The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

One Blessed Life

I am a woman who is amply aware of her blessings. I count them multiple times a day, sometimes with each breath. I had a full, rich day today, that began with meeting a new friend at a local coffee shop -The Zen Den that I call my office away from home. We had a specially brewed tea called Peter Rabbit that includes lemongrass, rose hips and peppermint. I asked for it be lavender infused too. Felt like I was drinking a magic elixir. In conversation with Connie Guerin, I discovered some of my own strengths and challenges.  Facing fears surrounding more medical complications even as I know that all is well and God’s got my back. Went to cardiac rehab afterward and enjoyed ‘sweating to the oldies’ for nearly an hour. Came home, researched and wrote articles, and then spoke with another  cross country- she in Sedona and I in Bucks County, friend  I met five years ago when she came to Circle of Miracles to speak and haven’t seen in person since. Lisa Moore and I ‘heartstormed’ ways of sharing resources which is one of my favorite things to do and then discovered that we had a face to face friend in common who I have known since the early 1980’s.   Cosmic coincidence at play!

Speaking of play, during my workout today, I dove into a book called Hop, Skip, Jump which was written by Marney Makridakis that highlights the benefits of creativity, fun and play. I will be reviewing it for Beliefnet when I am finished perusing the pages.

Hosted my radio show, It’s All About Relationships, which is a joy, interviewing Mari Perron who refers to herself as The First Receiver of lessons called A Course Of Love (what some consider a new generation of the teachings of A Course in Miracles) that feels to me to be softer, more heart centered than the iconic 3 volume series that has been a part of my life since the late 1970’s when introduced to it by my friend teacher and author Alan Cohen. When I am on the air, I have no clue whose heart and mind will be opened by what is shared as a result of the conversations we have. Praying that the ideas land on fertile soil.

Looking forward to a weekend of time with precious friends- one talented artist Rod Schichtel who is seriously tapped in to love consciousness. It pours from his pores(:  We will be working with new healing modalities he is creating and I am grateful to be a ‘test subject’. Arriving late Saturday night from a road tour are One Love Chant whose musical gifts place them on the path to find their place among the pantheon of kirtan singers. They will be at Pebble Hill Church on Sunday offering musical magnificence to the service. I am delighted to be surrounded by so many who use their abilities in service to the world.

Whenever I am tempted to feel sorry for myself, which I do from time to time (even the Bliss Mistress gets the blues), all I need to do is review the treasures in the chest that was symbolically handed to me when I took human form. It runneth over~

Warrior Goddess Training – Book Review

warriorgoddesstrainingcover

 

 

When you think of the two words ‘warrior’ and ‘Goddess’, what image comes to mind?  Possibly  Bast, Athena, Durga, Freya or Kali- battle ready, sword wielding, bloody tongued, vanquishing enemies. What if being both means standing your ground, while simultaneously being open to life as it presents itself? That is the essence of the sophomore release by HeatherAsh Amara, entitled Warrior Goddess Training- Become the Woman You Were Meant to Be.  In a conversational sister to sister style,  Amara shares openly her own joys and challenges, with an unabashed willingness to bare her soul. It makes her and the book all the more approachable and the work impactful.

Part of the Toltec lineage of don Miguel Ruiz (author of the classic Four Agreements), she mines treasures from deep spiritual ideology and makes them accessible. Very much at home with indigenous teachings, as well as modern psychological concepts, blended with Earth based religion and Divine Feminine wisdom, Amara begins the book by defining terms.

She explains that “Warrior energy is a combination of focus, dedication, purpose and determination., ” and that “Goddess energy is our creative flow; unconditional love, pleasure, passion and wisdom.”  In combination, we are a force to be reckoned with in positive ways. Acknowledging throughout the pages that many women are not at home in our own skin and are sometimes as self loathing as we are loving of others, she invites exploration of what is at the core of that. A mini glossary with definitions of words like ‘attachment’, ‘agreement’ and ‘Earth Goddess Spirituality’ set the stage for what is to follow.

She references the heroine’s journey on which we all embark; more than myth, instead an opportunity to step out of our comfort zones as we are called to adventure, face ‘dragons’, go deep into the shadow realms, emerging with a hard won prize and returning to share the treasure with others, enriching our lives and theirs.  Amara is enthusiastic about encouraging her readers to disavow their self deprecation and instead embrace the true beauty within that need not be measured by external standards and definition.

One of the most powerful concepts she presents has to do with the stories we tell ourselves about our lives that we believe to be gospel. Having grown up in a family that traveled a great deal, related to her father’s career, she would begin to settle in , start to make friends in the face of seeing herself as rather introverted and then they would move and she would be the ‘new kid’ again. What she told herself was that this was a negative thing that impinged on her ability to step out and comfortably meet new people as an adult. When she reframed the story to indicate that it was a positive series of events that afforded her the ability to experience new countries and connect with people of varying lifestyles and cultures, she felt an uplift. She then asked herself which story was true. Both and neither.

