The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

It Takes Every Kind of People

                                                              

An old Rabbi once asked his pupils how they could tell when the night had ended and the day had begun.”Could it be,” asked one of the students, “when you can see an animal in the distance and tell whether it’s a sheep or a dog?””No,” answered the rabbi.

Another asked, “Is it when you can look at a tree in the distance and tell whether it’s a fig tree or a peach tree?””No,” answered the rabbi.”Then when is it?” the pupils demanded.”It is when you can look on the face of any man or woman and see that it is your sister or brother. Because if you cannot see this, it is still night.”–Hasidic tale, quoted in “Peacemaking Day by Day”Each day we encounter people from all walks of life; some who feel like kindred spirits and some who seem like strangers.  It seems easy to accept those we view as being ‘one of us’ and feel a separation and even fear of  those whose lifestyle choices are seemingly at odds with our own.  Often we identify with our family, our gender/relationship orientation, our country of origin or religion and assume that every person who fits into those categories will agree with our point of view. Ain’t necessarily so. 

Today I sat in the presence of a young Gay man and wept on the inside as he described how it felt to be in a disenfranchised minority. Imagine what it would be like (if you are in the  heterosexual majority) if the media portrayed mostly same sex couples enjoying their relationships and those who were accepted walking down the street showing affection were of the same gender and only Gays and Lesbians were legally permitted to marry, adopt children or be covered under each others’ insurance policies. And then further imagine, that you as a heterosexual person were at risk physically by those with bigoted mentality who would seek to do you harm, because you were straight. Something to ponder. My take on it is that love is love is love and healthy relationships come in all forms.  

I look at my Jeep and note that is a mobile billboard for my socio-political beliefs. I have one bumper sticker than reads COEXIST made up of various religious symbols, another that says Manifesting Miracles and yet another that reads Just Love (created by my artist friend Rod Schichtel) and then a fourth that proclaims Be At Peace. In between is the logo for the car…the word PATRIOT. It is totally possible for me to be both a patriotic American and a planetary citizen. My former car wore a bumper sticker that said God Bless The Whole World…No Exceptions.

Consider your values and what they mean to you. How do you live them in your life?  Are they about inclusivity or exclusivity?  Are they designed to create a more healed and holy planet; one on which all feel loved and accepted?

 

http://youtu.be/Ne1lkEEmRCI   Every Kinda People by Robert Palmer

Miracle Mama

                                                                             caterpillar pictures, butterfly pictures, butterflies picture

A few days ago, I had sent birthday wishes to my friend Kalie Marino via facebook which has beome a primary medium to connect with friends whether I have only met them that way or, like Kalie; have known in the face to face world for many years. Among other things, she is a teacher of A Course in Miracles of which I have been a student since the early 1980′s when I met another teacher of the three book series life changing phenom; my friend Alan Cohen.  It is based on the idea that miracles are natural and are (and I love this:) ‘a shift in perception’. I had referred to Kalie as “Miracle Mama” since she is quite the miracle manna-fester and she is a mom too. Her response was to acknowlege me in that way as well. I am now claiming that as part of who I am which got me to thinking how a Miracle Mama would move through life.

The ways in which we refer to ourselves is a mirror-reflection of our perspective.  I am and you are, many things…we contain multitudes.  I can rattle off the various roles I play as mother, friend, sister, aunt, professional hyphenate (writer-speaker-minister-social worker) and yet none of those things are truly me any more than you are the sum of hats you wear.   Today at work, I was speaking with a young woman who was struggling with her identity; seeing herself as being flawed and imperfect, so it amazed her that she would have a second chance at re-creating her life. She questioned how God could see so much in her when she saw less than that in herself. She wondered how she could move past her view of herself, knowing that unless she could, she would feel depressed indefinitely. She had the mental wherewithal to recognize that her thinking was distorted and with clarity, would come healing. 

Although not to that extreme, there have certainly been times when I have asked those same questions; what lenses have I been wearing that have had me believing I was ‘less than’?  This ‘not enough’ stuff has lured me into being ‘crazy busy’ in order to prove I was something that I thought I wasn’t. I had a revelation recently connected to the ways in which I lived my life 15 or so years ago. The assertive, decisive,  go-getter powerful woman that is typing these words now, was hidden beneath a cloak of self doubt and fear of making waves, conflict avoidant and quite simply, pretty wimpy:)  It took my husband’s illness and subsequent death to rock my world such that I was experiencing a V-8 moment; a spiritual smack on the forehead that woke me up from sleepwalking through life.

