Beliefnet
The Bliss Blog

turtle

I have been nursing cervical spine pain for the past month.  It began back in December when I experienced a bronchial infection which led to coughing, which caused rib injury that sent me to the ER on New Years’ Day since the pain was so severe. As a result of lack of range of motion, I needed to crane my neck to see to cross a major intersection. Not sure if I strained it then or if it is more related to emotional dis-ease. Seems that there are components of both. The pain reminds me at times of what I had experienced at the end of 2013 as part and parcel of shingles that also impacted the left side of my head. I described it as feeling like an ice pick was plunging into my temple. This time it is below the occipital region and as I move my neck, I can hear a series of somewhat satisfying crack-crack-crack, as the vertebra slip into place. Complicating the condition is that I am on the computer much of the day and evening in my role as a journalist. The condition is sometimes referred to as ‘text neck,’ from looking down at phones and computers. I have been applying my own healing modality of Reiki, have received massage, as well as a chiropractic adjustment.  Hot and cold compresses, Arnica, Icy Hot, as well as over the counter pain meds have taken the edge off. As I am writing this now, it is a manageable 4 on a 1-10 pain scale. Last night, I was beyond 10 and I have a high pain threshold. I just kept breathing and engaging in what I call God-versation, asking what I needed to do about it.

A few days ago, I visited the office of my friend Dr. Susan Burger. She is a chiropractor who also practices NET (Neuro Emotional Technique) which is a form of mind-body therapy. It incorporates muscle testing, acupressure point, memory/visualization and processing. I have known her for many years and she is familiar with some of my history so I can’t sneak anything past her, which is a positive thing.

While sitting in her office, she began intuiting that some of the presenting condition was related to a physiological reaction to a long-held memory. Our bodies are repositories for stored stuff, much like dusty boxes and bags in an attic. She asked (after doing muscle testing) what happened around age 10. I had a flash of sitting at our kitchen table asking my father about buying a pair of go- go boots. For those who are of a certain age, you will recall that they were chic fashion footwear. As a child with podiatric issues, (flat footed and pigeon toed) I had to wear clunky red orthopedic shoes. Not exactly graceful attire. I coveted those boots as a way of earning my cool cred. What hadn’t occurred to me at the time was that since my dad had either been laid off from a job or his company was on strike at the time, they were not in the budget. During those occasions in his careers as either a milkman or bus driver, he always found filler jobs as a cab driver, gas station attendant or car salesman. He was determined, along with my mom, to keep our family afloat. When he said they couldn’t afford them at the time, I felt a sense of embarrassment and shame that I even asked for them. Neither of my parents implied that I was selfish, but I internalized that feeling. How could I possibly want more than they already gave?  Add to that mindset that I was diagnosed with asthma at age four after the death of my beloved grandmother who was like a third parent and I felt even more burdensome, since my mother used to take me to weekly doc appointments for allergy shots and into the bathroom to inhale steam when I couldn’t breathe at night. I did all I could throughout my life to be a ‘good girl,’ and also to earn everything given to me. Being offered something out of love is sometimes challenging all these years later. It harkens back to training myself not to want what I may be able to have. It infiltrates my relationships as I have difficulty allowing men to take care of me. It runs rampant through my financial situation as I often perceive that I will never make enough and be left wanting. I picked up on my father’s shame that he couldn’t provide those boots at that point. When he went back to work, I did eventually receive them. I also find myself being what my husband had thought of as overly grateful when someone did something for me. In Susan’s office, that little girl came through to enlighten the woman who could not understand why she still is not where she thinks she ‘should be’ professionally.

I had a dream last night that seems to be connected. I dreamed I was in this town in upstate Pennsylvania, not sure where. I was walking down a street and someone grabbed me by the back of the neck and held my head under water. I do lucid dreaming, so in the midst of it, I shook them off and said, “I am going to let God heal me in this water instead.” So, I swam around in it and found myself laughing. I climbed out (it was like a deep square concrete pond filled with cedar water like I used to swim in in South Jersey as a child) and walked back down the street sloshing water. Later in the dream, there was a man who asked if I wanted to dance. We did and it was lovely. Still testing the waters in so many areas of my life.

Two insightful and healing professional friends LeeAnne Englert and Ken Kaplan had this powerful feedback to offer

“What struck me in your dream was that it was an aspect of you drowning yourself. Dreams have many layers but the first one I go to is that each player in the dream is an aspect of us. It helps us to see the dichotomy we are dealing with. The good news is that you freed yourself but I would look more deeply into the part of yourself that wants to off you. And now seems to be manifesting pain in your physical body. Soul retrieval time!”

