The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

A Matter of Balance

I am a Libra, born October 13th and have found that balance is an essential ingredient in my wellness cookbook. Some work, some play, some rest. Time with friends and family, time in solitude. Time to dance and sing, time to meditate and veg. Kind of a bio-psycho-social version of Ecclesiastes. I find myself singing along to Pete Seeger’s musical rendering of Turn, Turn, Turn  as I contemplate what I will share here.

Had another in a series of medical tests today…known as European Thermography, which was ordered to find out what was cooking with a breast nodule that was an ‘incidental finding’ when I had a CT scan for lung lesions. The lesions haven’t grown since their detection in July, which may mean that they are remnants/scar tissue from bronchitis or pneumonia. The body parts that I refer to as ‘the girls’ seem to be in good shape too. We looked at the impact of my zipping and zooming on my adrenals. I have been known to say that I was “running on adrenalin and fumes,” and was “burning the candle at both ends until there was no more wax left.”  I would then laugh it off. Not doing that any more.

The session also included a Heart Rate Variability Test which showed a need to slow my pace. I sometimes feel like a racehorse who is constantly galloping  on the track and not out to pasture Revving my engine, running on the hamster wheel.  I have been going to cardiac rehab 3-6 times a week since July and have pushed my physical and emotional edges to the point of fatigue such that I need a nap right afterward. Do I take one? Not always, since responsibility calls. I have dramatically slowed my pace since my 12 hour plus days when I slept a fraction of that amount at night. My mind was awhirl with work related thoughts and my body couldn’t quite quiet down enough for restorative rest. These days, I work from home and create a sane schedule. I sleep 7-8 hours a night now.

I am exploring the reasons behind this still obsessive need to prove that I can do it….whatever IT is. Maybe it harkens back to being a child with asthma who didn’t want to get left behind. Perhaps that little girl who wore clunky orthopedic shoes and felt different wants to throw off all restrictions. One of the questions that was asked by Dr. Denise Kelley  in whose office I received this  wake up call, was what my fears were. I am not afraid of death (or public speaking, which many place at an even higher level than dying on the hierarchy of fears), but I do have trepidation around being incapacitated and needing to depend on others to take care of me. And so I have been pushing myself in different ways than I did before. I have wanted to bounce back and have forced recovery. Heeding the message, I took a nap this afternoon.

This Libra is learning that if she wants the scales to be in balance, she needs to be too.

 

 

 

Thank You for Being A Friend

Filled with gratitude this morning for one of the greatest gifts in this or any lifetime…..friendship. I have always been blessed with sweet and supportive souls who mostly get my quirky ways of being and my sometimes outrageous and colorful world view. My parents modeled long time friendships with people, since their early 20’s and they continued to grow new friendships until the day they each died into the mid-eighth decade.  They taught my sister and me to reach out and be inclusive, to cultivate kindness and to play nicely in the sandbox. They taught us to share our toys. They taught us not to hit or push. They taught us to forgive slights. They taught us to stand up for ourselves appropriately. All of these skills serve me well in my current relationships and those who come into my life regularly.

One of the things that I felt sad about as I heard a client say a few years ago : “Everyone in my life is gone and I’m all alone.” I asked him if he believed that everyone he had known were the only ones he would ever know. He nodded. I reminded him that everyone he knew and loved was once a stranger and that there was a whole world full of people with whom he could connect. The issue isn’t a lack of people, it may be a lack of willingness to reach out to them or allow them to reach in. I encouraged him to think of the type of folks he wanted to attract and then we brainstormed ways he could meet them.

I set intention daily to make new friends, and each day I do. Some are face to face via attending events, through networking, fun activities and with friends who are yentas (Yiddish for matchmaker) and want to introduce mutual friends to each other. I have parties to which I invite friends from what I call overlapping soul circles and take great delight as they interact with each other, finding common threads. There are kindred spirits everywhere, just waiting for the moment when you arrive on each other’s stages.

My appreciation is boundless, as friends; those in my face to face world and those via Social Media have boosted me, buoyed me and embraced me through the health ride I have been on for the past year. We are all so interconnected. We are family of choice.  Not sure how I would have gotten through various pivotal points without them. It is human nature to want to unite and not isolate. I encourage you to dare to make a new friend today.

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”
Linda Grayson

Thank you for being a friend.

