Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Forgiveness, Healing, Happiness and Moving On In The New Year

Forgiveness is no easy feat.

But we must employ it..for our own benefit - as well as for others.

However, forgiving someone for what we may have observed as a "wrong" to us, does not necessarily mean that they have to remain in our lives.

The lessons that we may need to learn from others may be found through the forgiveness following a hurt...and it simply may be time for us to bless those who hurt us on their way.

Love, for others or self, is no doormat. And we do not have to remain on the tracks when the train is coming.

So, as the new year approaches, let us make it imperative to not only forgive the hurt - but to forget it and move "avoid discord with others...and discover harmony within" (Master Kan, "Kung Fu").

To fully forgive...

Just like the great Phil Collins song that pleads, "even if...even if...even if" those who hurt us - "don't love" us "anymore."

We must still love them and ourselves enough by respecting ourselves by moving on - and living happily. Not because "living well is the best revenge." But because "living well is the heatlhiest and happiest choice for the development of our souls and for the highest good of all those concerned.

Happy New Year, Everyone - and may Love and Light and Joy and Grace and Happiness and Prosperity and Forgiveness follow you all the days of your life!

Happy New Year's Adam!

If Thursday is New Year's Eve, that makes today New Year's Adam. Happy New Year's Adam, Everyone!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Your Loving-Kindness Is My Command And My Honor

Money is great. But it doesn't impress me. Nice cars and pretty faces are are beautiful homes. But they're all a dime a dozen...especially when you got money.

What impresses me the most?

Gentleness...sweetness...sincerity...generosity...and loving-kindness.

If you got all that - I'm yours forever...and I'll make sure that all your dreams come true and that you get everything you want.

And tell you what, I'll do you one better: even if you're disgentle, unsweet, insincere, stingy and mean-spirited - I'll still be yours forever - and still make sure all your dreams come true and that you get everything you want.

For what kind of man would I be if I placed conditions and boundaries on my boundless love for thee?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Happy Holiday Meal Reminder

Accept every gracious invitation to dine & enjoy every morsel of food, be it meat, veggies, sugars & sweets, fruits, nuts & yes - even bread. Blessing your food and sharing your meal & your presence with those you love & those who love you outweighs & REMOVES any physical detriment to the body because the soul & the heart are so happy to be surrounded by loved ones.

Don't Know Who Said It But It Sure Rings True:

"A prayer sung is a prayer said twice."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Listen To Your Dreams - and "Draw" Heaven To You

This remarkable young girl listens to her "whispers" and "visions" from God. As such, she follows her dreams to a "t."

May we all listen as carefully and beautifully to our whispers from Heaven.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

"The Power of Words"

The Bible says, "By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matt. 12: 37); "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 12: 21); And "Thou shall also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee" (Job 22: 28).

Charles Fillmore, cofounder of Unity, wrote: "The spoken word carries vibrations through the Universe ether, and also moves the intelligence inherent in every form, animate or inanimate."

Ernest Holmes, founder of the Church of Religious Science, has written: "The word gives form to the unformed. The greater the consciousness behind the word, the more power it will have. Just words, without conviction, have no power, and just conviction, without words, will never stir up latent energy. There must be a combination of the two to make a complete thing."

The Tibetan master D.K., through Alice A. Bailey, has said: "Every Word differentiated or synthesized, affects the deva kingdom, and hence the form-building aspects of manifestation. No sound is ever made without producing a corresponding response in deva substance."

As author John Randolph Price writes in his wonderful book, THE ANGELS WITHIN US, "From these resources it should be obvious why the masters of the early academies taught the aspirants to be aware of the consequences of words on the mental, emotional, etheric, and physical planes. They were schooled in the Power of sound and how words spoken with a controlled mind could literally change the force field around any form, including the belief system of the personality, and free the imprisoned spiritual consciousness."

