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The Bliss Blog

I read this article by Miriam Hall, on another site for which I write, called Elephant Journal

The Basic Goodness Manifesto:

I trust in my own and others’ goodness.

I know that caring changes everything.

I trust my heart.

I trust you.

“We declare May 7, 2013 to be Basic Goodness Day, a day when people all over the world, no matter what their beliefs, religion, culture, or creed, collectively affirm their own and others’ basic goodness.

We want to live in a world of peace and goodness. We want a world where the highest values are tolerance, generosity, creativity, kindness, and fearlessness rather than self-absorption, aggression, and speed.

We all know—can feel—that there is an enormous collective longing for a world that operates on principles of sanity. But where to begin?

All you have to do is know beyond doubt that you are good, that you possess inherent worth and value.

When you do, something extraordinary happens. You come into your power. Your confidence rises and your distrust lessens. Your world becomes full of possibility rather than hassles. You see that others also possess this goodness and your heart opens to them.”

This came from the Shambhala Buddhist tradition and it echoes my own belief that people are intrinsically good and want to reflect light and love. It is when we lose our moorings and our moral compass goes haywire with the needle spinning about wildly, that we act in ways that counter this instinct. As a therapist for more than 30 years, I have witnessed first hand, the impact of erroneous beliefs of unworthiness. Addiction, violence against loved ones and strangers, and wars grow from the seeds of shame and self loathing. I was on Facebook tonight and saw a posting that appeared to be accepting of disciplining children by striking them with a belt and it was expressed in what seemed meant to be a reminiscently humorous way. When I commented on it, the person who posted it, offered the to-be-expected answer that all those she knew who experienced it turned out to be happy and well adjusted adults. My view is that they may have done so in spite of  and not because of corporal punishment. When we attempt to control another person’s behavior out of fear, then we are on that slippery slope to the proverbial (as in Star Wars) ‘Dark Side’. I countered with the statement that if one adult hit another adult with whom they disagreed, with a belt, they could justifiably be charged with assault.

What if we saw everyone who crossed our path as that innocent newborn that they all once were. How would we treat each other and ourselves if we recognized that tiny God-spark that got itself born, before they/we were indocrinated to hate and fear?

How do we instill that in ourselves and each other?

Tell yourself each day that you are loveable and capable.

Take an inventory of the positive qualities you possess.

Affirm yourself when you engage in a loving act.

Write yourself and other people, love notes.

Compliment people in your life.

Praise for a job well done.

Express gratitude even for the things that may not feel wonderful, since they too are our teachers.

Be kind and compassionate.

And as E.T. said, “Be good.”

http://youtu.be/6xZif3WmG7I

www.elephantjournal.com

www.shambhala.org

mother knows better

If you are of  ‘a certain age’, you may remember the show from the 1960’s called Father Knows Best. While that may be so, in s0me cases, it is the contention of veteran journalist and award winning author Patti Murphy that indeed, Mother Knows Better! She has gathered together over 200 bits of wit and wisdom offered by mothers of women and men primarily from the U.S. and some sprinkled in from Canada and compiled them into a book entitled Mother Knows Better! Sense and Nonesense From American Moms.  Her debut book was called Mother Knows Best – Wit and Wisdom From Idaho Moms, in May, 2011.

The idea for the book emerged from a conversation that Boise, Idaho  ‘Chief Storyteller’ at Murphy Media Services had with a friend who was shrimp averse. When Murphy asked her why she wasn’t indulging, her friend responded that her mother always told her that shrimp tails were poisonous. (I’ve eaten plenty of shrimp and I’m still here to write about it!)  She became fascinated with this particular brand of folk lore, intended to steer their kids in the direction of a successful life.

I chuckled as I read many, since some of these mom-isms were likely handed down from generation to generation without consideration of their meaning.

How’s this one :”GINGO-NETTIES!” was shared by  Stephen Lowell whose mother Margot Lowell used to shout it out “when things got crazy with all the kids running around.” He goes on to say “All of us froze, calmed down and behaved. We took it as the word that indicate Mom has really lost it. Time to be good or else.”

When Rachel Kerstetter would ask her mother Charlaine Engelhardt what was for dinner, she would reply: “Lizzard gizzards and swamp weed.”

By way of reminding her of the importance of modesty, Nikki Conyers- Jackson’s mother Eloise Conyers-Jackson would admonish her “Keep your panties up and skirt down.”

“Your get up and go got up and went.” was offered by Helen Kennedy to her son, Academy Award winning actor George Kennedy.

From the mind of Lela Wing Benson, mother of Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist Steve Benson, came “Don’t walk on the carpet! It messed up the vacuum lines.”

And the reassuring “Don’t be scared. Thunder is just the clouds bumping together,”  was declared by Deborah Hightower’s mother Shirley King.

I was honored to be included, with two (of many) pieces of guidance that my mother Selma Weinstein fed me throughout my life. The first was a question: “What would you do if there was a sudden freeze and your face got stuck like that?”  and the second which served me particularly well:”Walk in like you own the joint with your head held high,”  to which I would add “knockers up.”, so that I wouldn’t be intimidated by anyone.  As a result, I have been able to interview notables in the arts, academia, politics, peace, healing and personal growth and take leaps into experiences that might otherswise have frozen me in my tracks.

