What if you were offered a map/guide/compass to this land called Love in which you could immerse yourself in its healing waters, scale its beautiful peaks, traverse its rainforests, drinking in the luscious aromas, sweet sounds and tantalizing sensations? Would you use it or instead, wander aimlessly in the shadowy caves comprised of familiar/treacherous fears and limiting thoughts about life and relationships? A guide for many in his personal and professional lives, Rob Jacoby has written a book entitled The Map To Love: How To Navigate The Art Of The Heart. For the past 20 years, Jacoby has worked with clients who struggle with daily challenges and this book would provide solace for those who wonder about their own value to the world.
The cover invokes a sense of offering and receptivity, as the figure in the center radiates joy, while being showered with feathers, like so many wafting snowflakes. Of course, this reviewer who loves feathers, has a clown persona named Feather and gives them out regularly, enjoyed that touch. From the get-go, he invokes the idea that LOVE. IS. THE. ANSWER….simple as that. The ooooohhhh ahhhhh oozing of bliss that permeates this easily readible in a short time frame book, reminds me of the style of Rob Brezsny who penned Pronoia Is The Antidote To Paranoia. Playful, funny, irreverent, poignant and two the point, it asks the age old questions about our true identity, the nature of life and what makes us happy. And it answers it succinctly….LOVE. Love and fun are equated and the now is where love resides. When we are mindful of that truth, then the ‘what if’ anxiety and ‘if only’ depression can’t fully kick in.
“The real question,” Jacoby poses is “Are you living in love?” and beckons the reader to become a love magnet. Since we attract what we are, it wold behoove us to splash around in love. He proposes the idea that love and pain go hand in hand and that feeling as if love is lost increases the pain exponentially when we have also loved deeply. He does differentiate between pain and suffering, noting that the first is part of this human experience is essential and the second is optional.
The map referenced in the title is literally part of the book as it contains landmarks, including love, loss, grief and pain for the reader to make their way.
Glorious artwork offered by the clearly talented, Brian MacGregor is influenced, it seems, by his dream studies and practice.
I enthusiastically, joy leapingly encourage you to read this book and you too may find your heart chakra opens wide and you may feel like E.T. with the illumination radiating out from the center of your chest.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=u37z8W5w8Do Love is the Answer-Todd Rundgren
Reading has always been one of my favorite activities; since my childhood obsession with books. Little Golden Books, Dr. Seuss and Highlights Magazine lined book shelves in our house. Trips to the library and book stores were welcome treats. When I got my first library card, I felt like such a big kid. Being read to by parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, librarians and teachers was a true delight. Hours spent in doctors’ waiting rooms as the result of asthma were far more pleasant when immersed in that activity. My parents would start out reading the words and then point to one and ask what it was and I would take over from there. The phrase “sound it out,” became my mother’s mantra when I would struggle with one. She would send me to the dictionary if I didn’t know how to spell something. My wise guy answer was sometimes ” If I don’t know how to spell it, how can I do that?” and then I would sigh and look it up. I actually took three years of Latin in Jr. and Sr. High School so I could become more adept with the English language, little knowing at the time that I would become an author/journalist.
These days, I am more often the one doing the reading to. One listener is my son’s girlfriend’s two year old son, Collin who seems to have an affinity for books too. The other day, he piled a whole bunch of them in an empty basket and attempted to haul them around the living room and then took some out and paged through them. He had read some sounds to me in one of his little books and smiled with glee afterward, so proud of himself. A few days ago, my friend Jewelee’s kindergartner daughter Vanessa was curled up next to me on the couch as we read The Lorax. She started on the first page, sounding out a few lines and then asked me to take over, as we entered the world of the Oncler, the truffula trees, the brown barbaloots and the title character who “speaks for the trees.” I did my best to come up with voices for the various characters and she smiled at my efforts.
Today, I saw a Facebook pic of my friend Marly reading to her grandson Jeremiah. Such a beautiful multi-generational image it portrayed. Children are like little sponges who soak up everything around them. Since that is the case, how about if we make sure they are immersed in nourishing waters that sustain them, rather than the video game chatter that sometimes numbs the mind and stifles creativity? Yesterday, while sprawled on the carpet of their great grandmother’s Northeast Philly rowhome, Vanessa, her older sister (second grader) Sabrina and I were coloring pictures of butterflies, a unicorn and a hula dancing bear; talking about visiting Hawaii. We were all so engrossed with the activity that the time just flew. These are girls who are also gymnasts and dancers. Their infectious giggles filled the room. The unicorn (personally autographed by the artiste’ Sabrina) is now decorating my fridge. Singing together is also a fun way of connecting to a child’s world. Silly songs are my favorite. When I was growing up my parents would sing the nonsense songs with the lyrics “Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy diveyA kiddley divey too, wooden shoe?”
THREE LITTLE FISIHES (Fwee Widdo Fiddies) (Saxie Dowell © 1939)
Down in the meadow in a little bitty pool Swam three little fishies and the mama fishy, too.? “Swim!” said the mama fishie, “Swim if you can!” ? And they swam and they swam right over the dam.
chorus: Boop boop dittum dattum wattum, shoo ? Boop boop dittum dattum wattum, shoo ?Boop boop dittum dattum wattum, shoo ? And they swam and they swam all over the dam.
“Stop!” said the mama fishy, “You’ll get lost!” But the three little fishies didn’t want to be bossed, ? So the three little fishies went out on a spree ? And they swam and they swam right out to the sea.
“Whee!” said the little fishies, “This is fun! ? Let’s swim in the sea ’til the day is done!” ? So they swam and they swam, and it was a lark. ? Then, all of a sudden, they saw a shark.
