The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Doing What It Takes

 

This image jumped out at me (no pun intended:) this morning and I knew it was calling on me to write about the concept. It showed up right after I had finished a conversation with a friend about what it takes to rise to the occasion, to do what needed to be done in the midst of a major shift in my life in 1998.

It actually began decades before,  with an interesting juxtaposition of actions and beliefs. I was raised by parents with a ‘do what it takes, where there’s a will, there’s a way’ attitude. They modeled it daily, going steadily along with jobs and upkeep of our home, by volunteering in the community, by taking care of elderly parents until they passed, (both grandmothers lived with us at one time or another until I was 13 or so); when my father experienced job lay-offs, he always found other work temporarily until he was called back to his original job. Although I was not raised in financial wealth (emotional and spiritual wealth, most certainly), we always seemed to have enough.

As a student and an athlete (competitive swimmer from age 11-18 and then coached from 18-21), I lived by the idea that if I wanted to succeed, I needed to ‘do my homework’ and put my backbone where my wishbone was. Somewhere  along the line, I lost sight of doing what needed to be done, while in business. I had no frame of reference for what it meant to own my own biz and while immersed in it, there were times when I didn’t step up and there were repercussions; many of them eroded away at my belief in my abilities. Was it a catch-22 in which I lacked self assurance, so I didn’t follow through, or was it about missing the mark and receiving negative feedback that I internalized? The reality is, the woman I am now would have been willing and able to get the job done.

Back to 1998. That was the year that my husband began the downward spiral that eventually led to his transition. He had been diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 1992 and it became a crisis 6 years later. In November, 1998, he entered the ICU in a coma and 5 1/2 weeks later, he succumbed to the disease. That period of time brought with it, all manner of valauble life lessons even in the midst of pain and sorrow. Afterward, when I had time to collect my thoughts, it occurred to me in a moment of blessed relief, that I really was able to rise to the occasion and do what needed to be done. Gone was the luxury of just coasting by, since I needed to take over the running of our business until we sold it earlier that year. I became a single parent of a then 11 year old (now 24 year old) son. As I look back, I consider that I have been able to keep us in this house by working full time and doing my other consulting work. I am doing what many others have done before me, in even more dire circumstances, but there are times when I forget that it is quite something to feel good about.

The image above came from the inspiring and dynamic John Assaraf  with whose work I became familiar by watching the movie The Secret. His vision board segment reinforced my certainty that imagery helps me embody what it is I desire to call into my life. I have created several of them and with delight, I can see that so many of the wishes illustrated, have manifested, including the interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and publishing my book. I assist others in doing the same thing with their dreams and desires, as a result.

What I value about John’s  work is that it is portable and immediately applicable in my life. I have discovered that most people don’t do the best they can. They do the best they are willing to do. By utilizing the ideas he and many other teachers of the same spirit offer, I have been able to experience checking items off my goals/intentions list. Not only is it fun,  but reinforcing of what I know to be so, that putting legs under my desires will enable me to move from being a ‘big fish in a little pond (or bowl:), to swimming freely in the river of life.

 

www.johnassaraf.com

Bringing Out The Best

 

In my work as a therapist, I have been both gratified with the healing work couples are willing to do when letting love lead the session and frustrated and disheartened at times when there is so much animosity swirling around. There have been sessions when I have wished for a broom and disinfectant to sweep out and clean up all the metaphorical viscera spilled and venom spewed on the floor. Recently, I have had my share of each. I much prefer the first.

It occurred to me that no matter what type of relationship I find myself in, whether with a partner, friend, my son, co-workers or strangers I happen to even briefly encounter, there is one thing that those I choose to remain with have in common. Having that person in my life will bring out the highest in me. When I am with them, think about them, talk to them or about them, I am at my best. A few years ago, while in a dysfunctional relationship that lasted 4 months (in retrospect 3 months and 3 weeks too long), a friend asked me “Where did your joy go? ” She saw that I had invested 120 days or so of my life in a toxic relationship. Although there were a few positive aspects of our time together, much of my sparkle was being drained away. Once I left, I lit up again and became a human sparkler once more.

I see many people who stay in unhappy and unhealthy relationships out of obligation or fear of being alone or that they won’t be able to make solo decisions or “for the sake of the children.”  It’s my perception that children thrive in a loving environment and deteriorate in a setting in which conflict abounds, regardless of whether it is a two parent or single parent home. I have people in my life who have not had the greatest role models for what a loving, thriving relationship can look like, so they emulate their parents’ patterns to the detriment of themselves and their children. The good news is that it is entirely possible to learn new ways of being.

