Fab Four.


Ruth and I have known each other since she was 14 and Kaya and I are new friends who met a few months ago at a fundraiser for a friend who at the time was being treated for cancer and who is now blessedly healthy. She and I discovered an overlapping soul circle connection as she is long ago friends with my cousin’s husband.

We are attending a conference called Get OUT There, which is filled with high octane marketing ideas for conscious entrepreneurs. The attendees hail from all around the world and for three days are immersed in networking, sharing ideas, and learning from Christine Gallagher who refers to herself as CEO/Head Goddess of her company called She’s Got Clients. That she does and that she teaches brilliantly. I have been enjoying watching this vibrant, seemingly tireless woman pick ideas as if they were ripe apples in a tree just waiting to be crunched into and savored, with the juice dripping down our chins. I thought I knew alot about spreading the word about my work and that of others I have served. I have been amazed at just how much there is to learn and I wish we could do a Vulcan Mind Meld, so I could get it all down in the short time we have together. I was also gratified to hear that I already am doing many things that she recommended and are beneficial, including this blog. Glad to have it validated. I am also loving getting to know the folks who are playing big in their lives and drinking it all in. The idea of competition in business is giving way to cooperation and I have been delighted to share ideas with the others about our respective passions and how to best get the word out.


Ruth is the founder and director of Scripting For Success which helps people take their dreams out of the drawer and into the light of day. This dynamic woman has worked with creative souls from all walks of life; the maintstream and the metaphysical. She herself took a giant leap into being a sponsor for this particular event, as well as co-authoring a book with best selling authors on business success and mindset. She is giving away a chapter called Transforming Debt Into Abundance. Ruth invited me to play along and I’ve had a blast helping her ‘woman the table’ and  network, which happens to be one of my favorite things to do.

So, back to the big girl slumber party. It has been awhile since any of us have been teenagers who stayed up all night playing Truth or Dare, telling scary stories and eating ourselves into a sugar induced high. On this night, we are far more sedate….heck the two of them are entering dreamland at the moment as my fingers are tapping away on the keyboard. May all of our  sweetest waking and sleeping dreams come true. Golden Slumbers -The Beatles



World Kindness Week


“This is my simple religion.  There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” -His Holiness the Dalai Lama


Did you know that November 13-20 is dubbed World Kindness Week?   The cool thing is that every week….every day….every moment, can be infused with kindness. It costs nothing, since generosity is as free as the wind. I sense that it is hardwired into us, this instinct to be kind and yet, somehow, we allow it to slip away in the hustle and bustle of daily living. It gets reinforced at home, at school and in faith communities. The way we treat each 0ther from moment to moment, feeds the collective kindness kettle. I was talking with a friend recently about childhood visits to Atlantic City, NJ and the huge copper kettle being stirred by animated people in the front window of a fudge shop. When loving acts occur, it is like the ingredients for delight being poured and mixed round and round and when it is finished, it is enjoyed by those blessed to partake. Can you taste the sweetness?


What were you taught about kindness?  My parents modeled it in the ways in which they spoke to each other and us. They avoided gossip when at all possible, as do I. I won’t say anything about someone that I wouldn’t say to them. I have  walked away from gossiping people, with the comment “Who knows what you are saying about me when I’m not around?”  My folks offered service in the community (my dad volunteered at the  firehouse, my mom at the hospital) and at our synagogue.  They brought food to homes where someone was ill or someone had died. They gave of their hearts, which seems to me to be a good defintion of kindness.

Sometimes it is easier to be kind to others than it is to ourselves and yet, just like the saying ‘charity begins at home,’ so too does kindness begin within. How can we give what we ain’t got? Think about all of the ways you speak to yourself. Are they words of encouragement or deprecation?  Would you ever in a million years speak to someone else in the way you address yourself? Likely not. And yet, how many people who perpetrate abuse, whether verbal or physical, truly feel good about themselves or speak lovingly to the man or woman in the mirror. Not many.


In celebration of World Kindness Week, here are some suggestions:

Give yourself kindness kudos…what do you value about yourself?

Smile at everyone you pass each day.

Leave an extra large tip for service at a restaurant.

Put a love note in your child or partner’s lunch box, briefcase or purse.

Pay for a stranger’s meal.

Juice the toll taker, by giving him or her a thank you card just for being there.

Let someone else go in front of you in the supermarket check out line.

Run errands for a busy neighbor or drop by with home made goodies.

Offer to babysit for a harried parent. (well, for the children of a harried parent, although the mom or dad might need some babysitting too)


If you have skills that could be of benefit to someone, offer them. (sewing, construction, organization, massage are examples)

Read to a child.

Visit a nursing home Resident.

What are some of your kindness ideas? My Religion is Kindness by Karen Drucker

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