Be Like Water – 16 Lessons from Bruce Lee

I have stumbled upon the ultimate inspirational Bruce Lee video.  It you are serious about evolving, spend the under eight minutes to watch this.

Sompong Yusoontorn has gathered 16 Lessons from Bruce Lee, managing to present in a very short time, Lee’s power kicks to our choices to whine, procrastinate, and make excuses. be water bruce lee

My own intention is sit and re-watch (again), but this time with my journal. Be honest with what rises up, and agree to an action plan for myself based on the results.

I thought I loved Bruce Lee before, but after watching this video, I paused to give thanks that even though his time here was short, we have not lost the gifts he came to share.

Which lesson spoke to you the loudest? Any action plans? Do you have a favorite Bruce Lee quote you don’t see here? Would love to hear your comments

 

Bliss Follower News coming soon!! Quick details here….

blissfollowerI have been having some internal sumo moments deciding what direction to take my page. This weekend it became very clear that the page stays for Bliss Follower shares – my writing. some videos, some music.

What was clarified is that the other interests will be bumped into a monthly newsletter. Some GoGreen stuff, Vegan stuff (never harsh or judgemental, only helpful and loving). Contests. Something to support the PyroPortrait honey. Book reviews. Connecting the dots to other artists, writers, wizards of wonderful things that you might not know about yet. Probably an associate link or two.

I would like to start collecting email addresses now – kind an on early opt in :) Please reach out to me at Candyce@theblissfollower.com with your email address.

Thanks much in advance for tuning in!!!

Shadows and Light from the Past

 We all pine for a time in life when things were simpler. Even when they weren’t necessarily simpler, hindsight makes them look a lot simpler. The reality of it was that it wasn’t.    ~~ Ben Gibbard

When I see old photos in black and white,  I often take my mind time capsule to travel back and imagine those days. I falsely attribute them as simpler.

I am not alone in having a somewhat hectic life, nor am I am alone in the quest for simplicity.  Many of my conversations with friends center around what we are doing to clean out, purge, release, simplify.

I landed in Lakehurst, NJ,  in 1988 clearly due to a direct plop by the hand of destiny. I never had the intention to live here, and yet now I couldn’t imagine myself leaving.  There is some comfort in the thought that I am happy where I am rooted.

In the late 1800’s, a beautiful resort named the Pine Tree Inn was built in Lakehurst.  A winter resort, open pine tree innfrom October to May, complete with sun porches, fireplaces, tennis courts, and my beautiful Lake Horicon. 

I feel very connected to this place, though it was razed in the 1940’s.  The school sits there now.  I  learned that in addition to the recreational activities, there were healing modalities offered as well. A place for rest. Many stayed to allow time for recuperation. This all amazes me, as I strive to find my center in the single digit temperature weather we are experiencing in January.  People came here, in the cold, on purpose. My soul connects with many stories that somehow do not fully surface to become words.

I say, maybe too often, that my lake is magic, but I truly believe it so. She has healed me. I am evidence of her power.  We create blocks of appointments, responsibilities, things and build towers around us. Life itself throws blocks of illness, disasters, life changes at us, and we grab them with gusto to build the walls that block Lake Horican from dock late sunset 051111the view of what is truly essential.  The personal battle of Jericho, the tumbling of our walls, occurs when we find the silence, and allow the self-care to begin. Without self-care, we will never find our core, where simplicity must be established.  It doesn’t matter if it is 1930 or 2014, the very nature of life includes getting the crap beat out of us.  The very essence of serenity is to lock into the stillness. Mother Nature, in her infinite capability to offer healing (from food, to flowers, Mother Ocean, and so much more), will open the door for us the moment we make the commitment to accept her gifts.

“The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In lotus lake horican 09162012order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. … The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one”.

