The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

A Silken Heart



A few years ago, I awoke from a rather strange and quite graphic dream in which I was still attending The New Seminary in NYC, studying to be an interfaith minister. In the waking world, I had already graduated years earlier. The setting was unfamiliar; not the sun drenched, tall windowed classroom on the Upper West Side of Manhattan I was accustomed to. The class was given an assignment, to create a special project that would symbolize who we were and wanted to show to the world once we were ordained. I was delighted with my creation and eagerly carried it to the dean, Reverend Diane Berke. In my outstretched hands, I held a heart shaped box. She opened it and inside beheld a pink silken heart. How it dazzled and shone, reflecting the emmanations of love. She reached in to lift it from the box and her hands dropped as if holding a great weight. With a dismayed look on her face, she handed it back to me and said, “Although this heart is certainly beautiful and reflective of who you are, it is very heavy. Please go back and work on it some more. When it’s lighter, bring it back to me.”  I placed the hefty heart back in its box and turned to walk away. At that point, I awoke, with a sense of what the dream was wanting to communicate. Diane, playing the role of my inner wisdom, was attempting to inform me that regardless of what image I intend to put forth, what will truly shine through is the lightness or heaviness of my heart. I know that my own grief process with the passing of my husband in 1998 (which is what led me to become ordained in 1999) and the subsequent deaths of my parents (dad in 2008 and mom in 2010) may take awhile to move through and I need to be patient with myself, rather than doing what I have been inclined to do throughout the process, which is to rush through in the illusory service of keepin’ on keepin’ on and getting things done, lest the world stop spinning.


Today I was having lunch with a dear friend who I have known for a little more than 8 years. He has seen me through some emotional roller coaster rides and has even taken some of them with me; sometimes with seat belt fastened, sometimes with arms in the air, screaming both in  joy and ‘holy shit terror’. I was sharing with him that since my mother’s death, I have felt a bit shut down emotionally. I used the phrase that I often do when describing my ongoing relationship with my parents, that “They raised me to be able to live without them.” He offered a somewhat sad and supportive smile and responded with something like it takes awhile to settle into the awareness of the loss or to integrate it. I told him that I have been cleaning out the room in my house for the past few days that holds their belongings and mine that I haven’t seen for a few years. Taking a trip down memory lane has been both fun and painful. Personal inquiry time as I look at photos of the 30-40 something year old woman who lived so many years as a (internally) raving co-dependent; not allowing the anger to surface often for fear of disapproval. Heavy heart ingredient for sure. Lately I have been having difficulty sleeping, with even more intense and vividly distressing dreams, being tossed and turned by gremlin-y thoughts, unresolved anger-it’s-not-fair-itis. Letting go over and over, of past gunk and junk that I have allowed to hold me back. I could literally feel the blood pulsing in my head with each distressing thought. Used reiki to soothe it back down and stabilize my heart rhythm. Our hearts are more than muscle, vein and blood. We have come to recognize them as a piece of our souls. I know that with each tear shed and each memory I allow to spring forth from the room marked OFF LIMITS, my heart lightens. Heartlight by Neil Diamond




Yesterday I spent many hours cleaning, clearing, purging, shredding, stacking, sorting, filing, excercising (by hauling away junk) and exorcising gremlins from the past. There is a room in my house that has become a repository for memory; some treasured, others I have avoided as fastidiously as I have steered clear of moving through all of that stuff. Although a few piles and boxes of items belonged to my parents, both of whom passed in the last few years, most of it was connected with a magazine that my husband Michael and I published from 1988-1998, called Visions. Based in the Philadelphia area initially and then moved down to South Florida when we did in 1990,  it focused on wellness, spirituality, transformation, environmental concerns and peace and social justice. Over the years, a host of wonderful writers offered their talents and dedicated advertisers promoted their businesses with us. We could not have sustained the magazine without such a team.


