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The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Trip The Light

I love to dance. Ever since I could shuffle my feet, tap or wiggle my toes, music moved me. I grew up in a home in which my parents danced in the kitchen, which was one way that they showed playful affection. As I little girl, I would be Daddy’s dance partner by standing on his feet as we would sorta glide across the floor. Keep in mind that neither of us was smooth or adept at it, but what we lacked in talent, we made up for in enthusiasm. That is still the case, as every time I have attempted to learn formal dance steps, including Cajun and Zydeco, Contra and Ballroom, I have ended up stepping on unsuspecting toes. I am a much more comfortable and confident improv dancer.  A few belly dancing lessons helped too. When my cousin Jody and I lived together in our 20’s, we used to do what we called nightgown dances in the living room. This past weekend while at a Counting Crows concert, my friends Janet, Gary and I danced our hearts out with kids young enough to be our own and had a blast. I think that dancing keeps us (all in our 50’s) youthful.

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A friend sent me this video featuring Matt (he of “Where the hell is Matt?) dancing with people from all over the world. What I was struck by as I watched with delight, was that no matter where on the planet folks hailed from, they danced with abandon. Some steps were more formal and structured, while others were free form. What if, instead of fighting, conflicted world leaders could meet on a dance floor and turn on multi-cultural music and just close their eyes and be ‘danced’?  It’s hard to be contemplating Weapons of Mass Destruction when you’re shakin’ your tush or wiggling your hips. I dare you to do it now…find some music that beckons you to immerse yourself in it. Close your eyes and imagine a huge dance floor with room to really move about it. Then, choose either to dance like no one is watching or like everyone is watching. Can you lose your self conscious awareness in favor of just being worked by the music?

If not yet, let this video inspire you too.

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120710.html

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Awakener

What comes to mind when you see or hear the word ‘teacher’?  Likely an image of someone standing in front of a chalkboard if you are of my generation, or a whiteboard with a marker if you are under 20. This person is imparting information that you may think or have thought “I’ll never use that.”. If your association with school was a negative one, you may even groan internally and your stomach might clench up. If like me, your connection with school was mostly positive (with one glaring exception of a math teacher who told us that if we didn’t understand the concepts he was presenting, we must be stupid and on some level I believed him since from them on, my math grades took a tumble), then you may be smiling on the inside and outside. My favorite teacher was Richard Serfling who in 6th grade, imparted both information and wisdom. His playful, outside the box thinking and teaching style led the way to my becoming a professional writer and induced further love of learning. He would fall into that category that Robert Frost referred to as an awakener. I would imagine that if I polled my classmates, they might say the same thing about him. I will have that opportunity to do that on October 6th when we have our (holy moley, Batman!) 35th high school reunion.

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Over the years, I have had many formal and informal teachers; having gone through college, grad school and seminary as well as attending so many personal growth workshops and trainings that I have lost count. Each one sprinkled their own version of ‘truth’. The messages that stood out most profoundly were those that were empowering, setting the stage for even more growth. They were living examples of the guidance they offered. Goosebumps are my ‘truth barometer’ and were activated when many spoke. Some left me flat and I took what they offered with a huge grain of salt. Practical experience trumps all the data in the world and I would much prefer to learn from someone who has been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

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I find myself in that position now, being looked at as someone who has ‘earned my chops’ and has something to say. I look at my life as an example, rather than just my words. Do I practice what I preach?  Most of the time. Am I a work in progress?  Absolutely, as I stumble over my well intentioned actions on occasion. Do I learn from the people and experiences around me and see them as my teachers too?  Always. My intention is rouse folks out of their sleep of forgetfulness and remind them that they are Divinely Human and Humanly Divine, that they are love incarnate, that they are here to shine their light in the darkened places, that they are living examples of goodness and compassion. Is there a higher calling than that?

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I think of the quote by the Buddha which speaks so profoundly to this concept:

When the Buddha started to wander around India shortly after his enlightenment, he encountered several men who recognized him to be a very extraordinary being. They asked him: “Are you a god?” “No,” he replied. “Are you a reincarnation of god?” No,” he replied.”Are you a wizard, then?” “No.” Well, are you a man?” “No.” “So what are you?” They asked, being very perplexed.  Buddha simply replied: “I am awake.” Buddha means “the awakened one.” How to awaken is all he taught.

-Buddhist teaching

http://youtu.be/NXtQ_ck5ZtE We Are Awakening – Deva Premal, Miten and Manose

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Multidimensional Multitasker

 

“Next time someone asks what you “do” just shrug, grin & say: “Multidimensional Multitasker”. They’ll either slink away all weirded out or you’ll have one of the best conversations of your life. Guaranteed.”~CAW

I love having quirkily creative friends with brilliant minds who aren’t afraid to use them. Courtney A. Walsh is one of them and I giggle and nod and smile and hear myself adding on her favorite reinforcing mono-syllabic word…”YUP!” whenever I read her facebook postings. The one above really jumped off the screen at me, since I see myself that way. I told her that it will now be part of my bio and maybe even my ever growing resume.

