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The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Holiday Mash-up


In the past few days, I have been observing and taking part in conversations on Facebook about the greetings we use during this holiday season. Some people were taking offense at the idea of a generic “Happy Holiday” salutation, indicating that it was their right ‘as Americans’ to say “Merry Christmas” and no one was gonna take that away from them.  I am not intending to make fun of those who wrote that, but that is truly how it was expressed.  I responded respectfully in all cases, that we live in a world in which this time of year honors many holy-days, including Christmas, Hanukkah, The Winter Solstice and Kwanzaa. If I am missing any, please forgive me. I don’t assume anyone celebrates any particular holiday and I celebrate them all. I was raised spiritually and culturally Jewish and shared holidays in our home and theirs, with friends from diverse backgrounds. I was taught to respect other people’s practices. As an ordained interfaith minister, I appreciate the common thread that the Light is present in us all and is at the core of all of the winter rituals.

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We have an annual Latke Party at our home, with the smell of sizzling potato pancakes permeating the air not only on that day, but for a week afterward. Friends and family stream through, bearing their own culinary delights and open hearts to share. Laughter, music, fun and celebration abound. White twinkle lights are around my hallway and dining room, a menorah and a miniature tree on the table in my front hall, decorated with feathers, faeries and angels greet those who walk through my door. Candles shine brightly throughout the house. A feeling of warmth and welcome radiate outward from those glad hearts in my life. That energy remains as powerfully as the food aromas for quite awhile.

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Wishing you the beatitudes of the season, however your soul sees fit to celebrate. And in that spirit, I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa,  Blessed Be.

 

One of my favorite songs that honors two traditions:

 

Christmas in the Ashram

 

 

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Light of Seven Mornings

After years of penning and performing her divinely inspired songs for her family and friends,  as well as at local concert venues in the Philadelphia area, Deva Troy has expanded her musical reach and now offers it as a gift to a world in need of inspiration and sonic sustenance. Those of us fortunate to have been bathed in the music, which, if I close my eyes, reminds me of Joan Baez, are grateful for Deva’s leap into recording for posterity. I was blessed to be in the audience of her CD release party at Pebble Hill Church recently, among 100 or so singing and clapping along.

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Deva shares:

“It was the gentle prompting of my dear friend of 30 years Gary Schoenberg that got me my first gig, opening for Elaine SIlver a traveling singer/songwriter with several cd’s and a lovely following who has the voice of an angel.

She has graciously invited me every year to open for her for the past 6 years at Pebble Hill Church
and also has encouraged me to write, sing and record my songs. Fairie Elaine has been a good friend and mentor for me starting out in my “middle years.” Without the Pebble Hill venue I don’t know if I would have found my place in the community with my music. Singing there has shown me that my niche’ is people who are into growing, healing and transformation. They “get” my music and are visibly touched by it. There is nothing better for a recording artist than to hear people sing their songs, request their songs, make your songs their own….”

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Light of Seven Mornings (the title and theme of which come from a medieval Jewish poem) is the name of the CD and the lyrics in the chorus have long touched my heart, since hearing them in childhood:

May you lie down in peace my friend.
May you rise up full of wonder.
Wrap yourself in the one,
Morning after morning, morning after morning.

A  treatise called The Meaning of Life lays at  the foot of the listener a simple and profound guide for finding direction.

The meaning of Life at the core
Is to love unconditionally more,
To accept all the lessons as the gifts and the blessings
That make this life worth living, living for.

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As a seasoned woman, by far, my favorite piece is called Raging Hormones

First I’m hot, then I’m cold,
Who’da thunk that growing old
Could power up the neighborhood,
With my raging hormones!

Can I get an amen, sistah?

Other song titles:

Gentle Sister, The Woman Honoring Song, Hands of Light, Help Me Stay Humble, Summertime, My Father Said, Hold Me Mother Earth, We Are the Ones and What If Peace Broke Out? Each song is a treasure to be unwrapped savored and shared. There is something for everyone on what I know is only the first of Deva’s delights.

An ordained interfaith minister, Deva is greatly influenced by her Earth based spiritual practice and she is one of the founding members of the Peaceweavers community based in the Finger Lakes region of NY.

 

 

For more info, go to www.devatroy.com where you can enjoy Youtube videos from her concert.

 

 

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Time And A Sense of Wonder

 

What would you do if you had “time and a sense of wonder?” That is a question that beckons to me today, after watching this magnificent TED Talk offered by film-maker Louie Schawartzberg.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXDMoi

When I consider the 24 hours a day, we are each granted from the moment the sun rises, until the moment it sets and then rises anew,  I am in awe, because I know that  it is ripe with opportunity to make a difference in my own life and that of those with whom I cross paths. Thinking about the number of hours I wasted in the past, worrying, second guessing, ‘what if and if only-ing’, I shake my head in dismay, because I know that it could instead, have been invested wisely. How much richer and fuller could my relationships have been had I known then what I know now? How much peace of mind could I have experienced instead of disturbing my own peace? These are simply inquiries and not condemnation. These days, I am amply aware that time is a precious commodity to be used to grow love seeds instead of a patch of weeds.

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And then there’s the wonder part. I look at the world through opti-mystical, miracle eyes and what comes back to me is that it is a pretty awesome place. Life is endlessly fascinating and I am never bored. One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie Joe vs. The Volcano. “My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.”

What is it that you find amazing?

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Wiggly Lines

Read these lines this morning, offered by a Facebook friend named Louise Carter that gave me a chuckle:
“Hmm, most interesting school run this morning! Dropped my youngest son at school and then walked home with my eldest Kal who is off school due to the teacher’s strike. Whilst walking holding hands with Kal, talking about how he draws such beautiful pictures, he turns and says “Mummy what are those wiggly lines on you?” I replied confused, “What do you mean,..my hair?” He looked at me and said, “No, those wiggles there,” as he pointed to the area above his eyebrows. I started to laugh realising that my son had in his own way told me I was getting old and wrinkly…lol..oh dear, have to laugh or I may cry. Time for botox maybe?!”

Oh no, Louise, and anyone else who feels that they need to erase away the well earned laugh lines that grace our faces. As a ‘seasoned woman’ who just turned 53, I embrace the crinkles that appear when I smile, have allowed my hair to go natural; now a wee bit salt and pepper. The wisdom that accompanies them, is well worth it. Part of my view of this emerged in childhood, since I come from a large, extended family. My maternal grandmother was one of 13 children, so there were always aunts, uncles and cousins around. I watched my grandparents’ and parents’ generation age. Some bought into the myth that as you get older, you deteriorate. Others, like my parents (bless them big time for this!), remained vibrant and vital into their middle 80’s. My dad Moish,  worked in a gym for many years after official retirement, and then when Parkinsons kicked in, he kicked it back by continuing to work out in the gym and then at home; having 6 pack abs into his late 70’s. My mom taught water aerobics and senior stretch classes, called Stretching With Selma.  I inherited their belief that age is simply a number. Attitude is everything.

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My friend Jim Donovan wrote a wonderful book, called Don’t Let An Old Person Move Into Your Body which offers ideas for living full out regardless of chronological age. Rabbi Zalman Schacter Shalomi speaks of the concept ‘From Age-ing to Sage-ing’ and Ram Dass offers his take on Conscious Aging.

 

So as you gaze into your mirror today, take a moment to honor and appreciate every one of those lines on your beautiful face.

You’re Aging Well by Dar Williams

www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uIAVpM-D_A 

Ram Dass on Conscious Aging

vimeo.com/2843759

Reb Zalman

Jim Donovan

www.jimdonovan.com

 

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