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Welcome to River Bliss!

Welcome to River-Bliss, and thanks so much for stopping by! I put my heart and soul into producing narrative and visual content for this site, and I do it because I believe that sharing our stories and the best in us enriches one another and makes the world a better place than it would be if we kept all the good stuff to ourselves. So I am honored and delighted that you took a few moments out of your presumably busy day to stop by.

No matter what is going on in your life or in the world, don’t let it compromise your inner peace! There is a tranquil oasis within you waiting for you to return. I invite you to visit River-Bliss often and to subscribe (for free) to my blog, to receive love letters from this peaceful place where the outer landscape reflects and inspires the inner, and nature is a faithful teacher and guide. A place of stillness and hope, where ordinary moments become extraordinary and illuminated through the alchemy of awareness. I want to offer you a breathing space where you can rise above it all and float with me for a few, restorative moments on a river of gratitude and awe and emerge with a more spacious, balanced perspective.

Meet me here on the river, and let’s engage the magic!

By the way, I love to hear from my readers and encourage you to leave comments! I’d publish blog posts even if nobody read them, but it’s always motivating to hear that people do! So please don’t be shy about reaching out and letting me know you’re out there and interacting with my work! 🙂

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Gifts of Inspiration and Light

OK, I can’t wait any longer…

After putting my business on the back burner for several months to care for my dad and then tend to estate matters (including getting my parents’ house on the market), I’m so pleased to have my Etsy shop in order and filled with light at a time when our world really needs it! I’m thrilled to announce that my 2017 photography calendar is hot-off-the-press and available for purchase! It is loaded with inspiration and positive vibes!

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This is an oversize, 12-month calendar that features one full-page, fine art nature photograph per month. (I selected scenes that really stopped me in my tracks and transported me to a place of awe.) The bottom page of each two-page monthly spread contains American and some Canadian and multicultural holidays, celestial events (full moons, new moons, supermoons, eclipses, meteor showers), and an original, inspirational quote at the bottom, along with a small image.

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This year’s calendar is larger than those I’ve offered in previous years (9.5″x12.25″ closed and 19″x12.25″ open) and expands beyond my local geography. It is a tribute to my parents (my mom who died in 2014 followed by my dad last month), whose love of travel brought them together and endured throughout their 50-year marriage. In addition to images of the upper Hudson River that runs by my door, it also contains pictures of Lake Champlain, Vermont, the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, the North Shore of Massachusetts, Saratoga Springs (NY), Upstate New York waterfalls, and Fort Lauderdale Beach. In addition, it features images of my stone balance art and glorious Hudson River sunrises.

Here is some customer feedback I’ve received in the past few days:

“We just opened and went through the River Bliss 2017 calendar, page by page, reading each inspirational meditation. We love it! Can’t wait to give them as Christmas gifts. [My husband] wants me to tell you that it was exactly what he needed. It helped him to integrate art and spiritual contemplative awareness. Your photography talents and spiritual insights are truly treasured gifts to the world.”  –P.R., Cohoes, NY

“I just received your absolutely stunning calendar! Great eye, imagination, and attunement to the awesome Light of the World. A new paradigm must be available fast, and is better than despair. Your art is part of that already awakening empathy with nature!”  –L.B., Ithaca, NY

The calendar is printed professionally on extra heavy premium paper, and the binding is saddle-stitched. Price is $20/calendar.

TWO WAYS TO ORDER:
1) From my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/RiverBlissed
2) Pay by credit card over the phone (518.312.1853)

In addition to my calendar, my shop also features:

  • Handmade stone tile coasters (including scenes from Saratoga Springs, my stone balance art by the sea, nature/landscapes, flowers, and serenity/zen)
  • Customized “attunement” and “spirit” lanterns to illuminate your spiritual intentions, qualities, and aspirations
  • A variety of star-themed lanterns
  • Beeswax balloon lanterns
  • A one-of-a-kind, handcrafted, birchbark-framed print
  • Nature photography prints and greeting cards

…because it’s all about LIGHT – photographing it, sharing it, and shining a light in the darkness!

