Christmas Card 2021

A Story for a wintry afternoon…. As many of you know, my Christmas Card Story usually gets posted in the weeks following Christmas, sometime between Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Easter Sunday. This year, this seems the perfect week for it. The temperatures are low and the daylight is short… perhaps a story about this little Bakery in the Italian Section of the Bronx a few years before the turn of the century will help remind us to appreciate how much Beauty and Value can be found in the simplicity of what we do. It is sprinkled with Miracles and Italian expletives!

It has been a wild ride these past two years. Perhaps Showing Up for our Lives is the Miracle!
The idea of sending this out after Christmas is in part to remind us all to celebrate Gratitude, Readiness, Openness and Willingness, and all the values of Christmas the whole year through… The other part is that it takes me a while to write it! 🙂
It is sent to you with Gratitude for our manifesting here upon this planet at the same time, for our paths crossing, for the Life that we share, and with Love…

The Course in Miracles says, “There is no such thing as coincidence and chance plays no part in God’s plan.” The poet, HAFIZ, says, “This place where you are now. God circled on a map for you.”

 And so, inspired by the idea of just how Lucky and Blessed we truly are, I offer the following story…
Perhaps you would like to make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, or bubbling herbal tea, or some delightful warm beverage, and take a little time to cozy up and enjoy this Story Adventure…

Un Fornaio Cuoce (A Baker Bakes)

By Arnold J. Mungioli

I. * * * * Mama * * * *

You would have thought her a crusty old lady. Pugnacious and confrontational, Mama was a tough First Generation Italian American Woman from the Bronx with a heart of gold! If you were a child and walked into her bakery, you would often be hit over the head with a breadstick just a little too hard, and then she would smile the warmest smile and hand it to you. It was an act of generosity, as she saw it. She had made the breadstick herself, so it was a heartfelt and handmade gift. Moreover, she never wanted to see any child go hungry. But no kid likes to be hit over the head with a breadstick. Often the children would cry just from the shock of it, not because they were hurt at all. And Mama would dismiss the child disparagingly and unsympathetically as “shpeel la beep’,” “mingherlino” or “affamato.” She didn’t trust skinny people. And she held firm the belief that to spare the rod was to spoil the child.

“Shpeel la beep’” in Mama’s Italian dialect meant literally, “pipe cleaner” and was used derogatorily to insult a skinny person. Growing up as her daughter — a Second Generation Italian American Girl — these dialect expressions would fly by when the families got together – sometimes you would get a translation. More often than not, you’d get slapped for asking because somehow you were supposed to know that it was a dirty word and not appropriate to ask about that one.

Eventually you would learn to just accept that some phrases get translated and others you just have to figure out for yourself – decipher from sequence context. As I tell you Mama’s story, you’ll learn to do that too.

: Christmas Card 2021 (more…)

Christmas Card 2020

It’s early this year, I know! For those who know me, my Christmas Card usually arrives sometime in February — but this year, we’ll break with tradition, and celebrate early! 🙂
The idea of sending this out after Christmas is in part to remind us all to celebrate Gratitude, Readiness, Openness and Willingness, and all the values of Christmas the whole year through… Perhaps this reminder is as much needed now as ever. We’ve all been through a lot this past year. One begins to wonder if there is any rhyme or reason to it all. This year’s Christmas Story invites us to consider another perspective on just how much of what we experience is the randomness of time and how much of it — well, as The Course In Miracles puts it, “What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good? And so, inspired by that idea, I offer the following short story for a quiet January afternoon.
Perhaps you would like to make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, or bubbling herbal tea, or some delightful warm beverage, and take a few minutes to cozy up and enjoy this little story...

The Gift from the Cabinet with the Mullion Doors

by Arnold J. Mungioli

I could tell you what set it all in motion. I was there when the Youth arrived. He had a curiosity and a kind of insistence that comes from decades and decades of asserting one’s free will, and never appreciating the true gift that free will is – or life for that matter. I had never been a fan of free will, myself – not when given to those in the physical realm, anyway. I had always maintained to the Supreme Being that life on earth was too great a gift for a Soul to comprehend, let alone handle their own choices. It would inevitably lead to pain and troubles. It was someone from the physical realm – went by the name of John Keats — who once wrote, “Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an Intelligence and make it a soul?”

(more…)

CHRISTMAS 2020

This Year’s Tree…

I know. I have been unusually silent on here for Christmas time! There are so many wonderful things to be said about this magical holiday season of Miracles! And ordinarily, I cannot stop saying them!

2020 has been an exceptionally Magical year, giving us time to pause, reflect and reassess how we spend the precious little time we have on this Earth. This Holiday Season has very much followed suit. Shaking it up! Giving us a different way to look at things we have grown accustomed to doing some particular way.

