The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

First Fruits

A pivotal slice of life moment on Saturday morning, as I sat in the sanctuary of Kol Emet; a Reconstructionist synagogue in Yardley, PA, surrounded by the family and friends of a magical faerie child turning 13 year old extraordinary young woman. Garbed in cotton candy pink ballerina dress,the  ideal costume for the dancer that she is, with silver sparkly heels on feet that walked her into the adulthood ritual of the Bat Mitzvah, stood Cady Cohen…my God-daughter. Sandy blond ringlets fell to her shoulders,  in front of the congregation, co-leading the service with Rabbi Howard Cove; taking on a Torah portion that was lengthy and keeping in character with the person who seems not to shy away from a challenge.  She was composed,  with an occasional brow wrinkle and then a smile as she moved through it, with her teacher, Rabbi Susan Schein at her side for guidance,  She then chanted her Haftorah which is sometimes the bane of the Bar or Bat Mitzvah candidate.  The word  haftorah means “parting” or “taking leave” and is connected to the theme of the torah portion itself. In Cady’s case, it was from the Book of Isaiah. 
 
What jumped out at me about this selection was that it focused on the idea of being servant to the Divine (in biblical language…Yahweh) and offering ‘first fruits’ or our personal best, to the world. Imagine a ripe, juicy (whatever your favorite succulent vine/tree ripened treat) held out in your hand as a measure of your love and devotion to the One who created you.  Cady is colorful and playful, but seriously dedicated to her craft, which has long been dance. I have been to several of her recitals and have watched, mesmerized as if she IS dance itself, being danced by the  music, rather than dancing to the music. With the tenacity of a true veteran, she has gone through auditions for shows and when she hasn’t gotten chosen for a particular role, she has smiled and shrugged and moved on with an attitude of  ‘there’s always the next time.’  During the service, Rabbi Schein offered commentary on Cady’s sparkling personality; laughing as she described that during her first lesson, Cady came in wearing a sequined beret.  Rabbi Cove spoke of the importance of Tikkun Olam (the repair of the world) and Tzedakah (giving  -from- the -heart charity). Cady’s Bat Mitzvah project was raising donations for the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, since her dance teacher’s mother who she described as a surrograte grandmother, had died of the disease.

 

What made this event so poignant, was the memory of a particularly dark day in 1998. I had answered the pay phone in the waiting room at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia where I had spent several weeks  by that point, holding vigil while awaiting a liver transplant for my husband that never came to be. The voice on the other end was that of my friend Barbara Cohen who has been in my life since we were 14 year old competitive swimmers who met on the bench prior to our event.  She offered an honor to me. “Glenn and I decided to name you Cady’s God-mother, so you will have a little girl to spoil.” Grateful tears fell as I welcomed this gift and a distraction from my pain.

One of my favorite Cady memories was when she was around 6 months old. One of my hats is that of a clown who loves to teach people that humor is healing. I was prepping for teaching a workshop and wanted an example of the perfect laugh. What could be better than a child’s giggle?  Cady was lying on a blanket, feet kicking in the air and we played the universally fun game of peek-a-boo. With a tape player nearby, each silvery twinkle was recorded.  The members of the class loved it. Wish I still had the tape and wonder if Cady is still open to playing peek-a-boo. (:

On the bimah (platform/podium in front of the synagogue), Cady was enwrapped in a floral tallis (prayer shawl) lovingly created by her paternal  Bubbe, which is Yiddish for grandmother,  whose name is Corrine a.k.a ‘Cookie’.  Cady’s older brother Alex and older sister Blake were similarly gifted by Cookie’s talents and in 7 years, their little sister Darah will be making her choice of fabric for her own tallis. I was honored to stand by Cady’s side and read a poem called A Rainbow of Friends and during the reception afterward was called to light a candle on the decadently decorated cupcake cake. Those were not the only tearful moments, but stood out among them.

