New Year, Give Yourself The Ultimate Gift; A Journey Within

December 30, 2011 by  
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As the year draws into a close, many of us reflect back to our personal highs and lows.  Even people who are not totally convinced of the end followed by a new beginning, get pulled into the general feeling of warm hugs, introspection and slowing down.

Today, I went out with a friend who I have known since I moved to Los Angeles in 1994.  Out of the blue he looked at me and said: “You should live in Europe.  Probably Paris.  Yes, that’s the right place for you.” A bit puzzled I asked him: “Why?”  To which he answered: “Because Europe is so artistic, I think it is a more accurate reflection of you.” Without missing a beat I said: “I’m exactly where I want to be.”

Afterwards, I thought about my answer: I’m exactly where I want to be.  Wow.  How many people can say that?  Now, I don’t live in a mansion or on the beach or have amazing views.  It is not the house.  It is my state of being.  I am exactly where I want to be.

The realization made me smile.  After all, I had spent decades trying to figure out how to be at peace in my own skin.

I, like most people, had thought I would find contentment if I had the right partner, or plenty of money, or position, or the admiration of many only to realize feeling good comes from within. Feeling good comes from a close relationship with the self.

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Life In 2011. How Do You Want It To Feel Like?

December 28, 2010 by  
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The New Year is upon us.  For the first time in a very long time I’m seeing this New Year differently.  Let me explain;  obviously there isn’t a concrete separation between 2010 and 2011.  It is not like a bell goes off and all about your life in 2010 ends and the slate is blank.  But, there might be a psychological opportunity that if we want we can make use of.

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Happy New You

January 1, 2010 by  
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As I write, a large part of the world has already welcomed 2010 into their respective time zones.  My Pacific coast allies and more to our West, are still awaiting what many hope to be the beginning of the end of a not-so- wonderful time.

For each and everyone reading this, there are just as many stories to convey the journey of 2009.  There were, indeed, more hardships endured than most would like to admit to.  Yet, while not as well publicized, there were duly memorable encounters, as well.   My aim is not counter “the bad with the good”; it’s not to take sides with who were the givers or the takers of either.  I simply want to identify the fact, that each and everyone reading this, is here, on this planet, having already sang or will be singing “Auld Lang Syne” … in one form or another.  We survived, some perceivably better (or worse) than others, but we did it.

With beginning of a new decade in a still new millennium, there will be more chances, more ways, more time … to get it right, to make it better, to see it differently, to appreciate it more … to, simply, live better.  We all … young and old, rich and poor, boys and girls, the high & mighty and, yes, the not-so high & mighty …  get another chance.

At the moment and for the last week or so, I have been slightly derailed from my everyday way of doing things.  I’ve been temporarily sidelined due to an inflamed muscle.  Painful is just one description that comes to mind when answering to the curious.  In spite of time spent in this “altered state”, I have successfully convinced myself (a great first step to just about everything) that the condition that has been assigned to me will work for me.   As a matter of fact, I insist that it will.  No, it’s not just because of a new year, but because I chose a new direction.  And so can you, if you haven’t already.

New Year’s doesn’t have a lock on resolutions … you do.  Make up your mind that you are in charge of how you live your life.  The conditions afforded you are what should, in part, be your motivation … to get the job done.  Whether it’s a family matter, a career opportunity, a school choice, a vacation spent at home or on the other side of the world …  you make the choice.  Celebrate life … everyday of the year … this one and all that follow.

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The Second Decade

December 31, 2009 by  
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We are beginning the second decade of the 21st century. Those that want to, may argue with me, but we’ve had 10 years that started with 20 and 2010 is the 11th.

I was running through an issue of the New York Times Sunday Magazine a couple of weeks ago with short, beautiful written obits about the well-known people we lost during 2009. One of them was Ted Kennedy.

Probably, because of my age, I have been fascinated by the Kennedy family for most of my life, as have many others. When Ted’s memoir was published in 2009, I was quick to buy and read it.

This isn’t a book review and it isn’t a rehash of the tabloid stories that punctuated too much of his life. And, although the primary cause of his legislative life, to secure adequate health care to all Americans, seems to have enough traction to become a reality, this isn’t about his extraordinary effectiveness as a legislator.

What this is about, is the content of the memoir that was devoted to his relationship with his family. I believe that even were he to have been completely revealing about every facet of his personal life, he could not have informed me more about the truth of his life and the lessons it teaches, than the information about his relationship with his family.

Ted had eight siblings and as is well-known, a bushel of nieces, nephews, and children. He also had a father who lived into his 90’s and a mother who lived past 100.

The family base in Hyannis port, Mass was the location of most of the personal family film the public is familiar with. It was there that the family gathered and in time of disaster, as well as joy. For decades, the family came home to Joe and Rose, Ted’s mother and father, whenever there was something to share. It was there they learned to lean upon each other and to share and enjoy each others successes as well as to mourn their common or individual losses.

Ted’s memoirs bring us back time and time again to the family gatherings where decisions were made, where character and morals and ethics were shaped, where no one was ever alone.

I don’t have eight siblings or parents that lived to triple figures. Most of us don’t. Some of us aren’t even lucky enough to have families that share our life histories. But all of us could very well have a chance to spend some time building relationships with people we can rely on for support, if we are willing to reply in kind. Families come in all sizes and shapes and don’t have to be connected by blood.

I’m going to spend the second decade of this century, if I am lucky enough to survive it, building up this extended family. I’m going to make myself open to people I admire and let them know I am here to serve if they need me. I am going to learn to trust some friends so I can unburden myself of some of the things I have kept locked up inside my head and my heart.

I think I’m going to start by making some phone calls.

I just had a mental picture of the Rodgers and Hammerstein song “Some Enchanted Evening” from their wonderful show South Pacific, now enjoying a very successful revival in New York. There is the phrase in the song which goes “you will see a stranger, across a crowded room.” How often, in the past few years I have seen an old friend across a crowded room and have waved. I think of how often one of us has stuck a pinkie near the mouth and the thumb near the ear in the now familiar “call me” sign, and how many times one of us has nodded yes and never called.

It’s in this spirit that I wish you all a Happy New Year, by letting you know that if the phone rings, it might just be me.

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