This Bliss Blog entry was inspired by radio host of Your Story Matters; Angela Schaefers who uses a wonderful tecnhique to handle life stuff happening.
She says “I have taught myself and my adult daughters to ‘Take Five’, take five minutes to remember five things to be grateful for. Though we are not always together we will call or text one another with our ‘Take Five’. We often remind each other to ‘Take Five’ when one of us are having a discouraging day or moment!”
What a brilliant idea, since gratitude nourishes body, mind and spirit. It is a portable skill that takes no special equipment, can occur in a heartbeat, can be done in silence, outloud, in writing or song and dance. I love doing an atty-tood of gratitude dance. It starts with wiggling my toes (today, with cherry red toenails for a splash of color), moves up my ankles to my legs, wiggling my hips, bouncing up and down, swaying to music that is sometimes only in my head, if not on the radio, arms reaching up and out, bopping about, silly smile on my face. I can’t help but be in feel good mode.
In this moment, my Take Five:
I am grateful to be inside under an intact roof in this rainstorm, with air conditioning that works.
I am grateful for my family and friends who are my treasures.
I am grateful for creative work that I love.
I am grateful for my connection with Spirit.
I am grateful that I have the opportunity to stretch and expand my comfort zones as I embark on exciting new adventures.
Even if you are not feeling particularly blessed, I can guarantee that by doing this, you will experience a lightening of your load, an upliftment of your mind. an elevation of your energy, a lilt in your step…get the picture? When gravity’s dragging you down….look up.
Take Five to listen (well, 5:30) http://youtu.be/vmDDOFXSgAs
In learning to hold both our pain and our pleasure we can embrace the Bliss that is always available. – Dr. Jennifer Howard
Holding pleasure is always my first choice, as it is for most folks. Throughout my life, I have avoided pain as best I can, denied it when it arrived. pushed past it, and yet I have learned that it can often be a powerful teacher. As a child, I had the requisite boo-boos from falling and skinning my knees, spraining my ankles and on three occasions, had broken them (6th, 8th and 10th grades). I was diagnosed with asthma around 4 or 5 and spent years in the doc’s office for allergy shots and check ups, and nights in the bathroom, inhaling steam to open my constricted lungs. I grew up in a family in which care, but not over-protection was offered and I was a rough and tumble kid at times…biking, skating, sledding, swimming, getting muddy, hanging out in the woods. Emotional boo boos were not as comfortable for me. I put on a smiling face and made things look better and easier than they were. I learned to be a chameleon and go along to get along, to fit in when I felt weird (an alien baby left on my parents’ doorstep as I sometimes gleefully informed them).
It seemed like that behavior served me at times, but in retrsopect, I can see where it hindered my growth and kept fully genuine connection at bay. Even now there are times when I act as if everything feels good, when some days, it just plain sucks! I have learned the difference between pain and suffering, but when I deny distress, it has an opportunity to go underground for a bit and then resurfaces, perhaps in a more clever disguise. Better, I have learned, to recognize it, address it, ask it literally what it wants me to learn, because when I do that, it isn’t as daunting to move through. I am allowing myself to hold and be held in that pain state, to permit it to be soothed and ameliorated. It is only then that I am able to be fully human and real and in my work with clients/attendees at my workshops and classes, I can hold space for them to move through their own painful experiences so as not to deny or exacerbate. It is a necessity for this recovering co-dependent. There was a time when I would take on others’ pain in order to avoid my own, which of course would come back to bite me in the tush more times than I can count. I became an empath (think Counselor Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation) which is quite an honor and can at times bring with it vicarious traumatization. One of my many hats is that of a social worker who is privy to stories that would curl most people’s toes (and not in a good way): I sometimes need to shake it off, sweat it out at the gym, cry it out in the car and cleanse if off in the shower, since other people’s pain sometimes sticks to me like burrs that you would collect on the hem of your pants if you were walking through the woods.
Friends have reminded me over the years, that I have the right to acknowledge pain and challenges rather than brush them off, since after all, I reason that other people have it much worse and I have little to complain about in my life. Mine is legitimate as well and when I gaze backward in time, I can marvel at what I have gotten through, relatively sane and vertical.
Most of the pain I endure comes from within…the negative monkey mind chatter, the subtle and overt put downs, the self deprecating, seductive dance. It is when I bless it all, the pain and the pleasure, embracing the aspects of myself that are petulant and disgruntled, I emerge restored.
http://youtu.be/StcMnwyhpdQ Benedictus by The Strawbs
“I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh
This quote reached out and grabbed me by the heart when I saw it on the page of fb friend Carol Woodliff, since it speaks profoundly about the intense passion I have for writing. I know that I was born to be a writer and in previous incarnations, have been one, since it comes so easily and freely. I almost never have writer’s block and find that anything I experience can be grist for the mill and often is. Even in the midst of the most enjoyable moments, I toggle back and forth between mindful immersion in it and contemplating how I will communicate it later on, eager to get to my computer to share it. Even in anticipation of an event, I do that. Does that seem weird?