Personal inquiry and experiential exercises are richly scattered throughout the pages, including taking baby steps to make changes, learning about coping skills, awareness of the messages we give ourselves,  as well as observation of the outcome of our actions. At the end of each  of the ten chapters, Amara invites readers to recognize the gifts inherent in the concepts presented and ways of exploring them.

The book closes with a quote by playwright Ntozake Shange who created for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf; “I found God in myself and I loved her….I loved her fiercely.”  That is the core truth of this self-love bath of a book.

Death With Dignity

For those who have been aware of the plight of a young woman named Brittany Maynard, but may not yet know, this courageous being made a conscious choice to end her suffering. In an article I wrote for The Good Men Project, called Is Death With Dignity the Same As Suicide?, I delve into the painful decisions that she and her family were faced with as a devastating form of advanced cancer assaulted her body.

I have been a therapist for three decades or so and have sat with people who have contemplated ending their lives as a result of physical and/or emotional pain. I have searched for solutions with them, have offered options, have stepped back and realized finally that I have no control over their choices. Now, having said this, the circumstances under which Maynard exited was a well considered, medically supervised, family endorsed plan, with the option to change her mind. It wasn’t as if she wanted to die. She clearly stated that she was not suicidal. She knew that the disease would take her, quite painfully. She already had more than her share of excruciating sensations as a result.

On Saturday, as planned, surrounded by her loved ones, she crossed over. Shortly beforehand, she and her family took one last trip to The Grand Canyon to celebrate her ‘one wild and precious’ life.

This decision comes with all sorts of ramifications-spiritual as well as physical and emotional. I, for one, am grateful that she and the God of her understanding came to an agreement that love of life matters more than longevity. May she find peace and may her family find healing in the midst of their loss.

There’s No Place Like Home

It’s Halloween as I am writing this. I just washed off the silver makeup, glitter and red lipstick that covered my face for a few hours when I was out and about tonight. My newly dyed hair is Manic Panic Ultraviolet. Nestled under the covers, I was perusing Facebook when a writing prompt snagged me. My friend Jenny G. Perry (also a Beliefnet Blogger) had posted pictures of her five children decked out in their Halloween finery. The theme was The Wizard of Oz. Her oldest- McKayla was a ringer for Dorothy; you would have thought Judy Garland had crossed back over the veil. Her next in line named Aidan dressed up as The Scarecrow who most certainly used his brain to create such a believable outfit. Then came Finn as The Tin Man with a good heart. Seamus was the most courageous Cowardly Lion on the planet. Finally, the youngest Perry- Dylaney was nestled in a basket carried by McKayla as an adorable Toto. Her husband Brian coated his erstwhile handsome face with Wicked Witch of the West green goop. Naturally, Jenny herself was Glinda with glitter and glow coming from the inside.

As I was smiling at the antics (or as Jenny likes to call them-shenanigans) that must have gone on there in preparation and then afterward.  it occurred to me that the movie has so many powerful spiritual themes. It exemplifies what Joseph Campbell called The Hero’s Journey.

My favorite lines:

Surrender Dorothy. So much of what life is about for me is that S- word. When I surrender, it is not about giving anything up. It is about ‘giving over’ my fears and limitation, hesitations and blocks and just letting things and people be as they are, even as much as I might want to change them. When I resist change, it happens anyway. When I just go with it, whatever ‘it’ might be, I find myself (rather than lose myself) enjoying life more.

Lions and Tigers and Bears…oh my- is an acknowledgement of my fears. I can work up quite a tizzy with my runaway and persverative thoughts. When I believe that there are ravenous beasts lurking in the dark and shadowy woods, I feel a need to duck and cover. Better to befriend and tame the critters.

Pay no attention to the man (or woman) behind the curtain. S/he knows how to manipulate, dazzle, play a role, rather than being genuine, since s/he believes that if the façade was stripped away and s/he was revealed for who s/he was, then no one would be impressed and s/he would just be average…and what fun would that be? It is when I reveal the real that I truly am powerful.

I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore. There are times when the ‘normal’ seems extraordinary and the world goes from black and white to Technicolor. I love acknowledging the magic that can occur at any moment.

There’s no place like home. I can search and seek for wisdom in other people and places, but always come to accept that it truly is an inside job. Home is far more than a place, but rather a sense of family. “I’ve got your back,” is a hallmark of those relationships. When I appreciate home, it is because it is a comfy place to rest my weary head, to celebrate life and into which I can gladly welcome friends and family and I don’t need to click my heels to watch the magic happen.

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