The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Living in Your God-ness

There are some people who come into our lives at a point in time when we are entering a new way of being. They plant seeds and are not necessarily a regular part of our days. Kind of like music in the background that puts a smile on your face when you hear it. Such has been the case with my friend Yanni Maniates. He has been an icon in the Philadelphia community for decades and has been a teacher for many of my friends. An author, meditation teacher and highly intuitive person who shares gentle wisdom, born of his own journey, Yanni was speaking at Circle of Miracles yesterday on the topic- Life is a Gift-Open It.

That is a subject near and dear to my heart, since I too believe that we are offered gifts each day, and that the real present is the Present. When I live that way, I enjoy each precious moment. Sometimes seeing them as precious takes an attitude shift, but I have gotten adept at doing that. One of the things Yanni spoke about was that ‘here’ is not a place; that it is eternal. We live in simultaneous realities and it is up to us to choose our perception of them. He shared about his experience of witnessing the beauty around him in the form of his wife and son, the first sighting of a vibrantly red cardinal against the background of winter whiteness, the love in which he was immersed by walking into the room in which our services are held. All of these are doorways into such an exalted state of being. The door, he reminded us “Is always open.”

And yet …. sometimes we forget. I call that ‘spiritual amnesia,’ during which we lose track of the reality that not only are we created by God, but that we are inextricably One with all life and to me, that includes the Creator. As I say often here, these are my opinions and not meant to be anyone else’s definitive reality. I have no right to tell anyone what to believe spiritually. When we forget, we need only to call up those sweet memories of experiences. I call these transcendent times my “transfusion from Heaven,” as I sigh with contentment in the midst of them. Sometimes they arrive unbidden and I appreciate them all the more.

Yanni scattered bits of ribbon-wrapped wisdom such as “Anything created with love is eternal.” He reminded us that for some people LIFE is a four letter word and viewed as challenging. I prefer to think of it as Living In For-Ever, since I believe that the souls we are, don’t ever die.

One of the ideas that jumped out at me as Yanni spoke was that not only do we live in goodness when we choose this way of being, but we also live in our God-ness. In that way, we can return again to who and what we were meant to be, as we allow ourselves to be a gift to the world as well.


Happy, Sexy, Shameless: What Our Mothers Didn’t Know About the Birds and the Bees-Book Review




Most of us are at a loss when it comes to expressing how we feel about one of the most Divine experiences human beings can have. We are given mixed messages from parent figures, from the media, from religion. Not much is positive. The reality is, we were born into bodies that have sensory apparatus that attract pleasure. We also long for connection to each other. Enter ….. S-E-X. It’s how humans create more humans. It is how we express love and desire. It can also be a deeply transcendent spiritual experience. Have you ever called out “Oh God,” in the midst of orgam?

So why the hullaballoo? Shasta Townsend encourages us to celebrate it fully, without hiding

Shasta  is a writer, yoga teacher and workshop facilitator who teaches what she refers to as “embodied spirituality.” She is the author of Happy, Sexy, Shameless: What Our Mothers Didn’t Know about the Birds and The Bees. From the outset, she questions:

-Can we as women embrace a positive relationship to sexuality when so many women still live in states of violence, sexual exploitation and fear every day, including perhaps those reading this book?

-Can we as women truly heal from thousands of years of patriarchy and step into a time of healing and cooperation with men? Can men step into this too?

-Do we even believe we can have a great sexual experience or know how to create it as women?

In a radio interview  on It’s All About Relationships, Townsend expressed that she, like most women didn’t receive much helpful information from her mother. That absence leaves feelings of shame and unworthiness that lingers throughout our lifetimes.

She contemplates:  “Am I a good girl if I am interested in sex? An overwhelming message is that women should be ashamed of sexuality. Many spiritual traditions teach this.” It dramatically impacted on her otherwise happy marriage as she found herself pulling away, until her husband reminded her how important intimacy was to sustain the love between them. Fortunately, the wake up called deepened their relationship and gave her a new mission, that of encouraging women and men as well, to embrace their sexuality.

