The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Twenty five Random Things

                                                                 As  I was doing research for interviewing Susan Piver who will be featured in the Living Their Bliss entry, I came upon something on her website that seemed like so much fun, that I decided to re-create it here. She called it Twenty five Random Things About Me.  Here are mine:

1. I can pick things up with my toes, as a result of having to do exercises for being pigeon toed and flat footed as a kid.  I have very happy feet now:)

2. According to my Mom (bless her Soul:), I spoke my first word at 6 months old and she would add “And you haven’t stopped since.”

3. When I was 7, I rode my bike without training wheels for the first time and when my father (bless his Soul too:) ran with me and let go of the back of the bike, I crashed into the tree in the front yard.  It didn’t stop me from getting back on the bike and riding again. That’s kind of how I live my life.

4. I have  had a series of fun jobs: including lifeguard/swimming instructor/swim team coach, greeting card text writer, clown named Feather who is a faerie, ice cream parlor scooper, doing organic skin care product demos and being an artist’s model.

5. I do alot of ‘emotional bungee jumping’, never having done it physically.

6. I have more books than any other type of item in my house. 

7. I interviewed The Dalai Lama in 2008, living out a 20 year journalistic dream.

8. My first pets were goldfish and turtles. My most recent were a Schnauzer-Terrier named Merlin and an Abyssinian named Amira. Both crossed the Rainbow Bridge a few years ago.

9. I have read Stranger In A Strange Land at least 30 times.

10. I have seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show more than 40 times.

11. I won second prize in a Rocky Horror Picture show contest in college, dressing up as the character Magenta, complete with bodice and fishnet stockings.

12. I swam a few marathons for charity in my teens.

13. I marched for the ERA  (for those too young to know….Equal Rights Ammendment) and always thought it was silly that it was defeated based on the idea that it would mean co-ed bathrooms rather than equal pay for equal work.

14. I met Philly area celebrities Gene London (was in the audience on his show)  and Sally Star  (and had my picture taken sitting on her horse) when I was a child.

15.  I was in a hula hoop contest around 12 or 13 and kept it going non-stop for 3 hours.

16. Chocolate is my drug of choice.

17. I played the wicked step mother in a 5th grade version of Cinderella.

18.  I played a ‘Mission Doll’ in Willingboro High’s version of Guys  and Dolls and I really wanted to be a ‘Hotbox Dancer’. Is that telling or what? Always the ‘good girl’ who wanted to be a little wilder:)

19.  I took 3 years of Latin in high school so I could become a better writer. Maybe it helped:)

20. I used a computer for the first time in grad school. Pre-k kids use them now.

21. I facilitate a workshop called Cuddle Party where people attend wearing p.j.’s

22. Mint chocolate chip is my favorite flavor of ice cream.

23. I received a white plume feather from a member of a New Year’s Day Mummer’s Parade string band when I was clowning at an event for Gilda’s Club.

24.  I am connected with 4400 people on facebook. I love networking and meeting kindred spirits.

25. Love is my religion.

See if you can enjoy creating your list…let us know what some are:)

For those who are thinking…”What the heck is the Mummer’s Parade?”  it is a Philadelphia New Year’s Day tradition.  Check out this sampler video: http://youtu.be/g18sY5t_Syk

Charge Of The Star Goddess

                                                                      

I was visiting my friend Cindy Greb this past weekend and found myself in her healing room that has the feeling of a haven, a cave of repose where one can come and let go of the cares of the world. Pine cones, drums, books, rocks gathered from her travels, photographs that she took on her travels and at home, candles, spiritual icons and a container of drying nettles, (I was particularly grateful for that, since she made tea later that night which helped with my allergies) among the elements. An interfaith minister; her spiritual practice is eclectic and it shows up in her art work and photography as well. Cindy is creating the beautiful cover art for my Bliss Mistress book. I had come over to do a photo shoot for the cover as well and had an amazing time playing in nature, peeking around trees, meandering through green fields and lying beneath a shower of flowers at Cindy’s expert instruction.