~~  the Venerable Thupten Ngodrup

The path through the woods at my lake during the time of the Pine Tree Inn, doesn’t look much different than the path I walk today. This is not lost on me.  As I wrote, at first I felt as if I was jumbling my topics – simplicity, self-care, life. As my words tumbled onto the page, the truth spoke to me that they are connected lake horicon pathby a thread that cannot be broken.  We are simple by nature, complicated by design.  Our desire for simplicity is always fueled by our aspiration for peace. Self care is the only way to find our personal center, the center of our lotus self. Self care is the only way to actually maintain the strength we need to support others if that is our chosen mission. Let me put this in bold print to lovingly yell at a couple of you reading this. SELF CARE IS NOT SELFISH.  In his powerful book “THE LAST LECTURE” Randy Pausch stated ““Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” (If you haven’t read this book.. get to it, but have tissues handy)

Watching the woodpecker enjoy the species specific feeder that our neighbor Peter gifted us, and the chickadees and wren, along with a cranky blue jay flitting from feeder to branches, I am comfortably sliding into the knowing of the NOW and the simplicity of that fact. It is NOW. It is all I have. Choices for simplicity and peace in this moment, a commitment to myself at this point in time, are the tools to topple the walls.

On a VERY lighthearted note, but keeping in line with my lake and those that are important to me, I finish up this share with a VERY RARE photo of a Will Fleming walking in the woods.  rare will fleming siting at Lake horican woods 03224

** Aside from the Pine Tree Inn and the b/w path photo,  they are all actually my shots at Lake Horicon.

 

 

 

Another Gift from the Lake

lake at Sprillway 110511I am blessed to be in walking distance to gorgeous Lake Horicon. It is my tether to this town.. well that,  the sacred grounds we call home, and the cedars that ask for hugs as I walk by.

Today while walking Shanti, the sunset was like a child’s crayon drawing. Lots of color  and squiggles in many directions.  The Lake itself was hosting about 100 geese.

It was very cold out, and aside from a couple of teenagers sneaking to the back in separate cars, Shanti and I shared the lake with only one other older woman, and her dog.  For about five minutes, the four us just stood there, being one with the serenity of the gently floating geese and pastels of a multitude of colors in the sky.

As I turned to walked toward home,  I said to my silent friend, ” I love living here. So much magic”.

She replied, (and I knew that it was the husky Universe speaking through her in sweet and gentle female German accent), ” as often as I am here, I am amazed it is never the same”.

That is the gift of the Lake, reminding us that everything around us is always changing, even if so slowly we hardly notice.   The wind across the water climbing into the trees, telling me that everything in this moment is only NOW.. and then it is a new moment, and a new NOW.  A most important understanding to completely etch into my being this year of  2015. Not letting go of the power of this knowing.

If you would like to join me in going a step further, take the just under nine minutes to fall into this Stuart Wilde meditation.  EnJoy it with your eyes open.. the dancing fractals might speak to you. James Wild has woven the perfect music for both.  My knowing for all who have taken the time to read my words, and listen to Stuart and James, is that the gift of knowing the NOW awaken in you.

** The photo above was taken on my cellphone, at the spillway at Lake Horican. No filters. A perfect moment.

 

 

 

Conversations with Vincent – Crossing Day & Trees

From the Van Gogh Museum Facebook page:

“On 29 July 1890 Vincent van Gogh passed away. The painting ‘Tree Roots’ stood on his easel when he died. Many people believe that the more dramatic ‘Wheatfield with Crows’ is Van Gogh’s final work. The painting ‘Tree Roots’ is a much likelier candidate, however, as he was unable to complete it, which helps explain its irregular, unfinished character. Theo’s brother-in-law, Andries Bonger, described it as follows in a letter: ‘The morning before his death, he had painted an underwood [sous-bois], full of sun and life.’

tree roots

I am confident that TREE ROOTS was what Vincent was working on when he crossed over (and really, his brother-in-law stands with me, so who can be against me?)

Being that I am immersed in my Conversations with Vincent,  I couldn’t let this day go unnoticed.  He wanted to go home to his God.  He was tired, and no longer wanted to fight the struggle on this earth plane.  The flame within him was ignited to bring joy to others with his art, but it was extinguished by the pretentious bitterness of too many. Story wise, it’s a sad one – that anyone (not just someone talented) would decide to end their life dramatically with a gunshot to his head. Yet, this was not the end of Vincent.

