The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

The Blessings Already Are

 

                                              

 

As Spirit often does, it guided me to attend services, this past Sunday at one of the interfaith communities of which I am a part. I was delighted to disover that Lou Tenaglia was what we call the Speaker/Spark at Circle of Miracles in Doylestown, PA. He shared on the subject of The Perfection of Living An Imperfect Life. Just what I need as a  striver; not for perfection, but at least self acceptance in the midst of sometimes harsh self criticism. What he offered had the congregation nodding and smiling in recognition of the places in their own lives where they bump up against the stories they tell themselves about what is so, rather than just what is so. Lou is an ordained minister, educator, facilitator and sound healer.

How do you live your bliss?

When I am living my bliss I am in the present moment. When I am not living it I am usually in the past reviewing and replaying old situations and events or I am in the future worrying about what might be coming and trying to control it!

 

My breath is the doorway to the present moment and to my bliss. When I am conscious of my breath and accepting what the present moment is giving me to handle, I am in my bliss – even if what I need to handle isn’t to my liking. It may sound paradoxical, but for me, it is true. Acceptance and surrender to what is going on in the moment manifests bliss for me in my life.

 

 

What meandering path led you to the patch of Earth on which you now stand?

 My karma brought me to this moment but “grace” on moving me forward. I was born in Philadelphia and grew up in a very mixed ethnic, cultural region called West Oak Lane/Germantown in Philly. I learned as a child to play with many different types of children from different backgrounds. I could go through my biography…boring! The truth is everything that has ever happened to me or that I caused to happen brought me to this moment.

 

I bless both the “good” things and the “bad” – they ended up all teaching me how to live in more awareness. The most important spiritual event in my life was meeting John-Roger who founded The Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA) and studying with him since 1979. As an initiate and minister in MSIA I have learned incredibly practical and uplifting tools about living life as a soul in a human body! My doctoral degree from Peace Theological Seminary and College of Philosophy in Santa Monica, CA was life changing for me.

I have been married to an incredibly patient and loving wife, Linda, for 36 years. We have two grown sons who have good teachers for me in my life…Mario and Evan.

 

When you were in the public school system, how did you incorporate your worldview into your work?  I had read an article you wrote about peacemaking in which you describe how you applied one particular principle.

Large organizations typically do not welcome any worldview except the one the organization is promoting. So part of my role, as a school principal, thrust me into situations where I was the keeper of the organizational structure. Schools are having trouble these days – for many reasons. I attempted (oftentimes not very successfully) to help teachers keep the needs of the student first in all things the school does. This is really true in the way people in schools talk to and with children. Children love it when the adults in school speak to them as people, not just children. I trained my entire staff to conduct “class meetings” once a week where children were asked to share their thoughts about a variety of topics and issues that were meaningful to them. This required teachers to listen and ask questions rather than speak and give answers. That is one small way I attempted to bring my worldview that children need to be valued over everything in the operation of a school.

 

You seem to be a catalyst for encouraging growth in others. How do you step back and create space for people to discover their own answers?

My approach to spiritual counseling is to always allow Spirit to direct the sessions. My job is to attune myself to Spirit, listen carefully and be courageous enough to share what is coming forward in my heart with whomever I am working. Sometimes is involves stepping back and sometimes it is stepping forward. I never know until the session begins the Light directs the flow of energy. I am very good at asking questions and listening.

 

What spiritual practices help you to be centered and grounded, as much as possible?

The primary spiritual practice is use is called Spiritual Exercises – what most people call meditation. I also “Call in the Light” throughout the day by asking the Light of God to help me and assist a situation or bless what is going on. Awareness of the Light and of Spirit is the tool I use throughout my day, regardless of the situation.

 

I resonated with the description you gave of the ways in which you know only what you see and think it is the whole story. Kind of like the 5 blind men and the elephant?

 

Exactly… We all have our own unique point of view but God has the viewing point on us all. We often forget that our point of view is limited by our position, our bias, our karma, our experiences, our expectations, and our desire to control events and people to suit ourselves. Then we parade that limited point of view as THE truth. This when we are most in need of humility to remind us that we are limited in our scope and understanding of what is going on and surrender it all to God who really does know what is for the highest good of each of us and all of us collectively.

