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The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Holding Pain

 

In learning to hold both our pain and our pleasure we can embrace the Bliss that is always available. – Dr. Jennifer Howard

 

Holding pleasure is always my first choice, as it is for most folks. Throughout my life, I have avoided pain as best I can, denied it when it arrived. pushed past it,  and yet I have learned that it can often be a powerful teacher. As a child, I had the requisite boo-boos from falling and skinning my knees, spraining my ankles and on three occasions, had broken them (6th, 8th and 10th grades).  I was diagnosed with asthma around 4 or 5  and spent years in the doc’s office for allergy shots and check ups, and nights in the bathroom, inhaling steam to open my constricted lungs. I grew up in a family in which care, but not over-protection was offered and I was a rough and tumble kid at times…biking, skating, sledding, swimming, getting muddy, hanging out in the woods. Emotional boo boos were not as comfortable for me. I put on a smiling face and made things look better and easier than they were.  I learned to be a chameleon and go along to get along, to fit in when I felt weird (an alien baby left on my parents’ doorstep as I sometimes gleefully informed them).

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It seemed like that behavior served me at times, but in retrsopect, I can see where it hindered my growth and kept fully genuine connection at bay. Even now there are times when I act as if everything feels good, when some days, it just plain sucks! I have learned the difference between pain and suffering, but when I deny distress, it has an opportunity to go underground for a bit and then resurfaces, perhaps in a more clever disguise. Better, I have learned, to recognize it, address it, ask it literally what it wants me to learn, because when I do that, it isn’t as daunting to move through. I am allowing myself to hold and be held in that pain state, to permit it to be soothed and ameliorated. It is only then that I am able to be fully human and real and in my work with clients/attendees at my workshops and classes, I can hold space for them to move through their own painful experiences so as not to deny or exacerbate. It is a necessity for this recovering co-dependent. There was a time when I would take on others’ pain in order to avoid my own, which of course would come back to bite me in the tush more times than I can count. I became an empath (think Counselor Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation) which is quite an honor and can at times bring with it vicarious traumatization. One of my many hats is that of a social worker who is privy to stories that would curl most people’s toes (and not in a good way): I sometimes need to shake it off, sweat it out at the gym, cry it out in the car and cleanse if off in the shower, since other people’s pain sometimes sticks to me like burrs that you would collect on the hem of your pants if you were walking through the woods.

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Friends have reminded me over the years, that I have the right to acknowledge pain and challenges rather than brush them off, since after all, I reason that other people have it much worse and I have little to complain about in my life. Mine is legitimate as well and when I gaze backward in time, I can marvel at what I have gotten through, relatively sane and vertical.

Most of the pain I endure comes from within…the negative monkey mind chatter, the subtle and overt put downs, the self deprecating, seductive dance. It is when I  bless it all, the pain and the pleasure, embracing the aspects of myself that are petulant and disgruntled, I emerge restored.

http://youtu.be/StcMnwyhpdQ Benedictus by The Strawbs

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Write It Out

                                                                                                                   

 

“I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh

This quote reached out and grabbed me by the heart when I saw it on the page of fb friend Carol Woodliff, since it speaks profoundly about the intense passion I have for writing. I know that I was born to be a writer and in previous incarnations, have been one, since it comes so easily and freely. I almost never have writer’s block and find that anything I experience can be grist for the mill and often is. Even in the midst of the most enjoyable moments, I toggle back and forth between mindful immersion in it and contemplating how I will communicate it later on, eager to get to my computer to share it. Even in anticipation of an event, I do that. Does that seem weird?

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Last year, in a reading with psychic Corbie Mitleid, she told me “Your relationship will be with your Muse.”  At the time, I didn’t think to get clarity with her about what that meant. Was she indicating that my partner would also be my inspiration for my creative flow or was she saying that the Muse itself would become lover/partner? Both would be just fine and dandy with me(:  There are times when it is heart and soul satisfying to sit in silence and then allow the words to flow, unimpeded, opening to the sprinkles that intensify to torrents.  Grateful to be drenched in descriptions.

In recent years, I have opened myself to be what I call “God’s Typist” to whom ideas are dictated. There was a time when I would have thought that description grandiose, but now I know it is accurate. We are all hollow reeds through which celestial music can be played if we allow for it. Writing also one of my healthy addictions and that which keeps me sane and vertical at times. I am grateful to have been tapped.

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There are some days when I would imagine writing for 12 hours straight, taking time for potty breaks and a wee bit of food, but otherwise immersed in my craft.  At the moment, I am listening to my favorite radio station (WXPN  88.5 in Philadelphia), on Saturday morning of Memorial Day Weekend, letting my fingers dance across the keyboard, Pat Metheney instrumental version of the Norah Jones made famous composition (written by Jesse Harris) “Don’t Know Why” wafting across the airwaves. The dryer is doing its job across the hall, Nag Champa incense lightly billowing through the air.  Just had cereal with all kinds of colorful berries…straw/rasp/blue and am sipping Rooibos tea…enjoying the multi-sensory experience. Anticipating a hotter than normal late Spring that feels like mid Summer day with a wide open schedule into which I will sprinkle a playout at the gym, cleaning, time with friends and of course….writing.

