The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog


Years ago, as I was opening  a box of cereal for breakfast, I smiled and then laughed out loud when I saw the words written on the box top “To see if you’re a winner, look inside.”  That quote has remained with me as a reminder that in order to win in the game of life, we first need to recognize the source of our success. Not sure that the cereal company had that in mind when they encouraged digging through the flakes for a plastic toy, unless they had a really creative ad person on board, but I liked the reference. This morning, not long after enjoying my cereal doused with almond milk and sprinkled with fruit, I noticed this encouraging message on facebook. It begged the question:  What does it mean to win?  In some circles, it implies beating the stuffings out of someone else, either literally like in a boxing ring or metaphorically as in a Presidential race. Not my idea of winning. In the circles in which I travel, which I much prefer, it means bringing the best of who you are to any table you approach. It means waking up each day, setting intention to create wonder, making decisions that positively impact you and the world around you. When you feel like a winner after accomplishing a goal, whether it is running a mile or completing a book, passing a test or asking someone out on a date,  then you can take the next step and reach even higher. With that type of momentum, you are an example for others. And even more than that, your smile that says you did it, is contagious. Imagine a day in which, step by step, you climb the ladder of success.


One way to feel like a winner, is to surround yourself with them. When I was a kid, I heard over and over this line “You are judged by the company you keep.”  What that meant to me is that if I am with people who think in limited ways, I absorb that energy and become that way myself. If I choose to be with happy, successful people who are a joy to spend time with, then I am seen that way as well. Jim Rohn who is a motivational speaker has said  that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.  Think about the ones who are in your closest sphere. Are they naysayers or yaysayers? Are they kvetching and complaining about life, feeling like victims or are they taking positive action and living like thrivers? How do people view you?  How do you view yourself?  Do you spend time with the same people out of habit, obligation, fear? Are you with them because you truly value each other’s company?  Do you bring out the best in each other? For a long time, I stayed in friendships because I thought I would be disloyal if I left them. In truth, the only one to whom I was being disloyal was myself by remaining in unhealthy situations with toxic people. No one need ever prove their loyalty at their own emotional peril. Once I said goodbye to them, my own sense of self worth rose incrementally. When you can respect the man or woman in the mirror, your win-ability rises with it.


So, what are your gold medal musings and prize winning ponderings?  I accept completely that we would not be given the inspiration to do something if the seeds for accomplishment were not already there. Perhaps the outcome is not exactly as we have envisioned it, but sometimes it is. We won’t know until we take those steps to arrive at our destination. If you carry the knowing that it is possible…..heck, even likely that you can dream, strive believe, achieve (this was written in lovely script on a mug given to me by a friend many years ago), then how could you feel like anything BUT a winner?  Having said that, be advised that there are times when I get discouraged and wonder what the heck I am doing. And then….the magic happens, like a friend calling with just the right words to lift me out of my self imposed funk, or a lovely review of my book gets posted on Amazon or I am asked to speak at a conference or I am able to able to stay on the elliptical or do a few more reps during my ‘playouts’ at the gym. Mostly I feel like a winner when I am aware of the countless blessings that surround me, as if my name keeps being called at an awards ceremony. I graciously accept and say to the universe, as did Sally Field when she won an Academy Award for Places In The Heart-” I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!”


“The winner’s edge is not in a gifted birth, a high IQ, or in  talent. The winner’s edge is all in the attitude, not aptitude. Attitude is the  criterion for success.”  Denis Waitley

“There are always new, grander challenges to confront, and a  true winner will embrace each one.”-Mia Hamm

“I don’t care to be remembered as the man who scored six  touchdowns in a game. I want to be remembered as a winner in life.”-Gale Sayers Born For Greatness -Jana Stanfield



The Magical Path

What if there was a portable tool kit filled with easy to use ideas, ancient concepts that seem fresh, tried and true doorways into what you dream and desire?  Would you think it was too good to be true?  If you are like most people who were raised in an environment or culture that bred fear and thoughts of lack and limitation, then the answer would be “Likely.”…and yet, there is hope for you. Take a step on The Magical Path-Creating The Life of Your Dreams and A World That Works For All written by the prolific bestselling author Marc Allen. I felt invited into its pages from the moment I cast eyes upon the glowing sunrise cover of a person standing at the peak of a road, gazing back from whence he/she came. That is the journey we are all on and the road which we all traverse. Now, the trick is, do we stop when things feel challenging, turn back or move forward? Allen, who in 1977 founded New World Library (along with Shakti Gawain), a mover and shaker in the publishing industry, penned this book as a result of his own meandering path. He clearly practices what he preaches and is willing to divulge his own pitfalls and perils and reveals the depths and heights he rode to get to the place he now stands, ready to take others along for their own personal ride.


