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The Bliss Blog

Writing this entry at 4:35 a.m. on the morning of July 4th, 2012. It is Independence Day here in the U.S. In  ‘tired and wired’ mode and when sleep evades me, writing is a companion and soporific. My mind is slowly swirling with memories from childhood. Excited to spend time with family who would come to visit our suburban New Jersey home for Willingboro’s annual parade that would wind its way down Levitt Parkway. We would set up folding chairs on the curb and I would wait with eager anticipation for those first drum beats that I can still feel resonating in my chest all these years later. After the parade, we would walk the mile or so back to the house and splash off the early summer heat at the local pool with cousins who trekked from Philly to hang out for the day. I watched scenes of frolic in home movies a few weeks ago and smiled with delight. A cookout would follow as we shared food and laughter, hugs and kisses, fun and games. Running through the sprinkler as it watered the grass and us simultaneously. Careful to avoid knocking over the mini American flags that my parents, sister and I planted in the garden as we raced around the yard. The day would come to a close with marshmallows toasted over the remaining embers in the grill and then heading over to the field of the local park for fireworks. The universal language (oooohhhhh……ahhhhhh) in response to the carefully staged pyro-technic performance as we would lay back on blankets in the grass would reach a crescendo, as, pleasantly exhausted, we would wend our way back home and tumble into bed after a day well invested.

As an adult, Independence Day goes beyond the traditional celebration of honoring the birth of a nation, but rather a re-birth for myself. It reaches inside to a place in me that sometimes feels like it needs freeing from my self imposed tyranny. I have held myself prisoner of fear, have taxed myself beyond the max; a high price to be paid for taking birth, have impeded the flow of life force energy. And then something like Dawna’s potent reminder comes to inform me that I am immersed in the answer at all times….choice is always available. I may not always know what awaits around the next corner or in the next moment, but I do know this….each is a day to be treasured and not squandered by taking a dive into lack and limitation. At times when I feel broken, I realize that I am instead, broken open to more love than I ever imagined. When faced with sighing with frustration….”Ok, now what?” thoughts, I can take it as an invitation to expand my perspective and ask how I can turn it around to something expansive and not contracting. Always the answer/question shows up “What’s right with this picture?” and then I can discover new options.  Life truly does crack me open ever wider, if I allow for it. As a reflection of Dawna’s line about risking significance, I am reminded of something my friend Gina Foster said years ago, that she endeavors to  “live significantly”. In that way, I too can experience winged wonder as my heart takes flight~

http://youtu.be/MezUEIBKfyk  On the 4th of July by James Taylor

 

On Sunday, my 25 year old son Adam told me he had a surprise for me on the passenger seat of his car. When I looked in, I discovered a t-shirt with the words Make Today Ridiculously Amazing embellishing it .  I laughed since it was a sentiment that I would have been drawn to, had I seen the shirt myself.  He suggested framing it “So you can see it everyday.”  As much as that idea appealed to me, I would rather wear it and make it a billboard for the life I choose to live that I would love for others to embrace as well. The first place I wanted to take it was to Planet Fitness (a.k.a. “The Judgement Free Zone”)  for my ‘playout’. I asked the young woman behind the counter who has seen me pass through those doors countless times in the past two and half years, if she would take a picture for me. She laughingly agreed. That activity which makes this 53 year young woman feel stronger and more flexible and vital than I did when I was her age, was part of my ridiculously amazing day. It also included writing, promoting, listening to music and singing along, scheduling speaking opportunities, sending out proposals and query letters, cleaning, laundry, paying bills, speaking with my dear friend and editor Pam and planning a house concert for my friend Heidi Cooper.  Oh, and a pedicure which was exactly what my slightly sore legs and tootsies needed post gym time.

On the surface, nothing over the top grand or glorious, but bubbling underneath were undercurrents of delight. I love the idea of being led intuitively from one activity to the next and sometimes (much more lately) no activity, just periods of rest. Although there are ‘have to’s’ in my life, just like yours’, there are also ‘get to’s’, which are treats such as hanging out with kindred spirits, meeting way cool people, discovering new thoughts, stretching my concept of what life is really worth. There are days when I’m not sure where I am being led and I just hafta trust that it will bring light and love, and when at the crossroads, I will know which way to turn. Even if I am not 100% certain what specifically awaits me, I do know this for sure….it will bring awe and wonder and deep amazement.

