Archive for the ‘THE POWER OF TWELVE’ Category

The True Meaning of Christmas

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Today is Christmas Day. We all like Christmas. A day of  gifts and  overeating. A day with no work except for those  in  service businesses. A time to reflect 2122063264_b9b35d91d5_zand look back on the previous year and forward to the next.

As a child I always looked forward to Christmas. We had stockings, a tree, lots of brightly  wrapped presents. I never even realized we were jewish until I was a teenager and we occassionaly  celebrated  Hanakkah as well. Hanakkah was ok but  never had the attraction for me that Christmas did.

I think I was six before I learned that Santa was not real.  We put the cookies out for him and even the milk. It was really exciting to me and I was amazed at the miracle of the presents appearing as if by magic. Of course as I grew older I started to catch on and even found the closet where the presents were being stored. Didn’t really change my enthusiasm or appreciation for the time of year and the  occasion. I was living on the east coast and more often than not we did have a white Christmas with lots of snow and  the opportunity to stay indoors and play with our new toys. (more…)

On Staying in Bed

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

This morning I woke up at seven a.m. as I usually do, but except for ten minutes checking emails decided to just go back to bed and cuddle with Gayle. We imagesstarted talking and before I knew it, it was 11:00 am. Wow, a four hour cuddle!  A personal record.

I rarely take time off. Most mornings I am up and off to play tennis or golf or deal with the hundreds of emails I get daily. But we are in the holiday season, and for one of the first times in years I am all caught up.  Was quite a luxury just lying in bed chatting, really delicious on many levels.

I was going to dedicate this blog to the beginning of the first day of the second year of the new 26,000 year cycle that began on December 22, 2012. Somehow just staying in bed and not doing much of anything was the perfect way to honor this new cycle. According to the Mayans, the new cycle is about sharing, caring and nurturing. It’s a feminine energy cycle meant to balance the last 26,000 year male cycle of striving and doing and achieving. There are times for doing and times for reflecting, times for focused action and times for just being.

This morning was a time for being, no agenda, no great plans, just appreciation for the warmth of Gayle and the blankets on a refreshingly cold December morning in Southern California.  I’m not sure what you might be doing over the holidays, but I strongly recommend that if it is cold outside you spend as much of your morning lying in bed as possible. You might find the experience both restful and inspiring. Life is enjoyed in the quiet moments between events. Lying in bed can be both a quiet and inspiring moment at the same time.

PS. Strangely when I finally got going early this afternoon my car battery was dead. Here I am waiting for  AAA  to arrive to recharge  the car’s battery realizing that perhaps I am recharging my own battery at the same time.  There are never any random events, just random interpretations.

 

REFLECTION

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Year-end holidays are a time for reflection. Where have we been? Where are we going?url

We can take this time to reflect on personal achievements and goals or to reflect on universal achievements and goals. I choose to reflect upon both.

2013 has been a very good year for me personally. My book, The Power of Twelve, was published with good reviews. Our literary agency enjoyed many successes, ranging from Soul Healing Miracles by Dr. Sha to What God Said by Neale Donald Walsch, to The Crash of 2016 by Thom Hartmann, and countless other well-received best sellers. Our online course representation grew dramatically, and even our fledging Waterfront Digital Press enjoyed a number of notable successes. My family is intact and healthy. My son’s first year of marriage has created an even greater bond between him and his wife Natasha. My daughter is now engaged to her long term boyfriend, Oia.  And my relationship with Gayle is stronger than ever. Yes, it has been a very good year for me personally. (more…)

MIRACLES

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Miracles are in the eyes of the beholders. Last Sunday Gayle and I were driving back from a wonderful event we had co-imageshosted in Santa Barbara at the home of Lalla and Rinaldo Brutoco honoring my wonderful friend and client, Master and Dr. Sha, author of the bestselling Soul Healing Miracles book series. There were many miracles that occurred at the Saturday party, but the miracle that caught my attention was  an amazing synchronicity of bumping into  my other good friend and author, Uwe Albrecht at a gas station in Santa Barbara.

