Friday, May 28, 2010

The Importance of Displaying Respect In Public Or Personal Arenas

It cannot be ignored that Gary Coleman's passing transpired only a short time after his appearance on an entertainment "news" program during which he suffered a seizure. Or how in May 1999, Dana Plato, Gary's troubled co-star from "Diff'rent Strokes," committed suicide following an unsettling radio appearance with a certain "shock jock" as host. The point is: We can no longer ignore the fact that hurtful, mean-spirited, public and/or personal attacks have devastating and sometimes fatal consequences. This is why I have formed associations like The Classic TV Preservation Society and Your Brave New Hollywood - to gather like-minded individuals who understand just how important it is to treat one another with respect, whether or not we are in the public eye - and whether or not we are in a position to create, produce, direct, write or star in quality family programming. In either case, we should embrace integrity in all that we do and treat one another...the frail and the strong...with respect at all times. That said, God bless you, Gary. You were a great talent who brought great joy to the world. And we know you now join us in forgiving those who do not know any better than to feel and display anything less than loving-kindness.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Love Is Our True Heritage

There is a greater Parent in Heaven than the mothers and fathers we know on Earth. Yet the Love our parents share with us on Earth is the same Love we bestow upon our children. This is the same Love we share for one another and all of humanity - which is the very stuff of the Love of Heaven.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

LOVE Cares!

In April 2009, before I moved back to Los Angeles, I was resting on the floor in what had become my empty apartment in Rochester, New York. I had just returned from my bon voyage party at a local club, where I performed a few happy songs, surrounded by loving family members and many good friends. It was only a few days prior when I had finally sold the last few pieces of my furniture, gave away to friends my prized possessions and, in the process, demantled the shrines and remnants of the past.

Once more, it was time for me to leave Rochester. But would I be able to succeed, to start again in Los Angeles at nearly 50-years-old? Would I have the stamina and the guts that once drove me so steadily through the '80s and early '90s?

I wondered aloud if anyone would care?

I then fell asleep, and had a dream. And in this dream, I heard a very dark voice tell me that "Nobody cares."

Fortunately, another voice chimed-in...a Light voice, which countered that dark vocal with, "LOVE cares."

The dark voice reiterrated, "NOBODY cares!"

The Light voice countered once more with: "LOVE cares!"

The banter between these two articulations continued until LOVE won, and I awakened realizing that "I" was the Light voice responding to the darkness that was attempting to stagnate my life. "I" was in control of every good thing that happens to me in my life...that ALL OF US control our own destinies...and that we should never let any dark or negative "voice" derail or detour us from what we know to be a solid and happy destiny that awaits us.

For the morning after I had that "dream," I flew to Los Angeles and commenced my new life - with a renewed confidence in knowing that everything is on track...because...

LOVE cares!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Insight From Author Nevine Salvade's COMPASSION

Nevine Slavade is no ordinary human being. Her life has taken her from the Middle East to Europe to America and beyond. She was born in Cairo, Egypt, and was raised in Beirut, Lebanon. And she spent her summers in Switzerland and France, where she lived for many years. Presently, Nevine resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Nevine's astounding book, COMPASSION: A Journey Into Self - Into Light -And A Path Toward Peace, recounts her incredible life path, including growing up in war-torn Lebanon, viewing her parents many challenges in their passionate marriage, and searching for meaning and purpose in her own marriage and life.

Nevine addresses all of this today, with an exclusive interview, in which she invites us to explore the components and importance of the spiritual life, love, peace and, of course, compassion.

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HJP: Nevine – what lead you to compose COMPASSION? In other words, tell us about your spiritual development and the events that inspired and/or influenced your decision to tell your story?

