The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

The Theory of Everything

Is time real?  If so, does it have an origin and an end point?   Does God exist?  Is it possible to define the nature of the Universe?  Can love conquer all?

These are some of the questions that are asked and answered in the newly launched biopic about the brilliant and wickedly funny Professor Stephen Hawking, called The Theory of Everything. Adapted from the book written by the love of his life,  and first wife, Jane Hawking, entitled “Traveling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen”, the movie takes the viewer from Hawking’s days as an aspiring Ph.D. at Cambridge where he chooses to tackle the study of time, to the deterioration of his body from motor neurone disease/a.k.a. ALS.  Possessing a ceaselessly driven mind, he attempts to reframe and make comprehensible the difference between physics and the Divine. Initially, he is convinced that God is not real and later, comes to question that assumption. With wit and wonder, Hawking makes science accessible. The motion picture makes him human and real to those who may only have seen him as a prolific writer and a genius of this era, rivaling Einstein.

When asked to define cosmology-his initial course of study, he tells Jane that it is “the marriage of space and time,”  and her inspired reply is “the perfect couple.”  Although they themselves, were not the perfect couple, Jane did her valiant best to champion his care, raise three children and engage in her own studies. At one point in the movie, she is shown feeling depleted and in need of something that is just for herself. Her mother suggests that she join her church choir. It is there that she meets a man whose own losses and wounds lead him to join their circle and help in caring for Stephen. The relationship between the three of them is beautiful to behold; even if it was complicated and raised eyebrows among their family members.

The movie is equal parts love story, theoretical exploration and a triumph of the human spirit over medical prognosis. With the initial diagnosis at age 21, he outlived the prediction of two years by five decades, as this father of three and grandfather of three is now 72 and is still going strong. Attribute that to the variability of the disease, personal determination, the care he has been given and the devotion of the people in his life; most especially Jane who had been his caregiver for many of those interceding decades.  The couple is no longer together and Jane has since remarried, as had Stephen. He is now divorced from his second wife who had come into his life as a nurse and in 2006, when the marriage ended, there were allegations that she had abused him. That aspect is not revealed in the film.

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones play Stephen and Jane with a sense of authenticity that came from intensely studying their real life counterparts. For Redmayne in particular, the task of playing the character whose progressive disease called for change in voice and movement throughout each day of shooting footage, sometimes going from being ambulatory to wheelchair confinement and back several times was, I imagine, exhausting.  Jones’  Jane Hawking is  a powerful female character at a time when women weren’t expected to take charge and have needs and desires that went beyond marriage and family responsibilities. Because the story is from her perspective, she is nakedly honest about the dynamics in their family.  This movie has Academy Award written all over it.

As the disease progressed, Hawking faced the reality that in order to save his life, he would need to lose his voice that had allowed him to communicate his profound and humorous thoughts. Daunting was the task of learning to blink out and then type out words and now leaning with his cheek against a communication device, broadcast the mental musings.  A laughable scene in the movie comes when he is using the device for the first time and the robotic words pour forth in an unexpected way.  Jane sounds dismayed as she comments on the accent:  “It’s American,”  to which the inventor replies “Is that a problem?”  To this day, the vocal soundings remain so.

As a writer, I am a keen observer of symbolism. I lost count of the number of circles that show up in various scenes. See if you notice them. It makes sense given Hawking’s focus on time and his desire to wind it back. An interesting irony is that he defied all predictions of time by far outliving expectations of how much he would be granted.

Although I am neither mathematically nor scientifically minded, I found myself fascinated by his theories and the ways in which he communicated them. What if the Universe were indeed a boundless and limitless place?  How would we live in the realm of infinite possibility?  This film opens many doors for exploration.

“There should be no boundaries to  human endeavor. However bad life may seem, where there is life, there is hope.” – Stephen Hawking~




Depth Perception



Like many of us, I exist on the surface of life at times. Skating on the frozen pond, yet knowing that beneath the shiny façade of the ice lies fathom deep waters. I try not to think about it, since I also wonder if sharks with sharp teeth circle in anticipation that it will melt just enough for me to fall through and they can feast. Hard to imagine that this Opti-Mystic/Bliss Mistress could entertain such wild imaginings. When they show up, I do my best to shoo them away when perhaps it would be better to face them down and take a chomp out of them.

