The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

XPoNential Bliss

                                          

Baked by the sun, immersed in rhythm, rhyme and harmony, surrounded by the sounds, sights and smells of summer; I spent the weekend in musical heaven at an annual event hosted by NPR member supported University of Pennsylvania based radio station, called WXPN  88.5 fm . I’ve been a grateful member for many years.  Each mid July weekend, folks gather from the corners of the globe to enjoy a panoply of performers, whose genres range from folk, to blues, from jazz to rock. The XPoNential Music Festival is a gathering of the tribes; I knew I was among my peeps when I saw bumper stickers the likes of COEXIST (made of various religious symbols), “”Peacemonger”,  and one that read something like “Humans aren’t the only species on the planet, we just act like we are.” , on cars in the parking lot.

This year’s stellar line-up, fit to feed the souls of music lovers hungry for sonic sustenance, included Delta blues singer and guitarist Keb’ Mo’, folk/pop/singers/songwriters Susan Werner, Dar Williams, Ben Folds Five, Givers, Carbon Leaf, some of the members of The Hooters, and the Soul Survivors,  blues  chanteuse Shemekia Copeland, R & B legend Booker T, musical fusion artist Kuf Knotz and the piece de’ resistance…the ageless queen of alt-country, folk and bluegrass…Emmylou Harris who closed out the festival on Sunday night.  A highlight of her performance occurred when an enthusiastic fan hollered out  “You’re hot!”, to the 64 year young, white maned songstress. Her not so coy sweet and sassy Southern accented response:  “I know I am, baby.” By the time I left the oasis in the city of Camden, NJ called Wiggins Park, I was full to overflowing with musical nourishment.  It was like a buffet, from which listeners could pick and choose from both heritage artists and newcomers.

Part of the appeal for this melodic connoisseur, was being able to walk around the grounds and hear it reverberating everywhere. I was swimming in sound soup, together with perhaps thousands of others, sprawled on blankets, lounging on lawn/beach chairs, dancing improv style, blowing bubbles, strolling amidst the winding paths as they meandered up and down hills, leaning on railings overlooking the Delaware as a delightful breeze wafted across it.  The mini-wind puffs on the first full day of the festival, made the scorching 100 plus degree day tolerable. I noticed that I felt cooler walking and dancing than I did sitting still on my blanket on the grass. The water (both in me and on me, as I had a small spray bottle) kept me going until evening set.

The second day, back for more, I had decided to up the amps on my experience by creating a sign that read :”Have you had your FREE COOL hugs today?”, donned my Hug It Forward t-shirt and walking around offering them to whoever agreed. I sprayed myself with cool water from the squirt bottle and also walked past the ‘misting stations’ they had set up which was an ingenious hookup of a small hose, blown by fans and hugged on!  By the end of the day, I estimate a few hundred hugs were shared, and a few miles were clocked…bonus workout!  People’s reactions were interesting to observe. Some ignored or smirked at this weird woman who was offering bodily contact when it was sweltering, some smiled sweetly or laughed as they walked past, some came bounding up to me, arms and heart extended, some said no outright, some turned around and came back for an embrace, thinking better of walking past, others, even when I didn’t have my sign with me, snagged me and said that they had watched me walk about and now were ready for their cuddles. Being a Cuddle Party facilitator taught me not to take offense when someone was not willing to accept my offer. It also informed my intention to ask first and wait for a verbal yes.

Later in the day, a storm rolled in, bringing with it blessed relief from the heretofore unrelenting heat and along with it, torrential rains that might have rivaled Woodstock, for an ever so brief hour. 

I loved being in the presence of friends I have known for more than 20 years, and some I had met that day, as a result of my cuddly enounters, (and every time period in between)  including a man who pulled me aside while I was standing in line getting dinner and told me about a business idea connected to healthy, nurturing hugging. A special joy was hangin’ with my cousin Jody (pictured above) who I decided a long time ago, would have been my friend, even had we not been related.

I arrived home after midnight; muddy, sun speckled, a wee bit achey and sore, water logged, glowing from the inside out from immersing in musical magnificence.

www.xpn.org

www.hugitforward.com

Do You Believe In Faeries?