I had invited Uwe and his daughters to the party and had seen him there, but Gayle and I ended up leaving early to accompany Dr. Sha back to his hotel. When we returned Uwe was gone. We had wanted to say goodbye to him, and especially to five year old Shanti and eight year old Gaia. We had bonded with these wonderful young girls and were not sure when would next see them since they live in Germany. We were disappointed not to have been able to have a proper good bye.

Sunday morning we had organized a breakfast to thank Lalla and Rinaldo. At the end of breakfast we went back to theirbeautiful home where Gayle was asked her opinion on the creation of an elegant tented area in their home that was being finalized for their next major party.  Knowing that Sunday traffic back to San Diego could be heavy, I was somewhat impatient.  But I overcame my impatience and gave Gayle the opportunity to finalize her suggestions.  We were now at least half an hour later than I had anticipated leaving, and as we headed out I realized that we would also have to stop for gas. (more…)

Wisdom

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Wisdom is an elusive quality that is often misunderstood. Wisdom is not the same as intelligence, though it is rare to find a920917267_4710c81431_o wise person who is not also intelligent. Wisdom is more than experience, though it is rare to find a wise person who is not experienced in life. In many cultures elders were automatically considered wise. They had navigated  the challenges of youth, adulthood, parenthood and other predictable stages of life successfully, and just to have survived indicated that they must also be wise.

This is less true today. With all that humans are able to do, it is quite possible to arrive at old age with little or no true insight or wisdom. And although wisdom is not necessarily associated with young people, we do acknowledge exceptions with the phrase “wise beyond their years”.

For me, one of the best examples from literature of the quality of wisdom is the description of the parents and grandparents in One Hundred Years of Solitude. These fictional characters, though sometimes impractical, had learned the essence of what it means to be human. Of course the wisdom was not that of the actual characters but of the author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I am not sure what allowed Marquez to capture the essence of wisdom when he himself was a relatively young author in his forties, but undoubtedly it has something to do with his ability to truly appreciate the foibles of humans and the human condition.  The state of wisdom does not ensure that the wise one will always know what to do. However wise people do have empathy and the long- term perspective that the world desperately needs at this time.

The dictionary defines wisdom as knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life; as the natural ability to understand things that most other people cannot understand; as knowledge of what is proper or reasonable; as good sense or good judgment.  It goes on to say that wisdom is the ability to discern inner qualities and relationships and the use of good sense, equating wisdom to insight and good judgement.

We hear very little about wisdom in daily life. It is almost as if we somehow know we have created a culture which not only does not value wisdom but feels threatened by it. There are notable exceptions, and I would certainly view the ability of Nelson Mandela to forgive and forge partnerships with those who had oppressed him as true human wisdom.  I only wish we had more such shining examples.

Perhaps you are pursuing a path of wisdom at this very time. For the sake of the world I hope you are but one of many.

Happy Un-birthday to Me

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Today, December 12, 2013 (yesterday for those reading the day this is posted) is my birthday. Happens to be my 64th.  Who images-2would have ever thought such a time might arrive? I always thought the Beatles’ lyric “Will you still love me when I’m sixty-four” was indicative of an incredibly old age that we teenagers at the time would never reach. Visions of worse- for- wear white haired old men accompanied my idea of that age. And of course except for other old people, who would love you at sixty-four?

As it turns out I have more love in my life from more people today at sixty-four than at any previous birthday. I also am winning golf tournaments, having more bestsellers than ever as a literary agent, interacting with ever more interesting people, doing more radio and speaking events, and generally having a very happy un-birthday every day of the year. Life is golden and not because I am entering my golden years. I doubt I will be slowing down much and see the next twenty years as possibly the most productive and joyful of my life. Part of this may be due to modern science. I had a cataract operation several years ago and see better today than I did when I was twelve and first had to wear glasses. Be it what it may, sixty-four seems a very good year to celebrate and it seems young, not old.

In Europe the tradition is to give a party and give rather than receive gifts from your friends. I like this custom and am giving a small party for some of my friends this Saturday.

