The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Gratitude Dance

                                                                                    

Ever have a challenge getting your juices flowing in the morning?  No, I don’t mean orange, apple or cranberry. I’m referring to the get up and go that has you leaping out of bed and into a new day, full of  ‘vim, vigor and vitality’; ready to take on whatever the day brings. Just typing those words, I can feel my heart racing a bit, with excitement and anticipation. Taking a deep breath, visualizing a spectacular 24 hours.

But what if, even though, as it is here at the moment, the sun is brilliantly beaming its wake up call through your curtains, your own glow-meter is a heading toward empty and you are thinking…”Uggghhh, another day.”?  I have a wonderful remedy for you. You’ve only heard it a million times before and perhaps have even indulged its fat free, calorie free, cholesterol free deliciousity. It’s called GRATITUDE~   The more I focus on what it is that already exists in my life for which I am grateful, the more that shows up. Simple as that. When I have been in lack and limitation mode, more of nothing shows up.  I have sometimes been able to do a real quick course correction, so as not to continue down that path. I know too, that gratitude costs me…my fears, ingrained beliefs, unhealthy habits and growling gremlins that wag their gnarly fingers at me, warning me not to be too happy. It’s then that I dance with my gremlins; leaping and hopping reggae style right along with them. They stare at me incredulously and then can’t help but dance along.

So, to jump start your day, The Grati-Dudes offer you an oppotunity to silly up, delightfully dancing your way into the next 24 hours~

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFyD5YvHdLk&feature=player_embedded

Presence and Essence

                                                                             

Part two Solstice weekend…. I returned to Happy Tree Farm to participate in a service officiated by a sister Rev. named Mirabai Galashan; a chaplain who serves hospice patients and their families, as well as offers spiritual services and presentations. Her soft and elegant style welcomed us under the tent next to the magical lake I spoke of in Monday’s Bliss Blog entry. The focus of the service/celebration was honoring those who have passed over to whatever it is that awaits us. She asked us to recall those we love and what gifts their lives have offered and each of us was to take a rose and select a petal to be strung onto a string tied to balloons that would be set aloft. She invited me to share my Mom Miracle stories that emerged in the past year when our hospice journey began last May and ended when she took her last corporeal breath the day after Thanksgiving. Both of my parents are very much present in my day to day. A solitary butterfly swooped and dove around me as I spoke. Before my mother died, she told me she would come back as a butterfly which is a magnficent symbol of renewal and rebirth. I allowed for the tears to flow today and felt much peace in the surrender. Stephen also spoke about our presence and essence, all that we are, where we came from and to whence we will return.

Mirabai read this poem that I share with you:

My Dearest Family
Some things I’d like to say, but first of all to let you know that I arrived okay
I’m writing this from Heaven where I dwell with God above where there’s no more tears or sadness there is just eternal love.

Please do not be unhappy just because I’m out of sight remember that I’m with you every morning, noon and night
That day I had to leave you when my life on Earth was through
God picked me up and hugged me and He said I welcome you
It’s good to have you back again you were missed while you were gone as for your dearest family they’ll be here later on
I need you here so badly as part of My big plan there’s so much that we have to do to help our mortal man
Then God gave me a list of things He wished for me to do and foremost on that list of mine is to watch and care for you
And I will be beside you every day and week and year and when you’re sad I’m standing there to wipe away the tear
And when you lie in bed at night the days chores put to flight God and I are closest to you in the middle of the night
When you think of my life on Earth and all those loving years because you’re only human they are bound to bring you tears
But do not be afraid to cry it does relieve the pain remember there would be no flowers unless there was some rain
I wish that I could tell you of all that God has planned but if I were to tell you you wouldn’t understand
But one thing is for certain though my life on Earth is o’er
I am closer to you now than I ever was before
And to my very many friends trust God knows what is best
I’m still not far away from you I’m just beyond the crest
There are rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb but together we can do it taking one day at a time
It was always my philosophy and I’d like it for you too that as you give unto the World so the World will give to you
If you can help somebody who is in sorrow or in pain then you can say to God at night my day was not in vain
And now I am contented that my life it was worthwhile knowing as I passed along the way I made somebody smile
So if you meet somebody who is down and feeling low just lend a hand to pick him up as on your way you go
When you are walking down the street and you’ve got me on your mind I’m walking in your footsteps only half a step behind
And when you feel the gentle breeze or the wind upon your face that’s me giving you a great big hug or just a soft embrace
And when it’s time for you to go from that body to be free remember you’re not going you are coming here to me
And I will always love you from that land way up above
Will be in touch again soon
P.S. God sends His Love  Unknown (my favorite author…second only to Anonymous:)