Alan Cohen, Andrew Weil, Bella Abzug, Ben & Jerry, Bernie Siegel, Cris Williamson, Dean Ornish, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross,  Grover Washington, Jr., Holly Near, Jack Canfield, Joan Borysenko, Louise Hay, Marianne Williamson, Olympia Dukakis, Ram Dass, Richard Bach, SARK, Shirley MacLaine, Wayne Dyer and Wally (Famous) Amos were among the transformational teachers/musicians/artists/entrepreneurs and politicians  who graced the covers over the years. It was my joy to speak with these notables and yet there were times when I didn’t recognize my own talents in the process; it hadn’t occurred to me at the time what a win-win it was for all of us, since the interviews helped to spread the word about their important work. As I turned page after page of the publication, taking a magical mystery tour of the 80’s and 90’s, I was able to, at times, step back and dis-connect myself from the fact that these were my words in the interviews and the publisher’s message, and think “This woman knows how to write. She’s going places.” In retrospect, I can see how the seeds were planted for my current writing, including this blog; so similar was the style even then. Would that I had been able to see myself that way all those years ago, since this creation was also a breeding ground for many of the insecurities I faced then. I saw that the magazine was the best and worst thing that happened in my marriage, since although it provided us with a creative outlet and an income for a decade, it was also a source of conflict, since Michael was the left brain, linear-logical business minded partner and I was the right brain, somewhat airy fairy cosmic foo foo partner. Our ideas for the ways in which the business ought to be managed, were sometimes at odds. I felt wimpy at times, wavering when it would have benefitted us for me to stand firm, looking for creative solutions, rather than being paralyzed by problems.


As I look at this photo, which was in honor of the 10th anniversary of the publication, we didn’t know at the time that it would also be our last hurrah.  Six years earlier (1992), we were living in South Florida and Michael was diagnosed with Hep C; the same year I survived an ectopic pregnancy and we lost our home to Hurricane Andrew in Homestead. Fast forward to 1998 and I needed to take charge and eventually we needed to make the decision to sell the publication to a friend who ran it for 7 years and then he sold it. It is now called New Visions and although I am not involved in it, I see it as my ‘great grandchild’ out there in the world and am proud that we planted the seeds that have blossomed beautifully.

As I gaze lovingly at this photo, I remember the day it was taken. We wanted something Annie Liebovitz-esque; ala’ her image of Whoopie Goldberg in a bathtub of milk. We opted for a tub filled with magazines; although what you don’t see are the pillows and towels beneath them, since that many layers of magazines would have been too heavy. I still remember our photographer friend, perched on a ladder, taking aeriel shots. What is also not evident was that this was a challenging day, since Michael was in a great deal of pain behind that smile. Six months later, Michael himself was aeriel, as he passed on December 21, 1998. As I come up on the 14th anniversary, I am letting go, letting go, letting go of all that kept me tethered to the past in unhealthy ways and am dancing forth into my new life.


I can now have compassion for the hair down to her waist waif who so feared rocking the boat, making waves, disturbing the peace and who would go along to get along, and see that in many ways, she was the ancestor to the assertive, confident (most of the time) and creative conscious entrepreneur who is now writing this missive. I am making peace with my past, forgiving what I have steadfastly clung to, remembering the 3 F’s (faith, family and friends) that got me through these experiences  and I can now claim the title of visionary.





National Lazy Day

Need permission to be a couch spud, veg out, do nuthin’?  Here it is….August 10th is National Lazy Day. I saw it on the internet, so it must be true!

“Lazy Day is your chance to goof off, and definitely not work. And, it definitely comes at a good time. Hot, muggy weather makes it easy to kick back and be lazy for a day. If summer chores are not done by now, they can just wait one more day. It is best spent on a hammock, along with your favorite summer beverage.


Whoever said “There’s no lazy days…just lazy people.” Well, we respectfully disagree. Today is proof positive. It is indeed a Lazy Day. And, we consider that a good thing.

