AMAZING GRACE

Amazing Grace
By Arnold J. Mungioli

I wake up a Crazy Wretch,
Tortured by all that I haven’t achieved,
Insane with perceived lack…
My Inner Critics reveling at a tea party on my head,
Full ground-length lace tablecloth and tea china, perfectly set.
Finger sandwiches of So Many Varieties
Cucumber and Self-Deprecation
Comparings and Clotted Cream
Watercress with No Self Esteem and a sprinkling of “How Dare You” Salt
I wake up choking on a mouthful of these Tiny Sandwiches
Grateful that it’s only High Tea,
And not their Holiday Grand Buffet.

I am awash in my own UnWorthiness.
Lost
Blind
Fearful
UnBelieving.
Now,
Here,
The Sun Shines in my window,
As if God is looking in, (more…)

ReBirth 2019

Easter
PassOver
Season of ReBirth!

I do So Love the Celebrations of Springtime —
Not just the Holidays but every bud and bloom.
I Love how things begin to Open Up!
And Open to the Ever Increasing Bright Light of Day!
And Open…
Open…
Open…

Coloring Easter Eggs with the Kids!
…for the Kids!
Well, Both!
(more…)

Messier Than Usual

20190212_135243

Step Forward. It’s Messy!

As folks mostly know, this is Messy March!
Oh, I realize we are nearly a week into April!
And Celebrating Messy March in April… isn’t That Messy!???

Messy March is a Season I celebrate, and it is not literally the 31 Days of March, so much as it is a state of Permission to Make Mistakes, Try Stuff, Take a Risk, and Make a Mess.
I celebrate Messy March every year, and the timing is always So Perfect! It seems to show up just when it’s needed Most!

Not satisfied with where things are?
Take a Risk!
Make a Mess!
Boldly Dare!
Rarely do we risk everything and witness every next step of our Journey going smoothly.
When we brazenly risk, we shake things up!
And the first step of an improvement or a change of course can often be Mess
The Possibility for something new begins at the end of our Comfort Zone!
It’s the stuff we need to do that we don’t know how to do that will lead us to the next phase of our Journey.
And here we are
In the Messy Middle!
In the April of Messy March!
This March has been So Messy that I haven’t even had time to publish this post until Now!
My friend RICK, whom you may have read about in previous Messy March Posts  and who was the Inspiration for this Season’s Creation, has been equally swamped and it looks like we shall be celebrating this year’s Messy March sometime later this month!
And we invite You to do the same! (more…)

He Would Have Loved It! [A Narrative Essay]

The Bob Fosse Postage Stamp

He Would Have Loved It!
By Arnold J. Mungioli

Arnold J. Mungioli is the Casting Director of Broadway’s Tony-Award-Winning Best Musical, Fosse, among a variety of other projects over the last two decades. He is still working as a Casting Director, Speaker, Writer, Teacher, and LifeCoach today.
This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the show’s opening on Broadway.

[n.b.: Pictures included throughout are mostly of the Dancers, from the hallways after the first Toronto Workshop and the party following the second. Needless to say Actors Equity does not allow us to take photos during the performance.]

On Sunday August 9th, 1998, the Musical, FOSSE opened for its first commercial run in Toronto. Dancing like this had not been seen on stage for at least a decade, and it was magnificent — the very best of show business! A Gala Party followed.
On Monday morning, August 10th, I arrived at my office as usual, only to be greeted by RCMP Officers in the lobby, guns drawn. (more…)

Christmas Card 2018

For those who know me, my Christmas Card arriving in February is somewhat of a tradition — well, February might even be a bit early!
Christmastime itself is a time to be fully present. I enjoy this time of year with my partner and with my big Italian Family from all parts of the globe, as well as friends in different locations.
We still decorate our home in a way that requires several days to put up and several days to take down, and of course, we celebrate all Twelve Days of Christmas.
Somewhere in that experience, I will invariably experience some spark to my Soul of something I would like to share with everyone!
This year, I was stricken by the possibility of angels. Not as occurring in a separate time and place, or long ago, but amidst and amongst the physical realities of simple family gatherings and amongst time together with friends.
And so, (more…)

WORTH IT?

A Silly Picture of my Partner and his GrandMother

My Partner’s GrandMother has a Significant Other.
His name is FRED.
They have been together as long and as sincerely committed as my Partner and I,
And though of an earlier generation, they have been as completely accepting of our Same-Sex Relationship, and Same-Sex Marriage, as any post-modern-thinking Friends we have — Right from the Beginning!
GrandMother just turned 91.
And a few weeks ago, FRED, a very healthy 85-year old who did everything for her and on whom she depended, suddenly and unexpectedly died.
My Partner went out to California for the funeral service,
And that night, GrandMother had a stroke.

So here is this woman who uses a walker and has trouble getting around.
She is fiercely independent, insisting upon no help from Aides and CareGivers.
And suddenly, unexpectedly, she finds herself alone.
She is frightened. She is sad.
She has a stroke and is now in rehab.
She only wants to be home.
We are figuring out how to get some help in — an Aide a few hours a day and what she can afford, as in this country, there is very little provided to care for its Aging Population. Our CongressPersons, of course, continue to get their salaries and their elitist Health Care Plan for Life. But for the rest of us, whom they are elected to serve, there is little.
Such is the Disgrace of every American CongressPerson.

Life ahead was looking somewhat bleak to her before she had the stroke.
91 years old, somewhat infirm, and having just Lost her Partner who was her Everything, and the Person she depended upon…
One is almost forced to ask, “Is it Worth it?”