An offering of song came from Elaina who I met yesterday in the yoga class under the trees.

http://youtu.be/UdPh4MpxwJo

MAY I SUGGEST
From: New Non-Fiction (2001)
Copyright © Susan Werner

May I suggest
May I suggest to you
May I suggest this is the best part of your life
May I suggest
This time is blessed for you
This time is blessed and shining almost blinding bright
Just turn your head
And you’ll begin to see
The thousand reasons that were just beyond your sight
The reasons why
Why I suggest to you
Why I suggest this is the best part of your life

There is a world
That’s been addressed to you
Addressed to you, intended only for your eyes
A secret world
Like a treasure chest to you
Of private scenes and brilliant dreams that mesmerise
A lover’s trusting smile
A tiny baby’s hands
The million stars that fill the turning sky at night
Oh I suggest
Oh I suggest to you
Oh I suggest this is the best part of your life

There is a hope
That’s been expressed in you
The hope of seven generations, maybe more
And this is the faith
That they invest in you
It’s that you’ll do one better than was done before
Inside you know
Inside you understand
Inside you know what’s yours to finally set right
And I suggest
And I suggest to you
And I suggest this is the best part of your life

This is a song
Comes from the west to you
Comes from the west, comes from the slowly setting sun
With a request
With a request of you
To see how very short the endless days will run
And when they’re gone
And when the dark descends
Oh we’d give anything for one more hour of light

And I suggest this is the best part of your life

At the end of the service, we gathered in a circle and Stephen’s daughter Meurcie stood on the diving board hovering over the lake and released the pink, red and white balloons that had the pastel pink and white rose petals attached to them. Instead of rising immediately, they skirted the grass and only slightly lofted and attached themselves to the tiki torch next to the tent. Someone untangled them and away they went, rising into the sky, but remained visible for quite awhile; a poignant reminder that those we love are never very far away.

www.mirabaigalashan.com

Merging With The Dream

                                                              

This weekend I had the joy of celebrating the Summer Solstice a few days early, with a group of kindred spirits ranging from those in infancy to those in senior adulthood. My friends Stephen and Kathy Redding hosted an annual gathering at their home which is a glorious haven in bucolic Green Lane, PA.  Among other things, he is an arborist and his family business is called Happy Tree Farm. Indeed those woodland beings are happy there..it is so easy to tell, because the minute I have set foot on the land, I sigh and just let go, as if being reminded by the trees and flowers to sink my roots in and reach my branches up, blossoming beautifully. It helps that in the middle of this multi-acre property is what I have come to think of as a magical lake. There is something about it, that feels qualitatively different from other bodies of water into which I have immersed myself. I had a dramatic healing experience after taking a dip last summer.

A  year ago, Memorial Day weekend, I was weedwhacking and wearing shorts, not considering that there would be a need to keep my legs covered. In a moment of unconsciousness, as my son called my name, I turned my head and didn’t take my finger off the button. The cord kept on keepin’ on and whipped its way thorough my right calf. I didn’t even notice or feel pain, until Adam called out “Mom!  What did you do?” as the blood dripped down my leg. YIKES!  I ran into the bathroom and rinsed off the remnants, offered myself Reiki and then headed to the ER where a tetanus shot was given and blessedly no stitches were needed, only clean up and patch up.  I did wound care for a few weeks, reconciling myself to the idea that the 18 lacerations would likely stick around for awhile. A few weeks later, I was invited to Stephen’s place for a relaxing swim. He told me that I would likely see an improvement in my condition after being in the water.  As I slipped into the rippling water, I could feel a tingling on my skin. I paddled about and conversed with Stephen about ‘life, the universe and everything.’, which happens to be my favorite subject. We stood on top of submersed rounded boulders that he calls “Goddess breasts” and mused about miracles. When I got out, I noticed a distinct difference. Now, a year later, only faint scarring remains.

Today’s celebration allowed for more swimming, sun bathing and communing with nature and friends. One of the attendees is a wonderful yoga teacher named Kristen Lambert who offered a lovely class in the midst of a lush (albeit gnat swarming): field under the shade of hovering trees which swayed in time to our breathing; or perhaps we were breathed by their movements.  I had forgotten my mat, so her mother Maria Plass loaned me her blue ‘magic carpet’ which is how I think of the yoga mat which takes me on all kinds of inward journeys. Together they run Experience Nirvana which is a center in Frenchtown, NJ.

