Friday, December 31, 2010

Passion Party #319 - The Optimist

I don't know if it because of Christmas
or this artificial demarcation we cam The New Year
of the fact that we are finally past the winter solstice,
but there is something in human nature
that makes this an optimistic time of year.

Someone told me that human beings have a fundamental belief system that,
regardless of past experience,
tomorrow will be better.
It is what keeps our society moving.
If tomorrow was going to be worse,
why would I go out and buy that new TV?

Our selective memory
allows our brain to forget the pain of childbirth
and gives us the willingness to have a second child
or allows us to forget the pain of carrying a 45 pound backpack and sleeping on rocks
and gives us the willingness to climb another mountain.

And if everything does begin with a thought
I would rather be an optimist.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Passion Party #318 - The Computer Whisperer

We each have our own talents and expertise.
A lot of what we do in life
involves finding that place
where passion and ability intersect
where we create what we want to be.

My son and his wife came to visit the other weekend, flying down from Oregon to celebrate the holidays and to help me set up a new wireless sound system.
Ben has always had a brain that works like a Windows operating system.
He reads owner's manuals for fun.

The first day he got here we started in on setting up the units, getting the correct connecting cables.
We got it about half-way connected, when the system stopped recognizing the remote units.
At that point I got frustrated, and my wife and I went out for an errand.

When we returned a couple of hours later, the whole system was working perfectly. Ben said it had something to do with "wireless channels" and "IP Address settings". Something I would have NEVER figured out without hours and days of helplines and frustration.

I am so grateful for my son,
the computer whisperer.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Passion Party #317 - A Rampage of Gratitude

I have to let go of my troubles
and start the day
with a rampage of gratitude,
writing 50+ things I am grateful for.

All the love in my life
All the support I get
All of the blessings given to me
Life is good when it starts from gratitude
and then
I just put one foot in front of the other
and walk through the day.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Passion Party #316 - If Love Somebody, Set Them Free

The hardest thing is to let go of a child.
You invest 17 - 18 years
into helping them grow and learn
giving visible and invisible support
love and understanding
And then
you have to let them fly.

I thought of this literally
as I put my son on a plane
for his first college audition
his blue whale of a cello travel bag
being dragged across the airport to the oversize luggage screening area.

This is my second time letting go of a child
and perhaps this time is easier
having experienced the pain and joy once before.

But no, it is not easier
knowing it is the right thing
doesn't stop the tears or the ache in my heart
and this is good
the tears let me know
I am doing the right thing.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Passion Party #315 - Reciprocity

I believe in the Law of Reciprocity:
When you give something to someone
they feel a need to return the favor.

I guess there are those narcissists out there
for whom this is not true.
There are people that will spend hours talking about themselves, and when they are done say,
"Well, enough about me. How about you?
What do you think about me?"

But for most people
leading with the giving hand
creates a relationship based on friendship,
not on "I owe you".
I believe in the willingness to watch out for the other guy.
In doing that, my interests will always be taken care of.

Kindness and generosity will be returned in kind
it is human nature
it is the law of reciprocity.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Passion Party #314 - Receptivity

Sometimes we are so busy giving
that we forget to stay open to receive.

It is a two way street
and the street is called "Give and receive"
not "Give and take".

The more I stay open to what the Universe has to offer me
the greater my ability to receive the gifts.

The more I let go
the more space I create.
The more space I create
the more room there is.
The more room there is
the more I can receive my heart's desire.
The more I receive my heart's desire
the happier I am.
The happier I am
the more I let go.

Receiving is the natural result of giving and
the key to effective giving
is to stay open to receiving.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Passion Party #313 - Difficult Communication

It is hard to admit I was wrong.
I felt so sure.
It had always worked out before.
This had never been a problem.
But now it is.
This time is different
We are in a different environment
with different rules.
I have to admit that I don't know everything,
even when I act like I do.

I hate to disappoint you.
I hate when I over-promise,
when I work from belief
instead of facts.

I was wrong
but I will work with you to find a solution
I will continue
looking for alternative ways
to get to yes.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Passion Party #312 - Cleaning House

I love the thought
of sitting at a clean desk with a blank piece of paper
ready to start the day.

I love the thought
of a clean desk at work
where, by the end of the day, everything is put away
all the files are back where they belong
and my voice mail is empty, as I have returned all my calls.

I love the thought of my bedroom being a sanctuary
where there is no clutter
and I can feel peace.

I love the thought of a clean kitchen
with all the equipment ready to make a great cup of coffee.

Today is a day to clean house
and prepare to give thanks.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Passion Party #311 - My Posse

The more I surround myself
with competent people
the more successful I become.
The more I surround myself
with enlightened people
the more brilliant I become.
The more I surround myself
with active people
the more healthy I become.
The more I support the people I work with
to get what they want
the more I get what I want.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Passion Party #310 - Prioritize

There is just too much stuff now
the layers get deeper
the demands get bigger
life gets tougher
the "fun quotient" is shrinking.

What can I do to make my life simpler?
First make a list
Then prioritize:
What needs to be done today?
What needs to be done this week?
What needs to be done this month?
What needs to be done in the next 90 days?

Then I can look at the list and see
which items are self-imposed deadlines?
Which items are "shoulds"?
Which items will feel better OFF the list,
and do I have the choice to remove them?
And how does that feel?

You've beaten yourself up enough already,
it is time to simplify
and prioritize joy and passion.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Still some seats left for the Holiday Jazz Party December 16

Reservations are filling up, but there are still some seats left. If you want to attend the Holiday Jazz Party for the Homeless, please call the Catalina Jazz Club today - tickets start at $25 ($15 for students) call (323) 466-2210

Thursday EVENING, DECEMBER 16TH, 2010

Let the holiday season begin…with an evening of great Jazz that’s also a benefit for the Los Angeles homeless community. For the 5th consecutive year, Jazz Pianist, George Kahn, returns to the CATALINA JAZZ CLUB with a performance benefiting PATH (People Assisting The Homeless) VENTURES on Thursday evening, December 16th. Path Ventures, a community development corporation created by PATH in 2005, focuses on the construction of affordable housing for individuals and families in the Los Angeles area.

The George Kahn “Jazz And Blues Revue” will feature George on piano with an all-star band of LA studio musicians. Special guests include: John Fumo on trumpet, Chuck Manning on sax, Karl Vincent on bass, and M. B. Gordy on drums. Adding to the night’s entertainment will be vocalists Courtney Lemmon, Kelsea Cire and Dianne Wright.

The George Kahn “West Coast Jazz” Quintet is currently touring to support the new album, Secrets From The Jazz Ghetto. The 2-CD collection was released in June 2010 to outstanding reviews and national radio airplay.

The doors open at 7 PM for dinner and the show will begin at 8:30 PM. There is a $25.00 cover plus Minimum. (Students with ID, $15.00).
Special Dinner/show tickets are available in advance for a $100 donation to PATH VENTURES. Please contact Emily at 310-996-1171 or for this special package.
All profits from the evening will go directly to PATH VENTURES
The Catalina Jazz Club is located at 6725 Sunset Blvd. (just east of Highland Avenue - parking on N. McCadden Place). Dinner reservations suggested. (323) 466-2210.

This concert is generously sponsored by Mortgage Capital Partners.

Come see for yourself why Alfredo Cruz calls George Kahn “…creative, entertaining, intelligent, sophisticated and stimulating.”

Passion Party #309 - What I Want

Today I will focus on what I want
instead of what I don't want.

I want to work with responsive clients
I want to work with competent people
I want to be of service
I want to be in supportive relationships
with my clients, my co-workers, my family and friends
I want a prosperous level of of business easily and effortlessly
I want to leave the office each day with a clear mind
I want to feel physically strong
I want to be working on a big project that fills my desire to create
I want to be respected
I want to be loved
I want a joyful life
I want to live in financial abundance
I want to remember that I can create money whenever I want
I want to know that what I have is enough
I want to navigate with wisdom
I want to spend time with my family and those I love
I want to wake up in the morning refreshed and renewed
I want my positive energy to influence those around me
I want to be a beacon of light in the darkness.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Passion Party #308 - Competence - Excellence - Brilliance

They say that practice makes perfect
I say practice makes you competent.

There are thousands of young violinists in the world
that have the facility to play the instrument
but lack the musicality
to get from competence to excellence.

I want to be
more than competent
more than excellent
I want to find
that place in me where I shine
where intellect, talent and quality intersect
where the result is one of exultation
of creativity
of conspicuous talent
where I bring every aspect of myself together
and the result is brilliance.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Passion Party #307 - The Road Of Life

The road of life is too short
to spend time driving with f---ed up people.

There are times on the road of life
when you need a good mechanic
and other times when you need a new road.

Sometimes you just need ingenuity:
Steven Wright took his car to the mechanic because the brakes were failing.
"I couldn't repair your brakes," the mechanic told him, "so I made your horn louder".