“YES!” comes the answer.
Life is Life!
If we are wondering if we have served our purpose and completed what it is that we came here to do, and if we are still alive, the answer is, “No!”
There is more to Do!
And perhaps we see life a certain way.
Perhaps we do not see ourselves as ever becoming elderly and infirm.
Perhaps we see ourselves with hips and knees that always work,
or sight that never gives out,
or lucky enough to have a heart that’s not broken.
And if we are fortunate enough to enjoy these gifts longer than others, then Yahoo!
But for most of us, we give up things as we age.
We gain things, also — Wisdom, Perspective, Understanding…
I remember a song I learned in Catholic Grammar School which named the Gifts of the Holy Spirit; the lyrics went:

The Miracle of our Daily Bread

“Wisdom,
Understanding,
Counsel,
And Fortitude,
Knowledge and
Piety,
Fear of the Lord,
Gifts of the Spirit,
Working within me,
Helping me do things in just the right way…”

These Gifts seem, for the most part,
more alive in the elderly than in any other demographic of friends I see.
And so, Yes!
There are So Many Gifts we receive,
Even as we are called upon to give up so many of the comforts we have known.

And so, while one might be tempted to ask,
“Is it worth it?”
The answer comes — an unqualified and resounding, “YES!”

The telephone that still hangs on the wall in GrandMother’s Home

GrandMother is a Marvel!
She worked for the telephone company so many years ago — back in the forties when it was the way one may see in old movies, connecting plugs into a switchboard to put calls through, connecting the entire town with one another.
And she has lived into the age of SmartPhones dominating the culture.
She went to work at a Pharmaceutical Company back in the Fifties, when the workforce was dominated by men — on the wall of the warehouse, the men had an enormous poster of a naked woman with her legs spread wide open. Upon arrival, she pointed to it and unapologetically announced to the Foreman, “I want that taken down!” There were few enough women in the work force back then that no one had dared to comment on it. She took a step further and told them, “If that’s still up there tomorrow, I will bring an equivalent size photo of a naked man with his legs spread in the same position and I will put that up there! Equal Rights!”

This Woman is Awesome!
And even now in her old age and frailty, she lives a Life of Outspoken Courage!
And YES, this Life is worth Living!
Every Moment!

Whatever we do without…
Whatever we may compare ourselves to, in riches or beauty, or status…
Whatever we may lose along the way…
It is Always worth it!

Let us respect the Inestimable Value of Human Life!
Let us remember that this Life we live — this Precious and Valuable Gift —
Is the Greatest of All Wonders!
No matter What!
When we have been together with our LifePartner for Decades,
Or our Pet has been by our side for ten or fifteen years,
It may be hard to think of Life as worth Living when they have departed.
Too Painful?
Perhaps. Who would deny that?
But even a Life fraught with Pain and Challenges and Confusion, and Ailments and Knees that don’t work quite the same way as they once did, and the Loneliness of our Signifcant Other gone before, leaving us with that hole in our hearts that cannot ever be filled in this Lifetime…
Even that Life is still US.
Here.
Present.
Living
In a Physical Body.
Some Body
With skin and bones and musculature and a Beating Heart…
Our Soul — bruised and battered.
Whatever it is that makes this 98% Water and 2% Dust get up and walk around
And See
And Think
And Experience the World around us…
And we are Here!
With Other People!
Constantly interweaving our Stories…
And with the Ever-Looming Possibility of Love
In all its Infinite Forms!

Worth It!

And it is So Worth It!
YES!
This Gift of Life
On Whatever Life’s Terms
Is Unquestionably
Unequivocally
Uncontestably
Unambiguously
Unmistakably
Undeniably
Irrefutably
Incontrovertibly
Indisputably
Indubitably
WORTH IT!

# # #

A New Year Begun

Image from the internet — 2019 spelled backwards indicates a year ahead of Romance, Passion, and Love

What a Beautiful Simple and Delight-FULL New Year,
Brimming Over with Promise!
And Just Begun!

This New Year’s Eve, I found myself with a Spectacular Office overlooking Times Square, with a terrace outside the window, providing a direct view of the Ball Drop a hundred yards away!
Friends told me that I would be the New Year’s Eve Date to Get this year! (more…)

Pause…

Grandma’s Stroufeli & DAMON’s MOM’s Pumpkin Bread

On this Sixth Day of Christmas…
New Year’s Eve

It baffles me to see people walking down the street this past week,
Moseying with a kind of laissez-faire attitude,
As if there is nothing much going on.
Awfully Silly.
It’s Christmas!
It is a Twelve-Day Celebration,
If you want it!
Don’t Miss Out!

(more…)

First Day of Christmas

Our Entranceway…

It can sure be chaos, can’t it though?
Getting ready for a Holiday for which most folks “don’t have time”…
Well, its’ good to remember that none of us “Has Time” for Anything!
It is about Making Time!
It is about what’s important to Us!

It is about the Life that we Choose to Live!

So, just to review:
December 25this Christmas Day.
December 26this the First Day of Christmas!
December 27this the Second Day of Christmas…
And so forth through January 6th, the Twelfth Day of Christmas! (more…)

Create a Miracle

Our Beloved Friend, BRENDA

A BRIEF THOUGHT:

Our good friend BRENDA passed away
after a rather brutal battle with cancer.

She defined “Fabulous” — had a sense of style and a Joie de Vivre like no one I have ever known!

When she had been in the hospital a few weeks, this last time, the Doctors took her off treatment — it was an experimental treatment and they had determined that in her current state, she was too weak to tolerate it.
She was suffering, and her devoted wife, MICHÉLE, (who lived in that confined hospital room by her side for three months until the very end) sent me this text:

“Want to work real magic? (more…)