                                                                   
 
I met Elaine (a.k.a Faerie Elaine) Silver in the 1980′s if memory serves; but I can’t recall who the matchmaker was that brought us together. I was drawn to the music and the magic that seemed to flow effortlessly through her and recognized a kindred spirit.  We share a connection with the faerie realm and a mutual love of folk music, nature and a sweet Jewish mother named Delane Lipka who owns Mt. Eden Retreat in Washington, NJ.
 
How do you live your bliss?
I live my bliss by doing activities that I really enjoy doing, and by being in a place of conscious awareness and JOY!  I sincerely believe that Joy is the highest measure of success, and it is my Passion to be in Joy and to enjoy life.   I know it’s not always easy, especially when life shows us what seems to be contrary to Joy.  I do my best to trust the process, get out of the way and know the Truth that all is well and will be well.  My intention is to remember that what is in front of me is my Divine appointment.  I am grateful that I know the power of Shifting off of what is not wanted and Shifting into better-feeling thoughts and Intentions.  Tapping into Spirit each morning is an important way to set the tone for the day.
 
What led you to the magical music you create?
My music is really a ministry, and I have studied and loved metaphysics and Truth principles for years.  It has been a way for me to follow my bliss, and when I am in that place of co-creating music (or anything), nothing feels better.  Much of my music has come from a very dark place, and that is the double-edged sword of being an artist.  Hell, as a state of mind, is where many people find God.  So when I am in that place, I am usually isolated and thoughts begin to come to me in rhyme and rhythm.  I may be feeling low, but I know the Truth, and I know my Intentions and what I want, so I begin to affirm this.  This automatically causes me to feel better and better.  I now have new material that is uplifting and the creative process takes on a life of its own.  It is a way to remember to trust and know that all is well.  My songs and projects are magical in that way.
 
How did the persona of Faerie Elaine come to be?
This is a long story that I recently put on my website.  I wrote an article a few years back entitled “Faeries Are Gathering,” and for anyone interested, please go to the link at www.elainesilver.com/id42.html.  It all began in Northern New Jersey in the early ’90s, and it came at a very powerful time.  The Faeries have brought me fun, joy, creativity, prosperity and a way into “adults’ hearts” through their children.  It has been quite a ride that I am still enjoying!
 
Who are some of the movers and shakers with whom you’ve shared a stage?
In terms of authors, I have worked along side of Alan Cohen many times beginning in 1997.  He is the one who encouraged me to look into Abraham-Hicks, my most powerful teacher, to date.  Other greats include Wayne Dyer, don Miguel Ruiz, Marianne Willaimson, Deepak Chopra, Barbara G Walker and Neale Donald Walsch.  Here are a few endorsements:

“Elaine Silver’s music opens my heart, big time.  Treat yourself to the riches of her soul.” 
-Alan Cohen, best-selling author, The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore 

“…Fantastic!  That was one of those moments, when she was singing I Will, and the room — there was one heartbeat in this room.  It was one of those moments that we live for.  That was so beautiful.  Wasn’t that gorgeous?  Elaine Silver.”
-Marianne Williamson, best-selling author, A Woman’s Worth

“Elaine Silver’s music has the power to induce you into a deep state of Love.”
-don Miguel Ruiz, best-selling author, The Four Agreements

“…great! …wonderful!  …fantastic!”       
-Neale Donald Walsch, best-selling author, Conversations With God

“Metaphysical singer Elaine Silver has a voice like a sweet bell.  In fact, I never metaphysical singer like her.”       
-Swami Beyondananda,  Cosmic Comic and Author

“This is the voice of an angel… She sings about everyday life, love, the Earth, the Universe and…  Heaven.  It is a relief to hear these positive words.”  
-Roger Nupie, Spokesman, International Nina Simone Society

“Elaine Silver is a beautiful musical conduit for transformational singing. Hear voice is as clear and pure as her soul and her songs will make you tingle all over with heavenly energy. She is a mesmerizing artist with essential gifts to share.” 
-John Maxwell Taylor, author of The Power of I Am  

“…a wonderful compendium of love and sweet songs by one of America’s most talented singers.”
-Barbara G. Walker, author, The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets

Also, as the “Folk Music Queen of New Jersey,” a title bestowed upon me by George Kanzler of the NJ Star-Ledger, I have worked with many great Folk performers, including the following, which is a small smattering:
Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Willy Dixon, Tom Paxton, John Sebastian, Jorma Kaukonan, Leo Kotke, Doc Watson, John Prine and many more.