He may have left his physical body, but his presence has grown stronger and stronger with time. He did achieve what he was inspired to do. Beautiful webpages making it simpler for people world wide to see his art.  Traveling exhibits always sold out. His own Doctor Who episode  (can’t blame him for being excited about that).  My personal belief is we may leave the body here, but our true essence remains. Post for another day.  Today is Vincent’s crossing day.

Trees. Such beautiful manifestations of As Above, So Below. Such exquisite ambassadors for the Divine Mother, reaching deeper and deeper into her earthy body, arms outstretched to embrace the sun and ethers. Showering with the rain and replenishing the soil with it. Such graceful emissarys of Mother Nature, reaching out to all those around, giving haven to Mother’s furry and feathered children. tree of life

We have a gorgeous Tree of Life tapestry on our entry wall.  While not my husband’s favorite, he created a Tree of Life Pyroportrait for me.

I am connected to Trees from the roots of my own soul. I know many others who feel the same way. Trees verify history and confirm life. Writing this is awakening the memory of how much I loved the book “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn’.  Anyone reading who didn’t cry when they read Shel Silverstein’s ” The Giving Tree”?  Many of us remember in that deep place, the gift the trees have agreed to give us,  offering us so much just by existing.  From shade, to fruit and let’s not forget how helpful they are with that oxygen stuff we require, trees are light rooted angels. Serving us so selflessly.

In earlier Vincent writings, you would read that that after having held hands with God, the pain of this world was just too great.  The bliss of all that the Divine Source offered,  was a nectar he frantically tried to share with others. The torment came as he experienced his fellow beings not just ignore his art, but as he watched them be cruel to all of the glory he had seen as a part of All That Is, and more deeply, to each other. Candyce hugging our tree after Sandy Oct2012

When you are finished reaching this, do a couple of things to honor Vincent’s gifts to us all:

  • Hug a tree.
  • Enjoy some art.
  •           Step further – buy art!
  •           and what Vincent wanted most

BE GENTLE TO YOURSELF AND BE KIND TO ALL YOU MEET! SEE THE GIFT IN IT ALL!

 

 

 

Conversations with Vincent… We are all artists

I try more and more to be myself, caring relatively little whether people approve or disapprove.

  ~~ Vincent Van Gogh

Blossoming-Almond-Tree

I thoroughly enjoy the play of the Universe.  The continual surprises, tucked like magical beans in unexpected places, keep the days fresh and fun.

About a year ago I bought a book, written in 1938,  that was mentioned by Anne Lamott. It’s title is, “If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit” authored by Brenda Ueland.   From the Amazon review :

For most, the hardest part of writing is overcoming the mountain of self-denial that weighs upon the spirit, always threatening to extinguish those first small embers of ambition. Brenda Ueland, a writer and teacher, devotes most of her book–published back in 1938, before everyone and their goldfish got their MFA’s in creative writing–to these matters of the writer’s heart. Still, the real gift of the book is Ueland herself: She liked to write, she didn’t care what anyone thought, and she had a great sense of humor. You’re simply happy to hang out with her.      

About a month ago, I finally decided to start reading it.  Was so surprised to find that Brenda is a friend of Vincent! (also William Blake, who I might have to have some conversations with as well). She had come across some of his letters, and came to love both the writer in the artist, as well as the painter. Painter-on-His-Way-to-Work,-The

“If you read the letters of the painter Van Gogh you will see what his creative impulse was. It was just this: he loved something-the sky, say. He loved human beings. He wanted to show human beings how beautiful the sky was. So he painted it for them, and that was all there was to it”.

While I gave the original nod to Anne for leading me to Brenda (who by the way spent many years in Greenwich Village as a part of a bohemian crowd including Eugene O’Neill and Louise Bryant), because of my Conversations with Vincent, I am confident it was he that nudged me to start reading.

