Monday, November 28, 2011

My way of thinking/ reflections on a holiday

A four day weekend!  What an opportunity to make some memories, and boy, did we ever!

We began with Thanksgiving Day by serving food in the park for the needy.  This has become a tradition for us over the years.  It can be heartbreaking at times because you have to look at things that most people choose to ignore.  Families who have lost their way are plentiful.  People who have been crushed by an unforgiving economy, or who have given up for a variety of reasons come to feel "normal" for an hour or two and share a tradition with others who hopefully understand and show them compassion.  They come looking to be seen as fellow human beings.  A little compassion goes a long way.  Jon and I have that to give so that's what we do.

Our reward came on Sunday 11/27.  We threw an after-Thanksgiving party for friends and neighbors.  I got to see some old friends, some new friends, and some neighbors who didn't have the luxury of family to share the holiday with.  The picture above shows some of the people who stopped by to share in a great traditional Thanksgiving meal and a genuine lovefest.  My dear friend, Sandy came with 3 of her 5 sons and daughter-in-law.  Justin and Katie, Eric, and Matthew.  Our neighbors, Carl, Eyron, and Charlotte (Charlie) came to share with us the joy of being blessed by the abundance the Universe has rewarded us with.  We created a sense of family with little effort at all.  An open heart, combined with an open mind, leads to revelations and new perspectives.

One of the most special things for me was the appearance of our neighbor, Eyron.  I have invited him for several years but he always politely refused.  Eyron is an older man who suffers from schizophrenia.  He takes his medication and is under control but he doesn't speak.  Instead he writes notes.  I think he is afraid to speak out loud because he is frightened of not being able to control what he says.  This year he decided to join us for whatever reason.  Maybe it was because I created a lot of vegetarian faire.  Maybe it was because he has finally come to trust our friendship.  Whatever the reason, it was a blessing to all of us to have his grateful, silent presence with us.  I believe this was a first for him and Jon and I hope to keep up the momentum.  He wrote three different thank you notes.  That, my friends, is what Thanksgiving means to me.

I write about love, gratitude, connectivity, and giving all the time.  I sometimes feel that I am being redundant (boring even) but, if my little blog inspires even one person to slow down long enough to see the opportunities that the Universe drops right in our laps every single blessed day, then I will have achieved my goal.  We all get wrapped up in our own stuff.  Nothing wrong in that, I suppose.  But every so often, take time to open your eyes and look around you.  A very small effort can create a tidal wave of change in the world that surrounds you.  Don't let that go unnoticed.

                                        Peace and Love,



Sunday, November 20, 2011

My way of thinking/ For the love of Walt Disney

It will come as no surprise to my faithful readers that I dearly LOVE Disney drawn animation.  I enjoy the computer generated stuff as well, but for pure artistry, I prefer the hand drawn stuff.  There is magic in the idea that real people used pen and paper (simplifying the process but you get what I mean) to bring hundreds of thousands of drawings to life.  The sheer magnitude of such an operation is astounding to me.

Besides the artistry of the drawings is the art of telling a story.  All the truly great animated films have one thing in common.  They are the stories that tell us that love conquers all and that good will always prevail over evil.  Simple concepts though they may be, they are ideals that have a ring of truth even in our adult cynicism.  This is the way things SHOULD be.  If life isn't quite that simple, we have to ask ourselves why not.  The follow-up question becomes, what can we do to make our lives follow the outline of a fairy tale complete with the happily ever after ending?

"Bambi" begins with a beautiful tour of a densely wooded forest.  While viewing nature's masterpiece we listen to a song that tells us, "Love is a Song That Never Ends".  The tone is perfectly set for the story of love between mother and child, then the love that comes with friendship, the love between father and son, and finally the love between mates.  We also learn how destructive and careless man can be when he causes a fire in the forest (not to mention killing Bambi's mother).  These are wonderful lessons at any age.

Then there are the Disney heroines.  In the early films, the heroines were victims who were rescued from their plights by the handsome Prince Charming.  In today's films the heroines are stronger females who are just as likely to save the prince from HIS plight.  I like it either way because the message is always that love conquers any and all obstacles.  If you believe enough and try hard enough, a happy ending will be the end result.

Believe me, I understand that life is far more complex than a Disney film.  But my point is that these stories can be templates for the way we approach our lives.  If we believe in the power of love, and if we believe that good will win out in the end, we have set up our own happy ending.  If we constantly look at the struggle, and not at the goal, we have set ourselves up for devastating failure.  We have the choice to NOT allow the challenges that life so casually tosses our way to throw us.  We can choose to face these challenges with the idea that positive trumps negative.  Destiny and fate are only words to describe that future which is unknowable.  No one can ever convince me of the concept of predestination.  If that were so, why in the world would anyone bother getting out of bed?