As Price continues to write in ANGELS, he began to use the old Oriental standard to gauge the value of speech: Is it true? It is kind? It is needful? The result of this brief survey, Price discovered, was that only a few of his remarks passed the three tests. And that he admitted that when monitoring his own words, he missed the mark several times, even though he was consciously trying to measure the quality of what he was saying. "We are all walking around with a loaded gun between our teeth," he revealed, "and our tongues seem to love to pull the trigger."

"Remember," he concluded, "we are either healing or harming" with our words, spoken or written. "There is no in-between, so even in our humor we should practice harmlessness. Let's be builders of the new world through constructive words and creators of harmony with loving words."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

There's No Time For Modesty: The World Needs You To Shine Your Light - This Holiday Season...And Always

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so
that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other
people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others."

- Excerpt from the book, "A Return To Love," by Marianne Williamson

Friday, December 18, 2009

"The Wallflowers" Know The Deal with "Into The Mystic" (Lyrics and Video Link)

We were born before the wind

Also younger than the sun

Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic

Hark, now hear the sailors cry

Smell the sea and feel the sky

Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic

And when that fog horn blows I will be coming home

And when that fog horn blows I want to hear it

I don't have to fear it

I want to rock your gypsy soul

Just like way back in the days of old

Then magnificently we will float into the mystic

And when that fog horn blows you know I will be coming home

And when that fog horn whistle blows I got to hear it

I don't have to fear it

I want to rock your gypsy soul

Just like way back in the days of old

And together we will float into the mystic

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods' excellent performance as an athlete should have nothing to do with his poor performance as a husband. He clearly has issues and I don't know anyone who doesn't. But it's our job as human beings to be compassionate and forgiving - and to move on and forward. Meanwhile, Tiger needs help. A lot of it. And he needs to find it. And we all need to concern ourselves only with loving-kindness.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Looking Back and Moving Forward: A Tribute To My Parents

The most rewarding experience of my life was taking care of my parents in their elder years. I would not be who I am today if not for my Mom, Frances Turri ("St. Frances of Turri") and Dad, Herbie P. ("St. Pompeii"). As I ready for the many great experiences I envision for 2010, I invite you to read through my previous blogs tributes to my parents that I repost here today.

All the best,

Herbie J

THE TRIBUTE TO MY DAD (who passed into spirit on April 5, 1995)

My dad was always the first one in my family who remembered to play a joke on April Fool's Day. Only on his last celebration of the holiday in 1995, a mere five days before he died of lung cancer, did I find out why.

On April 1, 1924, when my father was just a boy, he lost his mother when she was 35-years-old. As her eldest child, he and my grandma Rose were quite close. I don't think he ever got over loosing her. He must have thought it was a bad joke that a twelve-year-old boy would lose his mother on April Fool's Day. It's like he made some kind of promise to himself that he would always be the first one to do a funny every year. It was probably the only way that he knew how to deal with the pain he must have felt every year on what should have been a very humorous day. Inside, I don't think he ever stopped asking where his mother was. From the day she passed away, there was no one there to comfort when he fell, so he fought. There was no there to guide him through school, to encourage him to get a formal education, so he quit.

He was on his own.

Still, when push came to shove, my father did remarkably well in this world. He always managed to enjoy himself in our hometown of Rochester, New York, and during his time in the service (World War II), which allowed him to travel to California and to the Philippines. He married at 40, and the good times continued with my mom, my sister and myself. In the fall of 1977, after years in the inner-city, we moved to a beautiful suburban townhome that we rented, and he loved it there. We all loved it there, from the moment we first went to inspect what would be our home for the next 18 years. Even after taking the long way, down the wrong road, on a rainy day, we somehow managed to end up at the right place.

After a time, however, my father grew bitter, thinking he had made the wrong decision by paying rent all those years and not purchasing a home. I tried to tell him again and again, that in life, no one really owns anything, that the life we all shared was good, even if we argued nearly every day, that a person's true success is measured by the quality time he has with others, not the quantity of material gifts he or she is able to gather in this world.