I have learned, I don’t enjoy being a reporter. I don’t enjoy attempting to mold myself into the template for writing that many consider a requirement. I enjoy writing. I love painting with words.  When I see something, feel something, understand something, I get so excited and want to share.  Words are my vessel for art.  Words strung together like mala beads create a space where I can join with someone, where we can merge in understanding, where aaaahhhs, aha’s and oh yes’s can be exchanged.

Vincent is nodding his head now and smiling. He is not wearing his straw hat, but does have a lovely crisp beige shirt on. Looks like linen, but more likely cotton. His hands have the dregs of some leftover paint on them, the last remnants of a recent explosion of color on canvas.  He pushes toward me an open book. I at first think it’s a journal, but quickly realize the pages are blank except for words intended for me.

We are all artists. It is essential that the  artist be allowed to be integrated into our daily selves. Whatever the medium, be the artist. Come fully from the place of Spirit. Even in your regular adventures – infuse them with the non-mundane. Bounce yourself OUT of the bubble of illusion, and see it all as the play that it is.  While it is nice to say “even if one person benefits from what I do”, the truth is, the importance is in you being fully from that place of soul expression. You are the most important person to benefit from what you do. When you are vibrant, it will expand. When you are authentic, it will shine a light for others. When you are not afraid to live your magnificence, another will come stand next to you in gratitude. Art is more than a media. A true artist opens a portal for their Soul to express itself dynamically each and every day.

And now Vincent just sat back and exhaled an contented sigh.

—————————————————————————

Conversations with Vincent started HERE   Then we enjoyed our stream together and I learned about his fall….

The Blossoming Almond Tree  and Painter on His Way to Work pieces can be found with some history at the Van Gogh Gallery. It saddened me to learn that the original PAINTER was destroyed in World War II.

A post for another day, but too much beauty is destroyed by war.  I enjoyed the movie Monuments Men (Clooney, Damon,etc), and was brought to tears by this under 6 minute youtube clip presented by  one of the book’s authors, Robert Edsel   You cannot help but feel gratitude for the mission they voluntarily undertook when watching The Monuments Men and Woman Experience.

Instead of Releasing…. Try Embracing

Last night I attended Al Romao’s  Journey Through Sound Meditation. Al is my favorite journey tour guide. He gets you on the bus, but doesn’t tell you where you have to go. I look forward to any event with him, because my trust in his process is full and I easily surrender myself to the journey.

The evening quickly moved us to a gentle relaxed state, and we were soon bathed in the aroma of a unique burning blend of resins and plants, and the vibration of various instruments, including Al’s voice.  At some point I got off the bus.

My olfactory receptors took a trip somewhere with strawberry incense, I was found myself in a day of my 14th year, where I was very sad, and felt very alone.  Now me starting chanting ” I release this…. I let it go!”  I was frustrated to even be in memory of it.

Then my inner “SHE”, who really knows me, spoke.  “Stop resisting” she told me.” Let go of this incessant need to purge and release and let go. Begin to EMBRACE. ” embrace your imperfect self

Whooossshh.. through a journey tube to a quiet place to just marinate myself with THAT. Embrace. It was so true.  Embracing is a beautiful soul twin to giving thanks, from the family of Gratitude.  I have been filled with a sense of anxiety at times working on this release and letting go plan. I was forgetting to EMBRACE. I was forgetting to love what good came. I was shutting out huge blocks of time and events that included moments worthy of cradling in my arms and rocking with love.

Game changer. Not purging, releasing, letting go for a while. Going to see with eyes of gratefulness, and embrace all of the good. This doesn’t require that I like the sooty smarm that really happened. All that is needed is to step around it. I think my incessant desire to move past, might have become like a psychic glue that has actually gotten me stuck in a few places.

Big embrace to my 14-year-old self. Let me hug on ya honey and tell you that you did a magnificent job getting to it and through it. Look at you now!!

