The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Miracle Enough

 

                                                          

In the midst of a weekend that reverberates with the energy of the life I choose to experience. In the moment, I am sitting on a comfy wicker sofa in a beautiful bay side home in Mantoloking, NJ. The Lenni-Lenape word means “land of the frog,” “tribal sand place” and “land of sunrise.”  I haven’t seen any frogs, but the other two descriptions I buy completely. Here with my “Goddess Sistahs”; these women have been a part of my life for the past 4-5 years but it seems like eons.  Each year, for the past few, we have gathered from our far flung corners of PA, NJ, MD and MA to celebrate our connection. I was able to be with them for a few days, in mini-vacay mode. Some are cooking dinner, the sound of chopping and rustling, doing food prep, others on the back deck, soaking up the last remnants of the early evening sun, while I am writing…I volunteered for clean-up crew, partly since I look at dishwashing as mindfulness practice.

We had just returned from a windswept beach ritual in which we gathered, burned sage and offered a blessing. Led by Ondreah, we placed our hands on various chakra points and imagined a word that reflected what we wished to acknowlege or release and then she asked us to write the word in the sand with our fingers. Immediately the word ‘acceptance’ came to mind.  Acceptance of myself as is, acceptance of my life as is…the 12 step concept of ‘life on life’s terms’. Challenging at times for this recovering Type A, co-dependent, high energy ‘human doing’. In the past nearly 9 months since my Mom died, I have mellowed considerably, slowed my pace, immersing in the moment. Ironically, I wasn’t able to finish writing the word twice before the ocean swept it away. The third time, I moved even higher up on the beach and was able to complete it and then Mother Ocean swept it back into her embrace. We then gathered in sacred circle again, held hands and chanted “Oo0o0o0o0o0o0ommmmm”, voices raised with the wind. I could feel my heart beat in time with the rippling, rushing  waves, the pulse of the earth, the warmth of the sand into which I dug my toes; feeling necessarily grounded.

Earlier in the day, we lounged in and around the pool and I felt a melting away of so much resistance to the way life feels at times. Sometimes I petulantly pout “It’s not fair that…..” and at others I  ask myself “What do you have to feel sorry for yourself about?  You have amazing friends/family of choice, you have a cozy home, work that brings in abundance, creative outlets, a healthy body…look where you are right now. How many people allow themselves to have all of this wealth?”  and so the inner dialog continues… Sometimes it is ok to throw a pity party, but it is often short lived since I find that I am the only guest there.

Rolling back the clock to yesterday…I drove the 90 minutes or so to the Jersey shore from a joyous celebration created by his ingenious sweetie;  for my friend Greg in honor of his 50th birthday.  A rollicking, bee-bopping yoga class at Live In Joy Yoga in Audubon, NJ to the sound of 60′s and 70′s rock, dinner and yummy carrot cake at The Tree House Coffee Shop right next store, that was carried in by sparkler bearing roller derby queen friends of Greg’s.  This transformational friend and I met at a workshop 7 years ago and take delight in commenting on the overlapping soul circles that connect us and the people we now know as a result of our meeting. He noted that biologically human beings are, in a sense ‘re-created’ every 7 years, so now we are new people too. How cool is that? We were entertained by our friend Robin Cohen and her band Roadshow Relics who regaled us with covers of Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Merle Haggard. 

In conversation, Greg  referenced an esteemed yoga scholar named Douglas Brooks. Not sure if this is the exact quote, but I like the feel of it. “Life is miracle enough.”  I guess the intention is to live in such a state of awe and wonder of it all, that anything else is icing on an already delectable cake.

Before heading to the party, I was in the presence of another new friend who I didn’t know existed 6 months or so ago. Richard Singer is the author of Now: Embracing The Present Moment; a book to which I contributed a chapter, called Losing My Mind To Come To My Senses. He had come stateside from the Cayman Islands for a book tour. We sat in semi-circle with my friends who had come to participate in a conversation and book signing; speaking about the power of the present, the honoring of the here and now.  As I take pause to hear the sound of the overhead fan, whirring above me, the laughter of my friends outside the sliding glass door, the flag flapping in the breeze; another friend coming out the bathroom, freshly showered, the smells of dinner wafting from the kitchen, looking at my sand speckled, sun kissed arms and legs and feeling particularly blessed.

