The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Soul Gardeners

 

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

When I look at my life, the messy and marvelous, the mundane muddy muck, the magical miraculous occurrences that show up on my doorstep each day, I breathe a sigh of gratitude. This garden that is my earthly incarnation didn’t become what it is in a vacuum. The seeds that were planted were scattered by the loving souls who have stood at the ready with wheelbarrows filled to overflowing.

My job has been to clear the patch, weed, remove the rocks and rubble and prepare it for the implantation. If I expect that beauty will take hold and blossom in  soil tumbled with brambles and overgrown with grumbles, I am sadly mistaken. I also need to remember that if I want to grow wildflowers,  I ought not to plant watermelon seeds. Once the seedlings are underground, the real work of patiently waiting, watering, weeding out discontent and wondering when it will blossom, begins.  I can’t very well be digging in the dirt, asking why the flora isn’t yet flourishing and yet, how often have I done that with projects in my life?  There have been times when what I have asked for has taken (in my opinion), far too long to come to fruition and yet, like stop action photography, I can witness how in the grand scheme of things, my wishes and desiress have shown up in seemingly transcendent ways.

I welcome the ‘charming gardeners’ from all walks of life, from all realms of my existence that arrive in sometimes surprising and unexpected forms.  I am blessed to have so many soul gardeners in my life, with rakes, shovels, seeds and sometimes fertilizer at the ready.

Who are they in your life?

What seeds have you planted?

How does your garden grow?

 

http://youtu.be/D3FkaN0HQgs The Garden Song sung by John Denver

Enough!

 

I was just speaking with my friend Christine Baeza who has been in the fashion and promotion industry for 23 years. She is a powerhouse in her own right and the wind beneath the wings for so many people.  I am blessed to be one of those she helps keep aloft for the past nearly 3 years since we met while working on what I called Team Transformation for Common Ground Fellowship as we brought Michael Beckwith and Rickie Byars Beckwith to Philadelphia.  She is fire-y and passionate and a cheerleader for living a bliss-filled life. She is my fashion consultant, helping me to move my otherwise hippie wardrobe out and replacing it with a bit more of a polished look.

We were musing about the ways in which women internalize a message that we don’t do enough have enough, BE enough.  Our wheels are spinning nearly ceaselessly as we endeavor to catch up with …..what?  I think of it as imposter syndrome, this incessant need to validate ourselves externally, no matter how much we have accomplished. I know that there have been times when I have felt impatient with the speed (or lack thereof) that things seem to be happening in my life. Over and over I feel a need to prove myself, even though by most people’s standards, I’m pretty accomplished and the time frame around which things transpire is as it is, regardless of my protestations that it should be faster, better, easier. Blessedly, Chris and I also acknowledge a certain degree of comfort in our own skin. I am in my 50’s and she is a bit younger and both of us are enjoying being seasoned women. She and her husband just returned from Costa Rica (his country of birth) and she was regaling me with stories about the ways in which the culture oozes with glorious expressions of affection which invite women to feel adored. When you perceive yourself as being ooohed and ahhhed over, it may seem easier to internalize it.

Our conversation then turned to the idea of mentoring young women so that they know things can take off beyond their wildest dreams, with evidence offered by those of us who are now in the next phases of our lives. We are claiming our voices, our gifts, our sexuality, taking charge of our lives. In 2010, she was part of a project spearheaded by Marianne Williamson called Sister Giant: Rousing the Sleeping Giant of American Womanhood. In April of that year, Chris joined them on a trip to Kenya. What an adventure she had!

As a conscious heart-trepreneur, Chris is the founder of Nookies Pleasure Apparel which distributes elegant, fun and playful socks that keep women’s feet warm which, in turn, enhances sexual pleasure. Happy feet=happy heart and other body parts(:

Now does this sound like a woman who isn’t enough?

How can you embrace your enough-ness?

Make a list of things you accomplished today, the past week, month, year. Some days just getting out of bed feels like an accomplishment.

Look at your resume and if you don’t have one, create one.

Take time to clean one part of your house, fold laundry or do dishes. I know that even those simple things help me feel like I am doing something, when I feel slug-like.

Ask people who know you well and who are YOUR cheerleaders to list your achievements.

Celebrate them all and know that you are enough!

www.nookiespleasuresox.com

My Parents’ Daughter

 

This morning while sitting in the Jeep in the bank drive through, I glanced over, smiled at the teller and complimented her on her earrings. She grinned back and thanked me and told me that she had gotten them at the shore this past summer. I joked with her about them being such a wonderful reminder of warm summertime in the midst of a mid double digit, East Coast ‘chilly bears’ day.  It was then that it occurred to me how my parents, Moish and Selma had a knack for engaging in conversation with any and everyone who crossed their paths and passed that gift and one of my greatest joys, on to me, much to the embarressment of once upon a time teen aged son. At 24, he has gotten used to his mother talking to strangers, since I remind him that everyone we now know and love was once a stranger.