NEVINE: Over the years, I discovered the notion of the concept of "Synchronicity," meaning that there are no coincidences, and that every encounter, or experience in life has a deeper reason for being. That is how my book came about. I was attending a business seminar in Burbank, California. As I lived in Arizona, I felt it would do me some good to go away for a few days and regenerate my mind and soul as I was taking care of my mother who had Alzheimer's and she had just gone through her third surgery for an unrelated cause. At that seminar, there were around three hundred people, and a gentleman named David, approached me with a strange proposition. He was looking for a script for a movie and was intrigued by my life story. As I never thought of putting my personal life into the public's eye, I was wary and took that proposition with a grain of salt. Yet David was persistent, and I felt that if I could help another soul find closure through my own healing, then maybe it would be for a sound outcome and the good of all. Thus, David and I signed a two year contract with a renowned lawyer, who was a blessing in my life as he protected my rights to my story. At the time, I was too giving, and would have never thought of getting so serious into business with a lawyer and the whole complicated side of business. I went with faith and trust, but unfortunately realized that in this world one cannot go blindly into a deal without the proper legal protection. People are honest, yet at the end, sound guidelines are life savers. I wrote my story in six weeks, and David went about looking for the proper venues to make the story into a film. In the process of looking for producers, David hired people to create the story boards and the script. After two years of searching, and when time came to renew the contract, I decided not to renew that deal and was left with the words I had written. I had three choices. File the written words and forget about them, throw the manuscript out, or write my story in a book form. My heart guided me to choose the third option. It took me five years to give birth to it in its final book form as I did not want to neglect my mother, my children nor my animals. I never wanted to read a chapter and feel that while I was writing it, a loved one's needs were being neglected.

HJP: Ok – tell us about the book itself: What is it about? What's its message? And what do you hope to accomplish with it?

NEVINE: My book is about the secrets of life on a very simple introductory level. Through my life story I bring about the notions of natural cause and effect that I have learned and how most humans on this beautiful blue planet live life in a sleep walking state. They do not realize how so very important every bit of energy they excerpt affects them, us and the whole. The message of my book is that we choose to create and procreate our life, our experiences, events or situations. We can create happier or more miserable life experiences through exerting our own very unique energy in a more positive or negative role play. Bluntly put, we are playing the role of a lifetime, and we have the sacred choice and free will of what character we opt to play and become. For example, if we are dealing with a painful situation, we can either continue the painful experience by clinging and holding onto its negative effects, or we can decide, cognitively, to stop trying to control the event to fit our selfish wishes and egotistic view. We can let go, learn the lesson, and move on to a more enlightening life choice(s). One very real truth is...if it is meant to be, it will be, and if it is not meant to be for our soul growth, it will not be. Even if we are not shown or taught (about the importance of) awareness, compassion, guidance, and all the magic life has to offer, we have the sacred choice and will to learn and adopt those notions. They are real, and they will bring you true joy and inner peace and great spiritual power. As long as we are using those powers for the good of all, we are constantly given more and more of what I call the spiritual potion. It is truly exhilarating and magical. It is an experience I wish everyone could achieve in this lifetime, yet there are many lessons one has to understand before one can move ahead into this truth. It is the real essence of the meaning of love and of life. I hope that through my book, or anyone else's enlightened words, it may trigger the awakening of that amazing path in the reader's life.


HJP Do you believe that each of us has a story to tell? And that we are each maybe telling the "same" story – or that we are all somehow "connected"?

NEVINE: Of course we all have a story to tell. And I believe we are all One, and that your story, their story and my story are interrelated and can affect one another's life outcomes. As we are all here with our different sacred gifts, it is a natural reality that we should all be sharing our gifts for the good of all and for our own enlightened progression. How many people give up on their innate gifts or sacred paths to follow the egotistic pull? The delusion of: sex, money, drugs, alcohol, laziness, fear, anger, resentment, power, greed, false pride. All these Human choices bring us away from our true gifts, from our sacred paths; and we waste our time or our lives concentrating and putting energy in darkness and deceitful weaknesses that in the long run affect us and many loved ones surrounding us. The choices and actions of one affect and create outcomes for the "whole."


HJP: Where does your "inspiration" come from – as a writer – as an artist? Do you believe your thoughts, concepts and ideas – such as COMPASSION – are "whispers of suggestions" from the Universe (or however individuals may name their "Creator")?

NEVINE: From my core, from a light that I feel within me, coaxing me to never give up and never give in to the weakness of the mass. It is so powerful that once I let it roll, it consumes my being and writes through me...acts through me. I have learned to let go of any fear or misconceptions I was taught, and completely surrender to this amazing inner Universal power. It has brought tangible miracles into my life; and I am eternally grateful for having had enough faith to follow my heart the whole way and never letting the Human minds and lower energies derail me from seeking the Truth. I never sold my soul to achieve the powers I was granted. Every gift in my life was manifested into my reality through my inner spiritual hard work. They knew best, and I just followed...their whispers and the Divine guidance. We are all gifted with that extra innate sense(s), but are rarely taught in our dormant societies to use it (them).