If you enjoy the intent of today, you will also look forward to Relaxation Day. It is coming up soon”.-

For this recovering Type A workaholic, that message fills me with both a sense of ‘uh oh’ and ‘oh yes’. The thought of inactivity in the midst of so much that needs to be done, is a bit frightening and yet enticing. I have an agenda and a check list of things to be accomplished in the next 72 hours which include going to the gym for my (almost) daily playout, writing a few articles, designing proposals for classes I will be teaching,  putting together and sending out promo info on the various and sundry classes and workshops already on the schedule, running errands, paying bills and cleaning a room that has become a cluttered repository for years of files and books as well as items that had belonged to my parents that I brought back with me when I sold their Florida condo. I think THAT is what has kept me from creating order from chaos; the sense of finality of sorting through their stuff. I’ll let you know how that goes when I am on the other side of that experience. The obvious delights of the weekend will be time with friends, enjoying music and play.


For me, an occasional lazy day is like a giant reset button that allows me to replenish the energetic storage tank, since there are times when I run a quart low from all the busy buzziness in my life. My mother used to say “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” and I have found it to be true.

If I were to truly honor the holiday, what would I do instead?  Hmmmm….stay in bed a bit longer, go to a pool or the beach and lounge luxuriously with a book and (non alcoholic) drink with a colorful umbrella sitting askew in its cool depths, listening to soothing music. I would nap and float, leaving behind, at least for awhile, thoughts of  ‘gotta get it done or the world will stop spinning.’ ahhhh~

So what’s on your Lazy Day agenda?


A soundtrack to celebrate! Up the Lazy River – The Mills Brothers Lazy Day – Spanky & Our  Gang Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer – Nat King Cole


Once Begun


“Don’t be afraid your life will end…be afraid that it will never begin.” ~Grace Hansen

When we are born, we come into the world, curious about EVERYTHING. We experience life with senses ablaze, checking our surroundings out ceaselessly. That is, until we are told “Don’t touch.” and little by little, some of us shut down our sensory apparatus until our zest for exploration is squelched. To be fair, there are acceptable standards of behavior in which boundaries need to be respected. Heck, at 53, I still walk into stores in which there are breakable objects and my hands immediately go behind my back, as my mother had instructed me to do when I was young. In those cases, she would say kindly, “Look, but don’t touch.”, but it wouldn’t extend to other areas, such as nature, books, art supplies….  Fortunately, my curiosity was nurtured and not smooshed.


In my counseling practice over the years, I have encountered many who feel that their lives have not begun and never will, or whose joy got sidetracked by abuse, trauma or loss. Outside influences had taken over their inner explorer, usurping his or her power to create the lives of their dreams and desires. It is then, perhaps that the spiral toward death, dying a little more every day, began. Perhaps that’s even when the thought of ending their lives came into play. Although I have never entertained suicidal thoughts; they have never even come knocking, I have heard from some people that the times when they are most likely to consider that as an option, are when they feel powerless over circumstances.

And then there are folks who are facing life challenging illnesses who are unable or unwilling to express their feelings about end of life eventualities. My take on this life-death continuum is that the more open we are to exploring our perceptions, the less threatening it will feel. Denial won’t prevent that day from arriving that we cross over to whatever awaits. For me, it makes the experience all the more precious and the people in my life, that much more treasured. I am open to dialogue on death as a result, not in a morbid manner, but one that celebrates life.


Each day, I create my life anew, with intention to experience wonder, to encounter amazing people and have extraordinary experiences. As I open my eyes to the new morning, along with them, I open my mind to fresh ideas and my heart to abundant love, so that on the day my heart stops beating out life rhythm, I can acknowlege a life well lived.


Time of Your Life
Another turning point; a fork stuck in the road.
Time grabs you by the wrist; directs you where to go.
So make the best of this test and don’t ask why.
It’s not a question but a lesson learned in time.
It’s something unpredictable but in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life.
So take the photographs and still frames in your mind.
Hang it on a shelf In good health and good time.
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial.
For what it’s worth, it was worth all the while.
It’s something unpredictable but in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life.
(music break)
It’s something unpredictable but in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life.
It’s something unpredictable but in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life. Time of Your Life by Green Day



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