Birthdays can and should be special. They mark the passing of time and they celebrate the unique circumstances of our unique personalities. Each one of us was born on a special day. Each one of us was conceived and created not just biologically but at a soul level in which many elements play a part. The unique circumstances of our birth and the timing of our entrance into this world guide us throughout our lives. Wherever you are in your journey, have a happy un-birthday today and remain forever young.

WHEN I WAS SMALL

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Gayle and I had the pleasure of taking a walk with Uwe Albrecht’s daughters Shanti and Gaia. As we headed out the girlsdoor towards the beach I asked Shanti, “Have you ever had pizza?”

“Yes, when I was small.” was her answer.

Shanti is a pretty little red-headed girl who cannot be more than four feet tall, so it was amusing to me that she started her response with “When I was small.”  It would hard to be much smaller than Shanti and be walking to the beach on your own. Shanti’s eight year old sister, Gaia, is almost a foot taller so Shanti did, in that moment, seem small to me.  But clearly Shanti does not feel she is small.

“So how old are you Shanti?” I asked.

“I’m five and one-half.” She responded matter-of-factly as if we all knew that every half year deserved to be counted when showing we are not small.

The reality is that time is relative. Shanti is definitely not as small as she must have been when she first tasted pizza, but certainly to any adult she seems small indeed.

As we walked along the beach with Gayle, Shanti and Gaia picking up seashells every three to four feet and so I ended up a hundred yards or so ahead. As I looked back at this scene of natural beauty, innocence and joy I was overcome with a sense of nostalgia not just for myself but for all of humanity. We are all small children racing towards the inevitable growth of our souls. We are here just for a minute, and then we are gone. All of human creation will eventually cease to exist. Whether that takes a billion years or just a  normal human lifespan hardly matters. Impermanence is the true nature of our human existence.

And yet while we are here everything matters. Shanti is not five, she is five and one half. And she is no longer small.

 

Mandela and Malala

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Nelson Mandela died last Thursday.  By any standards Mandela was a great human being whose life symbolizes the true Nelson_Mandela-2008_(edit)meaning of success.

Nelson Mandela was not a perfect human being. He was married three times and divorced twice. I am sure that in his youth he may have had to take actions which incorporated qualities of anger and frustration, perhaps even violence. In many ways the life of Mandela is a case study of how a strong leader needs to embrace both masculine and feminine qualities. Without the fierce strength and perhaps even aggression of his youth, Mandela would not have been in a position to show the power of forgiveness in solidifying lasting change. As Nelson Mandela learned the true nature of balance in his personal and political life, he was able to achieve lasting results which were truly extraordinary.

More than any other statesman, Nelson Mandela represented unity and overcoming separatism. Those who knew Mandela personally felt he exuded the quality of love. Certainly the photographs from his later life show a man who was able to smile and laugh and enjoy the quiet moments of life. That he was fearless in confronting those who abused and mistreated him and his people, and that he was able to genuinely forgive those  who sometimes hated him and his purpose, made him a unique and admirable leader and human being.

I see many of these same qualities of balancing male and female energy in Malala. Malala was born when Mandela was already 79 years old.  Many years will have to pass before we are able to determine how significant a role Malala will have on the world stage, but whatever her role the lesson we can learn is that fearlessness for one’s personal safety, dedication to a larger purpose based on simple justice, human decency, and the willingness to remain true to one’s roots and family are qualities both of these larger than life personalities share.

Nelson Mandela was the son of a tribal chief. Malala is the daughter of a school teacher. In neither case were these families positioned to create great world leaders. That is exactly the point. No matter who you are, no matter who your parents, grandparents or relatives may be, you are potentially a great world leader. What impact you have on the world may never be formally recognized in the way that Nelson Mandela and Malala have been recognized, but the impact of your life may be just as great.

Everyone matters, everyone can contribute. We can create a just and peaceful world with opportunity for all. The life of Nelson Mandela confirms this truth. We salute a great soul whose journey no doubt continues at this time to contribute to the intended joy of all creation.