The other day I saw my favorite bumper sticker:
Watch For Finger

Monday, November 29, 2010

Passion Party #306 - Ask For Help

Don't be afraid to ask for help
There is nothing weak about it
It shows character, strength and trust.

Don't be afraid to ask for clarity
More clarity earlier means fewer emergencies later
It is not a sign of ignorance when you don't understand.

Don't be afraid to say,
"Can you explain this"
or "I can't do this alone
I need your help."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Passion Party #305 - I Will Be There

Smart, funny, caring,
concerned, truthful, musical,
loving, questioning, responsible,
brilliant, talented, thoughtful...
I know at times it all feels like dust
but believe me,
your character will carry you through
It may feel like you are at the top of the mountain
but really the journey is just beginning
and it will be full of
twists and turns and surprises
and know
that I will be there to love you
I will be there to support you
I will be there to care for you
I will be there to hug you
No matter what

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Passion Party #304 - Open For Business

There was a time about two years ago
that I was praying for business
Now I have plenty of business
and I am praying for relief.

The work is cyclical
and when it hits it can be overwhelming
the detail and intricacy
leaves me ready to only focus on the challenges directly in front of me
to forget the past and future.

At times like this
I must remain open for business
remember that people need help
and I can use my knowledge and ability to guide them.
As long as I am honest and don't over-promise
I can stay open to receive
new business

Monday, November 22, 2010

Passion Party #303 - Embrace the Unknown

There are things that I know
There are things I know that I don't know
And then there are things that I don't know that I don't know.

The world is full of wonder
if I just open myself to it.
I shut myself off from possibilities
when I approach things
from the place that I know what I know.

Today I will let go of fear
and embrace the unknown
opening up to what I don't know
to see what I can learn.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Passion Party #302 - Upon Waking

There is a pleasure
in waking before sunrise
when the world is still and quiet
with only the white noise of the distant freeway
in the background

It is a time to view this blank slate
the sense of energy in my body buoys me
It is not yet a day of happiness or sadness
tethered not to moods or expectations

To accept that there is pain in life
that there is loss in life
that as we travel this path from birth to death
we have the ability to experience
both joy and pain
and to be open
to where the currents take me today
it is all part of life.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Passion Party #301 - A Gift of Health

There are many things in my life that I put up with, but when it comes to my health, I can't compromise any more.

After countless years of "tolerating" my current gym, I took a leap and joined a new sports facility. My old gym was fine - the equipment was up-to-date, but the place always felt kind of dirty and the locker room area was barely serviceable. At any given time there were always 2-3 showers out of service, etc.
The new club I joined is a major step up (in quality as well as price). It is more like a four-star hotel spa, without the hotel. Valet parking. Full-service restaurant for breakfast, lunch or business meetings. Salt water lap pool and basketball court. The men's locker room has a huge steam room, sauna and jacuzzi.

My new commitment: 3 times a week to the gym. It is a gift to myself.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Passion Party #300 - Let It Go

We pick our battles
and fight our fights
some are for personal gain
and some are for what we believe is justice.

But at some point
we have to let go
and move on
trusting that it will get done.

The sun will rise each day
without me pushing it up
into the sky.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Passion Party #299 - Fiinding Solutions

My job is simple.
Each day I am given a new set of problems
and my job
is to find solutions.

It is simple, but not for the weak of heart.
Like composing music, some notes will sound better than others
and like doing a crossword puzzle, some words will fit but may be incorrect.

But at the end of the day
the more puzzles I am able to solve
the more I am able to find the solution
the better my life is.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Passion Party #298 - The Tyranny of The New

Our society is obsessed with New
It must be cutting edge
The New New Thing
Next year's model
The latest, the greatest
New and Improved.

But some things do not need improvement
like a hug because you care
or a Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends
Sometimes we don't need
to be on "the bleeding edge"
to feel alive and worthwhile.
I can let go of the "new"
and wear my old comfortable slippers
with the hole in the heel.
I will ignore the Tyranny of New
and focus instead on being authentic.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Passion Party #297 - Physical - Therapy

Many people see physical therapy as something you just do
when you are wounded or have pulled a muscle
but for me, most anything I do that is physical
acts as therapy.

Our bodies and minds are intertwined
The more anxious I am
the tenser my body gets
and when I bike ride, or hike in nature
my mind relaxes.

Like working with a coach or therapist
getting help from others makes a huge difference.
Massaging my own back can only go so far.
Now is the time to commit
to regular massages from a professional.
It is not an extravagance
it is a necessity
so I can continue to perform
at my highest level.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Passion Party #296 - Ten Benefits

Setting goals is easy
Getting it done is hard.
What I want and how to get there
are two different things.
For me what works best is a clear mental picture
of how I will benefit
once I reach the goal.
Whether it is to lose 10 pounds,
or earn $100,000
or to get two new referrals in the next 7 days
it is how I benefit from the result that motivates me to complete the goal, not the goal itself.

Finding ten benefits for the goal gives me motivation.
Like a good method actor, I have to know WHY I am doing something before I can make it real.
Today I choose to write ten benefits that I will receive by reaching my goal.
"When I lose ten pounds..."
"When I get better at..."
When I see the benefits that I receive from achieving my goal
I will also find the motivation to keep going.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Passion Party #295 - Time For Joy

My day should never be too busy
that I don't have time for joy.

Whether it is watching a cloud
or staring at the moon,
noticing the birds singing in the morning
or looking at the trees as the leaves change color,
feeling the breeze
or splashing in a puddle
watching a child play
or writing in a journal.

There is always time for joy.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Passion Party #294 - Walk Through Fire

My greatest triumphs are not easy
they take time, strategy,
strength and commitment.

They often take me to dangerous places
way out of my comfort zone.

But to reach this level of greatness
the only way out is through

Sometimes to get to the finish line
you have to walk through fire
It is time to face my fears
and reach for the greatness,
reach for my highest self.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Passion Party #293 - The Great American Tweet

If there was ever a clear sign
that the end of civilization is near
it is Twitter, and the ascent of "Texting" instead of "Talking".

Our attention span
destroyed by TV, media,
Now rather than strive to write
The Great American Novel,
English majors in college aspire to write
The Great American Tweet (in 140 characters or less).

Statistics from Pew Research and the Nielsen Co., reported on 10/14 in the Wall Street Journal, paint a bleak picture (unless you own a cellphone company):
-66% of adults sleep with their cellphone next to the bed
-84% of texting adults say they send and receive texts "just to say hello".
-17% of cellphone owners admit to having physically bumped into a person or object while talking or texting
-teens send and receive a total of 3,339 texts on average per month.
-Twitter reports that two BILLION tweets are sent every month.

Perhaps the Next Great Novel will be written by 100 monkeys on 100 typewriters on Twitter?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Passion Party #292 - Be Spontaneous

A friend of mine who manages an internet advertising company
attends an improv class once a week in Hollywood.
I cannot think of a better way
to learn how to adapt in today's world.

Being spontaneous
is something you cannot plan for.
It is not contrived or manipulated.
It is an action that occurs without premeditation, and often without an external stimulus.
Like a jazz solo,
it must spring from your knowledge and past experience and move forward
into uncharted areas.

It is that uncharted area
that give spontaneity its power
and its danger

I will leave room on my life to be spontaneous.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Passion Party #291 - Momentum

When you find what you are passionate about
what you love to do
what you are good at
the Universe gives us momentum
to support the decision.

Like rolling down a hill
or floating on a river
once you get it going in the right direction
it becomes easier to grow,
to add more, to get bigger.
The momentum carries you further
than you thought possible.

When this happens it is time to ride the wave
and avoid obstacles that can effect your momentum.
I just need to
get out of my own way.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Passion Party #290 - Survive, Save, Serve

Most people work to survive; they work to meet their basic living needs (in today's world, this is in itself a great achievement).

Some people get beyond survival, and are able to save. These people have gone past their basic needs, and are able to expand and improve their lives.

And some people get beyond just saving, and they serve. They are able to not just improve their own lives, they make a contribution to the world they live in.

If I keep my focus on the highest reason for working
then whatever job I have will be rewarding.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Passion Party #289 - The Law Of Compensation

My dad was president and owner of a sheet metal company in Queens, NY. They manufactured and installed duct-work for office buildings in New York City. During a few summers I worked in the office above the factory as a helper and sales assistant to earn money for college.

One of the lessons my dad wanted to teach me was that to really make money - to be in the "upper middle class" or above - you needed to be the boss. Hourly wage was fine for the factory workers, but to have a high level of compensation, you needed others working under you. You had to get beyond an hourly wage, and be The Boss.

But I didn't want to be The Boss. I saw the basic conflict between manager and worker, and it felt bad to me. It seemed like a pursuit of money for money's sake, and I ran as far away from that as I could.

Now I realize that my dad was teaching me a fundamental Law of Compensation:
The Amount of Value you Create X The Number of People you Impact = The Amount of Compensation you Receive.

This is why professional athletes and the most popular musicians are paid so well. This is why Bill Gates is the richest man in the world.

