RANDOM KINDNESS AND SENSELESS ACTS OF BEAUTY

Do you know this Ted Talk?

 

It’s by SHAWN ACHOR. And while it would be difficult to say that any one TED TALK is my favorite of all time– this one is certainly up there!

I encourage you to watch it!

SHAWN — an advocate of Positive Psychology — recommends five actions, which when practiced every day for three weeks will help us to a more positive mindset and happiness: (more…)

Messier Than Usual

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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…)

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!

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My Strong, Good, Courageous, Positive-Thinking, Magical Marvelous Friend! Part I

As soon as the call came through, the airplane cabin was flooded with light coming through my window

There is nothing quite like that call.
When someone is not well, or elderly, or in hospice care, and you get that call from their next of kin.
It may come in the form of a voicemail, their saddened shell-shocked voice asking simply to return the phone call. And of course, you know what’s happened, but they feel it’s impolite to leave such potentially devastating news on a voicemail.
And they are right about that.
It is certainly better to deliver such news in person.
It may come as a voicemail message delivering the news and requiring no return call, ‘She’s gone.’ I’ve been on the receiving end of that one, as well.
It may come as the name of their next of kin lights up on your cell phone screen, and you answer it, even as you are seated on a plane about to take off…
That’s what happened this time.
“This is the call you’ve been waiting for,” she began, her voice a combination of the triumph and weariness of Acceptance, when one has completed that final Journey with a Loved One.

My friend had been in hospice care for several weeks —
My Strong, Good, Courageous, Positive-Thinking, Magical Marvelous Friend!
My Incredible Friend who was so shy about social media and asked to never have pictures of herself posted here.
I shall not go against her wishes, now.
Ah, but how I wish I could show you!
(more…)

It’s Noble What We Do

geoffrey-owensGEOFFREY OWENS is a friend of mine.
He is a Class Act — a Wonderful Actor, and an even More Wonderful Human Being!
He achieved some celebrity status when right after graduating from the Yale School of Drama, he played the character of Elvin on THE COSBY SHOW.
I was the Casting Assistant on that show for several seasons, and between that and our mutual social circles, we have known one another some thirty years.

You may have heard some of the hubbub this week, created when some pathetic ignoramus took a picture of GEOFFREY working at Trader Joe’s and in an abuse of social media, (more…)

To the Artist with the Broken Wing

As Classes for this Semester come to completion, and the Season of Commencement is upon us, I offer this in honor of my students, past, present, and future. Perhaps it will speak to the Artist in each of us…

Be not afraid.
You are Safe.
Your time here is short — briefer even than we think.
This World is not made to sustain ethereal Souls such as yourself for too long
Perhaps you are from another ether and must return there;
Perhaps the oxygen here cannot sustain your delicate lungs long-term.
Either way, you must get to work.
You mustn’t dawdle.
Mustn’t stravage.
Do what you are here to do.
You must Begin!

When someone arrives with a precious Gift such as yours,

(more…)

Awaken To a Better World

A Meme from the Internet

It was a mere two weeks ago.
We took to the Streets.
For what we Believe in!

I LOVE these Kids!
I LOVE them!
It would be so easy for them to take what happened and feel victimized,
Live their Lives traumatized and unable to move forward.
But they took what happened to them and used it as a Catalyst to
Vault Forward
a Positive Change for themselves and the World!

And just look how it has affected and inspired us!

Now, the question is:
(more…)

Masculinity

Coming of Age, the Young Men sometimes ask me about Masculinity,
Often wrestling with the Question: Are they “Masculine Enough?”…
I tell them to be careful of ever placing a Question Mark after that word, “Enough,” when referring to themselves — in the context of one’s self, it is a word best followed by an exclamation point.
I am Enough!
I have Enough!
I do Enough!
I give Enough!…
And to always align with their own Inner Being about how Truthful these statements feel,
in terms of how they are Showing Up for their Life
at any given moment.

What is Masculinity?
Masculinity is Gentleness.
(more…)

Three Beautiful Things

Charles Johnson Tuthill

Last Week there was a Memorial for my friend CHARLES.
He was a fairly renowned Acting Teacher.
And I Loved Him!

Who could Not Love CHARLES!
There was Nothing not to Love!

It was a Simple and Heartfelt Memorial at an Acting Studio where he taught.
So Many Current and Former Students.
A few presentations, after which anyone who had something to say was invited to come forward.
After several students spoke, I got up,
“So many of you are talking about CHARLES as a Teacher,” I began. “But I knew CHARLES as a Student.”
(more…)

Reinventing OurSelves in the Second Half of Life

It is Nothing Short of Glorious!
In our Youth-Focused Culture, it may seem daunting.
But it is as natural as any other coming of age!
And we’ve been through so many such transitions…

Like an Onion, we shed our skin and there is a Whole New Fresh and Flavorful Layer Underneath!
It feels like bitterness as it squirts in our eye, but ultimately it makes everything Sweeter!
That which we see as an Ending is also a Beginning!

t.s.eliot put it this way:
(more…)