The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Fall Down Five Times, Get Up Six

                                                                        

I was thinking about my father Moish, (who passed in 2008) the other day as I was telling a friend about the way he always encouraged us to excel at whatever it was that we chose to do. My father was not a formally educated man, but a wise one who knew about people and the ways in which, when nurtured,  they grew beautifully. He put his heart and soul into all of his relationships and everything else he did as well. Graduating from Bok Vocational High School in South Philly in 1942, he joined the Navy immediately afterward as an Electrician’s Mate. While serving, he also became a Golden Gloves Boxer and he tells the story of sparring with pre-Hollywood fame Charles Bronson. Who knows if it was family legend or if it truly happened..it made for interesting conversation. Alhtough I am not a fan of boxing; I admire his dedication to life long athleticism; running, jumping rope, bicycling and even into his 80′s; working out at the gym.  On occasion, when my younger sister Jan and I would butt heads over something as children, my dad would put the gloves and protective equipment on us and offer us a chance to ‘battle it out’ that way. Of course, we would swat at each other, never connecting. I joke now that it is a good thing I was; even then, such a pacifist, since I could have developed a mean right hook. So many people experience learned helplessness and give up before they have a chance to succeed. I was offered the gift of learned resilience from both of my parents; each in different ways. My mother’s attitude was “What will be, will be, so why worry?” which didn’t preclude walking the talk and instead invited inspired action. My father’s mindset was ‘you do what needs to be done in all aspects of your life.’

Three incidents came to mind from my childhood during which, in the face of fear, my father showed us that we could pick ourselves back up and continue on. The first that I recall was when I was 7 and he was teaching me how to ride my bike sans training wheels. I was so excited about that transition, since it marked a time in my life, when I was beginning to feel like a big kid. Perched on the seat, daddy holding the back of the bike and running behind me as I pedaled down Pheasant Lane in  the suburban South Jersey town of Willingboro, I told him he could let go. As he did, I wobbled and immediately crashed into the tree in the front yard.  Ouch!  After making sure I was uninjured, he said, “Ok, get back on the bike and let’s do it again.”  And so I did, being bolstered by his belief that I was capable of mastering this skill. Because he had confidence in me, I had confidence in myself. Within minutes I was zipping down the street, riding like the wind~

Scene two took place when my family went to a ranch in Milford, Pennsylvania called Malibu (just looked on line and it’s still in existence!) The four of us; my parents, sister and I were riding our noble steeds. I still remember the name of mine…Ruby.  I was about 10 and Jan was about 7 or 8. We were heading back down a rocky mountainous trail and the reins on the horse Jan was riding….snapped… and the horse took off like lightning. Terrified, she clung to it for dear life. My father; a city boy who was not accustomed to equine behavior, was close behind, yelling for the horse to stop…of course the horse only picked up speed. He knew his destination, as he headed for home. When the horse arrived in the corral, he slowed and then halted. Out of breath, my father checked on Jan,  and along with staff from the ranch, lowered her to her feet and as he had with me when I fell off my bicycle, got her back on the horse; a different one, if memory serves, and led her around the corral.

The third time involved my mother. We were on another family vacay, heading back East from a visit to my Uncle Dave, Aunt Annette and cousins in Chicago. In Indianapolis, our blue station wagon was hit on the left rear quarter-panel by a white Corvette, narrowly missing the gas tank.  The ‘vette crumbled and our car was left with a dent, but still drivable.  Jan sustained a minor shoulder injury and I remember watching an episode of the original Star Trek while we were in the ER. Hours later, as we continued our journey, again my father, after being sure my mother was able, encouraged her to get back behind the wheel and drive for awhile. And she did.

What all of these events had in common was that my father was certain that he didn’t want us living in fear, so, kindly and with compassion got us ‘back in the saddle’. From him I learned, not just about strength, but resilience; that marvelous ability to bounce back no matter what. There was never focus on failure, only re-creation; seeing everything as life lesson from which we could gain experience. That has served me many times throughout the years, as when faced with challenges and tempted to crumble, I picked myself up, dusted myself off and started all over again.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6MtmkqPbps

The Four Purposes of Life

                                                                  Four Purposes of Life cover

 

Way of the Peaceful Warrior was a pivotal read for me in my twenties as I consciously began my transformational journey. The story of a much younger Dan Millman’s experience into deep exploration of  ‘paradox, humor and change’ with his mentor; a gas station attendant whom he called Socrates, set me on a path that I am delighted to be meandering through to this day. It wound inexorably to the 52 year old woman who is immersed in discovering and uncovering purpose and meaning. That is why Dan’s new book called The Four Purposes Of Life: Finding Meaning And Direction In A Changing World, is such an important compass, map and guide all in one.