“LeeAnne is right. What part of you is “holding you down”. Why in water? Water usually represents emotion, feeling. Dig into life issues. Where has this energy of self-suppression shown up before? Dig deeper. What positive aspect of self (anger at feeling denied, passion, energy, etc) that wants to be expressed is being held back by you and shows up in shadow form? Relates to neck injury which is fear. (Think of turtle drawing its neck in, afraid to fearlessly look around and survey the landscape.-vulnerability)”

As I ponder this, I am willing to stick my neck out and explore the landscape.

enough
The word Dayenu comes from the Passover story and refers to a song that celebrates the Exodus of the Jewish slaves from Egypt where they were held captive by the pharaoh and compelled to work without ceasing at the whim of the taskmaster’s whip. When they were freed, they expressed gratitude that God had not only granted them their sovereignty but had given them many blessings. Dayenu translates to “It would have been sufficient.” Or “It would have been enough.”
It came to me in the wee hours this morning, that the world may be ready for a new Dayenu and a wake-up call.
Had the alarm bells begun to ring when the most contentious election that this nation has ever seen elicited more hate than this country has ever seen…..it should have been enough.
Had we been alert to the encroaching dark forces that threaten safety and security of the world….it should have been enough.
Had we as citizens been more aware of the goings on in government on all sides of the political spectrum….it should have been enough.
Had we put the needs of the entire planet before individual greed, our clean air, water, and soil would have a greater chance of being sustainable, (that regardless of political beliefs) we all require to survive….it should have been enough.
Had we not shrugged off the ‘locker room banter’ of the one who now holds the Oval Office, women’s safety would not be in greater jeopardy than ever before and trauma not re-triggered…it should have been enough.
Had we not normalized racial and religious bigotry, our doors (as heralded in The New Colossus, Emma Lazarus November 2, 1883)
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
would not be slammed shut.  Lady Liberty would stand as more than just a symbol….and it should have been enough.
Had we not seen the political goings on as ‘business as usual’….it should have been enough.
Had we not seen ‘the other’ as ‘the enemy…..it should have been enough.
Had we not used our personal religious beliefs as liberty to dictate what others ought to believe….it should have been enough
Had we seen every child as precious, we would not condemn them to a life of deprivation and fear and we as adults would do all we can to leave them a beautiful planet on which to live….and it should have been enough.
Had we paid attention to the promises of a man whose worldview extends not much further than his own desires to occupy a building that was meant to be a place of inclusivity…it should have been enough.
Had we found it unacceptable that he chose to surround himself with people who share his perspective of power over and not empowerment for all….it should have been enough.
Had we not looked the other way and shrugged our shoulders when he and these same people threatened to rescind hard-won rights for LGBTQ folks and those of color and those who came from other countries who hold divergent religious beliefs….it should have been enough.
Had we all found his self-aggrandizing, wound licking tweets less vital than learning a job that he is unprepared to do….it should have been enough.
Had we refused to accept walls that keep people in and not out and be expected to pay for it….it should have been enough.
Had we done more than rolling our eyes at his bombastic statements on the campaign trail that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not “lose any voters.”…..it should have been enough.
Had we said sooner, “Not on my watch will hatred thrive, will people be less valued, will the environment and those who protect it be assaulted, will services that sustain life be cut, will men be the arbiters of what women can do, will pro-life really means pro-birth,”…it should have been enough.
Had we been outraged when #45 mocked a disabled reporter….it should have been enough.
Had we been more than a little shocked when he insulted the press and placed restrictions on what could be transmitted…..it should have been enough.
Had we not ‘hired’ a man whose vocabulary seems not to have progressed beyond that of a 6th grader (no insult meant to 6th graders), and whose ability to directly respond to straightforward questions without deflecting and finger pointing…..it should have been enough.
Had we not needed to remind him that his job is public service, not the other way around…it should have been enough.
Had we not welcomed someone whose attempts to shred the Constitution would have the Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves….it should have been enough.
Had we found it unacceptable that he called for gag orders on various governmental departments….it should have been enough.
Had we been appalled at the daily onslaught that has had many succumbing to physical and emotional dis-ease….it should have been enough.
Had we been shocked at the ‘post-truth’ world with ‘alternative facts’ that has us scrambling to validate what we hear and see…..it should have been enough.
Had we not taken a ‘wait and see’ and ‘give him a chance’ attitude…..it should have been enough.
Had we not opened Pandora’s Box and unleashed ‘the evils of the world’….it should have been enough.
Remember that Hope was left at the bottom of the box. The same hope that has sustained the world through some of the darkest moments in history.
When will enough be enough?
Now that many of us on both sides of the political spectrum are showing up, standing up and speaking out, putting ourselves on the front lines, with our fervent words, our marching bodies, our protesting values….it is becoming enough.
The country that this granddaughter of Russian Jewish immigrants loves and honors, who became an interfaith minister who says that “Love is my religion and God’s too big to put in a box,” can become more than enough. Together we are a Force to be reckoned with.
I invite you to stand with me and all world citizens, as we acknowledge our common humanity, no matter who you voted for. The survival of our beautiful planet is on the line. We need each other. We are all US. We are enough.