This is an ideal Mother’s Day gift  as it seems to have advice for nearly every circumstance, the profound and the profane with humor and grace, with guidance for how to be and how NOT to be. Think back on what words your mother provided you that serve you to this day and thank her.

www.murphywrites.com

 

I woke up at early o’clock this morning; my mind abuzz with all of the things I need to do, which include writing articles, being interviewed on a Jamaica based, Blog Talk Radio show at noon est,  called Between The Lines with Corine La Font (even if I am not physically in that tropical paradise, at least my voice will be:) and then hopping off the call to pre-record an interview with Satyen and Suzanne Raja for my own show that will be aired in June and then shortly after that, speak with Natalie Ledwell from Mindmovies  and Inspiration Show about a collaboration and then go into work at my job as an addictions counselor. The next stop is Planet Fitness (the Judgement Free Zone) for my ‘playout’. In the midst of this, I have finally gotten around to cleaning out a room in my house that has been a repository for my parents’ belongings that I moved back up from Florida after they passed, as well as 25 years of back copies of Visions Magazine (that my husband I am co-published from 1988-1998), stacks of other mags for which I have written, and still others that I set aside to use for workshops in which folks create vision boards/treasure maps. In addition, there are shelves filled with books, some I have read, others waiting patiently to be perused, folders filled with workshop ideas and handouts, CD’s and cassette tapes, weights…… and who knows what else?  “It’s only been two years, Mom since you brought grandmom and grandpop’s stuff here,” wisecracked my 26 year old “undercover angel, sent to teach me patience,” as he told me when he was 14. Now that I have moved it out and is scattered in various rooms throughout the house, Adam is spackling and painting it so I can put it to good use as an office/meditation/haven. I am envisioning what it will look like, but in the meantime, it is in that in between stage that is unsettling.

I have come to realize how my inner control freak likes a sense of order. Quite a shock, you see, since there was a time when that would have been unthinkable. I had chafed against the advice offered over and over, starting in my early 30’s by my dear friend and mentor Yvonne Kaye, that “discipline is freedom, my dear.” It flew in the face of my free spirit sensibilities. Now I crave it. There are so many facets of my life, tendrils reaching out to touch new horizons, gathering them in so that I can explore and share them with the world, that there are times when I wonder how to manage them all, even as I daily request to go farther, do more, share more. That’s when G.O.D (12 step parlance for Higher Power)- Good Orderly Direction comes into play. My childhood perception of the Divine has changed so that it now feels like a Unifying Force.  A Cosmic Office Manager that takes calls with opportunities to cross paths with kindred spirits, opens mail that contains books I need to read at the perfect time.  A Celestial Agent who puts me in touch with folks for mutual benefit. I am willing to be in receptivity mode and not just do-it-get-it-done-check-it-off-the-list myself  mode.

In order to remain sane and vertical, I do my best to make sure that at least one room remains neat and clean. Blessedly, there are two-the kitchen and bathroom.  And then there’s my Jeep, happily vaccumed and organized. I visualize the day within the next week when I can claim the room, close the door and snuggle in comfortably, with soothing music, incense, candles, my beloved books, this laptop on a real desk instead of the dining room table or literally on my lap. Sighing in anticipation and maybe God/Goddess/All That Is is sighing with me~ ahhhh….

God and Dog by Wendy J. Francisco

Between The Lines with Corine La Font

It’s All About Relationships

Mind Movies/Inspiration Show

 

As I was interviewing fertility advocate, and sex educator, Pamela Madsen on my Blog Talk Radio show called It’s All About Relationships, we were speaking about insatiablilty, eating disorders, body image and sexuality. She was mentioning the ways in which we fill ourselves up when there is an emptiness within us. She feels we are “so hungry and we keep reaching for more and more. People are doing this insatiable behavior. We don’t slow down to feel and allow our bodies to digest our experiences. We distract ourselves from what might be uncomfortable.”

She spoke of her eating disorder which took the form of bulimia, and the words “filling instead of feeling” came to me. One of my hats is as an addictions counselor and over the years, I have worked with people who have that insatiable ‘hole in the soul.’ How often do we fill ourselves with food, drugs, shopping, gambling, hoarding, unhealthy sexual activities and high risk behavior when what we really want is pleasure?  When one addiction is handled, another might jump right into that space.

What were you taught about pleasure?  Was it that it is self indulgent, bad, wrong….or was it encouraged? I was allowed to  play in the mud, finger paint, run clay and dough through my fingers, splash in puddles, get messy. My wise parents knew that laundry detergent and bubble baths were at the ready. Tears and laughter were welcome in our home, although my father was sensitive to our pain, so he had a hard time watching us cry. Anger wasn’t overtly expressed, so I am learning to feel that now.  Boo boos were kissed away and for better or worse, I learned to do the same for others when perhaps they would be better served by feeling. We can’t heal what we don’t feel.  What were you taught about handling discomfort? Some quickly rush to self medicate, rather than sit with it. Mine takes the form of activity; doing instead of being. More often, I am able to just be with my own pain, emoting, rather than stuffing out of fear that I won’t be able to handle it. Of course I always do, And of course you do too.

Not that there’s anything wrong with an occasional cupcake.

www.vividlife.me