The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

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?


National Hugging Day

Imagine a world in which everyone who would like to do so, could experience nurturing touch on a daily basis. How many hugs do you share each day?  For most people, the number is stunningly low.  According to family therapist Virginia Satir:

“For human beings, you need two hugs a day to survive, four hugs for maintenance, six hugs to grow.”  


Even for this insatiable hugger, I can honestly say that even I don’t

share six hugs each day, but I am working on it:)  Here is an

opportunity to dip your toes into the hugging waters, if it is a new

or uncomfortable experience for you. And if you are a veteran

hugger, feel free to dive right in!  But, ask first before you hug

someone and get their verbal consent.


 Today is National Hugging Day was founded in 1986  by

Rev. Kevin Zaborney from Caro, Michigan is a chance to ‘take up

arms’ in a peaceful way . I am tickled with delight  when I think of

the joys of hugging that people have experienced since that first

day that it was a mere thought in the mind of the

creator of this event.


Hugging carries with it so many benefits on all levels, including

lowering blood pressure  and heart rate and invoking a sense of

belonging, thus preventing isolation. There is also increase of the

hormone called oxytocin which is secreted when mothers nurse

and people cuddle. Folks who hug more, also notice an ability to

create and sustain intimate relationships. Quite simply, hugging is

portable, fat free, calories free and cholesterol treat. so if you’ve got

arms, welcome someone into them.



To learn more, go to 


Music to hug by written by Fred Small


The Hug Song 






Me Time

As I am typing these words, I am lounging in bed while listening to Sleepy Hollow on Philly based member supported public radio station WXPN 88.5 fm (you can also get the web-streaming version at ) In  pj’s, nestled in flannel sheets and comfy quilt. Gazing out my window onto a winter-white landscape. A cup of Roiboos tea from South Africa on the nightstand.  Breathing in the nutty cinnamony aroma before sipping it each time, making it part of my mindfulness practice.  Not such an unusual experience for me.


What has become an out of the ordinary thing is stepping back from activity, of necessity.  In the six weeks or so since my mother died, I have been as ‘on’ as ever, maintaining my regular work schedule (full time social worker and consultant, writing, teaching and ministry gigs, as well as doing promo for my own and other people’s work), finishing my book, tying up loose ends with my mother’s affairs, unpacking her belongings and integrating them into my environment, going to the gym for my regular ‘playouts’…much more fun than calling them ‘workouts’ and spending play time with friends.  All of this hasn’t left much time for mourning the passing of a woman who I have always thought of as my most ardent cheerleader and (as cliche’d as it sounds) my best friend. Much of who I have become, has emerged from her influence. And therein, I have recently discovered, comes some of what has been challenging for this go-getter, recovering Type A personality.

In an information gathering session last week with my friend Ondreah Johnson, in preparation for being a practice hypnotherapy subject, I had a startling aha-moment. 

My mother, whose  father died at age 52 when she was a young woman of 18 or so and whose beloved mother died in her 70′s when my mom was 38 and I was 4, modeled doing it all.  When my grandmother died, I have no recollection of feeling neglected or of even witnessing my mother mourn out loud.  In conversation with my cousin Jody yesterday, she reminded me that she likely grieved with my father, in private. She talked alot about my grandmother, so it wasn’t as if she was withholding her feelings, just putting a bookmark in them so she could keep on keepin’ on and raise two active girls. She just did what was expected of her.

My mom was a Renaissance woman whose jobs while my sister and I were young, included making and selling doll clothes, writing a local newspaper column, working as a gate guard at our community pool, selling Avon door to door and later on as a switchboard operator at Sears.

My father was a milkman and bus driver who worked what we referred to as ‘crazy hours’…and yet, when he was home, we had plenty of family time, vacations, gatherings at our house of aunts, uncles and cousins. I never recall being told to keep the noise level down since my dad went to bed early; not that Jan and I were particularly rambunctious kids to begin with.

My parents had a deeply passionate and loving marriage and had no problems with PDA’s whether in our presence or out on the street.

