The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Second Chance


When I went to bed last night, I chose to program a question to be answered by the time my fingers touched the keyboard this morning. I didn’t have a theme for today’s Bliss Blog, so I asked the Muse for a specific, definitive concept. Like lucid dreaming, it has worked for all kinds of creative geniuses and inventors throughout the ages, so I figured “What the heck?”  Long about 4 :15 a.m., I awoke to the sound of some of my favorite kirtan artists named Deva Premal, Miten and Manose, singing a beautiful ode to do-overs, called Second Chance.


I hung my hat on a wishing tree

I asked for one wish – I could’ve had three

but I only asked for what I needed

could’ve asked for money, riches and wealth

but all I really wanted was to find myself

unaccustomed as I was to seeking

and my heart whispered inside and the moon rose and the angels sighed..

 and they said… here comes your second chance

 you’d better believe it open up and receive it here comes your second chance

 take a deep breath, this is your second chance.

 make peace with your mother and your father, too

make peace with the stranger inside of you


and forgive yourself for the things you tried and failed to do

embrace your anger, your lust and your greed

that’s how we drop the things that we don’t need

pick up a musical instrument or plant a seed

that was my heart whispering inside ‘welcome’ it said, ‘you’re home and dry’

[chorus] well the years went by and my wish came true

and i find myself here with you

i had to climb that mountain there was no way around it

and we all come and go like waves in the sea

each with our own responsibility

to leave this world more beautiful than we found it


that’s your heart whispering inside

and you know your heart, it never lied

And here comes your second chance….

Not quite wide awake at that hour, but not yet ready to dive back into sleep, I allowed myself the luxury of meandering through the pages of the past 53 years of my life and consider the many and varied  do-overs and re-creations of myself. Fifteen years ago, I was immersed in severe self-doubt, second guessing nearly every decision, a co-dependent chameleon who changed colors lest I lose approval. Calling my caregiving tendencies an insurance policy against rejection and abandonment, I was an emotional contortionist would bend over backward to please people. Sometimes I cringe when I think about the me-that-I-was and then I reach out to ‘her’ in compassion, for if not for her courage in getting past the enmeshed, enabling, self-sabotaging behaviors, you wouldn’t be reading these words. So much has transpired in the interceding years; including the illness and death of my husband and parents, working with people with mental health challenges, relationship roller coaster rides, stretching my comfort zones with career choices, becoming a free lance journalist, interviewer and author, taking what I have learned (some through joy, some through sorrow) to guide other people through sometimes rocky terrain.  I have learned to trust the guidance of Spirit, that it will lead me to serve the Highest Cause. These days, I still find myself (or, actually, lose myself) in inner critiholism, even as recently as this morning, which snarled at me, “If you’re all that, then how come…..?” (and I filled in the blank with a few of my not-yet-arrived-heart’s-desires). I quickly remedied the thought with the response of “Since you ARE all that, what you desire is here now and you welcome in the rest as it shows up.” and then I did a count my blessings list. All of this can be done in a heartbeat.


Today, my prayer is that I embrace any and all Second Chances that the Universe sees fit to offer, with grace and gratitude.

Thank you to my friends Miten, Deva and Manose for showing up in my dream last night(: Second Chance by Miten with Deva Premal and Manose


Shiny Happy People


I was looking at my facebook page a short while ago and marveling at the beatifically beaming little faces as I beheld their beauty. Friends from all over the planet, brought together through the marvels of modern technology.  We celebrate each others’ success, comfort each other in times of sadness or sorrow. We offer prayers and delve into spiritual concepts. We offer windows into each others’  hearts and souls, even if we may never physically cross paths. We share a bond nevertheless. Some I have known since childhood (family of birth) and some throughout my life, that I call family of choice.


I had been on an interview with two of  them  tonight hailing from Canada, named  Aline Ohannessian  and Roni Lipstein. If not for the facebook phenom, it is unlikely that we would have connected, since I am here in the Philadelphia, PA area. Their show is called BEingLOVE on Souls Talking Brain and I had the joy of speaking about Life, The Universe and Everything (my favorite subject since it is endlessly fascinating). Of course, I shared about the Beliefnet Bliss Blog so more folks can join us here.

