The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Noityoulove

 

                                                                         Gary Culp

No, my computer isn’t confused, nor am I writing in gibberish..although it is fun to speak in gibberish:)  Last month, my friend Rev. Gary Culp was what we call the Speaker/Spark at Circle of Miracles in Doylestown, PA.  For 18 years, Gary was the minister at Pebble Hill, another of my overlapping spiritual communities. Now he and his wife Jennifer Culp live part of the year (the cold part) in Sayulita, Mexico and part of the year in Bucks County (aren’t we lucky?) When they are in our neck of the woods, Gary and another friend named Denny Daikeler perform dance pieces together. On this day, Gary had been speaking about what he calls the Maya Cosmogenesis and the myth of the ‘end of the world’ in 2012. It is about transformation, transcendence and evolution, rather than the fear based hype that is peddled by the media and Hollywood. One of the first things Gary shared was that the word EVOLUTION is NO-IT-YOU-LOVE  (Know it you love…spelled backward.) Cool beans, huh?   What if you knew that love was not only a verb (a doing), but a being and embodiment of all that you are?  How would you live your day to day?

He and Denny did this amazing, as always, dance that had as its theme, walking in someone else’s shoes. Gary took off his well worn Birkenstocks and Denny her slightly elevated platform sandals, and took turns dancing about in each other’s foot wear. It afforded them a different perspective which is what it seems to me, the healing of the world and the new paradigm are all about. Cooperation rather than hostile competion, coexistence rather than clobbering each other. Really seeing the other person for the precious creation that they are, rather than the ‘other’. I have to admit, that I occasionally find myself  (or really, lose myself) walking in the dangerous neighborhood of fear and judgment. I allow my buttons to get pushed when I see someone doing something counter to my values. Walking into the supermarket yesterday, I watched a man wantonly toss his lit cigarette onto the parking lot. For a fleeting moment, I thought to remind him that the parking lot is not an ash tray, but I hesitated for safety reasons….he was a big, burly dude. He could have been a teddy bear on the inside, but I wasn’t about to take chances. I have a few friends who smoke…not around me, though. I saw one yesterday and as we hugged, I could smell the smoke heavily clinging to her. I grimaced and said “I love you AND it bothers me to be around cigarette smoke, even after the fact.  When are you gonna quit this nasty habit  (for her own sake too)?”  Did I hold judgment about her?  Yes. Even more so, because this friend is in the healing profession.

Today at the gym, I happened to be watching what I call ‘get a life’ shows, splashed across several screens. One was Divorce Court, with a couple who were splitting because he claims she is a poor housekeeper and can’t cook and she says he is controlling and all he wants to do is ‘procreate’ and have her ‘make him 3,4,5 babies’ (like she is an Easybake oven) when he has 9 children with other women already. He was telling the judge off, and wouldn’t keep his trap shut for a moment.  Co-dependent City, since this woman knew what she was getting into when she hooked up with him and the judge predicted that she would go back with him. Did I hold judgment about these people? Yup.

One of my professional hats has me working with people who make destructive (of self and others) choices. I can hear the critic yammering away inside my head, as I attempt to express loving compassion in the midst of their struggle and yet I want to waggle my finger, to put it mildly. And then I remember that if I had their lives and experiences and the attitudes and beliefs that shaped them; the world view and interpretation of events that they do, I might make the same decisions.

What if I could use the concept that was so beautifully illustrated in the movie Avatar…”I see you.” and truly acknowlege the God-within each being I encounter?  I would then know that I am and you are simply love.

 

http://youtu.be/O4jYr4502M0  I See You by Leona Lewis

Michael Jackson Tribute

                                                                   

Michael Jackson came into my life when as an adorable young’un, he was belting out songs with his brothers as part of the Jackson Five. Here was someone my own age dancing and singing his heart out, paving a road and a legacy that will long surpass his tragic death in 2009. Enter Adam Rafferty, whose heart and soul were also touched by Michael’s music. I had the surprise of meeting Adam this summer at the home of my friend Kayla Finlay, who had invited him from New York to perform an intimate living room concert. I was easily pulled in to moving and swaying to the deft guitar pickings and strummings of this soulful, jazzy, bluesy, rockin’…well, you get the idea..genre fusing artist.

Adam offers a loving tribute to one of his musical inspirations in the newly released “I Remember Michael: A Michael Jackson Solo Guitar Tribute”. 

Something for everyone as “I Want You Back” (you can almost hear the oooh oooh baby’s in the background) opens the 15 cut CD and “Man In the Mirror” closes it out, as Michael’s final acknowledgement that the one who gazes back at us is the only one who can make or break our lives. Tasty treats sandwiched in between are the sonicly sweet reassurance of “I’ll Be There”, the love song to a rat named “Ben”, the strutting -zombie- outstretched -arms -edgy, playfully wicked “Thriller”, the moving and shaking “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough”,  and the kid-simple “ABC”.

