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The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Vulnerability

 

Words are powerful. Tonight someone used a word to describe me that no one has ever used before and in my mind it was not complimentary, although to her, it might have been, or even neutral.  Although I don’t  identify myself that way, it set wheels in motion that took me to a place I clearly needed to go. The word she used evoked an image of toughness and hardness, masculine,  rather than the soft, warm and fuzzy persona I prefer to exude. I admit to strength and resilience, born of necessity after being widowed at 40, raising an 11 year old son to manhood, supporting us both with several jobs simultaneously, keeping us in the same house all these years. Many’s the time I have deflected the nurturing from others that I put forth in my personal and professional caregiving roles. In the past 4 1/2 years, since both my parents have also passed, I have girded myself even further, playing social worker and minister within their hospice journeys and officiating at their funerals, as well as handling my mother’s estate. Alth0ugh I have grieved, I have also felt emotionally shut down at times; in a sense, putting a bookmark in the bereavement, a rock in the flow, so as to be able to function in my various and sundry roles. Tonight, the flood gates opened as I am on the verge of leaving my full time social worker- in -a -psychiatric- hospital job that I have held for 11 years, so that I can live my Bliss with my writing and speaking. Tomorrow is my last day there and during my tenure, I have supressed and submerged many of my emotions in service to my patients and their families. I have the feeling it will be a weepy day as I end one chapter in my life and begin another. I am willing to refrain from reading to the end of the book and instead, with courage, peruse one page at a time.

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Vulnerabilty doesn’t come easily to me. It implies a need to trust that the other person has my best interest at heart and would not intentionally cause harm and would  be willing, in most cases, to agree to provide comfort when needed. Much easier to be the giver, the safe haven, the comforter that wraps around them, than ask for that myself. THAT is one reason I am a Cuddle Party facilitator, since we teach what we need to learn. In the workshop, there are opportunities to ask for what you want and to be able to hear ‘yes’ and ‘no’ with greater grace and acceptance. By doing so, vulnerability is on the line, bringing with it a chance for extraordinary growth. When we don’t receive what we think we want from someone, it offers the gift of our own beauty, strength and resilience. Thank you to that person whose description of me is contributing to my healing and being real and vulnerable. May we all be willing to be seen, known and lovcd.

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I enjoyed watching this video with sister Social Worker and Storyteller Brene’  Brown sharing her TED Talk  take on The Power of Vulnerability. The concepts she put forth mirror my own experiences of desiring a sense of connection and belonging and despite appearances of being supremely self confident, I too question myself and my worthiness/willingness to receive.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o

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The Joy Is In The Journey

Imagine you were taking a long road trip from PA to CA. You have packed your car, checked the tires, filled the windshield washer fluid tank, charged your cell phone, programmed the GPS (or checked out the map if you prefer to read your directions folded like an accordian:), maybe you have your favorite CD’s or books on tape, ready to roll.  You know that the direction you need to head to get there, is West, so you drive 500 miles , admiring the breathtaking scenery and suddenly you get a hankering (who knows why?) to turn back around and go East for awhile. Now, will you get to Cali sooner or later if you keep driving East?  A simple answer with an easily identifiable solution…Go West Young Man (or Woman)!  I use that as a metaphor when working with clients who tend to self sabotage. They may be chugging along for awhile and all of a sudden they throw up their hands in disgust with the entrenched beliefs that nothing will ever change in their lives. I give them a cross between a Mona Lisa smile and goofy grin, knowing that, of course, much has changed since they have been away and are now ready to continue on the path.

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I have done it myself. Not as much anymore, thank goodness. I found myself (or lost myself) setting up roadblocks when things have felt ‘too good’. I created detours when a direct route might have gotten me to my destination sooner. I allowed myself to be ‘cut off’ enroute by slow moving cars putt-putting along in front of me. All created out of fear of really arriving at my chosen objective. I do know this…if things had been different, had I made different choices in career, relationship, housing, health, I wouldn’t be where I am now. If certain challenging situations had never existed, I may not have made those choices or met the people who have been my teachers of love.  I am fascinated with the concept of alternate realities….things happening simultaneously with different ‘me’s’ engaged in various activities. For example, one aspect of myself is writing this at 1:25 a.m. est, because I woke up a short while ago from deep sleep that began a few hours ago and the Muse beckoned with come-hither fingers, daring me to stay awake with her for a bit, promising restful slumber soon after. Another may be in Hawaii, under a waterfall with my Beloved. Still another may be speaking before a group of folks who desire to live their own rich, full and juicy lives.  Those too are part of my journey. If I trust where I am guided, the ride is much more fun and fulfilling. And maybe, just maybe the destination won’t matter so much if  I am intentionally discovering joy in the journey; without being an accidental tourist.  And aren’t we all just on our way back home?

http://youtu.be/MP74a2jQhDM Two of Us by the Beatles

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Love And Reverence

“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.” ~Henry David Thoreau

I found this exquisite image and the quote that was posted from a facebook page called Rivers In The Ocean and it spoke to me of the path that I choose to follow. It has certainly never been a direct route from point A to point B, but rather circuitious. It has taken me from relatively tame, somewhat predictable suburbia to adventures beyond my wildest dreams. My activities are often left of center in most ways; hard to describe at times to someone with a more mainstream perspective. I am learning that the way absent of peaks and valleys can be rather boring. I do choose the road less traveled much of the time, without benefit of compass or roadmap, except that which is firmly lodged in my heart. I often use the AGS (Angelic Guidance System) trusting that it will show me where I need to go. It has led me, without exception, to interact with all sorts of kindred spirits that light me up from the inside. There are some days when I am acutely and sometimes achingly aware of the deep soul connection I have with fellow travelers. I know that regardless of the amount of time we walk side by side, sometimes diverging, sometimes resting and taking pause, that  once we have acknowledged that bond, we are surelysafely in each others’ hearts.

