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The Bliss Blog

oolacover

When the melon and white colored book with a road warrior van emblazoned with stickers on the cover appeared in my mailbox for review, I opened it with delight. I knew that it would have ideas tumbling out that would enhance my life.

Oola for Women: How to Balance the 7 Key Areas of Life to Have Less Stress, More Purpose, and Reveal the Greatness within You was written by Dave Braun and Troy Amdahl (a.k.a. The Oola Guys) as a healing balm and a reminder to women that our desires matter and they need not lie dormant. The aforementioned stickers highlight those dreams. Readers are invited to share theirs.

Think about the word…oola as in oo la la lusciousness that issues forth from vivid imagination and tumbles out into what Troy and Dave call the 7 F’s of Oola (Fitness, Finance, Family, Field (career), Faith, Friends, and Fun). When each of them is attended to, life is grand. The stories unfold as told by various women whose joys and challenges may sound familiar to readers. One comes from a woman whose care for others superseded her own and had her neglecting her health. Through embracing the Oola life, she engaged in dietary, fitness and lifestyle change and shed (at the time of publication) nearly 140 pounds. Another tells the poignant tale of two people brought together by tragedy that evolved into lifelong love. Still one more takes the concept of  ‘losing one’s marbles’ to another level.

They speak of the Oola blockers of fear, self-sabotage, laziness, envy, focus issues, guilt, and anger, as well as the Oola accelerators of love, gratitude, discipline, integrity, passion, humility and wisdom.

A bonus in the back of the book comes in the form of worksheets that have the reader assess their status on the Oola Wheel in accordance with the 7 F’s to get their life rolling along.

They are on a road trip to share the Oola Life…check it out!

Learn more about their mission to change the world.

 

 

 

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Saturday and Sunday, May 6th and 7th were Global Free Hugs Days. Designed to celebrate the power of connection via this form of nurturing touch, it called out to me to head to South Street in Philadelphia during their annual street fest with my Hugmobsters Armed With Love sign and my open arms.

I estimated that I shared 100 or so hugs in a three hour period. Memorable among them were a family from Brazil, who approached me nearly immediately, police officers keeping an eye on the festivities, people who came running over to me enthusiastically, and one man who said he didn’t like to be touched, so I distance hugged him. There was also a group from Ireland as I shared a hug with a young woman from Dublin. The cosmically coincidental connection is that I live in Dublin, PA. Since this tourist area of Philadelphia attracts people from around the world, it came as no surprise that at the next table sat folks from India who stood up and requested their hugs.

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At other points along the route, I encountered a cute puppy, two little kids, and a guy in a ScoobyDo costume. Speaking of playing dress up, I stopped by my friend Kali Morgan’s store called Passional where she suggested that I pose wearing a cincher/corset which she laced up so tightly that I could barely breathe, and then, later on, I came back to the store and decided that it needed to come home with me. I also posed with two clean energy company staff. Enough energy to go around for everyone. I received multiple hugs from some of the same people who couldn’t seem to get enough. I know that feeling since I admit to not being totally altruistic in my hugging activities. I reap benefit from it as well.

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18320724_10212683586222727_5025238553548419282_oAs if to show me that hugs are needed to brighten dark corners,  I saw a man with a megaphone spouting all manner of vitriol in the guise of Christianity. He was indicating that anyone who didn’t follow his own narrow spiritual perspective would burn in hell. Fortunately, his words didn’t incite a riot or have folks express agreement. Instead, people were shaking their heads in disgust.

Had I been braver, I would have approached and asked “Who would Jesus hate?” and added “Hugs, not hate.” and offered him a hug. I wasn’t sure what he might have done and I’m not sure he would have been open enough to hear another perspective. In retrospect, it occurred to me that I would have been safe. Police were all around. Those who were not in agreement with his stance were all around. The next time the opportunity arises, I will take that courageous step forward, arms outstretched. He probably really needs a good hug.

I am writing this after a weekend overflowing with sensory input, such that I am left pondering how my body could take it all in. After completing a full week of work that included counseling clients in a therapy practice, writing articles for the various websites to which I contribute, doing promo work for a client, and gym workouts, I hopped in my Jeep and headed Southward to Virginia. Under normal circumstances, the PA to VA trek takes around 3 1/2 hours and I sometimes find myself nodding off somewhere along the 95 corridor between Delaware and Maryland. This time, I did a pre-emptive end run by asking friends to beam good mojo for me to keep my eyes open. Since my heart attack in 2014, caffeine is forbidden, so I needed to sing my way en route. Arriving before midnight, so I didn’t turn into a pumpkin, I walked into my friend Mitch’s house to be greeted with hugs and cuddles by Mitch and another friend named Beth who had driven several more hours than I, as she lives in Northern New Jersey near the New York border. We chatted a bit and I headed for pillows and blankets, tumbling into dreamland.


