The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Equinox Redux

                                                                                                                            

 

Part two of the Equinox celebration at Happy Tree Farm (part one was described in yesterday’s Bliss Blog) saw a group of us gathered under a tent next to the magical lake that has healing properties, not only by immersing in it, but simply sitting next to it or gazing at it.  The morning service was led by Rev. Glenda Smith and it offered us an opportunity to share our gifts with each other.  The subject was Immersed In Our Gifts Together, We Breathe the Same Air.  I opened my portion by telling a tale of back seat of the car on family trip interactions that my younger sister Jan and I would have. Like most kids, we would tease each other and do the familiar “Mommmmmm, she’s looking at me and she’s touching me.” We would then up the ante by whining  “She’s breathing my air.” Now at 52 and 5o, we still occasionally laughingly say, “Stop breathing my air.”  The truth is, we all breathe each other’s air, so interconnected are we. And as such, it seems important that what we breathe out and what we take in, not just with our respiratory system, but all of who we are, be health inducing and life supporting.  How many times have I had ‘dragon breath thoughts’ rather than honey sweet thoughts?  When I harshly judge someone as being wrong for not doing things ‘my way’, I breathe out toxins for someone else to breathe in.

I have come to recognize as well, that EVERYTHING IS A GIFT…hear  that?  Even the challenging and dissapointing, because they are AFGO’s… another freaking (or a word of even more intensity, if you so choose) growth opportunity. Recently, one came in the guise of a professional colleague having a change of mind about working together. Initially, my response was to feel scolded, like a little kid with her hand in the cookie jar. I did an internal inventory and realized that I had not intentionally done anything egregious, but this person felt uncomfortable.  She also told me that I am a  ‘generous soul with wide open boundaries ‘ while hers were ‘more reserved’.  During the service, I expressed that being generous with sharing  my friends with each other, resources, referrals, recommendations costs me nothing and in fact, enhances my life immeasureably. I want to be known as someone who offers such opportunities.  It prospers all of us that way. It is like the ocean flowing in and out, it is not able to refrain from either action and neither am I. When I hold life in an open hand, more comes in and there is more to share. 

My name is Edie, spelled E-D-I-E.  Each year on the first day of school, teachers would mispronounce it as Eddie (with two d’s), expecting a boy to answer. I endured teasing as a result and wished that my parents had given me a ‘normal name’. My class mates were Linda, Barbara, Susan,  Robin, Debbie and the most exotic was Mimi and she was Chinese.  It wasn’t until I learned the meaning of my name, that I began to appreciate the appelation. It translates to ‘rich gift’. I came to realize that we all have rich gifts to share with one another. One of mine is the gift of noticing or observation. I am keenly aware of what goes on around me, so as to be able to communicate them in written or spoken form. Today, on the way to the gathering, I stopped to pick up spice wafers (one of my favorite autumnal treats…especially yummy when dipped in hot apple cider) at the grocery store. The woman at the check out line, said goodbye to a customer and wished him a day with no pressure. I laughed and felt moved to share a story with them. I recounted a tale of a man attempting to ‘help’ a butterfly out of its chrysalis since it seemed to be struggling to break free. What he didn’t know was  that the butterfly’s body was swollen and in order to push the fluid from the body to the wings so that they could expand and carry itself into flight mode,  it must exert pressure against the confines of the chrysalis. By ‘helping’ this being, he, in a sense, contrubuted to its demise, since it limped around with its swollen body and tiny wings and then it died. We need some kind of pressure to help us grow in that same way.

One of the gifts that a woman named Laura offered was  a story about going raspberry picking with her small children and noticing that the berries were  ‘plentiful’ and her basket was getting full. She accidently dropped them and had to pick them back up from their landing place.  She pondered, as she often does, (as do I), the ‘how come’ of it. As she scootched down to get them, she noticed that underneath the plants were even riper and full to bursting with red, delicious confections. She began plucking as many of them as she could. Then one of her children called her name and she stood up, answered and returned to berry picking, back at the top of the plant, forgetting that the better ones were hidden from regular sight. How often I do that, forgetting that the richer, fuller life requires special vision and sometimes require a little change in perception. By the way, that is my favorite definition of a miracle, courtesy of A Course In Miracles.