This CD has accompanied me in my car, taking me on a joyful journey as I too remember Michael.

www.adamrafferty.com

 

http://youtu.be/SiXCyISQSdE  Billie Jean by Adam Rafferty

Calling Alex

 

                                                                    

 

As a music lover in the 80’s, I sang along to, bopped along to, danced along to the iconic song with the memorable telephone number 867-5309 /Jenny (no area code..hmmmm) and only last week did I learn that it was written by Nashville based singer songwriter Alex Call.  His newly released book is called, not surprisingly 867-5309 The Song That Saved Me. His talents extend far beyond the musical realm, as his values and spiritual focus shape his actions; this man walks the talk as you will discover when you read on. 

This interview is timely in the face of the 10th anniversary of a date that changed world history, September 11th,  since one of Alex’s songs, called When was written as a poignant reminder that it is important to treasure our relationships.

How do you live your bliss?

My bliss has not always been so blissful! I have struggled with self-doubt and the pressures of the commercial world for much of my life. It’s easier now that I’m older and have taken time to study myself and gauge the world with a greater perspective than I once had. I am an idealist who tried in vain to conform. My refuge has always been in creativity. I was a kid who drew cartoons who then took up music. I always told myself stories. Now I am writing them out. I love that world. Is it bliss or escape? Perhaps it’s both. My idealism has never been stronger, if Quixotic.

You rocked the world by writing 876-5309/Jenny way back when….all these years later, how does it feel to know that it is a tune people keep in their heads?  Is it an autobiographical piece…was there a real ‘Jenny’  whose name and number were inscribed on a bathroom wall?

There never was a Jenny. I got the song the way I get all the good ones; it just came out of me while I was playing guitar and letting my mouth make sounds and words. That’s the way I write – everything I write –including novels. Go figure. Tommy Tutone, the band who had the hit, made up a few stories about a fictional Jenny because they needed to have a story for the press. But I think the story of the muse is a more interesting one.

Why was it such a hit? I haven’t a clue except that it’s hooky musically, like a kid’s song (children get it right away) and it did seem to sum up the zeitgeist of the early 80’s.

Please talk about Passion and Purpose and the Firestarters.

 Passion & Purpose and the Firestarters happen because Lisa Carrie, my second son’s mom, who had been a high-level background singer with Wayne Newton and Eddy Arnold and others, had gone to work in health care. She came across the work of a man named Quint Studer, a patient satisfaction guru, who talked about passion & purpose in health care. Music and healthcare converge on this subject. She asked me to write a song for him, and the album grew out of that.

Any ideas for helping people ignite their own passions and purpose?

I am extremely fortunate in that I have known my music passion since I was eleven years old. The form of expression for me has only grown over the years to include novels and my memoir. I think some people are passionate about what they do; others, not so much. But the less passionate need the more passionate, if that makes sense. I see a group sitting around a cave thirty thousand years ago. Some worked, some fought, some told stories, some healed. Nothing has changed except the scope of the human community.

As far as recognizing your passion? That takes a leap of faith some courage at times. Take the Leap!

 

How did you discover yours?

I saw a band playing at a dance when I was eleven. They weren’t getting beaten up and girls liked them, That was enough for me! Seriously, I have been blessed with the gift-curse of creativity since childhood. I’ve known that since I was a tiny tyke.

 

Your wife Lisa is part of the group and I wonder what it is like to having a working/life partnership.

We did the Passion & Purpose project while she was going through the journey of breast cancer. That was tough, but it gave more meaning to the project. I almost exclusively work alone on creative projects. Certainly, the writing is a solo endeavor. But without her, the P&P project never would have happened, since she brought it to me, and her journey influenced the songs. She voiced the title “Time to Live” and I caught the spark and wrote the song in one pass.

 

As a creative soul, do you find that your music ‘writes you’?  How do songs find their way to you?

We’re called musicians because the Muses have called us to be their temporary mouths and hands. Songs and stories come through me. There’s a definite spark. When I get it, I can sit down and write a song straight out without stopping. It comes through me. Same with my novels. I get the idea, “know” it and write a book. My viewpoints shape my works as well. I have strong views about the world. I have spent a fair amount of time studying history and spirituality and practicing meditation (and playing baseball and going fishing). My life experience and opinions help mold the form of my work. But without the spark that comes, there’s only make-work, which I’ve done a fair amount of. No spark, no good. I have learned to recognize that spark.

 

One particular song, called “When” came through you and your friend Jon Keller 10 years ago as a message, it seems, from somewhere beyond just the two of you. Please share why that piece was hauntingly significant.

When” was written on 9-10-2001. We had no idea why wrote such a heart-wrenching song about loss. Until the next day, that is. Plainly, the Muse was speaking through us. I am open to such subjects as well. I always wanted a microphone to speak to the entire world with, to tell everyone to stop the hatred and killing. That’s my passion!

 

In the days that followed, can you express the myriad of emotions in which you swam?  ANd now 10 years later?

