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The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

A Writer’s Life

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“If  you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.”- John Irving

In this very moment, I am listening to the gurgle-hum of the dishwasher, while my friend Justin Szeliga is installing a window in a room which was painted by my friend Paul Dengler. The beautifully faux finished walls are embellished by artwork from other friends-  Svetlana Gradess, Vicki Dungan, Charo Evangelista and Gene-Manuel Whirling. I told Justin that he too is an artist who is contributing to the energy in the room. My friend Maureen Finney and I are going to creatively paint some furniture that will be placed there in the Spring, when the weather is warm enough to decorate them on the back deck. When it is complete, the room will be my haven and a guest room for visiting friends. The book shelves are filled with volumes of letters, words and pages, many turned over and over, some only once and then sit side by side with their compatriots. They represent the various chapters of my life. Some are academic and part of my formal education as a therapist and minister. Others are aspects of my lifelong learning; coming from my interest in the metaphysical and mystical.  Each is a treasure. Hard to imagine anyone not liking to read, since it has long taken me on world travels without leaving my home.

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Acknowledging these things is part of my daily practice. An attytood of grattytood nourishes and fills me. It keeps me in the here and now when I am tempted to go flying off into the ozone. Being able to type these words in late afternoon on a day which a year ago would have had me sitting at a desk at a counseling job which I loved, but had carried with it, an extra layer of stress, is a gift beyond measure. I am truly living my writer’s dream life. I have the joy of penning articles on subjects near and dear to me and it supports me brilliantly. I had seed planted for just such a life for the past few decades. When the words flow from me on to the keyboard and out into cyberspace, there is a sense of release and surrender. I have an agenda and a purpose for writing them that is both for myself my readers. For me, it is a reminder that I can’t NOT do it, since it is like breathing.  From readers’ feedback, it comes with affirmation/confirmation that I am on the right track. Who knows where and how the words will land?

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The way of life that I love is an unfolding tapestry, an ever evolving journey that will lead me who knows where?  I guarantee that it will be filled with love and joy, family and friends, ease and grace, stretching and growth beyond my wildest dreams.

 

 

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Letting It Be Easy

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Difficult to imagine a time when I made things harder than they needed to be. Days filled with fret and worry like so much sewage run-off. Mind spinning ceaselessly with shoulda- woulda- coulda thoughts that made me dizzy. Feeling ‘less than,’ with a ridiculous belief that I needed to prove myself in every area. To find the origin of this tough stuff, I need look no further than my childhood experience with asthma. Diagnosed at four with the breathing condition that had me feeling like I couldn’t inhale and exhale fully, as if an elephant had parked itself on my chest and that I wasn’t sure where my next dose of air would come from, I wondered if it would ever get better. Now, it didn’t happen often; these ‘asthma attacks,’ as they were delightfully described, but when they did, I would hightail it into the bathroom and with my mother, sit and breathe in the steam that poured forth from the shower. Allergy shots and regular visits to our family doc were part of my routine. Couldn’t eat peanut butter, spinach or rye bread, since I tested positive for allergic reaction to them when given a serum that contained those ingredients. Now I can, fortunately.

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I wasn’t afraid of dying; never have been. It was more a sense of not wanting to be limited in any way. I wanted to keep up with my friends as they ran and played. There were times when it felt as if I was breathing in sand, rather than oxygen. In addition, I had adopted a get it done attitude, almost no matter what. In the past few years, I ignored physical warning signs and worked my way into shingles, heart attack, kidney stones and adrenal fatigue from ‘burning the candle at both ends until there was no more wax left’.

These days I measure my life BHA-Before Heart Attack and AHA-After Heart Attack. The woman who thought ‘sleep was highly over-rated,’ now relishes it. This rush through life on auto-pilot workaholic now takes conscious and deliberate steps to get more work done in less time, since I am in the flow, rather than blocking it. I am allowing, rather than efforting. I am attracting, rather than pursuing.

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Today I visited my friend Suzan who I have known likely since the 1980’s. As we sat and sipped dandelion root tea, I shared some of my fears and limiting thoughts that had me tied up in knots for many years. She looked at me incredulously and said “You? I think of you as the most capable person I know.” Being a good actor, I am often able to make things look effortless. It’s my persona, you know. I used to believe that if people thought I didn’t have it all together, then they wouldn’t want to hire me as a writer, teacher, therapist or coach. My son had asked me a year or so ago how I could teach what I am not currently experiencing in my life. I reminded him that if people waited until everything fell into place perfectly in their lives, there would be no books, counselors or teachers. We are all works in progress. As my friend Kurt shared on one of my posts on Facebook:  “Life flows through you with grace.” Ah, yes~

I ask you, as I ask myself:  How easy are you willing to let life be?

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Love is More Than Skin Deep

A video gone viral brings me to tears every time I have watched it.  It was produced by Love Has No Labels and opens by showing two skeletons kissing behind a screen. Thus begins a love-fest which evidences that the societally imposed separation based on gender, age, religion, ability, family form or national origin is an artificial construct. Beneath the surface, we are all the same. If you didn’t know that someone looked different, worshipped in a manner that was not as you did, loved someone of the same gender, or had a body didn’t conform to a particular standard, you would have no basis for rejecting or hating anyone.

