Beliefnet
The Bliss Blog

 

Some solutions are so obvious that they are ‘hiding in plain sight’ and I like to say, that “if it had teeth, it would have bitten me.” This morning, I was presented with something that simple and profound. As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, my friend Cindy Greb who writes Beliefnet’s Blessings Abound column, is visiting Pennsylvania where her parents and siblings live, from her new home in Crestone, Colorado. She is camping out in my living room. At the same time, my son is working on painting a room that will become my new office. For now, an extra sofa is hanging out between the living room and dining room, backed up against the dining room table at which Cindy and I are working. I was attempting to clamber over it, squeeze around it, balancing my almond milk, strawberry, banana fruit smoothie. Cindy grinned and said, “How about it we move the couch so you can get past it?” Duh.

How often do I make things much harder than necessary?  I guess it’s the recovering Type A-semi-perfectionistic-workaholic in me that has to make it appear that I am working soooo much more diligently than I am. It occurred to me a few years ago that if I set the bar really high and hurtle over it, then I can give myself extra atta-girl’s for it and if I miss, then I can justifiably give myself wiggle room, because ‘after all, how could I possibly have reached the goal when it was so daunting?’ I am more conscious of that dynamic these days and go for easier, more graceful endeavors. There remains a sense of accomplishment, regardless.

What are the couches in your life?  Mine look like worn out beliefs of lack and limitation, all the shoulda woulda coulda’s that I set in my way. The version of me that used to gaze back from my mirror has blessedly, gained some wisdom and actually put the couch down, since there was a time when I would have not only moved it myself, but carried it too.

These days, I’m even learning to allow for more time to lounge on it.

coloredpencils

 

As I’m writing this Bliss Blog entry, I’m sitting at my dining room table with my dear friend Cindy Greb who I have known for 28 years. She is a new Beliefnet  columnist (Blessings Abound) who is visiting back East from her new home in Crestone, Colorado. Cindy has the bright curiosity of a child, the wisdom of an elder (she and I are both seasoned women with the laugh lines to show for it) and a traveler’s soul. She has lived in four states and has visited many more. Everywhere she goes, she draws in kindred spirits with all of those attributes.  When I heard she was going to be coming here to see her family, I immediately called dibs on some of her time. She is also an exquisite artist and photographer, writer and as a bonus……massage therapist extraordinaire. Looking forward to my table time tomorrow.

We are both working on our blogs and I know that we are each feeding the flow. I am blessed to have many friends who help me color outside the lines with my creative juices. I continue to attract writers, painters, designers, photographers, dancers, drummers, singers, multi-instrumentalists who inspire me to let my own wildly wondrous word wrangler out to play. She spills forth copious amounts of verbiage, not able to staunch the flow. I am feeding it by diving into life head and heart-first, sometimes in hyper-drive. Lately though, I have noticed the beauty inherent in silence and serenity when once it would have been nearly unthinkable….me slow down? Heavens no, the world might stop spinning.

What I particularly love about co-creation is that no one person has all of the ideas available and stream of consciousness thinking sparks each other’s imagery. Painting word pictures, we writerly types open the door to new worlds. I was speaking with someone today about his creative ideas. He says that he primarily writes for himself, not caring much about feedback and peddling his words to the public. I toss it off to being young since he is 19. I remember brimming with youthful idealism and when I look back at my journals from my college years (circa late 70’s- early 80’s) it amazes me still that I was able to crystalize concepts. In the interceding three decades, it feels like my brain is a sponge that lives to soak up impressions and wring them back out to drench the imaginations of those who choose to slurp up the words.

http://blog.beliefnet.com/blessingsabound/

http://youtu.be/VmItkmpZ7Dw Tribute to Obatala (Yoruban Orisha-God of Creativity)

 