I marveled at the passage of time as I took note of the friends of Barb and Glenn who shared in the joyous occasion as well. Jimmy, who was Glenn’s Best Man at their wedding  ( I was the Matron of Honor), and was also my counterpart as Cady’s Godfather, had come up from Virginia with his wife Bernadette (lovingly referred to as ‘Bernie’). Caught up on the lives of Chuck and another Edie; creative types…Chuck works for an ad agency and Edie is a jewelry designer. A poignant moment came when Ralph, Barb’s formerly vigorous, tall father was brought in by wheelchair, pushed by her brother Tony. Widowed a few years ago, when Barb’s mom died as a result of a stroke, he maintains an active social life, playing cards with friends and spending time with family.

At the reception, while Cady’s friends where indulging their appetites at the buffet, the D.J. encouraged the ‘big kids’ to come out on the dance floor for what he referred to as ‘adult swim’.  Motown tunes blasted out of the speakers as we had a blast, ‘sweatin’ to  the oldies’. I do have to say brazenly and without modesty….we still got some moves(:

I offer you the song that was played when I was called up to  light the candle.  That’s What Friends Are For

http://youtu.be/EtGF2m102Wg

Blissipline

                                                          

 

Rob Breszny is the author of one of my favorite books, called Pronoia is the Antidote to Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings . It is a divinely decadent treat, a reverently irreverent romp into upliftment for those who may feel downtrodden, or even those who feel a need for a wee bit of mood elevation; like me. Rob reminds me to take a good long look at my beliefs and tweak, adjust, define and refine them. All along the way, he encourages humor as a companion. He seems unafraid to offend and that frees him to allow his inner imp to come out and play. A wonderful role model  for this writer to emulate.

In addition to being a wordsmith, Rob is an astrologer and he calls his work Free Will Astrology. One of the aspects of his website that truly tickles my soul to giggly giddiness is what he refers to as his Beauty and Truth Lab. In it, he offers tips and ideas that may be a stretch for some, in order to encourage readers to become pronoiad rather than paranoid. One of my hats is that of a social worker who serves people with mental health diagnoses and on occasion, I pull ideas from Rob’s bag of tricks and share them with people who believe that the world is out to get them. Sometimes there is a breakthrough when I do. Their eyes light up and for an ever so brief moment, they get it, they real get it.

This morning, my friend Vicki sent an email that included this snippet from Rob’s astrological readings:

“PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): My Pisces friend Rana Satori Stewart coined some new words that happen to be perfect for you to begin using and embodying. “Blissipline,” she says, is “the commitment to experiencing a little or a lot of bliss every day; the practice of expanding one’s capacity for bliss and being open to receive it in any moment.”

A “blissiplinarian” is “someone who enforces pleasure and invites opportunities for more pleasure,” while a “blissciple” is a person who aspires to master the art of blissipline.

I encourage you to be a blissciple, Pisces, because it will put you in sync with the effervescent invitations the cosmos has scheduled for you.”

Although I’m not a Pisces and you who are reading this, may not be either; this is a perfect daily set of instructions for a juicier and more joyfilled life. As a Bliss Mistress (I used to call her my ‘alter ego’, but now say she IS ME), I claim blissipline as my daily practice and own my role as a blissiplinarian.

‘Discipline’ gets a bad rap, since it may evoke the concept of punishment and condemnation. That couldn’t be farther from the truth, as I have come to recognize. Years ago, my wonderfully wise friend and mentor, Yvonne Kaye would quote to me “Discipline is freedom.” It felt at the time, like an oxymoron to this free spirited cosmic foo foo woman who had a go with the flow attytood. Unfortunately, my lack of discipline often snuck up and bit me on the tush when things I would let slide, got in the way of living the life I had desired. Discipline could take the form of activities that take me from where I am to where I want to be. For example, if I want a healthy, fit and flexible body, I need to move it, shake it, dance it, stretch it, and feed it nourishing food. There are times when my inner ‘id kid’ who wants what she wants when she wants it without having to work for it, whines, “But I don’t wanna go to the gym or do yoga.” even though I know abundantly well how great I feel after a visit, so I get in the Jeep and roll to the gym or roll out my purple yoga mat. Calling them ‘playouts’ or ‘sweating my prayers’ or thinking of my yoga mat as a magic carpet, makes it more fun and gets me to that place of endorphin high and liking what I see in the mirror a whole lot more often.