But he didn't want to hear about it. Then, when he got sick, he really didn't want to hear about it. And I didn't blame him.

Along with my father's physical ailments, his emotional state deteriorated. I prayed for his soul because I believed that he would not. At least, I thought he would not.

Then, one day, shortly before he passed away, I was trying to arrange the huge family rosary upon the holy mantel we had in our home. I couldn't find the right position. I gave up, and huffed away upstairs. About one half-hour later, I started back down the steps, and noticed my father situating the rosary in the most perfect way. At that moment, I knew that so simple and graceful a move had somehow cleared his path to heaven. All the times when he chose not to pray, all the moments when he could not find the strength to forgive himself for not going to school, finding the right job, paying into the right pension, winning the lottery, or losing at OTB; all the bitterness and anger that was eating away at him, was wiped clean. His heart was replenished. My father had faith, after all. But like so many of his other emotional truths, he concealed it.

Though, I had underestimated his integrity before.

While in fourth grade, I wanted to go to the circus.

"Get a good report card," he told me, "and I'll get you tickets."

I began to worry. I was a horrible student in the fourth grade. And when my report card arrived, as I had feared, I received all Ds and a great big F. After stalling for an hour or so in my room, I called him upstairs and showed him the card. He took it down into the living room. About 20 minutes later, he returned it to me. Inside were the tickets he had purchased weeks before. He granted me those tickets, when I thought he would punish me. But I punished myself by not comprehending the scope of my father's love.

Where was my faith?

Where was my faith when I worried how I would get to college, in a family of three drivers and one car? When my father showed up with a brand new car for me with which to commute to a local college, I was embarrassed. Once again, I had miscalculated the magnitude of his love, and the generosity of his spirit.

In the last weeks of my father's life, I did all I could to beautify his physical surroundings. Colors of creme, beige and eggshell filled each room. I wanted to make his transition to heaven real smooth. The new sofas and rugs were great, and I knew their staying power was weak. But they were strength-inducing for my dad. He walked around the house, looking at the new mini-blinds and kitchen floor, and said things like, "Well, it looks like we're going to be here at least a couple more years."

The rent began to matter less to him.

My sister, my mother and myself decided not to verbally inform him of the severity of his illness. And we're glad we did not. Every case is different, and had we acknowledged to my father how sick he was, he would have left us at least seven months earlier.

The bottom line? My dad knew in his heart how sick he was (how could he not?). We gave him all the proper medications, helped him to eat all the right food, etc. Telling my father (who viewed himself a failure all his life) that now, at 83 years old, he didn't have long to live, somehow just didn't mesh. So we all pretended he would get better, and, as a result, his last days were happier.

All the while, I would ask God to grant my father more time. And God complied.

I later prayed, "If it is your will to take my father, then grant us the strength to deal with the loss."

And God complied again.

We retained the strength, and I don't know how people with no faith deal with any loss.

Strangely, before my dad became sick, I asked God to show me what really matters in life.

Shortly thereafter, I went to get my hair cut. I was complaining about how it doesn't grow tall anymore, just long. The stylist put down his shears and told me this story:

"A little boy with thick curly, red hair came in one day, and I commented on how full his hair was. The little boy came back with a startling revelation. 'Well, you know,' he said, 'I have leukemia, and I'd trade in a second, my healthy hair for a healthy body.'"

Then, one night, I was watching Unsolved Mysteries on TV. There was a beautiful little girl, dying of cancer, and talking about how she spoke with the angels. How, for her, heaven was a place with colored clouds that taste like different kinds of ice cream; a place where the angels wonder what our favorite ice cream flavor is. She said "Chocolate Chocolate Chip." And then suddenly, one huge white cloud became one huge scoop of Chocolate Chocolate Chip.