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For the second year in a row, I am offering beautiful stone tile and ceramic photo coasters! They are handmade from start to finish, and I have many different nature themed sets available. I also can create custom sets of your pictures or mine.

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These travertine stone tile coasters measure 4”x4” and are durable and waterproof. The photos are mounted under a protective coating of high gloss epoxy resin and are backed with cork to protect your delicate surfaces.

Inspired by the coasters and my love of waterfalls and Adirondack-style birch bark and twig picture frames, I designed this piece for a community art show earlier this year.

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After building the base from scratch, mounting the photograph, and covering it with resin, I constructed a birchbark frame around the photo and embellished it with twigs. Creating this piece was a joyful and satisfying process from start to finish!

I offer the calendar and photo products to share beauty and inspiration. I also offer spiritually-inspired lanterns to shine light in the darkness. Creating lanterns is a joyful meditation for me and a gift of light and peace to you.

I love to create larger “attunement” and smaller “spirit” lanterns! Each one is custom-made. Here is a spirit lantern I created for a customer this week, to illuminate her deepest aspirations and intentions.

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And here is a larger “attunement” lantern I designed around the theme of abundance.

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I’m always inspired by people’s sacred words and themes and find it gratifying to create something to help them align with what’s most important…now more than ever. We’ve got to keep our light shining! The world needs it!

I’m also offering sets of enchanting Star Lanterns.

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The set includes one larger dodecahedron lantern and two smaller, matching, eight-pointed star lanterns. The lanterns are made from sturdy, hand-painted watercolor paper and are folded and assembled with tender, loving care and precision and finished with sealant to make them extra sturdy. Insert an LED tealight (not included), and the 12-sided dodecahedron lantern casts a magical and stunning, starry glow in the room! Perfect for a child’s nightstand or wherever you’d like a peaceful glow. The dodecahedron lanterns have one side open and can be illuminated with the top open or closed (by turning it upside down). A variety of colors are available, and you can click HERE to order. I also sell dodecahedron lanterns on their own.

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I also offer a Rainbow Star Lantern with transparent stars folded from German kite paper. The colors are brilliant when lit and create such a peaceful atmosphere in a room!

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In addition to the calendar, photo coasters, and lanterns, I have a few other items for sale, including origami bouquets and finger labyrinths. I invite you to check out what I have to offer and share this blog post or my Etsy link with anyone who might be interested. Supporting my recently launched business helps me to make a living doing what I love, and all my “works of heart” are infused with spirit and positive vibes!

You can order through my Etsy shop, or email me at riverblissed@gmail.com (please note that there is no hyphen in my email address even if this blog auto-hyphenates at the end of lines) to arrange Paypal or face-to-face transactions. Stop by my shop and have a look! I’d love to send some light, beauty, and inspiration your way!

I wish I could offer a spectacular discount like retail stores do at this time of year.  But I am just one person, an artist who is trying to make a living and help out my family.  I have a son in college, and a daughter and baby granddaughter who just yesterday relocated back home to escape an unsafe situation. Buying my work will help me to support my family and purchase the equipment I need to continue creating my art and publishing my first book, which means the world to me. That is what you are supporting when you purchase work from an independent artist. Every sale fills my heart with gratitude.


If you’re not doing so already, I invite you to follow me on Facebook and Instagram!


The photographs in this blog and in my Flickr photostream are available for purchase as prints or cards through my Etsy shop by selecting a “custom print” in whatever size you prefer and indicating either the name of the print or the blog post and order in which it appears.

