The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Strangels

Strangels

 

I have long believed that everyone I now know and love was once a stranger. Hard to imagine my life without some of these folks in it and nearly impossible to conceive of a time when I didn’t know them.  Some I met via those yentas (matchmakers) who just KNEW I had to get to know their friend or colleague since we had things in common. Some I recognized as kindred spirits, family of choice or soul friends (the Gaelic concept of anam cara, highlighted by the writer, philosopher John O’Donohue). With this person, there is a definite sense of HOME…and oh there you are again…how long has it been? It carries with it, a come- as -you- are feeling, without pretense. Then there are those who ever so briefly cross my path and I recognize there is a reason for it, even if we never meet again. Perhaps we shared a laugh over the checkout line at the supermarket as I did yesterday. Maybe it was a kind police officer who let me go with a warning when I made a left turn illegally while lost on the way home from a long trip on Sunday. Still others are Facebook friends, like Theresa Byrne who created this meme and whose insightful writing and feistiness inspires me. Thank you, sister strangel.

Angels sometimes have invisible wings and show up right on time. I do expect them as I set intention each morning to connect with amazing people and have extraordinary adventures.  Consider the inextricable link that joins us heart and soul, whenever you feel lonely or isolated. See the similarities between you and another, not just the walls that separate you. Even if you feel you are nothing like THAT person who seems alien, know that you share a common humanity and want the same things…love, a sense of belonging, that you matter and that you make a difference.

Who will you ‘angel’ today? Who will you allow to ‘angel’ you?

Strange Angels -Laurie Anderson

 

 

The Glorification of Busy

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Saw a declaration today with the words Stop the Glorification of Busyemblazoned on it. This wasn’t the first time I noticed that instruction, but it was indeed the first time I really took heed, since they were the perfect description of the way in which I engaged with life. For as long as I could remember, even as a child, I was always doing something. Always into something; a whirling dervish of activity, whether mental or physical. Maybe that’s one reason why I identified more readily with the roadrunner than the coyote. The Energizer Bunny and Tigger were among my totem animals, apparently. I had this internalized belief that if I sat still for too long, it would upset the balance in the Universe and create a ‘disturbance in the Force’. Productivity was of the utmost importance to me. I felt as if I had to prove myself, earn my keep, maintain the spinning wheel, keep on keeping on…or else…..what?  I had no clue. I feared not being able to support myself if I slacked off.  When the big cardiac wake up call arrived, I was sidelined for a few weeks and paradoxically low stress flows of income have been finding their way to me. By doing less, I am bringing in more.

It also came to me, that I no longer am wanting anything from anyone that they aren’t offering freely from the heart. No more seduction, coercion, or even subtle manipulation in order to have needs met. I am willing to ask for what I want, knowing that I may not receive it from any particular person in the form I desire it, but I am certain that if it is for my Highest Good and theirs, then it will show up.

I surrender the destructive belief that I need to keep treading water, tap dancing or spinning ceaselessly to prove myself to anyone. It is such a relief to let that one go. I used to joke that I was ‘functionally manic’. Now I see that I over-functioned to cover a fear that I was not performing at a high enough level. Was enough ever going to be enough?  Not likely. It has taken the past two weeks post heart attack to be truly grateful that it occurred as it did, since I know that I would have continued to maintain that insane pace until I crashed and burned.

When I got home from work tonight, on my front lawn were two little visitors. Normally there is only one little lop eared brown critter greeting me. This time, he or she had brought company and both sat and blinked at me, rather than scooting away. A gentle reminder that I can be still and silent as well and not just a busy bunny.

Photo credit- Beverly and Pack- The Energizer Bunny Hot Air Balloon, larger than the Statue of Liberty/flickr.com

Nap Time

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When I was a kid, I wasn’t a happy napper, since I was afraid I would miss something. I kept myself entertained with toys and books, maybe talking or singing to myself. I was a good car sleeper, since the darkness on night trips lent itself to peaceful slumber and some of my favorite memories were of being carried into the house by mom or dad, changed into p.j.’s and tucked into bed. Later on, in college, I would sneak naps in whenever I could, to counteract late nights either studying or partying.

As a more mature adult, although I probably have needed them more, I have taken them less. Right before I wrote this article, I awoke from an hour or so nap, having taken one a few hours earlier. Not my normal pattern, as a full time and then some working woman, but induced by heart attack recovery. It is as if all of those 6 hour a night sleeps have finally caught up to me and I am helpless to resist the call of the Sandman. In the past, ( a few weeks ago), I would have felt all kinds of guilty about not being productive. I would have chastised myself for being lazy and worry about what wouldn’t get done while I was in dreamland. Even as I slept, my mind would have been racing with all of the things I needed to do when I did eventually wake up, that it wouldn’t have been restful time.

Power naps-10 minutes or so, can be refreshing, especially when accompanied by soft music or nature sounds.

Amping up 30 minutes could be beneficial, but I have found that if it goes between 30-60 minutes, I still feel kind of groggy.

If I am able to sink into 90 minutes, that sees to be the sweet spot.

Napping later in the day doesn’t serve me well, since it interferes with night time deeper, dream sprinkled sleep.

What I have been reminding myself recently as I take steps in my new life, is that sleep is not only needed for the mechanics of my human state, but a sacred practice to restore and replenish my soul.

Lullabye-Cris Williamson

Photo credit: Puck – nap guru by Dave Morris

Self Created Heaven and Hell: A Zen Tale

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Depending upon your religious beliefs, you may perceive of heaven and hell as actual places you go when you die, commensurate with your choices and actions here on this earthly plane of existence. Often used with the intention to keep people in line and well behaved, I can say without a doubt, that the allure of heaven or threat of hell is neither a deterrent nor an incentive.  When you consider the crime rate and people intentionally causing harm and wreaking havoc, you may agree. Doing good, being of service, acting with kindness and love, when coming from genuine desire,  are a better barometer when done for their own sake. Although I was raised in a Jewish home and in a larger Judeo-Christian community, in which I was taught that they were indeed places: although no one ever located them on  a map for me, I have come to believe, that they are self created.

 

There is an ancient Zen tale that beautifully illustrates this idea. A big burly samurai comes to the wise man and says, “Tell me the nature of heaven and hell.” And the roshi looks him in the face and says: “Why should I tell a scruffy, disgusting, miserable slob like you?” The samurai starts to get purple in the face, his hair starts to stand up, but the roshi won’t stop, he keeps saying, “A miserable worm like you, do you think I should tell you anything?”

Consumed by rage, the samurai draws his sword, and he’s just about to cut off the head of the roshi.

Then the roshi says, “That’s hell.”

The samurai takes a step back and a deep breath along with it, bows his head and places his hands in prayer pose over his heart.

“And that,” adds the roshi, “is heaven.”

When we are caught up in anger and judgment, we are in a self created hell. When we dissolve into love, like sugar in warm water, then we are in a self designed heaven. Does that mean that we are not permitted to feel anger and frustration?  Not at all. We are human beings with a full range of emotions that allow us to be genuine. It is when we stay in unsavory mood states and use them to harm ourselves or others, that we are in the danger zone.

Each day, I know I have a choice. I carry judgments about the ways in which I and other people ‘should’ think and act. It is when I haul them around for too long, that they become heavy and burdensome. It is when I consciously choose to put them down, that I levitate into the heaven of my imagination.

Photo credit:  Tranquilite  alq666/flickr

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