Although awareness of miracles had long been part of my life, they seemed few and far between. These days, I see myself as a miracle magnet, attracting serendipitous events several times a day. They come in the form of people entering my life with just the right message to offer, creative opportunities to use my gifts and talents; as well as money appearing like manna from the heavens. I refer to bringing in my heart’s desires as ‘manna-festation’ as a result of hearing my friend Kim Walker call it that.  I set intention each day to be part of miracle creation for myself and others. We never know when and where one (or many) will show up. It need not be anything dramatic, with bells and whistles or lightning flashes across the sky. Watching the sun streaming in through my window, seeing a butterfly emerge from a chrysalis, catching a raindrop in my hand…simply knowing that all is well, is miracle enough.

 

In what ways do you honor the everyday miracles that appear before you?

Can you adjust your miracle radar to tune in to them?

The Blessings Already Are

 

                                              

 

As Spirit often does, it guided me to attend services, this past Sunday at one of the interfaith communities of which I am a part. I was delighted to disover that Lou Tenaglia was what we call the Speaker/Spark at Circle of Miracles in Doylestown, PA. He shared on the subject of The Perfection of Living An Imperfect Life. Just what I need as a  striver; not for perfection, but at least self acceptance in the midst of sometimes harsh self criticism. What he offered had the congregation nodding and smiling in recognition of the places in their own lives where they bump up against the stories they tell themselves about what is so, rather than just what is so. Lou is an ordained minister, educator, facilitator and sound healer.

How do you live your bliss?

When I am living my bliss I am in the present moment. When I am not living it I am usually in the past reviewing and replaying old situations and events or I am in the future worrying about what might be coming and trying to control it!

 

My breath is the doorway to the present moment and to my bliss. When I am conscious of my breath and accepting what the present moment is giving me to handle, I am in my bliss – even if what I need to handle isn’t to my liking. It may sound paradoxical, but for me, it is true. Acceptance and surrender to what is going on in the moment manifests bliss for me in my life.

 

 

What meandering path led you to the patch of Earth on which you now stand?

 My karma brought me to this moment but “grace” on moving me forward. I was born in Philadelphia and grew up in a very mixed ethnic, cultural region called West Oak Lane/Germantown in Philly. I learned as a child to play with many different types of children from different backgrounds. I could go through my biography…boring! The truth is everything that has ever happened to me or that I caused to happen brought me to this moment.

 

I bless both the “good” things and the “bad” – they ended up all teaching me how to live in more awareness. The most important spiritual event in my life was meeting John-Roger who founded The Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA) and studying with him since 1979. As an initiate and minister in MSIA I have learned incredibly practical and uplifting tools about living life as a soul in a human body! My doctoral degree from Peace Theological Seminary and College of Philosophy in Santa Monica, CA was life changing for me.

I have been married to an incredibly patient and loving wife, Linda, for 36 years. We have two grown sons who have good teachers for me in my life…Mario and Evan.

 

When you were in the public school system, how did you incorporate your worldview into your work?  I had read an article you wrote about peacemaking in which you describe how you applied one particular principle.

Large organizations typically do not welcome any worldview except the one the organization is promoting. So part of my role, as a school principal, thrust me into situations where I was the keeper of the organizational structure. Schools are having trouble these days – for many reasons. I attempted (oftentimes not very successfully) to help teachers keep the needs of the student first in all things the school does. This is really true in the way people in schools talk to and with children. Children love it when the adults in school speak to them as people, not just children. I trained my entire staff to conduct “class meetings” once a week where children were asked to share their thoughts about a variety of topics and issues that were meaningful to them. This required teachers to listen and ask questions rather than speak and give answers. That is one small way I attempted to bring my worldview that children need to be valued over everything in the operation of a school.

 

You seem to be a catalyst for encouraging growth in others. How do you step back and create space for people to discover their own answers?

My approach to spiritual counseling is to always allow Spirit to direct the sessions. My job is to attune myself to Spirit, listen carefully and be courageous enough to share what is coming forward in my heart with whomever I am working. Sometimes is involves stepping back and sometimes it is stepping forward. I never know until the session begins the Light directs the flow of energy. I am very good at asking questions and listening.

 

What spiritual practices help you to be centered and grounded, as much as possible?

The primary spiritual practice is use is called Spiritual Exercises – what most people call meditation. I also “Call in the Light” throughout the day by asking the Light of God to help me and assist a situation or bless what is going on. Awareness of the Light and of Spirit is the tool I use throughout my day, regardless of the situation.

 

I resonated with the description you gave of the ways in which you know only what you see and think it is the whole story. Kind of like the 5 blind men and the elephant?

 

Exactly… We all have our own unique point of view but God has the viewing point on us all. We often forget that our point of view is limited by our position, our bias, our karma, our experiences, our expectations, and our desire to control events and people to suit ourselves. Then we parade that limited point of view as THE truth. This when we are most in need of humility to remind us that we are limited in our scope and understanding of what is going on and surrender it all to God who really does know what is for the highest good of each of us and all of us collectively.