© Susan Meyer and River Bliss Photography, 2016. SHARING IS CARING, and I appreciate my work being shared with others! Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss Photography (River-Bliss.com). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all text and photos, without express and written permission from this website’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. In other words, I put my heart and soul into my writing and photography and want to be credited for it and have some traffic sent my way. It’s the high vibration thing to do!  🙂 

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Greater Than Grief

I remember the first time I was overcome by a wave of grief after my mom died. It was when I walked by a children’s clothing store in Bennington, VT that I thought she would find delightful. And then it hit me that I couldn’t tell her about it. And I cried, right there on the sidewalk.

It happened for the first time with my dad recently when I was at work. A friendly, elderly man came into the library limping a bit. He said hello, smiled at me, and reminded me of my dad. Fortunately, I only had five minutes left at work and was able to keep it together that long. But right when I got in my car, I lost it.

I can align myself with a more expanded, “spiritual” awareness much of the time, but it can be so sad on a personal level, and some moments and events catch me off-guard. That night, I fell asleep with a question in my heart: How do you handle such grief?

The answer I received: Hold it differently.

Hold it differently. But don’t try to bypass it. Feel its weight, its shape. Examine it from different angles. Get to know it. Don’t be afraid, for it comes bearing gifts.

I’m not psyched to go through this all over again, so soon. I’ve grown weary of goodbyes. But that’s life. People come and go. It’s something we all go through.

I’d rather feel grief deeply and fully and have the scars to show for it than not experience the love and caring that precedes it. I’m realizing that mourning life’s inevitable losses is a wondrous opportunity to grow in compassion, empathy, love, and wisdom. It is an invitation to wake up. A dark blessing that expands and connects us. If we accept the invitation, ultimately we learn that we are so much larger than our grief.

I’m also learning again that grief is hard work. Physical work. The waves that come along and knock you to the ground are physical, not just emotional. You have to find your balance and strength to stand up again as the waves keep exerting their force on you, leaving you disoriented. You have to find your footing because the alternative is to be pulled out to sea without anything to keep you afloat.

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It’s interesting to have powerful experiences that feel like communication with the other side of the veil and still be knocked off-balance from missing the physical presence of a loved one who has crossed over. It’s not a question of having enough faith, for the purpose of faith is not to bypass challenging emotions such as grief. Rather, faith is like a life vest that helps us to stay afloat when we are knocked off-balance by a big wave. It assures us that we are bigger than whatever loss we are grieving and that we can handle it. It won’t kill us. It can lead us to discover and grow inner resources.

That is so hopeful and exciting!

We can hold our grief differently, and that doesn’t mean pushing it away or internalizing admonishments to “get over it” and move on, for grief follows no timetable. It means having a different perspective regarding the purpose that grief and loss serve in our life – and that they even have a positive purpose to begin with.

I see all my recent losses as a tremendous invitation to expand and grow my soul and hopefully inspire others to do the same. I’m grateful for all the experiences I’ve had, including and especially difficult and challenging ones because they allow me to do my work in this world better than I could do it without them. They have been my impetus for awakening. This is perhaps the biggest “aha” insight I’ve had thus far in my life. It is revelatory!

As I actively experience grief, it is my intention to explore it with all my senses rather than flee from it. To be curious about it. I want to learn all I can from it, for the better I come to understand my own suffering, the better I can connect with the suffering of others. I invite it to teach me and grow me, to link me with others, and transform me into something more magnificent than I was before.

We live our lives on multiple levels, which is why we can hold a loss in our heart and feel it deeply while simultaneously trusting in divine timing and sensing that in a much, much broader context, all is well, all is evolving, and we are part of it. For example, it is possible to feel that it was my dad’s time in a spiritual sense while also feeling sad about losing him and upset about the circumstances.

Inside bereavement there are a number of rooms – different spaces we can settle into. There is the room in which you miss your loved one’s personality and physical presence acutely. There is a room in which you sense everything is unfolding according to Divine Order, and there are no accidents. There are other rooms, as well. You can sit in one of the rooms and then discover there is a movable wall separating two rooms, and you open it and find yourself sitting in a more spacious awareness in which you can be in both rooms at the same time because there really is no separation between the two.