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The next morning had us driving another 90 minutes to open Mitch’s cabin for the season. Nestled into nature, his family’s property is called 7 Islands,  and it holds a rustic, high peaked structure that feels like a treehouse as it overlooks a lake and all manner of growing things. The Blue Ridge Mountains are snuggled nearby as well. Gathering cleaning accouterment, a few of us scrubbed floors, windows, bathrooms, refrigerators, counter tops, and walls. Listening to music, we sang and danced along, making the job that much easier. Later in the afternoon, we headed in a pickup truck over to the larger house on the property, situated on a 50-acre lake. Climbing the stairs to the crows’ nest (think tall ship) on the roof of the home, we discovered the sad sight of a tiny baby bird, who had fallen from the nest and crossed The Rainbow Bridge to its next incarnation. Lying nearby was a sibling who was barely breathing while not so comfortably basking in the hot sun. Beth gently scooped it up and tucked it into a washcloth. Mitch contacted a specialized veterinary hospital as I began to offer it Reiki. We got into the car as he drove the 90 minutes to get the bird treated. Along the way, it began to perk up as I spoke to it, encouragingly. It opened its tiny mouth and I was sorry I had no worms to feed it. It then began to serenade us with its insistent chirp. When we arrived and handed it off to one of the vet techs, she told us she thought it was a starling as she assured us that they would take care of this foundling. It seemed that we were all at the right place at the right time. Yesterday I called to discover that there are health care privacy laws for animals too and they couldn’t tell me anything except it was likely that the winged one was taken to a rehab program where it will be nurtured and then introduced back into the wild. Right place, right time, since had we been a few minutes later, it might have joined its brother or sister in a new incarnation.18194672_10212619048689329_4396547483345422148_n

After showering for the next round of fun, the bunch of us went to an Italian restaurant where we indulged in mangia and music. There was a 1960’s-70’s cover band called Bad Hair Day whose music compelled us to dance.

 

The next morning I had a delightful interlude with a lover in whose presence I feel well cared for and nurtured. He and I entered each others’ lives five or six years ago and our paths cross every few months now. It is as if no time has passed and we pick up where we left off.

A few hours later, I found myself surrounded by 21 other PJ-clad cuddly souls as I facilitated one of my favorite workshops called Cuddle Party which offers guidance on communication and boundary setting, as well as provides an opportunity to experience safe, nurturing, non-sexual touch, by consent.  I marvel at the response from people who enter with trepidation and leave glowing. A safe, sacred space is created for people to experiment with what does and doesn’t work for them and in many cases, open the door to healing longstanding issues. I love the idea that the world is a more loving place because of the thousands of people all over the planet have attended.

After the Cuddle Party, I packed up the car and prepared for my long venture home.  I was driving on 95 in Delaware and a large piece of something flew off the back of a pickup truck in front of me. I took a deep breath as it headed for my car and then lofted up into the sky and bounced into the lane next to me. Fortunately, it didn’t hit anyone else’s car either. A prayer of gratitude. Seems I had guardian angels looking out for me.

It occurred to me this morning that although we are not empty vessels needing other people to fill us up, it sure feels good when they do.

100

I have been thinking about the first 100 days of this administration and it caused me to consider what I accomplished during that time span to help heal the rifts which occurred that are crying out for mending. From the day in November after the unthinkable happened and I awoke to experience a sense of depression and anxiety to which I am not prone, I knew that I didn’t have the luxury of complacence. Immediate action was called for. I discovered that the activist in me who had marched for the ERA. for LGBTQ rights, for peace, for alternatives to nuclear power, for the environment, for civil rights, was being re-launched. I put legs under my values.

I wrote copious articles about the impact it would have on the globe and not just our country. In part, I did it as a way of expressing my angst and helplessness. I participated in the Women’s March in Philly on January 22nd, as I was surrounded by people of all ages from all over the planet who were standing up and speaking out against injustice and for the kind of world in which we chose to live and to leave for future generations. I organized several Free hug events in Philly, Bucks County  and DC. Counseled

I counseled therapy clients who are struggling as a result. Some of them expressed a sense of overwhelming dread and helplessness. My role was to assist them in transforming their fear into action themselves. Many have since rebounded.

I made calls and sent emails to representatives asking that they vote in the best interest of future generations. I speak out wherever I can in an attempt to educate and if I can’t change minds, at least I can soften hearts. I have built bridges across the divide since when I hug people, I don’t always know who they voted for. Opened my heart to more love and welcomed new people into my life. I have stretched comfort zones.

I am expanding my fitness goals and activities as I spend more time at the gym and on my bicycle. I am planning to do a 5k in the Fall which is both exhilarating and a bit scary to anticipate.

I am speaking my truth; willing to be vulnerable. I am expressing more gratitude. I am welcoming in abundance in all forms. Facing fierce fears. Grieving losses. Living full out. How have you spent the past 100 days?

I think of this time in history as a snow globe that got shaken up when the Electoral College votes were tallied. The glitter swirled and landed and got swept up over and over. Although they have not completely settled down and may never, given the ripple effect of what is going on in our nation’s capital, at least they are not, for the moment in a blinding swirl.