a gift

The idea of paying the check of another diner, a stranger in a restaurant, a few weeks before Christmas is a wonderful way of getting into the Christmas Spirit. I can’t recall where, when or how I heard about this idea, but I remember thinking, “Nice. I can do that.” Any kind of place will do: coffee shop, burger joint, informal or formal restaurant. Whatever fits your wallet.

The gift: When you’re ready to pay your bill, request that the server bring to you the check of the diner(s) of the table you’ve chosen. We all have different reasons for our choices; I go with my gut feeling when deciding on a table. After you’ve paid, ask the server to bring a note instead of a check to the diner(s). A napkin will do for a simple: “The meal is on me. Have a happy holiday.” You walk away now as an anonymous giver. You’ve shopped, wrote the card and given your gift. It’s a very nice gift, and it’s possible that the one who got the gift will remember it every Christmas. Imagine that.

“To know how to live is my trade and my art.” -Michel De Montaigne

“Make the decision to serve wherever you go and to whomever you see. As long as you are serving you will be receiving. The more you serve, the more confidence you will gain in the miraculous effects of this principle of life. And as you enjoy the reciprocity, your ability to serve will also increase.” -Greg Anderson

“Give yourself abundant pleasure, so that you may have abundant pleasure to give others.” -Neale Donald Walsch

ode and vegnews

They say that people are either book, magazine, or newspaper readers. It could be true. Usually I like books with just a quick look at a magazine or newspaper. However, while walking along 23rd Street in Manhattan I saw Universal News located between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The shop has a huge selection of magazines and newspapers. Customers were focused on reading. I looked around and saw the magazines Ode www.odemagazine.com with Bono on the cover, and VegNews www.vegnews.com with Woody Harrelson on that cover, and decided to join the readers for awhile. These two magazines were packed with information and interesting articles, so I purchased them.

Vegetarians of the past got a bum rap, and maybe rightfully so. Many vegetarians had a pasty complexion and looked extremely thin. And the food, well, it was plain and unappetizing, nothing that would bring a smile to your face. It’s changed! The whole lifestyle is different and exciting. The article on Woody is inspiring because as he says, “I try to ‘walk the talk.’ He’s dynamic. His life is meaningful; he’s doing his part to change our world. And he’s not boring. Check out his website, www.voiceyourself.com, and his book HOW TO GO FURTHER, and the recipe Chocolate of the Gods Mousse. Additionally, there are many websites with pictures and descriptions of what you’ll find on the sites. Definitely it’s worth a look. When you have the magazine in hand don’t forget to read the article on page 20, Spinning Out of Control. Food for thought! It never hurts to know.

Ode has articles on the environment. The articles are relevant to every family because so many of us have allergies. And after reading Ode you’ll have a clearer idea why that’s so. The articles give the facts about our world and make the reader stop to think about, well, many things, the many important things happening that affect us – either directly or indirectly. It doesn’t hurt to read about these things. It’s not boring, reading it is exciting, interesting, informative and helpful.

It seems that Bono has been thinking deeply about what needs changing. And he’s not afraid to speak his mind and to try to understand how changes can be made. Read the article; I think you’ll like what you read.

“If you don’t like where you are, change what you are.” – Henry Knight Miller

“Our remedies in ourselves do lie which we ascribe to heaven.” -Shakespeare

“I want to be alive to all the life that is in me now, to know each moment to its uttermost.” – kahlil Gibran

“Every tine we choose safety, we reinforce fear . . . our world grows smaller and smaller.” – Cheri Huber


What’s it going to be, a cold, very cold or utterly freezing winter? Snow? No snow? I’ll settle for a relatively calm winter with temperatures dipping into the high 40’s. Once a month comes a gentle snow fall leaving only a light film on the ground which disappears by the next morning before it gets dirty. They’ll be a few nicely snowy days during the December holidays. The first snow of the season. We’ll have lots of sunny days because we’ve got to get our vitamins A and D naturally. And they’ll be none of those blustery days. Just the name conjures up horrendous blow-you-away-winds as you turn a corner. No. They’ll be none of that. I realize that there are those people who l o v e the cold and snow. Are there many of you? Well, perhaps you can explore those parts of the world where cold weather is the norm and you won’t be disappointed, because I’m planning a very nice winter. You would think that after the hot, sticky summer we had cold would be like a breath of fresh air. It isn’t. So help me. Get out your prayer beads, light your incense and meditate on 40 degrees of winter wonderland. And focus. Tell the forces that be that freezing is not on the agenda. Yes, it will be a lovely winter.

what happened?

There are people, situations, things that with all your heart you want to keep close to you. But no matter how hard you try something conspires to take them away. For instance, it can be a person. You walk on egg shells for the sake of a relationship. It turns out to be more work than you bargained for, but you keep on keeping on. You want it to flow because you love this person who is oblivious to it all. The feeling can be compared to being in rough waters and rowing a boat with all your might to keep on course while the other person sits opposite you sipping a favorite beverage and enjoying the scenery. Or you have a relationship you cherish. Then ever so suddenly that person is distant. You’re in the dark and nothing is forthcoming. You have no idea what’s going on. What happened? Or it could be a position that’s supposed to be yours. And it turns out it’s not. You’re qualified; you’re downright perfect for the job. Someone with less experience and abilities was tapped. What happened?
Or perhaps you have a business that you’ve put your whole self into. It’s a business that gives you pleasure and you don’t mind. You’re doing fine and it’s all thriving. Then you begin to lose your edge and things begin unraveling. You know it’s possible to get it to where it once was, many people have, but for you it’s like carrying the world on your shoulders. What happened? Or it could be where you live. Are there signs indicating it’s time to move? Are you staying because moving is a hassle and the market is not in your favor. But things are screaming at you; there are signs, but you’re not reading them. You don’t want to move. What happened?

Could it be something is waiting around the corner for us, and what we hold on to is preventing the next step from occurring? Sometimes the energy simply wears away and life is handing us a gift that we can’t yet see. Maybe it’s only when stepping back after giving our all that we can get a glimpse of it. What do you think?

certain places

Well, I’m still in a big city and that being the case there’s lots to do. However, I’m not spending time in the typical way i.e. going to museums, touring all the sites and everything else one does. No. This is a more or less contemplative summer. The time is perfect to do this. And although, as we all know, there are many things to do in a big city, it’s possible to not do anything at all. Going to Central park alone and sitting with others who want a quiet day, enjoying the beautiful, majestic old trees, rocks, fountains, lake, pond. And walking a bit longer looking for the perfect place to spread a colorful cotton blanket where the lawn is expansive and there’s more than enough space for everyone, taking out a favorite book from a bag, or a notebook and pen, along with a sandwich and drink is the beginning of a lovely day.

The world is a complex place right now, and to take time to find where one belongs in this world is relevant to the art of living. And that, of course, means different things to different people.

Keep you eyes open, experience more and “see” less. The “sights” have a tendency to merge together. How many Gothic cathedrals can you really appreciate? – Dan Neely