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I love this story that speaks so beautifully and brilliantly about finding joy on the journey.

There was once an American traveler who planned a safari to Africa. He was that typical Type-A American tourist, who many of us may be and who I admittedly am when I travel. We do our research about this travel destination and we have a timetable, maps, and a clear agenda of the things we need to see and do. Some local people had even been hired to carry some of the traveler’s supplies as they trekked throughout the land—it was that level of planning.

On the first morning, they all woke up early and traveled fast and covered a great distance. The second morning was the same—woke up early, traveled fast, and traveled far. Third morning, same thing. But on the fourth morning, the local hired help refused to move. Instead, they sat by a tree in the shade well into the morning. The American traveler became incensed and irate and said to his translator, “This is a waste of valuable time. Can someone tell me what’s going on here?” The translator looked at him and calmly answered, “They’re waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies.”

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Letting our souls catch up with our bodies…..way too often, I AM that hectic tourist, wanting to “see Paris in a day”, per the Ellis Paul song by that name. I hustle and bustle, getting things done and sacrificing the beauty around me.  One thing I know for sure is that when I walk the path with love and reverence, I will always find my way Home.

http://youtu.be/BSxdLGcNlZ0 Paris In A Day by Ellis Paul

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Very Old Friends

Fear is the cheapest room in the house

I would like to see you living

In better conditions,

For your mother and my mother

Were friends.

I know the Innkeeper

In this part of the universe.

Get some rest tonight

Come to my verse again tomorrow.

We’ll go speak to the Friend together.

I should not make any promises right now,

But I know if you pray

Somewhere in this world-

Something good will happen.

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God wants us to see

More love and playfulness in your eyes

For that is your greatest witness to Him.

Your soul and my soul

Once sat together in the Beloved’s womb

Playing footsie. Your heart and my heart

Are very, very old friends.

– Hafez (Poem’s Title is ”Your Mother and My Mother”)

As I read this poem, I was touched by its intimacy and the ways in which it honors soul connection. I am ever so blessed to have many ‘anam cara’ (Gaelic for soul friend) and ‘water brothers’ (if you are not familiar with that term, read Robert Heinlein’s classic novel, Stranger in A Strange Land) among the overlapping soul circles that so enrapture me. Both of them speak to the sense of at-home-ness with the people I draw into my life. I marvel periodically that those for whom I feel a loving connection were once-upon-a-time, not even on my radar; didn’t even know they existed until…ta-da!  One day they just arrived on the doorstep of my heart, ringing the bell, asking to be invited in. With them, there was a recognition….”Oh, there you are, old/eternally ageless friend. Welcome back. Don’t stay away so long next time.” and we sit and sip tea and eat chocolate and share memories from eons and lifetimes ago. (metaphorically speaking sometimes and literally at others).

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This past weekend brought together a bunch of folks who shared deeply personal and powerful experiences. My heart and theirs’ feel linked in ways I can’t even explain at the moment. As I gaze backward at the timeline of my life, I could probably count thousands who fit into that category. I feel sorry when I hear that people are lonely, believing that they have no one who loves them and no one to love. I am an abundantly wealthy woman with a treasure trove of friends. One thing that was really cool about this weekend was that so many of the folks there knew others who are dear to me and the thread that makes up the tapestry of my life becomes longer, sturdier and more elegant as a result. Sometimes when people have a transcendent experience at a retreat, they ‘come down’ from the high, especially when it was as body-mind-spirit nurturing as this one was. There was a time when my worlds were so separate that those to whom I returned in my ‘outside’ life wouldn’t have understood my experiences and would have looked at me like I was from another planet. (psssst…..I really am, by the way:) These days, I make sure that my worlds are blended, so that my descriptions of what transpired don’t seem weird to them. I have noticed today, that even though there is a bit of a pang for being outside that comfy nest we created, it is portable. I found myself extending it to my work place, to the roads on which I travelled to and from my job and also to the 7-11 I entered to buy a lottery ticket tonight. I had mentioned that my sister told me that my father passed a message from the beyond to tell me “Edie should buy a lottery ticket tonight.” Ok, I’m game for a win! The woman at the counter next to me mentioned that both her parents had also passed, but just like me, truly sense that they are together too. I told her my Mom Miracle stories that are contained in my Bliss Mistress book. She smiled and then told me a story about asking for an indication that her parents were doing well. A short while later, she saw two vines interwoven with beautiful flowers on them. Keep in mind that these flowers were not there the last time she had looked. A sure sign.  We hugged goodbye with a wistful tear reflected in both of our eyes, these two ‘strangers’ brought together by chance.

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Imagine what it be like if all of my friends and all of your friends and all of their friends got together for the most amazing reunion conceivable….what a love fest THAT would be.

Wishing you hearts touched by such magnificence.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGbnua2kSa8 That’s What Friends Are For by Dionne Warwick

 

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