Since you are reading this blog, then chances are, you too are wondering what life is all about and how you can discover/uncover/recover your own reason for being alive on this planet at this point in time. Compact,  the book is portable and can fit in your purse or briefcase. It is a wonderful reference as simple to use as it is inspiring. Dan begins by observing that life seems to be moving at such a pace that it is often hard to keep up with it. Unless you have been living in a cave, it’s likely you have come to that realization as well. He invites the reader to ask themselves what they want, how they would know if they had their desires come to fruition, what it would mean to their lives once that occurred and then what their purpose might be.

He breaks them down in this way:

1. Learning Life’s Lessons which suggests that this Earth is a school in which we are enrolled and for which we are charged to bring in daily messages and insights to which we can apply to further our growth. Can you tune into the messages that the teacher (which is life itself) is offering, knowing that your ‘textbook’ is being written as you go?

2. Finding Your Career and Calling which offers an opportunity earn a good living while also doing good in the world; what I think of as ‘right livelihood’ work.  Imagine what it would be like to be living your passion and purpose on the job; doubly rewarding.

3. Disccovering Your Life Path  which asks the reader to explore both strengths and challenges, using both to fulfill their mission here on Earth. Can you embrace both?

4. Attending To This Arising Moment brings with it the grand chance to honor this here and now instant, since this really is all there is to do.

My favorite parts of the book are the anecdotes; those snippets of wisdom that emerge from the real life experiences of people Dan has encountered. A fun story is about a man named Kevin, who in the 1960′s took his passion for playing frisbee and parlayed it into an idea to become a  Frisbee goodwill ambassador in what was then the Soviet Union. I’m certain that in addition to bringing in income, he touched so many lives with his enthusiasm, that the ripples are being felt all these years later.

Dan quotes his old mentor Socrates in a section of the book that has him holding on to boxes and then piled on top of them cans of engine oil until finally his arms gave out and he dropped them. Chagrined, as Dan often seemed to be during that phase of his life, he acknowleged that it was a test of some sort that he had bumbled. Soc says “Life is not about success or failure, it’s about stretching yourself. How will you ever know your limits until you have tested them? And how do you test them unless you’re willing to fail brilliantly?”  Failing, brilliantly or otherwise, is not something most people are inclined to want to do, but Dan frames it as if it is a worthwhile endeavor.

He shares an example of the importance of finding meaning and purpose as illustrated in one of my favorite movies: Groundhog Day in which Bill Murray’s character Phil re-lives the same day multiple times until he gets it that the way to have a truly rich life, is to strive for self improvement and doing service all at once. 

Dan encourages the reader to be mindful with all that they do. A consummate quote collector, with words of wisdom liberally sprinkled throughout, he shares the verbiage of a Zen sage:  ” When I’m hungry, I eat; when I’m thirsty, I drink; when I’m tired, I rest.”  Simple as that…no worry, no fuss.  Just do the next thing in front of you.

The Four Purposes of Life is a powerful tool inviting the reader to do the next thing to do. In the hands of one who chooses to create a more fulfilling existence, it can carry you to places you have only ever dreamed of going. Travel well~

http://youtu.be/YaZzOICIa0w 

 www.peacefulwarrior.com

 

 

Celestial Central Casting

 

                                          

Received this message from TUT  (Totally Unique Thoughts) which is the brain and heart child of  Mike Dooley, a man who truly lives his bliss. Transforming from his role as a tax consultant to a world wide phenom who shares wisdom via his books and Notes From The Universe, he is a heart and mind opener.  He believes that ‘thoughts become things’ and as such, encourages folks to “choose the good ones”. ®  

“The world is filled with many colorful characters, Edie, one or many of whom would be absolutely thrilled to play along in any drama you’d care to create – romantically, socially, financially, comically – any.

