8 limbs (1)

Self-discipline and Spiritual observances are the main focus for the second limb – Niyama. Regular temple or church service attendance, prayers before meals, personal meditation practices, habitual contemplative walks alone are fine examples of practicing niyama.

Just as in the Yama, there are five niyamas:

Saucha: Cleanliness

When I think about cleanliness, I think about the Japanese Concept of 5S. 5S is a workplace standard but it can be utilized in our homes, in our minds, and in our heart spirits. The 5S system is defined as:

Seiri or Sort – Put things in order (Remove what is not needed and keep what is needed) Let that sink in a bit. When we put things in order in our homes and work places, we are able to do the same in our psyche.

Seiton or Straighten – Proper arrangement (Place things in such a way that they can be easily reached whenever they are needed) Bring the most important items to the front.

Seiso or Shine – Clean (Keep things clean and polished; no trash or dirt in the workplace) Take out the trash in the physical and in the mental.  I love this piece from The Way of The Peaceful Warrior:

Seiketsu or Standardize – Purity (Maintain cleanliness after cleaning – perpetual cleaning) Because the laundry is never completely done, we keep doing what works to maintain cleanliness. Dusting, wiping, sweeping, etc.

Shitsuke or Sustain – Commitment (A typical teaching and attitude toward any undertaking to inspire pride and adherence to standards) It takes commitment to keep our homes, our minds and our heart spirits clean daily. [1]

Samtosa: Contentment

This word is so simple yet so unattainable for many. I know I struggle with it. Though, not as much as I did when I was younger and when I was using. But how does one find contentment? The Mayo Clinic has a good piece on this subject and here are a few simple suggestions they make:

Devoting time to family and friends – I had to pause writing here to schedule a painting class for son and I  because I have had it in the back of my mind to do so. The weeks fly by and we realize we have not had any quality time with our family members. Make it a priority.

Appreciating what you have  – Wabi-Sabi is another Japanese concept I have come to love and appreciate. For in seeing the beauty in worn  items that we own, we are not so quick to go out and spend money to replace them. We can have a full appreciation in a tattered pair of curtains shuffling in the breeze on a peaceful Sunday afternoon. We can relish in the history of the journey a piece of wood traveled to become that now old secretary’s desk.

As a young man in Japan, I learned the great philosophy of Wabi-Sabi: rustic simplicity, quietness, and understated elegance combined with the patina of beauty and serenity that comes with age. Wisdom is to be found in natural simplicity; beauty in that which is flawed. May you find them, too, my good friend, here in these words” – Wabi-Sabi The Bushido Poems of a Samurai Warrior of The Spirit.

Maintaining an optimistic outlook – Difficult while we are in the midst of another race to the Presidential nomination. I myself, being one of the most optimistic people I know, have found myself shaking my head in disbelief of the crazy outcomes of our current debates. But I also know that this too shall pass. Sometimes the future looks scary. But whoever said things are always going to be rainbows and butterflies? When times are tough, we hold on to the  knowledge that  good things are on the way. And they really are.

Feeling a sense of purpose – If we have no sense of purpose, then what are we doing here? Sometimes that purpose is leading a community. Sometimes it is playing chess. Nothing we do is without purpose. We just have to take the time to identify it and then we can feel that motivation to move in our purpose.

Living in the moment – How many memes do we see and stories do we hear about living in the moment? Sometimes, in the morning, my mind is saying “I am brushing my teeth”, to remind myself that I am in the moment. There are moments when one can walk barefoot in the grass, with closed eyes and feel the coolness of the air, smell the blossoming jasmine, hear the birds chirping and taste the sweetness of fresh berries growing in the garden. This is a moment. Live it. [2]

Drishti MoveEast

Tapas: Heat; Spiritual Austerities – Tapas is doing something you do not want to do or not doing something you want to do. It should have a positive effect on one’s life and the lives of others.

Tapas should be simple with success being attainable,  yet it should also be difficult and challenging enough to engage the will.