Quite simply, although perfect they weren’t, they modeled doing it all; so I learned from masters.  Back to changing my routine.  I am blessed to have loving people in my life who invite me to all kinds of fun events. I used to attend as many as I could and have the energy to keep up with it all. Lately I have been politely declining some invites and uncharacteristic for me, have been changing plans once made.  This weekend, I have done it 3 times and have felt only a twinge of guilt.  Yesterday, I attended the Bar Mitzvah of a cousin and during the beautiful service at which Gabe mastered his recitation of the Haftorah and Torah portion, aced his speech and shared about his project, I felt an overwhelming wave of sadness, barely keeping the tears at bay and knew I couldn’t gracefully attend the reception. Not wanting to be a distraction, I chose instead to head home.

The second, last night was an annual gathering of kindred spirits called Peacweavers honoring the turning of the new year and the third was an engagement party for the daughter of a dear friend, today. My realization during the session with Ondreah was that for so much of my life, I, like my parents, ‘did what was expected of me’.  What would people think if I veered from that path?  In the midst of stepping back from activity, I have allowed for the tears to flow, for my grief to be given voice. I know that people understand. It is, as I am, a work in progress.  So, for the moment, at least, I am allowing for me time.


Vibrant Heart

I had the joy of meeting the live out loud, generous with her time and energy Valerie Rene Sheppard at Amazing Woman’s Day in Philadelphia last year and was delighted to get to know her a bit more when doing a paired share exercise. Driven, dedicated to pursuing her passion and purpose, Valerie maintains a soft side that keeps her approachable and grounded. 


How do you live your bliss?
My most blissful moments come in the silence: when I step away from the things-to-do list, put the phone on silent (in another room), quiet the mind chatter, and be still. And when I can do all of the above in nature, especially by the ocean, that is the most ideal. In fact, I just moved closer to the beach so I’d have even easier access to what I know fills me up and helps me stay centered and free.

What does it mean to live vibrantly?
The specifics of an expression of vibrant living are different for everyone, but I believe there is one place that is the basis. Fundamentally, vibrant living springs forth at its greatest when we’re in our true State of Being which is Peace, Love, Joy and Freedom. Peace = centered in the knowingness there is a Divine Order within, around, and through all things on this human plane. Love = unconditional reverence for all that is – every single other being in the realm and the realm itself. Joy = happiness that has no reasons and knows no end. Freedom = being untethered from the worldly aspirations and baggage that prevent evolution of the Soul.

When I can connect inward to the source of this State, I don’t have to do anything to have a vibrant life. Life just is vibrant. All of my senses are more acute, my life expression is sweeter, my relationships harmonious, and the synchronicities abound. If I get off-track, I can more easily get back on, if things happen that are troubling or in any way not what I want, I can take the lesson, make adjustments, and keep living. Living from this State, life is easy, effortless, juicy and delicious!

How do our thoughts create our reality?
I don’t believe that thoughts alone create our reality. I believe thoughts must be aligned with a deeper activation, a sub-conscious vibration in order for creation to occur. People can think prosperity at the mind level, but if at their deeper level they’re vibrational frequency is lack, limitation, inadequacy or unworthiness, they’ll create those things more than the prosperity they’re seeking. They may create a certain level of prosperity or wealth, live in a big house, drive a nice car, but inside, they can feel like it’s not enough, and/or that something is holding them back from achieving the things they really want and believe they’re capable of.

This is the way I felt for most of my life. I was accomplished, credentialed and successful. I practiced Positive Mental Attitude starting at age 13. Yet, along the way, I felt like something outside me was preventing me from really reaching my pinnacle. Through an ongoing archeology of my Self, I unearthed the problem, and it wasn’t my thoughts. It was hidden fears and beliefs that had built up deep within my heart, that were “louder” than and not in alignment with my head. These were more of the source of my attraction and creation than my thoughts.

It’s been amazing to be awakened to that realization and actively change my beliefs and values to be a more aligned, and therefore more powerful creator of the life I want to live. I love more and more how my life is unfolding, and I trust more and more that my outer results reflect deeper alignment between my head and my heart. I know too that getting to this place doesn’t have to be hard. That’s why I’m working to help others get clear on what’s going on beneath the surface, and make choices to live freer, more vibrant lives and lead more successful, vibrant businesses.

When you were a little girl, what was your deepest dream/vision for yourself and have you experienced it?
For a while, I wanted to be teacher, and after that a lawyer or a judge (I played a judge in a high school theatre production, and that was the closest I came), and I even considered marine biology. Regardless of the title, I believe my most deep aspirations as a young girl involved being an agent for change – helping people, processes, situations evolve for the better. I’ve always had an ability to see problem and solution, big picture and minutest detail, which has helped me to make a difference throughout my life.