It's not about being "the boss". It's about impact. If you want more success, you need to serve more people. It's about how many people you serve, and how you serve them. My dad's company was successful because they made a superior product at a competitive price and they delivered and installed it on time: quite an accomplishment in the building trades of New York City.

My dad was teaching me the right lesson, he was just teaching it to me the way he learned it. And perhaps I was too young to hear it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Passion Party #288 - Creativity

I love being creative
in my work and my play.

We can do what is put in front of us
or we can create something
from what is given us.

We can follow the recipe
or we can experiment by adding ingredients.

The spark of creativity
is attractive.
It can be as simple as,
instead of reading the rule book, thinking:
"How can this be accomplished?"
and being open to the answer.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Passion Party #287 - Reaction

In Newton's Third Law, action and reaction are interchangeable; the distinction between action and reaction is purely arbitrary.
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

But in life, there is a definite difference between my actions and my reactions.
Today I choose action.
I could easily spend the day
reacting to what is given me
holding grudges,
getting mad at something that someone has done to me.

I would rather take the first step,
be pro-active
moving forward
There is an excitement in taking the first step
a sense that
I have the ability to make a difference
in my own life
as well as for others.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Passion Party #286 - Quit Waiting!

A poem by Jack Canfield:

It's time to quit waiting for

Someone to change
The right person to come along
The kids to leave home
A more favorable horoscope
The new administration to take over
An absence of risk
Someone to discover you
A clear set of instructions
More self-confidence
The pain to go away

Get on with it already!

(from "The Success Principles" by Jack Canfield)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Passion Party #285 - Assumptions

My fear of the unknown and
My fear of rejection
get in the way of my helping people.

People always imagine the worst
when they don't know what is true.
I don't know what mood you are in
so I am afraid of being rejected
so I won't ask.

Even if you are one of the few that assumes the best in people
you will be sorely disappointed
if you don't check it out and ask if
everything is going as planned.

Don't assume!
Just check it out, with
"I'm curious..." or
"I'm wondering if..." or
"Would it be OK to..."
Communication is the key to
unlocking false assumptions.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Passion Party #284 - Creative Destruction

The status quo is a losing game.
If change is our only constant in life
then we must embrace it,
love it,
and follow it, kicking and screaming,
into Creative Destruction.

America has a long history of creative destruction,
from the American Revolution
to Manifest Destiny
to the railroads
to the auto industry
to Silicon Valley and the internet.
This is why such a small portion of the companies on the Fortune 500 list remain the same after 10 years: Creative Destruction. (A quick glance at the lists from 2000 and 2010 show that only 11 of the Top 20 companies from 2000 are still in the Top 20 in 2010).

It should come as no surprise that a remarkable share of Silicon Valley companies are founded by immigrants or their children - people with little to lose often take the greatest risks.

The question today:
Where is the Creative Destruction in my business
and how can I work with it, instead of against it?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Passion Party #282 - Give What You Can - With Passion

As we move through life
from survival to significance
the big change is in what we give.

When I was young I thought that I had to build wealth before I could give.
Then I realized that I could do service, and give my time to things I cared about.

Giving time can be the greatest gift
It actually doesn't matter what, or how much you give.
If you give what you can, with passion
you can change the world.

"We make a living with what we get,
but we make a life with what we give."
- Winston Churchill

Monday, October 4, 2010

Passion Party #281 - Accountability

Accountability is the most powerful tool.
It gives me the will to do things that are against my nature.
Something like waking up every day at 5:0 AM
to stretch, meditate and journal.
At first it was an impossibility,
now it is a habit.
And it came from being accountable to my mentor.

When I get far out of my comfort zone I need accountability to keep me on track.
It could be a promise to a friend that if I don't do what I commit to
I must send $100 to Glenn Beck's Foundation.

Even stronger - a commitment with nine other people
that if we don't all stay on track this week
the whole group disbands.

A commitment to show up every day
and try our best
and let go of the results.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Passion Party #280 - Instant Gratification

If B. F. Skinner had wanted to create a tool to test his behavioral theories on people, he would have invented the "smart phone".
Skinner, you may remember from psychology class, was the guy who believed that animals (and people) could be conditioned to perform a task over and over again if there was a strong enough reward.

The task with a smart phone, more often than not, is to push a button to check your email. The reward you get is a change of information on a screen that gives you a sense that you are connected to society, that you are wanted, that you are important.

So why not check your smart phone when you get in the elevator, despite having checked it, say, 45 seconds ago?

This human desire for instant gratification from a stimulus-response mechanism is not all that different from alcohol or cigarettes - it is an addiction, one that keeps us from being where we are.

Today when I get in the elevator, I will say hello to the people around me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Passion Party #279 - Two Big Excuses

There have been two big excuses in my life that for years stopped me from pursuing my passions and desires:
1) I don't have enough time to do (fill in the blank)
2) I don't have enough money to do (fill in the blank).

It is just a mental exercise to say,
"If Time and Money were no longer excuses, how would you envision your life?" The problem with the question is that Time and Money are both limited commodities in every person's life.

So it becomes a matter of allocation and setting priorities.
We are each given the same 24 hours every day.
I need to become wise with time, just as much as I need to become wise with money.

Here's an addition to an old saying, which rings true:

Time is money,
Spend it wisely.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Passion Party #278 - Our Spontaneous Universe

New books written by Stephen Hawking

and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss

are turning much of what was once metaphysics into physics. The more we study the universe, the more we discover that it is a mysterious place filled not just with energy and matter, but with dark energy, dark matter and possible alternative universes, things that exist but our eyes cannot see.

One of my favorite parlor games is to guess how the universe will end. Albert Einstein explained that space is curved, and therefore our universe can exist in one of three geometries: open, closed or flat.

A closed universe whose energy density is dominated by matter will one day re-collapse (like a big rubber band that stretches until taut and then contracts into the opposite of the "big bang").
An open universe will continue to expand forever at a finite rate.
A flat universe is just at the boundary - slowing down but never quite stopping.

Krauss says that recent observations of the cosmic microwave background from the Big Bang have confirmed that we live in a flat universe. In addition, the discovery of dark energy, energy that actually fills the empty space of the universe, is leading cosmologists to believe that the sum of "positive" and "negative" energy in the universe is zero, once again supporting the "flat universe" concept. Could it actually be that our universe is "in balance" on a cosmic level?

The belief that our universe will not end with a bang, or a whimper; and that it perhaps began from spontaneous creation is not bad. To me it does not make the Earth any less miraculous.
It helps me put into perspective this little dot of a rock we live on
in this solar system
in this galaxy
in this universe.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Passion Party #277 - What Was Old Is New

As the school schedule kicks in
and new classes start up
the days shorten
to give me a sense of urgency
but it is just another season
we start once more
all over again
but in a different place and time
once again
what was old is new.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Passion Party #276 - Envisioning The Impossible

In 1974 Ed Catmull received his PhD in Computer Science.
He had this idea that computers could be used, not just to make images, but to make animation: moving images created completely on the computer screen that could recreate what was now being done by artists with ink on paper.
There was no software yet written to make this possible. There were no computers fast enough (or with enough memory) to create the images.
In 1979 George Lucas hired Ed Catmull and about a dozen other like-minded folks and created the Lucas Film Computer Division. One of their missions was to get computer animation to the point where it could be used for visual effects.
In 1980 Catmull had a brainstorming session with his team. The software they were using could handle images with 500,000 polygons (the element that all computer graphics consist of). They realized that would need to be able to generate 80 MILLION polygons to compete with the level of detail offered by film.
Instead of deciding this was impossible, they set this as an absurd goal - to get to the point where the computers were fast enough and the software powerful enough to handle this level of complexity.
Fast forward: In 1986 Catmull, John Lassiter and others formed Pixar, with $5,000,000 in funding from Steve Jobs. In 1991 Pixar signed a contract with Disney to produce "Toy Story". In 1995 Toy Story was released.
And it all came from an idea that Ed Catmull and a few like-minded people had, 20 years earlier, that was truly impossible at the time.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Passion Party #275 - Money, Part 15: Learn More to Earn More

As my job becomes a commodity
the only way to differentiate myself
is through knowledge
and communication skills.

Constant learning
never-ending improvement
These simple ideas combat
the faster-better-cheaper mentality
of the McDonalds of the world.
One size does not fit all
and you can't get fries with that.

This is why it is so important
to have a business coach,
to read or listen to a new book once a month,
to pick a new skill and learn it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Passion Party #274 - Money, Part 14: Give More to Get More

When you lead with a giving hand, people are attracted to you.
When people are attracted to you, you have more opportunities for success.

There is that moment of fear and doubt,
when I feel like I am being used by people, or even used up.

But then I remember: The best way to be inspired
is to be an inspiration to others.
And if I really really really want to make more money
I need to give more to others.
When I am in that "flow of abundance"
the giving and getting
becomes both spiritually and financially rewarding.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Passion Party #273 - At-one-ment

Tonight is the night
I get to call friends and acquaintances and say,
"I am sorry if I hurt or offended you during the last year.
Please forgive me."