Afterward, I perused a table filled with various guidance cards with insightful messages and gorgeous imagery. Some bore vivid paintings of angels, nature beings, tree spirits, animals, elementals and Goddesses. One of Cindy’s areas of deep interest is The Divine Feminine and she teaches classes on the subject. I was drawn to  The Motherpeace Tarot cards: a circular deck embellished with beautifully  painted graphics that had messages from that Source. The words on the particular card that I drew from the deck delighted me, partly since I hadn’t seen them in awhile, but when I was initially introduced to them, they resonated with a sense of familiarity, as if I had taken them as vows in a previous incarnation.

Starhawk’s Charge of the Star Goddess

I who am the beauty of the green earth

And the white moon among the stars

And the mysteries of the waters,

I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me.

For I am the soul of nature that gives life to the universe.

From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return.

Let my worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold-

All acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.

Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion,

Honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

And you who seek to know Me, know that your

Seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless

You know the Mystery:

For if that which you seek, you find not within yourself,

You will never find it without.

For behold, I have been with you from the beginning,

And I am that which is attained at the end of desire.

 From The Spiral Dance, by Starhawk.

From  Wikipedia:

Starhawk (born Miriam Simos) (June 17, 1951) is an American writer and anarchist activist.[1] She is well known as a theorist of Paganism, and is one of the foremost popular voices of ecofeminism. She is a columnist for Beliefnet.com and On Faith, the Newsweek/Washington Post online forum on religion. Starhawk’s 1979 book The Spiral Dance was one of the main inspirations behind the Neopagan movement.

Listen to a lovely musical version of the chant

http://youtu.be/KoYbdxbr4Cg

Peace Out and In

                                                                           

May 30 is recognized as Memorial Day in the U.S.; a day that honors those who have served in the military, as well as their families whose support has allowed them to do so. While I certainly hold them in my heart, I don’t glorify war. I prefer instead to honor peace and as well, those peaceful warriors who see unity rather than divisiveness, reconciliation rather than conflict.

As I was putting out a call to the Universe for inspiration for this week’s Bliss Blog’s entries, a response came instantaneously from my highly intuitive friend Liora Hill who must have been listening even as she lives 3 hours South of me in the Baltimore area. It is on a subject near and dear to my heart.

This was her email:

PEACE
“Harmonious Relations”.
“A state that is calm and tranquil”.
“The absence of mental stress and anxiety”.
“A treaty to cease hostilities”.
“The state prevailing during the absence of war”.
“Peacemaker- someone who keeps peace”.
Definitions from the dictionary.
Peace is a virtue we all possess. Many times it has to be activated, acted on and expressed. The more we do it, it becomes a way of life. We then are Peace! Wherever we go, Peace Is!
Enjoy the Sistas singing
Let There Be Peace”
Sweet Honey in the Rock™ – Let There Be Peace
http://youtu.be/QrXB3xD8NRI

When I consider the idea of peace, I have come to learn that it, like most other things, is an inside job. No one gives it to me and no one has the ability to take it from me. When I have lost my footing and gotten toppled over in a less than peaceful moment, I know that I can regain it, by allowing serene thoughts to flow through my ever so buzzy mind. I have been known to disturb my own peace with images of shoulda-woulda -coulda, what if and if only?  I have been at war with myself when battling with the armored soldiers of criticism and judgment. I have sacrificed myself on the altar of self deprecation.  I have thrown myself on the sword of separation. Unless I am peace with myself and my various ‘warring factions’, I am unable to have peaceful relations with anyone, so fraught with hard and jangly energy am I. It is easy to see ‘enemies’ when I am in separation mode and easier to see compatriots when I am in unity consciousness. In truth, there is  ‘no one out there’…we are all us.

Peace is not some lofty ideal somewhere out there. It is born in each moment, each thought that crosses our minds. Are we harboring war-like thoughts that pound away at us, and by extension all of our relationships or are we holding out our hands in acceptance of the ‘other’?  Are we putting out wounding weaponry with our words or are we offering an olive branch? Collectively, our thoughts are powerful.  Are we willing to be that ‘greater force for good in the world? The choice, as always, is ours.