At the end of the service, our host, arborist and author Stephen Redding shared an observation. He pointed to the lake and asked us to take note of the images near the shore of the trees and a shed. He then guided us to look in the middle of the lake and see the reflections from that point, when the ripples distorted them. He reminded us that the wind is indeed our minds’ perceptions. Look to the shore, was the message.

 

www.stephenredding.com

 

 

Equinox

                                                                                    

 

Here in the Northeastern part of the United States, celebration of the Autumn Equinox is heralded with the vivid paintbrush dipped in rich hues dappling of leaves, vines and whipping in the wind, corn stalks.  The juxtaposition was that yesterday the temps were in the high 70’s. Such was the paradox of two events I attended as well. The first was a memorial service/tree planting for my friend Beth Rotondo Hadrava who had died a little more than a month ago. Greenshire Arts Consortium was the peaceful setting for the gathering of people-who-love-Beth. Calling themselves stewards rather than owners;   are Arlene and Jim Curley. Greenshire is a peace/piece of  Heaven on Earth nestled in Quakertown, Upper Bucks County. They offer workshops, concerts and hands-on, heart-on healing work. The grounds are a haven for people who are seeking reprive from hustle and bustle daily activity.  As we gathered in a circle, surrounded by sheltering trees and rock formations, we honored Beth, introducing ourselves to each other as she would have delighted to hear (and actually, I KNOW she was listening, with a sweet smile on her beautiful face) and shared how we knew her. Her friends came from so many directions; some she knew through the holistic wellness community; some , like me through introduction by a mutual friend Linda Hutchings and one she met on a dance floor; her husband Jiri.  Arlene, who is a minister, led the service with prayer and tribute and then asked us to each take a few rose petals that were a vibrant shade of red and embue them with blessings for Beth. We then walked in a circle and as we passed the newly planted tree, we dropped the petals onto the soil. As the ritual was completing, one of the children noticed that a puddle of water that had pooled on a rock was in the shape of a heart. Perfectly orchestrated, for this indeed was a love fest.  After the service, we gathered on the porch and shared a potluck dinner and conversation about Beth’s legacy. 

I felt torn at that point, since as much as I wanted to stay, immersed in the gentle energy, I knew I needed to head to my next destination, a celebration of the Equinox at the home of my friends Stephen and Kathy Redding, a.k.a. Happy Tree Farm. As always, at the turn of the seasons, they invited friends and family to gather at their home; another on winding country roads, with hovering trees; the color of cinnamon toast and burgundy waving their leaves in greeting as they pointed the way. I arrived as dusk was settling and was welcomed by a young man who offered a ride on a golf cart since the lakeside gathering was  down a darkening path and I was carrying my djembe (drum), a backpack and potluck food to share. We passed people laughing, talking, swinging on swings, singing, drumming and eating. My energy lifted/shifted immediately and I smiled in welcome of that change; rather than resisting.  Such is the way of the change of seasons as well.  As is the highlight of the ceremonies, there was a towering bonfire, fueled by wood gathered from the grounds and also an old ladder that made it seem that the fire was climbing to the heavens. I sat on bench, getting to know a new friend named Kristan Roehrs as we spoke about spiritual journey and watched the fire move ever higher as it consumed the ladder which disssolved back into the elements of its origin…another life lesson.  Shortly afterward, drum between my knees, sitting next to my friend Ondreah Johnson, who, maraca in hand, was calling out the directions, I tapped out a rhythm that came through, noticing something I had not before. I had observed that sparks from the fire had risen skyward in flickers, but a new awareness was that at times, they looked like ribbons of light being pulled into the onyx canvas. They also seemed to be dancing to the drum beats and changed pattern depending on the speed and intensity of the percussion.