There is so much power in asking for forgiveness.
That must be why it is so hard to do.
And it brings me so much closer
to my higher self
and to you.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Passion Party #272 - Act As If

I spent many years working at companies with bad management.
Places where on any given day I would say to myself, "I can do a better job than THAT guy!"
Then one day I was hired to work at a new bank, and a week after being hired the manager who hired me quit.

This was in 1995, in the depths of the previous housing market "crash".
People were leaving the mortgage and real estate business in droves.
I had thought seriously of finding a new career.
Instead, at that moment, I thought "Here's my chance".
I always felt that I could manage an office better than anyone I had worked under, and I was being handed an opportunity.

I walked in the next day and I told the Operations Manager that I wanted to apply for the job of Sales Manager.
And that day I started to act as if I already had the job.
I remember the change that came over me,suddenly owning my job and taking responsibility.
A month later, after much negotiation, the job was mine.
But by then the shift had already taken place.
I acted as if
until reality connected with my belief.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Passion Party #271 - A Moving Experience

I am moving to a new office in my company today.
It is a "lateral move"
not really more space, but
a better location,newly refurbished -
new paint, new carpet, new furniture.

What it is doing, as I move across the hall,
is making me touch every file,
dust every surface.
I discovered a box of things that had become a table,
sitting under a stack of artwork and brochures
from when I moved into this space 19 months ago.
Here is a box of stuff I clearly don't need.

The business is changing so fast
and we carry so much excess baggage.
Today I get to
throw things away or put into storage
anything that remains untouched since 2009.
For this alone,
it is worth moving offices.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Passion Party #270 - A Simple Prayer

The Jewish prayerbook is filled with stories and prayers.
This year there is one simple prayer that jumped out at me.

Sometimes the simplest prayer is the most powerful:

This day remember us for well-being. Amen
This day bless us with your nearness. Amen
This day help us to live. Amen

Friday, September 10, 2010

Passion Party #269 - Words of Hope

From The Words of Hope (Divrei Tikvah)
Temple Isaiah, Los Angeles

On Rosh Hashanah it is written. On Yom Kippur it is sealed.
Who shall be pierced by envy
And who shall be torn by resentment
Who shall be tormented by the fire of ambition
And whose hopes shall be quenched by the waters of failure
Who shall hunger for approval
and Who shall be stuffed with selfishness
Who shall be poor in her own eyes
and Who shall be rich in good deeds
Who shall study Torah
and Who shall grind for grades
Who shall be open-minded
and Who shall be tight-fisted
Who shall be truly alive
and Who shall merely exist
Who shall burn with the fire of greed
and Who shall drown in the waters of despair
Whose tongue shall be a thrusting sword
And whose words shall make for peace
Who shall be plagued by fear of the world
and Who shall strangle for lack of friends
Who shall go forth in the quest for truth
and Who shall be locked in the prison of self
Who shall be serene in every storm
and Who shall be troubled by the passing breeze
Who shall be poor in the midst of possessions
and Who shall be rich, content with their lot.

But Rosh Hashanah has just begun...
We can annul the decrees
We can re-open the future
We can reclaim our lives
We can change the future by changing ourselves.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Passion Party #268 - Servant or Master

Given the choice, would you want to be servant or master?
"Master of the house"
"Master of your own destiny"
These are ideas
many people wish to achieve.

But as Bob Dylan said,
"Might be a rock'n' roll addict prancing on the stage
Might have money and drugs at your command, women in a cage
You may be a business man or some high degree thief
They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief.

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody..."

My art is best when it is of service
My job is most successful when I am serving my client's needs.

Like washing the feet of your guru,
being the servant to the right master
can be the greatest gift.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Passion Party #267 - Inverse Paranoid

What if you spent every day,
instead of feeling like "the world is out to get me",
having the thought, "the world is out to help me"?
Instead of seeing every problem in the day as a negative
you saw it as a means to enrich, empower and advance what you could become?
W. Clement Stone was the ultimate inverse paranoid.
Instead of believing that the world was plotting to harm him,
he chose to believe the world was plotting to do him good.
Napoleon Hill also shared this belief:
"Every negative event contains within it
the seed of an equal or greater benefit".

I spent years "fumbling about".
It wasn't until many years later that,
looking back,
I could see that all those elements of my life
were preparing me for
what I have become.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Passion Party #266 - Labor Day

It's funny that we call this holiday Labor Day
and the only people that have to work are the people in retail, whose job is to sell us stuff we may or may not need.

I guess that is the American Way, to honor those that work for a living by giving them an extra day a year to shop.

I will celebrate today by sitting in my backyard,
enjoying the late summer roses and the cool air
thinking about the change of seasons and
the sense of new beginnings that arrive
every September.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Passion Party #265 - Immerse Yourself In What You Love

Some people say "I love my job"
But very few people, on their deathbed, say
"My one regret is that I didn't spend enough time at the office".

Why do you love you job?
What aspects attract you?
Where is the challenge? Where is the fulfillment?
Take a weekend
and immerse yourself in what you love
about what you do.

Whether it is helping people,
solving puzzles,
collecting, or dismantling, or hunting, or acting, or learning,
there is bound to be a place
where I can surround myself with like-minded people
doing what they love.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Passion Party #264 - A Dream

I carry the dream
of a small boy
wishing to create his own rules
create his own country
where people live in peace and harmony
where creativity is the fuel
people love and respect art and music
and joy is the currency
that people trade in.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Passion Party #263 - Make It Happen

The purpose of this day
is to produce "Bankable Results".
It is so easy to be busy right now
We are in a weird, uncharted financial time
and everyone wants to complain
or have their hand held.
It is easy to be busy
but hard to be productive.
The challenge is to find people
not just wishing
but ready to work with me
to make it happen.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Great Article about George Kahn and Courtney Lemmon

Just published this week, a Musical Marriage between a blond ingenue and a middle-aged keyboard sage, by Kirk Silsbee
Read it here at the LADowntownNews:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Passion Party #262 - "Getting" someone

You can live with someone
you can grow up with someone
but do you really "get" that person?

We are touching on something
so hot it can burn.
Is it to cherish you?
To honor you?
To celebrate you?
To know you well enough
to give you space
without fear of losing you?

Is it the spoken word
or the unspoken word?
The action
or the action not taken?

It is finding that seed of love again
in the past
or is it planting a new seed
for the future?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Passion Party #261 - Letting Go

There are temporary things in life
that bring us joy
flowers in the garden
tomatoes ready for picking
money in the bank...
We can celebrate not just their existence
but also their passing

There is a joy in putting away the holiday candles and decorations
in closing up the summer cottage.
In the end
all things are temporary
and I need to find the joy
in letting go of things
when it is time to let go.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Passion Party #260 - Be generous

The purpose of this day
is to be generous in spirit
to meet many people
connect with them
be giving
both physically and emotionally

and at the end of the day
to be generous with my son
as he creates music with his cello
preparing for his first college audition recording.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Passion Party #259 - Young Mind, Old Body

My mind thinks about how beautiful it would be
to hike the High Sierra Trail from Sequoia to Mount Whitney
but my body tells me otherwise.
It took four days for my feet and hips to recover from our
four day hike
and this was without crossing much above 9000 feet,
not even attempting the 11,000+ foot pass crossings.

It is OK to accept the truth
that the body is getting old
reality won't stop my mind about thinking of the beauty
or planning alternatives so I can keep having these experiences.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Passion Party #258 - Tell The Truth Faster

The answer, almost every time
is to tell the truth
and the faster I tell the truth
the better my life becomes.

Its OK to be small
Its OK to be big
Its OK to be the way you feel and not make believe.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Passion Party #257 - Work Hard, Play Hard

This is the week
between vacations
when I get to work extra hard
knocking things out to create space
for my 13-day vacation
starting next week.
It is so nice to know
that I can work hard this week
so I can play hard the week after.
This short delayed gratification
makes it bearable
and so much sweeter when the vacation arrives.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Passion Party #256 - Shaken To The Foundation

We build a structure around ourselves
a strong support
filled with activities,
things we are good at,
our daily habits and activities
supported by those we love.
We build this castle strong
until it becomes us,
until it contains who we see ourselves as
and it holds all our things and possessions.

But what happens
when the castle is shaken to the foundation?
When all the protection and barriers are taken away
when for a few days you are forced
to not do all those things you have been filling your time with;
when for four days there is nothing
but you and your next destination
and the observation of your natural surroundings.

And when you return
do you just jump into your fortress, working frantically to rebuild the walls?
Or do you stop and think
about how to take that outside
and make it your inside
to turn your fortress
into a pavilion.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Passion Party #255 - Flashes of Joy

The purpose of this day
is to prove to myself
that I can still hike 12 miles in one day
to revisit the back country
to get to a place
that is Nature's home
where I am just a visitor
where there are no cell phone towers
no internet
no electricity

The purpose of this day
is to feel those flashes of joy
when I see my two sons
walking along together
strong, healthy, beautiful.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Passion Party #253 - The Purpose Of This Day

Looking through some old journals
I found a great exercise:
After a brief meditation, sit and think,
"What is the one main purpose of this day today?"
Each day has a purpose, and
if we can focus on it at the start of the day,
we are more likely to be able to have a purposeful day.

