The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

L’dor Vador

L’dor Vador: ‘From Generation to Generation’ is a common statement in Judaism, indicating that traditions are handed down in that manner, shared like spiritual chicken soup to nourish body and soul.

 

I grew up in a family in which my maternal grandmother was one of 13 children. One of her sisters was named Miriam and she had a son named Ron who with his wife Gladys had three sons named Rick, Steve and Ted.  Rick married Melissa and they have two children Gabriel and Sophia.  It is the young man who was named for his grandmother Gladys who died 15 years ago (and the archangel Gabriel who figures prominently as a messenger from God in three major religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam), who also figures prominently in this story.

 

As I am writing this, likely my 13 year old cousin Gabe and his family are resting after a momentous occasion, because today is the day he became a Bar Mitzvah. (translates from Hebrew as “son of the commandment” and considered to be an adult member of the congregation, responsible for his own relationship with God). This curly haired slim young man with a shy smile that likely covered a sense of mischief, stood before the congregation, his family and friends and took his place in a long line of newly minted teens who crossed that threshold and recited prayers that echo back from thousands of years ago.

 

The Torah portion he chanted was called Beshalach and recalled the story of the Exodus of the Jews who were held as slaves in Egypt. The rabbi offered an explanation prior to Gabe stepping forward, that when the Jews came to the Red Sea, they had two choices, to move ahead into the churning waters with full faith that they would emerge safely or turn back to the lives they had known in Mitzrayim (another name for Egypt:  translated as ‘narrow straits). This to me indicates sometimes self imposed constriction based on fear.  One man named Nahshon, was said to be the first to enter the Red Sea, continuing to move past his likely terror that the water would swallow him, until it reached his nose and then it miraculously parted….the sea, not his nose:)

 

I sat with the congregation. filled with delight and flowing with tears as I witnessed Gabe’s triumph.  Years of practice, not only in the classroom and synagogue, but in his daily life, prepared him for this day.  He had a special mitzvah (good deed ) project to complete and it was in perfect synch with his interest in sports and willingness to do service.  Melissa works in the Philadelphia School District and had told Gabe about a lack of sports equipment at her school and how there were many children who fought on the playground as a result.  So Gabe; avid athlete that he is, knew that his project was to collect gently used sports equipment to offer to the school. I think he said, all told, he collected 100 balls, jump ropes, hoola hoops and other assorted items.  He was able to present them to the school and heard feedback about what a difference it had made.  A bonus was the realization of how blessed he and his friends are to have access to sports equipment and activities. 

 

Clearly, the values handed down from previous generations have landed solidly in this one.  Mazel Tov, Gabe!  What a mensch you are.

 

L’dor Vador by Josh Nelson  

http://youtu.be/wNNPwcZdft0

Martin Musical Montage

Honoring what would have been the 82nd birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. For the past quarter century, in this country, people have been encouraged to make it a ‘day on’, rather than a ‘day off’ as they take up the reins that were dropped when shots rang out and took the life of a man who stands as an example of what can be accomplished when faith meets action.

Service projects cross country range from offering emotional/spiritual/physical nourishment in a soup kitchen or shelter, picking up hammer and nails with Habitat For Humanity, cleaning up a vacant lot, visiting people in nursing homes or who are shut in at home, becoming a reading mentor, Big Brother or Big Sister, picking up groceries for an elderly or ill neighbor…the list and the needs are endless.

 

www.mlkday.gov  is a great source for seeing where you and your talents fit.

 

Sharing a few of my favorite songs that mention Dr. King in the lyrics or make reference to him.

 

It’s A Hard Life by Nancy Griffith

http://youtu.be/eCnAwkULI-4 

 

Abraham, Martin and John  by Marvin Gaye

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsYscCNWRiY 

 

Happy Birthday To Ya by Stevie Wonder

http://youtu.be/hrIrEgEX2hU 

 

In The Name of Love by U2

http://youtu.be/ByuyP1PNqKQ

 

Be a force for good in the world! 

 

Patchwork Quilt

Last weekend, I attended a memorial service for a college era friend named Mario Cavallini who died on 12/30 in a motor vehicle accident. His wife Sondra Ball had died earlier in the year.  Another friend, Beverly, was with him in the car and now is in the ICU in Thomas Jefferson Hospital.  Prayers surround and enfold her. Returned to the Friends meetinghouse Mario and Sondra had attended in South Jersey, surrounded by more than 100 people, from those overlapping soul circles I speak of often.  Last time, the springtime grasses were sprouting; a sign of new life emerging, while today the snow that lay across the grass and parking lot offered a barren feeling.  Most were part of their Quaker community, some from Mario’s workplace, some their family and still others part of the group of friends who have so deeply touched my life since we met more than 30 years ago. Destiny, it seems, had invited us to this beyond space and time place called Together, Inc. in Glassboro, NJ. Crisis intervention hotline, youth shelter, rape crisis program and women’s program, it was staffed primarily by earnest, idealistic psychology or sociology majors, determined to make a difference in the world. I like to think we did and still do.