HJP: Tell us how you would define the word, "struggle" Do you believe that "enlightenment" surfaces only from the challenges and/or pains that those in our world experience, whether in the form of disease or economics, etc? Or is there another path to enlightenment through tranquility, peace?

NEVINE: That was one of the hardest enigmas to understand. Why does one have to suffer? I believe in a higher power, and never understood why we are faced with so much hardships and cruelty on this planet. Over time I have come to believe there are a few reasons we are experiencing these hardships.The first is, I believe, simple truth of what we seed we shall reap. I believe we sometimes go through "struggles" to learn and grow. Some people are fast learners because they are willing to go deeper and go within to try to understand and resolve their problems. Others are more "stuck" in their painful realities and feel, maybe unconsciously, scared to move on to untried or unknown futures; therefore they cling to the status quo in their lives and continue the journey of pain. I believe we all have the sacred notion of free will. Yet it is sometimes a very lonely path, and one that takes great courage and determination to follow until one can be freed from the past hurtful experience(s). Time does heal many woes, yet in some instances, we are faced with a loved one who is suffering terribly through a disease, physical or mental handicap, or self inflicted continuous hurtful choice(s). In these cases, we are the observers that are being faced with another person's pain that affects us personally too unless we learn to accept that reality, and try our best to bring our souls to a strong inner center and very deliberately say to our souls: "I recognize your pain, I love you dearly, yet I have to continue my sacred path and give you love from and through my journey." We cannot sometimes change the reality of others, but where we can, I believe we should try to bring compassion and care. If we are inflicting pain to others through a separation, or personal life choice, we have to truly look within our heart/soul and see if our decision is for our highest good. If it is, then it is up to the other person to learn from the experience and the pain they are feeling through our actions."

HJP: Then you believe we are all connected to a collective "self"?

NEVINE: If each and every one of us decides, cognitively, to find true "self," and move ahead into our sacred gifts by learning how to connect with the Universe, through prayer and understanding the notion of Who am I? Why am I here? it then separates us from those who are not doing this life's homework. As we detach and move ahead into a more enlightened level, the souls that surround us have the choice to do their own spiritual inner journey and move ahead with us or gravitate onto a higher spiritual level meant for their own soul growth; or, they decide to choose to cling to like minded souls who are afraid or too lazy to move ahead into their own life's quest of "self," and thus find company in the misery. If more and more people choose the path of enlightenment, and do the effort to move straight ahead into their sacred life paths, then less and less people will be able to turn to lower energy people, and they too then will be inclined to do the journey of "self" discovery as well...bringing a majority of our human race to elevate ourselves into a more enlightened level...allowing the whole to move forward and only a very small minority will be lingering in the lower energy levels. Sadly though, in our reality today, there are too few people willing to discover fully that path of enlightenment, and so we are surrounded by weak souls who fester and feed off one another and keep the human race at its mediocre stance. It is heartbreaking to watch for those who have crossed that line, yet it is those courageous souls who have ventured that scary road who can now sit back and observe in inner peace the falling of the masses. It is in many ways self inflicted. Wars are only brought about through cowardly fear and greed. No patriotism or religion can justified violence, voting for or following authorities that do. Those choices directly or indirectly inflict horrible pain and untimely deaths that in turn affect the economy and our personal lives. Again the notion of the energy we seed, we will reap. We have sacred choices.

HJP: Do you believe that this is our only "reality"?

NEVINE: One wise person told me that he believes that in another reality there is no such thing as pain or torture of self and others; therefore some souls decided to create this reality to understand and feel the notion of those truths and as we see they are not serving our souls, we decide to detach from them and reconnect with the higher Universe. Some souls seem more forgetful of their past reality and are having a harder time going back home to the greener prairies. It's all about finding the Divine truths within; and that, will reconnect us with our Self and with the whole and will be the solution to finding collective inner peace and happiness.


HJP: Let's hear your thoughts on the media: Share with us our perception of films and television. Do you think that movies and TV shows reflect society, inspire it – or both – with regard to violence and vulgarity - and - peace and tranquility? For "good" or "evil"?