The purpose of this day
is to commune with Nature
to visit the big trees
to get in touch with that ancient part of myself
that recognizes myself in these 2000 year-old trees
that knows
a peace and stillness that transcends
the daily noise of life.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Passion Party #252 - SItting In A Field of Diamonds

I live in
one of the wealthiest areas
in the wealthiest country
in the world.

I do not need to search the world to find
a gold mine.
I am already sitting in a field of diamonds.
I just need to look around,
find them, and pick them up.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Passion Party #251 - Planting Seeds

Life is funny
you plant the seeds and watch them grow
some bear fruit
others do not
and you never know quite how it will turn out.
I took Evan to his first Dodger game when he was about 6 years old.
He got bored, and we left early.
Each summer, I made sure that we went to at least one game at Dodger Stadium.
Even though he was never a "sports kid", over the years he gradually learned the rules, strategy and pace of the game.
Who knew, when he was 16 years old
we would be at a Dodger game, and
we would sing
"Take Me Out to the Ballgame",
and he would give me a really big hug.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Passion Party #250 - Miracles

Each day I wake up
to another miracle:
a bouquet of roses picked from the garden by my wife
Five new green beans that
the caterpillar was so kind to leave for us
a tomato that has turned from green to yellow or red
and the cucumber vine that,
like something from an old-time nature documentary
throws out its tentacles and climbs towards the sun.

"If we could see the miracle
of a single flower clearly
our whole life would change"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Passion Party #249 - Growing

Love is not static.
It is either growing or shrinking
You are either growing closer to each other
or moving away
and growing closer requires care and nurturing
to keep the love alive.

It is like this in life as well as love:
we are always either
stepping forward into growth
or stepping backward into safety.

Today I choose to grow my life
and grow my love.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Passion Party #248 - The Big Unplug

I read the other day that Prince announced "The Internet Is Over".

What a lovely idea, in a way.
So I thought I would do my part.
For the next 5 days I am going hiking in Sequoia National Park.
There will be no internet
no cell phone service
no email
no snail mail
no TV
no newspapers
no advertising!
just me, and my two sons, Ben and Evan
and nature.

No, we are not really roughing it - we are staying in tent cabins, but we will be doing 9 -12 mile hikes each day.
See you in 5 days.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Passion Party #247 - Sleepers, Awake!

Some times it is hard to get up
the night time seduces me with it's quiet; I don't want to sleep yet,
and the morning in bed is so comforting.

The June Gloom does not help
casting a gray lull over the morning
making things damp and
feeling more like Autumn than
the full blaze of summer.

I woke up today, not looking for redemption, but for enlightenment.
Now is the time
the roses know it, as do the pole beans and tomatoes
the days are too long to waste.

"There is only one time
when it is essential to awaken.
That time is now"

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Passion Party #246 - Time To RIsk

Summer is here
the days are long
It is time to risk
to do that one thing you have thought about doing
but were afraid to try.

"And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in the bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
-Anais Nin

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Passion Party #245 - Be Authentic

The word authentic comes from the Greek, meaning genuine. The root word is "Autos", or Self.

Today I will be authentic
not mean or angry,
but true to my beliefs, spirit and character.
I will live by my highest standards
and offer to help.
I will not be petty or vulgar,
because that is not my truest self.
I will look for the humanity in others
and build their confidence and capabilities
by being my most authentic self.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Passion Party #244 - Make More to Spend More (Money, Part 13)

There are only four choices when it comes to money:
1) make less, spend less
2) make less spend more*
3) make more, spend less
4) make more, spend more
(* #2 doesn't work - believe me, I've tried it...)

When I was young and poor
I thought the answer to happiness was
to have more money.
"If only I had (fill in the material object: a car, a house, a large savings account), then I would be happy".

Now I know that making more money
just creates a new set of problems,
a new higher view where you get to see
more things that are out of your financial grasp.
Sure, the view is nicer from this new plateau.
I do not, at this time, want to move back down the financial ladder.

The real key is to get past the sense of lack,
the feeling that something is missing in my life because I can't drive that Porsche.
But At the same time, I do not want to bust my butt working, and spend so little that I feel like a miser or a
person who is not abundant.

I need to learn that
happiness is an attitude in the moment,
not some future condition.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Passion Party #243 - The Right Seat On The Bus

At some point in my life I realized
the purpose of my early jobs
was to teach me what I didn't want to do.
It took years of experiencing
different parts of the music business
and sales jobs
and the financial services industry
for me to settle into the lending business.

But getting on the right bus is only the first part.
Then the thing is
to make sure you are on the right SEAT on the bus.
And then -
DO I really want to be on THIS bus?
Or would I rather be on a different bus going to the same destination?
When I find my "right seat", and someone else is already sitting in it,
should I settle for a different seat
or instead, drive my own bus?
Maybe a smaller, more efficient model?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Passion Party #242 - Markers

I remember so clearly
when my distant Aunt came up to me
at my Bar Mitzvah and said,
"Congratulations - and I can't wait to come to your wedding."

We place these markers in our life
different ones for different cultures
but the themes are the same:
- Birth
- Coming of age (whether it is 13 or 15 or whenever)
- Moving out of the parent's house
- Marriage
- Having a child
- Retirement
- Death

These markers help us grab on to what we have
and what we are letting go of
They help us mark the passage of time
Time that tends to slip away
turn into a blur if we don't focus on it now and then.

As we touch these markers
we feel unique
having made it to a new time and place
and if we have been lucky
we look back in joy
and look forward in anticipation.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Passion Party #241 - The Muse In Music

Although in Greek mythology there are nine Muses, according to Pausanias (a Greek author and architect in the later second century AD), there were three original Muses: Aoidē ("song" or "voice"), Meletē ("practice" or "occasion"), and Mnēmē ("memory").

These three elements are the foundation of Music.

Music is, in some ways, the purest art
and the least easy to value.
It exists only in space,
in the distance between two points in time
You cannot frame it
or put it on a pedestal to admire it.

Perhaps this is my Muse -
to share with others,
for an evening or a day
my voice, my practice, my memory
the joy of music making.
To give that generous gift
and then it is gone.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Passion Party #240 - What Isn't Working?

Life is frustrating right now.
There is so much trouble in the world
News is bad
The world is broke.
Business feels like it is a Race To The Bottom
Products keep getting cheaper, not better
and we gather together
at the edge of our landfill
to throw out all our stuff
because things are just not worth fixing.

Today I do not need to fix the world
I just need to fix what is in front of me.
What isn't working?
Why isn't it working?
Is it worth fixing?
What can I do to "re-frame" the problem?
Is it something I can have control over?
If so, I will work on that part of the problem.
Otherwise, it is
just more idle chatter
more noise in a noisy world.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Passion Party #239 - Life Is Like a Combination Lock

One of the first motivational speakers I met
was a man named Brian Tracy.
Thirty years ago when I went to one of his seminars I discovered he was unlike other sales trainers.
Brian taught about living a fulfilling life,
not just getting to "the close".

Brian is now showing a new level of courage. Having been diagnosed with throat cancer, he has canceled his engagements until September while he goes through treatment, but is continuing to share updates about his health on his blog

Today I thought about one of my favorite quotes from Brian,
"Life is like a combination lock;
your job is to find the right numbers, in the right order, so you can have anything you want."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Passion Party #238 - The Dance Of Life

The other week we saw the Merce Cunningham Dance Company
perform "Roaratorium", an hour long work
inspired by James Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake"
with a sound collage by John Cage.

It was an hour of pure movement
not unstructured but not totally pre-arranged
the disconnect between the movement and the "music"
unnerving at times,
and so surprising the couple of times when the dance steps and the Irish music actually lined up in sync...

There was a joy, a freedom,
a freedom created out of practice and training
beautiful to watch
astounding in its coming together,
the solo dances, the pas de deux, the ensemble movements

The journey lasted until the music ran out
until the dancers moved the stools from one side of the stage to the other

It is this journey, between what you once were
and what you are becoming -
this is where the dance of life really takes place

Friday, June 18, 2010

Passion Party #237 - Recipe For a Great Day

- Networking meeting
- Office work
- Music practice
- Cook dinner of:
- Seared Yellow Fin Tuna
- Baby Bok Choy and Mushrooms
- Brown Rice
- Watch Lakers beat the Celtics

Mix equal amounts over a 12-hour time span.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Passion Party #236 - Be Interested, and Interesting

I spend a lot of time meeting people
attending breakfasts and lunches and get-togethers
with the goal of becoming
a person that someone knows,
instead of just another "mortgage guy".
It is not a matter of telling people who I am
it is a matter of listening to who they are.
Being interested in their story
Truly Interested.
Some people do not want to share their story
they just want to do a deal.
These are the ones I need to be afraid of.