Later in the day, while we were all enjoying a potluck dinner, Stephen spoke about his spiritual learnings  that came as a result of numerous death experiences; the first at age 4 when he was flattened by a hay making machine in a field on his family farm in Gettysburg, PA. The next came at age 8 when he froze to a fence in a blizzard while walking home from school. Since then, he has been struck by lightning, been in car accidents and been stung by swarming yellow jackets. He has written two books:  Something More  and More or Less that describe what transpired when he crossed over and returned to share about it. When this university educated man who specialized in psychology, criminology and sociology speaks, I find myself listening as if in a trance. It feels like ocean waves lapping on shore, taking sand back in and then re-depositing it over and over.

I was speaking at one point with my friend Charlie Ladany, an artist whose work reflects his unique world view. He made a statement that remained with me as he was sharing his happiness about two of his pieces selling at a gallery where they were displayed.  He has been at it for a long time and he is now recognizing that the dream is not out there somewhere, but that we become it as we merge with it. Merging with the dream…mine has long been that of speaking and writing the words that the Divine whispers in my ear and whatya know…I’m doing it everyday.  What is your dream?

Later that night, I watched in awe as a fire licked the sky that burned through a year’s worth of collected fallen tree bark that took 6 hours to build into a huge tee-pee tower. The sparks leapt onto the darkened night canvas as we drummed and danced, shakin’ it with the celestial spirits; seen and unseen. As I walked back to the car, meandering on winding paths lit by tiki torches and flickering fireflies, I gave thanks for the dance and the dream.

Inviting you to dance and dream along with me~

www.happytreeltd.com 

www.experiencenirvana.org

www.stephenredding.com

Dad-ication

                                                                       

This Sunday will mark the 3rd Father’s Day without the physical presence of ‘the tough South Philly street corner kid’ (5th and Wolf and 4th and Ritner for those who also grew up with an attytood:)  who was really a marshmallow, who would cry at the drop of a hat and who loved his family with a ferocity and devotion that still floors me when I think about it. First generation American born of Russian immigrant parents whose arranged marriage also bore three siblings:  older brother Dave, middle brother Phil and baby sister Jeanette (adoringly called Netsie by everyone who knew her). My cousin Jody  is her youngest daughter and I have always known that we would have chosen each other as friends even if we weren’t family of origin.

My dad Moish  worked and played hard. A Golden Gloves boxer in the Navy, he was a lifelong athlete who would run, jump rope, ride bikes, swim, sled and fly kites with Jan and me and the neighborhood kids. His right livelihood had him delivering milk for Abbotts and Milk Maid Dairies and driving a bus for SEPTA. Even in retirement in 1989, he continued to work at the Town Center in Bonaventure (a part of Weston/Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.)  His job involved managing the gym, as well as handing out skates and bowling shoes, all of which he did with a broad smile and hearty/hardy laugh. He made friends wherever he went; a skill I gladly absorbed. He never attended college, but loved to learn and read anything he could get his hands on, including some of the more left of center metaphysical things his ‘meshuggenah’ daughter offered him. He became a Bar Mitzvah at the age I am now…52. When I adopted a macrobiotic diet in my early 20′s, he indulged in miso soup and tofu right along with me. His ‘concoctions’ as my mother called them, were carrot and beet juice and protein powder. When he died, I inherited a whole bunch of nutritional supplements that inhabited the kitchen cabinet.

I used to love to ‘walk him to bed’ when I was little by standing on his feet. I also had a blast playing with what I called his ‘rip shoes’; which were velcro strapped and made a ripping sound when I pulled them.  They were precursors to today’s sneakers. It didn’t take much to entertain me:) I loved being his helper in the garden, ‘digging to China’; and cleaning the garage, which really amounted to moving the junk from one side to the other, with things rarely being tossed. As a child of the Depression, he saved everything, because “you never know when you might need it.”  Baby food jars of nails and screws lined shelves and boxes of who knows what were stacked on the floor. When I was tall enough, he would hand boxes to me from the ladder leading up to the attic. In them were the ‘good china’ that we would use for Passover. I now have them here with me, after bringing them up from their condo which was just sold this past April since my mom joined him the day after Thanksgiving; precious remnants of my childhood.   

What I admire most about him was the passionate and intense love he shared with my mother; writing daily love note, singing to her and dancing in the kitchen. Seeing them holding hands and ‘smooching’  throughout my childhood offered a sense of security. To him she was “the most beautiful girl in the world.” I am certain that they are celebrating that love in the afterlife.

Sharing this beautiful song by Barbra Streisand from the movie Yentl in honor of my father and all the fathers whether in Heaven or here on Earth.

http://youtu.be/QwCPAo5e_F8

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