Life Is What Happens While You’re Busy Making Other Plans

June 6, 2012 by  
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Today I’m thinking of John Lennon’s quote “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.

I am in Rio de Janeiro visiting my parents and was ready to leave back to the US when a situation came up with my dad making me stay for another couple of days.  This time it was not his health, but his business.

So, here I was yesterday with my bags packed and people and things waiting for my return when it all had to change.  Again, I was reminded life has a mind of its own.

As I think about John Lennon and the web and flow of life, thoughts of hope and failure come up.

Sometimes, when I get really tired of all the obstacles I have had to overcome and still jump over, I feel sorry for myself.  Thoughts like “I deserve to receive more for all the effort I put out in my life” dance around in my brain and I feel bad for myself.

Of course, if we think of life as a scale, then one should get out as much as one puts in.  And so should I.

It is then – while I’m throwing my own pity party – that I remember that the act of trying, the act of getting up every time I’m down, is what makes life interesting and creative.  It isn’t so much the results – which make us feel great for a moment – that create an energized life; it is the process.  It is how we find the strength and hope to create and recreate the life we want to live every single time.  This never ending process is what keeps us in the game.  Not so much the results.

So, when you feel yourself disheartened, think for a moment how your life would be if you didn’t keep going after your dreams.  Think about how it would be if you just went through the motions and you will realize – like I do – that life is really what happens while you are busy making other plans.

Please read on.

How To Begin To Cultivate Hope After Failing

By Carolyn Rubenstein

The scariest part of failure is being seen when you’re most vulnerable and least perfect. It is far safer (and easier) to hide behind dreams and schemes. It is even fun to dream and scheme — to think “what if,” and to create our own fairy tales — you know, something to look forward to, one day when you just know that it’s the right time…Continued


Inside Grief Lies A Seed Of Hope

December 19, 2011 by  
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Photo By Angie Rubin

Grief is the agony of an instant. The indulgence of grief the blunder of a life – Benjamin Disraeli

As we go through life we lose friends, relatives, parents, looks, youth, wealth, health, jobs, reputation, possibilities, opportunities, love and at the end of it all, life itself. Wanting or not loss is part of the human experience. Denying it leaves us in limbo.

Great grief takes away the ground from under our feet. We falter and look for support. It hurts deeply and it often feels like it’s going to swallow us whole. Grief brings a period of mourning, introspection and the possibility of growth.

Grief without transformation devastates.  Like a deadly virus it eats away at hope, enthusiasm, and beauty leaving behind only sadness and despair.

Many of us experience grief as a form of fear. The fear of life itself swallowing us whole and leaving us trapped.

Grief, as hard as it is, needs to be acknowledged and given respect.  There is no other way.  In our weakest moment we are asked to find the courage to walk through the loss and feel its full impact.  But as we do so, something amazing takes place.  For the courage we show, we receive knowledge and understanding in return.  And at the end of our journey our hearts will see life and the world in a different way.

We learn to appreciate the simple things that take place in our daily lives.  A word from a friend means more and a spontaneous laughter more gratifying.  We also gain the organic knowledge that life is fleeting but our inner-strength steady.  Love for ourselves and compassion for others becomes the side-effect of loss.

Grieving is not easy and not something anyone looks forward to.  But when time does come we must be brave and put our arms around it and in loss we find our own transformation. It is the cycle of life.


Reacting To Osama Bin Laden

May 4, 2011 by  
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Much has been discussed about the explosive commemorations that broke out in different parts of our country.  Defenders say it was and it is a natural response to ten years of pent up anger and despair. Others say it brought a sense of completion; “Mission accomplished.” While others suggest patriotism is the core reason.

I understand all of it, but think happiness and excitement might be misguided reactions as a response to death.  By doing so we miss out on the significance of closure and death.  I am by no means saying this man shouldn’t have been hunted down.  But what the death of Osama Bin Laden brings home is how human beings can be filled with so much hatred and destruction that causes others to have to destroy them.

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How To Transform Grief Into Hope

April 5, 2011 by  
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Grief has been very much on my mind lately.  I’m not doom and gloom, but I believe I’m coming full circle in understanding the structure of grief, and most importantly how grief can be turned into healing.

As we go through life we lose friends, relatives, parents, looks, youth, wealth, health, jobs, reputation, possibilities, opportunities, love and at the end of it all, life itself. Wanting or not, loss is part of the human experience. Denying it leaves us in limbo.

Great grief takes away the ground from under our feet. We falter and look for support. It hurts and often feels like it’s going to swallow us whole. It also announces a period of mourning, introspection and the possibility of growth.

Read more


Slow Down And Remember What Really Matters

October 13, 2010 by  
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I had dinner last night with a new friend who at age 20 had cancer and lost her leg to it.  She has since gotten married and had a daughter who is now 21 years old.

We talked about having experienced the power of life’s sudden changes.  I lost a husband, she lost a leg.  But instead of us becoming fearful creatures we have both understood that life needs to be lived completely and every day.

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Never Give Up On Your Life

July 24, 2010 by  
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I was telling my dad this morning about Marc Abrams, the “walking doctor” of Silver Lake ( who committed suicide.  My dad who is going to be 87 years old in November said: “That’s really sad, to throw away life, the most precious gift we have.”

I thought back to when my late husband was very sick and I felt trapped.  I couldn’t imagine him going on suffering as he was for much longer and I couldn’t imagine living without him.  We loved each other in a way we had never experienced before and our lives were completely intertwined.  What would happen to me when he was no longer around?  How could I exist if he didn’t?

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If You Can’t Change Others, Change Yourself

July 20, 2010 by  
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Okay, here is a hard one to learn; we can’t change others but we can change ourselves.  Why do I say it is hard?  Because we are so attached to proving either our truth, intent or fairness, that we keep coming up with different ways to make our point even if every attempt only brings us frustration and disappointments.