It is not about selling
it is about being authentic
If I can engage with the person
be interested, and interesting,
that is when the connection starts
and the business will follow.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Passion Party #235 - Money, Part 12: Pay Yourself First

You have to start somewhere
so you might as well start small
and start with yourself.

The first thing I learned about building wealth
was that you had to start saving.
So I set up an automatic withdrawal of $50 a month
into a mutual fund.

The second thing I learned
was that to build wealth
I had to feel like the money I earned was not just disappearing to pay bills,
but actually was improving my life.
I had to pay myself first.
Before paying bills I needed to put a certain percentage (10 - 20 - 30%?) of the income into a savings account at the bank
as a cash cushion
an "emergency fund"
for taxes, surprise expenses, or whatever comes along.
The more that account grew
the less anxiety I felt
the more successful I became.

And it all began
when I started
to pay myself first.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Passion Party #234 - Sharing The Music

The journey that began summer of 2008
when I played the Temecula Valley Jazz Festival
and won a day at Park Hill Studio in Hemet
comes to fruition this week
with the release of the album that contains that session:
"Secrets From The Jazz Ghetto"

The journey included the recording date in January 2009,
shortly before my sax player Andy Suzuki moved to Berlin,
continued through having the tracks mixed in Los Angeles by Carl Sealove,
adding an extra song (the bossa nova "Sombras de Noite"),
and then the decision to use this album as a chance
to feature my original compositions, rather than arrangements of other people's songs.

Then mastering the recording at Future Disc,
the photo shoot with Mara Zaslove,
and having the design team at DiscMakers help put the package together.

And now, this week,
distribution starts through BDC,
and 400 terrestrial and internet radio stations
have a chance to play the music.
This is the week
sharing the music with friends
and with the world.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Passion Party #233 - Anniversary

It is quite coincidental
that I began my Passion Party on May 26, 2009,
the same day as my wedding anniversary.
So this year I get to celebrate two anniversaries:
the 19th year of my marriage to Diana,
the light of my life,
and the first anniversary of my morning ritual
and the Passion Party.

For me it has been a year of growth,
of acknowledgment, of meditation,
of restructuring my business
for a new world with new rules

coming from a place of anger, frustration and pity
to a place of possibility, love and passion.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Passion Party #232 - Be Careful What You Wish For

Yet again
we are in a psychotic time
where the Stock Market thinks we are on the verge of recovery
and the Bond Market thinks we are at the edge of a global recession.
It is like the "heroes" of Michael Lewis' book, "The Big Short":
They bet on the collapse of the housing market,
and when their bet turned out to be correct it was hard to celebrate
as the whole US financial market cratered.
Often our wishes have consequences beyond our knowing.
Who knew that our desire to allow everyone in America to buy a house
would cause Iceland to go bankrupt?
Who would think that our wish for low interest rate loans
would be granted by the collapse of Greece and Spain?

Like the person that wished for a red Corvette
and his wish came true when a drunk driver
crashed the car into his house,
we must be careful and clear in our wishes,
they may just come true.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Only one week away! Catalina Jazz Club, Wednesday Julne 16

Event: CD Release Party
Hosted by: George Kahn
Jun 16, 2010,
7:00 PM

to 10:00 PM

Location: Catalina Bar & Grill

6725 W Sunset Blvd Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA

Passion Party #231 - The Week That Will Be

We stumble headlong into another day
our list of things to do growing
items backing up like cars at a tollbooth
waiting to be charged and released.

But wait
The list has been grabbed by a bird
singing at sunrise
ready to fly
announcing that this is not the week that was
this is the week that will be.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Passion Party #230 - Don Quixote

My quixotic search to be a Jazz Artist takes a new turn now
as I release my 6th jazz album.

Today I feel a lot like Don Quixote
tilting at windmills
pursuing a dream that has little connection with most people's reality.
Am I delusional
or do I just see real things that others don't perceive?

It is hard right now to separate the ego (is this just inflated self-worth?) from talent and ability.

It all started from my Mission
to share my music with the world.
I have a gift, and I need to share it.
I have always held that if I write music close to my heart,
it will have an impact on others
and the money will follow.

When it comes to music,
money is just one way that I get paid.
But I sold the first copies of the new 2-CD set yesterday
and that sure felt nice.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Passion Party #229 - Face Your Fear

What are you afraid of?
What false expectation is stopping you
from reaching your highest, best self?

If it is only money
then I have no fear;
money will come and go

If it is only failure
then I have no fear;
failure is just a way to learn what not to do

If it is only success
then I have no fear;
God won't give me anything I can't handle

If it is only The Unknown
then I have no fear;
I came into this world knowing nothing

If it is only death
then I have no fear;
I live without regret
and count each day a blessing

Friday, June 4, 2010

Passion Party #228 - New Speakers

It is amazing
how we get used to things
and tolerate them because
it is easier to do nothing then to fix the problem.

For years now I have had an old set of speakers for my home computer.
They were never very good - the sub-woofer (the bass speaker) was always too loud and would boom if the volume was turned up too much. Even when I got a new computer I kept these old speakers because, well, they worked OK enough.
Being really into music I listen a LOT on the home computer, probably at least as much as on the home stereo system (I know, this is a quaint concept, but yes, I have a component stereo system in the living room just to hear music.)

Yesterday I was at Fry's to get something for the office and I thought, why not buy a new set of speakers?
So I did, and I set them up last night.
OH MY GOD, what a difference! The advancement in speaker technology over the last few years has been exponential!
The cost to buy them: $25.00, with a $5.00 rebate.
The time to set it up? One hour
And the result? My joy is overflowing - I am still smiling.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Passion Party #227 - Simple Things

I need to feel I have accomplished something today
So I choose to pick simple things
and know that
at least a few things are complete.
The big projects can wait
Five simple things that I know I can get done
by the end of the day
Its OK to have a simple day
and get the little things done.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Passion Party #226 - This Is A Test

Today I get to cram my mind full
of rules and regulations
details created by
government officials and politicians,
lawyers and regulators

Layers of overlapping regulatory jurisdictions
a monumental pile of study material
for two hours I get to unload this information
in a secure, monitored room.

This is a test
it is only a test
If this had been a real-life situation
I could have used my common sense.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Passion Party #224 - Graduation

It is the month of graduation
We graduate
from student to teacher
from plan to action
from school to life
from dream to reality

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Passion Party #223 - If We Only Had Love

Lyrics by Jacques Brel:

If we only have love
Then tomorrow will dawn
And the days of our years will rise on that morn
If we only have love
To embrace without fears
We will kiss with our eyes, we will sleep without tears
If we only have love
With our arms open wide
Then the young and the old will stand at our side
If we only have love
Love that's falling like rain
Then the parched desert earth will grow green again
If we only have love
For the hymn that we shout
For the song that we sing then we'll have a way out
If we only have love
We can reach those in pain
We can heal all our wounds
We can use our own names
If we only have love
We can melt all the guns and then give the new world
To our daughters and sons
If we only have love
Then Jerusalem stands
And then death has no shadow, there are no foreign lands
If we only have love
We will never bow down
We'll be tall as the pines, neither heroes nor clowns
If we only have love
Then we'll only be men
And we'll drink from the Grail to be born once again
Then with nothing at all
But the little we are
We'll have conquered all time
All space, the sun, and the stars.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Passion Party #222 - Seek What You Are Needed For

The search for happiness
was once described as
- something to do
- someone to love
- something to look forward to.

It is true that if you really love someone,
love can make the "something to do" almost irrelevant;
you do whatever it takes because you love the other person.
But for many of us, it is hard to love
if you hate what you do.

So what is the first step on the road to happiness?
A smart friend of mine in Dayton, Ohio says,
"Seek not what you need
but what you are needed for".

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Passion Party #221 - Attack Life With Enthusiasm

I had the strangest experience the other day.
I was in my local supermarket and went up to the Starbucks counter for a cup of coffee. Two very young people were behind the counter - they looked like they might just be out of high school.
"Hi, How ya doin' today?"
I got a very cheerful greeting.
"Fine", I'd like a tall coffee, and can I have your "bold" blend?
"BOLD! You want BOLD coffee?" one exclaimed, as the other went to fetch my drink. "Man, you must have a GREAT DAY planned, that you need BOLD coffee to get going!"
"Actually, this will be my third cup today..."
"THIRD CUP! Man, you must be flying. You are sure going to have SOME DAY TODAY!"

Never had I received so much enthusiasm with my cup of coffee.
And I thought, this is weird.
But then I thought, imagine if the gal at the cleaners and the bank teller and the receptionist in my office all had this much enthusiasm.
So today, my friends, I will
attack life with enthusiasm
and see what happens.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Passion Party #220 - Time Alone

One of the greatest things we have lost
is our ability to be alone.
Somehow, someone somewhere decided that
it would be best if we were all connected, all the time
hence the prevalence of iPhones, 3G networks, GPS systems, and various wireless communication systems.