 

 

 

You shared that you believe all is in perfect order from God’s point of view. How do you explain compassionately to someone who has experienced trauma or the death of a loved one that this is so?

 

These kinds of circumstances are difficult because someone is in pain and suffering. The first approach is to offer compassion and understanding. If the person in pain wants understanding then I begin to ask questions about their beliefs regarding Spirit. I would never offer an explanation to someone who held a firm belief that moved in a different direction. I would honor their beliefs and leave it at that. However, if the person is open to “understanding” a different approach to the situation causing them pain and suffering then I would begin by reminding him or her that we are all “on loan” here on earth from Spirit. This life is intended to be temporary from the start. The timing of our return to Spirit is in God’s hands and even though the loss and hurt we feel in life is real and often difficult, we can take comfort in knowing that God’s plan is at work beyond our ability to see it in the moment.

 

Please talk about the five concepts that you offered at Circle today.

Thefive keys to finding the… spiritual perfection of living an

imperfect life are:

Acceptance

Understanding

Compassion

Forgiveness

Unconditional Loving

 

Acceptance is recognizing that all things are in perfect order from God’s point of view, or it wouldn’t be happening.

 

Understanding is defined as “the superior power of discernment; enlightened intelligence”. Knowledge is simple intellect. Understanding has a special quality to it, it is enlightened, and it has the spark of Sprit infused in it. Understanding begins in the heart and then moves through the mind. It is based in empathy and mercy.

 

Compassion is opening our hearts to ourselves first and then into the world when we see imperfection at work. Compassion focuses less on righting the wrongs in our lives and in the world and focuses more on comforting the effects of it all.

 

Forgiveness comes naturally out of compassion. When we find a place in our hearts to be compassionate toward others, and ourselves we discover the power of forgiveness. When we have hurt others or been hurt by them – as we all do in this life at one point or another – it is the power of forgiveness that heals these wounds. Forgiveness is walking the talk of making perfect what appears imperfect in our lives. In order to forgive others, or ourselves, we must surrender our righteousness and positions long enough to surrender the situation to Spirit and open our hearts.

 

Unconditional love means exactly what it says – placing no conditions of our ability to love or be loved. No condition. There is nothing you or I can do in this life that removes God’s love for us. This is big thinking and requires us to move beyond the limitations of right and wrong, shame and guilt, punishment and justice.

 

What is sacred sound balancing?

 

We all have the ability to balance ourselves and receive the guidance needed to align our life in harmony with Spirit. The key is opening our consciousness to receive what is needed next. Powerful ways to access this deep healing include meditation, prayer, creative arts, silence, and sacred sound.

 

 

 

Sacred Sound is an ancient way to uplift and heal the consciousness. The ceremonial instruments I play – Tibetan bowls, bells, and tingshas – generate particular resonant tones and vibrations that open the consciousness for Soul Travel and profound inner healing. Facilitating a session is an intuitive process, a constant state of prayer and meditation.

 

 

 

Sacred Sound healing begins with the invocation of Spiritual Light to guide, bless, and protect us in the work we do together. I attune to you and to the instruments simultaneously. We welcome only that which is for your highest good. In response, the bowls bring forward the particular tones and vibrations to meet your needs.

 

 

 

We clarify your intention for the session. Sacred Sound addresses anything that needs healing in your life: physical, emotional, mental, financial, or sexual issues. The intention you set is included in a prayer and short guided meditation. The session gives you the opportunity to open more fully to your intention and activate it by riding on the sound current of energy that emanates from the bowls. I do highly refined form of spiritual and consciousness counseling that gets at the root of life issues.

 

 

 

During the session you are resting  with 16thcentury Tibetan Bowls near your head and around your body.Your eyes are covered with a lavender pillow to help you relax and go inward. Slowly the bowls are toned to begin the journey. An ancient Tibetan Bell and Tibetan Tingshas are also toned to create an array of Sacred Sounds.

 

 Throughout this healing, you may experience deep rest and relaxation. The body may rest or sleep, but the higher consciousness is alert and conscious of the Sacred Sound. You may also notice physical sensations, life energy movement, or images and messages from your inner wisdom. Sacred Sound healing enables you to listen inwardly to the small still voice of the Soul.

