The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Love With Abandon

Every year for Valentines’  Day, I have written a poem for friends to honor our heart to heart connection. In 2002, I penned something called What I’ve Learned About Love and it included lines that spoke of  my own journey.  This entry is my Valentines’ Day gift to you.

I often say that my writing ‘writes me’, and the words come through me and not from me. One that jumped out at me from the beyond was “Love with abandon without fear of being abandoned.”  What would that be like, I wondered, when that line came spilling out? Full out, like a fountain, not fearing that it would run out of water, since it would be recycled back in.  Sunbeams shining forth without considering if  they would be able to peek out from behind cloud cover.  Stars beaming their brightest, knowing that their light is reaching our sight long after their lives have been extinguised. Trees budding and blooming, shedding over and over, sensing in some way that it is their destiny to do that season after season. These forces of nature do these things without conscious thought. For we humans, it sometimes gets complicated as we second guess our intentions and actions.


As you read this, it may seem like an odd Valentines’ Day message, but in the end, it is offered as a present of enormous value, more long lasting than flowers or candy, more sparkling than gems and a testament to love in all its glory.

On Sunday, I found myself in the home of my friends Phil and Janet as we celebrated Janet’s birthday. Both are creative souls who have found ways to love beyond the wounds they have experienced throughout their lives. They are my mentors for being a thriver; which to me means being able to move past victimhood and even past survivorship in order to ‘give back’ and ‘pay it forward’. Janet is an artist and performer/mime. Although Phil is a bookeeper, he also has a right brain, colorful side and he and Janet create performance pieces that educate people about mental health, suicide prevention in particular, team building  and wellness issues. Phil has also been my son Adam’s unofficial Big Brother for the past 10 years, playing a surrogate father role since I was widowed 13 years ago. Both are involved in the Mankind Project (New Warrior and Woman Within trainings). Each has a solid relationship with anger.


That’s where the story continues…….for years, it seems, they have been inviting me to have a healthy relationship with that emotion from which I have run away and hidden as if it were a slimy, icky, fire breathing, belching, destructive monster that threatened to blast me away, taking everything I love along its incendiary path of destruction. With that association, why would I want to get to know it better? They felt (and my 24 year old son agrees, since he is no stranger to that emotion:) that in order for me to be fully human and genuine, I need to see what was hiding beneath it. Janet even told me that she felt she could read my Bliss Book once I had gotten real about the feelings I had been witholding, otherwise, the bliss wouldn’t ring true for her.


So, after everyone left the gathering last night, filled with laughter, love, Chinese food and the sugar free, eclair cake with fluffy chocolate mousse icing that my budding chef son made for Janet, we got down to the biz of letting the anger fly in a safe setting.  First I made a list of resentments and judgements I have been holding for years, some about myself, some about others, that really have been holding me back and things that have been said by certain people in my life, namely my son and husband that had pushed my buttons.  Most people who know me, might be shocked to hear about the shadow side and the renegade, runaway riff that roils through my brain at times. The inner critic has her field day if I allow for it.  They moved the furniture back and placed piles of pillows on the living room floor and added a plastic baseball bat to the mix. After setting up safety rules, they encouraged me to fluff up the pillows with the bat, while sounding out the emotions with exhalations. It took but a moment for the tears to follow. I found myself in the now moment of emotion; grief and relief mixing so I wasn’t sure where one began and the other ended. Janet and Phil held space for it all and that was such a gift, since I had long believed that although I could be a safe haven for other people’s feelings, no one could be that for me. Fiercely independent with that little girl inside who wanted to ‘do it myself’ when it came to everything from tying my shoes to getting dressed, from reading a book to climbing the monkey bars, I have rarely allowed that sense of vulnerability. So many revelations came flying out, about ways I have felt I needed to earn love and approval. After I was complete with the pillow walloping, Janet turned on some intensely rhythmic music and together we did an anger dance. Making faces, holding onto each other’s forearms, punching the air, shouting, sounding out emotion, felt so freeing.  Drenched in sweat, muscles throbbing, I didn’t need to go to the gym yesterday, after that workout. I was able to get out of my intellectualizing head and into the guts of the experience, unafraid to appear out of control. Any time I wandered off into worrying about what their neighbors might think about the noise, they re-directed me, because they have done that kind of release work themselves and for other friends and no one complained. Even their four legged kids; Bananas and Dodger sat and observed this wild woman at work and didn’t run away or even bark. They were guardians at the gates of grief and release too.


