The cats and I had a Sun Bath Friday afternoon. It was too beautiful to work. Warm, blue sky, sunny, flowers blooming in the backyard, soft fragrant breezes, waving lovely colors gently.
The outdoor breezes called to me and I lay down on the patio. The cats seem to think that was a good idea and they all came to lie down on the patio with me. And then the sun washed us.
I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, tell me if you have, but if you let it, sunshine cleans out old cobwebs in your soul. It gets into all the nooks and crannies deep inside, warms them with sunshine and scrubs out the old dust and grime.
The cats do this rolling around thing that only cats can do, perhaps you’ve seen it, rolling from one side to the other, stretching out their arms, lifting one arm in the air, lying spread-eagled for a moment, then rolling to the other side, lifting the other arm. Must be cobwebs under there. That photo above is Munchkin luxuriating in the sun, getting his cleaned out.
I didn’t roll around so much, just lay there feeling the sun clean out the winter. Ten minutes and I was washed clean and smelling of sunshine.
A big stretch and I was done. Smiling, smelling good, all clean.
The cats winked at me as I went back inside.
Wishing you a big dose of sunshine in your own life! And a very happy Spring!
2021 was an amazing year. We discovered abilities we never knew we had.
Abilities born out of hardship, having much of life taken away from us, backing us into a corner, robbed of our plans.
We had to look around and see what we do have, what we can do.
The last two years have been about how to survive.
And that’s what you did. You survived. And you survived them well.
It took strength, grit, determination, intelligence, and a clever utilization of all the resources you could muster. You rose up and accomplished something you never dreamed you would have to accomplish.
It was painful, a years-long endurance contest, and yet you created goodness and found many reasons to smile. You created them all.
And now it is behind you.
Now we’re going to look ahead to 2022. The first week of January is when you’ll pick up your brush and paint the first brush stroke on your blank canvas.
How do you manifest a beautiful painting?
This week right now is for dreaming your 2022 into being.
2021 was all about What do I need to do to survive?
2022 does not have to be more of 2021. 2022 can go way beyond a survival endurance contest.
2022 can be about dreams that come true. Don’t look to the world for permission. There is no “Dream-Come-True Licensing Entity” that’s ever been any good.
You are your own licensing entity. You are the one who gives yourself a license to dream and to paint those dreams into reality, to make them come true.
Don’t limit your dreams by what other people dream. Don’t limit your dreams by what you think is “possible”. Don’t limit your dreams by any concept that you have to “face reality”. You are the creator of reality. Always remember that and never let anyone take that away from you.
Right before the holidays, I helped someone negotiate a difficult $4 million deal. I helped another two give presentations that turned a difficult prospect around completely to close a $500 million deal. Now there was a celebration! I also helped an executive inspire his team of 1,500 who were demoralized by too many reorganizations. Finally, I helped a mother repair her relationship with her daughter. Beautiful tears of love and reunion.
I help people win.
Far too many have losing as their default. They say things like, “Well, what can you do? It always happens. Now I’m more reasonable in my expectations. Let’s see what 2022 brings…”
Losing is their default. They lose before they even begin.
I work with people to make winning their default.
Winning has everything to do with what you believe. The second you believe you can, winning begins. It’s the spark that ignites.
This week you are free to dream. To believe. This is a beautiful week for reflection.
Create an abundance of dreams this week. The more dreams you have, the more inspired you will be.
Inspiration doesn’t come from other people, it comes from your own dreams.
Sit back, gaze out into the distance that no one but you can see, and dream.
What would make you deliriously happy for 2022? What would be absolutely “impossible” but totally fantastic? What about every area of your life, not just work? Let your dreams fly.
Forget “reality”. Imagine life as you want it, not as it is. Lose yourself in day dreaming. Dream the impossible as long as it makes you supremely happy.
Dream it rich. Dream it bold. Dream it in color.
Dream and dream and dream. Imagine, imagine, and imagine.
Dream until you can’t stop smiling.