“Help!”cried the little fishies, “Look at all the whales!”? And the three little fishies, they turned on their tails, And back to the pool in the meadow they swam ? And they swam and swam back over the dam.
Boop boop dittum dattum wattum, shoo ? Boop boop dittum dattum wattum, shoo ?Boop boop dittum dattum wattum, shoo ? And they swam and they swam back over the dam.
http://youtu.be/Z6Go0O57SRM Three Little Fishies
How could you be a mentor for a child, encouraging him or her to learn all the good stuff there is in the world? How can you re-establish that sense of child-like wonder in case you feel you have lost it? It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.
http://youtu.be/WaddbqEQ1NE Fill Your Bucket by The Learning Station
Now that the dust has settled from the holidays and we are back to some semblance of normalcy after the sometimes frenetic hustle and bustle, those of us who made resolutions, set intentions, created a vision for the next 12 months are faced with the actual steps needed to see them through to fruition. What were yours? Lose weight, finish projects, clean closets, quit smoking, apply to college, eat a healthier diet, save money, get a new job….these are pretty common. What makes the majority of them fall by the wayside before the paint is dry on the shiny new year? Two words come to mind….MOMENTUM and MOTIVATION. Consider this: you are riding a bicycle, whether for leisure or transportation from point A to point B. You pedal, pedal, pedal……coast (especially down hill) and then pedal some more. At some point, you stop and rest or arrive at your destination and get off the bike. The thing is, if you do more coasting than peddling, it will take a whole lot longer to get there. Once begun, it’s a whole lot easier to keep going. When you see that you have made progress, it provides incentive to stay on the bike. The other component is reminding yourself why you are on it. The same is true for those resolutions. If you resolve to lose weight and eat more healthfully, ask yourself what is behind your desire. You can tell yourself, “I am losing weight and making better food choices and feeling healthier and more fit.” or “I am improving all of my relationships by being a better listener.” or ” I am keeping my house neat and orderly so I can find what I need when I look for it.” When we can see the benefit, we are more likely to stay on track. When we are aware of the feeling we are going for, we experience greater motivation to go for it.
When I began my exercise regimen in earnest three years ago this past November, I noticed that my motivation exceeded my strength and stamina. As I gradually added more time in the gym, more resistance with the free weights and the machines and more inspiring thoughts by listening to music or watching shows that fed my imagination, it was easier to keep coming back. Reframing my treks to Planet Fitness (The Judgement Free Zone) as ‘playouts’ and ‘sweating my prayers’, it made it that much more enticing to get out of bed or make it the last stop of my otherwise full days. When I experienced the overall wellbeing benefits of weight loss, energy and stress reduction, I wanted to go there all the more. The idea is to find fun ways to do what I know is good for me that I might otherwise resist. That is as true for cleaning closets as it is cleaning out worn out beliefs about how things should be in my life.
How can you inspire yourself to keep your New Years’ resolutions/revolutions? How high and far are you willing to reach?
www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLQ64BTCH2E Reach- Gloria Estefan
After 8 hours of intense dream laden sleep, I am feeling refreshed, energized and relaxed all at once. Two NYE parties hosted by friends, filled with pot luck food, music, dancing, drumming, hugging, catching up, laughing and toasting to a new year and new era had me home in bed around 2 a.m. Today I welcome the opportunity to be with my flight attend Florida friend Jewelee who is here with her beautiful daughters Sabrina and Vanessa, in her old stomping grounds in the Philly area visiting family. Going to my friend Joel’s informal gathering later today, lounging and loafing (uncharacteristic for this recovering Type A workaholic) and musing about what we will all create in the next 12 months.
As a lover of ritual, in the past few days, I have written my list of what I wished to release from 2012 and then burned it with sage on the full moon, what I am grateful for in my life and what I am calling in in 2013. I have envisioned a door through which I walked, crossing the threshold into this next 365 and had a revealing look back, between my one year older self and the one who turned 54 on 10/13/12. Here’s how it went:
It is now 12/31/13 and you made it through this year with grace and style and so many sweet surprises. On NYE, you celebrated with friends, danced your buns off, appreciated time with these sweet souls who so enrich your life. You leapt even further into the life of your dreams and desires, traveling and teaching about love, healing, transformation, re-creation and recovery. Your classes and workshops are all filled with people who are on board with taking those leaps themselves. You are now writing for whatever venues you choose, reaching even more with the words that come through you and not always from you. This right livelihood work supports you in ways that are abundant and grander than you imagined. You are speaking at conferences and retreat centers worldwide. You are now with your loving Partner with whom you share the dance of life. This is the person for whom you have been preparing who has been preparing for you as well. You came together in such a serendipitous way that has you both shaking your heads and laughing with delight when you tell the story. Speaking of stories, your second book is now successfully published by a major publisher and in the hands of people who excitedly share it with those they know. The Bliss Mistress book continues to spread its contagious joy world-wide as well. You experienced your dream trip to Ireland, kissing the Blarney stone, immersing in the music and culture that feels so much like home to you. You interviewed Oprah and Ellen in person. Adam is now living independently, enjoying his job, his relationship, and his new life. You have established a mutually respectful and responsible adult relationship when once upon a time you wondered if it was even possible since you became his sole parent 15 years ago. You are healthy and fit, flexible; filled with vim, vigor and vitality. The fears and limiting beliefs that you once allowed to hold you captive, have lost their power over you. Your creativity flows effortlessly and enlivens your life and those of folks who cross your path. For the first time in your life, you are truly living YOUR bliss. And so it is~
What would your conversation with your one year older self sound like? Feel free to share it with the world.
http://youtu.be/X2oOCN3QEMo Celtic New Year- Van Morrison