What feels energizing now is that as I step beyond the barriers I imposed on myself through limiting beliefs and living from old woundology, I can be a more open vessel for Divine Wisdom, Divine Love and Divine Guidance to flow out. I want to use this more open availability to Source Energy to contribute to the awakenings of others. As each one of us does this in our own lives, we create a web of evolution that raises the consciousness of and heals the planet.

You have made some amazing transformations from being the daughter of a tough as nails military man to being in corporate America to doing more spiritual work. What was that like for you?
It’s been quite a journey! Of course, looking back with the revelationary wisdom I now possess, it’s easier than when I was walking it real-time. Now, I am able to see the nuances and experience the healing. Then, it was often painful, confusing, and unfulfilling.

The separation that was inherent in military life was difficult. What people see today, all the outpouring of support to military families, was not there when I was living as a “Marine Corps Brat.” I often felt alone and misunderstood. Interestingly, I often felt that way in my corporate experience, and it’s probably one of the things I fear most about living from my spiritual essence rather than ego. I’ve always believed in spirituality and have been living that since my Grandmother gave me my first “Daily Word” magazine when I was 13. I’ve just been very private about it until now.

I think what keeps me going is I feel the difference in myself, and I believe my evolution is helping others. It’s not easy to confront internal “demons” and old hurts and fears. I talk to people who call it a “pit,” and who are afraid if they jump in, they’ll never find their way back out. But as I share my story and the tools and teachers that helped me, and ultimately live it, taking the steps becomes doable for others. Ultimately, it’s simply a choice. Each person has to decide what they want their life to be about, and how they’re going to take the lead to have it. This is what I’m referring to when I talk about personal leadership. Life is an inside-out endeavor. Most of us are living it from the outside-in.

You guide many people through your various services. Who have your guides been?

I have been Blessed with wonderful coaches, mentors and masters. They took the form of family, girlfriends, lovers, classmates, teammates, neighbors, managers, colleagues, and of course spiritual teachers and healers. Unfortunately in the past, I wasn’t always open and willing to receive the messages or the messengers. I know now that some of the people who were the most “difficult” in my experience were calling me to awaken to what was true about me.

Most recently, I am especially grateful for the wisdom, leadership, and love of Esperanza Universal, who is the spiritual leader of the S.O.U.L Institute. Her work and insight have really had the most significant and lasting impact on my heart alignment and Soul evolution. I also credit the Unity ministers, licensed teachers, and members of my spiritual community at Unity of Tustin with ongoing connection, support and love; the Unity of Tustin School of Light has also contributed to my ongoing exploration of Universal Laws, and spiritual habits and practices from around the world. My Golden Retriever-German Shepherd mix, Maggie Mae, 12-year companion who passed away in 2008, was perhaps my most powerful teacher of love unconditional, and she visits me from time to time to remind me to “give it away Mommy.” Working with Marsh Engle and the Amazing Woman Alliance, a movement for inspired action, and Greg Reid, speaker, author and filmmaker, has helped me unearth and share the wisdom of my story.

Whether for a reason, season or lifetime, I know now that everyone who walks with me is fulfilling what Caroline Myss calls a “Sacred Contract” and I’m grateful for them all.

What get’s you through the inevitable ‘dark night of the soul’?
I wrote about a process for doing this in my eBooklet: “Navigating Stormy Seas, Five Steps to Smoother Sailing Through Difficult Situations.” The steps form the word TRUST, which is about faith in Divine Order at work in all situations and circumstances, including the ones that could be labeled ‘dark night.’

  • I Turn Inward and feel my feelings and engage my heart. I allow the emotions to flow through me as a part of fully experiencing what is.

  • I Reflect on the critical elements of what’s happening in the situation versus my story about it. This means I have to look at what part I played in creating it.

  • I Uncover and Un-attach from what’s not working. This requires me to be different and choose differently in the future.

  • Next comes Silencing the negative self-talk – the egoic self determined to keep me feeling less than and working hard. I can accept responsibility for making a mistake or missing a signal without being critical of and judgmental toward myself.

  • Finally, it’s about Telling the Truth – getting really real with the overall situation. This means not turning it into the end of the world when it’s simply a valuable hiccup or detour along my journey.



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