The Bliss Blog


The calendar page has turned from 2016 to 2017. Some would say, “not a moment too soon,” as a result of seemingly daily losses of notables and the current socio-political climate.  Since the election here in the United States, levels of anxiety and depression have increased dramatically. Regardless of which side of the fence you position yourself on, there is friction to be felt.  What happens when you don’t let yourself feel it?

In my case, I have discovered that repressing genuine emotion takes its toll on me physically. I am writing this blog after returning home from a visit to my local ER where I knuckled under and went following a bout with bronchial bleh that was treated with methods mainstream and integrative. These included antibiotics, inhaling salt water via a Neti pot, bags of lozenges, Nyquil, Dayquil, breathing in steam infused with essential oils, a warm wrap containing rice, flax, eucalyptus and wintergreen. What came along with the illness was that I coughed so hard that I strained my ribs. Imagine doing a few hundred sit-ups or crunches and then trying to breathe. With the aid of hospital- based TLC and a non-narcotic medication, the screaming level 8 ouch has diminished to a far more manageable 5 at the moment.  Got through triage quickly. Being a cardiac patient who is having breathing issues and rib pain, kind of bumped me up on the list. Felt like Typhoid Mary with my residual cough, so I was given a mask as a precaution as I alternately sat and paced around the lobby. Although I work out 3-4 times a week at the gym, I felt considerably older than my 58 turns around the sun and like my mom would have said, “decrepit,” as I limped a bit and guarded my ribs.

When I was ushered into the room, I was greeted by caring staff who assessed what was going on, took my info, vitals, expertly inserted an IV for Tramadol and fluids since I was dehydrated (chalk it up to meds that were meant to dry out sinuses and congestion) and got me to the x-ray room. I found myself resting well, despite the pain and within 3 hours or so, I was out the door headed to pick up prescriptions. No flu, no pneumonia, blessedly.

Roll back the clock to 24 hours ago, which was New Years’ Eve. I had planned on joining friends at a party in their home. I don’t hang with a rowdy crowd, so I knew I could lounge and veg in the company of those who were there. A persistent voice reminded me that I needed sleep more than socialization, so I made a decision to stay home instead of venturing out into the night. It was the first NYE that I had spent totally at home on my own in my adult life. I am a social butterfly and although watching the ball drop in Times Square or the Giant Peep descend in nearby Bethlehem, PA isn’t my idea of a good time, I still have enjoyed time with kindred spirits as I said farewell to one year and a hardy hello to the next.  It occurred to me that it really was no big deal to flip the page on the calendar solo. As indicated on social media, others of my friends were feeling low key too and decided to forgo festivities. My fancy dinner was chicken soup and tea and my elegant attire were a fleece robe over jammies.

Roll back even further in the day, and I was having lunch with my friend Ken who is a phenomenal dream guide as well as an intuitive healer. He has known me a long time (likely two decades.) and had picked up on the need I had to explore long time challenges with regard to money, success, and self-worth. Call it ancestral, but the fear of not being enough and doing enough to have enough has plagued me. As a child with asthma, I felt a need to push beyond healthy limits to keep up. An A student and dedicated athlete (competitive swimmer) who gave it my all in nearly every circumstance. A committed caregiver to the people in my personal and professional life. A workaholic who literally worked her way into a heart attack. Someone terrified of not being able to pay her bills, to the extent that she is embarrassed at being underemployed at the moment after being laid off from a lucrative job a bit more than a year ago. I have been able to piece together freelance/contractor jobs in my conjoined fields of therapy and journalism. Still, I have been ‘shoulding on myself’ over how I think things in my life ought to be. I have been setting up unreasonable parameters and then harshly criticizing myself when I haven’t met them.

I acknowledged that one of my stumbling blocks is comparison as I measure myself unfavorably to others who I perceive as being more successful in worldly ways (meaning making more money than I do with a similar background and training). I also hold up an extended tape measure that spans where I am to where I think I should be. Either one is a losing game.

One of the challenges I have encountered over the years is my perception of The Divine. I like the 12 step term, “The God of our Understanding” and I have what I call ‘God-versations’ often. The question I ponder is whether they are dialogues or monologs. Who is it that I am communing with? I know that I don’t believe (as Ken put it) in a ‘guy in the sky’ who pulls the puppet strings and we have no control over which direction we move. I also know that we are not totally left to our own devices with a God who has no investment in our wellbeing. When we took a look at my belief system, it turns out (no surprise), that I have a difficult time surrendering to God’s will for me. I am like that two-year-old who wants to tie her own shoes, as she insists, “Do it myself!”  How am I not willing to let God tie my proverbial shoes from time to time since I sometimes get them tangled in knots?

We agreed that I would truly invest myself in non-action more of the time, which feels counter-intuitive for this recovering Type A who sometimes downgrades to a Type B+.  Once I seed planted, my instructions were to step back and just let things be and let God do what God will, trusting that all is for my Highest Good.

As I entered into the New Year, my lungs are open and I am breathing my way clear.  I am inhaling love and exhaling fear. I am inhaling trust and exhaling doubt. I am inhaling self -compassion and exhaling self- judgment.  Ahhhh~

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