The Bliss Blog

Listening to the show called Sleepy Hollow on my favorite radio station,WXPN, as is my Saturday and Sunday morning ritual. It starts my weekends off with sonic sweetness as it offers easing- me- out -of -or lounging- in -bed mode. This morning it is the second as I prep for a day that I know will stretch my ability to be in compassion for myself. I was asked to officiate at the memorial service/Celebration of Life for the husband of a friend who saw him through a recent hospice journey that ended when he took his leave a few days ago. When I awoke that morning, I sensed that it would be his last day incarnate. A few hours later, I received a message from one of his daughters. Sometimes it sucks being psychic. Of course, I will need to be fully present for my friend and her family, while processing my own losses over the years.

I was speaking with a friend last night about my somewhat numbed emotions. Death doesn’t frighten me. I speak about it nearly every day in my therapy practice. Many of my clients have lost loved ones; some fairly recently. I listen and offer what guidance I can to help them navigate unpredictable and choppy waters that threaten to capsize their boat and toss them adrift. Some believe they will drown in a sea of despair and it’s my job to hold out a life preserver. Sometimes I tear up a bit with them. How much of it is empathy and how much my own unexpressed grief over the deaths of my husband and parents? I may never sort that out. Michael passed 19 years ago, my father died in 2008 and my mother joined him in 2010. Each transition brought with it, valuable lessons that serve me personally and professionally and helped me to appreciate life all the more since it was reinforced that everyone is on loan to us and we to them.

When I am tempted to complain about aspects of my life that feel limited or less than fulfilling, I remember the kind souls who surround me with love and support. Some are new friends and others (like the woman whose husband’s service I will be officiating this afternoon), have been part of my life for more than a decade and still others, many of the nearly six decades I have been incarnate. Hard to imagine that I will reach the milestone of 60 years on the planet this time around. As I contemplate that fact, I am experiencing butterflies in my stomach and a myriad of emotions. Some uncertainty, since we never know from one day to the next what will unfold before us. I do my best to stay sane and vertical in the midst of it all. A few days ago, a client asked me what got me through multiple losses and serious illnesses. I credited the ‘three f’s of family, friends, and faith’. Without them, I would have floundered. Even with them, there are times when I experience overwhelm. I am amazed that on any given day, my life includes many activities. Yesterday was such a one.

I began the morning at 9:30, teaching kidlets at a daycare center (4-6-year-olds) mindfulness, as they taught me as well. Much of what we explored was the concept of kindness and ways to be more compassionate to ourselves and each other. I love these tiny humans as we have been together over the last two months for two times a month visits. When I am kind to myself, it is easier to be kind to others. We can’t fill someone else’s cup if ours is empty.

Then I zipped down the PA turnpike an hour to my next round, seeing therapy clients until 7:30 pm. Each of them carried in with them, their own needs and challenges that I was called on to ameliorate. In the past, I would have practiced savior behavior, thinking I could duct tape their broken pieces together until they fused. Now, I guide and offer tools as they pick and choose what works for them. Much better for all concerned.

Even as I am becoming more aware of what not to do, I am gravitating toward practices that heal and soothe my body and soul. Tonight and tomorrow, it is my intention to immerse in them on these late in January days.






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