 

 The blessings of a Sacred Sound session ripple out for days, weeks, and months. The tones continue to gently bring your awareness to new opportunities to manifest your intentions.

 

 

Loved the manure quote you shared at Circle:) Can you speak about that process?

 

Life can often feel like we are constantly shoveling shit. What we forget is that usually, the shit is of our own making! This is where an understanding of past lives is helpful. Things happen in our lives that seem to have no rational explanation or cause. A child gets terminally ill, accidents happen, someone gets fired from their job, etc. etc. etc. – it feels like shit! The real question is how do we deal with it because… shit happens. It helps if we pay close attention to the process unfolding on the planet earth where manure is being transformed naturally into soil to grow food and nurture us. The same thing is true in our lives. We need to find ways to accept the manure in our lives and transform it into something to help us grow rather than fall victim to it. The key ingredients in transforming manure into something of value are: Acceptance, Understanding, Compassion, Forgiveness, and Unconditional Loving.

When we apply these ingredients to the shit in our lives, it transforms the manure in ways that uplift us and nurture us to grow. This is why we are given challenges in life.

 

 

Can you share your definition of karma?

Karma is simply the law of cause and effect. Everything that is put in motion has an effect. What we put in motion in our lives has an effect, on us and on others. Because God made us in his own image we are co-creators with God in our lives. We were also given the freedom to create in any direction we want – so we can learn about the power of creation. Over the course of many lifetimes and existences we have caused many things to happen– love, hurt, peace, suffering, pain, pleasure – we are responsible for all that we created and continue to create – this is the law of karma.

 

The beauty of karma is that as our actions are returned to us to balance them we are given the opportunity to learn how to love in deeper and deeper ways.

 

The confusing thing about karma is that we may be experiences the “effects” of actions we “caused” from lifetimes ago and have no conscious memory of it. So it feels unjust, unfair and like punishment. Things are always in perfect order in Spirit – even when they don’t feel like it.

 

Karma is not a punishment from God. It is a blessing. Karma is there to teach us to love it all and accept what is happening, realizing that we do not have total understanding of all things and all situations. Karma can teach us how to “Let Go and Let God” if we are smart and take the opportunity.

 

 

 

How do you live the concept Baruch Bashan?

 

Baruch Bashan means, “the blessings already are”. It is a beautiful thought and helps remind me to move into humility and acceptance and stop worrying or trying to control life. If the blessings already ARE then why don’t I see them? It is usually because I am looking in the wrong place or with the wrong eyes. If I am looking into life with the eyes of my heart and soul, then I will see the blessings unfolding for me. If I am looking into my life with the eyes of the mind and ego, the blessings are often hidden from view. They are there; quietly waiting for me to wake up and use my heart to discover how God is blessing me in the moment.

Imagine a life where God is blessing us all, in our own unique way, in each moment, regardless of how it appears, and we awaken to see it…Baruch Bashan!

 

http://selfdisciplinedkids.blogspot.com/  is Lou’s blog..check it out!

www.circleofmiracles.org

Before I Die

                                                                 

 

 

This is a subject that some find challenging to speak of and still others avoid totally, and yet taking our last breath is as natural as taking our first; the cycle of life in completion. I have never witnessed a birth in person, but have been what I consider a mid-wife at the passing of  patients, friends and loved ones, including my husband and father. My mother chose to make her exit only in the presence of a hospice caregiver, so I wasn’t there as I had hoped to be. Each time, there was a blending of sadness and serenity; a sense of surrender to what is. Each time too, I knew that these deaths would come to be. Had I experienced sudden deaths, it would have had a different feel to it, I’m sure. And yet, the truth is, none of us knows which day we will be called to make that transition.

Enter the “Before I Die Project”.   I discovered it in Friday’s email from DailyGood:  News That Inspires. It offers an alternative to the ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ mentality that permeates some forms of journalism, with an ‘if it feeds (the heart and soul:), it leads’ sensibility.

Candy Chang; the designer of the project is, according to her website:  “a public installation artist, designer, urban planner, TED Fellow, and co-founder of Civic Center in New Orleans.”  She has taken an abandoned building in Katrina-ravished New Orleans and made it into a magnificent canvas for the hopes, dreams, wishes, desires and visions of passersby who, with rainbow colored chalk in hand, leave a city sanctioned graffiti legend.