Mabon; the Autumn Equinox celebration in Pagan tradition, is a time of gratitude for the bounty in our lives, a time of manifestation of our heart’s desires . The origin of the word  equinox  “was derived from Latin term “æquinoctium” which, in turn, came from “æquus” (equal), and “nox” (night).It refers to the time that occurs twice a year when the nighttime is equal to the daytime — each being nominally 12 hours in duration.”   One of my favorite rituals at equinox and solstice is to write what it is that I want to release and what I desire to call into my life and then feed it to the fire, expressing gratitude for both. Once I completed the writing, I moved, with reverence toward the ‘towering inferno’ and tossed the card toward the bottom of the structure. I noticed that it did not land completely in the fire, but was not about to get any closer to place in into the conflagration, for fear of melting…it was that hot!

Part two of the celebration occurs today, as I will be participating in an interfaith service with the theme of   “Immersed In Our Gifts Together: Breathing The Same Air”.   Eager to see what breathes through us in the next 24 hours.

www.greenshirearts.org

www.stephenredding.com

 

http://youtu.be/RlGDeCeDN9U  Loreena McKennit  Mabon Blessings

Love Is The New Religion

                                                                                                                   

 

 

 brian

There is a movement afoot, the roots of which are ancient and the branches of which spread heavenward and embrace all life. It is all there is and all we are. It is LOVE, plain and simple. Yesterday one of my patients in the psychiatric hospital where I am employed as a social worker, inquired about my religious orientation.  He was hoping for a particular answer, that my beliefs were in alignment with his. Perhaps he was disappointed when I informed him that love is my religion and God is too big to put in a box. He looked at me like I was from another planet and perhaps I am. I had told my parents many times that I was an alien baby left on their doorstep.  My practice is eclectic, being an interfaith minister and all; ordained through The New Seminary in New York in 1999, the motto of which is “Never instead of,  always in addition to” . I was raised Jewish and went to Hebrew school until I was 16. I can still read Hebrew and love the prayers and chants, calling out the names of the Divine and it actually led me to my attraction to kirtan (sacred Sanskrit call and response chanting) and then ecstatic dance and drumming, yoga and meditation. Each of these rituals keep me mindful of the connection with all that is. What I practice off the mat or the cushion is even more telling. I do my best to see Good/God in all circumstances and all people, regardless of appearances. I judge less and honor more.  And I know that I am work in progress.

While on facebook today, which, believe it or not, can be quite a spiritual place in cyberspace, I came across a posting from one of my facebook friends named Brian Piergrossi. He spoke about a project based on his book called  “The Big Glow” which is all about being genuine, authentic, real and in touch with the sacred in every aspect of life. It is contagious and elemental, no frills, bells or whistles. It is viewing the world through the eyes of awe and wonder which is my preferred method.

According to his website, Brian is an “International Life Coach & Counselor, Spiritual and Meditation Teacher, Comedian, Musician, Healer and Poet,

At the age of 20 years old, Brian was suddenly struck by a mysterious, debilitating illness, later labeled chronic fatigue syndrome, that lasted for years, leaving him in intense, daily, physical pain and too weak to effectively function in society. When no medical or other authority figure could explain the suffering that was happening to him, Brian made it his life commitment to inquire into human suffering.

What began was over 12 years of committed, serious inquiry, study and personal application into the fields of spirituality, religion, psychology, sociology, cosmology, ecology, health, arts, science, yoga, as well as the core of the enlightenment and self-realization teachings.

After leading a quiet, simple life for over a decade, Brian felt a passionate calling to share his straight forward, timeless, spiritual truths for the 21st Century in a modern context with those who are ready and interested.”