Likely one of the first songs on the subject that I was introduced to  is Let There Be Peace on Earth. (Seymour Miller & Jill Jackson, “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” 1955)

My friends Peter Moses and his lovely wife Jackie Hurley revised the lyrics which we sing at the close of services at Circle Of Miracles, an interfaith community that I attend. I like them even better than the original, because they speak of the present moment awareness and experience of peace.

“Now there is peace on Earth and it has begun with me.

Now there is peace on Earth, the peace that was meant to be.

With God as Creator, united all are we.

Let us walk with each other, in peace and harmony.

Peace has begun with me, and this is the moment NOW

With every breath I take, now this is my joyous vow.

I take each moment and live each moment, in peace eternally.

Now there is peace on Earth and it has begun with me.”

James Twyman, known as The Peace Troubador who has traveled worldwide, sings a powerful tribute to peace, beckoning all to the table where there is enough for everyone.

May Peace Prevail on Earth

http://youtu.be/xwgLldU9_zs

My friend Deb Chamberlin co-wrote a song with her husband Robert Wynn that is my favorite peace anthem called The Time Has Come. She has performed it with a talented group of Philly local performers whose enthusiam spills forth. Can you see them singing this at the U.N. and the White House?  I can. 

www.thetimehascome.com

Some peace quotes to plant the seeds in your own heart…

We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power.  Then will our world know the blessings of peace.  ~William Ewart Gladstone
 
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.  ~Mother Teresa
Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
 

 

You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.  ~Attributed to both Golda Meir and Indira Gandhi

I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.  ~Dwight Eisenhower

 
Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon.  A happiness weapon.  A beauty bomb.  And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one.  It would explode high in the air – explode softly – and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air.  Floating down to earth – boxes of Crayolas.  And we wouldn’t go cheap, either – not little boxes of eight.  Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in.  With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest.  And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.  ~Robert Fulghum
 
 
 
 Circle of Miracles www.circleofmiracles.org

 

The Way Of The Happy Woman

                                                           

Call it nature or nurture, but women are caregivers. We are creative beings; whether it is gestating another life or growing a business. Unfortunately, the last person most of us are encouraged to nourish, is the woman in the mirror.  The book, entitled The Way of The Happy Woman: Living The Best Year of Your Life is about to change all that with its simple message that we deserve happiness and loving self care. The book is chock full of ideas for feeding your tummy and your soul. The author, Sara Avant Stover has gathered together all manner of resources for ‘everywoman’ regardless of age, relationship status, education or physical condition. The languaging in the book is simple and straightforward as she endeavors to offer a luscious buffet of options that will have the reader clamoring for more.  (What’s with the food metaphors?:) 

It took a health crisis in the form of a cervical cancer diagnosis  in 1999 to take this young woman who had viewed herself as healthy and active, (vegan diet and yoga practice among her day to day) and have her travel to Thailand, and even farther inward, to turn her life around. What it took, in addition to outward lifestyle changes, was internal exploration about what it truly meant to be a woman. She has unearthed those treasures and lovingly holds them out to be scooped up by her readers and students.

The Way Of The Happy Woman is a guide that will,  metaphorically speaking, hold the reader’s hand and lead her through an entire years’ worth of ritual, menu and exercises, including yoga asanas, broken into seasonal tidbits. Measuring our lives by the season rather than the clock is a lost art that Stover is helping to reclaim.

Even those who have never set foot or tush on a yoga mat, will find the line drawings of the postures to be simple to learn and practical to use and the recipes (although I haven’t tried them yet:), sound yummy in anticipation.

With concepts such as The Pleasure Principle (page 136) and Reclaiming Rest (page 237), I found myself nodding and smiling in recognition of what I most need to recall in the midst of my sometimes ‘crazy-busy’ life.

Wanting to savor the wisdom shared by a sister who, like many of us, have been there, done that, got the t-shirt? Then by all means, read this book!

www.thewayofthehappywoman.com

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