In order to complete my book, I needed to take time daily to write, edit and polish it. There were absolutely moments when my fears got in the way and I dragged my feet, coming up with all sorts of creative ways to avoid putting fingers to keyboard to fill the pitcher with overflowing words. Any writers out there know what I am talking about. It was never about the dreaded writer’s block or drying up of ideas. It was always about fear that needed to be faced head and heart-on. As I write this, the Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary is within two weeks from her birth.

These would both be part of my blissipline.

So, how could you become more of a blissiplinarian?

Are you willing to make that leap into a life that sings and soars?

Can you stand under the sweet shower of life’s blissings and blessings, singing your soul song as you do?

I double dog dare ya!

www.freewillastrology.com

 

 

Celebrate Your Life

What would it be like to be in a room filled with elevated energy, abuzz with conversation about world healing, life enhancing concepts?  Imagine connecting with kindred spirits from all corners and curves of the globe; a multi-cultural feast for all the senses.  Add to that, presentations from some of your favorite authors, musicians and speakers, including: Dr. Wayne Dyer, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, Lisa Williams, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, Harville Hendrix, John Holland, Gregg Braden, Dr. Andrew Weil, Alan Cohen, Karen Drucker, Sonia Choquette, Dr. Judith Orloff, Elizabeth Lesser and Dan Millman. Over the past twenty some years, I have had the joy of interviewing most of these  movers and shakers and know first hand, the transformational power of their words and the jewels of wisdom they scatter for willing listeners and readers to scoop up and put to use in their own lives. Can you see it and feel it?

Imagine no more….an opportunity to experience all of that and who knows what other grand intentions the Universe might have in store for you…at the Celebrate Your Life Conference coming up November 4-7 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The heart-child of the dynamic Liz Dawn, it is an open doorway to creating a life that sings and soars…one that I will be dancing through as well; on my first trip to The Grand Canyon State on a much needed vacay.    I would love to meet you there.

 

                                                                 liz dawn

 

 

 

 

How do you live your bliss?

I deeply love my work and seeing these amazing events come to fruition.  It makes my heart sing when we are in the middle of a conference and people are connecting with one another, doing exercises in workshops, embracing one another and there is an overall magnificent feeling of love that permeates throughout the entire space of the event.

 

What led you the spiritual path you find yourself on?

My mother, Ariel Wolfe.  She has always been a spiritual woman but it was hidden for many years.  When I was in high school, in the 70’s, she started to open up and begin to study everything spiritual and psychic.  She has by far been my greatest teacher.  My mom turned me onto Ram Dass when I was 16 years old and then Emmanuel’s Book when it was first released.  It was very deep stuff to jump into at a young age, but she was and still is in spirit, a wonderful teacher.

 

How did your relationship with your mother impact on your career and personal life choices?

My mom was always very supportive of whatever career path I chose.  When I was an actress, she supported me one hundred percent.  As I started Mishka Productions, she helped me out at first.  We did not consciously realize that we were creating a “business”.  She helped me to get organized. When it became apparent that Mishka Productions was taking off, we agreed to become business partners.  I really needed her and she was there and gave up her psychotherapy practice.  We had such a blast working together!  There were so many magical moments building a business together and sometimes it was not so easy, but we always managed to figure things out.

 

Does she continue to guide you even after her transition?

I am sure she is guiding me, there is no doubt in my mind.  It is the listening that is a challenge for me.