I had commented to the hosts that speaking to them via skype felt so Star Trek, so much like what would have been sci-fi when I was a kid and yet, here we were, chatting away. I laughed because it felt so natural now. As a result of the interview, my shiny-happy-people posse is growing larger.


I often think about the chain of events that led me from where I was to where I desire to be and the beyond belief people I have met as a result. It’s that Hansel and Gretel Breadcrumb Trail that I speak of often that introduced me to one person, who opened the door to another, who said “Ooooohhhh, you should meet this person!”  So many kindred spirits gathered  ’round.  Sometimes I wonder if certain experiences occur so many years earlier that may make no sense at the time, but a stretch later, bring a knowing nod and a “NOW I get it. That was preparing me to do this thing, without which having had the earlier encounter, I would not have been able to accomplish.” Cool beans how the Universe works.


Over the weekend, I drew more people into my sphere, from attending a Gay Pride event in support of LGBT folks to doing ‘yoga on the steps’ of the Philadelphia Art Museum and all the precious moments in between.  I also honor those who have been in my life in one form or antother for many years. My friends are my treasures and I am  a wealthy woman as a result. Shiny Happy People by REM  BEingLove tv


Reasonable Demands


I grew up with parents who preached “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  Perhaps somewhat good guidance to prevent mean spirited communication, but I took it to heart in a rather co-dependent, self muzzling kinda way. It has take many years, dare I say 5 decades to trust myself to speak with tact even if I am delivering a less than desirable message. Sometimes the conversation is between myself and another person and then there are occasions when the communcation is between myself and the Universe. Sunday was one such.


For those who didn’t see yesterday’s Bliss Blog entry, I spoke about a transcendent experience that occurred on Sunday when I joined 1699 kindred spirits on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum (Rocky’s stomping grounds:) for Yoga On The Steps For Living Beyond Breast Cancer.  What I didn’t share was what happened before I set my feet and tush on my purple Gaiam yoga mat that has served me well since 2004 and has been the magic carpet that has taken me on many a journey both inward and outward.  I left my Bucks County, PA home in what I figured was plenty of time to arrive for 8:30 a.m. registration. Smooth sailing all the way, including Kelly Drive which is generally filled with cars. I was enjoying the bright and beautiful early morning sunshine, arm out the window, doing what our family called “breezing”, with the childhood admonition from my Uncle Jim “Don’t stick your arm out too far, it might go home in another car.” One of the perks of adulthood is that you get to breeze if ya wanna.  As I approached the art museum, I saw a line of folks waiting to register, that stretched a good way down the block. I turned my head to seek a parking spot. The nearby lot was full, so I curved around the block, expecting that I would find an “Uncle Jimmy spot” right away.  The same uncle who warned about the perils mentioned above was also adept at finding the perfect parking spot and he bequeathed that gift to me long before his passing. This time, the parking powers weren’t as forthcoming.  I drove around a six block radius for 20 minutes or so, feeling increasingly frustrated, about to tumble into major meltdown. Here I was on my way to a yoga event, feeling all churned up inside. I had seen several people pull into vacating spots, literally right in front of me. This felt like a test of the emergency sanity system.


It was then that I allowed myself to be less than zen and used words that aren’t in my spiritual vocabularly and let fly with a few expletives framing the word, “I demand a parking spot NOW, please!”  (still managed a bit of politeness:) Whatya know?  I drove onto a street that parallels the museum and the perfect spot was waiting for me, it was free and directly across from my destination. Bonus was that the registration line was much shorter by the time I got there. I laughed with delight and relief, wondering if it was that final push that allowed the Celestial parking attendant to open a place for my Jeep. Being raised to be nice, I have a difficult time with people who are demanding and entitled and anger is not my favorite emotional state and yet, there are times when it is called for and making reasonable demands may get you what you are asking for. At least it works for parking spots. The Car Song by Woodie Guthrie


Yo-ga Adrianne!




I didn’t come up with the title for this entry…it came through my friend Robin Renee as a response to a question I had asked. The image you are looking at is the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Sunday May 20th, 2012. For many people, the stucture brings to mind the indomitable spirit of Rocky Balboa as his pounding feet made their way up stairs which, if you haven’t traversed them, is tough enough to walk up, let alone ascend by running.