Imagine the room of Acute Grief being dark and cold and not having its own heat source, whereas the Serenity-Faith room has a cozy fireplace and windows that allow in plenty of light. When you open up the wall between the two, the heat from the Serenity-Faith room warms up the Acute Grief room. In this space, I realize it wasn’t just my dad’s time. It was my time, too. My time to become more and grow exponentially while my feet are still able to walk this earth.

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You can stand in the middle of the two rooms and be in both environments at the same time and feel your heart simultaneously breaking and expanding. You can perceive your sorrow from a much greater perspective while also acknowledging the pain. And this allows you to sit a little longer in the grief room and to be mindful of what’s in there so you can learn more about it and transform it with presence into wisdom, compassion, and other spiritual blessings. That’s something you can’t do when the wall that separates the two rooms is in place, making the grief room too unpleasant to stay in for more than a brief moment and motivating you to seek shelter and distraction elsewhere.

I am certain this situation did not present itself in my life to weaken or diminish me, but so I can learn from it. So I can expand, evolve, and love better. Challenging times invite us to cultivate inner resources. We can’t let our sadness, upset, etc. get out of control and drown our light. We are called to channel our painful emotions and become greater versions of ourselves. To discover what we are capable of.


I’m excited to announce that my 2017 calendar is hot off the press!  Click HERE to order! Or you can order by credit card over the phone by calling 518-312-1853.


If you’re not doing so already, I invite you to follow me on Facebook and Instagram!


The photographs in this blog (except for those attributed to other owners) and in my Flickr photostream are available for purchase as prints or cards through my Etsy shop by selecting a “custom print” in whatever size you prefer and indicating either the name of the print or the blog post and order in which it appears.

© Susan Meyer and River Bliss Photography, 2016. SHARING IS CARING, and I appreciate my work being shared with others! Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss Photography (River-Bliss.com). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all text and photos, without express and written permission from this website’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. In other words, I put my heart and soul into my writing and photography and want to be credited for it and have some traffic sent my way. It’s the high vibration thing to do!  🙂 

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Clock Works (Like a Telephone)

There have been some mighty strange goings-on in my world lately, since my dad died three weeks ago. I’m writing this just in time for Halloween, although the timing was not at all intentional. Until this morning, I thought I’d keep my experiences to myself, but after talking with some friends and tuning in to my intuition, I decided to share them in as straightforward a manner as possible so you can draw your own conclusions.

1. Technical Difficulties

There have been a plethora of problems with electronics. Three different keys to two different cars haven’t worked at certain times, and I’ve had phone connection issues that I hadn’t experienced before. While creating the photo slideshow for my dad’s funeral services, I experienced a series of at least 20 bizarre technical glitches that I’d never encountered before. And last week, this very blog sent out a post from several months ago to email subscribers without any action on my part. I didn’t even know it was possible to resend an old post and was surprised to see it in my inbox!

2. Lights Out

My daughter and son were in town for my dad’s funeral two weeks ago, and after the service, we met at my house before they went their separate ways, back to Georgia and the NYC area. As they were leaving, I turned on the light on the side of the house so they could see better as they drove away. I went to bed just before 10:00 and fell asleep instantly. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I glanced at my phone to see what time it was and noticed a text my husband sent at 10:22 PM asking me to turn out that light because he was sleeping in the RV, and the light was bothering him. So I went downstairs to turn off the light but saw that it was already off. I assumed he had come inside and turned it off himself. The next morning, I asked him about it and explained that I didn’t receive his text until the middle of the night. He was really surprised because no sooner had he sent that text, and the light went out. It went out so immediately that he found it odd because he wasn’t even sure he’d had time to hit “send”. I also found it odd but didn’t want to jump to conclusions and suspected the lightbulb might have blown out at an uncanny time. So I went over to the light switch and was surprised to find it in the “off” position. As soon as I flipped the switch, the light went on – so it hadn’t burned out after all. It just happened to turn off at the exact moment when Jack requested that I turn it off.