10423627_10206494190131693_2937807688754368740_n

I am listening to my favorite radio station, called WXPN which I began streaming online this morning at 6:30 or so as my favorite show called Sleepy Hollow offered forth the sounds of soothing easy wake-up music. Bundled under blankets on the couch and still in jammies at the moment, watching the snowflakes wafting softly downward. In an hour, I will be taping a podcast, being interviewed by a Facebook friend named Kerri Hummingbird on the connection with our essence. After that, time at the gym, more writing, and editing. Tonight, a friend newly diagnosed with breast cancer will be coming over, joined by other friends who will offer healing energy. A ‘normal’ day for this conscious solopreneuer, cosmic concierge, Bliss Mistress, and opti-mystic. In the midst of all of these activities, what sneaks in is the reality of current events It is not about politics. It is not about parties. It is not about demonizing voters who made a different choice than I did. It is about overcoming the fear that didn’t exist in me a few months ago. Fear that invades my dreams. Totalitarian regime on the march in my head that reflect the threats and reality that is playing out on the world stage. Thoughts of what I can say or do that can make a difference and change the trajectory of events that seem like a runaway train about to crash into a wall, taking all the passengers with it. The conductors are those whose beliefs and values are threatening the fabric of inclusivity that the country was founded on. Each morning, I awaken and wonder about the latest atrocity that could occur.

Know that I am not by nature, a pessimist, nor am I prone to depression or anxiety. I am a resilient thriver. Throughout my life, I have lost loved ones (husband, parents and friends), raised a child as a single parent, had my home destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in Homestead, Florida in 1992, which was the same year I had an ectopic pregnancy and my husband was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. In 2013 and 2014, a series of health crises emerged…shingles, heart attack, kidney stones, and adrenal fatigue. This New Years Eve, I was the guest of the local hospital’s ER after bronchial coughing led to rib injury. Enough already!  With each of these events, I knew I would prevail. Never was there an extensive period of time that I felt the kind of despair and bewilderment that I do now. And from each of these I have emerged, so what makes me think that I won’t and we won’t from this? Is it because it is not just primarily impacting on my little bubble? Is it related to the idea that there are many more people involved in deciding that this is unacceptable and taking action to create positive change? I can count on me to do what it takes to heal. Can I count on my brothers and sisters worldwide to do the same?

A week ago at this time, I was one of 50,000 who marched in Philadelphia. I felt bolstered and buoyed up as I smiled, laughed, cried and hugged, as a Hugmobster Armed With Love.  It refilled my tank and kept me going for another few days. Yesterday, I was interviewed on a radio show as one of three who attended the march. The other two did their part in Washington, DC. Today, on the podcast, I will be offering ways of connecting with the feeling of unity and not division.

There are times when I feel almost guilty for having fun in the midst of this. I know that tragedies occur around the world on a moment to moment basis that I am able to store in the recesses of my brain. I am grateful to have my safe home, fulfilling work that supports me well, loving family and friends, a healthy body and mind. I am thankful for my recovery with workaholism and co-dependence. Things that seemed so pressing a year ago, now feel trivial in the grand scheme of things.

What passes for normal now is searching for accurate news reports, praying to accept the Highest Good, strategizing ways to be steadfast as a voice for love and unity, respecting and honoring, rather than dividing and conquering.

I know that life goes on.  I turn to the shared energy of the God of my understanding as together we continue to create a new normal. Like most rug pulled out from under us experiences, we have a choice as to whether we remain flattened or fluff ourselves back up and keep on keepin’ on.