What guides you spiritually?
What continues to guide me spiritually are the following:
My connection with Spirit on a daily basis
New Thought and Ancient Wisdom Philosophy
Truth teachings
My Intention for conscious awareness
The ability and desire for shifting to better-feeling thoughts
Kindred Spirits; my family of choice

 
I know you are also a certified Passion Test facilitator. Can you speak about about it and how you used it to create the life you are now living?
The Passion Test is about getting clear about our intentions for our lives, and putting our attention on these passionate and most important desires and intentions.  It has helped me and others stay open to what is and going with the Flow of life.  It is about allowing life to unfold, and for me in particular, it has helped me to be aware of any tension that I have used in the past to make things happen.  This behavior ultimately cause exhaustion and depletion and I am a perfect example of this.  I am so glad that I have gained this distinction for myself, which is really teaching me about trusting and knowing all is well.
 
Elaine will be performing along with Deva Troy, at Pebble Hill Church (an interfaith community in Doylestown, PA) on Saturday July 30th at 7:30 pm www.pebblehillchurch.org
 
 
Elaine Silver: Don\’t You Know  Enjoy a sweet sampling of Elaine’s music
 
 

Teach Me How To Love

                                                                     

 

 

Another one of those Hansel and Gretel breadcrumb trail experiences as I write a review for a newly released book, ‘written through’  troubador, minister, singer-songwriter, humorist, stand-up comedian Scott Kalechtstein Grace.  The colorful paperback treasure is called Teach Me How To Love and  it came to me as a result of atttending Glassboro State College from 1977-1981, where I met two friends named Laurie Zankman and Alison Weiss who introduced me to author and inspirational speaker Alan Cohen whose weekend workshop I attended  in 1979 and whose work I absorbed into my soul. At another of his retreats, arrived a dazzlingly energetic, enthusiastic young man named Scott Kalechstein.  As I soon learned, Scott is an irrepressibly and sometimes irreverently creative soul.  Spirit has used him as a channel for Its wit and wisdom for years. One of Scott’s talents is allowing Song Portraits to come through him. He sits with a person and senses what would benefit them to hear and then steps back and voila!  the music and the message pour forth. Poignant, sweet and beautiful. At other times, I see Scott as a ‘spiritual Weird Al Yankovich’ who parodies other people’s songs.

Teach Me How To Love is a combination carnival ride and soulful slide into awesome adventure as Scott invites the reader to witness his life path from Brooklyn boy to California man.  The chapters bear clever titles such as  A Friend Beneath My Wings ( this particular friend of Scott’s is also a dear friend of mine; Stephen Feig) which shares the ways in which he showered a rather uncomfortable Scott with unconditional love.  If You Meet Your Soulmate On The Road explores the love-is-never-wasted learning experience of the search for partnership. The Greatest Love of All, praises the necessity for Scott to love the man in the mirror before he could open his heart to allowing in the fully flowing love from another and co-creating a family, which includes his sweetie Venus and their delightful daughter Aysia. 

Scott’s vulnerability with candid discussion of his recovery from addiction, sharing of the healed relationships with his parents, as well as his challenges with romantic entanglements, makes him and this book so accessible and genuine. Inspired by A Course In Miracles, Scott’s journey is all about forgiveness over blame, love instead of fear and miracles by the score. He infuses humor into even the most painful places, shining a light on the shadow; en-lightening up.

Bonus bliss is that the book also includes a CD of Scott’s best loved songs including Follow Your Heart, Never Again, Freedom Child  and the one that is the parallel to Cat Stevens’ song Father and Son, aptly called Mother and Son. It is a goosebump and tear inducing piece.

If you are in any way inclined to enjoy your spirituality spiced with silliness, your heart infused with awe, your path peppered with priceless gems, your soul speckled with wonder, then this book is for you.

www.scottsongs.com

 

And a taste of Scott’s music  http://youtu.be/5gz8AgVMjJ4

Birth Pangs

 

                                                 

Last week, I sent  my ‘first best seller’ called The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary to my publisher, with an Autumn release date in the works. Divine timing since I was born then too.  A slew of emotions followed. Excitement, trepidation, a wee bit of anxiety, relief, wowie zowie, all clamored for my attention as I anticipate ‘her’ birth along with my re-birth. As I project out those 3 -4 months during which the pages will be crafted from my words, I have become aware of many parallels to giving birth to a human child as I imagine it to be. I am an adoptive mother of a now 24 year old son and have never had a child biologically, so I say that my stretch marks are on my heart and not my hips. A few weeks ago, I became aware of feeling queasy and even nauseous for no apparent reason. I could possibly attribute it to stress, asking myself symbolically, what it is that I can’t stomach. This weekend I was talking about it with a friend and she immediately equated it to morning sickness since I was, after all, about to give birth and am in the  5th-6th month gestation of the 100-some paged ‘baby’. Taking a deep, cleansing breath as I write these words, in preparation for what I intend to be an easy, natural delivery.

