The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Ray Bradbury

                                                                                                                 (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file)


“I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before, but it’s true-hard work pays off.  If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.”-Ray Bradbury


Clearly, the man loved writing.

Pages upon pages of literary treasure are likely being perused for the first time today by a new generation of readers,   since the passing yesterday of one of the icons of a genre known as science fiction. From what Ray Bradbury himself has said, it is a misnomer. He preferred to think of his writing as fantasy. It touched the hearts as well as the minds of readers and writers.  He is quoted as saying, “Science fiction is a depiction of the real. Fantasy is a depiction of the unreal.” I recall reading his classic 1953 novel Farenheit 451  in college; so called because it is the temperature at which paper burns. Imagine a world in which books are outlawed and torched and imagination is stifled. It boggled the mind of the then budding writer to consider that dystopic world. Without reading matter, life would seem dull and colorless. Bradbury’s vision was one of the catalysts that encouraged me to pursue writing as a career.


This nonagenerian had his finger in all sorts of prolific pies; writing books, plays, tv shows and films. I just discovered that he had been involved in one of my favorite childhood sites; the 1964 Worlds’ Fair. Much of what he imagined has now come to pass; particularly in terms of inventions that we take for granted.

“Do what you love and love what you do.”, was a comment he made during a presentation at a library a few years back. I do, Ray. Writing is indeed it.  Someone asked me tonight what I feel when I first set out to write something. It is like a sneeze that I can’t hold back, a yawn that can’t be stifled, a compulsion that can’t be quelled unless I express my thoughts. Often, in the midst of a powerful event, my mind turns to “How can I share this, so that other people can take the trip along with me, as if they are experiencing it vicariously?” In short, I can’t NOT write.  It’s as simple and beautiful as that. Writing soothes my soul, drenches me with wonder-rain, splashes me with word paint. I am grateful to have been given the gift of painting word pictures so that readers can enjoy their vision of a world as it is now and as may someday be.


Write in peace, Ray~

Read more:


Dielarious Laughter


I love words that aren’t found in any dictionary, but this one ‘dielarious’ and its derivative ‘dielarity’ certainly belong there. I stumbled upon these apt descriptives when reading the June 2012 issue of Ladies’ Home Journal. The article entitled The Last Laugh was written by humorist and author Lizz Winstead as she described the final days of the life of her beloved father. Those who have lost loved ones will relate to her experience. Lizz speaks about the bizarre and sometimes irreverent conversations that took place as her family accompanied her father as far as they could on his journey and then needed to let go of his hand as he continued on, but leaving her and her sibs with a parting gift that they will never forget.


I can absolutely relate to Lizz’s experience, particular with the fairly recent (November 26, 2o1o) death of my mother.  I grew up in a really goofy family, as those who know me or those who have been reading the Bliss Blog for awhile, can attest to. Silly humor and weirdness abound. We looked at death as another life event and although my parents’ deaths were not joyful occasions, obviously, they brought with them dielarious laughter, to be sure. One such occurred when I was visiting my mom in Florida while she was on hospice. She was asleep (or so I thought) in her hospital bed that was set up in the living room and I was watching tv; a special on The Learning Channel featuring Barbara Carrellas who is a sex educator who I have known for a few years. Her segment of the show was about energetic orgasms that the producers of the show referred to as ‘thinking off’, which is about experiencing the physiological indications without direct bodily/genital contact. Breathing and imagining are key components. So, here I am watching this show, while my 86 year old mother is in the room. Even as open as our conversations were about sex when I was growing up and as an adult, this was a stretch for me to be listening and observing as the people in her workshop were doing some pretty heavy breathing. My mother opens her eyes and asks “What are you watching?”  I tell her that it is my friend Barbara on tv, helping people experience the safest sex there is. She laughs and says “Meshuggenah! (Yiddish for crazy)” and then goes back to sleep. We had many such moments prior to her passing. When I would assist her with personal care and she could still stand, she would lean against the bed and do a little hip action and wiggle before I hitched up her clothing. I would shake my tush along with her as we would sometimes collapse into laughter/tears.  When we would take  ‘trips’ all over the world with imagination as our wings, with no need for passport or plane ticket, one time she said she wanted to go to Hawaii and to a luau. I asked what we would be doing there and she grinned “Dance the hula and get lei’d.”  “Oh, two wild women out on the town!”  Rather than roast pig (we are Jewish), she wanted to indulge in s’mores; chocolate being our shared drug of choice.  When she would become forgetful, she would often remind me that she still had her marbles. I assured her that I would retreive any that had rolled under the couch. She appreciated that.