Last year, in a reading with psychic Corbie Mitleid, she told me “Your relationship will be with your Muse.” At the time, I didn’t think to get clarity with her about what that meant. Was she indicating that my partner would also be my inspiration for my creative flow or was she saying that the Muse itself would become lover/partner? Both would be just fine and dandy with me(: There are times when it is heart and soul satisfying to sit in silence and then allow the words to flow, unimpeded, opening to the sprinkles that intensify to torrents. Grateful to be drenched in descriptions.
In recent years, I have opened myself to be what I call “God’s Typist” to whom ideas are dictated. There was a time when I would have thought that description grandiose, but now I know it is accurate. We are all hollow reeds through which celestial music can be played if we allow for it. Writing also one of my healthy addictions and that which keeps me sane and vertical at times. I am grateful to have been tapped.
There are some days when I would imagine writing for 12 hours straight, taking time for potty breaks and a wee bit of food, but otherwise immersed in my craft. At the moment, I am listening to my favorite radio station (WXPN 88.5 in Philadelphia), on Saturday morning of Memorial Day Weekend, letting my fingers dance across the keyboard, Pat Metheney instrumental version of the Norah Jones made famous composition (written by Jesse Harris) “Don’t Know Why” wafting across the airwaves. The dryer is doing its job across the hall, Nag Champa incense lightly billowing through the air. Just had cereal with all kinds of colorful berries…straw/rasp/blue and am sipping Rooibos tea…enjoying the multi-sensory experience. Anticipating a hotter than normal late Spring that feels like mid Summer day with a wide open schedule into which I will sprinkle a playout at the gym, cleaning, time with friends and of course….writing.
Wishing you all wondrous worlds of words.
When I went to bed last night, I chose to program a question to be answered by the time my fingers touched the keyboard this morning. I didn’t have a theme for today’s Bliss Blog, so I asked the Muse for a specific, definitive concept. Like lucid dreaming, it has worked for all kinds of creative geniuses and inventors throughout the ages, so I figured “What the heck?” Long about 4 :15 a.m., I awoke to the sound of some of my favorite kirtan artists named Deva Premal, Miten and Manose, singing a beautiful ode to do-overs, called Second Chance.
I hung my hat on a wishing tree
I asked for one wish – I could’ve had three
but I only asked for what I needed
could’ve asked for money, riches and wealth
but all I really wanted was to find myself
unaccustomed as I was to seeking
and my heart whispered inside and the moon rose and the angels sighed..
and they said… here comes your second chance
you’d better believe it open up and receive it here comes your second chance
take a deep breath, this is your second chance.
make peace with your mother and your father, too
make peace with the stranger inside of you
and forgive yourself for the things you tried and failed to do
embrace your anger, your lust and your greed
that’s how we drop the things that we don’t need
pick up a musical instrument or plant a seed
that was my heart whispering inside ‘welcome’ it said, ‘you’re home and dry’
[chorus] well the years went by and my wish came true
and i find myself here with you
i had to climb that mountain there was no way around it
and we all come and go like waves in the sea
each with our own responsibility
to leave this world more beautiful than we found it
that’s your heart whispering inside
and you know your heart, it never lied
And here comes your second chance….
Not quite wide awake at that hour, but not yet ready to dive back into sleep, I allowed myself the luxury of meandering through the pages of the past 53 years of my life and consider the many and varied do-overs and re-creations of myself. Fifteen years ago, I was immersed in severe self-doubt, second guessing nearly every decision, a co-dependent chameleon who changed colors lest I lose approval. Calling my caregiving tendencies an insurance policy against rejection and abandonment, I was an emotional contortionist would bend over backward to please people. Sometimes I cringe when I think about the me-that-I-was and then I reach out to ‘her’ in compassion, for if not for her courage in getting past the enmeshed, enabling, self-sabotaging behaviors, you wouldn’t be reading these words. So much has transpired in the interceding years; including the illness and death of my husband and parents, working with people with mental health challenges, relationship roller coaster rides, stretching my comfort zones with career choices, becoming a free lance journalist, interviewer and author, taking what I have learned (some through joy, some through sorrow) to guide other people through sometimes rocky terrain. I have learned to trust the guidance of Spirit, that it will lead me to serve the Highest Cause. These days, I still find myself (or, actually, lose myself) in inner critiholism, even as recently as this morning, which snarled at me, “If you’re all that, then how come…..?” (and I filled in the blank with a few of my not-yet-arrived-heart’s-desires). I quickly remedied the thought with the response of “Since you ARE all that, what you desire is here now and you welcome in the rest as it shows up.” and then I did a count my blessings list. All of this can be done in a heartbeat.
Today, my prayer is that I embrace any and all Second Chances that the Universe sees fit to offer, with grace and gratitude.
Thank you to my friends Miten, Deva and Manose for showing up in my dream last night(:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5QO66phajs Second Chance by Miten with Deva Premal and Manose