The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog



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




Creative Intelligence

I remember seeing a question on line recently about creativity; wondering whether we are born creative or if it is something that can be learned and honed. I tend to think that it is a bit of both. Since we ARE creations ourselves, it would stand to reason that we are capable of creating. Think about a child who plays with his or her food, or makes mudpies or finger paints.  All exquisitely messy and fun endeavors. There may be no conscious intention to make anything in particular from the ingredients, just being led by guidance.  One of my favorite authors, Richard Bach, describes it beautifully:  “You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self. Don’t turn away from possible futures before you’re certain you don’t have anything to learn from them.” 


What does your inner learning creature look like?  Mine is a cross between a kool-aid hair-colored punk rocker (minus the tattoos and multiple body piercings:) who looks a bit like Cindy Lauper,  sings like Annie Lennox, paints like  Georgia O’Keefe, dances like Gabrielle Roth and writes like Nora Ephron. A composite creative soul, indeed. Creativity is in my blood, since as a child, I loved making up stories about things I would see around me. I would create faerie villages in a wooded area in a nearby park, I would color, paint, sing and dig in the dirt, imagining that I was tunneling to China and once, hitting a water pipe a few feet down in the garden near the strawberries my father had planted, really thought I had arrived! My imagination was encouraged by the adults around me. I think that is one way we become thriving (instead of starving) artists. Unlike many stories I have heard, I don’t ever recall being discouraged from following the beckoning of the Muse. She has become a close companion and lover, accompanying me 24/7, in my waking and sleeping dreams.


Sometimes she calls in night images that aren’t particularly pretty, but they serve a valuable purpose that stirs up and spurs on even greater depths of creative wisdom. In the past few nights, I have immersed in visions about tyrannical storm troopers who kill family members who visit a man who is encased in a cyber-suit that he has traded for relieving horrific headaches. His deal with whoever offered him that option is that he never see loved ones again, lest they be vaporized. Another included offering aid and shelter to a woman who was fleeing an abusive marriage and a third was about witnessing chains around the heads of three generations of a family also caught up in violence and destruction. What the heck is going on in the psyche’ of this self proclaimed pacifist?  When this has happened in the past, it has been a wake up call for me to take a look at areas in my life where I am terrorizing, vaporizing and otherwise abusing myself. Where am I obliterating my creative flow even as it is being called forth even more vibrantly? Taking a deep, cleansing, letting go breath as I am typing these words.


I love being around creative people and among my friends are musicians, dancers, actors, writers, directors, producers, radio show hosts,  photographers, graphic artists and designers. Like attracts like and each of these folks are what I call works of he(art) who put their hearts and souls into their work in the world. In their presence, I am inspired.

Last week I taught a class on creativity for professionals who work with folks that have mental health diagnoses. One of my favorite exercises that I led them through, was designing a Creativity Tree on whose branches, they would hang words and images that represented their own playful inner learning creature. Each person (with one exception) used crayons and markers on vividly colored paper to draw their picture. One woman ‘ordered off the menu’ and cut out a tree and pasted leaves on it and wrote words that expressed her own creative genius. I hope that they all took them home and made them ‘frigerator art that they proudly displayed.


Everything that has ever manifested in physical form was once an idea in someone’s mind. Take time each day to envision at least one thing, experience or person you want to call into your life.

You have the capacity to derive immense enjoyment from the challenge of creating in form what you have pictured in your imagination. –Martha Beck, Enjoyment in the waiting…Insight from Martha Vincent by Don MacLean


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