I am blessed to have  healer friends who have faced their own version of marauders. One such is Rod Schichtel who I met something like five years or so ago. We share a love of color and creativity, music, spirituality, healthy food, massage and hugs. He is one of the most resilient people I know, having bounced back from some daunting challenges that would have knocked other less hardy souls on their butts and kept them there. He emerged with life lessons that he generously shares with people who cross his path. He is also an extremely talented artist whose limitless imagination astonishes me.

Rod  has designed a healing experience as a result that I had the privilege of  immersing in recently. He calls it Half Day Getaway and it consists of sitting with him as you express what is on your mind for at least thirty minutes as he holds space and simply listens. How often does that happen in our lives?  He video tapes it so that you and he can listen to it and watch it played back as YOU hold silent witness for yourself and again, I ask: How often does THAT happen? If you are anything like me, your monkey mind inner chatter goes wild as you critique your ‘performance’. Don’t think I didn’t do that, as much as I desired to be fully present to myself. He may stop the tape and make some go-deeper inquiries. My exploration took the form of wondering what kept me on both an upward trajectory and downward spiral in the various realms of my life- physical/mental/emotional/spiritual. Family history of workaholism, fear of potential loss, actual loss, unreasonable expectations for myself, misinterpretation of parental expectation all culminated in a series of health crises in the past year that included shingles, heart attack, kidney stones and adrenal fatigue, when for years I had felt invulnerable and invincible.

Then a break was taken as he had prepped in advance the fixings for a healthy shared meal; vegetarian and wholesome, with the not so secret ingredient of love in the mix. I felt nourished in all ways.

The next step was creation of affirmative words and phrases that reinforce what I was calling into my life, which included wellness, vitality, peace, love, ease and grace. I sighed and laughed a lot in the process as Rod recorded my words. He then used his audio-ninja-techie skills to do a multi-track overdub of the affirmations which he burned into a CD that has accompanied me on car rides to steep in affirmations, like a teabag in hot water, so that they infuse me. As I listen, I think of the laughter and sighs as ‘giggle-gasms’, since to someone who had no clue what was going on during the recording, could imagine something other than what was really happening.

Since that session a few weeks ago, I have experienced revelations and faced those sharks from a place of acceptance, rather than resistance, since what we resist persists.

As I am writing this, I am listening to the song Deep Peace…could the timing have been any more perfect?

Rod welcomes people to experience this deep healing opportunity which can be done in person or via Skype.

Where I Am



How often do you ask yourself  ‘what if and if only’  questions?  “What if I had chosen a different path, partner, career, home?  Bet I’d be happier if I had,” is the frequent litany for many. We get fidgety staying still. We kvetch about how things aren’t the way we want them to be, and the people in our lives aren’t doing things our way. What’s wrong with this picture?  The truth is…nada. All is as it needs to be, since it is the way it is. If it is to be different, then perhaps we need to consider the thoughts, beliefs and actions that have us remaining in a place than where we would otherwise choose to be. It can be challenging to refrain from wanting a geographical cure.

“I’ll be happy if… I’ll be happy when…” keeps us from being happy where our feet are planted. Is it ok to want more?  Sure.

According to best -selling author Robert Holden, who penned Happiness NOW!, Shift Happens!, Authentic Success, Be Happy, Loveability & Holy Shift!, that is what is referred to as Destination Addiction. He explains that it is “a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job, and with the next partner. Until you give up the idea that happiness is someplace else, it will never be where you are.”

So what is it that contributes to this state of discontent?  My take is that we are searching for satisfaction from external sources, rather than where it truly begins…within. We have been convinced by culture and media that the next high will bring us contentment. The sad part is that we will always be seeking and rarely finding, if we set our compass in that direction

Can you recall the last time that you felt a true sense of serenity?  Nothing you had to do, and nowhere you had to go? It could have been when witnessing a sunset,  or snuggled under the covers with a good book or a loved one. In that here and now moment, there wasn’t anywhere else you would rather have been and engaged in nothing other than what you were doing. Call it being now-here as opposed to nowhere.

How to stay put and stay happy could be as simple as:

Set intentions for what you want- loving relationships, total wellness, spiritual connection, and prosperity. Then take inspired action to bring them into being, rather than complaining if they are not yet part of your daily reality. Act ‘as if’ you are already experiencing those joys. How would you carry yourself, interact with the world around you, feel, speak and think if today was the day that all of these things were present?

Surround yourself with people who support and encourage your vision, while grounding you in the here and now.

