The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Hugs For Peace

ediemiraclepaperforrestLast night I joined with a group of friends to open arms and hearts and embrace life full on. Periodically, I throw a party that takes the love that knows no language barrier, to the streets of the nearby town of Doylestown, PA. What happens is nothing short of a miracle each time.



The folks who came to play are enthusiastic joy bringers who interact with the world in passionate ways. I have known one of them for more than 20 years and the most recent who are mother and daughter, a few weeks. Each carried with them their own brand of magic.

Although any day is fine for hugging, as far as I am concerned, the purpose yesterday was to celebrate International Day of Peace. The world can feel like a dark and frightening place. People see separation and isolation. Hugs have a way of bringing folks together like nothing else I know. Human connection is priceless. Whenever I do these events, I feel like a sociologist/anthropologist. I observe people’s reactions to an offer of a hug. Some enthusiastically jump into our outstretched arms, while others look down, walk briskly past us; some wave us off and say “Nah, I’m good.” To them, we respond, “Hug somebody today. Hug yourself.”


When you watch the video, you will see the various emotions that hugging evokes. I was moved by the young people who hugged us. Early on in the evening, we were ‘swarmed’ by a group of teen soccer players dressed in jerseys that were yellow and black striped so they resembled bees. My cousin Jody brought her dog Maddy who eagerly flopped over for belly rubs. We met a young couple on their first date, hung out with musicians from The School of Rock, stopped by local restaurants, bars and other businesses, posed with a  giraffe sculpture, squeezed into a meter booth; kind of like a phone booth, met a man who participates in the annual New Years Day tradition in Philly called The Mummers’ Parade. Together we did the Mummers’ strut.


By the end of the night, I estimate that we hugged at least 1oo willing people.  Looks fun, huh? I invite you to become a Hugmobster, armed with love. Imagine a world where love rules. Pretty awesome.

Photos and video courtesy of Jason Wood. <3







International Day of Peace-FREE HUGS STROLL

 “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”-Albert Einstein

“While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.”-Francis of Assisi
“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.”-Buddha
PEACE ON EARTH— These lovely words merely scratch the surface for what is possible in a world of infinite possibility. There are some who, in their cynicism say that peace will never reign supreme. Led  by fear, rather than love, that doubt may indeed feed the collective soup pot to which we all contribute and from which we all symbolically turn to for nourishment. That’s why I choose to look for ways to create peace in my own life.
It truly begins within as the ‘warring factions’ in my mind that tell me I will always be at odds with certain people because their beliefs vary from mine. Those who harbor hatred need love even more, to heal those rifts in their hearts that created intolerance in the first place. If I notice myself contracting in resistance to them, I take a breath and send out love. I may never know the impact I will have on anyone whose path I cross. I can only set intent and then follow through as my conscience dictates.
For that reason, I chose to take part in a global event called International Day of Peace which, according to their site:
“Established in 1981 by resolution 36/37, the United Nations General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. Furthering the Day’s mission, the General Assembly voted unanimously in 2001 to adopt resolution 55/282 establishing 21 September as an annual day of non-violence and cease- fire.”
The organization encourages people to pray, meditate, march, use art, dance and speak out in support of unity rather than divisiveness. On this day, in addition to carrying peace filled thoughts, I will be joining friends on the streets of Doylestown, PA for an event called International Day of Peace FREE HUGS Stroll. My contention is that with our arms around each other, we can’t be fighting each other. I call the crew who offer love in this way ‘Hugmobsters armed with love’. The name originated when we did a FREE Hugs Flashmob at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia in 2013. All are welcome to join us!
No matter where you are, I encourage you to create peace in your hearts, community and world. What if we were just one hug away from peace on Earth? Imagine that. I do, every day.


Twenty Years and Counting- Celebrate Your Life!

Take a moment and think back 20 years. The calendar read 1995. The world was in turmoil with news about wars and famine capturing headlines. On the flip side, there was also an epic blending of culture when the Russian space station Mir (Russian for peace) docked with the US shuttle. The perfect juxtaposition and timing for events that would bring people together for the purpose of making the planet a more peace-filled and loving place.

Simultaneously, in Arizona, seeds were planted by the mother-daughter team of Ariel Wolfe and Liz Dawn Donahue, two women possessing entrepreneurial spirit, a whole lot of gumption and with the same goal in mind. They had the brilliant idea to bring together spiritual teachers and seekers to enrich each other’s lives. Like most grass roots organizations, the two began fairly small scale; their desk was Ariel’s dining room table and one phone line connected them with the world. At the time, they had no clue how what they were cultivating would blossom into a conference that features sought after speakers such as Neale Donald Walsch, don Miguel Ruiz, don Jose Ruiz, Marianne Williamson, Iyanla Vanzant, Arielle Ford, Gregg Braden, Barry Goldstein, Michael Beckwith, Rickie Byars Beckwith, Dan Millman and Joan Borysenko.


