The Bliss Blog


When I contemplated what to write for the Bliss Blog, I realized that there are so many things going on in the larger world, that my personal activities pale in comparison. Blazes devastating California, the remnants and residue from horrific hurricanes, the threat of war, predictably unpredictable chaos issuing forth from the administration, sexual harassment and assault charges against one whose last name is spelled the same way as mine, but blessedly, we are not related. It’s enough to make my head spin. Although I don’t want to take a news or social media fast, since it won’t change anything for the better by being uninformed, there are times when I numb out and choose not to take any more in. I do what I can to be a peacemaker, love sharer and joy-bringer. I look for opportunities to connect and not separate. Not always easy.

In my day to day life, I go to work, see clients as a therapist and coach, write articles, edit books and publications, teach classes, marry couples, do promotion, plan and promote events, spend time with friends and family, work out at the gym, clean my house, mow my lawn, maintain my car and pay my bills. I experience loss like everyone and appreciate miracles when they show up. Today, I had the opportunity to do both.

A few days ago, a dear cousin died after a bout with cancer. I had the blessing of time with him a few days earlier and the chance to say goodbye. We are the grandchildren of two of the 13 Bernstein kids who grew up in Philadelphia, PA. I didn’t meet all of my aunts and uncles since some died before I was born. My grandmother and his grandfather were sister and brother. Our generation has rekindled the tradition our parents started by having regular gatherings that didn’t need to center around pivotal events such as wedding, funerals, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. The most recent time was back in the Spring when a newly discovered cousin who found he was related to our family, located us via a DNA test. On that day we laughed and goofed around; a multi-generational reunion with the youngest being my great niece who was 4 at the time and the oldest another cousin in his 70’s with a full range in between. Arnie was light-hearted even as he needed to use a cane to get around in anticipation of hip surgery. Never in a million years did he or we anticipate that he would not live to see the end of the year.

When I was on my way to his funeral this morning, a huge deer ran across the road, with vines and leaves on his antlers. Although I swerved to miss him, I could feel a thud against the passenger door as he hurled himself at my Jeep, which is solidly built. Fortunately, he didn’t seem to be injured as he dashed across Rte 476 which is a three-lane highway and scrambled over the median. I pulled over to compose myself and through the rearview mirror, I saw a female deer. She was running behind me. I hightailed it out of there, not wanting to tempt fate since she was likely a combination of scared, angry and grieving. I cried for a few miles. Thinking there was some Divine intervention. Perhaps Arnie (who was in the auto repair industry) had taken on the role of road angel.

His service was in a Jewish cemetery on the outskirts of Philadelphia conducted by an old friend of his, which made it that much more personal. He regaled us with stories about Arnie’s love for his family, friends, food, and fun. It warmed my heart even more than the unseasonably steamy early Fall temperatures as the sun baked us. During the ritual, a white butterfly swooped over the gravesite. Not a surprise for this one who believes strongly in metaphysical messengers.  Some have wings and some have hoofs and antlers and some are connected by ancestry and love.

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