 

http://youtu.be/AG-YE8IiV5U   So Much Magnificence

www.robincohenmusic.com

www.liveinjoyyoga.com

www.treehousecoffee.net

www.embracingthepresent.com

www.rajanaka.com

 

 

If You Build It

 

                                                                       

Was watching another of my favorite movies last night that goes ways beyond simple entertainment, although it can be viewed in that way. More than a baseball film,  more than a showcase for the talents of  Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan. Ray Liotta and Burt Lancaster,  it is chock full of so many spiritual messages that it is a shoo-in (or in this case…’shoe in’, since the motion pic is an homage to “Shoe-less Joe Jackson” and the Chicago White Sox/Black Sox who were accused of throwing the World Series when they played the Cinncinati Reds) for a Bliss Blog entry.  I have seen it at least a dozen times since it debuted in 1989, and caught many of the concepts, but not until just yesterday, did they come trumpeting out at me, waving pennants, scattering popcorn and peanuts.

For those who have never seen it, the plot line is thus:  An Iowa corn farmer and his family are living quite happily on their land, enjoying the bounty and the simple life, when one night, whilst standing in his field, the main character; Ray Kinsella hears a distinct voice telling him “If you build it, he will come.”  Huh?  Ray scratches his head in bewilderment. “If you build WHAT, WHO will come?”  That statement sends Ray on a hero’s journey to discover the meaning of that declarative statement that is really an instruction.  The back story is that he has some unhealed places with regard to his relationship with his father John Kinsella who had a love of the game, but was never able to hit a symbolic home run with his son, so they parted ways and his father died before he could see Ray marry and have a child of his own; his daughter Karin, played with precocious wisdom by Gaby Hoffman.  

Ray follows the guidance and figures that The Voice is telling him to plow under his crops and build a baseball field. Once he does that, the magic begins and the teams appear from the beyond to play once again. He is astounded as the messages keep on a’comin’ ” Ease his pain.” is the next one…little knowing that the pain to be eased was in himself and “Go the distance”, while sitting in the stands with 60′s icon Terrence Mann played with cantankerous charm by (Darth Vader) James Earl Jones.

On the outside chance you have not watched this baseball bliss, I won’t spoil the ending, but this quote that Jones/Mann utters gives me goosebumps each time:

“Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come. ”

 The messages  come through as loud and clear as The Voice which I have come to trust in my own life, as it has led me to the relationship with my husband, to create and publish a magazine, to enter the seminary when Michael subsequently died in 1998, to write a book, to meet certain people and have extraordinary experiences…. My choice ALWAYS is whether to listen and heed the guidance or wear symbolic earplugs. I prefer to listen, because when I do, I become an All-Star.

 

Some of the silverscreen sagacity:

Fear/’reason’ vs. love/truth: what might seem rational, logical or reasonable may be cloaking fear. The habitual ways that we live may limit and constrain us, while listening to our highest truth is garbed in love, and we need to take that internal guidance as such.

Leaps of faith: trusting that we will be safely held and caught as we ‘go the distance’ to live our passion and purpose full out. Going that distance and refusing to give up our dreams in the face of opposition and feeling reined in by others’ contagious fear. That being said, recklessness and irresponsibility is not the same thing as acting on the messages we receive. In the end, as I have heard attributed to Ram Dass “You still have to remember your zip code.”

Seeing what others may not be able to (yet) envision. Viewing the world through miracle eyes and imagining what could be, even before it is apparent to anyone else.

Be a team player. Working together for a common purpose yields powerful results.

Listening to the gentle or insistent internal guidance; call it The Voice, God, Spirit….. takes you on a wild ride that will have you doing the ‘wave’.

Inviting others to play with you as you have fun…the more, the merrier.

When you come to end of the 9th inning, you will be able to answer the question: “Is this heaven?”  and the response won’t just be “It’s Iowa.”

What is YOUR field of dreams?

Take Me Out To The Ballgame http://youtu.be/qscED3psy_U 

Centerfield by John Fogerty http://youtu.be/JyMXKWNGz7g

Go and love some more

                                            I Love You Graphic

 

One of my favorite  movies is called Harold and Maude. A classic made in 1971, it features a quirky relationship between a young man named Harold played by Bud Cort who is obsessed with suicide and 79 year old Maude played by Ruth Gordon who loves life.  They meet at a funeral of someone that neither of them know, since it is a hobby they both have. They become friends and more.  Together they have outrageously fun and deeply exploratory adventures that have him question the meaning of life and love.  The film is filled to the brim with memorable quotes.  One leaps out during the scene in which Maude is playing pinball surrounded by young people who are laughing and smiling at her antics.  As he comments to Maude,  “You’re so good with people.”, her delighted response is “They’re my species.”  As the story winds down, and Maude is facing the end of her life and being ferried away by ambulance,  he calls out “Don’t leave me Maude, I love you.” and her poignant and powerful answer is “Oh Harold, that’s wonderful. Go and love some more. ”   Go and love some more. What would it be like if, despite pain and disenchantment, we could keep our hearts open to let love flow? I visualize the cardiac muscle that keeps our bodies alive.  If there is a blockage in any part of it…intake or outflow, life can’t be sustained.  In that same way, if our emotions are blocked, we die a bit as well.

