Tuesday, December 30, 2014

the last blog of 2014 - because I said so!

It’s no secret that in addition to recording an album, I am also writing a book. No, it’s not another memoir. (And why am I suddenly picturing George Stephanopoulos exclaiming, “Thank God!” right about now?)

No, this book is a self help one. And I’d like to share a thought from it that I have about helping yourself become or achieve anything you say you want. It is not about acquiring or obtaining anything. It is about what you are willing to let go of.

So as 2014 gasps its last breath, what are you willing to let go of in 2015 in order to be and do and have what you want in your life?

In the spirit of thinking and committing out loud here, I am putting forth some of what I am willing to let go of…

I am willing to let go of limiting beliefs and old stories about why things can’t work out.
I am willing to let go of the person I was in order to be the person I’d like to be.
I am willing to let go of the phrase “I can’t.”
I am willing to let go of stagnant thinking.
I am willing to let go of the way I’ve always done things.
I am willing to let go of how I’ve seen myself until now.
I am willing to let go of anything that doesn’t serve my best interests or highest good.

The things I would like to keep include my sense of humor, idealism, and my cookie recipe. See, right there – priorities.

I am optimistic for the New Year ahead. We have the chance every day to make a new start, create a happier and more beautiful world simply because we decide to.

When we were little tots, our mothers, no doubt gave us a very concrete reason for things, that, in youth, we took at face value and accepted – “because I said so.”

That was all we needed to know. But somehow, when we grew up, we questioned and challenged and defied any explanation as simple and straight forward as “because I said so.” And we surely never learned that that was a viable reason with regard to our own choices.

I’d like to offer the thought that there is no external seal of approval, blessing, or permission you need to do what you want to do in life. That you want it is good enough – because you said so.

We get to have the kind of world we want when we say so.
We get to experience love and gratitude, forgiveness and redemption when we say so.
We get to know peace and joy and abundance when we say so, and not a moment sooner.

There is enough, and we are enough. And it is time to say so.

So here’s to a 2015 that’s filled with bold choices, bright ideas, the coming to fruition of the inherent greatness we all possess.

Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

...what kind of year has it been?

As the last remnants of the past year fade away, I always get a bit reflective, if not melancholy.

We like to measure things in our society by quantifiable results. Number of widgets sold, dollars made, things bought, places traveled. We want to be able to say that we’ve amounted to something we hadn’t before. And that’s commendable. I like being able to say that, too.

But what about the ways we’ve grown inside, the depth of how we love, the new foundations we’ve laid where the old have crumbled? What about the times we persevered when we were sure we couldn’t and the people we’ve become in the wake of that?

Growth is often messy, but I, for one, wouldn’t change that. I wouldn’t want to finish running a marathon and look like I never broke a sweat. I want to wear the journey with grace, but I want to wear the journey. I like knowing that the person who is sitting down writing this is not the same person who was writing a year ago. And I hope to God to be able to say the same thing next year.

I feel, in many ways, like 2014 has been a roller coaster, and what I’ve learned on the ride is that both the highs and lows are tenuous and temporary.

I’ve taken the risk of honesty, of baring my soul on more than one occasion this year, both in my life and in my writing. And I have found that no matter what the results looked like on the outside, it was a good and soul-affirming thing to be willing to be seen and known for who I truly am and how I truly feel.

Of course, of all the accomplishments I can think of for 2014, at the top of my list is recording the album In Color, which will be completed in 2015.

The journey that is and has been the making of this album has been one of the hugest opportunities for personal, professional, and spiritual growth I’ve ever experienced.

The updates I post are only one small part of the story. There are stories behind the story, which, believe me, are highly entertaining. (One involves eight people, a pot of meatballs, two iPhones, and a very creative producer. See? You’re entertained already.)

There’s something inherently beautiful about the old giving way to the new, even as we resist the whole notion of it. It’s the natural order of things. And if we could but embrace it, maybe it wouldn’t seem like such a huge monster lurking.

Maybe tomorrow is destined to be better than today. Maybe our best moments of all are still in front of us. Maybe we haven’t even begun to fathom the level of joy or love or peace or exhilaration we will experience. Maybe our greatest masterpieces have yet to be created.

