The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Have A Little Faith

 

                                                                                                                       

This poem and video appeared before me today across the marvels of modern technology via the heart and creative mind of Jonathan Fields who describes himself on his website as: “…a dad, husband, New Yorker, author and speaker, serial wellness-industry entrepreneur, recovering S.E.C./mega-firm hedge-fund lawyer, slightly-warped, unusually-stretchy, spiritually-inclined, obsessed with creation, marketing and innovation consultant, venture partner and book-marketing educator.”  In other words, a  Renaissance Man and someone with whom I feel a kindred connection. That’s why I enjoy reading his a-musings.

Although we have not met face to face, I fnd that I could easily have written the sentiments expressed below:

To all those who want desperately for me to succeed.

To all those who want me never to experience the pain of failure.

To all those who watch and wonder if I really know what I’m doing.

To all those who stand in judgment, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

To all those who look to me for proof of what’s possible.

To all those who only want the very best for me.

To all those who love me, unconditionally.

I share these words…

Have a little faith.

Have a little faith that I’ll make mistakes, but be able to recover.

Have a little faith that, more often than not, I DO know what’s best for me.

Have a little faith that I have within me the will to rise against adversity.

Have a little faith that I’ll know when to soldier on and when to walk away.

Have a little faith that I will not put myself at unjustifiable risk.

Have a little faith that my heart is in the right place.

Have a little faith that the mainstream path isn’t always the right path.

Have a little faith that I will succeed beyond my wildest imagination, even where those before me have failed.

Have a little faith…and a lot of love.

Now…PASS IT ON!

 

Who among us had not considered some of those thoughts, wishing beyond fear that we had someone behind  us, beside us and before us who was on our team?  I have been incredibly blessed to have had parents who told me with regularity that they believed in me and thought I could do anything I set my heart and mind to.  They set high standards and expected that my sister and I would stumble at times, but then in the words of the song  Start All Over Again, we would ‘ pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off..start all over again.’  As long as we did OUR best, they were satisfied; regardless of outcome. Both of us were on swim teams throughout our childhood and our parents cheered from the sidelines, but were not ‘stage parents’ who lived vicariously through our successes. They knew how dedicated we were.  I remember my mother telling me that as long as we were having fun, we could be on the team. If it stopped being enjoyable, she knew we would lose interest.  That’s what had me in the water at 7 a.m. on Summer mornings and in late afternoons during the school year, from the time I was 11 until I was 18 and then for three years after that, I was a lifeguard, swim instructor and  swim team coach. It was worth the hours of chlorinated soaks, weary muscles and coaches whose methods didn’t always feel good, but shaped me into a champ. For years, I kept boxes of ribbons in my closet to remind me of the end result of all of that intense effort. Now, at 52, I am called to believe in myself as much as my parents believed in me…I think it came more naturally to them.

My challenges outside the pool look more like working with clients whose own faith is shaken daily, who need those reminders that they are indeed worthy of  love, respect and success. Faith is that unseen support that raises us up to be all that we can be. It is first cousin to unwavering knowing that all is well and everything works out for the highest good, regardless of appearances.  Wishing that for you. Whose faith can you bolster by believing in them?

 

www.jonathanfields.com/blog/have-a-little-faith-video/ 

 

and a bonus John Hiatt  Have A Little Faith In Me  http://youtu.be/8UkKTlzyLhQ

Squeezing The Stars

                  
 
 
 
Although we have not yet met face to face in this lifetime, I feel as if Courtney Walsh is a creative kindred spirit,  and soul sistah whose astonishing way with words, sets my heart to dancing. I love the combinations of phrasings that seem to come from the cosmos through her fingers and onto keyboard. To look at her, you would not know, and even the closest among her, were not aware that she harbored a secret that she divulged after years of suffering with depression as a near constant companion. Today, she is a shining example of being a thriver who has taken her personal trials and turned them into triumphs, reaching out to assist others.
 
 
How do you live your bliss?
 
Big question. Ok…I started by identifying how I wasn’t living it. And I worked from there. Contrast. It can be a delicious and powerful teacher. For example—in the corporate world I was always stressed and rushed. Overworked. Undervalued. I was one of the many BUSY BRIGADE…You know the ones. The people who sell their time and souljuice for a roof over head/food on table version of ‘safety’ and an illusion of security but they overeat, drink, take pills or use TV and drama-laden relationships to avoid the lifeforcesucking deathboredom of timepunching and timemarking.
 
It was literally killing me. It was worse than cancer. It was soul suicide by inches and degrees. So I slowly started writing. And writing. And writing. And it brought me into a more authentic and juicy life. I traded the paralyzing fear of change or disruption of comfort for my own version of freedom. I am not gonna lie and say it was all sunshine and roses or that I have cracked the code or that I am living a fully balanced and productive life 24/7. I still have days where I cry onthe couch and eat a can of Pringles for dinner. B ut when I write? I have that euphoria. That aliveness. That BLISS that we think of as one thing but really sneaks up on us and is quite something more fragile, invincible and perfect than we ever thought it could be.
 
