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Natural Bliss

Our natural state is bliss. Iíve heard this and read this a thousand times and Iíve always been certain that the people who espouse the concept are either: high on LSD; meditating high on a mountain top and totally out of touch with reality; or comatose.

Now, donít throw your mortgage bills at me but FINALLY I get it. There will always be problems to solve, each thing or situation we get will either grow tiresome or be taken away from us. THE ANSWER to bliss is already inside of us.

Donít believe me? Riddle me this: why do we feel blissful while lying in the sun with our eyes closed, or on our bed, or in our easy chair doing nothing, absolutely NOTHING (not thinking Ė thinking screws it up totally) but breathing in and out?

See? At our core, beneath all the fear, fretting, sadness, pain, projection and anxiety is perfect, infinite ease.

Itís taken me 58 years to finally realize that the key to happiness, peace and bliss is in a quiet place inside of me. But itís not easy to get there because the egoic mind wants to scare me at every turn. And Iíve never been able to reach the good stuff by meditating, since I canít sit in the lotus position anymore due to arthritis, and I only shame myself anyway for not doing it right, often or long enough, Iím only getting to the creamy center now by focusing all my attention on my core. At intervals, mind you, I do have to work for a living.

You must have guessed, Iím reading Eckhart Tolleís book ďThe Power of Now.Ē Iím always the last to know. My guru body worker loaned it to me and I see on the testimonials on the back cover that even Oprah! discovered it probably seven years ago, which means even heartland fundamentalists have it sitting with the magazines next to their toilets.

So, as if my car crash wasnít enough to test me, I am being challenged again to stay in the joy of the present moment. Last night, while palpating my still sore neck from whiplash, I discover this perfectly pea-sized lump just beneath the skin.

I have three options, as I see it:

a) Freak out and become prepared for lymphoma, which my aunt died from, miserably.

b) Get to a doctor faster than fat on fire (the gods are with me, I just happen to have an appointment with my physician tomorrow) and let him decide whether thereís anything to worry about.

c) Just assume itís nothing and let it go.
Well, option ďcĒ is out. I am not THAT in touch with my inner bliss. I have already done ďaĒ to no avail. Guess Iíll go with whatís behind door ďbĒ.

OK, I am doing a bit of ďcĒ now that I think of it. I took a walk on the beach and said to myself, ďSusan, you have wasted much of your life being scared and sad and trepidatious (Is that a word? My spell checker says no). If you donít choose to be happy NOW, when do you think that will happen? After you win the Lotto? (Not! I donít buy tickets) When you meet the right man? (Puh-leeze, been there, done that) When hell freezes over? (Hm-m-m).Ē

Now Abe Lincolnís quote ďPeople are just as happy as they make up their minds to be,Ē rings true.

I have watched so many people with physical handicaps and cruel diseases who take their lives on faith, and greet each day joyfully, that I know it can be done. My younger sister is doing it right now, post mastectomy. She is my idol.

So, after I finish my beach walk, I remove my Reeboks, roll up my pants and walk into the icy, exhilarating ocean and kick kelp and crystal water drops skyward. I feel the wind on my face and taste the salt on my lips and am grateful to the core that I am alive. I am willing to believe my natural state is bliss.

But, lest you confer sainthood upon me, I have marked the lump on my neck with a black permanent marker to be SURE that the doctor finds it . . .

P.S. Itís the next day and the doctor pooh-poohs the lump and says it has to do with my blocked sinuses and a slight infection.
Yes! I can breathe again! Well, er, figuratively speaking . . .

Aging Inspiration

There are many angels in my life. Some I never asked for. One is an 84-year-old woman and caretaker of her husband, who followed my writing for decades. When I lost my job with the newspaper she began sending me letters of love, hope and inspiration and some very x-rated jokes.

Weíve never met - spoke on the phone once - and we laugh and cry like old friends when we read each otherís letters: Hers far lengthier and more legible.

Her most recent script about aging is worth forwarding:

ďThe aging bonus is friends, time to do and enjoy reading, sunrises and sets, floral colors and fragrances, and anything else formerly seen and only now totally appreciated.

After a life really lived, the reflections are as bright as a rainbow and a sense of thankfulness permeates the soul. Regrets are few and most, over time, changed to thankfulness.

The sense of peace raises the mind to new heights and fears of the past are gone.

There is much to be said for aging gracefully.Ē


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