When sex is discussed, it generally is more about ‘how to’, than ‘why to’. She wishes that her mother “had conversation about sexuality being a means of connection and intimacy.”

Townsend offered “Being a fully integrated person incorporates sexuality and can diminish the feelings of shame, confusion and self-hatred. There is shame that our bodies should look a certain way.

She adds there is a “fear of judgment that we carry.” When we open communication with each other and within ourselves, we allow for the freedom to enjoy the full expression of healthy sexuality.”

Avoiding Mental Traffic Jams


This morning, while in session with a therapy client, I was speaking about the importance of mindfulness in maintaining structure and functionality in our lives. There are some days during which a running dialogue is taking place in my head, between …..well … me and me. I will say, “Okay, time to get up, take a shower, gather your stuff together …” and so my day goes. Since I wear many hats and go various places once I leave the house, I pack up whatever is needed. If I am seeing clients, I consider the issues they may bring to the session. If I am pondering an article, I will often write it out in my mind, even before I put fingers to keyboard. That way, when the time comes to do the actual work, I have already started the process and it makes it that much easier to complete. The other benefit of that process is that I can channel my energy in a constructive manner, without being haphazard and scattered.

I told her that it reminded me of the on-ramp to a highway. Only one car at a time can safely enter. If two or more attempt to merge into a line simultaneously, then a collision is likely to occur. Our minds are very much like that traffic-jammin’ trail. So many cluttered thoughts wanting to get on the road and arrive at a destination. How can we simplify and stay safe and sane?

Be aware that random thoughts show up at the speed of light and sound. We experience something like 50,000 thoughts a day. Many of them are unconscious, negative and perseverative.

Just like when you are driving, look both ways, into your side view and rear view mirrors to see what is around you, in front of and behind you. Your past and present may also be merging, so be sure to yield right of way to the current reality. If you are continually gazing behind you, you won’t be as likely to choose to live in this moment.

Notice internal ‘traffic signals’ that tell you to slow down, ground to a halt, or move ahead.

Trust your intuition. It will not steer you wrong.




Attract, Don’t Pursue

Today, while meeting a new Facebook friend and sister wordsmith, Trish Sammer Johnston, we were talking about all of the seeds we have planted in our lives in order to reap the harvest we are enjoying now.  We were sipping ups of tea at my favorite ‘office away from home,’ which is someplace every writer should have, by the way. This one is called The Zen Den and I think of it as our local non-alcoholic version of Cheers, the place where everyone knows your name and I always run into someone I know. As we were perched on our stools, we were chatting animatedly about the various writing jobs we have had, the projects on the horizons and why we write. I sense for her, just as for myself, it is because she has an active and persistent Muse as well and she simply can’t NOT write either.

Another topic arose as we spoke about our sense of value for what we do, as thriving artists who have ‘earned our chops.’ There are times, I admit, when I still want the attention of those who, in my mind, have ‘made it’ to the upper echelon of our profession. When I was a child, I would symbolically ‘tap dance for attention’, loving being in the spotlight, relishing the praise I received for being precocious. At 56, it isn’t all that different. I still crave validation from my peers, although far less so. I have sent copious numbers of query letters to publications for which I desire to write, as well as proposals to ‘big stage’ places at which I want to teach. Sometimes I fuss and fume, mostly internally and occasionally in ‘kvetching’ moments with friends. Then I recognize that everything in my life has arrived right on time, as if directed in for a landing by celestial air traffic control. It is a matter of trust that even if there are flight delays, that the plane will safely traverse the runway. Have some of the ‘flights’ been bumpy? Yep. Have I gotten ‘air sick’?  Uh huh.

What lessons have come home to roost have had to do with surrendering the need to pursue that which I desire. Frankly, it got really exhausting to keep planting and then digging the seeds up to check if they were growing. These days, I am increasingly content with refraining from plowing the same field. I have, instead uncovered a not so secret secret, that if I send out a beacon signal, someone will see it and respond to it. I have become a magnet for success in all forms, knowing that the pursuit of it is less satisfying than the acceptance when it eventually arrives.

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