As our  dialog continued, she asked me if I had expectations for what the book ‘should’ accomplish and the way it ought to be in the world. Immediately I smiled since I knew where this was heading. In the same way that I (and perhaps you if you are a parent) have dreams, desires, visions and yes, expectations for your child, so too do I hold that image for the Bliss Book. She encouraged me to surrender attachment to what the book can be and will do. YIKES! Even though I have experienced the beauty of surrender over and over in my 52 + years, I still stubbornly cling at times, to the illusion of control over every aspect of my life. In the creative realm, especially, I have learned that once I let go of  shoulds and oughts, then the true beauty can emerge. When my writing ‘writes me’ and my spoken words come through me as the hollow reed that I am, then there are no labor pains, just the exquisite joy of gazing in awe at what has come through.

There are times when I look at the emergence of the inspired verbiage and think “who really wrote this?” This sense of wonder flies in the face of the fears that squawk “People will look into the stroller that bears your creation and think; even if they don’t say it:  ‘What a funny looking baby.”  I have likely read the manuscript hundreds of times in the past two years in which the bulk of the writing and editing has been going on, and there have been moments when I have felt…absolutely nothing. Blank….numb…blocked emotion.  Even when perusing with deep gratitude, the endorsements from those who have read it, whose perceptions I value, there, at times, is an emotional disconnect. Is it a zen acceptance?  Or more insidiously, a lingering self critique that blocks the beautiful flow of love present in the words on the page?  I know, having been a therapist for umpteen years, that this is simply part and parcel of any act of creation, that the process is having its way with me, and that I truly signed up for it when I agreed with the Divine to write this book. And then there are other times, when I have wept with sadness and joy whilst contemplating that I have poured the essence of who I am into its contents. Another parenting parallel?

Is there a piece of me, I query, that feels that I won’t be able to appropriately ‘parent’ this sacred scroll as it takes its place on shelves worldwide?  Do I imagine that left to its own devices, I will have no say in what it does?  Perhaps that is a good thing, since I have no clue, the impact it will have on the lives of those who peruse its pages, much the same way we can’t really know how our own children will interact with the world. We hope that they will play nicely with the other kids and do us proud, embodying the values with which we instill them. Recently, my son shared with me his own inner journey and the choices he is making anew as a result. I felt such a sense of pride in how we both have ‘grown up together’ in the past nearly 13 years since he was 11 and I was 40 when Michael died and we became a 2 person immediate family with a large extended family surrounding us.

My intention is to enjoy the next few months, as I ponder the Bliss-birthing day, grateful for the many mid-wives (male and female:) who have shared in the nurturing process and who will celebrate grandly with me.

Feel free to share about your own ‘creative offspring’ and the ways in which birthing them has irrevocably changed your life.

http://youtu.be/jzoZnivlLhw  Baby Mine by  Alison Krauss

 

Previous Posts

Making The Ordinary Come Alive
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posted 7:25:34am Apr. 17, 2014 | read full post »

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posted 9:22:24am Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Self Imposed Slavery
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posted 10:40:54am Apr. 14, 2014 | read full post »

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  Another soul passed into the Light yesterday to join the celestial choir. I first heard Jesse Winchester's music in the 80's. As a consummate singer songwriter, he had  a gift for vivid imagery that took the listener along for the ride. Songs such as Mississippi, You're On My Mind,

posted 10:43:14am Apr. 12, 2014 | read full post »

Hot Air Balloon
Recently I was speaking with someone about the things that weigh us down, like a hot air balloon tethered to the ground with heavy rope, spiked into the dirt, sandbags reinforcing them.  Self deprecation, limiting beliefs, old worn out ideas that no longer serve, all of the shoulda /woulda/ coulda

posted 9:06:23am Apr. 11, 2014 | read full post »


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