In light of this happy thought, I pray today that my father's dairy dessert-flavored cloud is "Heavenly Hash," which he so enjoyed with my Mom many times on Earth. And if his sole (soul) mission in life was to bring the reader and the writer together now, with this communication in celebration of his life, then he completed his journey with flying colors -a term of which also may have its origins in those ice-cream flavored flying clouds.


THE TRIBUTE TO MY MOM (who passed into spirit on May 5, 2008)

My Mom was a great person, parent, sister, daughter, cousin, niece, friend and employee. She worked at Kodak for 17 years, just shy of earning a pension that would have “set her up for life.” But she left Kodak – to have me. Years later, after we moved from Erie Street to Greenleaf Meadows, she started working in the lunch room at Number 7 School.

My Dad used to take her to work, go to OTB, and then pick her up a few hours later. They’d go on to McDonalds, then Wegmans supermarket, and back to Greenleaf. After my nephew Sammy was born, they’d pick him up at daycare, and bring HIM back to Greenleaf. And that was their simple HAPPY life – every day – for years.

When I tried to move on with MY life after my father died, I made the attempt to bring my Mom to California. And that was pretty much a disaster. So, we brought her back here, and subsequently moved her to the South Village Apartments at the Shire in Irondequoit.

Meanwhile, I stayed in LA – and did a few shows – but my heart wasn't in it. I missed my Mom. I missed Rochester. So I came back and moved into the NORTH Village Apartments at the Shire, where I named myself the Volunteer Director of Activities. I wanted to create the sense of family that we had for years on Erie Street and at Greenleaf. So, I started throwing parties and picnics - big parties, little parties, pizza parties, Thanksgiving Day Parties, Christmas parties, New Years Eve parties, Easter parties, Tax Day Parties, and of course, the real big parties for my Mom’s 80th and 85th birthdays – the latter of which was the mother of ALL the parties.

People said, "Oh, Herbie J - you gave up your life for your Mother." But I never looked at it like that. I did those parties because I wanted to – and I enjoyed them. I'd see movies and TV shows about a small town boy who moved to the big city and made it big. He then realizes that the big city ain’t all that.

And I loved those movies – for a few hours. Then I thought, "You know - instead of me feeling all warm and fuzzie for just a few hours and instead of me putting all my energy into maybe writing scripts similar to those movies, I'd rather LIVE the scripts of life – then write them."

It’s because of my Mom that I came to appreciate the simple treasures of life – as opposed to the glamour and glitter of Hollywood. In turn, she gave me a treasure trove of stories, which will now one day be turned into movies and TV shows – maybe even with a few of YOU in them.

One of my favorite memories of my Mom centers around a TV show: The Golden Girls, which I’d watch with her whenever I had the chance. One afternoon last year, while watching the show with her, I thought about the full and successful lives and careers of the older women on the series. I also thought about how my own life has been so full of aspirations, personal and professional. I then looked over at my Mom, turned off the TV and asked, "Mom - what did YOU want to be when you were young?"

"What do you mean?" she said.

"Well," I continued, "Did YOU ever have any dream job or dreams of how you wanted YOUR life to turn out?"

My Mom sat there for a moment, with these questions, and searched her memory, which had been gradually erased by dementia. Yet, she glanced back at me, determined to give me an answer, and replied, "I guess it was always my dream to one day go to a community center every day, where I would have a good meal, be with people, play cards and bingo. That was always my dream."

At first, I was startled and sad for her. Whatever aspirations she may have had as a child, a teen or an adult, were gone - lost in the deep sleep of her memory. But then, after a moment, I was happy for her. My Mom had convinced herself in the short NEW history of her life that going to the Senior Center (every day for the last twelve years) was the fulfillment of a LIFE-LONG dream – and she was content.

I felt God shining upon and THROUGH her that day.

And I felt that a LOT in her last few months – more so than usual. Everything and everyone was beautiful to her. Everyone's blouse was pretty – everyone's shirt was sharp. The trees were so green. The sky was so blue. She was ALREADY seeing Heaven.

