The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Burning The Candle

 

A day in the life of a ‘professional hyphenate’ : writer-speaker-interfaith minister-social worker-reiki master-volunteer- clown often leaves me feeling as if I am burning the candle at both ends, to such an extent that there is no more wax left. I imagine that anyone reading this can relate. Add to that my roles as single mom of 23 old son and you get the picture in vivid living color.

 

Recovering Type A personality, I joke that I am ‘functionally manic’. My friend Amy has described me as someone who “runs around with your hair on fire.”

 

What is it that drives me to such a point that slowing down feels like standing still? A desire to succeed, a compulsion to do rather than simply BE, a need to be center stage, a wanting to be necessary or even indispensable? What is my fear? When I examine it through my social worker’s lens, I see that if I don’t keep moving, I will stagnate….no, that’s not really it. More like ‘who am I if not all of these things I do and roles I play?’ Just an average, ordinary person making it day by day through a life that sometimes feels like equal parts pleasure and challenge.


A Course in Miracles defines a miracle as “a shift in perception.” I like that, because it implies that we have a choice, moment to moment, to see all of the experiences and people in our lives as opportunities for growth and blessing. When I shift my perception from what I expressed in the previous paragraph and see those things as simply mental constructs; monkey-mind chatter, to what is true, that regardless of what I may accomplish in any given day, I know that I am still worthy, still a Divine creation, as is everyone else. Then there is no need to scurry about. I can be in flow, in alignment, rather than in opposition to life and whatever events may occur in any given day. I can enjoy the pace of my creativity, rather than efforting through it, checking items off one by one as validation that I am a success. Several bonuses arise from that recognition. I notice that I am more at peace within myself and more inclined to interact lovingly with people. I can tell when I am on the verge of burn out when I experience ‘compassion fatigue’. I tell my co-workers that it feels as if my compassion meter is a quart low and I need a re-fill.


Opportunities arise to create from my heart’s desires when I am not blocking the flow with all of these ‘have to’s’. Rather, I look at my life and the tasks it takes to manage it as ‘get to’s’, like “Oh goody, I get to pay bills because that means that creditors trust me with their services and I have the wherewithal to satisfy my commitments.”


I invite you to slow the pace of your daily dance to a gliding waltz rather than a reggae beat for a bit, just to get a feel for what it is like. Some ideas that

re-charge my batteries include yoga, meditation, writing, listening to relaxing music, reading, receiving TLC, which sometimes includes massage or energy work, walking in nature, hugging a tree, hanging out with my favorite people or four-leggeds, napping and on occasion, indulging in small amounts of my drug of choice: chocolate. Nurture the man or woman in the mirror and reap the rewards in unlimited quantities.



Manifesting Miracles

Manifest a miracle. Remove your doubt and judgment smeared specs and replace them with clean and clear visual enhancing glasses.  When you change how you see things, everything you see changes. Live in miracle mindedness.

At the moment, I am looking at a bumper sticker perched on top of my bedroom mirror to remind me of what it is that we are capable of. It was given to me by a friend named Rod who is indeed a Miracle Maven. He knows that miracles are everywhere and not dependent on external circumstances. Various faith traditions have their own perspective on this phenomenon.

wikipedia.org says:  “A miracle, derived from the old Latin word miraculum meaning “something wonderful”, is a striking interposition of divine intervention by a supernatural being in the universe by which the ordinary course and operation of Nature is overruled, suspended, or modified.”

Baker’s Dictionary of the Bible defines a miracle as “an event in the external world brought about by the immediate agency or the simple volition of God.”

Dictionary.com has this to offer:
 
an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.
such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God
a wonder; marvel.
a wonderful or surpassing example of some quality: a miracle of modern acoustics.
 
A Course In Miracles refers to a miracle as a ‘shift in perception’.  I like to view it as a re-framing.  Call to mind a favorite painting, drawing or photograph in your home. Then imagine the frame that is holding it in place.  Is it simple or ornate? Does it enhance or detract from the image it surrounds? How do you feel when you look at it?
 
Now vizualize a different frame.  What color, texture, substance?  How does the image now appear to you?  Same picture, different context.
 
Think about the miracles you have already experienced in your life and those you wish to witness. My sense about it is that a miracle need not be dramatic, bringing with it bells and whistles and lightning flashes across the sky. It is as simple as feeling your own heart beat, looking into the eyes of a loved one, healing a relationship, taking a leap into the unknown or watching the flickering light of a candle that illuminates darkness.
 
Although people consider this a season of miracles, I ask…. relegate it to only one time a year?  What if we are called on to recognize miracles as our Divine inheretance and give thanks for them even before we see them unfold?

What You Practice

Recently, I took a much needed day of respite in the midst of swirling life activity. In addition to a full time job, consulting that includes writing and speaking gigs, my work as an interfaith minister, being a single mom of a young man, I am also a daughter of a mother in hospice a distance away. Needless to say, my circuits sometimes require a bit of rewiring.

