The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Color Outside the Lines

 

Have you ever felt like a crayon that didn’t quite fit in to the Crayola box, no matter how much you wanted to? Your unique color and flavor seemed weird instead. As a child  with glasses, asthma and foot issues that required clunky, red orthopedic shoes, I had often felt like a differently colored crayon, outside the box and  somehow, chameleon that I was, learned to blend in with the other crayons, so as not to feel left out.  Now as an adult, I revel in being unique and sometimes deliberately exaggerate the differences to stand out. I surround myself with riotously hued companions whose own eccentricities match or compliment my own. How tedious and bland life would be if we were limited to black and white and shades of gray and yet there are many who, in an attempt to play it safe, do this and  miss out on so much vibrance.  My lifestyle feeds this paradigm richly. As I am writing these words, I am gazing around the room and take in images of a SARK poster called Living Juicy, a chakra print, teddy bears, a string of twinkle lights,,  a fabric butterfly that hovers above me,  a window box image of a faerie that a friend brought back from a trip to Ireland a  few years ago,  heart shaped wind chimes, vision boards that have helped me call in my dreams and desires, my massage table, a sun mask with sun glasses perched on it  (“My future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.”), a  white plume feather that I received a few years back from a member of a Mummer’s parade string band when we both volunteered at an event sponsored by Gilda’s Club, bookshelves filled with other people’s inspirational words,  (I collect books like some women collect shoes, with more of them than any other type of object in my home)and photographs of loved ones, including my parents, beaming out at me.  Listening to my Saturday morning ease-into-my-day music on a program called Sleepy Hollow on WXPN.

I grew up in a silly family who sang goofy songs, with parents who danced in the kitchen (even into their 80’s), who played with us as if they hadn’t forgotten, mom tossing jacks and dad shooting marbles on the floor…the consensus was that my dad took us  kite flying because he had missed out on that activity when he was young. They set an example for out of the box interaction and to this day, I hear people’s stories about how cherished they were/are.  They embraced diversity and taught us to do the same. Among their circle of friends, they welcomed folks from various countries and faith traditions, abilities and socio-economic backgrounds. They took us to multi-cultural events; the World’s Fair in NY two years in a row in the 1960’s bring with it cherished memories. I was watching family home movies a week or so ago and with delight, took in the images of us dancing with Keystone Cops and at the Indian pavilion where the raven haired women were fascinated with my sister Jan’s bright red curls. As a result, my own overlapping soul circles celebrate diversity as well, coming from different ‘walks of life’, hailing from around the world. Some friends walk on their own, some with a cane, others wheel themselves from place to place. Some are deaf, some blind. Each has their unique way of viewing life and interacting with it.

What colors do you bring to the canvas of life?

Are you willing to color outside the lines?

How can you create yourself as your own masterpiece worthy of gallery lighting?

Can you transform ‘different’ to ‘unique’ and ‘weird’ to ‘out of the ordinary’?

http://youtu.be/o7YMuYs8VWs Don’t Laugh At Me by Peter, Paul and Mary

www.xpn.org

 

 

Account-ability

As I am writing this entry, immersed in what I excel (words) my BFF Barb who came into my life when we were 14 and sitting on a bench at a swim meet in our hometown of Willingboro, NJ, is immersed in one of the things she does best that I cringe when I look them….numbers. A CPA, she is sitting at my dining room table, a cup of tea that is getting cold,  with bank statements, my check book, tax info spread around her, she is creating a spread sheet of the facts and figures of my life. I would much prefer to focus on the word pictures, while she and her husband Glenn who is my accountant and financial advisor encourage me to look at the bigger financial picture.

Growing up in a blue collar middle class family, money was never overflowing the coffers, but we always had what we needed. There were never role models for financially well off women in my family and anyone who was, was married to a man with money AND they were all business men, not creative types like me.  I had to invent my own relationship with money and it wasn’t always friendly. One thing I have learned is that I have always been able to cover my bills. Widowed more than 13 years ago, I have been able to support my son and keep us in the same house in which have lived since 1992 through sheer ingenuity, hard work and the ability to spin at least 10-12 plates at the same time. For those of  a certain age, you will remember the guy on the Ed Sullivan Show who would do just that.  Barb is shaking her head at my sometimes lax accounting system and is doing her best to find ways to set up something that will work for this sometimes ‘cosmic foo foo social worker, right brain creative type’ .

I can feel my stomach clenching a bit as we look at the numbers dancing across the page of a manual spread sheet she is creating. I breathe a sigh of relief that she has the patience and skill to assist me in managing a sometimes unmanageable aspect of my life. The truth is, if I welcome financial prosperity, I darn sure better be able to care for it, like I would a relationship with a human being. So, as my relationship with money is evolving, I become more accountable in all ways.

http://youtu.be/1RYc6k803oo Prosperity Chant by Karen Drucker

 

 

 

The Fabric of Existence

 

“The very fabric of existence is love.”-Jacob Nordby

As I read these syllables written by a fellow word-smith, it occurred to me that we weave new threads each moment in the company of kindred spirits at a great big quilting bee where the table is miles long with room for new folks to join the fun. I gaze back at the past 5 decades of my life in amazement at how many and varied were the folks who sat at the table with me. I come from an immediate family of 4 (my parents, Selma and Moish who are now weaving from the Other Side and my younger sister Jan), an extended family in the high double digits, since my maternal grandmother was one of thirteen children and her generation created the next and so on, and my father’s side of the family, smaller, but just as closely knit….. and now an ever growing circle of family of choice……including all of you who read the Bliss Blog. As we touch each other’s lives, we are related, not by DNA, but by heart.