There is nothing wrong with trying to communicate our thoughts and feelings but what becomes a waste is when it is obvious that the recipient is not ready or doesn’t want to see things in a different way.  They are stuck in their position and methodology and they are not going to change no matter what we do.

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Through Grief Into Life

March 24, 2010 by  
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After my husband passed away I put his wedding ring on a chain and wore it around my neck.  Then I wondered when my own wedding ring should join his in the same chain.  Then one day his ring, my ring and the chain were placed in a velvet box in my closet.

Life goes on.

I miss intimacy.  Not just sex but lying in bed with someone and watching TV, having candle lit dinners, and falling asleep with another person’s arms around me.  I also miss having a man around the house doing things I can’t.  And I miss my husband.

The other day a friend came over and hung the house numbers – I had taken them down while having the house painted – which had been resting in a drawer for the last six months.  His presence in a way made me feel as if I was again one half of a couple and I realized how much I like that feeling.  I love sharing.  I specially like to share the good things I accomplish in work, the fun stuff I do or the nice things I hear from others.  When I’m blue I most often prefer solitude.

After my friend or as a girlfriend called him – borrowed husband – finished the house tasks, I cooked a meal and felt compelled to light candles.  I wouldn’t be truthful if I didn’t add that I also felt physically attracted to him.  While handing him tools our hands touched and I felt his skin to be soft and smooth.  I watched his arms flex as he worked and my heart skipped a beat.

Life goes on.

This was the first time since my husband passed away nineteen months ago that I felt attracted to anyone.  But it was not the first time I thought about the possibility of being intimate with someone else.  Last month I bought online two sets of sexy lingerie that have been living in a plastic bag in my drawer since their arrival.  They are laying low waiting for the right time to adorn my body.

Of course all these feelings are in my head and heart.  I don’t know how or when they will manifest as a reality but when I daydream my needs for giving and receiving love exist without a hitch.  Kisses and touches happen in a most harmonious way and the shock of being in a new man’s arms after years of being with my husband do not stop me from experiencing the moment.

Reality could be somewhat different.  Fear and guilt might populate my heart. Do my feelings mean I love Chris less than someone else who forever will keep their hearts shut?


I know I will always love Chris and he will always be my husband.  But I also know I have in my heart the space for loving and receiving love from another man.

Life goes on.

I won’t rush anything.  I try my best to live one day at a time as life has shown me that plans often go astray in life’s rambunctious nature.

But I do know one day all the love I have in me will find a worthy recipient and then again on a Sunday I will again wake up late with my man and make him brunch.

I am part of a community of men and women whose scars run deep but whose hopes and love for life keep us all going.

Life goes on.  We love, laugh, and cry but above all else we must live with the hurt and the hope.  It is our gift to ourselves and the ones we have lost.


Caviar For The Brain

February 23, 2010 by  
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A couple of days ago I went to see Shutter Island, the new Martin Scorsese film with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Without giving the plot away one of the main topics of the film is mental illness.  While I didn’t love the film it was good enough to make me think about our mind’s fragility.  It took me back to when my husband was sick with liver disease and could barely put a sentence together because all of the ammonia in his brain.  It took me back to when after his transplant the combination of steroids and the ammonia turned him into another mind who thought our reality was a fiction of a parallel world.  And it took me back to when exhausted from lack of sleep and the emotional drain of three months fighting to keep my husband alive, I doubted my own sense of reality and thought maybe he, through his illness, had found the truth about life.

Of course these are all extreme cases but it all points out to how fragile and susceptible our minds are.  Feed your mind confusion and sadness and your life will be confused and sad.  Feed your mind love and hope and your life will be filled with love and hope.

I’m not trying to be simplistic about life and feelings. Actually I think life is very complicated.

Many things happen to us that are beyond our control and hurt us deeply but a mind that tries to see and experience beauty more than despair, is a mind that will help navigate us from darkness to light when life becomes too hard.

Recently talking to a friend we came to the conclusion that our sense of survival is one of our strongest driving forces if not the strongest.  Some of us have seen and experienced situations that are so devastating that we wonder how we’ll be able to continue but somehow we do.  We do because first our survival instinct takes over than we do because our mind follows.

Cognitive science (study of how information is represented and transformed in the brain) affirms that the vast information and experiences that we store inside our brain are all interconnected and related with each other, some more strongly or loosely than others and that the well being of the organism is determined by the degree to which the organism feels in control of its environment or situation. Health varies with the level of control that is perceived.

So as the saying goes “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right”.  Or: “Every man has in himself a continent of undiscovered character. Happy is he who acts as the Columbus to his own soul”.

But most importantly let us not feed our minds junk food.  Let’s feed them with the most exquisite delicacies and most likely the glass will most often be half full and not half empty.


A Beautiful Life, The Movie

September 25, 2009 by  
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In 2007 I finally got to produce a film I had been working on for ten years.  The film based on a play deals with hope, sexual abuse, and relationships.  

“A love story set against the decaying skyline of downtown Los Angeles between a runaway from a suburban small town and an illegal from Mexico. As the emotional walls between them come down a more horrific picture appears, that of a boy searching for a mother who left him behind and may or may not be alive and that of a girl whose idea of love and violence are inseparable. A Beautiful Life is what these two teenagers want and will fight for with the help of an exotic dancer who dreams of a singing career.”

We didn’t have enough money or enough time but had a committed cast and crew.  There were many difficulties and we were able to overcome each one of them. 

On October 2nd A Beautiful Life, will be released in a number of theatres across the US.  The film features Bai Ling, Jesse Garcia, Dana Delany, Debi Mazar, and Angela Sarafyan. 

Below is the link to an interview I gave today about the making of the film.


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