The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

What Wisdom Dictates

 

A few years ago, through the phenom of Facebook, numerous high school classmates re-entered my life. I attended Willingboro High School in the South Jersey suburb of Willingboro which was one of the original Levittown communities (the others are in New York and Pennsylvania). I have enjoyed catching up with these folks, most of whom I haven’t seen since our graduation in 1977. Some stayed in the area, others scattered to the winds. Back then, I had friends from all social strata, every conceivable group and still, at times felt like an outsider, an observer of the play that was unfolding on stage. I wondered whether those who seemed confident, really were, or like me, had sometimes nagging inner critic monkey mind chatter going on in their brains. Only they can answer that now, since we are all in our early 50’s and hopefully have done an inventory, or at least an overview of our lives. I sure have. Some have passed, sadly and leave a legacy among family and friends. Others have gone on to create lives of which they can justifiably be proud. We are planning our 35th reunion for this summer and I am eager to discover the answer.

One such is my friend Dan Poor. Danny, as we called him then, was among the group that in that era, would have been called ‘jocks’, although I see him as a well rounded athlete. A gymnast, I marveled at how he would defy gravity, since I much preferred to have my feet on the ground….or in the water, since at that time in my life, I was a competitive swimmer (freestyle and butterfly were my favorite strokes…I still have the shoulders to show for it:)

In his career since then, he became a high diver at Sea World, a flaming hoop jumping dare-devil stunt performer in Cirque Du Chimelong in China, wearing glittery, glowing vividly colored face paint, cliff diving in Acapulco and these days, he provides fitness training and sweeps ladies off their feet doing swing dance. He is also, one of the most open hearted people I know, a fun dad and grandpa, moving to Maine to companion his 90 something year old mama.  Dan is doing what I wish I had the luxury of doing with my mom before she passed, as he is spending a great deal of time with the woman who raised him well.

A thread on his Facebook page spoke about his training for the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series next year. I watched the video of others defying gravity, overcoming what might be heart thumping fear, to be in ‘the zone’, soaring sans wings, at a gazillion miles per hour (how fast is it really?) His friends were cheering him on (me included) and spoke about getting Team Dan t-shirts in support. I had mentioned visualizing the twists and turns, the outcome (he already knew this, I’m sure) and when the time came, his body would already be in go-mode since he had rehearsed it in his mind so many times. It’s true for all of us, athlete, or not, that if we SEE it, and FEEL it, we can BE it. He responded in a way that indicated he was reminding himself to take it slowly and easily. I added that there have been times when I have over-done it in an effort to prove that I still can. His response: ” Hopefully the obvious decline in physicality is more than made up for in wisdom!! Not so sure that doing multiple spinning and twisting dives from 90′ is particularly wise at this age, but my heart’s in the right place, and it sure is exciting! Ultimately I just don’t want to look back and say, “If I’d only…..”

And I answered: “Now the question is, does wisdom dictate that we do more of that daring, gravity (emotionally and not just physically) defying stuff or less?  I do all I can, to refrain from saying those things too…can’t say I would do some of the things I did in my younger years (like 10 day Outward Bound Course at 22 out of Dartmouth…40 below at night, coming home with frostbite on both hands, a broken pinkie, sprained ankle, bronchitis and bruises on my hips from carrying a 50 pound pack around for the duration:)  Had a blast though.”

Now I gaze back at my time line, and consider those things I did in the previous few decades and smile with delight that this 53 year old body can still do some things that it did in my 20’s with greater grace and ease, since I am more comfortable in my own skin. Although I am far more comfortable with my toesies on terra firma than in the air, like my friend can do with such dazzling effect, I take a whole lot of emotional flights of fancy, willingly in free-fall~ YAHHHHHOOOOO! <3

 

Beliefs=Results

Since the website for which I joyfully write is called Beliefnet, it occurred to me wto write about the idea of beliefs shaping our reality. According to the Free Dictionary by Farlex,  a belief is :