Allen encourages a multi-modal approach to life change which includes breathing and meditation, goal setting, affirmation, journaling, creating a treasure map/vision board, using our dreams as guides, reading inspiring literature, prayer, as well as  collecting and using motivational quotes.

One of many aspects of this book that is so appealing is that when we create a new reality and manna-fest our personal desires, it is not for ourselves alone that we do this. Allen repeatedly speaks about the importance of the highest good being served. He believes in win-win scenarios, rather than a world in which competition reigns supreme.

Allen finds his own inspiration from various sources as quotes from Eckhart Tolle, Jesus, Margaret Meade, Patanjali, Ramana Maharshi, Albert Einstein, Ernest Holmes, The Buddha and Ella Wheeler Wilcox are liberally scattered throughout the pages, just waiting to be gathered up by the reader as if they were bunches of wildflowers.


The book can be read page by page in order, or opened at random and voila!  the appropriate concept will jump out at the reader, perhaps responding to an inquiry or on a topic that was just being pondered. It was certainly the case for this reviewer, as on several occasions, the subject that had been crossing my mind was right there in black and white, just daring exploration. Allen speaks about the importance of repetition as reinforcement. This material is sticky stuff that will remain with you long after the last page is read and the book is put on a shelf. Likely, it will be pulled off over and over as a resource for life transformation.


“And miracles will follow miracles and wonders will never cease, for all our expectations are for good.”- Florence Scovill Shinn

And so it is.


Home Coming


Had another delightfully whirlwind weekend that began with a thai massage offered by a new friend Neil from Chicago who was visiting Philadelphia. Two hours and change after I rose from the mat, I felt reconstructed, like pieces had moved back into place, as I have experienced following a chiro adjustment. Since he was  newbie to the city, I took him to one of my favorite places on the planet…where “all the hippies meet”…South Street. We ambled down the blocks, had Middle Eastern lunch at South Street Souvlaki and decadent Haagen Dazs treats afterward and then into Garland of Letters; an icon in the metaphysical/transformational community since the 1970’s.


The second leg of the trip saw me heading 100 plus miles south down 95 to Columbia, MD (a suburb of Baltimore) to speak at the On Purpose Woman Conference organized by the dyamo known as Ginny Robertson.  The night before, I stayed with my friend Nancy who greeted me with hugs, delcious dinner and a soak in her under the stars hot tub that eased me into peaceful sleep.

My workshop was called Abundant Self Love. Because we teach what we need to learn, it was the perfect topic for this recovering co-dependent caregiver chameleon who has the ability to fit in, change color, adapt to her surroundings in a heartbeat. Some of that is functional and part of what enables me to succeed in many areas of my life and some totally dysfunctional and not much fun at all.  I was excited at the prospect of meeting new networking buddies and immerse in the energy of powerful women, many who are heart centered, conscious entrepreneuers who are doing what I would like to do. My favorite was the keynote presenter Spiritual Life Coach Maq Ele’ who refers to her biz as G-String Living. Just like the title of my business By Divine Design, hers was divinely inspired. Gracefully Standing True Receiving InNer Guidance. The title raises eyebrows and interest. This funny, dynamic and come from the heart speaker called her talk Put Your Big Girl Panties On.  She encouraged us to live fully and purposefully. What I admired most of all was that this statuesque 5’11” woman dared to wear silver sparkly heels that elevated her to a striking 6’4″….and  she bought them on sale!   Does it get much better than that? Although I wouldn’t wear them myself (the closer I am to the ground, the better I feel) and I wore flats yesterday, I saw in this woman who was at least 20 years my junior, daring to do what my mother adivised throughout my life and “walking in like she owned the joint.” Would that I always be able to carry myself that boldly!



I had the joy of connecting with many kind hearts and as I was planning my drive back north, I was asked by a young woman if I would take her to a bus station en route. I was glad to do so and even more so, when a conversation arose that had me shaking my head in wonder at her wisdom. She told me that she believed that giving birth to a child which is something she and her husband would like to do, is more than just bringing a child into the world. It is about giving birth to an adult that this baby will someday become. As parents we are responsible to offering the best of who we are, so they can be their best. As the parent of a 25 year old (and I’m guessing that my passenger isn’t much older than that), I can tell you that we do what we can, plant the seeds and then surrender. There is the illusion of control with no gurantee of outcome. I am also giving birth to myself each day.


