The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Enchanted World

 

I am in awe when people take their creative gifts and pour forth beauty and magic, dousing the world in delight.  Amy Zerner and Monte Farber do just that. I encountered their creations years ago, and was beckoned into their ‘enchanted world’ in which faeries and Goddesses join hands in the dance of the divine. Their Truth Fairy Pendulum and Message Board kit was a birthday gift from my friend Gary when I turned 50. They seem tireless in their productivity, weaving wonder in the form of books, jewelry, clothing, tarot decks and music. A  common thread is the connection to Spirit that informs their designs and the love that swirls around them

Colorful works of he(art) themselves, they entered into each other’s lives in 1974 and have been married 30 years.

How do you live your bliss?


We agree with the Dalai Lama that the purpose of life is to be happy. Also, as Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss.” For Amy and me, our bliss and our happiness has been our journey together on the path to making our life a work of art and our art a work of life. Sharing our art and our discoveries about life with others has also brought us much happiness.


What is it like to live in The Enchanted World?

 

We’ve evolved our individual schedules so that we can take care of the many, many creative projects we have going at any given time. In fact, the worst thing that can happen is if someone says “I forgot what I was going to say and it was important!” We then sit there reciting our mile-long project list and it starts to sound crazy, like “Stop us before we create again!” Amy wakes up early and takes care of whatever emails have come in since Monte went to sleep, usually late. This way, I can be up speaking to Australia and Hong Kong and Thailand, while Amy can catch our British business people. We are very fortunate that we have become friendly with almost all of the people we have done business with. That helps a lot! After we’ve done the rest of our morning rituals, including exercising, we sit together and go over what is going on and what needs to be done to keep our Enchanted World turning. The rest of the day is spent doing all of those things and there are so many of them that we are always playing catch-up, but it’s the life we’ve chosen. We both have pretty good senses of humor, Monte even did a spontaneous stand up comedy routine at a local club one night, which was a great success, and so we are usually laughing and occasionally, singing. The word “enchant” means “to sing into” and, like all happy couples, we have our weird ways that keep everything interesting and occasionally very exciting. We usually eat dinner early and then sit taking turns massaging each other as we watch a movie or something interesting, and then it’s back to work. Our joke is that our house is a factory with bedrooms. Of course, we sometimes have people over but more often we go out to be with our friends. We are very happy in our beautiful home and travel infrequently, but even that travel is invariably for business related reasons. The best thing about even our worst days is that we are together as true soulmates – we are very rarely apart, even to drive to town, and it is very lovely where we live. We have our mission, to bring beauty and enlightenment to our readers and customers, and that and our many wonderful and interesting friends are what gets us up in the morning – actually, that’s Mr. Zane’s job (our cat)!


What drew you to the colorful creativity that you have become known for?

 

Monte: My talents were never put to their best and most focused use until I met, Amy, the most creative and artistic person I know. Amy is the third generation of artists on her mother’s side. Since we met in 1974, she has produced over 2000 of her stunning fabric collage tapestries. She has shown her inspiring visionary tapestries nationally and internationally, winning numerous awards, including a coveted National Endowment for the Arts major fellowship in the category of Painting for work that is mainly fabric, a first in NEA history, and a further blurring of the line between fine art and fine crafts.

 

Amy is a pioneer, and as the old joke goes, you can always tell the pioneers–they’re the ones with the arrows in their backs. I mention this to remind you that to live creatively requires as much bravery as it does dedication and wonderful ideas.

 

When I was older and realized that I had a gift for using words and for making heretofore occult and difficult subjects like astrology, the tarot, alchemy, talking boards and other forms of divination fun, easy to learn and easy to put into practical use in everyday life, I found my life’s work. But I also found that centuries of misunderstanding and ignorance do not disappear overnight despite my best intentions. I now realize it was a good thing my early years required me to rebel against all constraints on my creativity. This made me strong and able to take rejection.

Do you each have a favorite way of expressing your purpose and passion?

 

Virtually everyone hungers deep down to express their creativity as fully as possible. Yet, too many fear to identify themselves as creative beings. To call oneself an artist conjures up as many charged and loaded image. It seems to require too much defense to the challenges sure to come to such a bold claim. It seems that to be ourselves fully will surely require too much change in our life, but that is the whole point of living life creatively, whether or not you think of yourself as an artist. Amy’s passion is working with color, texture, fashion, beauty, healing design and archetypes. My passion is helping people, using words and my psychic perceptions.

How does the mystical inspire you?

 

We are often asked about our spiritual practice. Neither of us are joiners and we know too much about ourselves and other people to ever follow any guru. We want a direct experience of our true mystical nature and for that you do not need anyone or anything, just faith in yourself, faith in the fact that you can know these things, and the commitment to be honest with yourself and others as you do the work, day after day.