1. The mental act, condition, or habit of placing trust or confidence in another: My belief in you is as
strong as ever.
2. Mental acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something: His explanation of
what happened defies belief.
3. Something believed or accepted as true, especially a particular tenet or a body of tenets accepted by a group of persons.
Where do our beliefs originate? Some might say:  our environment, which would include our family, society/culture, the media, friends, our faith community. When we are children, we seem like tiny sponges, soaking up the messages in which we are immersed.
How do beliefs impact on our lives?  I can say with all clarity, that there are some beliefs that nurture and support our wellbeing and others that tear it apart. In my work as a therapist and facilitator, I have heard stories that celebrate the resilience of the human spirit and and some that are are a testament to the poisonous thoughts that are perpetuated when people persist in believing things that don’t serve them. What if your life experience had you believing that you were worthless, a failure, damaged goods, beyond help? What might your day to day activities and interactions with the world around you look like?  Most likely dark and dismal. Conversely, what if you (like I was, blessedly) were showered with love and nurturing, support for your dreams and passions? What if you were told every day how much you were loved?  Although there are no absolutes in raising children, I would venture a guess that you would feel safe enough to venture out into the world with courage and purpose.
How can we change our beliefs?  The first step is to do an inventory. Where am I in my life? I ask myself what someone would need to believe in order to have the consistent life experiences they are having. If a person over and over felt rejected, less than, put down and walked over…what might their prevailing thought be about themselves?  On the flip side, if someone felt successful in relationships, welcome wherever they went, comfortable in their own skin, what might they ‘see’ when they consider the man or woman in the mirror?  The next step is to ask if that particular belief serves them. Is there some benefit, no matter how slight to holding on to that belief or letting it hold on to them? Secondary gain can feel like a reward when it is really the booby prize. Would it be better to have the whole pie available to nibble on, rather than the crumbs? It is also important to know that change is possible. Remind yourself that you change every single day. Consider the beliefs you had in childhood that you laugh to consider now. As a child, I believed (not sure where this one came from) that dogs were male and cats were female. Just so you know, I don’t hold that belief now(:  Now, here comes the part where many people cringe….are you willing to for one moment longer, hold onto a belief that no longer serves you and upgrade to something that could make your life a living heaven rather than a living hell?  If your answer is no, ask yourself what you would like to trade up to.
I used to believe that in order to be loved, I needed to don my Wonder Woman cape and take care of everyone. After all, who wouldn’t love someone self sacrificing, the go-to person who could be counted on 24/7 to be ‘a rock’?  These days, through the support of loving friends and family, I have shed the cape and wrist bands and while I am still available for support, I have greater discernment about how much I help. I have changed my beliefs throughout the process. but still needed to tape the leap into my new paradigm.
I set intention every day based on a belief system that tells me I can achieve amazing things with sufficient desire, a willingness to ask for what I am willing to receive, knowing that it is manna-festing, the leg work necessary to cultivate the seeds that I have planted and the willingness to surrender to Divine design to witness its audacious and outrageous growth.
I also consider leaps of faith when I do this work. What comes to mind is the trapeze artist who is holding on to one swing while anticipating another heading in her direction. In order to grab the second, she needs to let go of the first. Each time, she’s gotta KNOW that she will latch on to the next one, or she couldn’t do it. So too is with my own free flight into creating the outcomes I desire. I see myself doing it, feel myself experiencing it, with a rush of exhiliration.
Through that process, I have brought into my life; relationships, opportunities, jobs, homes, money, vibrant good health, insights, trips, classes, my book, interviews with transformational movers and shakers, this column and many other creative endeavors.
I invite you to dance into the life you desire. My friend Jim Donovan offers his take on the power of beliefs.
http://bit.ly/b1EsK3  Jim’s Jems

The Quality of Our Thoughts

 

This morning at dark o’ clock; 4-something, I woke with the message from the Divine  that I need to be in charge of the content and quality of my thoughts in order to see the highest yield. Nothing new in that statement, but it landed with an impact that stunned me. Although most people would see me as someone who thinks only loving, positive thoughts, there are times when resentment, anger and frustration scoop me up and run away with me, leaving a fire breathing dragon stench in its wake..YUCK! I know, that like every other person on the planet, I have a shadow. My friend Scott Kalechstein Grace wrote a parody of Carly Simon’s song You’re So Vain, called You’re So Light and one of my favorite lines is “You’re so light, I’ll bet you think you don’t have a shadow.”