When I was cooked and complete for the night, I realized that in my fearlessness, I was able to embrace love as I allowed it to embrace me. By receiving this gift that Phil and Janet offered, I was giving it back to them as well, trusting that they wouldn’t judge me and in fact, would celebrate a deepening of our relationship since I had been willing to unveil another aspect of myself in their presence.

Still processing, with intense and frightening dreams last night, about betrayal and violation, about getting out of dangerous situations and into the light of a new day.

Learning moment to moment how to love with abandon without fear of being abandoned, throwing open the metaphorical door to my heart, allowing the irrepressible energy to flow unabated, despite my trepidation, having compassion for myself in the process, since I also know that love without limits begins with self love. Love Song by Elton John



When we are born, we are innocent infants, not aware of what awaits us in the next  decades of our lives. Perhaps we come in with a ‘soul contract’…the jury is still out on that in some people’s minds, although certain things just click in terms of my interactions with people and circumstances, as if I have made a long ago agreement with them to do this dance of life together.  As we go through our days, we pick up beliefs about ‘how life is’, like so many burrs on our pant legs while walking through the woods. The adults in our lives tell us; verbally or non-verbally, what we are worthy of receiving. I was blessed with parents who showered me with love and praise AND in an effort to keep from losing those things (as if I ever could:) I sometimes spun my wheels in frenzied activity to prove that I was/am worthy of such. As I am now 53, it has taken this long for me to recognize (as my mother used to say) “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” Paradoxically, by doing that, I was running away from all the good that wanted to come into my life. I can sometimes hear it panting behind me, cajoling me to “Slow down so we can catch you already!”  Shades of the ginger bread man….”Run run as fast as you can…”


At times, I have held up my hands in an unconscious effort to ward off the onslaught of love, success, praise, gifts , (material and spiritual). The one constant in all of this, is that Spirit, in its infinite generosity, has persistently shown up, like a determined suitor, thinking that “One day, she’ll let me in the door.” These days, more often than not, I open my arms and heart to let it all in. There are time, ironically, that I feel impatient that certain things I want have not yet manna-fested…I’m getting there, being more patient with myself and the Universal Delivery Service.

I look at my life and the experiences and people who have shown up and ask myself “What would someone have to believe in order to have these things and beings show up?” I depersonalize it so as to make it more productive a process. Sometimes I like the answer, sometimes I want to run screaming from the room…YIKES!  Mostly, it takes a bit of tweaking to get from that point to where I endeavor to be. I can work as hard I want, planting the seeds, following through on my intentions and a key ingredient is that sense of receivablity. Am I willing to embrace what shows up on my doorstep each day. Today I can shout a resounding YES!   How about you?  What is your heart’s desire? What is your receivablity quotient?  Are you willing to expand your possibilities?



What Your Soul Sings

Woke up a few days ago to this song that I had never heard before. It echoed with the thoughts that I most needed to hear at the moment (of course, since I sense that the Universe always provides what serves for our growth), because there are times when in an effort to ‘find myself’, I lose myself in wheel spinning, co-dependence. As a child who was showered with love and approval for being a  precocious high achiever, people pleaser. I believed; perhaps on an unconscious level, that if I wanted to keep receiving that nourishing energy, I better oughta keep doing what I thought of as ‘The Shirley Temple tap dance.’ The adults around me never even knew that these thoughts were going on in my head and to this day, I still carry them, even as I do my best to off-load them since they keep me from being genuine.