NEVINE: I believe what we seed we shall create. Therefore if we, cognitively, portray beauty, love, softness, magic, hope, compassion, kindness and stories of enlightenment through true life stories to help enlighten the next person, that is what we will come to live. If on the other hand we persist in portraying the lower levels of energy through pornography, violence, fear related films, false heroic war stories and fear oriented news that is what we will, and are, creating in our lives. I'll let the reader come to their own conclusion. What I would like to share is that as co creators of our lives, and thus for the good of All our lives...every author, teacher, musician, media and movie producer, parent, grandparent, lawyer, pilot, scientist, business person is planting a seed. There are no flowers on this planet that exist that look ugly, because the Universe only creates beauty. Yet as co creators, we, are bringing into our dimension, a new form of nature that needs no sun or light to bloom. It is thriving on darkness, and we are all participating in these free will collective choices. Evil is a choice, not a reality. It is all illusion, one that we are free or not to create.


HJP: Where does your book fall in that category? As a person in the public eye...as an author...do you feel a responsibility with every word you write...or speak...even at this moment? Do you believe it is important to remain "mindful" in all communication...whether in public or private conversation? How much "power" do you think we have in the world –as individuals – and as a society?

NEVINE: My book falls under the "Wake Up" category. We are co-creators, therefore, yes...we are very responsible for finding our truth and living it. That is why I self published my book and had the courage to hang my dirty laundry in public, as my darling mother would say. My book is being sold in Lebanon where everyone knew my family, and it was hard to face conservative Lebanese people who knew me. It was a very difficult decision for the memory of my parents. Yet I felt that on my death bed, I wanted to pass with NO regrets, having lived my life to the very fullest of my humane capabilities and having tried as best I could to live for the good of all. We are all human, and therefore no one is spared from the weakness of humanity, yet every decision I take in my writing, or life choices, is truly felt for the highest purpose of my soul growth and therefore for the growth of the whole. Through my path I can bring light as a living example of the magic I am living and the seeds that are flourishing and those I will harvest and share...and so it is for every other soul's journey. In our "being" we affect others directly and indirectly. We should never become someone's doormat or a victim. Those realities again are sometimes self-inflicted. We should try our very best to rise above and beyond our complacent comfort zones and ego, to bring into our beings and unto others our sacred gifts through our life choices and work. It does not come without lonely moments, feelings of sorrow or self doubt; yet as long as we are giving it our very best shot, from our true hearts, for the good of all, then we can die with inner peace, and a beautiful inner smile. I speak and write straight from the heart. I try my best to feel through others their needs, yet one cannot take these words lightly. If I do not speak the truth, then I rather stay at bay and keep my peace. I am so blessed, that I do all that I do by choice; it is of course a survival tool, because if I wish to see a change, I have to be moved enough to co create it. If I wanted to opt for laziness, greed and ego, I would lock myself up in my golden illusion and take up smoking human made weed to detach myself from our decaying self inflicted reality. I have great hope, because I saw the change in my own life from darker moments into the warm beautiful light, and I know that it is possible for us as collective souls to reach that for the good of all, and our own well being.


HJP: Why do you believe we are here – on Earth?

NEVINE: To learn...to evolve...to love...to understand our oneness. To excel in the "magic"...gifted us by the Angels and the Universe. There is very much a lack of true enlightened teachers. There are gurus, yet the teacher is within us...in the learning of our own Self and of our own unique sacred wisdom. No outward living human can teach us that lesson. Yet, as PHD level students, it takes years to achieve. Some die analphabetic of life's lessons, and thus die very unhappy souls; they never learned to look for the truths within.


HJP: Do you believe in Heaven? And are we able – or should we be able - to have or "experience" Heaven – on Earth?

NEVINE: Yes...yes...yes. I'm almost there. And so can you be...and so can we.


HJP: Is there another book in the works for you? If so, please do tell us about it.

NEVINE: If it is meant to be, I will be guided onto the next book. I follow my path where my true heart and gut lead me. This experience was a challenge, yet one I shall never regret. I know my parents would be proud of me, regardless of the contents of the truths I tried my best to portray. What they tried to achieve I am living, and that is true quality of life! No money, earthly ego or power can buy that luxury. It's the definition of true inner peace, a feeling of being one with the whole and with the Universe, and it is only achievable through the inner spiritual journey.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

My Mom's "Circle of Peace"

May 5th marked two years since my Mom passed away.

I want to thank all of you for your patience with me in dealing with the grief. I realize that not everyone is as fortunate as I was to have such a healthy relationship with their parents. And in no way do I mean to state that in a boastful way.

We all come here - into this world - for different reasons and with different contracts with different people. With specific regard to my Mom and Dad, towards the end of their lives here on Earth, they became more than my parents. The roles were reversed as their needs increased.

Ultimately, my parents became my "children" - and my best friends. And today, I make every attempt to live to the fullest the life that God (= Love)gave me through my parents.