You just have to let me do the casting – have to.

Truly thrilled,
… The Universe”

What if our lives are stages onto which we invite all manner of such actors?  There are some who flash across the platform in a blink of an eye and are seen nevermore. Others stand center stage for a lifetime (theirs or ours). Many peek out from behind crimson curtains, waiting for an invitation to appear. Some pop in and out in different costumes, playing hide and seek. Others have been with us through many incarnations. I love the instantaneous recognition of those relationships. what is Gaelic is called ’anam cara’ or ’soul friend’ and I am blessed with many who fall into that category.  Each is a teacher of love; even if it doesn’t always appear to be so. Laughter, tears, drama…lights, camera, action!

I am absolutely awestruck when I consider the colorful characters who so bless my life. As I go through a brief inventory of those I am honored to call friends, I include:  artists, yoga teachers, authors, physical therapists, musicians, doctors, nurses, social workers, lawyers, (and once upon a time, an Indian Chief…Chief Halftown- a Philly area icon who passed a few years ago), counselors, gardeners, engineers, mimes, hairdressers, painters, tv and radio hosts, real estate agents, police officers, farmers, shopkeepers, chiropractors, clowns, carpenters, singer-songwriters, newspaper journalists, travel agents, coaches, (sport and personal/business), image consultants, judges, mediators, accountants, fitness trainers, editors, interior designers, models, photographers, publishers, housekeepers, cooks, movie producers, flight attendants, event promoters, sex educators, greeting card designers, CEO’s, clergy, massage therapists, contractors, dancers, lab techs, business owners, producers, directors, psychics, volunteers, students, parents, heart-trepreneurs, school teachers, computer techs…and the list goes on~

They hail from all corners of the globe, from various cultures. Some I have only ever connected with via social media and others, I know from the ‘face to face’ world. No less valuable, not having met in person; all of these folks are part of what I call ‘overlapping soul circles’ that so tickle me to think about.

The ways Celestial Central Casting brings them into my life is just as wondrous as they are. The other night, I was at the gym, doing my regular ‘playout’ (much more fun than calling it a workout), when a woman next to me started a conversation about how she had just joined and was easing her way into her own time on the machines. Fifty-something, with twinkling eyes, she  joked that neither of looked our age; but celebrating it…believe it or not, I was excited to receive my AARP invitation a few years ago:) We agreed that being in the fifth decade of our lives felt incredibly freeing, since we were now our own women; the whole package, (more than a pretty face:) , comfortable in our own skin, making decisions for ourselves with a degree of certainty that we had not in previous years. She is the only woman in a business in a male oriented profession and is simultaneously treated like ‘one of the boys’ and respected as a woman. Our conversation meandered off into raising children as single moms and starting over after marriages ended (hers by divorce, mine by widowhood), loss and death. I had told her about my experiences with my Mom’s passing and the butterfly stories. After I mentioned that symbol and reminder that whenever one showed up, I felt it was a message from her, this new friend turned around and I was amazed, but not suprised that on her left shoulder was a winged wonder. Hers was a potent symbol of healing and renewal following her divorce.

I have known for a long time that like attracts like. Although my friends have various beliefs and lifestyles, what they all have in common is their zest for life and their loving and compassionate natures. The vibration we send out into the Universe is like a homing beacon, calling toward us, that which we ARE. If I want to attract people like that, then I’d best be living it.

Welcoming Celestial Central Casting’s choices..care to audition?

 

http://youtu.be/uzrGFQysfYU  For Good from the musical Wicked

www.tut.com

 

Ragewar and Blisspeace

                                                                                      
 
A wise Facebook friend posted this on Sunday and it struck such a resonant chord in me that I needed to expand and expound on it here. Warning…it may get messy (:
 
“The most enlightened, awakened, present, alive, effective, ascended beings are those who can both laugh AND weep. Who’ve known ragewar AND blisspeace. Who advocate and embody our higher natures but do not condemn our learning curve. They are equally comfortable with their humanity and their divinity. They are of service to others from a place of love…not fear or obligation. They are passionate AND compassionate. Polished AND raw. They are? Not exalted or fallen. They are? You and me. WE are not only the ones we’ve been waiting for or the change we want to see. We are the ones who learn, laugh, live, die, shine, kill, heal, pray, prove, give, take and LOVE along the way and within everynow. Don’t seek perfection. Or absolute truth. Seek only everything. And nothing. Because we? Have already been found.~Courtney A. Walsh
 