On this day, it was the site of the 10th annual Yoga On The Steps For Living Beyond Breast Cancer, which attracted 1700 yoga practitioners of  all ages, from tiny tots to white haired elders, as well as various skill levels and experience to raise money for the organization. It was the heart and brain child of Philly based yoga teacher Jennifer Schelter, her friend Courtney Kapp; a breast cancer thriver and Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Chief Executive Director Jean Sachs. Indomitable spirits all.



Jennifer Schelter

I attended for the first time in 2009 at the invitation of my high school friend Abe Morris, whose wife Andi is a two time breast cancer survivor whose team of supporters in their pink and black t-shirts this year is called ‘Andi’s Girls’ in double entendre’ reference to her body parts as well as the team members although some of her ‘girls’ are really guys, manly men all(:  Andi had been on the board of directors of the organization at the time. On that particular day, the wind and rain threatened to cascade a hardy and heart-y band of a few hundred entrepid souls over the stairs and into the Schuykill River near the museum. I wrote about the experience in my book, entitled The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary. The chapter is called Mammogram Mambo.


Andi and her brother


Yesterday’s weather could not have been more picture perfect, with broadly beaming sunshine that matched the spirits of the crowd who stretched and sweated, sang and meditated to the music of the divine Yvette Pecoraro. The experience was ushered in by NBC10 journalist Lu Ann Cahn, herself a two decade thriver. She and Jennifer Schelter encouraged all gathered there to strengthen and support each other and to know that no one need go it alone, whether we ourselves were facing a life changing diagnosis or knew someone who had. Throughout the one hour class, we were asked to bring to mind those whose love and support had sustained us and those who had triumphed over cancer and others who had left this plane as a result. My friend Cindy fits into the survivor/thriver category, since not only is she well, but she educates and advocates for prevention and health conscious choices and it was partly for her that I dedicated this practice. Although my mother who died in 2010 did not have cancer, thinking about her passing and the role she still plays in my stretching in ALL aspects of my life, brought tears. It isn’t unusual for me to cry on the mat, but this was particularly poignant.


Lu Ann Cahn


I was moved by the way Jennifer wove concepts into the practice, encouraging us to plant the gardens of our lives, to be heroes to ourselves and those in our lives,  as we did ‘hero pose’ invoking the spirit of community and cooperation. We did partner yoga exercises as well, and one in particular had a take home message that struck a chord in me. I worked with a woman named Randy who was parked on her own magic-carpet mat next to me. The asana was ‘boat pose’ and we were asked to grasp each others’ wrists and put our feet together and then lean back with our legs raised at a 45 degree angle. Because our hands and wrists were a bit sweaty  and kept slipping apart, we weren’t able to lift our legs. It wasn’t until we let go and spread our arms wide and just our legs do the work themselves, that we were able to fly unencumbered. We were then guided to sit back to back as we offered loving support. I liked the idea that somebody ‘had my back’.  The exercise ended by inviting us to bow in honoring, holding our hands in Namaste’ (prayer pose) in front of our hearts as our foreheads touched each others’ and we breathed in gratitude and blessings for each other and all those surrounding us.





I saw many friends from the yoga community and some I missed who I found out later were in the midst, including my friend Bill Tourtual, engaged in ‘wheel’.



One of the most cleverly named teams was called Tutus for Ta-tas (:


Oh and by the way…the question I had asked was “What would Rocky say about all of these folks on his steps?” to which Robin answered: “Yo-ga Adrianne!” to hear Yvette’s mystically mesmerizing music.


Advertisement  Cindy Greb’s Breast Blog where she journals her journey.  Living Beyond Breast Cancer    Even though the event is over, the ripples remain and there are still funds to be raised. The goal this year is $320,00 and folks can still donate for services that benefit women with breast cancer.  Go to the website for more info AND if you feel so moved, sign up for next year!  You will be so glad you did.  Yoga On The Steps
The song that guided us all on our way home~  May the Long Time Sun sung by Snatam Kaur


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