Understanding tapas best is to think of it as consistent perseverance toward your goals: getting on the yoga mat every day, sitting in meditation daily—or forgiving your loved one for the umpteenth time.

Peter asked Jesus how many times should he forgive his brother. Peter thought maybe seven times might be a fair limit. But Jesus said “seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22).

Tapas is a more subtle, more constant practice, concerned with the quality of life and relationships and not so much on focusing on gritting your teeth through another few seconds in a difficult asana.

Svadhyaya: Study of the Sacred Scriptures and of One’s Self – There are many Sacred Scriptures from The Holy Bible, The Koran, The Bhagavad Gita, etc. Some go to books like Calvin and Hobbs for their moral learning. Whatever it is, consistent study will only bring out wonderful results in our lives.


Photo by Aaron Burden

Isvara pranidhana: Surrender to God – My favorite! I will never forget the day I waved the white flag and surrendered my addictions to my God. I thought I would be beat down for the rest of my life. As it turned out, he moment I surrendered, I felt a huge weight lift off of my shoulders.

I always considered surrender as a form of losing. But I learned in my life, I must surrender to win. I have been winning at life ever since! Not in the way I once thought, not in competition with others but in competition with my former self. All I have to do is be better than I was and I am a winner. You can be a winner too, just surrender!

Wow! I am learning so much about applying The 8 Limbs to my life and I hope you are also! Another week down, another movement toward The Elysian Life! Stay Blissful My Friends – E


Are we Ready for a Poetic Crossing?



move east
Photo Source:


The concept of the Poetic Crossing is quite fascinating. I don’t necessarily have a desire to write such poetry (though I won’t rule that out completely).  I am rather intrigued by the philosophical background which touches my inner spirit. To get to my spiritual interpretation, I feel the need to explain what a poetic crossing.

I came upon the term “poetic crossing in a small piece of an interview I was reading one day and though my interpretation differs slightly with that of the interviewer, we were close enough.

The most current description I found was from an article posted in the Georgia Review in the fall of 1976 [1].  It is a fairly dry, yet profound reading and after much time spent interpreting the author’s representation and leaning on my eldest son’s assistance, I found the interpretation that worked best for me.

My Interpretation:

A written (poetic) word that intervenes in the to-and-fro movement between metaphoric beliefs and an expression of pity or compassion.

One example the author used was taken from Wallace Stevens’ poem “The Snowman”. Further perspective regarding “The Snowman” was pulled from Wikipedia and I actually concurred with the writer’s thoughts.

snowman photo by Adam Excell via Unsplash

“Stevens has the world look at winter from a different point of view. When thinking of winter, one might think of a harsh storm. One might also think snow and ice to be a nuisance. Stevens wants people to see the opposite view. He wants the world to look at winter in a sense of optimism and beauty. He creates a difference between imagination and reality.” [2]

Global Poetic Crossing

It is difficult to avoid the topic of politics in this exceptionally unstable segment of history. But looking at everything going on around the world, are we globally heading toward a Poetic Crossing? Is it time to view our world differently? Might we be ready to be optimistic and see other nations in all their beauty instead of the harshness that is displayed in the media 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? I wonder if we even have a choice. It amazes me to no end how frightening this option is to people around the globe. And I ponder the fact that our fears are far greater than the actual results of such a crossing over.

National Poetic Crossing

Pretty much the same as above; with the addition of our extremely differing political parties, racial/ethnic backgrounds, regional cultures and passionate causes. We shout at each other (sometimes using the same rhetoric, yet with different circumstances) but we don’t listen to the other party’s argument. We have begun to look at anyone unlike us as something unattractive or as a nuisance.

I remember reading a magazine article back in the 1990’s about an experiment between Christian Pro-life women and women who considered themselves passionately Pro-choice. Before the event was to take place, each side had to write an opinion about the other. Not surprisingly, both ends of the spectrum used the word “Nazi” to describe the other. Sounds pretty darn spiteful to me.

The first activity had two women from each party (Pro-life/Pro-choice), sit on the floor opposite of one another. They were instructed to look into each other’s eyes but not say a word for a specific stretch of time. Before the time was up, just about every woman there was sobbing and hugging. They had begun to see each other through God’s eyes, as God’s creation. They experienced a manner of Poetic Crossing.

