Beliefnet
The Bliss Blog

holyrascaledie

A few months ago, I was invited to be part of a growing movement, as it were. It meant claiming a part of my identity that I had kept under wraps for far too long and honoring aspects of myself that felt grandiose, over the top…too much.  Holy Rascal is what it is named and by definition it is “One who does justly, acts kindly and walks humbly with their God” I was introduced to the concept by my long time friend Rabbi Rami Shapiro. I had met Rami in the early 1990’s when I was living in South Florida. It was one of those serendipitous experiences, or perhaps ‘beshert’ which is Yiddish for ‘meant to be’. I had been in a local book store, perusing the psychology and self help section, when a book literally jumped off the shelf into my waiting hands. I looked at it and saw that it was a 12 step recovery book geared to those of the Jewish faith…something like This Too Is The Path; since often the languaging of the sobriety community has a Christian feel to it. I turned it over and saw that the author was a rabbi whose congregation was nearby. Beth Or was located in Kendall, Florida which is a suburb of Miami. That Friday, we attended a Shabbos service and I was mesmerized by the stories he told and one of my first impressions was that he missed his calling as a stand-up comedian. For the next two years, most of my Friday nights were spent in that sanctuary and I felt a sense of homecoming, since I had become disillusioned with the aspects of Judaism as presented by the most recent rabbi in the synagogue of my childhood, that had felt archaic and not only sexist, but misogynistic.  At Temple Beth Or, I felt like an equal member, valued as the unique individual that I was, regardless of my ‘plumbing’.

Fast forward and I left South Florida following the whirlwind that was Hurricane Andrew (we lived in Homestead) in 1992. I kept up with Rami’s activities via his writings and was delighted with the ways that his work took on a more interfaith flavor, while maintaining the soup stock that was Judaism. The same is true for this nice Jewish girl who became an interfaith minister, via The New Seminary in 1999. Rami proudly claims the title of Holy Rascal and the site has featured notables such as Rabbi Zalman Schacter Shalomi (who is Rami’s mentor), Joan Borysenko, Matthew Fox, Sister Jose Hobday, Andrew Harvey and John Cleese. I am honored to be in such esteemed company.

One of the attributes of Holy Rascality is humor. I find it easy to laugh at the absurdities of life and see it as a healing balm. On June 18th, I will be presenting a webinar and will be speaking on the topic How To Have A Ridiculously Amazing Life. Tune in and join us and if you feel so moved, discover what it would mean to you to claim the not so super secret identity as your own.

www.holyrascals.com

jerrytroyer

 

Have you been huddling in a closet of denial about who you are?  The walls may be paper thin or constructed from cinder block or steel. One thing it does is prevent you from fully living your life. Author, minister of Joyful Living Church in San Diego, California and speaker Rev. Jerry Troyer’s closet was built from beliefs about himself, partly as a result of the deaths of  older twin brothers that was not explained to him in a way that a young child could comprehend, and partly by virtue of recognizing his attraction to men, in a prevalent culture that not only doesn’t embrace it, but abhors it. Blessedly, he has opened the door and ventured out into the world, as has his book Coming Out To Ourselves : Admitting, Accepting and EMBRACING Who We Truly Are.

This short, easy to read (I breezed through it in a few hours) 78-pager addresses not only sexual orientation, but in addition, spirituality, addiction, relationships, self love, career and one of my favorite states of being -JOY! As a consummate communicator, Troyer expresses from his own direct experience of overeating, and being in life partnership with a man who is now in recovery from drug addiction. He brings in the concept of shame and how soul damaging and even deadly it can be. Shaking off the shackles of shame is not easy, but essential to insure freedom.

Troyer touches on what he refers to as The Other F-Bombforgiveness and compares it to a rock that we carry into a lake and refuse to surrender because it is ‘ours’ and we cling to it, even though we are drowning. What I have learned is that forgiveness is not a once and done thing, but rather a peeling off the layers to see what is beneath them. What I hold on to holds on to me. Troyer agrees that it is “a process and not an event.” His church does a burning bowl ritual each year in which members write what it is they want to release and then they communally ignite the papers.

He tells one of my favorite stories about The Golden Buddha that was covered with cement to protect it from a marauding army and then over generations remained encased until a monk noticed that a piece of its covering fell off and he beheld the glowing surface hidden beneath. Troyer contends that we too are those illumined beings forgetting who we are.

Four steps for making change are outlined:

Pay Attention

Expect The Best

Go For It

Take The First Step

This is true whether it is in anticipation for doing a fire-walk (which is what sparked these instructions), or changing a career, entering into a new relationship, changing lifestyle habits or coming out of your closet, whatever it is made of.

