The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Love Sponge

I have a confession to make. Over the years I have had a challenging time when offered praise, compliments and positive feedback of any sort AND I simultaneously crave it.  Can I get a witness?  Anyone here relate to that dynamic?  Perhaps it arises from my childhood during which I was inundated with attention from immediate and extended family, praised for success and knew I wanted to keep receiving love and acceptance, so I learned to be the consummate people pleaser and good little co-dependent.  I consider myself in active recovery, with the need to be conscious of when I am falling into old patterns of what I call ‘savior behavior’ of fixing, healing and kissing emotional boo-boos to make them all better. An occupational hazard since I am also a minister, social worker, therapist, workshop facilitator and teacher. YIKES! 

A few years ago, I was honored to have been showered with love and all manner of positive attention when I celebrated my 50th birthday at the home of my friend Lisa. I sat there on the floor of her den, surrounded by dear friends from the various overlapping soul circles of my life.  Just being in the presence of such sweet hearts would have been gift enough, but then to hear their words was overwhelming.  I wish I had audio or videotaped what happened next. One by one, they shared what our connection meant to them. Teflon shields were definitely up as their praise slid right off as if it were a sunny side up egg. 

 

As much as I teach this self love and acceptance stuff, I am still a work in progress when it comes to absorbing it in my own life, (Healer, heal thyself) The way I define self love is a willingness to accept the ‘as is’ aspect of who I am and yet be open to adaptation. Self compassion, allowing in the blessings of the Universe, not because I earned it, but just because I AM.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, it, is to be a love sponge; allowing yourself to soak up all of the good stuff, and then you could opt to symbolically wring it out into the world.  You never know what healing is taking place and the inpact your willingness to recieve can have on others who may not be as certain.

So today, as every day, there is a choice…Teflon pan or love sponge?

 

As practice, I invite you to sing this song to yourself in the mirror. I’m singing it to myself as I am typing this.

 

http://youtu.be/wlDmslyGmGI

Exploring Intimacy

Suzann Robins is a woman of many talents and perspectives, seeing the world through the filters of the blended realms of spirituality and sexuality. She has discovered in her years as a researcher and professor that that they are not mutually exclusive as our various cultures might have us believe. She invites people to delve into their relationship paradigms and ask themselves if they are as healthy and dynamic as they can be. Suzann believes that our relationships with ourselves first and then with others who cross our paths, are at the core of overall well-being. In addition to her work as an author,speaker and relationship coach, Suzann facilitates a communication, boundary setting and nurturing touch workshop called Cuddle Party.

 

 

How do you live your bliss?

 

Writing a book wasn’t exactly “following my bliss” it was something I felt called to do. After teaching yoga for several years and then learning tai chi, I began a Master’s Degree program so I could teach at the college level. I attended a small, liberal arts women’s college because I lived nearby. Although it did not have an extensive psychology program, you could design your own. I took lower division classes and did extra research to bring them to a graduate level.


I learned so much by doing that. First, being in class with young women (my daughter’s age) helped me to understand our relationship better. Second, because I had been practicing hypnotherapy for several years, much of what I learned made more sense the second time around. Once I graduated, I taught every level of psychology class for the next ten years.


Teaching is my bliss. And Learning. When I do those two things at the same time, I am living my bliss. As my first full-length book was taking shape, I knew I was doing both: Learning through the research it took to bring it together, and once it was published, the book called Exploring Intimacy, would have the potential to become a teaching tool.


However, when I signed a contract with a major publisher, it meant that I gave up control of several aspects, for one choosing the title. To me the acquisition editor sensationalized my material by highlighting the first two words: Exploring Intimacy. The book is more about cultivating healthy relationships through Insight and Intuition. This became the sub-title.


Your book Exploring Intimacy: Cultivating Healthy Relationships
opens a door that many have kept tightly locked…the nature of relationships.  How would you define intimacy? Why do people fear it?

In the first few paragraphs, I define Intimacy as Into-me-see. Something I learned many years ago through Stan Dale and the Human Awareness Institute, affectionately know as HAI. The HAI sex, love and intimacy workshops open doors that many people keep locked. How to have intimate, loving relationships that may or may not involve sex. And how to see the “angel” in others. These workshops combined the seemingly divergent concepts of sex and spirit. HAI workshops address the idea that by nature we are all both spiritual and sexual beings.


What is the connection between spirituality and sexuality?

Many people, like myself come to believe that we must be EITHER sexual or spiritual and that we cannot be both. I was raised strict Catholic, but there are fundamentalists in many religions that hold this same tenet to be true. When I began practicing yoga and studying meditation in the early 70s, I again learned that sexual energy was to be contained and sublimated into connecting with a higher power. I also learned about the chakra system, but it wasn’t until the 90s when I was in the Master’s Psychology program, that I realized that the chakra system was not only a way to discharge sexual energy in a healthy (read: nonsexual) way, but that the chakras are the basis of the entire endocrine and hormonal system.


It was this realization that called me to write. As I began to research, I found that not many people are aware of this connection, just as they are not aware of the connection between sexuality and spirituality unless they have been introduced to some sort of tantric or taoist practice.

 

 

How does the Chakra System influence our health?