Do I see this happening at a greater level in this nation? At this point, I see no other way to go. Many say it cannot happen. But there is always faith. It seems at this time, there is far too much fear of the unknown. But we are not in control of the universal/spiritual realm. Bottom line we are not in control of God’s will.

Community-Wide Poetic Crossing

“I don’t like alternative people” – Quote from Rid of Me

Many of our communities run the same way they have for decades. We possess generational prejudices, traditions, and clashing lifestyles. We are diverse. What would happen if we were to start viewing each other in optimism and beauty? What might happen if we saw how we could use each other’s cultural/spiritual gifts, skills, and knowledge to improve the way our communities function? I believe that there is so much opportunity for efficiency in adopting such practices in our neighborhoods. Will it be perfect? Not at all. But I believe it will be better.

Many successful companies have implemented such culture. So have religious organizations. Every New Year’s Eve, religions from various nations join together in prayer. The event is called the International Hour for Peace. All differences are put aside and each religion joins together in unified prayer.


Personal Poetic Crossing

Of course, such a crossing would have to start within us at an individual level. Can we look upon things in a manner of compassion rather than hanging on to the beliefs that have been so ingrained in our thoughts that we have no possible way of looking at other truths?

“Festinger’s (1957) cognitive dissonance theory suggests that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and beliefs in harmony and avoid disharmony (or dissonance)” – Simply [3].

Are we ready to cross over from this fear of disharmony? Am I? Are you? I hope so. Because when we have truly crossed over, I believe we will experience authentic bliss.

“Let’s cross over” – Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

  1. From the Georgia Review Fall 1976
  2. <>
  3. <>

Welcome Back my Friend


My love covers me with a soft, velvety throw preventing any befalling chill.

We cuddle next to a smoky, crackling fire.

The smell of moist earth pleasantly fills my nostrils as the sound of the fallen leaves crunch under my feet.

A spirit-filled cool breeze grasps my hands as an old friend stopping by to visit.

Autumn is indeed here to share precious moments and create new memories.

With Autumn comes craving for the taste of smooth, warm pumpkin, cooked to perfection.

Sipping on hot apple cider brings a warming glow from within.

My dear friend has brought many gifts throughout the years:

  • A brother
  • A son
  • A daughter
  • Halloween Candy
  • Bobbing for Apples
  • A new life
  • Tears
  • Laughter
  • Love
  • Play

My heart is full of love for my friend! I want to share her goodness with everyone!

Because Autumn loves not just me. She loves all beings.

Take some time to say hello to Autumn and feel her presence.

Get to know how she befriends the earth, the trees and all of God’s creation.

Close your eyes and let her whisper endearing words in your ears. She’ll speak of riddles and allegories from throughout the ages.

Let her breeze kiss your lips lovingly.

Will you remember this very moment?

Time will slow down and then speed up. Our friend Autumn will be gone too soon, as she breezes in and out of our lives in her usual manner. But lament not, for she will be back in what will seem like a blink of an eye. For today, let us enjoy the hour we have with her.

Stay Blissful My Friends. – E

Stop Accepting Other People’s Judgment!


People can twist your words and intentions to mean something completely different if so, let God be your judge, not them. – Unknown

A lot is said about judgmental people. But how many of us let people judge us? I understand this way of thinking. Being raised in “That Family”, we were constantly put down.  Other people’s judgment was just accepted. Or worse, we would caution each other not to be our true authentic selves because the neighbors might not like us.

There are movies and shows that I identified with and I couldn’t watch them because I didn’t want to look in the mirror. I wasn’t ready. (Thankfully, I can embrace my history, my heritage, and my culture today.)

This continued on well into my 30’s. I didn’t even know what I was about anymore. Then I got clean and sober. Without any particular help, every ugly, yet honest thing regurgitated from me. Thank God I got help and opened up to someone who showed me how to channel my anger and resentment. Better still, she taught me how to be true to myself.