Wishing you all wondrous worlds of words.

www.xpn.org

www.youtube.com/watch?v=BntNRMiI4PQ

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Second Chance

 

When I went to bed last night, I chose to program a question to be answered by the time my fingers touched the keyboard this morning. I didn’t have a theme for today’s Bliss Blog, so I asked the Muse for a specific, definitive concept. Like lucid dreaming, it has worked for all kinds of creative geniuses and inventors throughout the ages, so I figured “What the heck?”  Long about 4 :15 a.m., I awoke to the sound of some of my favorite kirtan artists named Deva Premal, Miten and Manose, singing a beautiful ode to do-overs, called Second Chance.

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I hung my hat on a wishing tree

I asked for one wish – I could’ve had three

but I only asked for what I needed

could’ve asked for money, riches and wealth

but all I really wanted was to find myself

unaccustomed as I was to seeking

and my heart whispered inside and the moon rose and the angels sighed..

 and they said… here comes your second chance

 you’d better believe it open up and receive it here comes your second chance

 take a deep breath, this is your second chance.

 make peace with your mother and your father, too

make peace with the stranger inside of you

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and forgive yourself for the things you tried and failed to do

embrace your anger, your lust and your greed

that’s how we drop the things that we don’t need

pick up a musical instrument or plant a seed

that was my heart whispering inside ‘welcome’ it said, ‘you’re home and dry’

[chorus] well the years went by and my wish came true

and i find myself here with you

i had to climb that mountain there was no way around it

and we all come and go like waves in the sea

each with our own responsibility

to leave this world more beautiful than we found it

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that’s your heart whispering inside

and you know your heart, it never lied

And here comes your second chance….

Not quite wide awake at that hour, but not yet ready to dive back into sleep, I allowed myself the luxury of meandering through the pages of the past 53 years of my life and consider the many and varied  do-overs and re-creations of myself. Fifteen years ago, I was immersed in severe self-doubt, second guessing nearly every decision, a co-dependent chameleon who changed colors lest I lose approval. Calling my caregiving tendencies an insurance policy against rejection and abandonment, I was an emotional contortionist would bend over backward to please people. Sometimes I cringe when I think about the me-that-I-was and then I reach out to ‘her’ in compassion, for if not for her courage in getting past the enmeshed, enabling, self-sabotaging behaviors, you wouldn’t be reading these words. So much has transpired in the interceding years; including the illness and death of my husband and parents, working with people with mental health challenges, relationship roller coaster rides, stretching my comfort zones with career choices, becoming a free lance journalist, interviewer and author, taking what I have learned (some through joy, some through sorrow) to guide other people through sometimes rocky terrain.  I have learned to trust the guidance of Spirit, that it will lead me to serve the Highest Cause. These days, I still find myself (or, actually, lose myself) in inner critiholism, even as recently as this morning, which snarled at me, “If you’re all that, then how come…..?” (and I filled in the blank with a few of my not-yet-arrived-heart’s-desires). I quickly remedied the thought with the response of “Since you ARE all that, what you desire is here now and you welcome in the rest as it shows up.” and then I did a count my blessings list. All of this can be done in a heartbeat.

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Today, my prayer is that I embrace any and all Second Chances that the Universe sees fit to offer, with grace and gratitude.

Thank you to my friends Miten, Deva and Manose for showing up in my dream last night(:

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5QO66phajs Second Chance by Miten with Deva Premal and Manose

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Shiny Happy People

 

I was looking at my facebook page a short while ago and marveling at the beatifically beaming little faces as I beheld their beauty. Friends from all over the planet, brought together through the marvels of modern technology.  We celebrate each others’ success, comfort each other in times of sadness or sorrow. We offer prayers and delve into spiritual concepts. We offer windows into each others’  hearts and souls, even if we may never physically cross paths. We share a bond nevertheless. Some I have known since childhood (family of birth) and some throughout my life, that I call family of choice.

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I had been on an interview with two of  them  tonight hailing from Canada, named  Aline Ohannessian  and Roni Lipstein. If not for the facebook phenom, it is unlikely that we would have connected, since I am here in the Philadelphia, PA area. Their show is called BEingLOVE on Souls Talking Brain and I had the joy of speaking about Life, The Universe and Everything (my favorite subject since it is endlessly fascinating). Of course, I shared about the Beliefnet Bliss Blog so more folks can join us here.

I had commented to the hosts that speaking to them via skype felt so Star Trek, so much like what would have been sci-fi when I was a kid and yet, here we were, chatting away. I laughed because it felt so natural now. As a result of the interview, my shiny-happy-people posse is growing larger.

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I often think about the chain of events that led me from where I was to where I desire to be and the beyond belief people I have met as a result. It’s that Hansel and Gretel Breadcrumb Trail that I speak of often that introduced me to one person, who opened the door to another, who said “Ooooohhhh, you should meet this person!”  So many kindred spirits gathered  ’round.  Sometimes I wonder if certain experiences occur so many years earlier that may make no sense at the time, but a stretch later, bring a knowing nod and a “NOW I get it. That was preparing me to do this thing, without which having had the earlier encounter, I would not have been able to accomplish.” Cool beans how the Universe works.

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Over the weekend, I drew more people into my sphere, from attending a Gay Pride event in support of LGBT folks to doing ‘yoga on the steps’ of the Philadelphia Art Museum and all the precious moments in between.  I also honor those who have been in my life in one form or antother for many years. My friends are my treasures and I am  a wealthy woman as a result.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCQ0vDAbF7s Shiny Happy People by REM

http://www.ustream.tv/user/BEingLOVEwww.beinglove.tv  BEingLove tv

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