 

 

“When the pillars of my limited mind collapsed, the roof caved in and I could take in the beauty of the stars.”
-Brian Piergrossi The Big Glow

http://youtu.be/mndsMqz54aA  Love Is The New Religion 

 

Some of my favorite lines of the poem:

Some call us the “Conscious Army”
We are slowly creating a new world with the power of our minds and hearts
We follow, with passion and joy
Our orders from the Central Command
The Spiritual Intelligence Agency

We are dropping soft, secret love bombs when no one is looking
Poems
Hugs
Music
Photography
Movies
Kind words
Smiles
Meditation and prayer
Dance
Social activism
Websites
Blogs
Random acts of kindness”

I am grateful to have been recruited and willingly serve. How about you?

www.brianpiergrossi.com

Have A Little Faith

 

                                                                                                                       

This poem and video appeared before me today across the marvels of modern technology via the heart and creative mind of Jonathan Fields who describes himself on his website as: “…a dad, husband, New Yorker, author and speaker, serial wellness-industry entrepreneur, recovering S.E.C./mega-firm hedge-fund lawyer, slightly-warped, unusually-stretchy, spiritually-inclined, obsessed with creation, marketing and innovation consultant, venture partner and book-marketing educator.”  In other words, a  Renaissance Man and someone with whom I feel a kindred connection. That’s why I enjoy reading his a-musings.

Although we have not met face to face, I fnd that I could easily have written the sentiments expressed below:

To all those who want desperately for me to succeed.

To all those who want me never to experience the pain of failure.

To all those who watch and wonder if I really know what I’m doing.

To all those who stand in judgment, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

To all those who look to me for proof of what’s possible.

To all those who only want the very best for me.

To all those who love me, unconditionally.

I share these words…

Have a little faith.

Have a little faith that I’ll make mistakes, but be able to recover.

Have a little faith that, more often than not, I DO know what’s best for me.

Have a little faith that I have within me the will to rise against adversity.

Have a little faith that I’ll know when to soldier on and when to walk away.

Have a little faith that I will not put myself at unjustifiable risk.

Have a little faith that my heart is in the right place.

Have a little faith that the mainstream path isn’t always the right path.

Have a little faith that I will succeed beyond my wildest imagination, even where those before me have failed.

Have a little faith…and a lot of love.

Now…PASS IT ON!

 

Who among us had not considered some of those thoughts, wishing beyond fear that we had someone behind  us, beside us and before us who was on our team?  I have been incredibly blessed to have had parents who told me with regularity that they believed in me and thought I could do anything I set my heart and mind to.  They set high standards and expected that my sister and I would stumble at times, but then in the words of the song  Start All Over Again, we would ‘ pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off..start all over again.’  As long as we did OUR best, they were satisfied; regardless of outcome. Both of us were on swim teams throughout our childhood and our parents cheered from the sidelines, but were not ‘stage parents’ who lived vicariously through our successes. They knew how dedicated we were.  I remember my mother telling me that as long as we were having fun, we could be on the team. If it stopped being enjoyable, she knew we would lose interest.  That’s what had me in the water at 7 a.m. on Summer mornings and in late afternoons during the school year, from the time I was 11 until I was 18 and then for three years after that, I was a lifeguard, swim instructor and  swim team coach. It was worth the hours of chlorinated soaks, weary muscles and coaches whose methods didn’t always feel good, but shaped me into a champ. For years, I kept boxes of ribbons in my closet to remind me of the end result of all of that intense effort. Now, at 52, I am called to believe in myself as much as my parents believed in me…I think it came more naturally to them.

My challenges outside the pool look more like working with clients whose own faith is shaken daily, who need those reminders that they are indeed worthy of  love, respect and success. Faith is that unseen support that raises us up to be all that we can be. It is first cousin to unwavering knowing that all is well and everything works out for the highest good, regardless of appearances.  Wishing that for you. Whose faith can you bolster by believing in them?

 

www.jonathanfields.com/blog/have-a-little-faith-video/ 

 

and a bonus John Hiatt  Have A Little Faith In Me  http://youtu.be/8UkKTlzyLhQ

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