Here’s what author and speaker Debbie Ford has to say about Shadow Work:  “The shadow contains all the parts of ourselves that we try to hide, deny or suppress. It is the keeper of all the aspects of ourselves that we dislike and
the qualities that we judge as unacceptable. The shadow wears many faces: angry, critical, fearful, lazy, controlling, selfish, weak, pathetic. ”

“The process of embracing our shadow side calls us to uncover the gifts and receive the wisdom hidden within each and every aspect of ourselves, particularly the ones that we are ashamed of or embarrassed by. Rather than viewing our weakness, our smallness, our insecurities or our rage as enemies or as obstacles to moving forward in our lives, this process guides us to embrace our so-called defects as the powerful teachers that they are.dow contains all the parts of ourselves that we try to hide, deny or suppress. It is the keeper of all the aspects of ourselves that we dislike and the qualities that we judge as unacceptable.”

Whoa, Nelly!  Does that ever resonate for this recovering co-dependent caregiver who has kept emotions under wraps  so as not to offend or feel rejected? Kind of a niceness insurance policy that carries with it the illusion that if I don’t step on anyone else’s toes, they will return the favor by not treading on mine. Not always so, as I have found. Why would I want to embrace an aspect of myself that I had worked so hard to banish from the Queendom? Part of the reason, as was told to me by my dear friend Janet whom I have known since the early 1980’s, is so that people could really get to know me and so I could be authentic.  It takes a slew of energy to keep a metaphorical beach ball under water. These days, although I am still diplomatic and appropriate in my communications, I am saying what I used to withold, coming clean with people rather than tiptoing around them or walking on eggshells.

I am noticing that as I take responsibility for my thoughts and feelings, I am attracting others who are willing to do the same.

Where in your life have you been hiding the true you?

Are you willing to dance with your shadow and get to know him or her as an ally and not an enemy?

What are the quality of your thoughts?

www.debbieford.com

http://youtu.be/2sVGdHXuJiY You’re So Light by Scott Kalechstein Grace

I Yam What I Yam

 

A few days ago, my 24 year old son asked me a question that had me smiling broadly. “Do you think Grandpop would have made a good Popeye?”  He had been watching the Robin Williams movie and in his mind, this image of his gravelly voiced grandfather who had died nearly 4 years ago was superimposed over the cartoon character from my own childhood who chuckled and uttered the line that really sounds like a spiritual mantra. Clearly Popeye knew who he was and what he was called on to do with a sense of integrity, much like my father. Like Popeye, my father was a ‘sailorman’ in his early adulthood. Moish had two good eyes and  never smoked a pipe, thank goodness, but he did have ‘musk-els’ (muscles:) that he liked to flex; being an athlete and all; without the anchor tattoo. He would have trusted Wimpy and given him a hamburger, not questioning that he would indeed be paid on Tuesday for a hamburger today. Not a big fan of spinach, though. He liked to dance and be a bit goofy (never saw him dance a hornpipe, though)and he had an abiding faith that all would work out in the end.

As cosmic coincidence would have it, I am reading a book written by John C. Davis (John of Peniel)  after hearing him speak at Circle of Miracles and Holly Matson, called Signs Along the Path: A Guide To An Inspired Life, and I opened to page 31 to a chapter entitled…..The Tao of Popeye and whatya know, they wax poetic about that very concept. The idea of Popeye as hero is not new, but think about all of the things he needed to face in the cartoon, which he did in his own inimitable style. Week after week, his archnemisis Bluto, would attempt to make his life miserable and each week, Popeye would rise above it all. Although my mother was not a stringy Olive Oyl, she was adored by my father with the same passion  and intensity that Popeye loved his  preternaturally tall and skinny sweetheart.

Can you be sure who you are and what you stand for?

What is your version of I Am What I Am?

http://youtu.be/F8TRoMSG-5I  I Yam What I Yam-Robin Williams

www.circleofmiracles.org

www.johnofpeniel.com

 

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