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The Bliss Blog

 

This is the first time I have written about a book that I have not yet read, but I felt moved to comment on a link I followed to an interview with author Paul Young who penned the runaway bestseller called The Shack. Although Young’s spiritual orientation is Christian, my impression is that the metaphors in the book are universal. The storyline features Mackenzie (Mack) Phillips who is the father of five children. He takes three of them on a camping trip and his daughter is abducted and murdered. He then receives a note from someone called Papa who invites him to come to the shack were his little girl’s body is supposed to be. What ensues, has him meeting three emanations of the Divine which totally defy his previous beliefs about God.

Y0ung never in a million years expected for the book to become a phenom. He simply wrote it at the prompting of his wife Kim, for their six children so that they could read his take on his religious beliefs and world view. It was initially self published and his friends spread the word and it took off from there. I heard an interview on All Things Considered on NPR that aired recently. I was moved by the candor with which this man shared his creativity process, since writing is my life blood.

“I had this experience — and this was early when The Shack had just begun to take off — and I woke up in the middle of the night — and it’s never happened to me before and it’s never happened since — and I was literally caught in a waterfall. It’s like I was sitting up in bed in a waterfall of creative ideas. And about an hour into this I thought to myself, ‘I need to get up and write this down,’ and it all stopped. And I really felt “the voice.” You know, to me it’s the Holy Spirit, who just said, ‘Isn’t that what you always do? You don’t trust that creativity is a river,’ and I said you’re right, I don’t trust, and I said I’m not going to live like that anymore. And immediately the waterfall started again for an hour until I fell asleep. So every time I go to write, my first thought is: I trust, I trust that this is a river. And part of this is that I finally — I am 57 years old — I have finally got to the place in my life where I want to live just inside the one day’s worth of grace.”

I do trust the creative process and immerse myself in this waterfall daily. It has become friend and companion as I splash about, drink it in and allow it to flow over me. That same ‘voice’; quite gender neutral whispers in my ear as well and guides me with words, images and ideas. There may not be many things I know for certain in this lifetime, but one of them is most assuredly that I am guided toward the Highest Good. I have dwelled in my own shack of contemplation, solace, revelation and renewal. It is where I find my peace and grace as well.

Guess I gotta get the book now.

 

www.npr.org/2012/12/01/166026305/cross-roads-a-writing

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Photo: Amazingly colorful orbs surrounding us at Grail Springs. The most astonishing part of this was that there no visible rainbow hued lights in the room <3

 

A few weeks ago I was leading a retreat for a group of people who were looking to manifest major life changes. For five days, we gathered together to share our dreams and desires, as well as  support each other in seeing them to fruition. At the end of one the evening modules, we were all feeling pretty elated and I would daresay ‘God Intoxicated’; filled with the spirit of Love. One of the participants took a photo of some of the group. This is what emerged. Keep in mind that there were no colorful lights in the room. The Christmas tree was beautifully decorated with white lights. The walls were bedecked with silver. The same camera took pictures before and after this one without the circular objects commonly referred to as ‘orbs’. I have seen them in other photos over the years but have never been surrounded by them in this way. As I look at this picture, it is as if Spirit was laughing with us, feeling every bit as silly as we all were. This picture was sent to Gene Ang who  teaches on the subject since they began showing up in digital photos worldwide. His response was that they were “off the charts”.

Dr. Klaus Heinemann  and  Dr. Míceál Ledwith  are experts in the field as well and in their book The Orb Project they describe:

After literally stumbling into orbs appearing as bright as light bulbs in photographs he was taking at a spiritual retreat, Dr. Klaus Heinemann immediately sensed that he was onto something profound. There was no choice but to convince himself that his notion was on solid grounds. Heinemann looked at thousands of pictures he had taken earlier, and thousands more would be taken to test the hypothesis that these light circles are nothing less than emanations from Spirit beings.

Dr. Míceál Ledwith had a similar experience after the orb phenomenon was first made known to him through the teachings of Ramtha. He began an intense and systematic study of orbs in all sort of situations, day and night, and in all sorts of atmospheric conditions, in order to discover all he could about their nature, the situations in which their presence could be most easily detected, and what implications they might have for our understanding of our own place in the cosmos. To date, he has amassed a collection of well over 100,000 images.

 

Photo

Shayne Traviss 2012

This image was taken outside at Grail Springs as my friends Shayne Traviss and Ondreah Johnson  and I were strolling through the soft white fluffy stuff. Just like the previous image, the ones before and after this shot were orb free.