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3. Swirling Mist

My dad passed away in the morning. That evening when I was at my parents’ house with one other person, we saw a swirl of mist traveling around the kitchen, followed by a significant drop in temperature in the room we were sitting in. At the funeral service at the church a week later, something caught my eye as I greeted the continuous line of people coming to pay their respects. Again, I saw a white mist moving around high above us. It was an overcast/rainy afternoon, and it wasn’t caused by sunlight coming through the windows.

4. Aloha

My parents loved to travel during their 50 years of marriage and especially enjoyed vacationing in the Hawaiian Islands. There is an “aloha” ornament hanging next to their front door, which has been there for as long as I can remember. One morning last week when I was meeting an old friend at the house for official business, I arrived to find “aloha” on the welcome mat in front of the door. The hook was still hanging next to the door, and when I examined it, I realized there was no way the “aloha” piece could have been knocked to the ground by the wind or even a person (and certainly not an animal) because it was in a very sheltered, recessed spot, and the hook itself was angled upward enough so that the ornament wouldn’t fall off. The only way “aloha” could have ended up face-up on the welcome mat between the time I left the house the night before and arrived early the next morning is if someone had removed it from the hook and physically placed it in front of the door. The person I was meeting was someone my mom adored, and it felt like she and/or my dad were saying hello and expressing approval of us working with him.

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5. Clock Works

Last night’s experience took the cake.  After spending the whole day at my parents’ house with my sister, I was alone there in the evening finishing up my 2017 photography calendar on my laptop at the dining room table. The chair I was sitting in had become uncomfortable, so I decided to move to the couch in the living room. When I sat down on the couch, I looked at my dad’s empty chair – the chair he always sat in – and said out loud sadly, “There’s no more dad here to talk to.”

Just then, the grandfather clock – which hadn’t worked in years – made a soft chiming sound from across the room. It was not on the hour (6:05 – not the correct time), and I hadn’t heard that clock all day or for a really long time – months or even years, for that matter. The chime sent chills down my spine. Alarmed, I texted two close relatives, and right after sending my text, the clock chimed again. Then I noticed my cell phone battery was getting low, so I got up to retrieve my phone charger, and when I walked through the kitchen, I heard a fast ticking sound that I hadn’t heard before then. It sounded like it was coming from the direction of the cuckoo clock in the family room, and when I went closer, I realized the cuckoo clock – which hadn’t worked in decades – was ticking! Again, this was a clock that had been dormant for a long time, and it just started ticking all of a sudden. At this point I was quite spooked! Not just one, but two clocks had come alive simultaneously!

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Even though I was startled and shaking, I sat back down on the couch to see if I could become still enough to pick up on any messages that might be trying to come through. I said, “OK, you have my attention!” and became still and silent, imagining white light surrounding me and filling the room. Then I heard my dad’s voice talk to me inside my head. He sounded happy and spoke in the voice he used when he was relaying a funny story or a story of something peculiar that had happened to him (like when my mom’s grandfather came to him in a dream shortly after he died, and when my mom came to him in a dream some time after she died). He said he was with my mom…AND THEN THE CUCKOO CLOCK CUCKOOED FROM THE FAMILY ROOM!!!!

It seemed he wanted me to pass along a message to my sister, who was at his bedside constantly for the last 14 or so hours of his life and was quite shaken by the whole experience. I said out loud to confirm, “So you want me to tell her…” And then the cuckoo clock cuckooed again!

At that point, my shaking hands texted another relative to ask if she’d experienced anything at the house, and she texted me back, saying she had experienced something with the cuckoo clock and her cell phone playing a tune (ringtone) she’d never heard it play before when she sat in my dad’s chair, which really freaked her out.

So it wasn’t just me.