I know that I am willing to let go of anything that keeps me from embracing what I was meant to do and be and have at my fullest potential. I also know that that isn’t for the faint of heart, because it means I have to be willing to do things differently, see things differently and show up differently in the world.

I am willing to entertain new thoughts, bolder dreams, a bigger set of goals, and a greater vision of what’s possible. Aren’t you? Isn’t it time? Don’t we all deserve a world that’s looks more like that?

I am so grateful for the moments I’ve shared with each and every person over the past year. I am so grateful that life brought me to you and you to me.

Whatever your greatest desire, I wish it for you tenfold.

Whatever your health, I wish you restoration, healing, and vibrancy.

Whatever your dreams, I wish you something greater than you can even imagine for yourself.

Whatever your mistakes or regrets, I wish you lessons learned, forgiveness, and the knowledge that you are wiser than you were before.

Whatever our journeys may be or wherever they may take us, together or apart, I hold as my intention for 2015 one of love, compassion, kindness, peace, fulfillment, abundance, and joy that surpass our greatest expectations.

Thanks for stopping by. Please tell your friends.

Peace & blessings to you in the New Year!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

...a season of miracles

The holiday season is in full swing and most of us are getting wrapped up in the frenzy of it all. Me, I decided that this year I would not be frenzied, but rather present and appreciative of every moment. I also decided that I would take time to stop and enjoy all the goofy, sappy wonderful things that bring me joy this time of year.

So my car has been a non-stop music fest of every Christmas CD I own. And last night, I did something I haven’t done in years – I rode around for a little while with my friend Dora Jean and looked at all the Christmas lights on people’s houses.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or Chanukah, this is considered a season of miracles. But if you ask me, we don’t have a shortage of miracles no matter what the season.

There’s a quote attributed to Albert Einstein that I love -

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

I am, not surprisingly, the latter. I believe every day is a gift and each breath, a miracle. And the older I get, the more that becomes true for me.

As I was looking through my address book writing Christmas cards, I saw an inordinate number of names of people in it who are no longer alive. It wasn’t one or two. I suppose that this is a natural occurrence with the passage of time, but still, it was shocking to me and got me thinking about what is truly enduring and miraculous.

We live largely in a world of distractions. We make assumptions about tone and text and email. We create fiction in the silences between each other’s replies, and don’t hesitate to offer righteous indignation over the slightest of offenses.

None of this brings us peace or joy or an expansion of love in our lives. But these are the things of the times in which we live. So to alter that lifestyle, it would take a conscious decision on our part.

This season, I am making a concerted effort to really talk to the people in my life, to lose the superficial, which I’ve never been any good at, anyway, and to look people in the eye, to listen with my heart, to love beyond the petty hurts and grievances, and to savor the moments of beauty and candor and connection.

We are given a short time here. And I guarantee that no one will remember the outfit we wore (with the possible exception of Lady Gaga’s meat dress), but we all remember how we felt in any given moment. Moments and feelings are the indelible things we take with us on our journey through life.

On the good moments and feelings, we reflect longingly, and on the bad ones, we either take the lessons offered and let it go or carry it with us, retelling it and reliving it until we learn that it doesn’t serve us anymore.

A miracle is defined as an event that is inexplicable by natural or scientific laws. So I think that makes love a miracle. And those who choose to practice it, miracle workers.

We have the chance every single day to be someone’s miracle. We have the opportunity to be kind for no reason, to love without justification, to help in the slightest way when the world would say that’s crazy, or worse – stupid.

Love is a miracle in these times. There’s no logic to it or for it, and it doesn’t seem to be the natural or scientific order of things. And yet, we are called to it, drawn to it, long for it, live and breathe for it. We are here to do and be one thing – the inexplicable, the miraculous – love.

So in this season of miracles, let’s know that we are the living embodiment of the greatest miracle of all - love. Let’s walk like it and talk like it and live like we know that.

Thanks for stopping by.

Peace, Blessings, & Love to you all,