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It amazes me how much I can accomplish in a day if I cast myself into it. It starts even before I open my eyes, although, like this morning, the sun was beckoning me to do so when the numbers on the clock had a 5 at the beginning. It isn’t a manic, racing thoughts kind of process, like being on a hamster wheel. Rather, it is a wish list of the things I want to do….this morning began with writing this entry,  then completing paperwork so I can marry a couple in New York City in September, then typing an interview for Wisdom Magazine, a phone conference with a friend with whom I am co-facilitating a workshop on Saturday,  putting my house back together after the two talented painters are finished their handiwork in my living room, dining room and hallway, then going to the gym for my playout and then seeing a counseling client tonight. In between, doing laundry, dishes, eating and showering and taking care of other bodily functions(:  Some of you may feel exhausted (as friends have told me) just reading the list and would want to head back to bed.  This is the pace at which I have run for years and although there are times when I need to be single focused and mindful of what I am doing, like when I am with a client or checking to make sure I have my keys, wallet, cell phone or when I am behind the wheel of the Jeep, I have gotten quite adept at accomplishing most of the things on my list each day. I learned from masters, since my parents modeled doing it all.

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The dimensions in which I operate are many and varied as well, since I am a householder, parent, friend, sister, cousin, speaker, writer, minister, social worker, therapist, coach, promoter, volunteer….and the list is growing.  I shift gears readily, sometimes starting one task and then needing to put a bookmark in it, to take care of what presents itself in the moment. When I worked in a psychiatric hospital, I could be sitting with a patient and the phone would ring and I would need to answer it, since the caller ID indicated that it was someone I may have left a message for hours earlier and if I let it go, I may not have reached them again anytime soon. I may then have had to tell them I will call them back if the call requires more personal info about another patient than I would have been at liberty to share. I then returned my attention to the person before me and there could be a knock on my office door with a co-worker needing to tell me something…..and so it would go. Amazing that at the end of the day, I had any sanity left!

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One of the experiences I have had as I am fully immersed in the fifth decade of my life, is what I have called “my middle aged moments” or more complimentarily “my wise woman moments”, since the older we get, the wiser we can become. There are studies that say that when we multi-task, we are less effective at any/all of those things we set out to do. I read about one that tested peoples’ abilities to forgo chocolate cake in favor of fruit salad if they had too many items to memorize. Silly me, even if I had fewer items to recall, I would still select my drug of choice.

At the risk of weirding people out, the next time someone asks what I do, I will proudly, gladly, delightedly, mischievously, mindfully, blissfully tell them “I am a multidimensional multitasker. How about you?”

http://youtu.be/Zhoos1oY404 For those of a certain age…you will remember this….Erich Breen spinning plates on the Ed Sullivan Show  This is how my life looks sometimes.

 

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Inside Your Heart

As I am contemplating my message, inspired by the quote above, a random thought crossed my mind  that it reminds of the Capital One commercial which asks:  “What’s in your wallet?” A corollary is “What’s in your heart?” Imagine that at birth, you are given a suitcase of any size, shape, color and configuration of your choosing. You are told that you can fill it with love, healing, kindness, generosity, creativity, fun, play, renewal, abundance,  and curiosity in whatever quantities you select. It is ever expanding, so you will never run out of room for these states of being. All throughout your life, as you experience your daily encounters with people and events, you see more that you would like to take home with you and so you scoop them up and toss them into your luggage. Are you willing to let life be that simple, without second guessing whether these things belong to you? What if you knew they were your birthright?  Would you/could you ever turn them down?

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My heart-suitcase is a repository for my relationships with folks who are actively in my life, as well as those I don’t see as often and those who are now in Spirit, having taken their own journey to ‘other lands’. Outstretched further are those on social media sites who trust me enough for them to share their most heart felt wishes and blisses, as well as troubling fears. Over the weekend, at a music festival, I witnessed interactions between people discovering each other for the first time in awhile as they hugged their delighted hello’s. Even though I didn’t know them, still I experienced a vicarious rush. It was wonderful to see people lovin’ on each other, rather than fighting each other, as they celebrated their relationships. I was also blessed to be in the presence of people with whom I share a great deal of connection who introduced me to folks that they knew, that I had not yet met. I call them ‘overlapping soul circles’, the name of which came to me a few years ago during a meditation in which I saw us all as stars, dancing in the heavens and began stringing ourselves together in unique and interwoven designs. It illustrates  that the six degrees of separation concept can occur serendipitously. In my life, I like to say that there are no degrees of separation, since I always know someone who knows someone that I know. This small world is getting even smaller as we expand our heart parameters. I have know many whom I consider ‘heart friends’ who know me by heart and vice versa. I few years ago, the words “I hold your heart sacred.” came through and it resonated with the feeling that I have when I consider those dear ones who so delight me by their presence in my life.

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So, on this brand new day, as you set out to face the world, what size carrying case will you tote with you in which to collect souvenirs from your day trippin’ ?

To honor our heart connections..

http://youtu.be/ZN3E9Yyd1HA Thank You For Being A Friend-Andrew Gold

http://youtu.be/Zuzi-yH9VLo Friends-Elton John

http://youtu.be/Acq9w-9URgg You’ve Got To Have Friends- Bette Midler

http://youtu.be/RyYm3lilYOg Welcome Back-John Sebastian

 

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