So, what ridiculous amazement do you have in mind and heart for yourself today?

www.planetfitness.com

http://youtu.be/uPc1wZABLDM Hold It Up To The Light by David Wilcox

 

                                                                                                         
“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss. “~ the amazing Nora Ephron (1941-2012)  prolific and thoughtful filmmaker, novelist, journalist, playwright, essayist, and blogger
Last week, the world said a sad farewell to one of the most brilliant and funny women on the planet, whose clever mind conjured up the words that were uttered by memorable characters in such cinematic treasures as “This Is My Life”,  “Silkwood”,  “You’ve Got Mail” “Sleepless in Seattle” and “When Harry Met Sally”. All of these films were pivitol in my own life, as they featured strong, resilient women who had big hearts and a sense of dedication, whether it was a cause, their children, a family business, or love and friendship.  My favorite line from the Billy Cystal/Meg Ryan romp (and maybe everyone’s for that matter) is “I’ll have what she’s having.” Nora Ephron ‘left the building’ at age 71, trailing behind her a huge body of work, as well as adoring family, friends  and fans that could fill hundreds, if not thousands of movie theaters.
Apparently, she came by her wit genetically and environmentally, since her mother and father were also writers.  Her parents, Henry and Phoebe Ephron, wrote screenplays for “Carousel,” “Desk Set” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” She was described in one article as being a “multi-hyphenate”; a journalist, essayist, screen and stage play writer.  I can easily relate to the fact that she wore many hats, since I don them as well.
Her aforemention quote about the power of the written word so resonates with me, since books feed my soul. I have more of them than any other object in my home. Some women (and one male friend) I know collect shoes, others are surrounded by knick knacks…I enwrap myself with pages upon pages of the insights and inspirations that roll around the minds of authors.  I like the idea of an inside view. Nora, I will miss the opportunity to watch even more of your movies. Who knows what other gems were stored inside that brilliant mind of yours? Thank you for your place in the world. You made it a possible for hopeful romantics and opti-mystics – in-spite-of circumstances to have a say.
http://youtu.be/J9F_XHb81N0 My Baby Loves A Bunch of Authors by Moxy Fruvous

 

Saw this quote this morning from Dov Baron and it spoke to an experience I had yesterday that carries over into today.

 

“Alchemy: You are an alchemist when you can take that which cursed you and make it into the blessing you give. When you can take the lead that has weighed you down so deeply that you have felt like you would drown in your own history, and you turn it into the golden wings on which you not only fly but allow others to rise up and see above their own history, then you are in truth an alchemist.”

I experience alchemical mode every day. The blessing and curse for me is the almost unceasing mind that has me curiously exploring the random thoughts that move through. I have indulged in self examination and self torment. The default mode is usually ‘not enough, you need to do more, be more, shine more, succeed more.’ It isn’t about possessions or the ‘stuff’ of life. It is about the way I am seen by others that doesn’t always match how I view myself. I have two competing urges. One to be center stage, the other to refrain from being too visible, taking up too much time and space. I like to share the stage of life with others so that together we can shine. Some of the performers and speakers I most admire, seem to have mastered that art.

 

I had posted this on Facebook last night, both as a way of expressing hard won awareness and vulnerability and accepting healing.

“Major revelation on Day 3 of Grail Lady Faire. I had been feeling a need to be quiet and solo some of the day since there was so much to process from the previous 2 days. Mid morning, I fell and twisted my ankle. I offered it reiki and it felt fine. A few hours later, I began limping with sore tendons on the other side of my foot. More reiki, ice, lavendar oil, elevating and staying off of it. In …conversation with a new friend named Dawna, who is a PR person with whom I may work to promote my book and speaking, she commented on yesterday’s presentation. I had donned faeire wings and used a magic wand as a prop. She said, “You don’t need those things. You’re beyond that.” I began to cry as I said to her that I had never felt like I was enough myself, and wanted to add something memorable.  I also realized that I am here, doing what I love and I go ahead and unconsciouly sabotage myself by hurting myself . Ok, foot…you can feel all better now. I got the message. Healing energy, please….whatever ya got. Thank you in advance for healing.”
It occurred to me this morning that another not so unconscious thought is that I won’t be able to support myself since I left a full time job to dive in headfirst into this work that I so love and that is what I was born to do. The moment that I fell, that’s what I was thinking. It was about lack and limitation, rather than abundance and that I ALWAYS have what I need, which is the spiritual and literal truth. Last night, around the fire, one of the women was sharing that very thing. If something is the truth, it is the truth all the time, despite appearances or what my monkey mind might think is real, I DO always have what I need for my highest learning and growth. My foot is feeling much better. I will still go slow and easy today.  Karen Drucker‘s powerful song, “I Will Be Gentle With Myself” might well be my theme song today with the line “I will only go as fast as the slowest part of me feels safe to go.”, ringing in my ears. ?
Yesterday afternoon, I went for a swim in the beautiful Chalice Lake. Initially, I had waded in only up to my knees, since the water felt a wee bit chilly. Hesitant, I told myself that I didn’t have to go any farther and meandered back to a comfy and beckoning lounge chair. Another new friend was there and we chatted for a bit and then she got up to go into the lake, diving off the dock. A few minutes later, seeing how much fun she and a few others were having, I limped over and dove in myself, “whoooo hoooing” as I my sun soaked body hit the cold water.  It took just a few minutes to get acclimated and I actually found a few warm pockets. Paddling about with them felt good and my leg enjoyed the bouyancy as well. That felt like a fitting metaphor too for the process (or as my Canadian friends say it  “pro-cess” (with a long ‘o’ sound:) of engaging in new experiences, sometimes dipping our big toes into the water of life, sometimes diving right in.
Day 4 awaits!
http://youtu.be/ihWYx-QJ95I  Gentle With Myself by Karen Drucker