Living not in Vain

Our second Springtime since the pandemic began is in full bloom…

I once knew someone who kept a stack of poetry books in the bathroom – a busy man, when nature called, he would use the time to nourish his soul with the Magical Gift of Poetry, succinct, easily digestible, and sometimes in a moment, Life-altering. It always impressed me how poets – all writers really — could rearrange those same 26 letters of the alphabet over and over and over again to make us feel such a range of emotions.

A little over a year ago, we were all buzzing about.

We’d probably begun to hear about some virus, and at least in New York, we had survived SARS and MERS, and perhaps we’d seen some Folks from Asian countries on airplanes wearing surgical masks and thought something might be going on that affected people far, far away…

Most of us had no idea what was about to happen, or the scope of the journey upon which we had already embarked.

The Great World Shift had begun – we just hadn’t reacted to it yet or taken it seriously.

And here we are now over a year in, still wondering what we can do.

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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?”

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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!

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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…)

75 DAYS

I know.

I know.

With all that is going on in the World right now, just the mention of “CHRISTMAS” could make me appear tone-deaf and out-of-touch.

But this is not about rushing the Season.

Quite the opposite.

This is about forging a path around the imposed commercialism and giving ourselves the time to create for ourselves a Season of Love and Kindness the way we would ideally like it to be.

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World Right Side Up

A dozen or so years ago,
I visited a Shaman.
He waved a large eagle wing back and forth over me.
He took me on a Journey of Soul Retrieval – we did not see the wolf which I am given to understand means that my Soul did not need to be retrieved. Apparently, I have all of it with me – so that’s a relief!
He danced and chanted and drank some green juice from a glass bottle with a long thin neck – then gargled and spit it across my body…
That doesn’t happen every day!
He explained to me that there is a group of Shamans from all over the World who meet in some sacred place — maybe somewhere in South America — once every fifty years to hold sacred ceremonies for several days during which they receive a Message from the gods about the World in the coming Half Century.
He told me that in the 1950’s when they had last met, the Message they received was,
“World Upside Down!”
More recently, just after the start of this Century, they convened once again and received the Message for this Half Century:
“World Rightside Up!”

Events of these past two decades – and in particular, these past three and a half years – may not make us feel that the World is Rightside Up! Quite the contrary, it feels we are through the Looking Glass, especially this past 100 days or so.
And yet… (more…)

HAL

HAL PRINCE
January 30, 1928 – July 31, 2019

HAL PRINCE and me at the Opening of CANDIDE

I was HAL PRINCE’s Casting Director for the better part of a decade.
We worked together on his revival of SHOW BOAT from its inception throughout its many productions all around the world. Our production of SHOW BOAT premiered at the North York Performing Arts Center in Toronto 26 years ago. I also worked with HAL on the most recent Broadway Revival of CANDIDE, as well as KISS OF THE SPIDERWOMAN, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and PARADE.

This year alone, we have found ourselves saying goodbye to countless theater luminaries, including DIAHNN CARROLL, CAROL CHANNING, ANDREW ZERMAN, KAYE BALLARD, PHYLLIS NEWMAN, VALERIE HARPER, BILL ESPER, DORIS DAY, E. KATHERINE KERR, KATHERINE HELMOND, MARTIN CHARNIN, MAX WRIGHT, ALAN WASSER, ALVIN EPSTEIN, ERIC LAJUAN SUMMERS, TONI MORRISON, RIP TORN, GLORIA VANDERBILT, ANN CRUMB, TIM CONWAY, GEORGIA ENGEL, LUKE PERRY, ARTIE GAFFIN, MARION MCCLINTON, KYLE RENICK, RON LEIBMAN, RENE AUBERJONOIS, and So Many Others… But even among so many shattering losses to our Community this year, this one stands out.

HAL PRINCE died on July 31st at the age of 91. There will be a Celebration of his Life at the Majestic Theater next Monday December 16th.
I have never known a professional life without him in it, and the loss to the theater community is perhaps the most profound imaginable.

You see, (more…)

Live Out Loud With Significance …Or… My Strong, Good, Courageous, Positive-Thinking, Magical Marvelous Friend! Part II

The Drive Home from the Funeral Services

You are gone several weeks now.
Gone?
No.
Transitioned into the Non-Physical Realm.
The Place above this Pettiness.
The Place where DICK CHENEY and I will learn to be friends — and other such Unimaginable Graces
The Place where All is Forgiven.
The Place of Higher Consciousness.
The Place we all reside.
As THE COURSE IN MIRACLES tells us, “’Heaven and Earth shall pass away’ means that they shall not continue to exist as separate states.”

Evidence exists.
Evidence may be accepted or dismissed.
But it is still Evidence.
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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…)

Community

CommunityIt has always been one of my Favorite Things!
People Coming Together!
I was a Theater Geek in High School — I think mainly because of the way people came together toward one Goal.
And it was tangible — the momentum of a Group of People
To Create a Show…
To Create a Country…
To Create some Vision of the World…

Lately, I find myself immersed in Community!
And Deeply Moved by its Power!
The Brahman!
The Expanse of one Soul! (more…)