Death is not an easy topic for most to speak about, but dielarity allows us to laugh in its sometimes dark and fear-furrowed face.


One Soul, One Love, One Heart

Both gentle and direct, this latest book by John Welshons beckons the reader to explore the nature of all of their relationships, from those with children and friends, to romantic partners and God, to the woman or man in the mirror.  He casts a wise eye on those in particular that we might label difficult or challenging and instead of wishing those people away, Welshons invites us to view them as teacher or guru. Easier said than done at times, when that person is the father who raised you with both love and fear, as was the case with the relationship between the author and his brilliant, devoted alchoholic father. It was at the end of his father’s life, that he was able to take that leap, with the guidance of his friend, spiritual teacher and author, Ram Dass. Although he resisted it mightily at first, the idea of being grateful that his father’s actions and attitudes, could be, in fact, what would eventually polish away his own rough hewn edges, Welshons came to surrender to it and it brought him peace. He cautions throughout that there is no need to remain in physically or emotionally abusive relationships in order to get the lessons, however.


I was moved by the experience he describes of the transition that took place when he as the adult child, he  became the caregiver for his father who could no longer provide for his own personal needs, since over the past few years, until they passed, I was called on to offer that to my own elderly parents. It was an honor, as Welshons describes to “return the favor.”

He tells one of my favorite stories of the samurai who calls on a monk to teach him the difference between heaven and hell (pg. 215) and it reminds me that at all times, I am responsible for the choice in which state I choose to dwell.

Woven throughout the book are multi-faceted teachings, many coming from the author’s own yogic and meditative practice. At the end is a guide to various forms of meditation in which he encourages the reader to engage. Quotes from Yogananda, Harville Hendrix, The Dalai Lama, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and Mother Teresa add spiritual spice to the mix.

In the end, the idea that we are indeed All-One, reminds me that we are never truly alone.  One Love by Playing For Change


Happen To Life


My ever inspirational friend Molly Nece (a.k.a. Molly Sunshine) offered this quote:

Get out and happen to life. Don’t let life happen to you! “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” – Leonardo da Vinci, was a great Italian genius & polymath.  (de Vinci’s Annunciation no. 1)

It reminded me of standing on a starting block at numerous pools in Willingboro, NJ and beyond in which I had made my mark as a successful competitive swimmer in  my teens. My toes were gripped around the edge of the block, my body bent in anticipation of the whistle blowing that would signal time to leap forward, casting my speedo-suit clad athletic body into the air, to propel a split second later into the receptive water.  One with the liquid environs, arms and legs moving in alternate patterns if I was swimming freestyle or in wave like motion in butterfly (my two best strokes). All these years later, I can feel my heart racing as I am remembering. I can even smell the chlorine(:


That was such a pivotal time in my life, during which I learned to work/play as a member of a team, sharing strengths, cheering on others (even those from competing teams; being a good sport).  I met my BFF Barb Chimel Cohen on the bench before a meet when we; as we joke “swam on different teams together.” It was also when I began to meditate, since long hours swimming seemingly endless laps could have been tedious. I found myself in the zone, the flow, the ever present NOW. I go back to that memory at times that I feel like I am churning instead.

Since then, my ‘happening to life’  looks more like being in the flow with my writing and speaking. I stand on the starting block, not always knowing what I am about to express, because the Muse sometimes feeds the words one by one or in a rush that I need to scoop up and organize in some way that makes sense to anyone but me. Even then, I can look back in amazement that they are coherent compositions.


There was a period when I would be laissez faire and let life happen to me, not wanting to manipulate or control but it often led to encounters that were ineffective and unsuccesful. A delicate balance of surrender and stretching, of holding on and letting go. It doesn’t mean being lazy, neither does it indicate go go go mode either.

How will you happen to life today? What will you bring into it as a result? Swimming by Louden Wainwright III



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