Even though I still felt alarmed, I had to laugh because it was comforting to feel that my parents were there with me and to think of how entertaining it must be to make the clocks go off. It seemed to me that making the clocks sound was like making the telephone ring and wondering if somebody would pick up and answer at the other end. And I did.

I continued to have a conversation with my dad in which I told him that I’ll do my best to listen if he tries to get in touch with me and that dreams are usually a good way to communicate if he knows how to do that. Then I told him that I’m going to get going now…and the cuckoo clock cuckooed again!

When I stood up to leave, the phone started ringing, and I was afraid to answer it. But I did. Nobody was on the line when I answered. No clicks or anything. Just silence. I said hello at least three times before hanging up. I had been at the house for more than eight hours, and the phone hadn’t rung a single time until that moment when I got up to leave.

After leaving the house, I called my daughter to share the experience with her, and she reminded me that the only other time she’d heard the cuckoo clock sound was right after my mom passed away. I’d forgotten about that. But at the time, it seemed like a big deal.

At this point, I want to clarify that I don’t drink or do any drugs. (I don’t even drink coffee!) I don’t have a psychiatric diagnosis and am not committed to the notion that hearing my dad’s voice inside my head was actual after-death communication with a deceased loved one, although that might be the personal meaning I ultimately derive from it. It could be me working things out inside my own head. Conversations with my higher self. Wishful thinking. Or…who knows what? The way I see it, if you can arrive at some kind of resolution, answer, or insight that truly feels right in your heart and leaves you feeling at peace, it doesn’t matter where it came from. It is part of your healing and growth (and possibly  someone else’s as well). I can’t claim to fully understand what I experienced. I certainly know what it felt like and am open to other explanations and possibilities. But in the end, the meaning I make of it is my own, and all I know for sure is that it’s part of my experience and that it left me with a sense of hope, comfort, and peace once I got over the initial shock.

6. Dream Time

On the morning of that same day, I had an intriguing dream in which I was standing on a bridge and was drawn to stunning orange foliage on trees across the river. Then I noticed the trees moving together in a strange way: First the branches stretched out to the sides and then moved upwards so the foliage was a little higher up from the ground. The trees went through the same movements a couple more times, and each time the leaves traveled higher up toward the sky.

When I woke up from that dream, I felt a little peculiar. I recalled three other dreams I’d had of nature acting in a bizarre way that captured my attention and felt that something was attempting to get through to me. I sensed it might have had something to do with my dad. It wasn’t until I told my sister about the dream later in the day that I realized I was standing on a bridge in the dream. The dreams I’ve had of contact with deceased loved ones always have some kind of boundary like that.

So when I had the experience with the clocks later that day, the dream felt even more significant to me. I told a couple of friends about my experience and explained, “Well, it’s the time of year when the veil is thin” and recalled writing a blog post with that title last year at this time. This morning, I pulled up that post and was astounded to read about a similar dream that also began when I noticed beautiful autumn trees.

To be honest, I wasn’t really thinking of sharing these experiences until I read that post from last year and remembered that sharing my experiences is something I need to keep finding the courage to do without worrying about being judged because that kind of sharing is my path. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions and theories, and I’m just sharing my experiences without any embellishments or exaggerations, in case it’s helpful to anyone. I’ll let you decide what to make of them.


If you’re not doing so already, I invite you to follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

The photographs in this blog (except for those attributed to other owners) and in my Flickr photostream are available for purchase as prints or cards through my Etsy shop by selecting a “custom print” in whatever size you prefer and indicating either the name of the print or the blog post and order in which it appears.

© Susan Meyer and River Bliss Photography, 2016. SHARING IS CARING, and I appreciate my work being shared with others! Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss Photography (River-Bliss.com). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all text and photos, without express and written permission from this website’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. In other words, I put my heart and soul into my writing and photography and want to be credited for it and have some traffic sent my way. It’s the high vibration thing to do!  🙂