 

Please speak about the serendipitous way Mishka Productions came to be.

I love this story, probably because it is a true real life story with a happy ending.  It is a little long, but here is a link to the entire story, plus a continuation of the story that my mother wrote.  http://mishkaproductions.com/about-mishka.php

 

What excites you most about Celebrate Your Life?

 I LOVE it when the conference finally comes together and opening night.  Everyone is joined together for the weekend, there is a nervous excitement in the room and the energy is high.  Then as we move through the weekend and people begin to attend workshops, everyone’s heart is wide open filled with such joy and love.  There becomes a very strong sense of community. Everyone is happy having such an amazing time and falling in love with themselves and the people around them.  I LOVE watching people connect, learning and growing in a safe nurturing environment.  This was very important to my mother.  One of my favorite moments is the conga line that seems to spontaneously happen at almost every event.  A couple of thousand people dancing with joy!  How much better can it get?

 

www.CelebrateYourLife.ORG

Playing For Change Day

I initially heard about Playing For Change a few years ago, when, with delight, I listened to the Bob Marley song “One Love” and Ben E. King’s classic, “Stand By Me”,  that were performed, patchwork quilt style by gifted musicians world wide. Multi-lingual, multi-cultural, the idea of people enjoying singing and listening to songs with style, really tickled me. It began with the idea that music is a universal communicator and connector between people, regardless of their language.  Peaceful coexistence is a goal of the changing cast of talented musicians, who break down barriers with soulful singing and playing of their particular instruments. Cameras film their performances and editors piece them together.

Much in the same way that diversity and uniqueness are honored in the music, so too can they be amongst people. Enter Playing For Change Day on September 17; the first annual event.  The purpose for this worldwide sonic serenade is to introduce youth to the beauty and power of music and to raise money for music education. In cooperation with Theater Within and Yoko Ono, it puts legs under its idealism.  It is based on the theme of  Power To The People that honors John Lennon. The 31st Annual John Lennon Tribute occurs on Friday, November 18, 2011 at Town Hall in New York.

Go to the website to see how you may want to be involved in this world-wide love fest.

www.playingforchangeday.org

Stand By Me http://youtu.be/Us-TVg40ExM

One Love  http://youtu.be/4xjPODksI08

 

 

Previous Posts

What Is A Quaker?
Throughout my life, I have been to Quaker Meeting a handful of times. I don't consider myself part of that fold, but resonate with the essence of it. When I have entered into that space, everything has slowed down and I am pulled into a state of serenity. In Quaker services, there is silence until o

posted 10:47:03pm Jul. 31, 2014 | read full post »

International Day of Friendship
    " Ya  gotta  have friends."  So go the lyrics to Friends sung by the Divalicious Bette Midler.  To my way of thinking, every day is one in which I celebrate friendship. According to the United Nations, July 30th is International Friendship Day. This peacemaking body proclaime

posted 4:43:37pm Jul. 30, 2014 | read full post »

When I Was A Boy
I have been following a thread on a group Facebook page  for The Good Men Project  that was prompted by a video I had posted that showed a young woman being harassed by two young men while she was walking home from school. What happens next is conversation stirring.  One by one, other men step u

posted 9:41:48am Jul. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Life Is Like A Box of Chocolates
Photo credit:  Alex Lowy   I am open to miracles wherever they appear. Sometimes they show up in the form of a man with a buzz cut, decked out  in a white suit and sneakers, toting a well worn suitcase, plastered with all kinds of stickers as he meandered around the grounds of Wiggins P

posted 2:33:30pm Jul. 28, 2014 | read full post »

Foolish Notion
    Lately I have been rolling through my mind thoughts about origin of violence in the world. I saw a video recently in which Whoopie Goldberg was explaining a statement she had made that it was okay for a man to hit a woman back if she hits him first. If she didn't want to be h

posted 9:49:35am Jul. 27, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.