The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

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!


Through The Years

Tomorrow, I am embarking on a weekend of adventure that will have me riding back and forth through a time continuum…present, past and future. I am meeting up with a new friend named Neil (who I have not yet met in person) who contacted me via someone who teaches a workshop that I also facilitate. This lovely soul is offering me a thai massage session and who am I to turn THAT down? Following what I know will be an exquisite experience, I will be heading to Maryland to visit with Nancy, a friend I have known for the past 5 or 6 years. She has graciously agreed to host me overnight so that I can arise bright and early (and in the same town) and speak at the On Purpose Woman Conference in Columbia, MD. I am focusing on the subject of Abundant Self Love. Since we teach what we need to learn, I chose that topic, as it is my own growing edge. Can anyone else relate to that? I am guessing so. If you feel you have it mastered, please enlighten me!  Eager to connect with many new friends, since we so enrich each other’s lives when we meet heart to heart and face to face. Within a heart beat after the event, I am sprouting wings and zipping northward to my 35th High School Reunion in New Jersey. WHEW!


That is where this story really begins. I grew up in a middle class, suburban South Jersey neighborhood called Pennypacker Park in Willingboro, New Jersey. It was one of the three origninal Levittowns, (PA and NY being the other two) that were created following WWII as affordable housing for returning vets. I think that the Malvina Reynolds’ song called Little Boxes was written for them. There were three different models that alternated and repeated all the way down the streets. I graduated from one of the two high schools. Mine was called Willingboro High School, that was built after John F. Kennedy High School couldn’t accomodate the growing population. One of its claims to fame was that Olypmic athlete Carl Lewis also graduated from our school (in my sister’s class of 1979).


For the most part, I enjoyed school. Busy with classes, extracurricular activities like Homecoming Committee, Jr. and Sr. Prom Committees,  Drama Club, Student Government, The Z Club, Ecology Club, Swim Team, I had a full immersion experience AND YET, (she writes wistfully) I still felt like that ‘alien baby left on my parents’ doorstep’ as I have described here before.  I had friends all across the spectrum, but still felt like the odd woman out. For most of my life, I have lived this paradigm of not quite feeling like ‘one of the cool kids'; whatever the heck that actually means. I also wondered what it would be like to breeze through life, accepted without having to second guess what people expected and adjusting my sails according to which way the wind was blowing. Part of the budding co-dependent tendencies, I suppose. I viewed many of my classmates as having that coveted role, although, quite likely they too were harboring their own insecurities.  So, as the reunion loomed (I had never attended any previously), I was faced with a mix of excitement and a mild bit of anxiety. What if everyone else STILL seems more together or confident? What if, when I step through the door, I still feel like I need to batten down the hatches against my own tidal wave emotions? Hand me a ‘drama-mine’ (dramamine) for my e-motion sickness, please. Last night, I was perusing my year book and smiled, laughed and teared up a bit as I gazed at those faces and wondered these things:


“I have such mixed emotions and a sense of compassion for the part of me that never felt like ‘one of the cool kids’, not quite fitting in to one particular clique, even though I had friends in all the different social strata. As I look at all of these faces, I laugh at the fashion and hairstyles, (uber ’70’s) and wonder what my classmates were thinking at that time. Were they excited, confident, nervous, scared shitless to be launching out into the world?  I know I was a little of all of those things. At the back of the yearbook were tidbits about us. I was dubbed “Head Kidnapper” by some of my friends, since I orchestrated a birthday kidnapping of our friend Carolyn West that we blindfolded and took to an ice cream parlor.   I had aspirations of becoming a Psychologist….never did…Social Worker/Author/Journalist/Speaker/Minister/Clown instead. Wonder what we will discover about ourselves by the end of the night.  ?”


I invite you to share your experiences of high school and/or your reunions. Through The Years-Kenny Rogers Little Boxes-Malvina Reynolds



Dwelling Place

Today as I was speaking with a client, he mentioned that he tends to “dwell on” all of the things that could go wrong in his life. I asked him about this ‘dwelling’ and the alternate meaning of the word. He smiled and said that it meant a place to live. I reminded him that when we are ‘dwelling’ on the ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’s ‘ of the past or the ‘what if’s and if onlies’ of the future that hasn’t yet arrived, then even though our bodies may be in this present here and now moment,  we really aren’t dwelling here. We are just existing because our attention is elsewhere. I rolled back to a thought I had a few days ago. What if this life, as it is now, my current circumstances would be all there is?  What if the dreams and desires that I have for a certain kind of life, would not happen? Could I be ok with it?  Could I accept it or would it always be a point of frustration?  I recognized the mind games I play with myself and was able to just sigh and surrender, knowing that all is in Divine timing and unfolds as is for the Highest Good and then, quite naturally, more way cool things happened.


Tonight I was speaking with my friend Ondreah and  out of the blue, she used the word ‘dwelling’  too and that’s when I knew I needed to write about this concept. She referenced part of her spiritual practice of Siddha Yoga, that has at its core, these three concepts.


“The heart is the hub of all sacred places. Go there and roam.” –Bhagawan Nityananda

“See God in each other.” –Swami Muktananda

“God dwells within you as you.” –Swami Muktananda

How would it be for you to sit in awareness of those ideas? We don’t often think of our hearts as places in which we can roam around. What if it was spacious enough to do that?  Can you expand your spiritual/emotional heart (not necessarily the cardiac muscle) so that it can allow in the people and experiences that come your way without tossing them out simply because they don’t quite fit?


Can you view everyone whose path you cross as if they were emanations of the Divine; even (and especially) those who don’t fit your image of The Everlasting? I face that every time I hold judgement against those whose values are counter to my own. Since we are created in the ‘image and likeness’, who am I to detemine who is ‘like unto God’ and who in my ‘all knowing wise guy’ opinion, just isn’t):?

AND perhaps even the most challenging treatise…seeing ourselves as I have heard it said in New Thought circles as “God in a body.” Blasphemy, according to some, the highest truth they know, to others. As a God spark, how infinite could we possibly be in our thoughts and actions? The ideas that float through our minds now, seem limiting when they could be limitless. How expansive are you willing to be?


Where do you prefer to dwell?


Love After Love

The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door,

in your own mirror and each will smile at the other’s welcome, and say, sit here.


You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine.

Give bread.

Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, w

hom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror.


Feast on your life. Love After Love- by Derek Wolcott

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