Next week, you will pick up the brush and paint the first brushstroke on your canvas. All these dreams will create a magnificent palette with an enormous range of colors, richness for you to start painting a beautiful 2022, a year like no other, a year of being truly happy because you have dreams and you are painting them into reality on a canvas that’s as wide as you like.
Next year, I will get practical.
This week, I dream.
May 2022 be an amazing journey for you. Happy New Year.
This has been a year where many have felt hopelessly divided.
A relentless focus on differences divides us. It puts common ground out of our reach.
Discovering similarities unites us.
Unite does not mean uniform. Uniform means exactly the same as.
Unite means come together.
From my work in 53 countries, I feel powerfully united with all of humankind.
That doesn’t mean I’m the “same as…” for there is no one the same as me.
We are each completely unique. There is not, there never has been, and never will be anyone exactly like you.
You bring something to the party no one else can and no one else ever will.
As Dr. Seuss once said, “There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
Yet, the powerful similarities that unite our unique selves as humankind are tremendous, they are strong and endure beyond lost empires and civilizations.
We all like it when someone makes us laugh
Smiles make us smile
We like friends
We like a good meal
We love being understood
We want people in our life we can trust
We don’t like being lonely
We don’t like losing people we love
We bleed when we’re cut
We are all trying
And so many more beautiful things that bring us to common ground.
We celebrate many things in this time. Spiritual, emotional, deep.
This week was our winter solstice, the darkest day of the year. Now we celebrate the return of the sun, the lengthening of the days.
And so it is with our spirits.
Darkness outside does not reflect the light in our hearts which burns ever brighter this time of year.
As our year comes in for a landing, we retreat to the open arms of those who love us, to recharge and regenerate ourselves.
We emotionally and spiritually refresh and renew ourselves to create the rocket fuel for the hopes and dreams of the new year.
This is a magical time, the time to turn off the mind. To open heart and soul. To fill them with those invisible, even spiritual, qualities, like love and affection, that nourish our life force and enable us to create the future.
This is a time when communication becomes communion, when heart touches heart with the intimacy of deep welcome, affection and understanding.
These very beautiful life-giving forces are vital to our being causative. They lift us up off muddy ground and put the wind beneath our wings so we can take to the air.
I wish you a most magical of seasons. May your body, mind and spirit, may all that is inside you, be deeply nourished and satisfied. Full.
May you experience great joy from the many simple things that only happen in the magic of this time.
May your optimism blaze refreshed and radiant.
May love surround you as we welcome back the sun.
May you have a brilliant year ending – shining bright.
The world is waiting to see the light you will bring in the new year…
It was a HUGE undertaking. I don’t know of anyone personally who has ever done anything this monumental.
A burning purpose impelled Noah. That burning purpose was to preserve the religious and political freedoms of this very new country and its experimental form of never-been-done government, a Constitutional Republic (not a Democracy as so many people mistake).
Noah believed that words are powerful because they’re our direct expression of ideas. America was expressing very new ideas, ideas which defied tyranny and placed power in the hands of the people. For the first time in history the governed became the governors.
Words were important. They would be used to express “the American mind.” They created reality. They created the future.
Noah wanted us to understand every word in our Founding Documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Every word in The Federalist Papers, the series of essays that brilliantly explain our Constitution. Every word spoken by our politicians and written in the newspapers. Then and now.
If you re-define words to mean less than they are… If you manipulate terminology… If you reduce literacy… You reduce intelligence. You reduce the power of understanding. You reduce collaboration. You increase stupidity.
You reduce freedom.
America was freedom.
America is freedom.
But could we define it?
Could future generations define it?
Could evil forces re-define it in ways to enable them to re-create tyranny?
Not on Noah’s watch.
He was meticulous with his definitions. His definitions are powerful and glorious. Complete. Rich. They embody full concepts.
The great French philosopher Voltaire said, “If you wish to converse with me, define your terms.” This is one of the most useful things ever said, and I have turned many an “argument” into a creative and deeply satisfying dialogue by doing just that.