I have people in my life who fit into all of those categories, but don’t dare put them in a box that says “all …. fill in the blank … are this way”. On the page on You Tube on which this video was posted were comments of viewers. Some cheered while others jeered. Those who disapproved of the aspects that celebrated same sex relationships were spewing hatred in the name of religion. I have a hard time accepting even the most remote consideration that a God of love could create people who love someone of the same gender and then condemn them for it. Some of the content had to do with ‘protecting the sancity’ of the marriage between a man and a woman. How, I would like to know, does two men or two women loving and committing to each other, in any way, threaten someone else’s marriage?  That tells me more about the person making that statement; that he or she doesn’t feel secure in their own governmentally sanctioned union. I question someone’s fear and hatred in the name of Spirit. The God that I know is not about fear or condemnation; but about love and acceptance.

This video was filmed on Valentines’ Day, which could not have been more perfect, as it celebrates love in all forms.

 

 

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No Explanation Needed

“No’ is one of the shortest words in the English language and one of the most difficult to say for some people, unless the person happens to be two years old and then it might well one of their most favorite to utter. It implies disagreement, disapproval, a sense of refusal and lack of cooperation. Sometimes we need to say it and sometimes we need to hear it. Sometimes a no to one person or experience opens the door to something even grander than could be imagined and a great big, resounding YES!

‘No’ also provides information. If someone asks for directions, for example and they query “Is Main Street that way?” and you know it isn’t and tell them no, then you are helping them out. ‘No’ grants permission to do something other than what is expected of you. If you are accustomed to being a ‘yes man or woman,’ then  saying the two letter word that is a complete sentence can take you away from habitual patterns.

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There is a meme going around the reads “Learn to say no without explaining yourself.”  This is my growing edge, since I have had a history of people pleasing and emotional contortionism, which means that there were times when I would ‘bend over backward to please people’. When I have done that, I have robbed myself of the freedom to feel whatever I may in the moment. Just what is it that we humans fear if we say that ‘magic word? What arises in me is a worry that people won’t like me, or whatever project in which I am engaged, if ‘no’ comes through me. Testing the waters proved to me that I was not abandoned when I declined invitations to events, when I put aside the obsessive desire for approval, when I was unavailable to meet people’s needs. I have to admit that hearing ‘no’ isn’t much fun. Of course, we want to hear an enthusiastic yes to our requests. After all, we think that our desires are reasonable, so why wouldn’t anyone agree to meet them?

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One of my many hats is that of a certified facilitator of a relationship enhancing workshop called Cuddle Party. It focuses on communication, boundary setting and safe, nurturing, non-sexual, consensual touch. What that means is that no one touches anyone, even if they know them well, without asking first and receiving a verbal yes. During the experience, there is what is called “The No Exercise,” which gives people an opportunity to practice using the word in a ‘lab setting’ so that they can then apply it in their personal and professional relationships. What we teach is that saying no doesn’t make you a bad person and hearing no doesn’t make you a loser, despite what people might think.

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I encourage you to do a check in with yourself when asked to do something to determine if you are a yes or no to it. If your body had a voice to express your yes or no, which would it say? A felt sense, a gut reaction, a uh uh, this doesn’t feel right, might come through.

While there are certain things that are necessary to do in order not to have negative consequences, such as adhering to the speed limit on the road, or paying bills we incur by using services, not everything is a requirement. In the past few months, since the heart attack, I have done some major re-evaluation of my re-negotiation skills. It might have been unthinkable a year ago, to say N-O as often as I do now, if I don’t have the energy or ability to keep up the pace. Naps sometimes take precedence over going out to play. I don’t feel like a slacker or irresponsible person if I honor my right to say yes or no with equal ease. I invite you to do the same and feel the freedom gained.

 

 

 

Previous Posts

Through The Eyes of Love
Yesterday, my friend Joan made a comment on Facebook about a painful interaction with someone in her life. "I've been looking at myself through the eyes of someone who doesn't love me, but trying to see love." My response to her was this: "If you are looking at yourself through the eyes of someo

posted 10:37:32am Mar. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Sara's Smiles- Lift The Cloud, Inspire The Joy
  The Philadelphia Flower Show is an annual event that heralds the coming of Spring. This Winter weary woman who hadn't attended in decades, was eager to immerse in beauty. Little did I know that it would go far beyond the blossoms and butterflies that lent their color and wonder. I was offe

posted 8:01:28am Mar. 26, 2015 | read full post »

We Never Know Who We Will Touch With Our Words
It is no secret that I am addicted to words. As a career writer, I live and breathe their essence. They delight me to no end. They are the beat of my heart and the blood that flows through my veins. They are a source of emotional, spiritual and physical support. They feed my right livelihood work th

posted 2:31:37pm Mar. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Inhaling and Exhaling
Breathing is necessary in order to sustain our corporeal existence. Inhaling and exhaling, over and over. The average human takes 12 breaths per minute which comes out to 17,280 each day. This doesn't factor in times of exercise. It is something that most people do without even thinking about it, un

posted 9:39:37am Mar. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Love Is All I Am
Lately, the Muse has been waking me up long around 4 a.m. Not sure why, but when that happens, I know it is important to take dictation. And so I do. A name came through first- Tyler Goldsmith. He is the lead singer for one of my favorite folk/rock groups called Dawes. Then the words "Love is all I

posted 8:24:27am Mar. 20, 2015 | read full post »

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