 

Our spiritual practice is that we have confidence that the answers exist and all you need to do is ask, while you are moving forward doing it, and the answers will reveal themselves. And synchronicities happen! Our spiritual path could be called “The Way of the Oracle”, as we use the tools that we have invented (Enchanted Tarot, Goddess, Guide Me!, The Healing Deck, The Psychic Circle, Chakra Meditation Kit ,The Enchanted Spellboard, etc.) to tap into our inner selves to check in, like reading a compass of our lives- it is important to stop, look, and listen for the signs and signals, and so to make adjustments and to know which direction to take. Our “Spiritual Power Tools ©”are all systems to get you in touch with your higher self which is your most creative part. The point is to be clear and focused and to be connected to that spiritual part of your life as much as possible.  And so we do daily exercises, rituals and meditations to stay connected.


I’m fascinated with couples who work together to be a greater force for good in the world. How does the work wind its way through your interactions and how does your relationship feed what graces the world?

We do EVERYTHING together. Most people don’t believe how well we work together. Monte is the writer/typist/agent/psychic/contract person/importer and Amy is the artist/designer/namer of projects/manager/art director/fashion designer, but we feel that it’s all part of a whole and that we contribute equally to our life and our business. There’s a lot of cuddling, too! Our art is our life and our life is our art, and we’re not just saying that! We are each other’s best friend and we love being with each other. We work together on every project, though we do each have our own studio to work in. We are lucky that we are so driven because, to tell you a little secret about Soul Mates, once you find each other and the joy fills you, you can just be with each other and that’s enough. Nothing gets done and soon you’re both out trying to get your money-making thing going again. We have evolved our relationship so that there is no distinction between our life and our work, which does require understanding from our families and friends, but we couldn’t produce all of the work you can see on our website – and that’s not all of it! – if we didn’t make sacrifices to get us the time to do what we love. 


Does the Muse speak to you in all forms?

 

By looking within, using your intuitive powers, astrology, and oracular work, we can identify our special dreams, learn how to develop our personal creative power, make our base secure, and our dreams real.  This crusade is not a selfish one.  It is the only one justifiable in our time.  Creativity is spirituality.  By realizing and actualizing our creativity we become a spiritual human being, a most glorious occurrence.  A world populated by such people can only make a paradise of our planet, a dream of the ages that is not only technologically possible at this time, but is crucial to our survival as a species.


Visit Amy & Monte’s beautiful website: www.TheEnchantedWorld.com

Depression and Spirituality

One of the many hats I wear is that of a psychiatric social worker, serving people with varying degrees of mental health issues and challenges.  I view these symptoms and the people who experience them in ways that are outside the realm of the medical model.  Rather than seeing pathology, I come from a strengths based perspective. I cringe when I hear the term ‘religiously pre-occupied’, as if taking about God, angels and spirituality is, in and of itself, a dynamic of mental illness. While I have experienced people being over the top in their expression, some with the belief that they alone are privvy to some special wisdom, I know just as surely, that having a spiritual practice can indeed be healing.

I have never experienced clinical depression, but like most people on the planet, I have had those ‘dark nights of the soul’ during which I have wondered why I was stumbling around, bumping into walls when I could have turned on a symbolic as well as physical light. When faced with life challenges, such as I have had lately; I KNOW that my spiritual practice bolsters me and keeps me afloat. For me that includes: meditation, yoga, prayer, writing, drumming, dancing, crying, time in nature, immersing in visual art, chanting, time with loved ones, massage, creating vision boards and yes, even time on facebook, as silly as that may sound.  It is there that I have a sense of what goes on in the world, an open door into the lives of folks I may never meet face to face; a chance to offer love and prayers, good wishes and healing for another soul. An opportunity to receive that if I need it as well.

I spoke with someone recently who was plagued with symptoms that terrified him. He was convinced that what he saw was ‘real’. Using meditation as a tool, surrounding himself in white light, he shared that although he still believes that those images exist, with his spiritual practice, “I am stronger than they are and they can’t hurt me.”

Take a moment to watch this video interview with actor Jim Carrey as he openly and with vulnerability, shares about the ways in which spirituality has been a source of strength in his own bouts with depression.

 http://youtu.be/KfWN5EW5eo4

 

*If you do experience mental health issues, I encourage you to seek support and professional guidance. For family members and friends, a good resource is called NAMI (NATIONAL ASSOCIATION ON MENTAL ILLNESS) 

 www.nami.org 

 

 

Om Is Oneness

Take a moment to breathe in the day; drinking in all of the sensations that surround you. Breath is essential and without it, life would cease to exist. As you exhale, chant the word ‘om’.  I like the idea that some of my favorite words contain these two letters:  Shalom (Hebrew for hello, goodbye and peace) and Home (a place we carry within us as a reminder of our Divine origin, regardless of where our feet are planted)

 

 Om is said to be ‘the sound of the Universe’.  The symbol looks like this

 

                                                ?