My older son James, then twenty-two, was working for the Port Authority of NY & NJ in a building adjacent to the Towers. I was in Los Angeles. No cell phone in those days. James could not be found. I instantly started driving towards Nashville. We didn’t find out that James had overslept and missed the train which would have put him at Ground Zero at that very bad moment until I reached Flagstaff, AZ at the end of a long day of fear and stopping at dusty desert payphones at which I got no news of him. I felt the pain. All such acts by all combatants everywhere fire the same response in me. Some day humans will get it, but that day hasn’t yet arrived, has it?

 

No pun intended (given your name), but how did you hear the ‘call’ of service?

I was lucky; I heard it when I was a kid. By the time I was teenager, there was no question about the message I hope to bring in some limited way to the world. I was a fan of Superman Comics. Superman trying to save the world from his Fortress of Solitude.

 www.8675309jennybook.com   

http://youtu.be/is668lGyVUY

www.alexcall.wordpress.com

Read A New Book Month

                                                                  

 

Books delight me, entice me, tickle me, inform me, entertain me, enlighten me, are spiritual nourishment, keep my brain sharp, introduce me to new concepts. Quite simply, I can’t imagine a life that is not filled to the brim with reading material. Of all of the items in my home, I have more books than any other thing. I grew up reading. My mother used to say I almost always had a book in my hand. She took my sister and me to story hour at the library.  She, my father  and grandmother read to us and we to them. Every babysitter did as well.

The day I had my own library card and could tote precious reading material up the street from what to me, was as much fun as a toy store,  represented a milestone in my life. I was one of the big kids!  I would breeze through them and gobble them up like the brain food that they were. I read everything I could get my hands on. I was weaned on Dr. Seuss. The only ham in the Weinstein household was the kind that came with ‘green eggs’  offered by Sam I am.  Little Golden Books, Heidi, Where The Wild Things Are and The Phantom Tollbooth had their place on bookshelves in our home.  Highlights Magazine was a monthly treat.  Oh how I wish I had kept the original hard cover version.  The volumes of the Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia my parents had purchased from a door to door salesman, brought with it a sense of magic that encouraged me to explore the world.   Nancy Drew and the Bobbsey Twins mysteries,  All of A Kind Family,  biographies of Helen Keller and Anne Frank were my  adolescent companions. I looked forward to arrival of the book mobile each year as it pulled into the school parking lot at Pennypacker Park Elementary in my hometown of Willingboro, NJ.

September is Read A New Book Month. It is an invitation to go to a book store or library, order on line via Amazon….whatever your preference, and crack open a fiction or non-fiction door into a new world. Adventure, romance, humor, biography, mystery, self help, motivation, drama, art, music…the genres are seemingly endless.

Some of my favorite reads that laid the groundwork for my spiritual path include:

The Search For Bridey Murphy by Morey Bernstein

Illusions, One, The Bridge Across Forever and Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Way of The Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert Heinlein

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

The Shared Heart by Barry and Joyce Vissell

Hope For The Flowers by Trina Paulus

Woman On The Edge of Time by Marge Piercy

Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel

2150 A.D. by Thea Alexander

Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch

The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore by Alan Cohen

The Kin of Ata Are Waiting For You by Dorothy Bryant

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

Even Cowgirls Get The Blues and Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

More often than not, my nightstand has 2 or 3 books in the rotation; most for pleasure and review.  I carry a book in my briefcase in case the urge to indulge in this healthy addiction, arises.

What’s on your current list?  What would you like to be?

Every Day I Write The Book by Elvis Costello  http://youtu.be/3ybnsxCGg6E

Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield  http://youtu.be/TtGY4G7II6s

Previous Posts

Where I Am
  How often do you ask yourself  'what if and if only'  questions?  "What if I had chosen a different path, partner, career, home?  Bet I'd be happier if I had," is the frequent litany for many. We get fidgety staying still. We kvetch about how things aren't the way we want them to be, a

posted 7:55:55pm Nov. 26, 2014 | read full post »

On Wings
  Four years ago, at this moment, an event was in the process of taking place that would change my life as I knew it. My mother was in the 'birth canal' on her way to her new life. A few months earlier while she was on hospice, we would have the most extraordinary conversations about what t

posted 6:39:45pm Nov. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Allowing Others To Effect Their Own Destinies
Most Sundays find me at Circle of Miracles, which is an interfaith spiritual community created 19 years ago by Rev. Hannelore Goodwin. It is where I, and many who attend the ecumenical services, find family of choice, inspiration, community and healing. The room is a warm and welcoming place where D

posted 10:52:04am Nov. 24, 2014 | read full post »

The Only Life You Can Save
One of my favorite wise woman poets is Mary Oliver whose words touch my heart in ways that few others can; as if they could have come through me as well; so personal they are. Today, while visiting my former place of employment, one of my co-workers pulled out an anthology consisting of the works of

posted 8:40:05pm Nov. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Abby's Light
  When a light comes into the world, we hope that it will last indefinitely, knowing that eventually it will fade. When a child is born, a parent doesn't expect that his or her light will diminish before it has a chance to fully express itself...and yet, sadly it happens.  Abby Schumer was

posted 8:32:41am Nov. 19, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.