 
What was the meandering path that led you from being a ‘happy go lucky’ child who wanted to squeeze the juice out of life, to feeling as if the life was being squeezed out of you?
 
Happy-go-lucky is a funny term. Though I suppose it’s very accurate. I was an imaginative, creative, sensitive and fun little kid. I was popular whatever that really means. Mostly I just think people liked & felt safenurtured in my sadkind eyes and around my infectious laugh. I think at about the age of 9, when pre-puberty started hitting…my mom and I started fighting like cats and dogs. I was individuating. She was unhappy and angry. Power struggles ensued. The whole idea of Squeezing the Stars comes from my first full sentence as a toddler. I believe I must have been impatient and frustrated (some of my less perkycute qualities) that mom was doling out slices of orange to me. I’m sure she just didn’t want me to choke. But I wanted MORE. I demanded: “GIMME THE ORANGE!”  I think even at that tender age…I knew. It wasn’t the love I could choke on. It was the fear. Not the smothering. But the neglect. I started getting sore throats very young and feeling that I had no “VOICE”. I was to sit there quietly and look pretty. Not to talk back. Not to ‘be fresh”. To be fair…I’m sure I WAS a handful ball of sassyfiery starpower and my poor earthmom just wasn’t equipped. She, like many suburban moms in the 70s and 80s used to be home a lot, probably lonely, bored and restless. She is a painter. A wild personality of her own. I imagine her own wings felt clipped. It was a source of tension between us and sadly to this day in many ways still is. She looked out the window once and mused, “Maybe artists shouldn’t have children.” I hope to prove her wrong on that front. We are still working on our compassion, forgiveness and communication. We are basically estranged. Feeling thrown away or cold shouldered or misunderstood by the woman who birthed you was the greatest wound of my early life. I am not blaming her for this—she DID HER BEST. I believe I chose her. I respect and love her. We just don’t really see eye to eye or heart to heart.
 
Was there a defining moment that had you saying…”Enough!” of life and then one in which you embraced life again….or perhaps allowed it to embrace you?
 
That moment happens every day when I wake up and get out of bed. But there were contributing aha moments along the way from Rock Bottom to Rock ON! One was a friend dying of colon cancer at age 33. Recently, one was a broken heart that I learned a GREAT DEAL from. Still learning actually.
 
What makes mental health issues so challenging for people to speak about openly?
You know—it’s all just fear. Fear of perception. Fear of being judged. Fear of being labeled and dismissed. Just conditioning, misperceptions, stigma and fear.
 
How can we support people in our lives who are facing them, perhaps in secrecy and shame?
 
OK…so Edie Weinstein…here’s how. I’m going to do it and COME OUT OF THE SHAME CLOSET right here on YOUR BLOG…thank you for this opportunity for total transparency, even though my heart is beating a billion miles a minute and my pits are sweaty. You do it first. You tell the truth. The whole truth and NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH. So you know that I am an author, speaker, world traveler, role model, college graduate, have been on national television, social media rockstar etc.
 
But what you don’t know…and might never guess is that:
 
I am currently on disability.
And food stamps.
And I have no Internet.
 
So there you have full, total, humbled and deep transparency. Can’t get clearer or more naked than that, can I? You can support us by loving us out of our victimshame feelings and worthiness issues about BASIC HUMAN NEEDS. See us as thriving. Love us into our wholeness. Believe in us. Help us believe in ourselves. Speak/think of us in glowing, loving terms, not pitying, judging or angry ones.
 
Please speak about your book Lipsticks and Thongs in The Loony Bin…catchy title!
 
All I can really say is it is a memoir. It’s deeply personal. And yet hopefully also—universal. It’s about a suicide attempt and the healing journey back to myself. To my own soul. It’s funny though, too. Humor is a key part of what I do and how I choose to show up in the world.
 
And then your second book:  Squeezing The Stars…what’s that about?
 
It’s a compilation of the status updates of the past three years that I have offered for free on Facbook. People kept asking me to put it into some kind of format so Terri Kennedy—a complete angel from Utah stepped up and helped me pro bono because she believes in me, my voice and my talent. One thing I have been very blessed to do since my teen years is to manifest surrogate mother/sister figures into my life who show up at just the right moment when I need encouragement, support, to be seen, cherished, appreciated and loved. Terri has been a godiversesend in more ways than I can count. She sees me as I truly am and I want to become. I am so grateful for that. SO GRATEFUL.
 
I have admired your wondrous way with words ever since I laid eyes on them…how does your writing write you?
 
It comes in fully formed mini-transmissions. I really do feel like I am merely taking dictation. Scribe on loveduty more than tortured wordwarrior.
 
Does the Muse awaken you at all hours as it does me?
 
YUP. Though my sleep regime has improved vastly because I asked my guides/muses to cool it a little on that.
 
You use the word YUP alot in your writing. What’s the motivation for it?
 
YUP to me, is an acronym for: “You’re Unbelievably Precious”.  Because I believe that we all are. Every single one of us.
 
Have you always been so colorful?
 