I am certain that love will ultimately prevail.

 

 

 

16179637_10211662786383369_3520783506066048336_o

The iconic quote was a clarion call in the 60’s and 70’s to acknowledge the contribution and value of women. It is even more poignant today and was evidenced yesterday.

On January 21, 2017, a historic event took place worldwide with attendance collectively in the millions. On this day, we did hold up at least half the sky. The Women’s March was attended by women, men, and children; from babes in arms and snuggies to elders who have been on the front lines for progressive causes for many decades. One man named Steve was there to march on behalf of the women in his life, including his mother who introduced him to activism in his teens. She has passed and he honors her.

16143605_10211662117126638_7017211819479059100_o

Initially, I had planned on heading down to Washington, DC for the ‘big march,’ but when I heard that Philadelphia was holding their own rally, I made that choice instead. Excitement mounted for me as the day neared, a counterpoint to the inauguration the day before. On Friday, I didn’t watch or listen to the goings on three hours south of my home. I chose to immerse in self-care by receiving a massage and then spent the afternoon and evening seeing therapy clients.

I boarded the train in Doylestown, PA accompanied by hundreds of others,  as we headed the hour or so down the track to Philly. By the time we got a few stops down the line, the cars were standing room only and shortly thereafter, filled to capacity, so that no one else could board. I sat opposite a man, who cosmically coincidentally was a therapist, like me who was also a professor who trained therapists. He is the father of two young children who were not there with him and his wife this time but had attended other such events. I asked him how, with their social conscience, he and his wife explained the current administration. He shared that from an early age, they knew that people have different views and it is important to honor each other regardless. I asked specifically how to teach children honesty and respect when the current occupant of the White House doesn’t model those behaviors. Again he offered that there are people in the world who don’t live with the same values as their family does, but it is still important to live them.

I met up with friends throughout the day who were there for similar reasons as I. I also carried with me a piece of paper with the names of those who couldn’t be there but asked to be with us in Spirit.

16178835_10211662131046986_8963453555407271914_o

 

A few things that got accomplished at the marches today: People felt supported and not alone in their feelings about the future.We were amongst our tribe. It represented the sentiment of many in the country. It gave folks a sense of hope. It put the administration on notice that the people have strong opinions and aren’t afraid to voice them. It encouraged ongoing activism since this is not a one and done event. It showed that peaceful protests can take place. I am guessing that more showed up for these events than for the inauguration. How do you like them apples?

16251767_10211662523136788_3303053129138741977_o

I was there as a Hugmobster Armed With Love and was blown away by the sheer numbers of people who came together to speak truth to power. Such a blessing to be amidst people of all ages. Peaceful, loving, non-violent, motivating. Now to take the next steps to protect our precious earth and the next generations. I don’t see that as polarizing, but something that people on any side of the political divide could embrace. How ’bout it?

When I was on the train back from Philly to Doylestown, a 3-year-old girl sat next to me. Her parents had brought her to the march. It was so wonderful to see children present since it means they are being taught to love. They are becoming responsible citizens, even at their ages.

16112939_10211662121566749_658234300497434784_o

When I ponder my presence and the motivation behind it, I acknowledge that I was there in support of women’s rights/human rights..same thing. I was there in support of healing and reconciliation. I was there in support of future generations. I was there in support of those who had been abused and whose memories were triggered by the misogynist rhetoric being tossed about. I was there in support of the earth which needs our attention and not neglect. I was there in support of those who have no voice. I was there in support of all those who fear to lose their safety, freedom, and rights. I was not there to be anti- anything or anyone.

16251784_10211668166037857_1397909132238050596_o

Do I wish that the new administration was more progressive and liberal? Sure. Do I wish the president would have a whole mind makeover? You bet.

16003053_10209689257000959_4692580420488572143_n

I am learning to accept the current reality while working to change what I can. I know that this event today was not a one and done deal. It needs to be a case of being vigilant and outspoken. It feels like a holy obligation.

I made an observation toward to end of the rally that I want to share with you. It was overcast and foggy all day. The mist hovered above the buildings. It mirrored what I had been feeling since the election; a looming and ominous presence. Although the sun didn’t peek out all day, it felt like the collective energy of those gathered kept the fog aloft.

The numbers are staggering. More than one million collectively. I was honored to be part of the Philly 50,000.

If you marched today, why did you join millions worldwide? What was your experience?