I recently wrote about the power of dreaming.  Dreams are hopes and wishes.  Without them we are adrift in the chaos that surrounds us.  I am not saying that we can, or should, disconnect from reality, but with a little Disney imagination, we can alter our own reality to reflect the world (our part of it) as it CAN be.  The possibilities are endless.

                                              Peace and Love,



Thursday, November 17, 2011

My way of thinking/ Things for which I am thankful

Why does Austin have a picture of a man being loved by his lion on his blog?  Thanks for asking.  It's because I am thankful that I can share this beautiful moment with you.  Can there be too many pictures showing the connectivity of all living things?  Can we have too many examples of unconditional love between humans and the creatures that surround us?  But I digress.  This post is part of a challenge from my pals at The Circulation Desk (my blogging group) to write 5 - 10 things for which we are thankful.  I am thankful every day but I will use this holiday time of year to express my gratitude once again.

#1.  This year I almost lost my partner Jon.  He became ill very suddenly and spent 8 days in a coma with a ventilator doing his breathing for him.  I am so unbelievably grateful that he pulled through and stayed with us.  The power and energy that I received from my friends was palpable.  I felt a protective energy field around me all the time.  Out of an extremely negative situation, I was given the most positive reinforcement of my belief in the power of love imaginable.

#2.  I have a lot of friends.  Each one brings something very special to my abundant table.  My friends are like pieces of a giant puzzle that, put together, make such a beautiful picture.  My life is blessed every minute of every day by the knowledge that you love me.  I love you more.

#3.  My love for animals is well known to my readers.  Our dogs, Roxy and Charlie have been well documented in my posts.  They teach me about love and connectivity every day.  By following their example I am a better man.  I thank them by emulating their kind, generous and loyal, happy and loving, examples.

#4.  I consider the fact that I have had the opportunity to travel all over the world to be an enormous gift.  There can be no better education than the ability to see firsthand the wonders and the scope of the world that surrounds us.  The chance to glimpse into other cultures and experience different customs is priceless.  The understanding that we are all different and that that is a good thing is a lesson that is gained though open minded travel.

#5.  I was blessed with a wonderful family growing up.  Though they are almost all gone now, I cherish the memories and the lessons they have left behind.  Love was first and foremost.  Loyalty and commitment were required. Honesty was a given.  I am well aware that I honor my family when I do what I know to be right.

#6.  How could I leave out something that is so important to me, it is the equivalent of breathing? That would be music.  Music has been the soundtrack of my life.  I remember thoughts and conversations by what song was playing in the background.  Sometimes no song was actually playing anywhere but in my head.  My ability to express myself through music saved my sanity on many occasions.  Ask my New York friends.

I could go on and on.  I am grateful for the sunrise every morning.  I am grateful for the songs of the birds in the trees.  The majesty of the mountains that surround our valley.  I try to remember to be thankful for these things every day.  But it has been nice to put it in writing one more time.

                                        Peace and Love,



Friday, November 4, 2011

My way of thinking/ Dreams

" Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue. And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true."

"A dream is a wish your heart makes."

"When you wish upon a star your dreams  come true."  Familiar lyrics to familiar songs.  We grew up with the idea that dreams really do come true.  And we were brought up right!  "And because these daft and dewy-eyed dopes keep building up impossible hopes, impossible things are happ'ning every day."

I was thinking today about the hopes and dreams we all have.  I think that as we get a little older, we start to lose the faith to believe in our dreams.  What a mistake that is!  Of course not every dream comes true.  Life teaches us that in a hurry.  But when we stop daring to dream, we limit ourselves in a multitude of ways.  We leave the childlike wonder behind and focus on the unrelenting realities that barrage our daily lives.  What fun is there in that?  If we no longer dare to dream, what chance is there for miracles?

I love to dream about what I would do if I won one of those giant lottery jackpots.  Since I very rarely spend the buck it takes to play, my dream is obviously unrealistic.  But I dream about it anyway because it makes me happy.  It makes me happy to think that I could really make a difference in a financial way to the causes that are near and dear to my heart.  I am old enough, and wise enough, not to dream of mansions and cars.  I like to dream about ways that I can leave a legacy behind.  Writing this blog is part of that dream.  But if i don't write it, my dream can't come true any more than winning the lottery can happen if I don't buy a ticket.

I guess that what I'm trying to say is: Dreams can be very helpful.  I am grateful for the ability to dream of things to strive for.  Whether the dream becomes reality or not is really irrelevant.  The magic is in the wish, the hope, the desire to live a better life.  And we can dream for others who are unwilling, or unable, to dream for themselves.

                                            Peace and Love,