On EARTH, my Mom left me, my sister and my nephew with NOTHING. And yet, she left us with EVERYTHING. Nothing of what this world calls secure. And everything of what this world holds dear. My Mom left no diamonds, no cars or homes, no stocks, bonds or annuities – but taught us to understand the true value of endless forgiveness. She left us no cold, hard cash, but encouraged us to invest in warm, soft unconditional Love. She may have left Kodak one year shy of earning a pension, but in the end, or at least what we CALL the end, she had a penchant, as in ENTHUSIASM, for life – and it was concealed in new beginnings:

She died in the Spring, the season of rebirth, shortly before Mother’s Day, on May 5th – Cinquo de Mayo – a joyful 24-hour period that kicked off the week-long festival of lilacs, which bloom in the many shades of lavender - her favorite color.

I loved my Mom - and my Dad - and it is through them that I came to love all of you, and if I learned anything in caring for my parents in these last few years, I learned this: we are ALL Mothers and Fathers to one another…we are each other's CHILDREN – EQUAL in the eyes of ETERNAL Father/Mother. Whether on Earth or in Heaven, Love is the only thing that survives in BOTH worlds.

On Earth, my Mom's Love was packaged and shaped in a body and a personality called Frances. And though we may not see her now, everything about her that was Love - lives on...her sense of humor, the echo of her singing voice, every hug she ever gave, every blessing she ever made with her rosary - all of it - survives. Everything else that was NOT Love...the dementia...the fear...the anxiety...the heart ailments...the stomach issues - all of THAT has been burned away in the Light of GOD'S Love.

In my view, our journey and final destination is like a rocket soaring into space. The pieces of us that we don’t need – fall off as we move closer to the Light of God's EMBRACE – until all that is left is the little capsule that holds our soul. My Mom's capsule - filled with every loving thought and every act of loving kindness that she ever displayed on Earth - is now not only bundled together, magnified, multiplied and showcased in Heaven – but it’s the personal, immeasurable, immortal - and priceless legacy that she left for me, my sister, my nephew - and each of us.

Friday, December 11, 2009

"A Candle Carol"

Where to spend Christmas?

It's always a quandry.

More so, this year, than others.

This year, I'm working in Pompano Beach, Florida, after only seven months prior, moving from my hometown of Rochester, New York back to Los Angeles (where I've held periodic residence since the 1980s).

So I did this morning what I always do when I have a decision to make:

I took a walk.

My pace this morning took me to St. Gabriel's Church in Pompano Beach, where good friends of mine recently celebrated the Baptism of their beautiful infant son. The father is not only my friend, but my supervisor at work.

That said, once in St. Gabriel's, I decided to light a candle. But when I walk, I usually do not carry any cash - and this morning was no different.

So, there I was, praying in church, which was so nicely decorated for Christmas, and unable to light a candle for a special prayer.

Immediately, I recalled a business trip last September to New York, where myself, my supervisor and his brother, the president of the company for which I work - and also my friend, had visited the historic St. Patrick's Cathedral.

And we had done so by mistake. Or at least we thought so.

As we walked to enjoy the sights of New York, we came across a church, and thought, "Well, this looks like a nice church. Let's go in here and say a prayer."

Once inside the beautiful structure, we realized where we were - and we were immediately in awe.

As we slowly toured through the palatial interior, we passed beauitful illustrations, images, paintings, sculptures and statues, all of which were overwhelming.

In time, we came across the candles, the cost of which to light one was $2.00.

But there we were - three successful adult men, with credit cards, debit cards and check cards - but just $4.00 in cash. And that meant we only had enough for just two of us to light candles for prayer.

Whether or not the president of the company, who also happens to be elder brother of the two, would be able to light a candle was never a question.

So it was between his younger brother and me.

And it was an easy decision. I told my friend, "You take the other $2.00 and light a candle...for your new son."