My father, in particular was the king of compliments, finding something to speak well of about most folks. It helped that he had grown up in multi-cultural South Philadelphia where, if you were Catholic, you referenced your neighborhood by parish and if you weren’t (Moish Weinstein was a nice Jewish boy), by street corner. He lived at 5th and Wolf and 4th and Ritner at various stages of his life. He learned to adapt to the environment. My dad was a big flirt (in a harmless, friendly way) with the nurses that took care of him at the end of his life, calling them “Doll Baby” and asking them to tuck him in and kiss him on his cheek. My mother would smile, knowing that she was his ‘one and only’. My mother was the best listener I have ever known, the ‘rock of the family’ who could be counted on to come through no matter what. My friends (including an ex-boyfriend from my teens) would turn to her for support. Our house had a ‘helping hand’ sign (for those of you who didn’t grow up in the 60’s and don’t know what I am talking about), which signaled that ours was a safe house to go to if a child was in danger in some way. My mom had told me many years later,  that it was in response to a kidnapping in our erstwhile safe South Jersey community.

Since they have both passed (my dad in April of 2008 and my mom in November of 2010), I have recognized more of them in me. I hear myself sounding like my mother, when encouraging people to refrain from actions that don’t serve them with a lovingly kick-butt “Knock it off!” the way my mother would have offered.  I have become a better listener,  more often, but not always, witholding comment until the person had expressed their feelings, rather than jumping in to fix things (although as a social worker, it is still an occupational hazard) as I would have in the past. I ask more questions that have them finding their own answers, as she had done with me. I have become the family matriarch, being a listening ear for my son, niece and nephews. I am an even better schmoozer, finding common ground with people from all walks of life, like Moish. When I look in the mirror, I see my mother’s eyes gazing back at me, my father’s dimples and the salt and pepper hair that I no longer color, since I proudly claim my place as a ‘seasoned woman’.  I have re-established my workout schedule over the past 2 years, like my father ‘the gym rat’. A few years prior to his death, he still worked at a gym and a year prior, he continued to work out there and when Parkinsons took its toll, he  walked around the condo with his walker and did seated exercises with my mother as his ‘personal trainer’.

There are some parental traits I have adopted that don’t always serve me that include my father’s Type A workaholic tendencies that sometimes spill over into an inablility to sit still for very long. My mother’s “broad shoulders” as she called them that could seemingly carry the weight of the world, have translated into my ‘savior behavior’ that have had me believing that I could heal, cure or save anyone, kissing emotional boo boo’s and ‘making it all better.’

I’m sure that I can think of a million other ways I emulate these amazing (but not perfect, lest you think I am idealizing them) people who set the bar really high for a loving lifelong partnership (and beyond) that I desire to experience, since being widowed.  I am grateful that they are still around (in Spirit) to shine their light on each day, beckoning me to continue in their footsteps. Last week, a friend was talking about his mother who had passed and the concept of ‘losing people’ when they die. His sentiments echo mine “I haven’t lost them. I know where they are.”  Yes, I miss their physical presence, but I feel them with me through my day and call on them for guidance still, although I have internalized their wisdom in many ways. I am honored to be my parents’ daughter who raised me to be able to live without them.

Abundant Love

If I could offer you the most precious gifts imaginable, they would be:

The ability to adore the person in the mirror

A chance to make a difference in someone’s life

Fulfillment of your dearest wish

Satisfaction of a job well done from start to finish

Willingness to put your heart on the line

Delight in each moment

Stillness and silence

Overcoming your deepest fear

Letting someone in all the way

Peace of mind even in the midst of a swirling tempest

At least one (& hopefully many) who loves you unconditionally

Time to sing, dance and play with abandon

Being known completely and fully

Owning your personal strengths

Unbridled enthusiasm

Boundless creativity

Discovering your purpose

Learning something new every day

Implicit trust in Spirit, knowing you will be safely held and cradled

Facing your shadow and seeing the light shining within and around it

Knowing that you are never alone

People who believe in you and tell you so

All the hugs you could possibly want…and then some

Being your bliss

Following your passion

Cleansing tears

Remembering who you truly are

Open hearted acceptance of what is

Belly laughs

Wild Card/Fill in the blank——————————-

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