I have studied every definition in these words, and so many others. These words have gone from being superficial ideas I heard carelessly bandied about in social gatherings, to robust concepts that are now powerfully ingrained in my spiritual DNA. I am grateful to Noah for them. Possibly you find a word or two here of interest. Warning: there may be words within the definitions you’ll have to look up too.
Did you know that Noah learned 26 languages in the process of writing this dictionary? His purpose was to ensure that his derivations were as pure and true as they could be.
Noah meticulously wrote definitions for 70,000 words. It’s a big, fat dictionary. Still in print, thank God. You can get a hard copy of this dictionary on Amazon: 1828 Dictionary. I find it particularly satisfying to feel its weight and turn its pages and greatly prefer it to the online version.
Keep in mind Noah had no keyboard, this labor of love was all by hand. No electricity either. Candlelight and quill pen.
This was a man who could truly get something done.
And what he did is a service to all humankind.
Little did he know that there would be a woman up in the hills above the San Francisco Bay almost 200 years later whose soul would blossom and whose spirit would soar, whose intelligence would become magnificent, as a result of his long evening’s work. He may not have imagined me, but somehow he knew I would be there and gave this gift to me, as he gave it to you and all our future generations.
May we use it to preserve our religious and political freedoms, and for so much more.
Thank you, Noah, for this most magnificent gift. And Very Happy Birthday!!!
It’s funny when you meet another soul on a journey of spiritual experience. Quite a moment that is.
I spend a lot of time with people and I love it. On average I meet 40 or more new people a week and I enjoy the interchange with all of them. By the same token, I enjoy solitude.
I like to run when it’s completely dark and experience the magnificence of night’s transformation into dawn, sunrise and then a glorious day.
No one is up when I am. As I run, I float up into a spiritual serenity, bliss. Reaching even exhilaration and rapture. It’s ecstasy to see the beauty of this world uninterrupted. It’s a universe unto itself. I don’t know if anyone else ever feels this way because no one ever talks about it.
This morning was really special. I came upon this cat. I was running, the sound of quiet rhythmic thuds as my feet softly landed in the dark. Owning the whole world.
This cat was sitting in the middle of the street and, in the solitude of pre-dawn night, he was owning it too.
I slowed down and approached, sensing whether or not he wanted me to come close, whether or not he wanted me to reach out and pet, and possibly massage behind his ear.
He examined me as I came closer. Found I was on the same wavelength. Invited me to come.
I gently pet while he walked back-and-forth, lightly rubbing against my legs. He looked up from time to time, looking into my eyes searching for what was in my heart, my soul. What he found there was serenity and love, just as I found serene love in his eyes. He leaned into me.
It was quite a silent spiritual communion.
Alas, eventually I had to keep moving for when sunrise arrived, an agenda kicked in.
I gently said, “Goodbye” while rubbing the top of his head with one last pet. He looked up and slowly blinked both eyes, a cat’s special acknowledgement, a cat’s way of saying, “I see you.” I gave a slow blink back and said, “I see you too. Have a good morning and hope to see you soon again.” I took my leave.
As I ran along, filled with spiritual connection, I turned around and took this picture. There he sat, still looking at me. Holding on to our connection. Me too. We had a bond. A profound moment. Two souls who truly met. A moment in time only he and I would ever share, would ever know. And yet, we were both so much better for it.
I ran into his owner later and said, “I saw Winston this morning while I was running. We had a very nice time.”
She said, “You’ve got to be kidding! He doesn’t let anyone near him! He bites and hisses! Don’t tell me he let you pet him!”
I said, “Oh yes! For quite a while. It was quite nice.”
She looked at me like I was nuts.
I believe there’s a beautiful soul in each of us. We don’t always find or reach it in each other. Sometimes it takes a moment in the dark of spiritual serenity to find that wavelength that transcends all, reaches beyond all, and finds the soul in the other person.
It’s always there, but it’s not always visible to the eye.