I invite you to take a good look at your relationships and boldly ask yourself if they bring out the best or worst in you. You deserve the best!  Sparkle and shine.

http://youtu.be/w_kjNKuLy7A Love Song by Ronan Hardiman

Groundhog Day

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, there is a particular ritual that heralds the beginning of February and a creature that is reputed to be a prognosticator of the coming of Spring in the depths of Winter. Punxutawny Phil, so called because he (and his ancestors) live(d) in the Pennsylvania town of the same name. This is the 126th year that this critter will be emerging from his warm cozy cubby and be a determinent of whether Spring is just around the corner or 6 weeks away. On the calendar, no matter what, the date of the equinox is March 20th.  People from all over the world travel to participate in the festivities.

Although I have never been there, I have traveled cinematographically many times via the  1993 film starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell. He plays a cynical, grumpified weatherman (perhaps intentionally with the same name as his furry co-star) named Phil Connors who comes to the town with a film crew to report on what he considers a waste of time that he bashes and trashes. She is Rita, a kind hearted assistant who is not the least bit interested in pursuing a relationship with this erstwhile suitor who becomes enchanted with her as the movie progresses. Bored with the proceedings, after taping the event, he insists that they head back to Pittsburgh, only to be sidelined by a blizzard that turns them back around to town. That night he lays his head down on the pillow of a patchwork quilt covered bed and wakes up at 6 a.m.  to the sounds of Sonny and Cher crooning, “I Got You, Babe”. Phil experiences the first of countless nights of lying under the quilt and awakening to the same music. No one else seems to be aware the time loop, and since he is, he uses it to his advantag, doing some unscrupulous things and is nearly driven mad, as he drives off a cliff (the four legged Phil hugging the steering wheel) in an unsuccessful suicide attempt. He wakes up once again to the same routine. He then has an aha moment, that he responds to by becoming the town hero who rescues people, plays intruments, speaks French and wins Rita’s heart. One of my favorite scenes is one in which, to avoid the insurance salesman former classmate, he steps into a puddle of icy water.

Did you know that the ‘definition’ of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results? How often do you step into the metaphorical puddle until you are tired of frozen feet and soggy socks? I know I had spent years engaged in non-productive behaviors and ineffective choices until I woke up and realized it wasn’t serving me. Now, most of the time, I recognize when I am caught up in a seemingly endless loop.  What if you knew that never again did you have to do something just because you have always done it that way? What changes would you make right this moment, if you knew they would enhance your life immeasurably? Are you willing to be the predictor of your own early Spring?  To what new world will you awaken?

http://youtu.be/xzW_7ANnHZI I Got You Babe by Sonny and Cher

 

Where You Look

 

Singer songwriters are my heroes. They take thought and inspiration and turn them into magic moments. As a writer and poet, I am fascinated with the process they go through, but have not yet immersed myself in the songwriting genre…maybe someday. One of my favorite musical magicians is Asheville, North Carolina based David Wilcox. I discovered his songs via my hometown University of Pennsylvania member supported radio station WXPN 88.5 fm (streamed on www.xpn.org) On my way home from the gym last night, I was listening to his song called “Native Tongue”. He says that it is about the idea that (according to ecstatic poet Rumi)”What you seek is seeking you.”  The line “Where you look is where love finds you.” jumped out at me and played peek-a-boo with my heart. I could actually feel it leap in my chest and a smile of contentment spread over my otherwise weary-from -a- long -day, face. It occurred to me that we often spend so much time ‘looking for love in all the wrong places’ that we sometimes can’t see it when it is waving its metaphorical arms in the air, jumping up and down, clamoring for our attention, calling out “Here I am….”  What’s more important than that, I wonder?

So where was I looking yesterday? I was looking at the literal and metaphorical road in front of me as I made my way to a job that calls on every bit of insight, strength, resilience, creativity, spontaneity, wisdom, experience, book knowledge and faith I possess, working with folks with mental health diagnoses. Each day I pray that I have what it takes to hold this sacred trust. Each day, Spirit helps me deliver. Whew!

When I got there, I was looking at witholding judgement when there was resistance to ‘my ideas’ of how my day should go, when I had a schedule to keep and things kept filling up the space when I thought I had checked stuff off my to-do list. And yet….somehow I managed to get home in time to keep a phone appointment, write an article, do promo work and get to the gym for my ‘playout’.  Love was in all those places, faces and experiences.

Love was also in the prayers offered for the son of a friend who is in the ICU, for my brother in-law who is also hospitalized and my sister and her kids going along on the ride with him, for my son to find his way in the world and a career in which he can use his talents for cooking and caring and support himself,  for friends with challenging health diagnoses, for friends who have recently experienced the death of loved ones, friends who are in daunting financial circumstances ….all of these folks could use a miracle…or ten.

Love is in the desire to create a partnership in a mutually supportive relationship as I have witnessed modeled by my parents and others who I consider ‘spiritual power couples’, whose union serves the world as well as each other.

Love is in each word that comes forth in my writing, scattered like faerie dust and wonder for anyone willing to scoop up and share.

Where are you looking?  Where has love found you?

http://youtu.be/MvJQQNs-YWs by David Wilcox

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