My comment to Courtney?   “Oh yes! I am learning that within me are both ‘ragewar and blisspeace’ and as long as I am aware of the first and keep a close eye on it, it won’t run roughshod over me or anyone else. When I have denied its existence (who me, angry?) , it has knocked me on my butt, laughing at me): When I ONLY acknowlege the latter, I am not authentic. It is both/and, not either/or.”
 
I fancy myself a peacemaker, (as a bumper sticker I have smiled at in recognition over the years, proudly proclaims), a dedicated ‘treehugging dirtworshipper’ who couldn’t possibly  harbor a mean thought toward anyone… And yet, there are times when a random judgmental thought slips through my carefully constructed filters and shocks the heck out of me! I don’t usually give voice to it, but I see it lurking about. Lately my full-blown ‘ragewar’ thoughts  are about people whose addictive habit of smoking pollute the environment, expose me and others to second and third hand smoke, waste money that could be used to pay their bills, (think of how much could be saved or invested or used for vacation!  I saw a news piece that said a pack of cigs in New York was $11, including tax!)   Un-Holy smokes, indeed! If a pack a day smoker set aside that amount of money, in a year’s time, they could save $4,015!) feed their children, and allow them to afford medications that could help them remain emotionally or physically stable. I think of smoking as slow suicide. I view smoking around children as child abuse, since it exposes them to toxins and hooks them into the same habit. I watch people toss their cigarette butts onto the street as if it is their ashtray.  I witnessed ambulance personnel, having just dropped a patient off at a hospital, lighting up. As I walked past them, I commented ”Really, guys? You see over and over the impact of smoking on people’s health AND here you are, transporting people with cardiac and respiratory problems and they will be coming into your rig with you having smoke on your clothes.”  They just shrugged their shoulders.  I also heard that the resale prices for cars of smokers are far below those of non-smokers.
 
Years ago, when my mom had a quintuple bypass, her surgeon had asked her how long she had been smoking, she replied that she had never smoked, but my uncle and grandfather had smoked around her. She eventually died of heart disease despite an otherwise healthy lifestyle. My mother in-law and father in-law both died of smoking related conditions. I am grateful that my son will never smoke since he witnessed the impact in our family.
 
I have seen restaurant servers on a break, smoking. Do I really want someone waiting on me with smoke on their clothes?  I have attended outdoor music and green/healthy living festivals and amazingly, people are lighting up and then tossing the aftermath on the ground, despite ‘no smoking’ signs clearly posted. Although there aren’t many, I do have some people in my life who smoke. I choose to keep my distance while they are engaging in what I know is an addictive habit. I have friends who have been able to kick the habit and am extremely proud of them.
 
I did some research on the benefits of being  a quitter and was delighted to read that within the first twenty minutes of stopping, healing actually begins. BP decreases, circulation improves, pulse rate drops. Between 2 weeks and 3 months, it is easier to walk, pulmonary function improves. Withdrawal symptoms diminsh. After being smoke free for 5 years, the likelihood of stroke has also decreased and within 15 years, incident of cardiac disease has shrunk as well.
 
As I am typing these words, I can feel myself  clenching physically and emotionally, shutting off the flow of love. Those same thoughts are polluting my airspace and spreading out from there. Perhaps as you are reading this, if you are a smoker, you may be feeling some of that…who is she to judge?  Having mentioned earlier, this is my learning curve. The angrier I feel about it, the more I notice people around me smoking. Since there isn’t a whole lot I can do to prevent people from exercising what is a right, all I CAN do is prevent myself from having toxic thoughts about them and their choices, thus refraining from poisoning myself and the planet, since our thoughts are powerful. I can breathe in the healing air of love and compassion, sending it out into the world, fresh and clean and clear….blisspeace indeed <3
 
http://youtu.be/_BttJR09Gas
I Will Never Smoke by The Uncle Brothers, Tommy Gardner & Danny Quinn
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