There’s a wavelength of the soul that sees. That reaches.
This is Ollie. Ollie and I have passed each other many times in the neighborhood while I’m out walking and he is too. Ollie trembles in fear and growls at you if you come close.
A number of years ago his lovely owner told me she was sad about it, but Ollie had always been this way.
This week, as I was walking, and Ollie and I were about to pass yet again, I realized that I had accepted all this as inescapable reality.
She had said it with so much conviction, and Ollie had growled so convincingly, that I had, without even thinking about it, accepted our distance as a way of life, the way things always had been and always would be with Ollie.
But, somehow, this week, this moment in time was different.
I was unexpectedly struck by something. I looked at Ollie and his cuteness and suddenly I could feel what he was feeling. In all its terrible force.
I thought, “Oh, God, Ollie! I know what it feels like to be this afraid and it feels terrible.” I was all at once filled with a powerful love for Ollie.
That impelled an immediate and dramatic reversal in my decision about “reality”.
I looked into Ollie‘s beautiful brown eyes and sent him a telepathic message: I think you are so very cute. You absolutely do not need to be afraid of me. I am your friend. Only pure friendship here. I would love to pet you. It will feel really good. Come on over and I will.
Ollie came right over to me. I reached down and started to pet the top of his head and behind his ears. The fur on the top of his head is unbelievably soft.
Ollie loved it, especially being scratched behind his ears. I sensed with my fingers all the places he like to be petted and we had several minutes of joyful communion. We were both absolutely delighted.
When I stopped to take his photo you can see the eagerness in his eyes to get back to it.
What you can’t see in this photo is how energetically and vigorously Ollie was wagging his little tail back and forth. Once we started, neither one of us could get enough! I was laughing and I swear Ollie was smiling.
I looked up and his owner was beaming at me. She was radiant. She said, “In all of his 12 years, that has never happened.”
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a happier woman.
It made me think about how important it is for me to maintain an independent frame of mind. People are always telling me about “reality”. Sometimes I accept it without inspection. I did for years with Ollie.
This beautiful encounter with Ollie made me realize, yet again, that if reality isn’t the way I like it or the way I want it, I can do something about it. Create a new reality. Ollie created this new reality with me.
I also believe that people, animals, all living things, that we’re all capable of levels of communication that we haven’t even begun to explore.
People are so caught up in the traps and tangles of spoken communication, just trying to get themselves understood with words, that there’s very little exploration of the elegance of all the layers and carrier waves involved in carrying our thoughts to each other and from others to us.
It’s a fascinating field for exploration, much to be done.
I believe intention is telepathically transmitted. I can pick up someone’s intention in an email, a Facebook post, a look, the length of time it takes them to respond … There are so many signs and clues. Thoughts and messages are carried in many ways.
I don’t think I’m special. I think I just pay attention and don’t invalidate my own perceptions.
I live in more of a cottage than a house, not so much in size, but in experience. Cozy. A feel of comfort, warmth and relaxation. A place for easy reverie.
Reverie is that beautiful state of mind of being pleasantly lost in one’s thoughts. I find it blissful.
Small house, large garden. Many flowers, many birds, lots of singing, hummingbirds definitely. They like to fly from tree to tree and often to my roof. They gorge on little summer plums from the plum trees.
Butterflies, lots of lavender, large, fat bees, frequent deer, occasional raccoon and skunk, the baby skunk so cute, I wouldn’t have asked for skunk, but waddling little baby skunk are adorable.
Many tall pine and several redwood trees that tower high above me, lots of other trees I don’t know the names of, lots and lots of blue sky, wide blue highways for fluffy white clouds to travel slowly in their graceful caravans.
Brick patio. Cats chasing, playing, wrestling, running and jumping about playfully. Wind chimes. Music.
My house was built sometime around 1940. Back in the day, well before there was a Bay Bridge connecting us to the City, San Franciscans took the ferry across the Bay to summer homes in the hills. Mine was built as a summer home.