Just finished lunch, from my favorite Chinese buffet near my day job. Cracked open the requisite fortune cookie and these words jumped out at me: “Some people dream of worthy accomplishments while others stay awake and do them.”  When I read them, I smiled, since I am both  dreamer and doer, visionary and actor on my visions. There was a time, when I lingered in the first realm since it felt easier and safer. I had grand and glorious dreams that I told myself ‘someday’ would come true. It is like the four words that my little surrogate grandson utters every time we open a book and read together. I will ask, “What does that say?” Two year old Collin will giggle and spout out “Once upon a time.”  “And how about that?”, I query, pointing to another phrase. “Once upon a time.”  For him, it is a game, a joke, a silly exchange, since he knows it can’t ALL say that, and yet, how often do we as adults get stuck in musing ‘once upon a time’ mode, because we are intimidated by the rest of the story? I know I was and on rare occasions, still am.

When I look back on my life, I want to be able to say for sure, that the things I accomplished were indeed worthy; worthy of the potential, gifts and talents bestowed upon me at birth, worthy of the work and sweat I put into them, worthy of the people who are served by them, and worthy of the investment my family and friends place in me. When I succeed, it isn’t just for me. It reflects on the folks who stood by me and cheered me on. When I witness other people’s accomplishments and feel that in some way, I have contributed, there is a basking in their reflected glory, a ‘kvelling’ (Yiddish for overflowing with pride). I want those in my circles to feel that way when I reach a milestone as I do with them. I have many successful friends in various realms:  artists, writers, musicians, entrepreneurs, students, teachers, healers, parents and when I hear about something they have accomplished, I want to shout it from the rooftops. So why, I wonder, do I have such a challenge with comfortably doing that for myself? I start out being ‘shamelessly self promoting’ as I encourage others to do and then I retract, wondering “What will people think?  Am I being too visible, too attention seeking?”

Instead of hiding your worthy accomplishments, I invite you to use your God-given gifts and talents to serve the world and as a result, discover the fortune that need not be freed from a cookie.

 

This morning, I joined friends and neighbors in the nearby community of Doylestown, PA to  honor a time of remembrance of loved ones passed and past. In this country, the commemoration of Memorial Day, even though it heralds the first ‘unofficial weekend of summer’, is at its core, about thanking those who gave their lives in military combat over the decades. It  had its origin in the Civil War era. From sidewalks, multi-generational family groups and friends, two leggeds and four leggeds, stood and sat in colorful chairs, chatting animatedly. Doylestown’s parade is the oldest in the country and brings out military, scouting, historical, spiritual, entertainment, social and social justice groups.

I sat with friends from the Doylestown Food Co-op in a prime spot at the home of one of the members, so we could see everything.

Loved the parade. Enjoyed the rich diversity of people there, from all different  parts of the world and varying lifestyles; tattooed biker dudes nearby turbaned Hindus, watching Irish step dancers leap on by them…..melting pot culture is what we are indeed. That brings out the best of what America is about.

My only discomfort was the machine gun sound in the midst of a crowd that emanated from an army tank. It’s one thing to honor military personnel who have served either by choice or draft. It’s another to glorify weaponry and war in that way. Haven’t too many died? It seems to me that this makes it seem like shooting is cool, guns are cool; and I know that there are some people who may be reading this, who may be gun owners and may indeed believe that. We can agree to disagree on that point. Can you imagine looking the ‘enemy’ in the eye and seeing someone’s son, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife or partner?  Could you really pull the trigger if that was the case? I can’t imagine what it would be like, to be face to face in a kill or be killed situation. As a therapist, I have worked with those who have seen combat and returned with severe PTSD. One was an army medic who thought his house was under attack, so he threw his sleeping wife on the floor and attempted to choke her. He confessed through tears that  “I went in as a healer and they turned me into a killer.” Part of his task was to “pick up body parts.”

I would love to have seen peace groups being a larger and more visible part of the parade.  Admittedly, I am a gracefully aging tree-hugging hippie whose desire is to live long enough to witness whirled peas(:

 

http://youtu.be/L5pgrKSwFJE I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore- Phil Ochs

http://youtu.be/UC9pc4U40sI Universal Soldier-Don0van