Don’t put off happiness while you are waiting for the seeds you have planted to grow. What if true delight in the gardening process is like Miracle-Gro that feeds your crop?

As Ram Dass famously shared “Be Here Now”.

On Wings



Four years ago, at this moment, an event was in the process of taking place that would change my life as I knew it. My mother was in the ‘birth canal’ on her way to her new life. A few months earlier while she was on hospice, we would have the most extraordinary conversations about what that might look and feel like. In the beginning she wasn’t certain and cried in fear, expressing that she didn’t want to die. My father had made his transition on April 3rd, 2008 and I know she missed him profoundly, but said she didn’t know if he would be waiting for her, along with her parents and brother who had preceded her. One night, we were watching the movie Beetlejuice and laughed in relief, grateful that the afterlife didn’t look like that.  Maybe it looked like the Paul Simon song called The Afterlife.  “You got to fill out a form first and then you wait in a line.”

As the time drew near, she would have what I considered prophetic dreams. One began when she was at the top of a water slide with a boy in front of her and a girl behind her. She told me in a little child’s voice that she was feeling afraid when she started, but by the time she was at the bottom, she was delighted “I was having so much fun!” And then she asked me what I thought it meant.  “What do you think it means, Mom?”  My take was that it was a foretelling of the next part of her journey. Another was of my grandmother either on or near a merry-go-round, holding a finger out for my mother to grasp. The third which was about six weeks before she joined him, she dreamed that she and father were walking on a beach, hand in hand. She gave him back the wedding ring that she kept after he died and set it on the nightstand, kissing it goodnight for the interceding years. Soon after, she noticed that the ring was gone.

I wrote about our hospice journey in my book called The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming The Ordinary Into The Extraordinary, much of which I typed at her bedside. She told me that I needed to finish it so she could read it. I responded that she needed to live a whole lot longer, since there was more to go. Her encouragement was the impetus to complete it.  There have been many miracles and ‘mom messages,’ since then, many involving butterflies. She had made the ceramic piece in the photo above, many years prior to her death and it now sits on my stove. At the moment, it is supporting a candle.

Tonight I said Kaddish for  Selma Rose Hirsch Weinstein who passed  on November 26, 2010.  In that year, it fell on the day after Thanksgiving and this year, it is the day before. The holiday was subdued for me back then, as I called to tell her I loved her, knowing that the moments were ticking away. She hadn’t wanted my sister and me to come down to Florida. She planned to take her leave with all substitute caregivers by her side. Her live-in caregiver Claudia had the weekend off, her regular hospice nurse and aide were away as well. Although I will always connect the holiday with her passing, it is still a joyous occasion, since my spiritual beliefs tell me that she really IS in the company of those she loves who saved a place for her and she was no longer in pain. She is at peace and so am I.


In  the Jewish religion, a candle is lit and a prayer offered the night before the actual day the death occurred.


This is the Hebrew transliteration and the English translation. Nowhere in the prayer is there a mention of death, but only blessing God.

Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei raba.
B’alma di v’ra chirutei,
v’yamlich malchutei,
b’chayeichon uv’yomeichon
uv’chayei d’chol beit Yisrael,
baagala uviz’man kariv. V’im’ru: Amen.

Y’hei sh’mei raba m’varach
l’alam ul’almei almaya.

Yitbarach v’yishtabach v’yitpaar
v’yitromam v’yitnasei,
v’yit’hadar v’yitaleh v’yit’halal
sh’mei d’kud’sha b’rich hu,
l’eila min kol birchata v’shirata,
tushb’chata v’nechemata,
daamiran b’alma. V’imru: Amen.

Y’hei sh’lama raba min sh’maya,
v’chayim aleinu v’al kol Yisrael.
V’imru: Amen.

Oseh shalom bimromav,
Hu yaaseh shalom aleinu,
v’al kol Yisrael. V’imru: Amen.

Exalted and hallowed be God’s great name
in the world which God created, according to plan.
May God’s majesty be revealed in the days of our lifetime
and the life of all Israel — speedily, imminently, to which we say Amen.

Blessed be God’s great name to all eternity.

Blessed, praised, honored, exalted, extolled, glorified, adored, and lauded
be the name of the Holy Blessed One, beyond all earthly words and songs of blessing,
praise, and comfort. To which we say Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and all Israel,
to which we say Amen.

May the One who creates harmony on high, bring peace to us and to all Israel.
To which we say Amen.


I know she has her wings~

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