People of all ages have written entries such as:

Before I die, I want to:

Raise my children.

Evaporate into the light.

Tell my mother I love her.

Travel the world.

Find my mythical creature.

Live in another country.

Be someone’s cavalry.

If you had that wall before you, what would you write on it?

 

There is a marvelous piece by one of my favorite singer songwriters named David Roth that speaks to this idea.

BEFORE I DIE  © 1991 David Roth

 

Before I die I want to be

The richest man in history

I want to have a wealth of friends

Abundant love that never ends


Before I die I want to find

A lover who is soft and kind

And one last piece of cherry pie

That’s what I want before I die


Before I die I want to choose

Some different roads and avenues

I want to walk each one in peace

And all my obstacles release


Before I die I want to know

I’ve told you that I love you so

I love you so, I love you so

That’s what I want you to know


Before I die I want to be

The  richest man in history

And one last piece of cherry pie

That’s what I want before I die

 

www.candychang.com

 

www.dailygood.org/morephp?n=4695

www.davidrothmusic.com

 

Friendship Day

 

                                                  

 

The way I see it, everyday is Friendship Day, but in 1935, the U.S. Congress saw fit to declare it a national holiday on the first Sunday in August. In 1997, the United Nations named Winnie – the Pooh as the world’s Ambassador of Friendship. It was offered as a way of connecting people hand to hand and heart to heart. Pretty good idea, don’tcha’ think? It has since spread as a worldwide concept…. contagious friendship. What would the planet be like if we recognized a kindred spirit in everyone we met, rather than a stranger to be feared? How many lonely hearts would be healed? My observation as a social worker who has served people with mental health challenges for many years, is that the folks who have even a small circle of supports, are more likely to remain in recovery. Sadly, those who feel the most isolated (whether by choice or chance) are more likely to remain entrenched in the dis-ease process. When clients have despaired that they are alone, I ask them if they think that the people they know now are the only ones they will ever know, some actually say yes!  I remind them that everyone they now know and love was once a stranger and that there are opportunities to connect with potential new friends every day, through current friends, at work, via volunteering, meetups, hobbies, even in supermarket checkout lines.

More than 10 years ago, I was standing in line in conversation with the woman who was ringing up my groceries. She happened to know the woman in front of me as well and introduced us since both of us are writers. In short order, I found myself delighted with getting to know someone who also became a writing mentor and someone I came to call  “another Jewish mother”, since I was born to one:)  Donna Dvorak DelGovernatore is a talented wordsmith whose genres range from poetry to historical fiction, interviews to magazine and newspaper articles. She reminded me that “writers write” and that I should write what I know. I had the blessing of being interviewed for her book Sensational Singles and enjoyed proofreading her novel Chelten Manor. Although we haven’t seen each other in a few years, clearly it’s time to get back in touch. That’s the beauty of friendship; regardless of time passed between visits,  if the bond is there, it often feels like a moment has gone by.

When I count the friends who grace my life, I am in awe. I come by the gift of attracting amazing people biologically I think, since my father Moish knew people everywhere we went. Maybe a product of growing up in South Philly, maybe just being a people person, I was blown away at how many people he knew.  His funeral a few years ago was a tribute to that  talent as people from all different aspects of his life spoke about what a ‘mensch’ he was.

I ‘collect people’ too since I find them endlessly fascinating. To quote one of my favorite cinematic characters Maude (title character in the movie Harold and Maude) when Harold comments, “Maude, you’re so good with people.” (when he is not) she responds “They’re my species.” Each morning I set intention to ‘”have extraordinary experiences and connect with amazing people.” and every day I do.  Some I have known since childhood. Some met as recently as yesterday. Some of them are live and in person, some via social networking and we may never meet face to face.  Many come from other friends who see similarities between us. Some have entered my heart after we met at workshops, drumming circles, yoga classes, parties, on the job. I met my friend Jody Kessler after I found her CD called Leap of Faith in a store and contacted her to thank her for creating it. Even though she is in Ithaca, NY and I am in the Philly area, and see each other every year or so, we remain in periodic contact. A few weeks ago, when I was thinking of her, her phone ‘called me’ inadvertantly. We laughed about that. Don’t you love when that happens?