Can you remember, in the old days,
when you drove to work you were just driving?
And when you exercised you were just exercising?
Now at my gym I can exercise while I listen to an audio book and watch three different TV stations, simultaneously.

But it is the time alone that has the greatest value
that moment of quiet
when you hear the birds chirp
or settle into your thoughts.

Today I will spend some time alone
taking a moment to quiet my mind
and remembering where my true power comes from.

"Help Wanted:
Inquire Within"

Friday, May 21, 2010

Passion Party #219 - Money and Passion

We are each wired with certain programming when it comes to money.
Our belief systems come from our parents, and from our surroundings,
base instincts of fear or greed,
and of the hunter/gatherer, the need to provide for ourselves and the desire to provide for the ones we love.

Can I go back and re-wire myself
to live in abundance instead of lack-of?

There is a constant thread I find in the stories of the self-made Billionaires.
It is a desire to make money
whether it is running a paper route or
building computers for college friends from your dorm room.

I have to be able to say
I love money.
I love the freedom that money can bring me.
I love the peace of mind I get when money flows into my bank account.
I love the thought of being paid well for my talents and abilities.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Passion Party #218 - It Is Better to Receive Than to Give

It is Shavuot
The Jewish holiday that commemorates Springtime, the first fruits of harvest, and the day that God gave the Torah to Moses and the Jews.
Some people say it commemorates the day Moses and the Jews received the Torah from God.

Why is it better to receive than to give?
When you give, you can only do it once - then you have given it away.
When you receive, it is yours to keep, to share, to do what you want with it.
Yesterday I received the first green bean from my vegetable garden, and I hope to receive more before the year is done.

It feels good to give a gift,
it feels great to receive it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Passion Party #217 - Neuro-economics

If I could go back to college
I think I would study Neuro-economics and Behavioral Finance Theory.
This is the study of how human nature
colors our thoughts when it comes to money and finance.
It studies why we will drive 10 miles to save $10.00 when we buy a product,
but then we will pay $150.00 extra to not have to drive to an office to sign paperwork.
Or why a person who states that he wants to take no risk with his savings
will answer his cell phone while driving,
putting himself at a much higher risk of having a car accident,
an event that certainly puts his savings at risk.

People are funny that way, I guess.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Passion Party #216 - Open Your Arms To Change

It is hard to be passionate about change.
Change is scary
Change is out of your control
More often than not, Change happens to you
It is a rare day that starts with the Mantra:
"I am going to change today".

But what if you started a day that way?
Today I open my arms to change.
I accept change as a friend,
as an inevitable part of life.
Even as I embrace change
I can still hold onto my values.
They can be a constant
in this turbulent sea of life.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Passion Party #215 - Respect Yourself

"Respect yourself, respect yourself
If you don't respect yourself
Ain't nobody gonna give a good cahoot, na na na na
Respect yourself, respect yourself..." - Luther Ingram

Alfred Griswold obtained his B.A. from Yale University in 1929, just in time for the stock market crash. After kicking around Wall Street for a little while he became a teacher at Yale in 1933, and spent the next 18 years as a teacher and professor, before becoming President of the University from 1959 - 1963.

Griswold wrote extensively on the concept of education, and a liberal arts education in particular. He said this about self-respect:
"Self-respect cannot be hunted. It cannot be purchased. It is never for sale. It cannot be fabricated out of public relations. It comes to us when we are alone, in quiet moments, in quiet places, when we suddenly realize that, knowing the good, we have done it; knowing the beautiful, we have served it; knowing the truth we have spoken it."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Passion Party #214 - Not Getting

Not getting is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
Yesterday I found out
that I was not getting to do loans for two clients.
The total loans from these two clients was about $2,000,000.
Weeks ago when I started working with these people I realized that they weren't really my clients.
One was too busy and too important, he wanted "his people" to call "my people", he just wanted it DONE, and he didn't want to know how.
The other was too frantic, with a dying mother, a very complicated estate and a rush to get cash-out from one of her mom's properties.
Even when I knew in my gut that they were not my clients, and when they were not responding to my requests for documentation, I did not know how to extricate myself from the situation. I tried to "fire" them, but they said they wanted my help.

When I found out yesterday that they had chosen to work with other people
I was relived
I was happy.
I knew at that moment that I would have more time to work with the 10 great clients I currently have
and that the universe was creating space for more great people to work with me.
Who knew Not Getting could feel so good?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Passion Party #213 - Attraction Vs. Promotion

So how do I want to build my business today?
I could promote it,
tell everyone how great I am at what I do,
advertise low rates or low cost
(the Faster! - Better! - Cheaper! model).
But what kind of clients will I get with that promotion?

Or I can use attraction,
bringing people to me by who I am, not by what I say I do.
Using education
leading by example
leading with the giving hand
delivering on my promises
being responsive to those that call me.
Building a business by attraction rather than promotion
takes longer and is harder
but the results are far more fulfilling,
longer lasting,
and will carry me through these tough times.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Passion Party #212 -When Do You Have Enough?

We work hard
We strive to achieve great things
We gather possessions, money, financial wealth

We know when we are in need
We know when we are struggling to get by
We know what "lack of" feels and looks like
But when do you know you have enough?

What will that look like?
I need to see that picture
So I will know when I get there.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Passion Party #211 - Making Homes Affordable?

There has been a LOT OF NOISE from the senate subcommittee lately. They are investigating what happened to Washington Mutual, what went wrong, and who is to blame (of course, it is not the Senate).
There is certainly enough blame to go around.
In my view, everyone is guilty
from the top executives that made hundreds of millions to the faulty oversight of our government agencies to the rating agencies that gave AAA ratings to crappy mortgage-backed securities to the individual that bought a house with a loan that they knew they could never really afford.

But I did pick up one very interesting point:
A basic initiative in the banking industry and in congress was to permit more people to buy homes, rather than keep paying rent.
Realtors crowed, "Grab your piece of the American Dream!"
Congress passed laws to make sure more people could buy homes, and banks happily complied with various "Making Homes Affordable" initiatives with assisted down payments and lax qualifying methods.

Funny thing is, in the end all these initiatives made homes LESS affordable, as the demand and the increased ability to buy pushed home prices up 100% nationwide from 2000 - 2006.

So, after all this, are homes more affordable?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Passion Party #210 - Long Term Goals

I love setting long term goals.
I love the thought of planning to do something big and audacious
and then creating the action steps that are needed to complete the goal.
I love checking off the items as I move towards the goal.
I love the feeling of accomplishment as I see the progress on a daily or weekly basis.
I don't worry about "What next?"
because I have created a clear path
and the journey is as important as the destination.
I know that when I get to the goal
the next step will reveal itself.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Passion Party #209 - WII-FM

This is an idea that has been around for decades, but is still so true.
The biggest mistakes in marketing and advertising
take place when you forget that,
every hour of every day
most people are tuned into
their favorite radio station,
"What's In It - For Me?"

If you are not on that frequency
your message will not be heard.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Passion Party #208 - Achievement Vs. Success

Helen Hayes was one of the most amazing women of the 20th Century.
Born in 1900 to a working class dad and an aspiring actress mom, Helen started her career when she was 5 years old. She is one of the few actors to make a successful transition into the "talking" pictures when sound was introduced to movies.
She is one of only twelve people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award. Hayes also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor, from President Ronald Reagan in 1986. In 1988, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts. She is also one of the few actors to have a theatre in New York named after her.

You might call her successful.

But Helen Hayes was focused on her achievements, not on success. She said:
"My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that 'achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being praised by others, and that's nice, too, but not as important or satisfying.' Always aim for achievement and forget about success."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Passion Party #207 - When Love Exceeds Need

My world is a better place
when it is built on the Power of Love
instead of the Power of Need.

As winter passes and the flowers begin to bloom
this season, remember
the best relationship is one in which
our love for each other
exceeds our need for each other.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Passion Party #206 - Time for Passion

What are you passionate about?
What leaps to mind first?
Now, have you spent any time on your passion in the last week?

For some people their job is their life.
Other people have already created a life
where their job is their passion
I want a life
where my passion is my job

Some people are more multi-faceted,
the job is a tool that helps them get to their passion
Others feel trapped in a job,
just trying to make ends meet.

This is the week I say
Time to stop
and create time for my passion

Friday, April 30, 2010

Passion Party #205 - Success

How do you judge if you are successful?

Here's one way:
Success is judged by what you had to give up
in order to get it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Passion Party #204 - the Rules

One of the things I love about music theory
is that there are set rules.
The rules are mathematical, and the rules are natural
based on sine waves, vibrations, and the overtone system (which is mathematical, once again).