Heading to my local nail salon, I was about to engage in an activity that I would have thought frivolous until a few years ago….a relaxing, pampering pedicure…for me a spiritual experience of delightful proportions.  After all, the ingredients are soothing water and emollients, connection with another being, nurturing touch and the opportunity to take pause into stillness to contemplate or meditate.  I had brought along with me Cheri Huber’s book called “What You Practice Is What You Have”.  Cheri is the founder of The Zen Monastery Peace Center and the book is filled with ideas to inspire and heal.

As Kathy, the beautiful being before me was working wonders on my tired feet, she asked what I was reading.  I showed her the book and then had an instaneous aha moment!  How silly was I, reading about present moment awareness, when I could be fully living it, by immersing into the experience of being taken care of by someone who was offering devotional service in the form of her professional work?  I sighed, put the book down and then allowed myself to feel all of the wondrous sensations.  By the time I left the salon, my whole body was relaxed and my toe nails were a vibrant purple!  Now I feel like I am walking on clouds.

I invite you to be aware of the times in your life in which you think about, read about, distance yourself from full immersion in life.  I further encourage you to put aside whatever may be standing between you and the moment to moment awe that you could be experiencing. You are so worthy of it.

 

www.livingcompassion.org

Papillon

 

Over the past 7 months, my Mom and I have been on a journey through life into death. On Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), she crossed the threshold into eternity and the arms of her Beloved….my father; the man she had married 54 years earlier. I am writing this on the afternoon following her service at which I officiated. It was my healing and my honor to offer this to her.

A few months ago, I had asked her what happens when you die…..what awaits on the other side and she said she didn’t know. I asked her to tell me when she knew and she said she would come back and tell me…as a butterfly. On the way to the airport on Friday morning, there was a car in front of us with a butterfly sticker on the rear windshield. On Saturday, I was taking care of banking business and was creating a page where I could monitor her accounts on line. The young man who was setting it up, showed me an icon that had popped up on the page and guess what it was? A butterfly, of course. I laughed and told him why. He said that there were thousands of icons to choose from and that was the first one that came up.

On my flight down, I encountered an angel in human body in the form of a flight attendant named Jewelee (yes that is really her name and she really is a jewel!) who saw that I had SARK’s newest book on my lap called Glad No Matter What which is about healing and loss and grief. I had just interviewed SARK and brought the book along for comfort. She exclaimed “Oh, I love her!” and then walked past. I went back to the galley with the book and loaned it to her while we were flying. I told her why I had it with me and her tears welled up. She told me that a dear friend of hers had died and that she had gotten a tatoo in her honor. I asked what it was and and she hiked up her skirt and showed me a dragonfly on her thigh. Not quite a butterfly, but close:) We hugged and cried together and then a little while later she checked on me and spent the next 30 minutes or so talking to me. No one complained. We are going to stay in touch.

THEN….my Mom’s neighbor Dianne came to pick my sister and me up at the airport and shared a story. She had agreed to give the funeral home the outfit my Mom had wanted to wear; the beautiful suit she wore for their 50th anniversary vow renewal that I had the joy of officiating 4 years ago.It was hanging on the back of the door of the den. Well, Dianne had forgotten to give it to them and went about, with another neighbor Myrna, tidying up.Myrna says to Dianne…”That door to the den just closed by itself.” and she was too freaked out to go in, so Dianne did. She laughed when she saw that the outfit was still on the door and Myrna said “That was just Selma reminding me about the suit.” Dianne then got it over to the funeral home.

Last night, I was at Starbucks; my ‘office’ equipped with free wifi, and heard the gospel song “I’ll Fly Away” followed by Gotta Get Back by Shelby Lynne with the word “butterflies’ in the lyrics. While on facebook, I saw that a friend had posted a picture of her Christmas tree and the prominent decorations were…butterflies, of course.

Today, as my sister and I were pulling up to the chapel, we saw a butterfly dancing over the building. Prior to the service, we were greeted by one of my Mom’s hospice nurses who loved pins. My Mom had given her a few of them and the one she wore today? Decorated with the winged wonders. After the service, we drove to the grave side and were escorted by a host of butterflies. As I was offering prayers before they lowered my mother’s coffin into the waiting earth, another hovered above. Even as I am immersed in grief, I am heartened by the certainty that she is soaring freely and that my heart is now ready to fly with her.

So, I am living my new life as an ‘adult orphan’ but feeling a sense of calm that comes from a certainty that both of my parents are well. I am also relieved that I won’t be waiting for the phone to ring with the news. I am on slow mode now and will be taking the week off to regroup before getting back to ‘normal’ routine, although I will be creating a new sense of ‘normal.’

If you would like to make a donation in my Mom’s name (Selma Weinstein) there are three charities we are supporting.

VITAS Innovative Hospice Care® of Broward County

5420 Northwest 33rd Avenue, Suite 100Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309

 

Deborah Heart and Lung Hospital 

200 Trenton Road  Browns Mills, NJ 08015 


Twilight Wish Foundation (grants wishes to senior citizens):

www.twilightwish.org

Twilight Wish Foundation

P.O. Box 1042

Doylestown, PA 18901

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