Opportunities await around every corner. Be open to recognizing a friend in the face of a stranger. I consider my friends to be ‘family of choice’. I am a rich woman whose friends are among her treasures. <3

Fun ways to celebrate Friendship Day:

Call someone you haven’t contacted in awhile and catch up.

Tell your friends what they mean to you.

Make a list of friends throughout the years and marvel at the impact they have had on your life.

Make a friendship book. Many years ago, a friend created one and on each page, he drew a picture of each friend with a word/quality that represented who they were to him. I was his sense of wonderment and he drew me sitting against a tree, gazing up at the sky. I hold that image dear and remind myself to continue to embody it.

Create friendship cards with inspiring sayings on them, ideally something you come up with about what friendship is to you.

Ask yourself: What are the qualities that make for a good friend? And then ask if you embody them.

Some of my favorite friendship movies:

Fried Green Tomatoes

ET

Now and Then

When Harry Met Sally

Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood

Beaches

Harold and Maude

The Wizard of Oz

 

Friendship quotes:

But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.
Thomas Jefferson

But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold.
Oliver Wendell Holmes

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Albert Camus

If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.
George MacDonald

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.
Oprah Winfrey

Friendship songs:

 

Bette Midler   Friends  www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8Iwmcs1hps

Elton John   Friends http://youtu.be/Zuzi-yH9VLo 

 

 

Wiggle Your Toes Day

                                               

 

Did you know that August 6th is considered Wiggle Your Toes Day?  I just discovered this important holiday and will celebrate it in grand style:)  Lest we take these 10 little appendages for granted, imagine what it would be like it we didn’t have them.  Our feet are our foundation that keep us grounded, that help us to move through our lives, on which we get to wear fun and funky shoes. Often we neglect them and when we do, they let us know.

My relationship with my tootsies began in childhood with the profound poem “This Little Piggie”  (how DID they ever come to share the name with the pink porcine critter?) that my parents would recite.  As my dietary habits changed over the years, when my son was little, we morphed the words to “This little piggie had tofu…” which he translated as ‘toe food’.   When I was a child, I visited a podiatrist, because I was pigeon toed and flat footed and had to don clunky, awkward orthopedic shoes and needed to forgo the penny loafers and sneakers that many of my friends got to wear. A trade off was that I got to do fun foot exercises. I have fond memories of walking on tiptoe to strengthen my arches, picking things up with my toes (I’m still quite adept) and each morning, my mom and I would lie in bed and draw alphabet letters with our feet. Within a few years, I was able to make a respectable arch imprint on the concrete after emerging from the pool and could wear whatever type of shoes I wanted. One of the perks of toeing in, was that as a competitve swimmer, I was excellent at butterfly which requires an inward rotation of the feet.

Some marvelous metatarsal meanderings for your piggies’ pleasure:

Walk barefoot in the grass, feeling the cool blades caressing your skin.

Dig your toes into warm sand, noticing the grains sliding between them.

Experience a pedicure and paint your toenails wondrously wild colors.

Puddle splash.

Plant your feet on a yoga mat, rooting yourself to the ground, feeling the energy of Gaia rising up from beneath them.

Receive a foot massahhhhhge and hear your toes sighing.

Draw fun faces on the underside of your toes and have them talk to each other.

Do a foot puppet show.

Wear shoes or slippers that comfort your feet.

Toe wrestle with a friend.

Don colorful socks (I sometimes wear two different socks whose buddies hang out at home in the meantime:)

Dance to music that only you can hear.

Tickle your toes.

Have a conversation with your feet, asking them what they need and telling them how much you appreciate them.

Draw alphabet letters with your feet and pick things up with your toes…I promise, it really isn’t as weird as it sounds.

Read the Dr. Seuss classic The Foot Book

Enjoy these foot-quotes…

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
Henry David Thoreau

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
Khalil Gibran

Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.
Theodore Roosevelt

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
Dr. Seuss

http://youtu.be/bD_1ATjDxAU  Norah Jones “Toes”

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