I have long been in the ‘people business’, as a social worker/minister/journalist/motivational speaker and am called on to be aware of the dynamics between myself and others in order to keep these relationships honest. Transparency is important to me, as I am allowing for the full human experience. Keeping up appearances takes alot of energy. I was engaged in a ‘battle royale’ with my 24 year son recently over a difference in world view. Although he was raised by two sorta hippie parents (until age 11 when my husband/his dad died), with tree hugging, Law of Attraction values, there are times when you woulda thought he grew up with cynical, see the cup as half empty parents, since that is his perception at times. Then I realized that each of us, for whatever reason, has our own destiny to live out and perhaps his is to do whatever he is doing for as long as he chooses to do it and his soul song may be quite different from mine. The intention I hold is that at least they play in harmony and not cacophany.



What Your Soul Sings

by Massive Attack

Don’t be afraid

Open your mouth and say
Say what your soul sings to you

Your mind can never change
Unless you ask it to
Lovingly re-arrange
The thoughts that make you blue
The things that bring you down
Only do harm to you
And so make your choice joy
The joy belongs to you

And when you do
You’ll find the one you love is you
You’ll find you
Love you

Don’t be ashamed no
To open your heart and pray
Say what your soul sings to you

So no longer pretend
That you can’t feel it near
That tickle on your hand
That tingle in your ear
Oh ask it anything
Because it loves you dear
It’s your most precious king
If only you could hear

And when you do
You’ll find the one you need is you
You’ll find you
Love you  What Your Soul Sings by Massive Attack


Time Enough

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” Life’s Little Instruction Book, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I saw this on a poster many years ago and at that time, just laughed at the implications. These days, I find myself living it. I marvel at what I can accomplish when I put my body, mind, heart and soul into my activities. When once upon a time, I drifted, rather unconsciously through each 24 hour period, convinced that a ‘go with the flow’ attitude was somehow more spiritual than being in driven ‘get it done mode’, now I immerse myself in planting the seeds, doing what it takes and then surrendering outcome paradigm. Yes, balance is necessary in order to remain sane and vertical. As I write this entry at 6:55 a.m. on a chilly February morning, sipping acai berry tea, I am enjoying peeking out the window at the soft pink sky and hearing the serenade of a mourning dove.  Except for that sound and the gentle hum of the lap top and the tap tap tap of fingers on keyboard, I am enjoying relative quiet. No one else is up yet in the house and I am immersed in one of my favorite activities. In a short while, I will need to get ready for my day job, at which I serve people with mental health diagnoses. After that will come home, write more, plan classes I teach, do promo work for myself and other people whose work I support, and  if there is time, I will do my gym ‘playout’.  Then there are the routine housekeeping activities like laundry, paying bills, cleaning, getting the Jeep serviced and inspected, scheduling a dentist appointment, prepping my taxes to get to my accountant (and oh yeh) cooking and eating dinner. Well, maybe I won’t do them ALL tonight.


Most people in my life tell me that they feel exhausted just hearing me rattle off my schedule. I chuckle, and tell them that sleep is highly over-rated. I love check lists since they keep me focused and offer a sense of accomplishment when I cross off the items on them. At work, I use bright pink or yellow highlighters to emphasize the point.

Prioritizing is a key factor, although I always make sure I include ‘goofing off’ on my to-do list. As a former magazine publisher, I work well with deadlines and that helps me to stay on track. If things are too nebulous, they slide to the bottom of the list. I use the analogy of a customer service line. The attendant can really only take care of one customer at a time effectively, and yet, I joke with my patients, that as a social worker, I am expected to multi-task. There are times when I am in conversation with someone in my office and the phone will ring with a call from a person with whom I have been waiting to speak and I tell them I need to call them back and then return attention to the one in front of me and then someone will knock on my door to talk about an issue that needs my immediate attention, of course. I reassure them that I will take care of it once I complete with this person. Whew!  Now I feel wiped out just thinking about it.


The gym, car and shower are great places for me to dream and scheme how I intend to move through my day and night. There’s something about water, sweat and the call of the road that help get my creative juices flowing. Creativity is an essential component of time management…how can I get more done in less time…’work smart, not hard’ is a motto used by many and I would guess, for those whose names are mentioned in the initial quote.

So on this day, as I aspire to have lots of pink and yellow highlighted lines on my checklists,  I know that what is even more important is the grace and play, joy and fun I have while engaging in the next 24 hour gift offered to me by a Creator who is eager to see what I do with it. Turn, Turn, Turn  -The Byrds

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