I ever feel compelled to never forget and forever celebrate their legacy - by living as joyfully, generously, and productively as possible - sharing loving-kindness along the way.

I don't always reach that daily objective. But I make a valiant attempt to do so. And it is my great hope that somehow I inspire others to do the same.

That all said, below please find an essay I wrote, titled, "Circle of Peace," which is a tribute to my Mom. At the end of the essay is a link to a full tribute to both my parents.

I invite you to read that as well - and to have a blessed, full and happy day...today - and every day.


My Mom's Circle of Peace

My Mom, Francesca Maria Turri Pilato, passed into spirit, on May 5th, 2008. But as I wrote in her eulogy, her Earthly-demise was concealed in so many beautiful new beginnings:

"St. Frances of Turri," as I call her now, 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 her hometown Rochester, New York's week-long festival of Lilacs, which bloom in the many shades of lavender - which her favorite color.

I'll never forget her – or my Dad (Herbie P. - a.k.a. "St. Pompeii," who died in 1995) – and the wonderful memories and instructions they left with me, all of which I believe remain to this day as whispers of guidance from God(=Love).

That said, my Mom was the least judgemental and confrontational person I have ever known. And, this year, one particular memory of her stands out as I reflect on Mother's Day and her passing.

Many years ago, when I was maybe ten or eleven-years-old, I journeyed with my parents to see my father's sister and her husband who lived in a suburb of Rochester, New York called Greece. En route to Greece from my childhood home (on Erie Street in the inner city) we traveled down Mount Read Boulevard to the roundabout entrance way to West Ridge Road.

In the center of that roundabout was an empty field of green grass, which is still there.

This one particular day, circa 1971, as we made our way about that circular turn, a group of teens were standing, in confrontation to each other. One group was on one side of the field; a second band, on the other. A few of the kids had broken bottles in their hands, while others had knives.

These two groups were either two formal rival gangs, or two very opposed bands of kids who, either way, were planning on a nasty fight.

But they had no idea with whom they would soon be dealing.

Upon noticing these two opposing young groups, my Mom turned to my Dad in in 1969 green Pontiac Catalina, and instructed him to "Stop the car."

My father was like, "Uh? What?!"

My Mom reiterated with a slightly firmer and halting tone.

"STOP...THE...CAR!"

So, my Dad gave in and pulled over on the side of the circular exit near the field where cars usually never tread.

My Mom then exited the vehicle, shut the car door behind her, and stood, glaring at the two groups of kids. She wasn't budging - and she wasn't kidding.

Meanwhile, I turned to my Father and asked, incredulously, "Dad – WHAT the heck is she doing?!”

"Who knows?!" he replied in complete exasperation.

We then both looked on in awe and in fear of the scene before us, waiting for God only knew "WHAT."

By this time, my Mom and all the kids from the two rival gangs were staring at each other. It had now become a contest not between the two opposing groups of teens, but between both of those bands – and my Mom.

A few minutes passed, and as my Mom remained firm in her stance and her glare, something miraculous started to transpire.

One by one, each of the teens from both sides of the field, started to drop their knives and bottles. In a few more minutes, the two groups began to disband, and get into the cars of their own, or walked away into the distance.

Soon, the field had become empty again, save for that beautiful green grass.

At that point, my Mom got back in our Pontiac, and we drove away.

Somehow, my Mom prevented a riot, and possibly some very tragic, if not fatal injuries.

Years later, when I saw the movie Gandhi, starring, Ben Kinglsey, I was reminded of this one day with my Mom. In many scenes of the movie, Kingsley's Gandhi remained steady and calm - as violence transpired around him, experiencing threats many times against his own physical being. And still, he never struck back. He remained firm in his stance and belief that violence solves nothing – and that aggression is weakened by doing nothing in retaliation.

That's how my Mom was that day near the green field of troubled young souls. She stood there, as Gandhi would, but looking like Clint Eastwood (minus the "hardware"), as if to say, "Go ahead...make my day."

But for my Mom, "make my day" meant, "Put down your weapons, hurt no one, and cause no harm."

And somehow those bands of kids listened as my Mom spoke her "peace" - her silent wisdom – all the way across that field and around that circle – and into their hearts.

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Read more about my Mom - and Dad - in the tribute to them, by cutting and pasting to the link below.

http://herbiejpilato.blogspot.com/2009/12/looking-back-and-moving-forward-tribute.html