As I am contemplating my message, inspired by the quote above, a random thought crossed my mind that it reminds of the Capital One commercial which asks: “What’s in your wallet?” A corollary is “What’s in your heart?” Imagine that at birth, you are given a suitcase of any size, shape, color and configuration of your choosing. You are told that you can fill it with love, healing, kindness, generosity, creativity, fun, play, renewal, abundance, and curiosity in whatever quantities you select. It is ever expanding, so you will never run out of room for these states of being. All throughout your life, as you experience your daily encounters with people and events, you see more that you would like to take home with you and so you scoop them up and toss them into your luggage. Are you willing to let life be that simple, without second guessing whether these things belong to you? What if you knew they were your birthright? Would you/could you ever turn them down?
My heart-suitcase is a repository for my relationships with folks who are actively in my life, as well as those I don’t see as often and those who are now in Spirit, having taken their own journey to ‘other lands’. Outstretched further are those on social media sites who trust me enough for them to share their most heart felt wishes and blisses, as well as troubling fears. Over the weekend, at a music festival, I witnessed interactions between people discovering each other for the first time in awhile as they hugged their delighted hello’s. Even though I didn’t know them, still I experienced a vicarious rush. It was wonderful to see people lovin’ on each other, rather than fighting each other, as they celebrated their relationships. I was also blessed to be in the presence of people with whom I share a great deal of connection who introduced me to folks that they knew, that I had not yet met. I call them ‘overlapping soul circles’, the name of which came to me a few years ago during a meditation in which I saw us all as stars, dancing in the heavens and began stringing ourselves together in unique and interwoven designs. It illustrates that the six degrees of separation concept can occur serendipitously. In my life, I like to say that there are no degrees of separation, since I always know someone who knows someone that I know. This small world is getting even smaller as we expand our heart parameters. I have know many whom I consider ‘heart friends’ who know me by heart and vice versa. I few years ago, the words “I hold your heart sacred.” came through and it resonated with the feeling that I have when I consider those dear ones who so delight me by their presence in my life.
So, on this brand new day, as you set out to face the world, what size carrying case will you tote with you in which to collect souvenirs from your day trippin’ ?
To honor our heart connections..
http://youtu.be/ZN3E9Yyd1HA Thank You For Being A Friend-Andrew Gold
http://youtu.be/Zuzi-yH9VLo Friends-Elton John
http://youtu.be/Acq9w-9URgg You’ve Got To Have Friends- Bette Midler
http://youtu.be/RyYm3lilYOg Welcome Back-John Sebastian
Thousands of sun-baked people filled the lawns of Wiggins Park, which was the Camden, New Jersey site of the 2012 XPoNential Music Festival. It is hosted each year by my favorite commercial free/member supported radio station WXPN which is based at the University of Pennsylvania and features an eclectic blend of music that fills my ears with exquisite sound and nourishes my heart. I knew I would be joining friends and loved ones whom I see regularly, including my cousin Jody Rosenblum and her son Aaron, home from the North Star State of Minnesota and some I haven’t run into for years, as well as new members of my ever growing tribe. I was right on all counts. I made the wise decision to stay at the nearby home of my friends Phil Garber and Janet Berkowitz, rather than trek the hour plus to and fro which meant less travel time, more play time! Armed with blanket, mini cooler filled with healthy munchies, sunscreen, and water (one of the perks of being an XPN member, which I’ve been, I’m thinking for 15-20 years, is that we get refills of liquid refreshment as needed throughout the day. Nothing like hydration to make for a happy festival go-er:), I was ready to roll~
Each year, in addition to favorites, I find cool new musical discoveries. This year, it was the female fronted rockin’ band called Delta Rae. The line up included: The Lumineers, Hold Steady, Dawes, Rhett Miller, J.D. Souther, Diego Garcia, Kathleen Edwards, Wilco, The Avett Brothers and the Counting Crows. I was familiar with all of these folks having been introduced to them on this station and sang, danced, clapped, cheered, swayed, drummed and hugged along to the tunes. Speaking of hugs, I noticed that a man behind me named Chris had a FREE HUGS button on his backpack and he was more than willing to assure me that it wasn’t false advertising. A few times over the weekend we greeted heart to heart. A lovely young couple, named Glenda and Steve who had just moved to the area from New Mexico, sat next to our group of friends and as we ran into each other at the end of last night, we discovered that we had a great deal in common. She is a social worker as well and is enrolled at Rutgers University which is where I earned my Masters in Social Work (MSW) in 1985. We agreed to stay in touch. I saw friends from various incarnations of my life; one nursing supervisor from a nursing home where I had worked, another, a hospice social worker, who visited residents in another facility where I had been employed. Two photographer friends Frank Jacobs and Alex Lowy were round and about throughout the days, working their magic. I think that they have the coolest jobs, that allow them to get right in there, down in front, snapping candids of performers and the appreciative audience. Nancy Hesch and Sherry Reisner were welcome additions to the frolic. Another friend, Rocky Wilson, a colorfully creative performer himself, was easy to spot, sporting his rainbow hued hat and carrying his critter puppets…a monkey named Bongo and a rabbit named Pepperoni.