The Chakra System influences our health because the energy that runs through the body in the form of emotions is modulated by whether the chakras are opened or closed – expanded or contracted – leaking or blocked. Neither of these opposites are good or bad, they are just the way the system works. When any chakra is either too open or too closed, the body is often in discomfort, which can lead to dis-ease. Once we become aware of this fact, often through a yoga, tai chi or other martial arts class, we can begin to change the way we act and react in various situations. Once we have control over our actions and reactions, we are healthier, and in turn available for participation in healthy relationships.


This is how I created a fusion of Eastern Philosophy and Western Psychology in my book. An Eastern attitude is to look within and find the divinity or essence of our Self, with a capital S. Western analysis looks outside the individual to the family and society to find what went wrong, and then attempts to fix the “wound” through talk therapy. A more Eastern approach is through the body, through the chakra system, to gain an understanding of the root or base of the problem by learning to let go of the problem.

 

You say that insight and intuition are key elements in intimate
 relationships. Can you elaborate please?

This is not an easy concept to understand by just reading about it. It is something that needs to be experienced. Once we quiet the mind and experience the flow of energy through the body, we gain a greater awareness of our spiritual aspect. I understand Insight to be the act of looking within and having an AHA experience, and Intuition to be the way we receive information from outside of the body/mind, particularly from other people. When we learn about our own energy body, then we also learn to “read” other people’s energy. This knowledge involves learning to release the problem or past hurt in an easy and balanced way, therefore leading to better individual health and healthier relationships.

 

www.suzannrobins.com

 

www.cuddleparty.com 

Your Inner Annie

If you are like me, you have ‘dark nights of the soul’ during which you question…oh just about every aspect of your life. You wonder if you are living your purpose, using your creative talents wisely. You ponder the nature of your relationships; are they as healthy and loving as they can be? You sometimes over-think or over-feel.  You occasionally burn the candle at both ends, until there is no more wax left.

 

More often lately, I channel my ’inner Annie’ and belt out a rollicking chorus: ”The sun’ll come out tomorrow…bet your bottom dollar they’ll be sun.” and inevitably, old Sol does peek through even the thickest of cloud cover.

 

http://youtu.be/Nnjkb4q6FKU

 

I had an experience a few years ago, while lying on the massage table of my friend Ute Arnold who practices a body psychotherapy modality called Unergi which is  a Holistic Therapy method she created.  She developed the Unergi Method by integrating touch with the Alexander Technique, talk in the form of Gestalt Therapy, Unergi Core-Support Movement based on the Feldenkrais Technique™ with creativity and the Healing Forces of Nature.

I was speaking about an area in my life in which I felt I was slogging along with my feet in thick mud. I made a comment about waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel, to which Ute, in her infinite wisdom asked one of those questions that had me do a cartoon character double take.  She asked “What if you could bring the light INTO the tunnel with you?”

I had never considered that, but it made perfect sense.  I would be able to see things with greater clarity, rather than in shadow and illusion. I wouldn’t be waiting until conditions were ‘just right’ before proceeding.   From that moment, I am increasingly aware of times during which I have held back living with the light, in the light and of the light.  I am now letting it shine all around me.

Ask yourself: 

“In what areas of my life am I living in darkness when all I need do is turn on a light?” 

“Am I willing to stretch my mind and thoughts to encompass the darkness and the light and honor the gifts that sometimes come with shadow?”

“How about bringing the light into the tunnel…what might I see that I have been missing or outright avoiding?”

 

Shine on!

 

 

 www.unergi.com

 

 

 

Wonderful Life

One of my favorite movies is an annual special…It’s A Wonderful Life and its meaning transcends the holiday theme. On so many levels, it resonates with the woman in the mirror who has learned that she does make a difference and that she may never know the outcome of the seeds she has planted.

I had never considered another motif of the film and it came in the form of two facebook postings, One was a response from a facebook friend to something I had said a few days ago:

 

“Feeling both strong and fragile lately…opening up all kinds of boxes of old stuff (literally and figuratively) as I unpack my mother’s belongings and integrate them into my life. I can recycle old worn out beliefs into treasures, but first I need to air them out…and boy, are some of them musty): Learning to give myself time, patience and compassion to love myself through this process.”

To which Lynette Chartier answered:

“It was after my mother’s death, while writing her eulogy and needing to sort through her things that I tapped into the subconscious knowing that I had had all along… that she was a misunderstood woman. In fact she could not be understood because she did not really know who she was and therefore the result being that she died with her music in her .

I made a clear decision in the summer of 2004 that I was not going to die with my music in me and that maximizing my potential – blooming into the flower I could be was going to be for 3 generations her, myself and my daughter – that I was going to put an end to a French Canadian cultural way of being – that of playing small so that others can be comfortable. And who knows maybe even for my grand children should my two sons have children of their own.”

 
and then I heard this profound song by recording artist, singer songwriter. humanitarian, world traveller, adventurer Jana Stanfield called George Bailey. In it, Jana shares the leaps of faith it takes to refrain from waiting until conditions are ‘just right’ to make choices to enhance our lives.
 
 
One of my hesitations occur when I stand in front of an escalator and decide on which step to place my feet. It is based on an experience from way back when I was a teenager. It was in the summer and I was wearing sandals that had slick bottoms on them. I took a step onto the escalator at Sears and ended up sliding down on one foot. Fortunately, I didn’t get hurt, but the fear remained with me. In the interceding years (and there are many:), I have never replicated that feet/feat, but I still act as if it is likely to recur.
 
What areas of your life call out for more adventurous action, rather than wait and see? How can this help you to recreate your life?
 

 

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