As I enlarged the rainbow hued photo, I could actually see little faces that looked as if they were having just as good a time as we all were and even now, weeks later, I have this sense of delight as if whoever it was that was joining in the party on that snowy winter’s night, is still with me and all of those who were in that room.

www.geneang.com

www.grailsprings.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo credit Cynthia Greb 2012

 

Like many people, I have been feeling the effects of what is referred to in my circles as ‘the Shift’. It shows up for me as sleeplessness, really intense dreams that are sometimes over the top euphoric and at others, devastatingly frightening, as well as energy spikes, peaks and dips. I have not fallen prey to anxiety or depression in my life, but lately have had glimpses of what that might feel like. Having been in the mental health field for 30 some years, I recognize them when they arise.  My intuitive abilities have heightened and images come to me that play themselves out shortly thereafter. I think of someone and within moments, they call or email. Nothing weird, evil or even cosmic foo foo about it. I believe we are hardwired for God, just like I had indicated in yesterday’s Bliss Blog entry about being hardwired for joy. Maybe they are one and the same.

The much heralded and dreaded 12/21/12 is approaching and my perspective is that it is a time of position transition and not the end of the world.  December 21, 2012, marks the end of the 5125-year, “Long Count” Mayan Calendar. Some people fear cataclysmic events, other see it as a time of rejoicing and transcendence. I know that tragic and traumatic events occur each day in various places around the world. I am equally certain that each of us holds space for positive and negative energy and outcome. I much prefer to be in the second camp, viewing this day as a moment (in the grand scheme of things) of rebirth and sense that the ride I have been on is preparing me for that.

Dr. David Stuart, professor of Mesoamerican art and writing at the University of Texas at Austin, points out in his book “The Order Of Days: The Maya World and the Truth About 2012,”    “It’s as if the ancient Maya could somehow anticipate the fears and struggles we experience in our modern industrial life and offered a mystical end game we could look forward to,” he writes. “No such luck. The truth of the matter is that the Maya calendar was inseparable from the ancient world that created it: a lost worldview of kings, gods and ancestors. By wrenching this special vision of time and cosmology away from that particular cultural and historical milieu, we do nothing more than manipulate the past for our own purposes and messages.”

“The truth is no Maya text — ancient, colonial or modern — ever predicted the end of time or the end of the world,” he continues.

My friend Rev. Gary Culp has long offered insights via spoken and written communication about the Mayan calendar and he too views this as an exciting time His site, called A New Day One can provide information to inspire you.

There have long been fear-theorists who capitalize on people’s trepidation and exacerbate it. What if, instead, we focused on the good that could come from these changes that are taking place all over the planet?  There are many gatherings occurring that are bringing people together, rather than tearing us apart. I am going to be at an annual Winter Solstice event at the home of friends, honoring the transitions we are all experiencing, anticipating a new era of peace, love and understanding. How about you?  I see both a sunset and sunrise as we give birth  to ourselves.

Cynthia Greb 2012

 

 

Cynthia Greb 2012

http://youtu.be/4NwP3wes4M8 Anticipation by Carly Simon

www.cynthiagreb.com

www.anewdayone.com

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Photo: INTUITIVE VisionMAPPING<br /><br /><br /><br />
~ By Tricia Waltman</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>Today is Christmas Card day so I wanted to share one of mine, made simply for fun.  I find great peace in creating something and it fills me with joy, especially if there's some great music in the back round.  The playful part?  When I sing along as if on stage!  Thank goodness I work alone!</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>What do you do to feel peaceful?  Please share today an activity that brings you happiness.  You could give someone else an idea and enrich their lives, and there's your good deed!  Image by: Vision Art Designs

created with love by Lore Raymond

 

 

The Universe has a wondrous sense of timing, as I smiled with delight when seeing this image a few days ago on Facebook friend, Lore Raymond’s page. Life is my playground and I welcome into it lots of willing playmates who usually cooperate, don’t throw sand, share their toys and refrain from running with scissors. Every day, I encounter new ones and every day I express gratitude for those who are already there, as well as those who are about to step into the sandbox. This weekend, I felt blessed to have folks in both categories.