Spiritually I feel very close to the architect. He thought through light, space and lots of windows for fresh air. There are many parts of the house where I can feel his love.
I was stunned to find that on the Summer Solstice every year, happening two days from now, the glorious sun sets in the exact center of my living room window, lavishly creating a front row center seat for the most spectacular sunset of the year. Filling my living room with a striking splendor of sunset colors.
I have a group of architects as clients and I was telling one of them how extraordinary this was. He said, “The Mayans figured it out. So did your architect.”
He also told me that what must have happened was that my architect spent time here when it was just a tree-filled hill, spending all day here, studying the changing light and designing the cottage so light would fall in the bedroom in the morning and travel around the hill to the patio for the day, ending the day in my living room sunset. Filling the day with light.
He told me how much care, how much loving precision, it takes to create that.
I wish I could thank this amazing architect. He designed a place of great reverie. In my mind’s eye I can see the early San Franciscans, filled with gleeful anticipation, taking the ferry across the Bay to arrive here. The great sense of release, relief, comfort and relaxation that greeted them here. How in the mornings they woke to sunlight peeking through their bedroom window. How they savored their sweet summer days on the patio and how they sat joyously together in the living room around June 20th, just like I do now, enchanted, filled with the same wonder I feel, absorbed in the dazzling and glorious, and rather miraculous, annual sunset spectacle. How they abandoned their cares behind in the City, and came here to relish the freedom of light, garden, sky, birds and bees, the joy of reverie.
Emily Dickinson wrote a beautiful poem about reverie:
To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, One clover, and a bee. And reverie. The reverie alone will do, If bees are few.
Here there is much lavender. Many bees. Much blissful reverie.
Thank you, Architect. You created something sacred. You created something timeless.
Why was the Revolutionary War in 1776 inspired and started by a group of patriots in Boston known as the Sons of Liberty and not the Sons of Freedom?
Why does the Declaration of Independence say that we have we all have equal rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”? Why not freedom instead of liberty?
Why does the Preamble say the explicit purpose of the US Constitution is to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our prosperity”, and not “the blessings of freedom”?
Did we die for liberty? Or did we die for freedom? What is the difference?
As often happens, good dictionaries, especially big heavy fat old ones, have answers to this and other philosophical questions. Thank God I have a large bookcase of them so I can delve into the meaning of life and emerge wiser.
Freedom is being able to be anything and do anything in the absence of all restraint. It’s complete absence of control and restraint on who we are, our actions and, especially, regarding our consequences.
Liberty is the state of being free from SUPPRESSIVE or OPPRESSIVE or CRUEL or UNJUST or DISAGREEABLE or OVERLY FORCEFUL control or restrictions from government on our way of life, our actions or political views.
Liberty ASSUMES restraint is essential. It assumes our actions and our consequences matter.
Liberty is freedom from ARBITRARY restraint, which means freedom from unpredictable or unreasonable power used against you, freedom from restraint or actions by government that are unjust or happen without your agreement or are out of your control.
Liberty means control that you DO agree with, control that is predictable, reasonable, makes sense to you and that you do CONSENT to.
If we had total freedom in this country, people could murder, steal and do other horrific crimes with no restraint.
Liberty gives tremendous freedom, but not to do that.
When Navy sailors have “Shore Leave,” it’s called liberty, not freedom, because they have to come back to the ship and they better not get into (too much) trouble. If they didn’t have to come back to the ship at all, you could call it freedom.
Understanding and consent are vital to liberty. That’s why we elect our representatives and vote for laws. Our vote is our consent, or lack of it.
So, liberty is a BALANCE of freedom and control. It recognizes that some control is necessary, but makes a SHARP distinction between good control and suppressive control.
Liberty gives you tremendous freedoms and yet depends on control that helps you PROSPER and THRIVE, not control that suppresses you. It’s control that you AGREE with, laws that you agree with, government that you agree with, politicians who REPRESENT you.
Our vote tells the government what we consider to be good control and what suppressive controls and restrictions we do not consent to.