I was speaking with someone recently who expressed feeling deep depression; indicating that everyone he loved was dead. I acknowledged his losses and then asked him if he believed that these were the only people he would ever love. He looked at me as if I was communicating in a completely foreign language. I reminded him that the world was filled to the brim with people to love. All he need do was reach out and let them in. So often, people limit themselves as to who they are willing to love. I remind folks all the time that everyone they now know and love were once strangers. A few years ago, a friend posed the question:  “Can you love whoever God sends?”  My response was “Of course.” and I endeavor to do just that. I have learned too that love is never wasted, regardless of the form, content or duration of that experience. 

In your life, where do you limit love?

What surprises have arisen when you have let love in?

Are you willing to ‘go and love some more.’? 

 

Two of my favorite Cat Stevens songs are highlights of the movie.

http://youtu.be/6ycjX3rLzyE  Don’t Be Shy

http://youtu.be/WFSjxkGOFZw  If You Want To Sing Out

Ahh And Awe

                                      I LOVE YOU sign

 

 

When the world is too much with me and I want a reminder that it is all an illusion, I call up my friend Peter Moses. A teacher by profession and inclination, he seems to channel wisdom effortlessly.  Not sure if he was born with an understanding that there really is no duality; that all is One, or if he learned it in the process of life itself. All I know is that I am ever so grateful that on a Saturday night in the Spring of 2001, our paths crossed on the front porch of our mutual friend Linda Hutchings.  My life has not been the same since.  There seemed to be an instantaneous recognition; a kindred spirit connection. A kid at heart; he remains joyfilled as the father of 5, ranging in age from nearly  1  1/2 to 30. He is the founder of The Music Experience For Young Children which takes the lyrical and rhythmic into schools and day care centers.  He also performs in concert  and for an organization that we both love and for which I have volunteered as well, called Rubye’s Kids. A recording artist, he has written songs for chronological children as well as kids in grownup bodies. His adult recordings touch on the spiritual concepts that serve as gateways to divine delight.

 He is called “Mr. Pete” by his students and ‘groupies’; that I joke are usually under 4 feet tall and under 4 years old. His enthusiasm and passion for life is contagious. He refers to me as “Edie Sweetie” which melts me each time. Over the years, we have offered workshops together, but as we are both busy with life, it has been quite awhile. His busy-ness in the past year and some months has been raising his wondrous son Shane, who I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time this past Sunday. I pulled in front of the suburban home that he and his wife Jackie and son share. The two of them stood in the carport waving to greet me and I swear that I was looking at a mirror image of Peter as I gazed at Shane (a wee bit of a ‘mini me’ with the same tossled, curly dark hair, but with Jackie’s blue eyes taking in the world and this new person in his life, looking back at him adoringly).

He is one of the most bubbling -over -with -effervescence- children that I have ever met. He laughs easily and they are teaching him sign language; he has mastered a few thus far, including the sign for ‘more’ and ‘love’.  I was impressed by one that he created which Peter and Jackie refer to as ‘fists of joy’.  It involves clenching his tiny hands tightly and scrinching up his face and smiling brightly. Talk about contagious bliss!  I couldn’t help but do it along with him. I invite you take a moment to do it right now! Shane had just indulged in one of his favorite treats; a standard for most tots…portable, gummable for one with few teeth yet and easy to grasp…the one and only Cheerios! They were the appetizer that preceded his babyfood mixed veggies entree, that then led to nap time. When Jackie ferried him upstairs, he blew kisses.

As the afternoon wore on, I found myself engaged in conversation with his marvelous mom and dad about ‘life, the Universe and everything’; including friendship, serendipity, spirituality, baby yoga, music, family, and even death.  Peter was sharing about the moment between wakefulness and sleep when we are not quite sure which is the ‘dream’ and which is what we would call ‘waking reality’. What if it is all a dream?, he mused.  Another concept that he loves to talk about is the onamotopoetic word  ‘ahhhh’ which could easily be ‘awe’…the feeling we get when gazing upward at the night sky with its expanse of stars cascading throughout. 

When I left their home to move on to my next activity, I felt warmed from the inside by being in the presence of  ‘lightened up beings’, since I don’t think they would consider themselves ‘enlightened.’

So, I ask you: What are some of your awe moments?  What is your deepest dream and are you willing to embrace it as your reality?

http://youtu.be/Yam5uK6e-bQ  Dreams by The Cranberries~

www.petermoses.com

www.rubyeskids.org

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