Troyer offers encouragement to the LGBT community that change from self loathing to self love is possible.

The book, which was published in 2012, was endorsed by the inspirational author and speaker Debbie Ford (who passed in February of  2013) and wrote “You will be surprised by how easy it is to find yourself on the pages of this hopeful and engaging book. A compelling read.”

www.revjerry.com

Jerry will be coming to Philadelphia on September 11th…..details to follow.

 

 

As a gracefully aging, seasoned woman, I have long believed that memory loss is a myth. Having had a sharp as a tack mind that could have anything I wanted stick to it, I am sadly noticing some things falling off the cork board. Another analogy that makes sense to me involves a techno concept. If I think of my mind as a computer hard drive, I have no problem with storage; but retrieval is another matter. I used to have at my disposal the title, lyrics and performer of any song I liked and even some I didn’t. Remembering names of those I met in personal and professional capacities was a piece of cake and now it feels like itsy bitsy crumbs left on the plate sometimes. Walking into a room to get something or do something was a no brainer, literally and now there are times when I need to return to the scene of the thought to recall what it is I needed. Thank heavens for GPS and Smart phone when I am feeling in need of guidance and not particularly smart myself.

Enter the world of Lumosity. I  heard about this brain training website via Pandora (the DIY of personalized radio stations) and reminded myself to look into it and then forgot about it. Last night, while I was interviewing Mariel Hemingway and Bobby Williams for my Vivid Life Radio show called It’s All About Relationships, we were speaking about the idea of aging as a self imposed limitation and that we three agreed that we feel more vibrant, vital and youthful than we did a decade or so ago. I chimed in that my memory has been fading a bit and he recommended Lumosity. I didn’t need to hear about it a third time and tonight I climbed aboard the Brain Train, lest I experience more brain drain, and set up a few skills tests. I had no problem with identifying shapes after seeing them flash in front of me. Then came spatial relations…uh oh….I was able to match 5 tiles as they showed up and then disappeared, asking me to replace them where they were. Six was a wee bit of a stretch and then came 7. I could feel my heart racing and a some anxiety present itself, as if there was  a live human being observing me mess up, rather than a computer who didn’t know me at all. And then I cut myself some slack, reminding myself that it was the end of a long day that started about 5 something, had me driving nearly and hour to take a training for work that focused on Tuberculosis, Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Diseases; lovely topics all. Heading back to the office to do some paperwork, followed by a drive in torrential rains and flooded roads, I am feeling whooped. Writing this column feels like no work at all, since most of the time when I create, I am in The Zone and don’t need to think. The words just flow. It is when I effort or believe that I need to know the answer to something or be ON that my train of thought gets derailed.

www.lumosity.com

www.vividlife.me

www.pandora.com

 

This peppy/poppy/folky song by husband and wife duo Pete and Maura Kennedy leapt out at me today and reminded me that my day to day existence is far more than my ever-changing routine, which sounds like an oxymoron,  far deeper than surface concerns and far more impactful than I might have myself believe in my weakest moments. A few random lyrics tugged at my ear:

“Life is large. It’s bigger than the both of us.  Life is large. All you need is just a little trust.

“Be yourself and stand your ground. Don’t you let no one turn you around.”

“How do you want to be remembered?  A raging fire or a dying ember?”

Last night as I was driving home from one of my jobs as a therapist in a substance abuse outpatient practice, I thought about all of the people I have connected with professionally over the past 30 years as counselor, facilitator, minister and writer. It would likely number in the many thousands. What seeds do I hope I have planted with them?  Seeds of desire for a life that takes them beyond what they expect into something phenomenal. Seeds of healing of the wounds they have experienced. Seeds of prosperity that has them knowing that they can do the ‘abun-dance out of scare-city’. Seeds of love for themselves and all those they encounter. Seeds of trust in the Highest Possible Outcome. Seeds of creativity so that they can color outside the lines in outrageous hues and tones. Seeds of the music of their souls so that they can sing out with gusto.  I also know that each of them has left an impression and imprint on my heart and mind, long after what may have been fleeting contact. How could it be any other way since we are all so interconnected?

How large are you willing to let your life be?  I am open and willing to have mine be so expansive that I am unable to see to the end of the line, so wide that I can’t wrap my arms around it, so high that I have to crane my neck waaaayyyy back and still can’t get there with my eyes, but can with my vivid imagination and open heart and so deep that even in my childhood fantasy of ‘digging to China’ would never have me arrive.

http://youtu.be/ppR4poXbrdI Life Is Large- Pete and Maura Kennedy