The Meaning of Success

Friday, December 6th, 2013

There is a John Lennon song from his 1980 Double Fantasy album called Woman which talks about the meaning of Bed-In_for_Peace,_Amsterdam_1969_-_John_Lennon_&_Yoko_Ono_16success. John did not have a perfect life and he died much too young. As someone who achieved so much in the world of music with fame and fortune, John was clearly a success. We know he had rocky times with his first wife and later with Yoko Ono, but it seems he was able to navigate those rough patches and reach a new level with Yoko before he died. His song Woman was definitely written for her, thanking her for the guidance she had given him in helping him to wake up to the true meaning of success.

I find this song particularly relevant to my own writing and my own thinking about where we are headed as a species.  The indigenous have told us that we need to incorporate more feminine values into our culture if we are to survive. I believe this is true. I also believe that it is not only possible but actively taking place.

I have experienced extraordinary success in multiple areas of my life. Despite following a relatively conservative path of going to private schools such as Yale and Harvard, and taking a Fortune 500 executive position with Harcourt Brace when still a young man, I have always felt that I have been a pioneer and a risk taker. I started my literary agency in San Diego, California at a time when very few literary agents outside of New York City had any meaningful success. I became an expert on computer books at a time when the majority of book agents and book publishers had little if any interest in such books. I drifted into representing mind body spirit books when such titles were still not mainstream.  Success has followed me in all these areas, but the real success of my business life has been in the relationships I have formed with authors, editors, and publishers.

There have been a few exceptions, but for the most part I like and respect everyone with whom I have done business. The majority of books I have represented have helped people in some way. I have enjoyed the economic privileges that come from representing major bestselling authors, and I would not feel the same about my career and position in the world of publishing and the world at large had I not had such significant and measurable public success.  But in the end the  true meaning of success will be  in what is left behind, in the number of people I have helped, in the good that has come from the books I have helped get published.

I am moving increasingly into the area of public speaking and my own writing. I will continue to agent books but increasingly take on fewer and fewer new clients. I am open to the extraordinary, but the extraordinary will be judged by the impact that can be made, not necessarily by the number of copies that will be sold. I will also continue to use our e-book publishing company to bring new voices to the general public. The newest voices I will be publishing next month will be dolphin voices. I kid you not. I have the honor and privilege of publishing the first book written by dolphins. There will be doubters. Major publishers will probably not want to pick up our e-book.  But be on the lookout for Dolphin Letters: Vital Information from Sea to Land.  Of course there is a human go-between who took down the dolphin communication. I will be writing more about this unique author and book later this month. Suffice to say, the dolphins truly understand the meaning of success. To quote John Lennon again, “Perhaps I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one.”

Imagine and succeed.

TAKING OUT THE TRASH

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Because of the Thanksgiving Holiday last week the trash collection day was shifted from Friday to Saturday for our streetimg_Great-Pacific-Garbage-Patch_2 here in Cardiff. Not wanting to be a bad neighbor by  having the trash sit on the street for an extra day,  I waited until Friday to put out the trash. Or, well, at least I intended to put the  trash out  on Friday, but Saturday morning around  7 am I heard the trash  trucks driving  by and realized I had forgotten  to put the trash out. I raced downstairs but was too late.  Oh my,Thanksgiving  day trash and  our bins are  full to the brim. What are we going to do the rest of the week as we create more trash?

I was  somewhat disappointed with myself for forgetting about the trash but it got me thinking how important  trash removal is to our entire planet. In my novel The Power of Twelve, Arnold Wheeler Dealer refers to getting rid of undesirables as  “taking out the  trash.”  Throughout the United  States the problem of waste removal is becoming more and more problematic. We are running out of places to dump our trash and in some cities trash is being  floated off to remote locations altogether. And no one wants to store nuclear trash.

With seven billion people on this planet (and growing) the problem of trash removal and disposal is not going to go away. The elimination of what no longer serves our  physical body is essential to  our individual health. Go to any hospital where there are people whose digestion organs are not working properly and you will find patients in great pain and suffering, many even close to death. (more…)