"Herb," he said, "are you sure?"

"Please," I replied. "Light the candle. I insist."

With that, I stepped back, and watched my supervisor and my friend kneel before the levels of candles, and pray for his beautiful child. And even though none of us had an extra $2.00 for a candle that would have ignited a special request for me, somehow I knew that my prayer would still be answered.

And it was. These two months later...this St. Gabriel's Church in Pompano Beach, Florida...when I realized that wherever I am, at any time of the year, is where I'm supposed to be.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

"My Real-Life Movie Christmas"

A few years ago, after I completed my assignment as one of the producers of Bravo's hit five-part series, "The 100 Greatest TV Characters," as well as consulting work on Nora Ephron's "Bewitched" feature film, I returned to Rochester to care for my Mom.

It was not easy to leave L.A. (again). I wanted very much to remain in LA, and give full-time to writing "family-oriented" scripts. But it was even harder to be so far away from my Mom. So, my choice was clear. The "family-oriented" scripts of Hollywood would have to wait. I needed to BE "family-oriented" and return to Rochester. Yet, one of my fondest memories of this particular Rochester trip, transpired some months later, in it appeared as though a "script" would still be in the making. A Christmas script.

It's always nice to be home for Christmas, even with the snow, and sometimes because of the snow. But that specific Christmas, in December 2005, turned out to be something extra special.

By then I had moved into a beautiful North Village apartment in the same complex as my Mom's South Village apartment. And that year, I had decided that I would host Christmas Eve - mostly because I had noticed that there were a lot of lonely people in the neighborhood who had nowhere to go that year. So, I took it upon myself to bring them all together at "my house." "My house," I had decided, would become "the house" for the Holidays that year.

It was a nice feeling.

And I did not plan to cook an elaborate dinner. Cheese-and-spinache ravioli, peas, salad, ginger ale...very basic and very quaint. I was more concerned with making sure some lonely people would be a little less lonely that year.

Now, then - growing up on Erie Street, we always had wonderful family dinners, courtesy of my Mom and her sister, my Aunt Anna. My Mom made out-of-this-world sauce, and Aunt Anna's various delicacies were optimum. I certainly wasn't going to attempt to compete with any of that. But what I did set out to do was recreate the same kind of Holiday warmth that pervaded our house on Erie Street for so many years.

So, who would be invited to join me and my Mom at "my house" this particular Christmas 2005?

There was my neighbor, "Joan," who lived behind me on the first floor. She was 59-years-old and in a wheel chair. But it wasn't always that way. She was once married to a millionaire, whom she later divorced because he cheated on her. She received $750,000 in the divorce settlement, but she had squaundered it all away. She later became sick, and her own daughter had abandoned her.

There was "Mark," one of my former acting students, and his mom, "Louise," both of whom had been abandoned by Louise's husband and Mark's father, who was verbally and physically abusive to both of them.

There was "Tony," a sprite elderly man in his late '80s, who didn't miss a trick. He was sharp as a whip - and knew exactly how much his "slippery" brother-in-law had hijacked his savings and investments. But he refused to let that ruin his life.

There was "Naomi," another senior, who's thirtysomething daughter had recently passed away.

There was "Salena," yet another senior, who was the neighborhood "gossip," and who no one really cared to be around. But I cared that she would be alone at Christmas - and I wanted to change that.

No one should be alone at Christmas. And that certainly was not the case with "Joan," "Mark," "Louise," "Tony," "Naomi," and "Salena." They were all thrilled to spend that Christmas with me and my Mom.

To our delight and theirs, it ended up being one of the sweetest, most heart-warming and happiest of Christmases any of us had ever experienced.

Not because there was an exchange of elaborate gifts...and certainly not because there was an elaborate meal. But specifically because people who would not have otherwise known each other were brought together.

Clearly, my "family-oriented" Christmas script had been written.

And now, I can't wait to see the movie...