Here’s your action step:

poster-hug-yourself-medium

 

Light A Candle

My Mamas (grandmother) was what I call a callous kneed Catholic. You get that right? She should have been a nun, but for some reason my Aunt Mazie (Sister Francis Aloysius)  was the one who took that route. My Mamas was hardcore devout though, and might have attended mass more than her sister. She was from Fall River, Massachusetts, and between the Irish and the Portuguese, the city had Mother Mary really busy.

Candle Heartsmoke

One of my favorite things when I visited my Mamas, was to light the prayer candles in the church.  To this day,  I make yearly trips to St. Patrick’s Cathedral NYC to light a candle for my Mamas at the shrine of her boy Tony (St. Anthony for those not as close as she and he were).

If you scoot over to the BlissFollower Prayer Page , you will read a little about the prayer candles in my Altar Room.  I encourage you to take a moment to visit.

Last night, under the beautiful full moon, I had a beautiful blazing prayer fire. This round was a just me and my A and G Teams.  Some incense, offerings, ritual, chanting, intentions, drumming, connecting. When I do a prayer fire I include my regular list, and all of those who are on my prayer radar.

Today I added something to the Bliss Follower page – check the sidebar – Light a Candle –  connecting to  the wonderful peeps at Gratefulness.org. Sometimes you need to do something fast, and I was inspired to make it easy for you to find.

light-a-candle-lightcandle-550x268

 

The Prayer Page is always open, and the Prayer Candles are always available. I am feeling blessed this warm Sunday night, that Sharanam Shire is a haven for both.  Namaste  my fellow Bliss Followers. May your days be blessed and filled with Light.

 

 

click me for the video

 “Light A Candle”  – Neil Young

Instead of cursing the darkness,
Light a candle for where we’re going,
There’s something ahead, worth fighting for.When the light of time is on us,
You will see our moment come,
And the living soul inside will carry on.It’s a chance to give new meaning to every move we make,
In the cavern, in the cave, where we come from.When the light of dawn is on us,
We will see what we can be,
And the ancient ones can sleep an easy sleepIn the hallways of the ages, on the road to history,
What we do now will always be with us.

It’s a chance to give new meaning to every move we make,
In the caverns, in the caves, where we come from.

Instead of cursing the darkness,
Light a candle for where we’re going,
There’s something ahead, worth looking for.

When the light of time is on us,
We will see our moment come,
And the living soul inside will carry on.

Light a candle in the darkness,
So others might see ahead,
Light a candle in the darkness, when you go.

Light a candle in the darkness,
So others might see ahead,
Light a candle in the darkness, when you go.

Conversations with Vincent.. When I fell

About 15 years ago I was on my way to work and found myself behind a van at a traffic light. I think the company was Classic Painting, but the important part here was it had a paint brush and some color strokes and said ” Your job makes my van go.”. I laughed, called and left a voice mail that I thought it was funny. It’s nothing new that I think you should splash appreciation and support liberally.Starry-Night

One night last week, I was reading before bed, and this popped into my head (not surprising, because I had been thinking about Vincent) – and I got  – “Well if he was saying my name right this would have made no sense”.  I didn’t know I was saying it wrong all these years until the Doctor Who Episode.  What is more pretentious 1) saying it wrong with conviction 2) saying it correctly and knowing it sounds kind of pretentious? I could take it further and discuss the entire Dutch aspect, but I will leave it to you to follow the highlighted link if you are actually interested.

I wasn’t really sure if Vincent was being funny, snarky or serious, so I just waited. My mind drifted and like a movie coming up on a screen, I saw Starry Starry Night. Of course. Because it is beautiful. Because if I was brave enough for a really big tattoo that is what one of them would be. Because it is the only picture that I can see in a cheesy pizzeria and still just fall into it. I know it is Starry Night, but Don McLean and I like Starry Starry better.

And then it was like a deep silence, and rising from it I heard:

It was when I completed this that my true earthly pain began. I had held hands with God and seen the world as it truly was. I  could not bear the separation when I slipped back into normal mode.