 

 

 

You shared that you believe all is in perfect order from God’s point of view. How do you explain compassionately to someone who has experienced trauma or the death of a loved one that this is so?

 

These kinds of circumstances are difficult because someone is in pain and suffering. The first approach is to offer compassion and understanding. If the person in pain wants understanding then I begin to ask questions about their beliefs regarding Spirit. I would never offer an explanation to someone who held a firm belief that moved in a different direction. I would honor their beliefs and leave it at that. However, if the person is open to “understanding” a different approach to the situation causing them pain and suffering then I would begin by reminding him or her that we are all “on loan” here on earth from Spirit. This life is intended to be temporary from the start. The timing of our return to Spirit is in God’s hands and even though the loss and hurt we feel in life is real and often difficult, we can take comfort in knowing that God’s plan is at work beyond our ability to see it in the moment.

 

Please talk about the five concepts that you offered at Circle today.

Thefive keys to finding the… spiritual perfection of living an

imperfect life are:

Acceptance

Understanding

Compassion

Forgiveness

Unconditional Loving

 

Acceptance is recognizing that all things are in perfect order from God’s point of view, or it wouldn’t be happening.

 

Understanding is defined as “the superior power of discernment; enlightened intelligence”. Knowledge is simple intellect. Understanding has a special quality to it, it is enlightened, and it has the spark of Sprit infused in it. Understanding begins in the heart and then moves through the mind. It is based in empathy and mercy.

 

Compassion is opening our hearts to ourselves first and then into the world when we see imperfection at work. Compassion focuses less on righting the wrongs in our lives and in the world and focuses more on comforting the effects of it all.

 

Forgiveness comes naturally out of compassion. When we find a place in our hearts to be compassionate toward others, and ourselves we discover the power of forgiveness. When we have hurt others or been hurt by them – as we all do in this life at one point or another – it is the power of forgiveness that heals these wounds. Forgiveness is walking the talk of making perfect what appears imperfect in our lives. In order to forgive others, or ourselves, we must surrender our righteousness and positions long enough to surrender the situation to Spirit and open our hearts.

 

Unconditional love means exactly what it says – placing no conditions of our ability to love or be loved. No condition. There is nothing you or I can do in this life that removes God’s love for us. This is big thinking and requires us to move beyond the limitations of right and wrong, shame and guilt, punishment and justice.

 

What is sacred sound balancing?

 

We all have the ability to balance ourselves and receive the guidance needed to align our life in harmony with Spirit. The key is opening our consciousness to receive what is needed next. Powerful ways to access this deep healing include meditation, prayer, creative arts, silence, and sacred sound.

 

 

 

Sacred Sound is an ancient way to uplift and heal the consciousness. The ceremonial instruments I play – Tibetan bowls, bells, and tingshas – generate particular resonant tones and vibrations that open the consciousness for Soul Travel and profound inner healing. Facilitating a session is an intuitive process, a constant state of prayer and meditation.

 

 

 

Sacred Sound healing begins with the invocation of Spiritual Light to guide, bless, and protect us in the work we do together. I attune to you and to the instruments simultaneously. We welcome only that which is for your highest good. In response, the bowls bring forward the particular tones and vibrations to meet your needs.

 

 

 

We clarify your intention for the session. Sacred Sound addresses anything that needs healing in your life: physical, emotional, mental, financial, or sexual issues. The intention you set is included in a prayer and short guided meditation. The session gives you the opportunity to open more fully to your intention and activate it by riding on the sound current of energy that emanates from the bowls. I do highly refined form of spiritual and consciousness counseling that gets at the root of life issues.

 

 

 

During the session you are resting  with 16thcentury Tibetan Bowls near your head and around your body.Your eyes are covered with a lavender pillow to help you relax and go inward. Slowly the bowls are toned to begin the journey. An ancient Tibetan Bell and Tibetan Tingshas are also toned to create an array of Sacred Sounds.

 

 Throughout this healing, you may experience deep rest and relaxation. The body may rest or sleep, but the higher consciousness is alert and conscious of the Sacred Sound. You may also notice physical sensations, life energy movement, or images and messages from your inner wisdom. Sacred Sound healing enables you to listen inwardly to the small still voice of the Soul.

 

 The blessings of a Sacred Sound session ripple out for days, weeks, and months. The tones continue to gently bring your awareness to new opportunities to manifest your intentions.

 

 

Loved the manure quote you shared at Circle:) Can you speak about that process?