I remember complaining that my children felt like second-class citizens around my in-laws. My dear friend said, “You might consider that you feel like a second-class citizen around your in-laws and have passed that on to your kids.” Wow! What an insight.

See, nobody was in judgment of me more than I was of myself. If I stood in someone’s judgment seat, it was because I did so willingly.

I always wanted my mom’s thick skin. This type of thick-skin does not come naturally to everyone. But we can always work on it.


Stuart Smalley was a fun character to watch on SNL. I often found myself laughing at the cliches. But those cliches actually make sense. We don’t need all people to like us. Knowing that some do is helpful. Life is more enjoyable when we start to like ourselves. When we can look in the mirror with love and acceptance, we start to feel comfortable in our own skin.

The other side of the coin is just as nice. We don’t have to judge others to feel better about ourselves. We just do! I don’t have any lingering resentments towards my ex-inlaws today. I can honor them as blood relatives to my daughter. I can trust that my daughter is confident in who she is enough to reject anyone else’s judgment. Besides, she did inherit her Grandmother’s thick skin. (I guess it skips a generation)

Don’t let people judge you by the way you do things, how you speak or how you dress, just be yourself! EXPRESS HOW YOU FEEL and not according to someone else. – Hailey Cacchione

Today, pick up that mirror and start to appreciate your authentic self. Stop judging yourself and you will stop letting others judge you as well. When you accept yourself, you will also accept the acceptance of others! What a fresh concept. Stay Blissful My Friends – E

What’s in a Meme?


Meme: an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.

I love picture memes. Funny memes, mind testing memes and  of course memes of the inspirational kind. Sometimes, however I think our minds can be like tumbleweeds blown in the wind when it comes to memes. “This is exactly me!”, then two days later, a polar opposite meme is posted and “This is exactly me!”.

I do at times, find myself totally zoned out on social media as I scroll through meme after meme after meme. Not that they are bad or wrong. Believe me, I love the ones that seem to speak directly to me. Though, they can be additional noise that keeps me from focusing on what my own personal values are. I wonder, instead of  Meatless Monday, could we go Meme-less Monday? Would we survive? I don’t know. My mind is too overwhelmed to start such a movement.

There are also those memes that seem to excuse inexcusable behavior. But the picture is so brilliant that it must be true, right? The meme that has me most concerned for my fellow sisters is the one that contains the following “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best”. You know what that says to most potential love interests? “Run like Hell!!”

I believe in memes. Still, while we read these “Inspirational” or “Deep” memes, we must consider if it resonates with our spirits. Is this our truth or the writer’s truth? Is it a message for me or possibly a loved one? Life is deeper than just a few short words, but sometimes we only have a few short minutes and so these memes do come in handy.

When we have the time, we might want to read a book written by the person who is being quoted if they are an author. Or find out the source of this belief and do some research.  There is often more to learn on the topic. We might find that we absolutely do not agree with the belief or we might find a whole new way of thinking/living. It is worth taking the time as an investment into our spiritual and psychological wellness.

I wish you all serenity in these turbulent days. The light in me honors the light in you. Stay Blissful My Friends – E

My Time of Year/Miss You Dad

(Due to the awesomeness of today’s subject, Sunday Shot of Bliss will return next week.)

My time of year…

I don’t have a whole lot of great childhood memories. Summer was always the best, however. Camping by the lake, watermelon, falling asleep by the bonfire. Swimming, oh yeah! I remember having to wait an hour after eating before we could go back out. It seemed like the longest hour of our lives.

Music was also a nice escape. Songs by War, Frankie Valli, The BeeGees. This music always took me to better places.

Andrew Dunn/Wikimedia Commons
Andrew Dunn/Wikimedia Commons

Today marks the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. This day has been celebrated for many centuries by different civilizations around the world. Once again, proof of our universal connection.

From the Greeks, who observed Kronia, in honor  of the agriculture god Cronus, to the Chinese who revered the Earth, femininity (Yin). The Vikings would take this day to resolve legal conflicts and then party around a huge bonfire!  The Sioux had a ceremonial Sun-dance and modern day Druids celebrate at Stonehenge.