For the first year, I attended the annual event Firebird Festival in Phoenixvile, PA.  It is a community gathering that focuses on the concept of the Phoenix rising from the ashes and has become legendary in its scope. My friend Henrik Stubbe Teglbjaerg is the artist who orchestrates this shindig and builds the bird.  Last minute decision after the seed was planted. I meandered back and forth in my thoughts, tired after gym ‘playout’, wanting to take a nap, desiring to take part in the ritual of seeing the bird in full flight (symbolically speaking) and then letting go of my worn out beliefs, fears, hesitations, doubts, limitations and watching them go up in flames. Hopped in the Jeep, headed Southward. When I got nearby, I was delighted and frustrated that there were so many people and cars. Took a deep breath and called on our family parking angel, seeing what we call “an Uncle Jimmy parking spot” since my mother’s brother Jim always found the perfect spot. It took nearly 30 minutes of driving around, enjoying the scenery until I found a parking lot with ONE SPOT left. It was just a few blocks away from the main festivities. I knew I would see friends there and within moments, I was greeted by my friend Laura Bertin. Throughout the evening, I saw oodles more as I slowly wound my way through the playful, colorfully garbed crowds (one man with a rainbow-hued, 6″ or so mohawk), others with silly hats and fun costumes. There was an air of anticipation, since they had all come to see the big bird burn. Tiny kidlets (including few month old Elliott perched on his father’s shoulders, eyes wide in delight) watched in wonder.   A host of drummers kept the beat, including Ron Kravitz, Bill DeHaven and Daniel Brouse. Since I had left my drum in the car (silly me), I used the edge of the stage as a percussion instrument.
Another opportunity to connect with kindred spirits…I turned and saw my friend Gael Chiarella Alba who I have not greeted hug to hug in a few years. She was there with friends of hers and invited me to come back to her house for what turned out to be lively conversation about my favorite subject of ‘life, the Universe and everything.’ and yummy food. Even though I had not met these folks in this lifetime, it truly felt like we had done this before, so naturally did it flow~ Looking forward to seeing them again.
Photo: Side view of the great bird. When I got there, I saw my friend Henrik Stubbe Teglbjaerg putting last minute touches on it. <3
Phoenix before the ceremony (I took this one)
Photo
Phoenix during the celebratory conflagration. (Photo credit Daniel Brouse, 2012)
On Sunday, I went to Circle of Miracles; one of my interfaith spiritual communities and heard the marvelous ‘child in a grownup suit’ Marlene Sandler share her thoughts about the importance of play. For her, it became a survival skill, having experienced childhood abuse, health issues and depression. It wasn’t until she befriended a dog named Teddy, a cat called Marmalade and a pony with the moniker of Harriet, that Marlene truly came alive. They each taught her, not only the value of play, but HOW to play. No wonder she became a talented animal communicator, therapist, healer and teacher. Marlene invited us to engage in a practice that wolves use to create safe space….howling; which the group of forty some of us did, with abandon. She then shared the dynamics of the ways in which animals and people play, and how to become more adept at it. One fascinating tidbit she offered was that typically those who commit serial murders did not learn to play (and obviously, they didn’t learn to play well with others): She gave each of us a baggie filled with a few pieces of candy, a dreidel since it is Hanukkah, a photo story of a polar bear and husky that learned to play together and an index card. She asked us to take 30 seconds and draw a picture of the person next to us. Such fun!  And then she reminded us that as children, we likely would have engaged in the experience without judgement and as adults, likely were being self critical of what appeared on the the 3 x 5. I actually just had fun sketching my friend Monica Gager.
According to Peter Gray:  “Play in our species serves many valuable purposes. It is a means by which children develop their physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and moral capacities. It is a means of creating and preserving friendships. It also provides a state of mind that, in adults as well as children, is uniquely suited for high-level reasoning, insightful problem solving, and all sorts of creative endeavors.” I agree wholeheartedly. This 54 year old has bubbles, crayons, costumes, facepaint, feathers, and all sorts of other toys in her life enhancement tool kit.
Later in the day, I headed to the home of Cass Forkin and Bill Belknap who also are playful adults. They invite a group of us to gather to celebrate friendship, set intention for next year, support each other in our endeavors, enjoy yummy food, honor the holidays of light and just have fun. No surprise, tying in with the theme of the morning’s celebration at Circle of Miracles, their dog Bailey was a playful participant in the festivities.
Photo: Cass Forkin and the magical pup named Bailey <3
Cass Forkin
Photo: Bill Belknap beaming brightly <3
 Bill Belknap
I led the group through a ritual during which we lit candles and went around the room, sharing what it is we had experienced in 2012, how it had impacted our lives and those with whom we came in contact and what we intended for the new year. With each thought shared, we blessed the intention by howling like a supportive wolf pack. Since some of us had been there that morning at Circle of Miracles, it was all the more powerful and expression of solidarity and support. Among us were musicians, health professionals, teachers, artists, writers, organizational developers, CEOs, speakers and engineers, all with a common purpose…to make a difference in the world.
“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”  -Alan Watts
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