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The Bliss Blog

To say that I am head over heels in love with this newest release from former Philly local (now in upstate NY) artists, Kim and Reggie Harris, is an understatement.  I was introduced to their music in the 1980’s when they were a mainstay in our active folk community. Their easily blended harmonies come from being both professional and life partners since the mid 1970’s. Married since 1976, they have stood in solidarity for diversity, human rights and multi-cultural unity.  I was listening to WPXN 88.5 fm (my favorite commercial free, member supported radio station) and heard an interview with this dynamic duo. Reggie was talking about an experience he had that gave me goosebumps of recognition and I felt a bond with him and with Kim.  In 2008, he received a second chance with a life saving liver transplant. Ten years before that, my husband died while awaiting a liver transplant, and I became a volunteer organ donor educator as a result, speaking about the importance of becoming an organ donor so that perhaps another family might be spared what we endured. I felt a swelling of gratification hearing about Reggie’s new life.

 

Do What I Have To Do is a powerful call to action written by the late activist- troubador Phil Ochs whose timeless lyrics are as relevant to the current state of the world as they were in the 1960’s.

Never Go Back echoes the sentiment that once a decision is made, nothing will ever be the same, whether in relationship with one person or the planet and  yet  action can be taken to make positive change occur.

The significance of the title song Resurrection Day was not lost on me with it’s reassuring lyrics heralding a new day “You’ve found the Grace to say “It’s alright. It’s over.   Hallelujah…a new day’s here. You’ve got a new race to run.  Resurrection Day….you are rising.” I could feel the waves of peace  swelling in my heart even as Kim’s lovely voice rose.

The hip swaying samba sounds of Here and Now With You is a sultry love song.

Cause and effect is at the heart of Butterfly as one action reverberates for all time.

It’s All About Love assures us that we are resilient thrivers with faith and hope and grace in our healing toolkit. It really IS all about love.

The gospel flavor of Straighten ‘Em is as sweet as a Sunday morning clap along revival. It is a rollicking wake up call for all those in need of wiseing up as well.

Cajun influences ripple through the Depression era song  Hallelujah I’m A Bum, with present day relevance.

When listening to Traffic, chills ran through me at the moment I realized that the song was about human trafficking that occurs at the rate of 27 million people worldwide.

Look ‘Em In The Eye honors those who are willing to stand up in the face of injustice.

Tears flowed while honoring the life lost, while love remains in When Mom Left Us Here, since I am now approaching the second anniversary of my own mother’s passing.

Tree of Life is a beckoning to honor what ‘we don’t know we know, say and feel’. Closed my eyes and drank in the beauty of a such a majestic multi-branched being.

Cosmic coincidence occurred as I listened to the final song called Roll On Woody, a tribute to dustbowl songster Woody Guthrie who would have been 100 this year. I was in the car and laughed as I literally passed Guthrie Road….truth is stranger than fiction.

Some of my favorite folkies are on this CD as well, including Joe Jencks, Cheryl Prashker, John McCutcheon, David Roth, Greg Greenway, Pat Wictor, and Magpie.

Resurrection Day is musical medicine indeed, healing for the heart and soul. I honor what the Harris’ have survived and am grateful that their own Resurrection Day inspires mine.

www.kimandreggie.com

http://youtu.be/yCIBc1s3pag

 

 

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I met Jennifer Tuma -Young a few years back when she and I spoke at an event for an organization called Enchanted Makeovers which restores and transforms shelters, making them a welcoming and vibrant place to be. Her newly released book does for the body and soul, what the aforementioned company does for buildings. This self titled “Inspirista” whose work in the world motivates people to live their best lives from the inside out knows whereof she speaks when it comes to healthy shedding of layers. When I heard her story of a 100 pound weight loss, I was astonished since it was hard to imagine that this svelte woman had ever carried around that much additional emotional/physical baggage. The additional triumph is that she has kept it off for ten years. Having lost 40 some pounds myself in the past two years, I am aware of what it takes!  Tuma-Young’s background includes having a Curves franchise in the family for which she works, so that ‘feeds’ her skill set that she offers to readers.

Balance Your Life is really about that…a sense of maintaining equilibrium in our day to day lives when the expectations that as women in particular, we are counted on to be all things to all people. I’m sure men struggle with this as well, but it is more prevalent among the female population. The book shares portable and easily applicable tips for re-creating yourself. They include journaling, visualizing joy, moving your body, recognizing your value beyond what you do for others, and goal setting.

She incorporates the S.M.A.R.T method, utilized by motivational coaches and speakers.

S= Specific  M= Measurable A= Attainable  R= Relevant  T= Tangible  

Tuma-Young’s book also encourages healthy eating without tumbling into the pitfalls of stringent dieting as she explains the facts and functions of food. She helps readers face the fears of  immersing in a new way of living and holds their hands as a sister-companion on the journey, since she continues to traverse the sometimes treacherous path herself. As  a business woman, coach, wife and mother, she wears many hats well. This consummate story teller shares her own vulnerabilities with grace and poignance that will have the reader nodding along. Self love is a primary ingredient in maintaing balance in our lives.

Balance Your Life closes with an invitation to sparkle in our own lives, with our family and friends, in our community, behind the wheel of the car and at the table. By reading this book, you too can become a self loving, lightened up, layered off inspirista.

www.jennifertumayoung.net

http://youtu.be/DsGUQ1E7-Ds

 

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I can’t begin to convey how many times a day these words run through my sometimes way over-active mind, like oars in a rapidly running river, pushing away the water and propelling me forward as gracefully as possible. In some instances, the tide threatens to capsize me and yet, when I recite them, a sense of calm descends, like a warm, comfy blanket wrapped around my sometimes shivering shoulders.