 

Many of us (now in our 50′s and 60′s) went on to become teachers, therapists, counselors and clergy. I laugh when I think of two movies that link me to that time:  The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Big Chill.  The first represented the wild child nature that I didn’t often indulge, until that film helped me to ‘be it, rather than dream it’ (a paraphrase of one of the lines from a song in the movie) and the second portrayed characters coming together for the funeral of a friend, about which we remarked: “That will be us in 15 years.”  (the reunion and dynamics, not the funeral). Today, as I sat next to Gina, both having gotten there just as the service was starting, holding hands and hugging throughout, others of our friends were scattered amidst those celebrating Mario’s rich, full life in a Quaker service that had us sitting in contemplative silence until moved by Spirit to give share our inspiration.  In a little while, I heard my own voice say that Mario was a true Renaissance Man, one of those rare souls who offered heart and head wisdom. We were all part of a patchwork quilt woven from love and passion, color and creativity, dedication and commitment and with Sondra and Mario’s passing, it would be easy to say that their patches were rent asunder. Not so, I realized…they just changed form and still hold their place in the fabric. I choose to wrap that soft quilt around me, particularly in times in which I face loss. With each friendship I create and sustain, the quilt becomes ever more beautiful and comforting.

 

A man at the service spoke about his encounters with Sondra and Mario.  He had gotten to know each of them as individuals before he even knew they were married.  He shared an insight that has remained with me.  Something to the effect of getting to separate out the parts of himself that were truly himself from the parts that were Mario in him.  When we create relationships, (co-dependence non-withstanding), we do become part of each other, drinking in the essence of the people in our lives

 

After the service, we perused two photo albums brought my another friend Cliff who had taken the pictures of Sondra and Mario’s lakeside sunrise wedding in a South Jersey park in the early 1980′s. Garbed in flowing robes, flowers in their hair, they appeared fresh scrubbed and baby-faced . Various images of friends, some we have not seen since those innocent days…we laughed as we (middle aged moment flailing/failing memory) challenged ourselves to put names to faces. One picture of me, in profile, long hair flowing in waves, hippie child incarnate.  When Cliff sends it to me, I will post it.  I often have dialogues with that version of me.  She so desperately strived to be something she thought she wasn’t: “one of the cool kids” rather than the naive wannabe. Come to find out at our first reunion in 2000 or so, that all that efforting wasn’t necessary and that my perception was a bit skewed.

 

When we hugged our goodbyes and went back out into the cold, we carried the warmth of treasured friendship and declared that the next time we got together, it would be for a joyous occasion.

 

As I gaze back in wonder, I am immensely grateful for the heart and soul nourishment that is firmly rooted in my past while its branches reach ahead of even where I am planted at the moment.

 

Vaya Con Dios, Mario <3

 

www.sondra.net 

Help Wanted

From the wise mind and heart of Courtney A. Walsh: “Help Wanted: Vibrational entrainment specialists needed. Job description: You will set the tone of love, bring light & harmony wherever you go. You will not do this through suffering but through joy. This position requires extreme flexibility, be both vulnerable AND strong. You possess an open mind, open heart & deep respect for all life. Room for growth. Excellent benefits. Apply within”.~CAW

 
Do you remember signing up for this role?  The  deeper I go into my spiritual/life practice, the more I recall that I did indeed request this assignment long before I incarnated in this Humanly Divine and Divinely Human form. In each moment, I have a choice whether to face whateveh comes my way, with joy or struggle.  Joy is much more fun, soul satisfying and life enhancing.  Are you willing to ‘apply within’?  What a lovely double entendre’ that is.  When we look within, we are able to glean such infinite treasure and discover skills we didn’t realize we possessed.  How would you put to use the concepts you discover?  This is leadership stuff we are talking about here. Management material for setting the tone for the rest of your life. The CEO of the Universal Corporation is awaiting your reply with anticipation.

Courtney A. Walsh expresses herself in this way on her facebook page:

Founder, Mental Wellness Author and Speaker
Author of “Lipstick and Thongs in the Loony Bin”, speaker, dreamer,  do-er, copywriter, editor, marketing consultant, Reiki practitioner, humor catalyst, sister, daughter, friend, auntie, mischief maker, authority questioner, life embracer, love lover loving and beloved child of the UNI-VERSE. Yeah. That’s right. And what/who are YOU?

 

www.loonybus.com   

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