Within two hours of dropping her off at her interim destination, I walked in, rather breathlessly to my 35th high school reunion,  (Willingboro High School, class of 1977) that I had planned on attending for the past few months and trepiditiously anticipating (such a juxtaposition, huh?) for years before that. I knew I needed to go and face my gremlins. You see, the woman who now wears an air of confidence, used to wear that ‘coat of many colors, stripes and chameleon skin’ described a few paragraphs above. She was frequently second guessing herself. She both admired and resented the ease with which it appeared that many of her class mates navigated through their lives, little realizing that perhaps they too were competent actors on the stage of life. As I entered the catering hall with twinkling lights glowing on the ceiling floor and faces of eternally youthful old friends, I felt a sense of relief, as if I had slipped off that coat and could just be for a few hours. Squeals of recognition and joyous pointing of fingers….”It’s you!”  Name tags really helped when when I wasn’t quite sure who folks were and after awhile, in the midst of hugs, they fell off. What was funny was that so many of the women looked the same and so many of the men didn’t. Some of the women had more hair and some of the men had decidely less and in some cases; none.  Laugh lines, grey hair, bald heads, reading glasses… What’s really sobering is that many of us have kids older than we were back then. Laughter, hugs, sharing of stories, passing around our yearbooks with ‘remember when’ pictures, dancing to 70’s music.  I found myself enjoying hearing tales about life in the interim. It seemed like the years just melted away and all that was left was shared history and connection. I wondered how many of them did the internal inquiry I did then and I do now. I imagine that aging, illness, loss, divorce, death and other major life changes, give rise to deeper exploration for everyone in the room. I feel like I have finally made peace with the awkward teenager who felt like she never quite fit in. I felt welcomed home.

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Etch A Sketch

For those of us of a certain age, this shiny red object was a staple in our childhood. One of my favorite toys; I was fascinated with the ways I could simply turn knobs and watch as, seemingly by magic, lines both squiggly and straight, would form under the surface of the plastic. I never cared about the technology involved and I still don’t since it would spoil the mystery. I do take into consideration that some of my readers would want to know the science behind the fun.

Here is what wikipedia has to say about it:


“Etch A Sketch is a mechanical drawing toy invented by French inventor André Cassagnes and subsequently manufactured by the Ohio Art Company.

An Etch A Sketch has a thick, flat gray screen in a distinctive red plastic frame. There are two knobs on the front of the frame in the lower corners. Twisting the knobs moves a stylus that displaces aluminium powder on the back of the screen, leaving a solid line. The knobs create lineographic images. The left control moves the stylus horizontally, and the right one moves it vertically.


The Etch A Sketch was introduced near the peak of the Baby Boom in 1960, and is one of the best known toys of that generation. It was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, New York in 1998. In 2003, the Toy Industry Association named Etch A Sketch to its Century of Toys List, a roll call commemorating the 100 most memorable and most creative toys of the 20th century.[1]


Tonight, My friend Mike Chadwick posted this observation on Facebook that had me thinking about the idea of an Etch A Sketch world view:

“This world is like a 3D Etch a Sketch. You build and do things and with a shake in time they are erased.” My response was “But then you get to create a new picture.”  What if it really was that simple?  We are creative beings by nature and have the tools to design our lives as we would like. The thing is, the knobs on the toy can only draw finite shapes and the images are not always flowing. Hmmmm….that’s kind of like life as well. Although we are infinite in many ways, the limitations of this human body lend themselves to certain restrictions. We may have a particular vision for the picture of our existence, but sometimes the end result is a wee bit off from our original intent. And then there’s this shaking thing…like the toy, our lives may feel as if they are in the hands of a child who wants to start anew. “But wait a minute,” we object, “I like this picture as it is and don’t want it to go away.” Guess what, nothing lasts forever in the form it is in.


Several years ago, I had the experience of witnessing for the first time (I have seen it a few times since then), a group of Tibetan monks create a sand mandala. It is always imbued with the energy of healing or love or prayer of some type. It can take days to create and then with a flick of a finger and swish of a brush, all of the brilliant colors and intricate designs become a pile of grey, non-descript sand. This illustrates the Buddhist concept of impermanence. If I am able to see my life in the same way, no less an exquisite creation because sometimes the color and vibrance fades to mush, I will be better equipped to create anew. And if I can view my life as a shiny red toy, made for my amusement, trusting in infinite do-overs, then every day is meant for play. Shake it up, baby!

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