I always asked God to reveal himself to me. I knew there was something beyond religion, but early on did not know how to take the pathway to something higher.  My painting sometimes brought urgency to the surface, but other times would calm me. Connect me to all that was.  That night I fell into the Starry Night was beyond anything I had experienced before.  I was washed over with an essence I had felt wisps of before, but now I was saturated with it. It was beyond any words I could imagine. It could only be told with my paintbrush. Oh how could I tell the world of all, I, Vincent am experiencing?

It was my ego that brought me back and separated me. It jumped in between me and my Godself.

It said I was psychotic. I was not.  

It said I was not worthy of such connection, and that it couldn’t be real. Who are you it asked, to think you can not only know God, but share the Essence?

Because of my past and the methods I had used to conquer my demons, it seemed my outside life supported my ego’s claims.

I was I had listened to my Inner Self.

Vincent-Van-Gogh-Quotes-2

 

 

Going Gray and the Double Nickel

I am  currently in my Double Nickel Year. There was a time, as recent as the last decade, that if you asked me how old I was, or tried to guess based on life clues, I would get irritated. I still don’t really appreciate the question (unless you need the info to fill out a form to give me gobs of money I  mysteriously won..then ask away). But.. today, I don’t really care as much about the answer.growing older

Double Nickel.. Fifty Five.. the wahhoooo 55. Not sure why this was such a liberating year for me. Will was watching a British movie and one of the characters wanted to get out of the mob. He said to his brother, ” If I am lucky I only have about 25 good summers left”. This really hit home with my honey, and when he shared it with me, I thought – “yes that is part of it”.

I am too old to deal with crap I don’t want to deal with.  We can begin with my hair. I don’t think I am alone in this experience, but I would dye my hair and about 2 weeks later it was skunksville. When we did our first holiday Tardis card, I made them Photoshop my roots.  It got increasingly more annoying. About two years ago, an acquaintance with a great face for short hair,  said she was cutting her hair to almost bald and then letting her gray hair grow in. There was a moment of time stoppage. Something clicked in me. Then time moved forward again, and she is still dying her hair. But the bell had sounded in me and I knew I was heading there. My son remembers me often saying I love the way long gray hair looked. He was the first to tell me when I shared my plan with my family, that I was always headed there.  Ding #2.

I played with it on and off for a couple of years, but somewhere between my odometer hitting 55 and Christmas, the long haired goddess of Candyce future came to visit me. I was in the bathroom,  just washing up, and I saw myself with long gray hair, …..and I was smiling. The room morphed to a slow blur, except for the clarity of me seeing future me. I KNEW that the me I was experiencing had truly gone for some of what made her heart sing. I knew the future me had really figured out how to dump a bunch of the peripheral nonsense, and be free enough to enjoy her time left.

My hair is still to the middle of my back. about 21 inches. I like it there. There are those of the opinion that an older woman should have shorter hair. I respectfully disagree with their opinion. I think all of us should have not just the kind of hair we want, but wear what we want, and do what we want with our face.  It’s no one else’s business. (even mine, which is something I have to remind my Judgmental Self when she peaks her head in. Judgmental Self by the way has regularly dyed medium brown hair. She just can’t let go.)

My gray hair is now about nine inches grown in. Twelve inches to go. Not holding off though, and claiming the labels. Member of the Silver Sisters Club. LOOOOVE Gray Goddess. I know I have entered the Crone stage of my life. Having known many self actualized crones, I wasn’t panicking that I had to let my hair look like gray brillo and cackle. I know the Crone is powerful, and I am ready to embrace her.

Power of the Crone “Dear brave souls, I warmly invite you to come be at the fireside with me and the Dangerous Old Woman and the Power of the Crone. Who is the crone? She is the most dangerous, the most radical, the most revolutionary woman in existence. Whether in fairy tales or in consensual reality, the old one goes where she wants to and she acts as she wishes; she lives as she chooses. And this is all as it should be. And no one can stop her. Nor ought they try.”

      ~~~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD

Just an observation. Very young children and very old people will do just what they want to do. Worth thinking on.

Have you read Mitch Albom’s “Tuesdays with Morrie” ? I loved that book.

“It’s very simple. As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.”

today is