 

Life can often feel like we are constantly shoveling shit. What we forget is that usually, the shit is of our own making! This is where an understanding of past lives is helpful. Things happen in our lives that seem to have no rational explanation or cause. A child gets terminally ill, accidents happen, someone gets fired from their job, etc. etc. etc. – it feels like shit! The real question is how do we deal with it because… shit happens. It helps if we pay close attention to the process unfolding on the planet earth where manure is being transformed naturally into soil to grow food and nurture us. The same thing is true in our lives. We need to find ways to accept the manure in our lives and transform it into something to help us grow rather than fall victim to it. The key ingredients in transforming manure into something of value are: Acceptance, Understanding, Compassion, Forgiveness, and Unconditional Loving.

When we apply these ingredients to the shit in our lives, it transforms the manure in ways that uplift us and nurture us to grow. This is why we are given challenges in life.

 

 

Can you share your definition of karma?

Karma is simply the law of cause and effect. Everything that is put in motion has an effect. What we put in motion in our lives has an effect, on us and on others. Because God made us in his own image we are co-creators with God in our lives. We were also given the freedom to create in any direction we want – so we can learn about the power of creation. Over the course of many lifetimes and existences we have caused many things to happen– love, hurt, peace, suffering, pain, pleasure – we are responsible for all that we created and continue to create – this is the law of karma.

 

The beauty of karma is that as our actions are returned to us to balance them we are given the opportunity to learn how to love in deeper and deeper ways.

 

The confusing thing about karma is that we may be experiences the “effects” of actions we “caused” from lifetimes ago and have no conscious memory of it. So it feels unjust, unfair and like punishment. Things are always in perfect order in Spirit – even when they don’t feel like it.

 

Karma is not a punishment from God. It is a blessing. Karma is there to teach us to love it all and accept what is happening, realizing that we do not have total understanding of all things and all situations. Karma can teach us how to “Let Go and Let God” if we are smart and take the opportunity.

 

 

 

How do you live the concept Baruch Bashan?

 

Baruch Bashan means, “the blessings already are”. It is a beautiful thought and helps remind me to move into humility and acceptance and stop worrying or trying to control life. If the blessings already ARE then why don’t I see them? It is usually because I am looking in the wrong place or with the wrong eyes. If I am looking into life with the eyes of my heart and soul, then I will see the blessings unfolding for me. If I am looking into my life with the eyes of the mind and ego, the blessings are often hidden from view. They are there; quietly waiting for me to wake up and use my heart to discover how God is blessing me in the moment.

Imagine a life where God is blessing us all, in our own unique way, in each moment, regardless of how it appears, and we awaken to see it…Baruch Bashan!

 

http://selfdisciplinedkids.blogspot.com/  is Lou’s blog..check it out!

www.circleofmiracles.org

Before I Die

                                                                 

 

 

This is a subject that some find challenging to speak of and still others avoid totally, and yet taking our last breath is as natural as taking our first; the cycle of life in completion. I have never witnessed a birth in person, but have been what I consider a mid-wife at the passing of  patients, friends and loved ones, including my husband and father. My mother chose to make her exit only in the presence of a hospice caregiver, so I wasn’t there as I had hoped to be. Each time, there was a blending of sadness and serenity; a sense of surrender to what is. Each time too, I knew that these deaths would come to be. Had I experienced sudden deaths, it would have had a different feel to it, I’m sure. And yet, the truth is, none of us knows which day we will be called to make that transition.

Enter the “Before I Die Project”.   I discovered it in Friday’s email from DailyGood:  News That Inspires. It offers an alternative to the ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ mentality that permeates some forms of journalism, with an ‘if it feeds (the heart and soul:), it leads’ sensibility.

Candy Chang; the designer of the project is, according to her website:  “a public installation artist, designer, urban planner, TED Fellow, and co-founder of Civic Center in New Orleans.”  She has taken an abandoned building in Katrina-ravished New Orleans and made it into a magnificent canvas for the hopes, dreams, wishes, desires and visions of passersby who, with rainbow colored chalk in hand, leave a city sanctioned graffiti legend.

People of all ages have written entries such as:

Before I die, I want to:

Raise my children.

Evaporate into the light.

Tell my mother I love her.

Travel the world.

Find my mythical creature.

Live in another country.

Be someone’s cavalry.

If you had that wall before you, what would you write on it?

 

There is a marvelous piece by one of my favorite singer songwriters named David Roth that speaks to this idea.

BEFORE I DIE  © 1991 David Roth

 

Before I die I want to be

The richest man in history

I want to have a wealth of friends

Abundant love that never ends


Before I die I want to find

A lover who is soft and kind

And one last piece of cherry pie

That’s what I want before I die


Before I die I want to choose

Some different roads and avenues

I want to walk each one in peace

And all my obstacles release


Before I die I want to know

I’ve told you that I love you so

I love you so, I love you so

That’s what I want you to know


Before I die I want to be

The  richest man in history

And one last piece of cherry pie

That’s what I want before I die

 

www.candychang.com

 

www.dailygood.org/morephp?n=4695

www.davidrothmusic.com

 

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