Today is also known as The International Day of Yoga.  Thousands of people will welcome in the season with Sun Salutations in Times Square, New York! For those not fortunate to be able to go to NY, our community is offering The Breathe Yoga Festival. I am sure wherever you are and whatever culture you identify with, you can find a celebration in or around your community.

I never thought much of the changing of the seasons and what they represent until a few years back when I developed Gastroparesis. Being chronically ill can change your perspective on a lot of things. I learned how to eat for the seasons (when I could eat). I even learned different Yoga sequences, meditations and external blessings for each season.

Indeed Ecclesiastes 3 says:

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”.

Universally connected.

Summer Prayer

Father, Creator of all, thank You for summer! Thank you for the warmth of the sun; and the increased daylight. Thank You for the beauty I see all around me; and for the opportunity to be outside and enjoy Your creation. Thank You for the increased time I have to be with my friends and family, and for the more casual pace of the summer season.

Draw me closer to You this summer. Teach me how I can pray no matter where I am or what I am doing. Warm my soul with the awareness of Your presence and light my path with Your Word and Counsel. As I enjoy Your creation, create in me a pure heart and a hunger and a thirst for You.


– Source:

Miss You Dad..

This year, the Summer Solstice falls on Father’s Day. Another year without my dad. We had a good relationship. Sometimes I did not see him for years and there was one particular year that I really needed him in my life. It’s all good, I am the person I am today because of it. However, it didn’t matter how long it had been since we had last seen each other. Once we were together again, it was like we had never been apart.

My father was a quiet and wise person. He did not make a proclamation unless he fully intended to follow through with it. Even at his funeral, no one stood up to speak about my dad. This is exactly how he would have wanted it. There was a lot of crying, however. He would be missed. A friend of his and I were smoking outside of the church and she said ” I halfway expect him to sit up in that coffin and say ‘Will you all stop fussing over me?!!’.  This brought me from tears to laughter. Yes, if he could have, he would have!


Yep. Another tattoo.

This is my very favorite childhood memory. Summer 1973. My mom, my dad and me walking along the beach while the sun set. I remember we were wearing bell bottom jeans and walking barefoot at the edge of the water.  They turned in towards each other and just gazed into each other’s eyes. I know this because I was looking up at mom and dad. All of sudden, the tide came in and I had to wrap my arms around their legs to keep from being pulled out. I always felt that their love saved me from drowning that day.

This also represents my Father in Heaven’s love. Sustaining. When I am about to drown in my problems and despair, I look to His love and grace and I am saved from being pulled under.

This year we honor the sun and our fathers in one day! What a glorious time to be alive! Today, let us also turn to our Heavenly Father, acknowledge the Son and hopefully feel the cool breeze of the Spirit.  Stay Blissful My Friends – E

Personal Values/Break on Through


Personal Values

In my last blog “A Moment of Clarity“, I posed the following questions:

“Ask yourself if you still believe the words that you speak or even the thoughts that you think. Are your actions representative of the values in which you are living today? ”

I also wrote of taking action. Elysia, where do I start? I’m glad you asked. A few years ago, I experienced yet another painful bursting of a bubble. I found a support group on-line and one of the first assignments handed out was to prepare a Personal Values statement.

I had done this several years before after reading The Purpose Driven Life. Again, I found myself asking the same above questions. Not a bad place to be really.  At this point, I would do anything to step outside of the raw emotional pain I was enduring. The Personal Values writing process was simple and I would love to share it with you today!