 

According to Wikipedia:

 

Om or Aum (also Au?, written in Devanagari as ? and as ???, in Sanskrit known as pra?ava ????? [lit. "to sound out loudly"] or Omkara or au?k?ra (also as Aumk?ra) ????? (lit. “au? syllable”) is a mystical or sacred syllable in the Indian religions, i.e. Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

 It has the literal meaning of “It is” or “Will be”.

The feeling of it, for me, is transcendent when chanted and even more profound in the form of what I call an ‘Om Hug’.  Stand heart to heart with another person, take a deep breath and together, chant “0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0mmmmmmmm”  You will feel the vibration between you and even after the sound dissipates, the sensation will remain. What comes to mind for me is riding a wave of sonic serenity that carries me into the next moment.

 Dyana Jean, a Philadelphia based  D.J., created and performed a tribute to the sound of om. She is a musical mixologist who blends hip hop with rollicking rap that has a deeply spiritual flavor. The lyrics are life enhancing and with clever twists, they cajole you to dance along, with a you-can’t-help-but-smile on your beautiful face. She has a commited sense of social consciousness that flows into her creations.

 

This song is  guaranteed to get you moving wherever you are.

http://youtu.be/rg-39LKCxhw  Om Is Oneness

 

 facebook.com/Dj.DyanaJean 

 

Om Shalom~                   ?      ????

The Flight

A facebook friend  named  Kim Summers posted this quote today, perhaps for me to find at just the right time.

 
 ”Remembering that the Butterfly becomes the Butterfly, because of the tight confines of her cocoon. She needed that time. That experience served her well. It made her wings strong…… Focusing on the flight!!”
 
Sleep eluded me most of the night, before I arose to write this missive for You to find.. Since the home of the Bliss Blog is a spiritual website, I have the blessing of writing about matters of the soul. This is one of them.  I have long considered myself a woman with a deep and solid connection to the Divine in all of its grand and glorious forms. Growing up in a loving family with parents who ‘walked the talk’ and lived their beliefs in all they did, I had fine role models.  In the midst of ‘life stuff happening’, they always reminded my sister and me that things work out for the best; as my father would say “As long as we love each other.” and my mother would add “What will be will be.”  And we did and it was.
 
In my daily work as a social worker-writer-therapist-speaker-healing catalyst, I remind people that love trumps fear and that they have survived every challenge that has ever occurred in their lives, because they are here to tell about it.  Sometimes those words feel profound, sometimes they ring hollow.  At the moment, they are a lifeline for me. 
 
When I look at my life, I see that I am surrounded by loving family and friends, amazing opportunties to stretch and grow, miracles unfolding, the spaciousness to express my creative gifts, glowing health, a keen mind, an awareness of what is good and whole and holy….and yet, at the moment, I am also achingly aware that my beloved parents are not here in body, that I have encountered major unexpected expenses, my dreams for myself seem to be taking way to long to manna-fest and that I sometimes feel simultaneously stretched/stressed/compressed beyond what seems manageable.
 
I have ongoing dialogues with the God of my understanding and ask, not “Why is this happening?’”  but “What are my next steps?”  At the moment, I feel the compression of the chrysalis tight around me and a bit of the confinement that speaks of uncertainty. I am immersed in a training called Zoetic Workshops right now that at the onset, had me pondering the question “What do I want to experience in it?”  The answer was “Trusting myself.”  I have so many decisions to make in an overwhelming number of areas and the image that comes to mind is that of a hollowed out portion of the beach in which water had  poured and it lies empty for ever so brief a time, and then fills up again. It seems as if no matter how much I clear space, it doesn’t lie open for long.
 
Much of last night was spent pondering what to do about the choices that are clamoring for attention, for which I have no immediate answers. Living in the ‘just don’t know’ of them is where the anxiety resides. Bleary eyed with a full day ahead of me, I am still encompassed by the chrysalis. I welcome the spreading of my wings in free flight~
 
In the midst of all of this soul searching, I discovered a card that had been given to me by a friend more than 10 years ago. In water color, with a rainbow stretching over a mountain and river, the words “With God, all things are possible.” remnided me that I am not alone in my decision making and with that Energy as my spiritual advisor, I can indeed trust myself.
 
 
 
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