At the moment, the threads have me sitting at Meineke getting my car inspected and listening to a conversation about why another customer doesn’t celebrate Valentines’ Day, since her ‘significant other’ doesn’t celebrate. She and I, another customer and the man behind the counter agreed that each day could be celebrated in honor of love. Yesterday, I embellished my work clothes with a ‘fancy shmancy’ shiny red heart necklace that I got at a dollar store and handed out What I Learned About Love posters to my co-workers….kind of the grown up version of the mini Valentine cards I loved to give and receive when I was a child. The smiles on their faces made my day. At this time in my life, my own ‘significant other’ is still somewhere else, living his life, until the day we come together,  since as the Michael Buble’ song waxes…. “I just haven’t met him yet.”  In previous years since being widowed, I have felt a pang whilst walking through card stores in the the atheredweeks prior to the holiday dedicated to expression of love. This year, it was just smiles; content with what is.

The tv was tuned in to Good Day Philadelphia and we were astonished at what we saw. A man was standing in a security line at an airport and the young man in front of him had left a watch in the bin when he gathered his belongings. Rather than calling out to him in order to return it, the man behind him picked it up and put it in his own bin, little considering that he was on camera. What was he thinking? Or was he?  What threads wove through his life that had him take this particular conscience-less action?

I see people daily who have survived woundings; some of whom triumph and some of whom succumb. What is the difference between the two?  Learned resilience perhaps, a sense of knowing that all is well. One of my co-workers, a psychiatrist, recently struck up a conversation with me about my spiritual conviction that has me rolling with whatever happens on the job. He said he wished he could believe too.  What keeps me knowing that all is well?  The thread that my parents wove into my tapestry of  my life, witnessing them trusting that no matter what the circumstances, they would overcome the challenges with grace and love. It was their legacy to me and one that I gladly pass on to my son.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Hdx9JjzDfo  Dream Weaver  by Gary Wright

 

Scarenerio

                                                                                         
My friend Maureen Finney posted this message on Facedbook today and it jumped out at me and said “BOO!” and then giggled mischievously.
“When I scare myself, which I tend to do from time to time, I ask myself in this scarenerio….what if this were alright? What if nothing around me holds any powerful to make me unhappy?”
There are so many things in the world that could frighten us if we allow for it. Crime, illness, death, relationship shifts, job loss, financial challenges, trauma, public speaking..(I added that one, since allegedly it is the top fear according to a study that was done years ago…rating even higher than death; the joke being that some people would rather die than speak in public:) Not a fear I have ever had, since I have long loved being center stage.  When we experience fear, we limit ourselves, paralyze ourselves, getting stuck in the mud and the muck. The fight, flight, freeze dynamic comes in handy if we are faced with a saber tooth tiger, literally or metaphorically, but if we maintain any of those states for too long, it is like revving an engine…eventually the motor burns out. I have met plenty of people in my lifetime that are limping along vehicles, wheels spinning, going nowhere. Instead of getting out of the symbolic car, they will often curse, yell, kick the tires, blame the car, blame the other drivers on the road of life, bemoan their history, despair that the road before them will be no more hospitable than the one on which they have traveled.  That’s where Maureen’s logic comes in handy.

The truth is, the only thing that has power over us, is that which we allow and invite. Any time I am faced with ‘scary monsters’, I take the situation to inquiry, holding it up to the light and ask what I am making it mean. Rather than focusing on the worst possible outcome, I consider the best possible finale. I then conjure imagery and emotion that goes along with it. It feels like waving a magic wand and ta-da! the fog clears and the sun melts away the clouds and beams brightly through, illuminating the answer to the erstwhile frustrating dilemma. What’s right about this situation, rather than what’s wrong about it? We are pre-disposed and conditioned to be fault finding. We need to train ourselves to be solutions oriented.

I remember a metaphor about someone who is afraid of snakes waking up and seeing what looked like a coiled snake on their bedroom floor. Panic gripped them until they turned on the light and saw that it was just a pile of rope. Whew! The thing is, once we recognize the fears for what they are….we will never again be able to turn twine into a slithering serpent.

What if it really was as simple as a shift in perception to turn a ‘ scarenerio’ into a sunlit, successful scenario in which happiness was our norm?

 

 

http://youtu.be/sNqywS4TPw0  May I Suggest-sung by Red Molly

www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdPh4MpxwJo  and the original by Susan Werner

 

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