  1. Start with a list of everything important to you. You don’t need to overthink this, just write.  Some examples: Having dinner at the table as a family; Getting to Work on time; Daily Meditation and Prayer at a specific time of day; Going to the Gym in the morning; Spending one night a week with my girlfriends; Volunteering once a month at a shelter.  Got it? Good. So write, write, write!
  2. Review this list and choose 5-6 of the most crucial items for you today.
  3. Summarize these 5-6 items. Elaborate and expand on the importance of each value.
  4. Then again, ask yourself if you are already living according to any of these values.
    • If yes, identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement.
    • If no, how do you intend to make these work? Where are your strengths and weaknesses in following through? Might you slightly tweak one of these? For instance: It could possibly be more attainable to have dinner at the table as a family three times a week, or meet up with your girlfriends every other week.
  5. Ask yourself if your current work/life situation is allowing you to live these values.
    • If yes, then you are ready to go forward with living your personal values! I like to post them in a place I can see them daily as I begin the process of living them.
    • If no, well, this part can be difficult, because  you are probably due for a major life change. But be fearless! This is an exciting part of your life!


Life changes are a positive thing, just not always easy. I remember when my little Chevy Aveo was a total loss due to a rear ending accident. I was sad. I loved that little car. It was fun and it made a really cool sound when I accelerated. Then I saw my new car…A beautiful purple Ford Fiesta with all the perks that the Chevy did not have!  I know this is just material, however transportation is a daily part of life for most of us.

If you trust the process, you can truly experienced the satisfaction of breaking on through to the other side!  

You know the day destroys the night
Night divides the day, tried to run, tried to hide
Break on through to the other side

Break on Through

I know right? How do The Doors fit in with all this personal values jigger? This song can mean so many different things. Today I see it as anthemic. I am ready for a change. Fired up, ready to go, ready to break on through! This song did not represent such a thing to me several years ago.  That my friends, is the true magic of music. But that is a topic for another day ha!  I love the idea of changing my perception or psychic change if you will. I have a tattoo of a blue rose that specifically represents this type of change.


Today is a different day. The bubble has been burst. Nothing will ever be the same. Thank you God!!

Now Go!

…And stay blissful my friends – E

A Moment of Clarity

soap bubble bursting 03

Moment of Clarity
AKA – Epiphany
AKA – Disillusionment
AKA – The bubble has burst!
I am a huge fan of disillusionment, having experienced many epiphanies – all for the improvement of my inner self. What I love about these said moments of clarity are the sudden opening of my mind, realizing that I no longer think or believe the way I have been all or most of my life. Maybe some of this thinking is cultural, or passed down in my family from generation to generation.

Zig Ziglar once told a story about a woman cooking a ham. Her husband asked why the ham must be cut in two pieces and  positioned a certain way. She replied that this is how my family has always cooked ham.  With her husband’s encouragement, she called and asked her grandmother what the reasoning was behind this method. Her grandmother laughed and replied “When we were young, we had a very small oven so this was the only way we could get it to fit.”

Not all moments of clarity are this cheerful and fun. Some can be painful…as growth usually brings forth some pain.  Sometimes we have to step out in faith to  live our truth. At times this can be perceived as failure by our family members. Occasionally  tribal shaming will happen. At these times, we must accept that we are disappointing our loved ones and own it for the greater good of living in our reality.

Benjamin Bratt stars in this movie, produced by his brother Peter. Though beautifully filmed, it is not an easy movie to watch at times. It tells a real story of generational culture and of beliefs/thought patterns. Tribal shaming appears in a rather violent way. I know this violence all too well. Still, I am glad I continued to watch. 
In probably the most powerful performance of his career, Benjamin Bratt’s character “Che” is more than ready to have his bubble burst. For in a beautiful scene alongside Aztec dancers performing, Che experiences a most compelling moment of clarity. It is in this moment, I feel as one with Che.  

Knowing we cannot go on living the same illusion and yet fearful of the unknown. At this jumping off point, either fear will motivate us or faith will. I think sometimes fear gets a bad rap. Fear is a gift, a part of our human nature. It warns us to swerve to avoid a car accident or to avoid going near the flames from a burning building. Fear can sometimes lead us to faith. 

A moment of clarity is as a good a thing as long as it is followed up with action. 
Ask yourself if you still believe the words that you speak or even the thoughts that you think. Are your actions representative of the values in which you are living today? Are you ready to have your bubble burst so you can experience real life? A blissful life?
Stay Blissful My Friends – E