On to the music! What impressed me the most, across the board, regardless of genre was the way in which each performer engaged with the audience. Whether it was in the more intimate setting of the park itself or a short walk away at the Susquehanna Bank Center (a considerably larger stadium), it felt personal. These are consummate musicians who have earned their place on stage and the hearts of those who applauded their talent. Not a huge concert-goer in my teens, I felt particularly youthful last night, getting my second wind, easing away a sun-induced headache, I danced with kids young enough to be my own, along with my friends Janet Berkowitz and Gary Schoenberg, to the music of the Counting Crows. Janet is a mime and performance artist who, last night reminded me of the Pied Piper as her enthusiasm drew people of all ages to cavort with her. Still shots and videos were being taken. It wouldn’t surpise me if they were up on Youtube by now. Gotta check!
Came home, eagerly rinsing off the sweat and grit, easing into sweet sleep, dreaming of the music of my soul.
www.xpn.org WXPN 88.5 fm
www.bradsrawchips.com Kale Is Kool shirt from Brad’s Raw Foods
www.youtube.com/watch?v=1D5PtyrewSs Counting Crows A Long December
www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqZZlL0l5Uk The Avett Brothers I and Love and You
www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhgShqI45ik J.D. Souther You’re Only Lonely
www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQEj_9IhJSo Dawes When My Time Comes
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws4SSGAzz3M Kathleen Edwards Asking For Flowers
http://youtu.be/TnCWk7ElXIs Delta Rae Is There Anyone Out There?
www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YfpTi-d_nM Diego Garcia All Eyes On You
Was awakened at early o’clock this morning by the welcomed sound of rain. I could hear the parched grass and plants sighing in relief. Like many places in the country, the Philadelphia area has been a bit bereft of the wet stuff. The upside to it is that I haven’t needed to mow the lawn as often. There have been times in my life during which I have felt dried out, frazzled, crunchy, lacking in the vibrant color that comes from sufficient nourishment. Some may seem circumstantial, but in retrospect, I can see that it came from witholding the cloudbursts of rain in my own life. I have done so by harsh self criticism and doubt, second guessing nearly every action, wondering if I was ‘doing the right thing’, feeling stuck in the muck and mire of previous decisions when my wise mind was on vacation, being led by my impulsive petulant child who wanted what she wanted that felt expedient at the time.
These days, I am taking ongoing inventory throughout the day, of all of the things for which I am grateful that include listening at the moment to the lovely voice of Donna De Lory, wafting through my somewhat doze-y consciousness…remember I got up before 5 a.m. I am in pj’s, wearing a pink t-shirt that reads “Cherish the Journey” and I certainly do, remembering the steps and turns it took to get me where I am right now. In a little while, I will be meeting with friends to look at PR and marketing for our respective work. Yesterday I got together with two other creative souls to plan an empowering retreat for next year. A few months ago, this kind of schedule would not have been possible, since I was at a full time job that, while it was rewarding in many ways, also prevented me from truly living my passion and purpose which is THIS.
Tonight I will be officiating at a wedding for a couple with whom I connected as a result of volunteering for an organization in Philadelphia called Rubye’s Kids that organizes a holiday party for 500 or so inner city children.
Tomorrow and Sunday, I will be immersed in musical magic at the XPoNential Music Fest as I am dancing, singing (probably sweating:) playing and hugging with friends.
Grateful for the showers of blessings in my life as I realize my cup runneth over.
http://youtu.be/dY8iQP-v2Fw Donna De Lory Om Namah Shivaya/Thy Will Be Done
I want patience and I want it NOW! If you are anything like me, there are times when things just aren’t happening quickly enough. Traffic, payment for services rendered, responses to emails and phone calls, my own accomplishments all seem like they move at a snail’s pace when my inner two year old is out and about. My mother used to advise “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” and she was on target, since when I rush through something, the quality isn’t as I would have it be and I feel all churned up inside. Yesterday brought with it, just that kind of experience. I left my house in plenty of time, under normal circumstances, to get to a wedding rehearsal for a couple I will be marrying on Friday night. The ceremony is at a caterer around the corner from the suburban South Jersey town where I had grown up. I knew how to get there by heart and yet, a middle age moment kicked in and I found myself turned around several times en route. Then torrential rains came in briefly, but enough to slow traffic and then it was paradoxically named ‘rush hour'; a misnomer, I had always thought, since no one could rush anywhere. I called the groom twice on the way, to assure him that I was almost there. In the meantime, I could feel my gut churning and frustration rising. I knew that it wasn’t the energy I wanted to carry into the rehearsal, so I let out a roar in the car and embellished it with a few words not normally in my spiritual vocabularly. Boy did that feel good. I could feel the impatience dissipate as I assured myself that my calm, someone newly restored zen mood would get me there sooner and certainly saner.
I began to listen and sing along to lovely kirtan chanting by Deva Premal and Miten which always serves to bring me to a state in which I would much prefer to dwell. I arrived about 20 minutes later than expected and everyone was fine; no one else seemed upset with my late appearance and I could forgive myself for it.
With regard to patience in other areas of my life, I have learned that accomplishments occur when they do and that when I look back at what I have done in the past year or so, I do really think that I have produced a fair amount to earn my place in the hallowed halls of ‘holy smokes that woman is busy!’ And so, in this moment, I am cutting myself some slack, offering compassion to the woman who sometimes whirls at such a pace that she whirls with tornado like speed as she instead, becomes an easy flowing stream~
Row row row your boat…