 

No Matter How The Heart Lives

Last night, I was in the presence of a musical legend. In the Doylestown Book Shop, located in the Philly suburb of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, surrounded by over 100-some singing souls, we were led in tuneful fun by one Peter Yarrow of the 1960’s super- group that combined his name with those of his dear friends Paul Stookey and Mary Travers. Peter, Paul and Mary and their music were staples of my childhood. Who among us, could forget the eponymous Puff the Magic Dragon? As we stood, sat, swayed and hugged, the notes filled the room and likely spilled out onto the street. One friend who wanted to be there, couldn’t find a parking spot, so she told me that she had gone home and made pancakes instead. I sang for her too.

He was there, touring in support of his new book Peter, Paul and Mary:  Fifty Years In Music and Life.  A vibrant 76, he engaged with the multi-generational crowd who had come to share an early November evening in the warmth of community, peace and love as both the music and Yarrow evoked.

Before the concert, I purchased the coffee table tome and paged through it, being taken back to days in my childhood; 6th grade to be exact- Mr. Serfling’s class in which we had Friday afternoon Hootenannies. Two of our class mates brought in guitars and we would sing Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, Blowin’ In the Wind, If I Had a Hammer, and the previously mentioned song about the relationship between the large green lizard and his devoted friend who grew up and moved away. Yarrow assured us that the song was not about drugs and added a story that had Jackie Paper’s daughter- Sandy returning to visit Puff.

While I was enthralled with the depth and breadth of the career of the trio, as was beautifully displayed in words and photographs,  the name of a song jumped out at me. It was one I hadn’t heard in years and makes me cry every time I listen to it. It’s called Home Is Where the Heart Is and was written by Sally Fingerett, who, herself was one of the founding members of another iconic folk group, called The Four Bitchin’ Babes. The theme of the composition is the idea that love looks all kinds of ways.

“Home is where the heart is

No matter how the heart lives

Inside your heart where love is

That’s where you’ve got to make yourself at home.”

I am listening to the song now, hearing the lush voice of Mary Travers, who sadly, passed in 2009 and remembering this all important message, that love knows no limits and that only fear and judgment blocks the door to an otherwise open heart.

 

 

 

Open Hearts Open Hearts

I love cooperation and what is colloquially referred to these days as ‘Joint Ventures’. I was tapped to be part of an online event called Own Your Awesome with 12 other movers and shakers. We each had a 30 minute or so intro interview, during which we shared snippets of insights about what it might take to live an awesome (and awe-inspiring) life. That was followed by a live webinar that lasted 90 minutes in which we delved more deeply into our topics. Mine was focused on being an Opti-Mystic who sees the world through the eyes of possibility. Juicy stuff. The final piece was a panel discussion amongst the speakers, conducted by the creators of this once in a lifetime gathering of folks whose life and professional experiences place us in a position to offer information and insights into living a rich, full life. Jan Riley and Mariette Hallgren are the sparks behind this positively incendiary idea. My friends Ruth Anne Wood, Jon Satin, Chris Pattay, Luisa Rasiej and John Rasiej were part of  those I think of as ‘Team Awesome”.

You know how one word or one line uttered can be a life changer?  One of the team members, who I have not yet met,  is an empowerment coach named V. Lynn Hawkins. Her lovingly kick-butt style appealed to me and her enthusiasm bubbled over from the computer screen (ah the marvels of modern technology). Not sure what the lead up was, but during the panel discussion, she mentioned the oft heard explanation for on-going abuse, that “hurt people hurt people.”  What followed blew me out of the water. She said “Open hearts open hearts.”  Wowie Zowie!  Four word truth. I have long believed that people who peel off the layers of their protected covered- over hearts, are better able to embrace others. One of my favorite representations of this idea is The Most Beautiful Heart that I often use as a teaching tool.

In the wake of my own heart opening ‘cardiac event,’ I have become abundantly aware of the ways in which I have sheltered, shuttered and otherwise pseudo-secured mine from potential hurt even as I had myself convinced that the doors were open. I talked a good and convincing game, but my body knew otherwise. I have this belief (true or not) that it is the repository for the various and sundry thoughts we have and attitudes we hold, whether conscious or beneath the surface, about the world and our place in it. When you and I keep the heart light switched on (think E.T.), the walkway is illuminated, so that anyone we choose to invite to enter, knows that they are welcome. As open hearts open hearts, so too, do they open doors. Dare to enter and see what wonder awaits on the other side of the threshold.

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