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The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

By Invitation

Tonight on my way home from one of my many right livelihood jobs, this one as a counselor in a drug and alcohol treatment outpatient program, I steered the Jeep toward my ‘office away from home’ a.k.a. The Zen Den in the bucolic/artsy Bucks County, PA town of Doylestown. I was dropping off a copy of my Bliss book to offer as part of a raffle basket and indulge in my drink of choice there: soy chai latte. I placed my order and went to find a table in the corner. At the next table was a young couple meeting with someone who I couldn’t see at first glance. I gathered they were speaking with a wedding officiant since they were making statements of that nature and I do that kind of work too, so it almost a no-brainer to figure out. It wasn’t until I heard the response that my heart  took a hopscotch leap. The minister was my friend Naila Francis. A dear kindred spirit, she lights up the world with her brilliant smile (think Mary Richards) and her writing talent. I grinned and nodded, so as not to interrupt and settled down to do my work as she did hers. Once the couple went on their way, she and I hugged our hellos. Naila’s writing appears in our regional newspaper in her regular column called Life In La La Land (so named because her niece couldn’t pronounce Naila so, La La she became) which is  from the day to day experience of this Renaissance Woman. I am moved to delighted laughter and wracking tears at various times as she has written about her travels, her work, her relationship with her Beloved Zane and most poignantly the recent deaths of two important men in her life; her father who died in October and her mother’s long time companion who passed last year and was surrogate father to her and her brother since their own lived on St. Lucia. Her emotional vulnerability is palpable and raw in everything she pens.

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Tonight I asked her the obvious question “So when are you going to write YOUR book?” She smiled somewhat demurely and indicated that she wasn’t sure she would. I marveled at the idea that she could decline the opportunity to share her wit and wisdom with the world. I’m not saying that because she is my friend, but because it is as much a universal Truth as is possible. In addition to her column, she writes about musicians that come to our area to perform. In the realm of the ‘grass is always greener’, I told her that I would love to do what she does and she reminded me that I already do.”Think of all the amazing people you’ve interviewed.”. Both of us smiled a bit sheepishly as we acknowledged how we sometimes take for granted how cool it is.

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As she was about to leave, I told her I would probably be writing about our encounter and asked if she minded if I say that I attempted to ‘kick her butt’ into writing a book. We both giggled about it and I was struck by the ways we invite people into our lives. She said she never sees anyone she knows here and I told her that I always do. Between the two of us, I’m glad that my tendency won out. I am so glad we serendipitously beckoned each other into our mutual presence on this chilly East Coast night as we were warmed by our kindred spirit/anam cara/soul friend connection.

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Stretchy Heart

Photo: Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude ~ Winnie the Pooh

As usually happens, my friend Jacob Nordby has wise words to share, whether they come from his own vivid imagination or from the pen of another beloved writer such as A.A. Milne. When I saw this on his Facebook page, my immediate thought was that perhaps feeling, acknowledging and expressing that for which we are grateful stretches our hearts. It’s kinda like The Grinch-phenomenon by which his heart “grew three sizes that day” when he realized that the spirit of Christmas had nothing to do with the kind of presents we get wrapped in pretty paper and ribbons, but rather the Presence of Love.

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A few years ago, I received a delightful little treasure called The Gratitude Power Workbook, penned by Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammons. It is filled with stories about appreciation, with the contention that those who are grateful, live their days in happier and healthier ways. To that I say AMEN and A-WOMEN! Most people find it easier to express thanks when something they have wanted, desired, craved, wished for, arrives in their waiting hands or stands in front of them, waving in greeting. Far more challenging is saying thank you for perils and pitfalls and yet, they are equally valuable if they help us stretch and grow.

One exercise I do daily was affirmed when perusing this book that jumped off a shelf at me the other day when working with a client. I have said thanks in advance of an event or desired experience, such as “Thank you for a money miracle or car repair miracle, or job miracle or health miracle….” with my favorite definition of that phenomenon coming from A Course In Miracles as a “shift in perception” since as we change how we look at things, the things we look at change. They quote Texas businessman Anthony Migyanka who says “I use spoken gratitude in my daily life to produce much success and contentment. First of all, in my business, after I decide on a course of action,  I say ‘thank you’ for the results not yet obtained, for the future gratitude of today.”  Besides being productive, it’s a lot of fun. I do it in the car, the shower, sitting here at the computer, when walking, dancing, drumming, at the gym, out loud to the people in my life and most importantly to myself in my all too actively critical noggin.

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Today I say thank you in advance for a wonderful session with a coaching client this morning to a powerful ‘playout’ at the gym, for healing sessions with two therapy clients later in the day, for the health of my body, for successful new job for my son that he just started, for a smoothly running car, computer… for deepening relationships, for inspired writing ideas, for financial abundance, for welcoming love in all forms, for being able to be of service, and  for spiritual connection.