Their company, called Mishka Productions was named for their beloved dog who had recently died. The name symbolized the effervescent spirit that Mishka embodied. What developed from years of smaller gatherings is now both a noun and a verb: Celebrate Your Life.

When I look at the line-up, for the upcoming Celebrate Your Life conference in Phoenix, Arizona on November 6 – 9, I shake my head in amazement, since my own connection with these movers and shakers goes back even farther than that. As a career journalist, I have had the pleasure of interviewing most of them. I discovered the nourishment that they share meets the hunger that people have to immerse themselves in what I think of as practical spirituality. It stands the test of time. It exists outside the edifices in which people traditionally go to commune with the Divine. It walks beside us when we face the inevitable dark nights of the soul. What they offer to the world is truly a gift.


People travel from all over the world to meet their favorite author in person, to discover new ways of navigating life’s challenges, to explore new possibilities of bringing joy into their lives, and to discover their soul’s purpose and passion. I found that there was something for everyone at Celebrate Your Life and I’m truly excited to attend the upcoming conference in November. Since it is pre-Thanksgiving, I will use it to be even more aware of what I have to be grateful for.

I had the joy of attending in 2011. I had just lost my mother nearly a year earlier and was in need of soaking up some nurturing. This was the perfect place to do that. I met kindred spirits and  felt like a kid in a candy store as I attempted to decide which workshops to attend. Each one brought with it a treasure of immeasurable worth. Each one opened doors that I had not been willing to walk through out of fear that I wasn’t enough and needed to prove my value. Several divinely orchestrated interactions occurred which made it abundantly clear that I was concocting stories in my head and then believing them as if they were fact rather than fiction.


A compelling reason to be there again is to honor a man whose life and work is a beautiful gift that many have unwrapped over the past several decades. Wayne Dyer passed on August 30, 2015, which stunned his many friends and fans world round. He was slated to speak at Celebrate Your Life, but instead, will be lauded at the conference.

Although Liz Dawn’s mother Ariel has passed into Spirit, as well, on June 1, 2009, I know that she is still a guiding force for the conference and is ‘kvelling’ (Yiddish for bursting with pride) from heaven at what her daughter has continued to create.

I would love to see my readers there in Phoenix for the 20th anniversary, so we can celebrate life together!


French Kissing God: A Journey To Enlightenment Book Review

“Last night, God offered me a kiss… Of course, I accepted.”-Lyric Benson Fergusson

That is the invitation that ushers the reader into this tempting tidbit of a book called French Kissing God A JOURNEY TO ENLIGHTENMENT . Filled to overflowing with delicious love poems to God in the spirit of Sufi poet Rumi, it plays the heartstrings and scintillates the soul. Like her inspiration whose words echo forward from 13th century Turkey, Fergussen’s poetry is multi-layered and are both prayer and seduction.

The fascinating back story is that the author is a child of Hollywood who chose to venture into the realm of celibate spirituality for eight years. Her parents are singer Karla DeVito and actor Robby Benson.


Fergussen sees God as form and formless, called by many names,  in all experiences; in the play of the light and shadow. The communion with the Divine that begins the book, was initiated, of all places, in the bathroom. Like many of us, for her, that was a locale in which to contemplate the trajectory of her life.

She recognized that hers was in danger of literally ‘going down the toilet’. She and her family had lost someone on 9/11, she had been facing her father’s open heart surgery and her own debilitating experiences with abdominal and spinal pain as well as fibromyalgia. Drugs were a means of self medicating that had her spiraling out of control. That revelatory moment was a turning point.

Transcendental Meditation  (TM) and service via Maharishi University of Management, founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who became her beloved teacher, brought her relief from pain and into a river of peace. It was also where the 108 poems that comprise this collection found their birth. 108 is an auspicious number in many faith traditions.


The words themselves speak of love and longing, and an appreciation of the gifts of this incarnation.

Some luscious as chocolate samplings:

Equally Relentless
Sweet one…
God’s love is relentless.
How He will churn the ignorance out of you, by dragging you across star-fields by your pinky toe, howling, until you finally surrender.
The heat of the stars burning through pride. The rings of Saturn can be quite cutting, let me tell you.
I know, I have been there…
I throw specks of dust from my journey onto paper, in hopes that they will spark and catch fire in your heart, and light fire to this world too.
Until all of our love becomes equally relentless.



Your Heart
Censor your heart, love, and you’ll live as the dead live.
There is not a moment of your life that is unholy.


Delicate green shoots trampled by eager feet yearning for God,
quickly replaced by sprouting jungles,
leaves as large as elephants’ heads.
I lie on the ground where God dwells.
Lucky, God dwells everywhere.



Human Am I
Human am I, afraid and overshadowed.
God am I, fearless and full of Being.
Two in one… One in two…
What a strange incarnation that I live.
Both God and self exist in Me.

This book of transcendent verse is designed to be savored and read to a lover. Start with yourself.

French Kissing God is now available on Kickstarter, where you can learn more about Lyric’s life and sample more of her work. Signed copies, and other collectors items are also available for early adapters at discounted prices. Learn more here:




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