They were attributed to theologian Reinhold Niehbuhr. Here is the text that was used in a sermon he offered in 1943.

God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the thingswhich should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,

Enjoying one moment at a time,

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,

Taking, as Jesus did,

This sinful world as it is,

Not as I would have it,

Trusting that You will make all things right,

If I surrender to Your will,

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,

And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

The first portion of the prayer is used in 12 step recovery programs such as AA  and NA (Alcoholics Anonymous  and Narcotics Anonymous) as a way of reminding folks that they need not go it alone. As an addictions counselor having been in the recovery field for 30 some years, I have seen the power of these simple words to guide and comfort. As someone who has been in recovery from co-dependent, caregiving, ‘savior behavior’, for umpteen years myself, I carry a coin in my wallet that I received in a CODA (Co-dependents Anonymous) meeting 15 or so years ago, that has a butterfly on one side (how appropriate for me since it is my totem animal guide, a metaphor for transformation and the image in which my mother assured me she would embody when she would visit after her passing in 2010) and the Serenity Prayer on the other. When I reach into the coin purse, I can feel it as talisman that grounds me.

What does serenity mean to you?  To me it means a feeling of calm in the midst of the storm, a certainty that “And all shall be well and All manner of thing shall be well,” as was so eloquently express by 14th century Christian mystic Julian of Norwich. A turning point in her life was when, in the throes of illness,  she had a vision of Jesus and in the aftermath, many years later, wrote a book entitled Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love.

For this solution finder, the next portion of the prayer is a bit trickier since I don’t like the idea of not being able to snap my fingers, wave my magic wand and sprinkle faerie dust on a problem, kiss it and make it better. Acceptance is that Nestea Plunge that I take daily, easing back into the metaphorical arms of God, trusting that I will be safely caught and cradled.

Wisdom, hmmmmm…to know the difference between what I can change and what I can’t doesn’t mean giving up or quitting. It still requires giving a situation my best each time. It takes discernment, sometimes on the fly, if I don’t have much more than a brief pause to contemplate options.

What I have learned is that it, like anything else I desire to master, is a moment to moment practice.

Wishing you serenity~

 http://youtu.be/Wonpb0NSu3M  Jack’s Bielan’s  “Serenity (The Serenity Prayer Song)”, featuring Robbyn Kirmsse’

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As I am writing this entry, I am curled up in a chair  in a room at The Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill, NJ. My roomates, Ruth Anne Wood and Kaya John and I have been chatting and giggling for hours about all manner of things, including relationships, faeries, sex, out of body experiences, synchroncities, our work in the world, monkey mind inner critic obnoxious voices, music, movies,  loss of loved ones; two legged and four legged, and The Beatles (Kaya is writing a book on the subject called When Life Sends You Lemons Make LennonAid:  One Woman’s Victory Over Childhood Abuse). It would be an understatement to say that she is a wee bit obsessed with The Fab Four.

Ruth and I have known each other since she was 14 and Kaya and I are new friends who met a few months ago at a fundraiser for a friend who at the time was being treated for cancer and who is now blessedly healthy. She and I discovered an overlapping soul circle connection as she is long ago friends with my cousin’s husband.

We are attending a conference called Get OUT There, which is filled with high octane marketing ideas for conscious entrepreneurs. The attendees hail from all around the world and for three days are immersed in networking, sharing ideas, and learning from Christine Gallagher who refers to herself as CEO/Head Goddess of her company called She’s Got Clients. That she does and that she teaches brilliantly. I have been enjoying watching this vibrant, seemingly tireless woman pick ideas as if they were ripe apples in a tree just waiting to be crunched into and savored, with the juice dripping down our chins. I thought I knew alot about spreading the word about my work and that of others I have served. I have been amazed at just how much there is to learn and I wish we could do a Vulcan Mind Meld, so I could get it all down in the short time we have together. I was also gratified to hear that I already am doing many things that she recommended and are beneficial, including this blog. Glad to have it validated. I am also loving getting to know the folks who are playing big in their lives and drinking it all in. The idea of competition in business is giving way to cooperation and I have been delighted to share ideas with the others about our respective passions and how to best get the word out.

Ruth is the founder and director of Scripting For Success which helps people take their dreams out of the drawer and into the light of day. This dynamic woman has worked with creative souls from all walks of life; the maintstream and the metaphysical. She herself took a giant leap into being a sponsor for this particular event, as well as co-authoring a book with best selling authors on business success and mindset. She is giving away a chapter called Transforming Debt Into Abundance. Ruth invited me to play along and I’ve had a blast helping her ‘woman the table’ and  network, which happens to be one of my favorite things to do.

So, back to the big girl slumber party. It has been awhile since any of us have been teenagers who stayed up all night playing Truth or Dare, telling scary stories and eating ourselves into a sugar induced high. On this night, we are far more sedate….heck the two of them are entering dreamland at the moment as my fingers are tapping away on the keyboard. May all of our  sweetest waking and sleeping dreams come true.

www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3D1e_j66mgTDE Golden Slumbers -The Beatles

www.shesgotclients.com

www.scriptingforsuccess.com

 

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