Gracias, merci, danke schoen, hvala, wado, toda raba, mahalo and thank you ever so much from my stretchy heart to yours~

http://youtu.be/RWBdcQd59WM Thank You For This Day-Karen Drucker with dance by Truth In Motion

 

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Here Right Now

 

One of my favorite genres of music is known as singer-songwriter in which the one who pens the words and vocalizes is also a consummate story teller. The mark of a talented artist is the ability to open doors and windows into a world that has the listener wanting to visit over and over. Denise Moser is such a one as she reveals her frailties and fantasies, fears and triumphs. Her CD is called Here Right Now which is a paradoxical title since many of the songs touch on memory such as the sweetly sentimental  I Remember with its tear-inducing lines “I can feel your kiss on my shoulder. I can see your eyes say “My love is the truth.” The opening song, I Believe is her wo-manifesto as she declares: “I believe in winter boots……I believe in deep earth smell and the sound of falling rain. In tripping over my heavy heart. And in gettting up again…..I believe in brown hair turning gray.”  The title song is an ode to change and  means of  Moser claiming all of who she is, her woundings and thrivings as a seasoned woman and the meandering path it took to get her from where she was to where she now stands.  Oldest Dream bares her soul to a new love, it seems as she offers transparently “I’m not a perfect girl. I never tried to be.  But I’m mostly beautiful. If you know how to see…..I’ll make friends with your ghosts .I’ll make my heart your holy host.”)   .”  Boy Store is a playful jaunt as she places a special order for the man of her dreams. Moser spills herself wide open as she scribes her Unfinished Song on the blank paper that she calls ‘an old friend’ on which she writes about a deep unfulfilled dream of being a mother.   The tune is reminiscent of  the hymn  written by Robert Lowry How Can I Keep From Singing. Overlapping voices embellish Lucid Dreaming as she speaks of being someplace that is ‘part school’ and yet at first listen, it sounds like she is saying ‘heart school’..maybe it is both. May This House is a prayer of welcome to herself and those who cross the threshold. Moser is in her element in prayer-realm since she is also a cantorial singer  at Beth Chaim Reform Congregation in Malvern, Pennsylvania. The closing song Open Space is her God-communion as she sings praises familiarly ” You sure are creative. I like what you’ve done with the place.” and “I believe that what you are is what you’ve always been. I see you best when I look within.” Mark Moss joins her as multi-instrumentalist and back up vocalist.

Moser’s voice is like a familiar friend welcoming you home to yourself.

www.denisemosermusic.com

www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3D-JTh0AFnrrI  Here Right Now by Denise Moser

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The Lotus in the Mud

“There is the mud, and there is the lotus that grows out of the mud. We need the mud in order to make the lotus,” Thich Nhat Hanh.

 This entry is not for the squeamish since some of the descriptions may seem rather indelicate….but I AM a creative writer after all and readers tell me they have a vicarious experience when reading my words….here goes…

As I am writing, I am waiting for the plumber to ring my doorbell. For better or worse, Mike has become a reliable fixture (no pun intended) since we moved back to Pennsylvania from Hurricane Andrew ravaged South Florida in early 1993. Heaters, clogged drains and in this case, at the moment, a backed up toilet. I got some upper body workout in prep for the gym tonight with the rigorous plunging that only temporarily allowed the water level to lower, only to rise again when flushed. I know that somehow, as he always does, Mike will work his magic and it will flow freely again. I notice a connection between the toilet’s condition and my own backed up thoughts that have me feeling sluggish and stuck. Funny thing is that I have been feeling quite creative today, having just returned from a retreat, scheduling events, writing a new book, an inspiring conversation with my friend Mali Apple who shared wonderful ideas for the book, doing promo, cleaning my house, doing grocery shopping. So, I wonder what this one is about. Financial fears have arisen like the water level, basic survival stuff as essential as letting go of the physiological fecal matter lest we implode. Emotional constipation exists here, as both my son and dear friends Ondreah and Janet remind me that witholding anger in the service of conflict avoidance is just as unhealthy. Old worn out beliefs and clogs. Needing an internal roto rooter, spiritual colonic. In life, we keep the bathroom door shut to do our ‘business’ in private so that no one else is involved with our releasing and relinquishing process. We know that they know what goes on behind the closed door because it is a necessary aspect of their lives too, and yet we pretend  in the day to day interactions that we don’t have our own ‘stuff’ to deal with. We do our best to keep it all inside and yet how silly we are in acting as if it just isn’t there. Like most people, I imagine, I want to appear to have my ‘you know what’ together. After all, I erroneously reason, since  I teach this stuff, how can it be any other way?  And yet, as I am discovering, the more transparent I am able to be, the less likely I am to have emotional backups and will be less likely to need to be snaked out by life happenings.

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Mike just left after a few twirls of the snake  and by way of explaining the issue, he told me “These low flow toilets need all the help they can get.” as he raised the water level.  Here I thought I was being eco-friendly by purchasing that kind of potty and it comes back to ‘bite me in the tush'; metaphorically speaking.  For now, I will remember the wise word of Thich Nhat Hanh and take the time to cultivate the mud-flowers in my own life.

 

 

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