Not in the murkyshadowy greydeeps of depression or dark night of the soul moments. But yeah, mostly. I just know stuff. It makes life interesting. Sometimes, ok, often, it challenges and catalyzes those who love me. They sometimes don’t get it or can’t keep up or get burnt out on it. I don’t blame them for that. I believe that the ones who know stuff (and who embrace, honor it and consciously develop it) are drawn to me too. And we get to play and cocreate and know stuff and learn stuff and grow and laugh and cry and LOVE and combine our divine shine? Together. Sometimes, I must be truthful…it hurts to feel like you are out on this lonely leading edge ledgelimb and people look at you like you are “too difficult’ or “too much work”. That’s an old story I’m replacing. I know that I? Am worth it. And that I am not too much work. Hiding is. Lying is. Pretending is. Duality is. So if I signed up to challenge those distortions, those illusions and those harmful, dying beliefs…then that is MY WORK HERE. I genuinely like my own company and spend long stretches in nature by myself. I’m a pretty good date! So my current theme I am reading/writing a lot about is intimacy and love. I believe these are very worthy topics as they permeate all parts of life. And they sure are COLORFUL.
 
Who inspires you, as you inspire a lot of folks?
 
Any of the Hay House authors are magnificent. Of course the Abraham materials. My Nana. My dad. The angels. Any female author who was ahead of her time. Aristotle. Shakespeare. That Choose Happiness woman. Rumi. Mike Dooley. Really—it ranges and depends on my mood. Lately I am also fascinated by writings that talk about harmonizing materialism and spiritualism.That is one code I have yet to crack in my own life. But I will. I most certainly will.
 
http://www.squeezingthestars.com
http://www.courtneyawalsh.com

Visualize Whirled Peas

International Day of Peace - September 21st

 

 

 

Although I like to think that 24 period can be a day of peace, the official website  for The International Day of Peace offers:

 

“The International  Day of Peace (“Peace Day”) provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations  and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date. It was  established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening  of the General Assembly. The first Peace Day was celebrated in September 1982.

In 2002 the General Assembly officially declared September 21 as the permanent  date for the International Day of Peace.

By  creating the International Day of Peace, the UN devoted itself to  worldwide peace and encouraged all of mankind to work in cooperation for this  goal. During the discussion of the U.N. Resolution that established the International Day of Peace, it was suggested that:

“Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating  and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and  peoples…This day will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our organization,  with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and  should serve all of us here within the organization as a constantly pealing  bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or  differences of any kind, is to peace.”

They suggest that people  gather together at events that honor peace. The website has all kinds of ideas and invite new and creative ideas.

I firmly believe that peace without, begins within. There have been many times in my life (even now) when I have been at war with myself and battling inclinations. While there is nothing wrong with honest disagreeement, there are moments when I have held thoughts that do damage to my soul and perhaps those of others. As Rosh Hashanah is approaching on September 28th, I am engaging in what 12 step programs refer to as Step Four:  “a searching and fearless moral inventory”.  Where have I been warrior-like, in a destructive manner, not just tenacious in dissolving and resolving conflict?  Where have I wielded a sword that has cut through hearts and not just illusion?  Where have I held on to resentment about things said and those not said…of perceived rejection and disapproval?  Those are weapons of mass destruction as well. The thoughts I hold about myself and others can implode and explode, scattering emotional shrapnel.

 

They go on to encourage people to declare a cease fire, not only between countries, but individuals as well. Our relationships can be sanctuaries or battle grounds; the choice is ours. A Course in Miracles offers this wisdom:  “The holiest of all the spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love.”  Another intention I have is to ‘come clean’ with a few people in my life…sharing from the heart, some things I have held onto that have been holding on to me, keeping me stuck in slogged down mucky mud. When I have done so over the years, I have found great freedom…some from as far back as childhood when a boy I had a crush on used to tease me(:   A few years ago we reconnected via Classmates.com  and I shared (half jokingly) that after all these years, I had finally ‘gotten over it’. He apologized and said “I’m sorry if I caused you any angst. In my family, we teased each other.”  It’s kinda like dipping a little girl’s pigtails in the proverbial inkwell.

One of my favorite bumper stickers reads Visualize Whirled PeasImagine a planet on which we could all enjoy Peace Soup, rather than Conflict Chili…a much yummier and nourishing dish.

www.internationaldayofpeace.org

www.thetimehascomeforpeace.com  My friends Deb Chamberlin and Robert Wynn wrote an amazing peace anthem  called The Time Has Come, that features Philly local performers such as

 

Phil Roy – www.philroy.com
Jim Boggia – www.jimboggia.com
Lauren Hart – www.laurenhart.com
Mutlu – www.mutlusounds.com
Caryn Lin – www.carynlin.com
Chinua Hawk – www.chinuahawk.com
John Francis – www.johnfrancismusic.com
Melody Gardot – www.melodygardot.com
Deb Chamberlin – www.debchamberlin.com
John Ferenzik – www.ferenzik.com
Robert Wynn – www.robertwynnproductions.com
Members of THE COW PROJECT – www.thecowproject.com

 

 

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

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