For so many of us, the Christmas Season happens by rote. Every Year it’s the same: Shop, Decorate, Tree, Cards, Wrap, Ship, Family, Cook, Collapse… Nope – Not this Year! This Year we will need to find what is important to us and figure out how to hang on to that!

(more…)

Sweetest Day

Happy Sweetest Day!

Today is Sweetest Day Celebrated the Third Saturday of October. As a kid growing up, I became enamored with the local Hallmark Card store that was on my walk to school. I became friendly with the family that owned it, and eventually worked there, decorating the windows or handling the register… I was probably 12 years old the first time I entered that store. It was right around this time of year, and Harrison who was to become one of my very best friends was wrestling with a crepe paper tissue monster to get it displayed in time for Halloween. Back then, Halloween decorations went up in October, and Christmas decorations went up in December. Life was simpler, then. Sweetest Day was a holiday brought (more…)

Easter Basket Surprises

REBIRTH!!!
In the Christian Calendar, Today is Easter Sunday, the most Sacred Day of the Year!
In the Jewish Calendar, we are in the season of Passover!
In the Islamic Calendar, the Feast of Ramadan begins this month

It is a Holy & Blessed Time!
Perhaps, today when we look around, it is all too easy to focus upon what we are without.
Let us shift our vision and Awaken Now to how Blessed we are!
Easter celebrates our Life Force and our Love triumphing over the limitations of mere flesh…
Passover celebrates how Looked after and Protected we are – and how a Power Greater than Ourselves is Always looking out for us as we walk through any crisis, difficulties and challenges in this world…
Ramadan is a time of Spiritual Reflection, Self-Improvement, and Heightened Devotion…
Which of us could not benefit from any aspect of these Celebrations right now? (more…)

Messiest March Ever!

The Original Messy March Celebration (I wasn’t even there!)

Messiest March Ever!

Those of you who follow this Blog know that every year we Celebrate MESSY MARCH!
It is a time of Creative Freedom!
It is a time when we Celebrate making mistakes,
because those who never make mistakes never make Anything!
It is a time to Celebrate doing things imperfectly and recognizing that as both Creative Beings and Human Beings, imperfect is Beautiful!

When I was a child learning how to draw, my Mother told me to draw a straight line.
I reached for a ruler.
“Don’t use the ruler,” she urged me gently. “Do it freehand.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because it will look better,” she told me. Then in her reassuring, gentle, and Motherly way she nodded and added, “Try it!”
I did – and all I could see was that it was not perfectly straight.
“It’s better!” she reassured me, teaching me in that moment that Perfect is Not Better.
True is Better!
This is one of the precepts of MESSY MARCH!

Earlier this month, when the Full Moon, Friday the 13th, and the Ides of March all came together in the same week, (more…)

Christmas Card 2019

Well here it is, February again!
Yes, it is earlier than usual this year.
The writing process is completely individual — mine is somewhat bulky and painstaking, as I grapple with words and mud wrestle with the angel. But what are we as creative artists if not willing to surrender our complete vulnerability?
So, while on one level it may seem absurd to be sending out a Christmas Card story some six weeks after Christmas, I feel that it is always a good time to share kindness and light and tidings of comfort and joy!
Please accept these good wishes as they are intended…
to lift your heart; to lift your spirit; to send you Light and Love in the midst of troubling and turbulent times…
(more…)

Cookies

There is something Magical about Homemade Cookies!
I was at a recent buffet-style holiday dinner at which someone commented, “I can’t believe no one ate dessert!” And a friend insightfully observed, “None of them were homemade!”

Homemade Desserts demand to be explored, tasted, engaged with… The mind knows at the very sight of them that this could be some wild taste sensation that you have never experienced before! And may never experience again! And so, calories, schmalories! Ya’ GOTTA’! (more…)

Adventure in Goodness

2020-01-01 09.46.58What’s New?

New Year!
New Decade!
New Chance!
New Moment…

Here we are!
2020.
1990 is officially 30 years ago!
And I remember so many moments of the Nineties and why do they seem so much more recent than they actually were?
When I think “30 years ago,” I am still thinking 1968!
Time is a most peculiar construct.

Let us Look Ahead!
Firstly, (more…)

Star of Wonder

2019-12-29 13.50.45“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy”
–Matthew 2:10

Imagine what it must have been like…
To have such Light brought into your Life,
So Suddenly, and from out of nowhere!
Unexpectedly, there it is, Gleaming in the Sky and Giving Light…
Glistening!
Dazling!
Leading!
Shining!

When you call the Integral Yoga Institute, they answer the phone, “How may I be of service?”
I always thought this was so Beautiful.
Of course it is one of the tenets of Yoga to be of Service (The pretzel poses are only one of the eight limbs of Yoga), but to offer this straight out, first thing… it’s Inspiring!

How is your Christmas going?
(more…)