Liberty requires constant attention and protection to keep the balance of control and freedom in a harmony that enables all life to thrive. It is easily lost. You can have too much freedom. You can have too much control. It’s an ever-changing balance as civilizations rise. And civilizations fall when this balance is overwhelmed.
This is where responsibility comes in. Freedom is an absence of responsibility. Liberty is a shouldering of responsibility.
A study of history demonstrates that liberty is easily lost.
Our history also paints in vivid color that liberty is so important to us, to human kind, we will fight … and die … for it.
You can see that liberty depends on intelligence, education, and a good sense of right and wrong. It relies on the ability to do the greatest good for the greatest number because real liberty belongs to all and it is only in this way that the precious balance between control and freedom can be maintained.
You can see it takes all of us to create it.
You can see liberty requires perceptive judgment and an ability to predict consequences.
We fought for liberty, not freedom. The Founding Patriots counted on future generations, on us, to have that essential intelligence, education and good moral sense of right and wrong required to keep it going. All of our Founding Patriots knew that if we lost intelligence, education or moral sense, we would lose our liberties.
That is WHY Noah Webster dedicated many years of his life after the ratification of the US Constitution in 1788 to creating the incredible and brilliant 1828 Dictionary of the American Language. He believed that if we forgot or lost the true and complete definitions of words, we would lose our political and religious liberties. There’s a great topic of discussion.
And, yes, I owe a lot to him for helping me understand this distinction between liberty and freedom, words he so carefully and lovingly defined and distinguished.
The Revolutionary Era, when we won our liberty, happened during what is known as the Age of Enlightenment. This was an age from the late 1600’s through the 1700’s marked by great new philosophical ideas, not just in politics, but in every facet of culture and economics.
It was also known as the Age of Reason.
Our Founding Patriots intently studied and were shaped by the great philosophers who came before them and created this age. As a result, their fundamental belief was NOT that they were creating a government “by the people.” Our Founding Patriots had studied the democracy of ancient Greece and decided that a government “by the people” resulted in uncontrollable passions and emotions that led to unreasonable wars, bloodshed and mob rule. No, this was going to be different.
The Founding Patriots founded the United States not on the principle of government by individuals, but on the principle of government by ideas.
Leaders are interchangeable. And we want them to change often. Our Congressional Representatives are only elected for two year terms.
When you are united and governed by GREAT ideas, your leaders can change pretty easily.
This was to be government not by individuals, but by ideas, reason and power derived by consent.
It was the Age of Reason. We are to be governed by reason. Not emotions. Not passions. Not opinions. Not force nor weapons. Not greed or desire. Not personalities. But by our ability to reason, to communicate, to collaborate and to come to agreement.
Our Founding Patriots believed in all this: humankind’s ability, our ability, to reason, to communicate, to collaborate, to come to agreement, and, most importantly, to do the right thing.
This was the real revolution in politics and government.
And the purpose of government was believed to be limited. How else could our freedoms be preserved? The purpose of our government is to secure and protect our fundamental human rights which we all have in equal measure, no one individual or group has more rights than any other. And to keep control and freedom in a beautiful balance and harmony so that we, so that all life, can prosper and thrive.
The English philosopher who GREATLY inspired and influenced our Founding Patriots was a #1 bestseller for 100 years in these days, everyone was quoting him. This is the Englishman John Locke who wrote in the late 1600’s.
“The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom.”
Our government was a brilliant experiment in a BRAND NEW control, one which ENLARGES freedom.
In memory and gratitude for all who have fought, and died, to secure our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, our freedoms, our right to spiritual, emotional and material prosperity … I stand straight and tall and salute you. I thank each of you. I will share your message with the world.
There’s a tremendous amount of philosophy in the foundation of our government. Philosophy intended to unite, philosophy about our basic goodness.
As John Locke wrote:
“To love our neighbor as ourselves is such a truth for regulating human society, that by that alone one might determine all the cases in social morality.”
May we continue strong on this path to enlightenment. To liberty.