Tag Archives: College Hill Coffee Company

bye to Betsy

Yesterday was my final session with Betsy. Yep, I can call her that. Even though she’s my therapist, we’ve had a casual, friendly style. I’d know her before–she’s a musician and singer in the community–but not on a personal basis. It was more that we knew who each other was.

She told me she’d miss me and that, if something came up, I could call. Betsy checked my file and told me I’d been seeing her since November 2004. I first went to see her when I was dating T. and I was cast in a net of angst about relationships. Mine was a Woody Allen kind of neurosis. Eventually things settled down and I used my inner social worker to deal with things.

Early 2007, I remember pulling to the side of a road and calling her. My words were something like: “I think I need to see you again to deal with issues of loss and grief.” I was driving home from seeing my mother, at home under hospice care. She was dying of lung cancer. At the same time, my girlfriend A. (who I dreamed I could marry) started withdrawing. Either one of these losses could have done me in but both at the same time seemed too much to handle.

By May of that year, I discovered the joy that had been hidden inside (but that’s another story). I owe much of my recovery to Siddha Yoga practices. The fact that I was divine revealed Herself. Iris and daffodils bloomed wildly around me. The first puppy I ever had sat next to me on the garden bench. Birds were chirping. The creek flowed, teaching me about change. I was retired, had a home in a lovely setting, and life was good, after all. Sometimes I even found bliss.

Betsy said I’d grown from “What’s wrong with me?” to a greater acceptance of myself. I told her if I were President of the United States, I’d include a once-a-month counseling session for everyone in the new health bill. How gratifying it was to have someone to hear me out each month and be my advocate (when I couldn’t be one for myself). I have my friends and my writing and meditation: all these are ways to keep in touch with myself. Meanwhile, I’ll see Betsy next month: she’s doing a concert at College Hill Coffee Company. I’ll be there in the audience cheering her on.

between Hafiz & the Troubadours, I’m covered

“Remember for just one minute of the day, it would be best to try looking upon yourself more as God does, for She knows your true royal nature.”

This quote from Hafiz is one that could be permanently taped on my forehead; but then I’d have to rely on the mirror of other people to tell me this. Tonight I experienced the Troubadours of Divine Bliss in a more ‘real’ way. I took my laptop to College Hill Coffee Company since I had to finish the lesson plan for the online class first thing tomorrow. I heard several new songs from the Troubadours and got hugs during the break.

It was afterwards, though, that it got real. I got to talk to Renee Ananda more than usual. Guessed her for an air sign, discovered she’s a Gemini. Asked if I could help them pack up the cables and the instruments. “No,” she replied, “You can just talk to me.” It was relaxing and fun. I got to know Randy the mandolin player, too. He shares a love of kirtan and is one of the mellowest Leos I’ve ever met. Aim Me asked how I was doing and heard my concern about the 87 year old in my life with bladder cancer (Mr. G). It wasn’t the conversations so much, the literal words, but the listening and the love.

So when they sang a song inspired by Rumi, one thing led to another and, with the internet at my lap, I turned to the lesser known Hafiz who I’ve come to admire. I hadn’t run across this quote, though. One of those bliss moments that arrive when you least expect it.

Yeah, I needed that reminder.

finding bliss with the Troubadours at the College Hill Coffee Co.

I thought it’d be nice to go to College Hill Coffee Company and hear the Troubadours of Divine Bliss. I’d heard of them and checked out their MySpace page two years ago. Didn’t go to the quaint neighborhood they were playing in back then, afraid I might run into a certain someone — but that’s a story for my memoir. So I felt I’d waited two years to hear them.

Little did I realize that by the time the evening was over I’d get a big hug from Aim Me, empathy from Renee, and two cds to treasure in my personal collection. Oh, and did I mention? bliss. Yes, they promote it in their name and in their concerts; for example, as a preface to their song “Dream to Wake,” Aim Me recommended people quit the jobs they hate and get out of relationships not working for them. The lyrics “I had to dream . . . So I could wake up . . . Wake up!” This was no ordinary band; ordinary bands don’t have the chutzpah to put both ‘Divine’ and ‘Bliss’ in their names. Most liner notes don’t include quotes from Rumi or Hafiz, either.

I first noticed the bumper sticker on Aim Me’s guitar: “Compassion is revolution.” Hmm, seem like kindred spirits to me, I mused. After eating, I moved into a comfortable chair with my decaf grog, thinking I’d listen then leave at the break. This was not to be: for I walked over to buy a cd and met the life force known as Aim Me. I asked her a couple of questions about the songs I liked and she recommended which cd — problem was, most were on the live album but one was on “Sacred Letters of Surrender.” I bought both. I told her I blogged every day and would write about them tonight. She gave me a hug and asked me to send it to them. It has taken hours to write this post because I keep getting distracted by their music or website or liner notes. What delight!

Their voices, their musical instruments? This is not your typical music review. That’s not what I set out to do. I write about what’s going on in my life or what’s on my mind or in my heart. The Troubadours of Divine Bliss are very special. I had sensed this from the beginning, first from their name and then the energy swirling about when I thought of going to hear them. It’s something I can’t explain but I felt meant to meet them.

Their MySpace page describes them as “Acoustic/Americana/Folk Rock.” They have the flavor of Indigo Girls but with a funkier, laid back style, well, troubadour like. Their lyrics can be soaring (“I’ve been circling 1,000 years”) and they can also sing the blues or country. I especially enjoyed a different version of “Over the Rainbow” [not written by them]. Aim Me Smiley plays acoustic guitar and has an incredibly versatile voice. Renee Ananda plays accordion, yes, accordion. Her voice is possibly contralto, at least the lowest alto I’ve ever heard in a woman. Rich like chocolate. At times, it gave me shivers. A mandolin player with them added a sweet bluegrass flavor to the set (Mando Rando Brewer).

I left with a smile on my face and popped a cd in my car cd player. I hardly remember the first five minutes of my drive. “Wild Darling” is so lush and intimate, it takes your breath away. With the violin and cello added it made a soundtrack of a film of your life: “The way we make love is the way we are with God.” Can you tell? I am smitten.