My first theory and composition class in college
consisted of a year of theory and composition techniques.
We learned the fundamentals
We learned to write in basic forms and styles
and we learned Species Counterpoint,
the strict music system used by Palestrina, Bach, and many composers in the late 1600s - 1700s.
Species Counterpoint has numerous specific rules that tell a composer where each note should - must! - go next, depending upon other notes and their relationship to each other.
And some things are NOT ALLOWED: like parallel octaves or fifths.
Of course, today in music, half of what we listen to consists of parallel octaves and fifths.

So what is the point of learning the rules?

We learn the rules
so we know how to break them properly.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The George Kahn Quintet Returns to West Los Angeles for a FREE show on April 30

Event: George Kahn West Coast Jazz Quintet This Friday
Hosted by: George Kahn
Apr 30, 2010,
7:30 PM

to 11:00 PM

Location: Radisson Hotel Culver City

6161 West Centinela Ave., Culver City, CA

Passion Party #203 - Instant Tao

Here is an anonymous reflection on poem #64 from the Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu:

Pay attention to what is
in order to prevent what is not
A cut needs cleaning
A hurt needs caring
A relationship needs tending

Pay attention to what is
in order to grow what is not
A joy needs sharing
An idea needs nurturing
Creativity needs expressing

The greatest of pine trees
is deeply rooted
yet easily grows
from the tiniest of seeds.

Like this? Go here for more random inspiration:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Passion Party #202 - There Is No Speed Limit

Life moves at the speed of thought
But many of us work from limiting beliefs:
You go to school for 12 years
You go to college for 4 or 6 more years
or maybe you join the Army for 2-4 years of training
You get a job
You work towards retirement...

But think on this:
Bill Gates started playing with computers in 1968 at the age of 13. He dropped out of Harvard after 2 years and started Microsoft with some friends in New Mexico. You know what happened next...

Sergey Brin moved from Russia to the US with his family when he was 6. He blew through his undergraduate college education in 3 years, and then when he started graduate school at Stanford he and Larry Page, a classmate, created Google in a garage in Menlo Park, CA. Now at the ripe old age of 37 he is the 24th richest person in the world...

Derek Sivers found a tutor in Boston, and got through 4 years of the Berkeley School of Music in 2 years. He went on to create CD Baby as a favor to a few musician friends who wanted to sell their CDs on the internet. 10 years later when he sold the company for $22 million, it was the largest seller of independent music on the web, with over 150,000 musician clients and over $100 million in sales...

There is no speed limit on the Road of Life.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Passion Party #201 - When Love Exceeds Need

My world is a better place
when it is built on the Power of Love
instead of the Power of Need.

As winter passes and the flowers begin to bloom
this season, remember
the best relationship is one in which
our love for each other
exceeds our need for each other.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Passion Party #200 - Greatness

I saw greatness the other night
as the 90-piece Santa Monica High School Symphony Orchestra
performed a 2-hour concert at Symphony Space in New York City.
The concert was the culmination of a 6-day trip that included a recording session, a performance at the Atrium at Lincoln Center, and coaching sessions with the Assistant Conductor for the NY Philharmonic and professors from NYU.

Like a professional sports team,
they worked together at the top of their ability,
pulling each other up towards a high level of performance.

It was not perfect, but it was great, in the truest sense of the word.

What does it take to attain greatness?
- Practice
- Repetition
- Dedication
- A strong leader
- Input (and sometimes criticism) from others
- An openness to being coach-able
- A sense of purpose
- and FOCUS

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Passion Party #199 - Leverage, Part 2

One basic area of financial leverage available to many people
is Real Estate.
It is common practice in the US to be able to buy a house or a condo with 20% down.
(You can buy a $500,000 house with $100,000 down).
In this way, you have just created a 5 to 1 leverage of your money, buying a $500,000 asset for $100,000, and borrowing the rest. If, let's say, the house increases in value to $600,000 and you sell it, you have just doubled your investment (minus closing costs, of course), so a 20% increase in value gives you a 100% return on your initial investment.

At the peak of the Mortgage Mess, people were buying property with 5% down, or 3% down, or even NO MONEY DOWN, in essence creating leverage of...Infinity?
In addition, people that already owned houses were being offered Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs). These were, in a way, "margin accounts" based on the current value of their house. If kept as an emergency account it was a good thing, but many people used them for vacations or investments or to buy other houses. People were leveraging their home in California to buy multiple rental properties in Las Vegas, or Florida, or wherever real estate seemed "cheap".

When the "margin call" came - when the banks started closing the HELOCs due to falling property values - many people were in trouble, especially when they discovered that they could not rent out the property they bought to cover the various mortgages they had taken on.
The "great de-leveraging" of real estate had begun, which brought us a 40% drop in home prices nationwide.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Passion Party #198 - Leverage, Part 1

As we move farther from the Real Estate Bubble of 2007
and the Credit Crisis of 2008 and early 2009,
one culprit in both situations is becoming clearer:
Leverage compounds the winnings
but also magnifies the losses.
If you have a brokerage account at Schwab or Merrill or another investment bank, odds are they let you borrow "on margin" to increase your investments.
Simply put, you can "double your bet" with borrowed money from the bank. Your leverage is 2 to 1.
If your bet is wrong, the bank can make a "margin call", asking you to repay the money you borrowed, causing you to have to sell at a loss, and worse, compounding the loss if you don't have savings set aside to cover your bet.
At the peak of our current credit crisis in 2008, many of the major banks and Hedge Funds were leveraged 30 to 1, or often much higher. The bets were being made with borrowed money, and when "the call" came from the creditor, they had no choice but to sell, starting the great de-leveraging that brought us the collapse of Bear Sterns, and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, General Motors, and a 40% drop in the stock market.
---to be continued...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Passion Party #197 - Saying Goodbye

It is incredibly hard to schedule a death.
It goes against all we are taught
about the importance and the sanctity of life,
it tears at the fabric of caring and friendship.

It seems unfair that
a dog's life is so short,compared to a human.
Perhaps that is one of the lessons:
Life is short
Time passes
And we need to fill that time with
as much love and compassion as we can
during the short time we are given.

And it is a sign of friendship
when we care enough
to bring our pet to the other side
with love.
Not waiting for that long painful ending,
but saying goodbye
with peace and love.
She will be surrounded by love and
I can hold the puppy in my heart.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Passion Party #196 - Commitment

Having a dog as a pet teaches you Unconditional Love.
A good dog is wonderful that way.
You can ignore the dog, forget to feed her, even treat her bad,
and the next day she will still come over to you to be petted and walked,
and will love you unconditionally, no matter what kind of mood you are in.

From the human side, however, a dog takes commitment.
There were times early on when we were ready to give Mercedes away.
She was too yappy, with a piercing high-pitched bark. She attacked anyone that came to the door, she kept jumping on the furniture, scratching things.

We finally hired a dog trainer, to try to "fix her".
What we learned from the trainer was that Mercedes was just doing her "job", and we were the ones that needed training.
We could change her bark surgically, but rather than stop her from her mad attack when someone came to the door, we needed to acknowledge that she was "protecting" us, and give her a pat, and then show her the person was our friend.
Mercedes had to train us.
And that is where commitment comes in.
Even with unconditional love, it works best if it is a two-way street.

Going for walks
stopping to say hello
two meals a day
acknowledging when you do something right.
It is a small commitment to make
when the return is Unconditional Love.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Passion Party #195 - Mercedes The Lady

When we first met Mercedes
my son Benji was 15,
volunteering for an animal rescue organization.
It was a weekend, and we came to the parking lot
to look at homeless dogs.

I always thought that if we got a dog it would be a golden lab, or some type of dog to play fetch. Evan, who was 5, really wanted a dog to cuddle and play with. We had been through the rabbit, the gerbil, the iguana and the white rat, and none of them fit the bill.
I didn't know what kind of dog we would get, but I never thought it would be a long-haired white fluffball girly-dog.

But that was the day we met Mercedes.
She was a pure-bred American Eskimo (with no papers), and had been handed in by a family when they had kids. It was too much for them to handle a frisky dog and little babies at the same time.

She was smiling and shiny in the sunlight
and we could tell right off the bat she was polite.
She loved to be petted. One walk around the block, and that was it, we knew we had a dog.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Passion Party #194 - A Digital World

Imagine a world
where you don't use paper anymore
Where your shopping list
and your phone book
and your writing pad
are all synchronized together on digital devices.
Where, while you are shopping
your wife or partner can be going through the pantry at home
and can add items to her phone that
automatically update on your shopping list in the store.

Where, when you wake up in the morning,
all the news you need is already sorted and available
for you on your HDTV monitor
and at lunch your phone can find you
the best $5.00 burrito within walking distance
of wherever you are in cities across America

And when you get home after work
your HDTV system has already downloaded all the TV shows that interest you from the previous night,
with all the commercials perfectly edited out.

I saw this world
during the last four days
with my 26 year-old son Ben, in Portland, OR.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Passion Party #193 - the G H P

If happiness lies at the intersection
of creativity and achievement
then perhaps we should add new questions to our census form:
Do you feel like your life is creative?
How many days a year do you have a sense of achievement?

How happy are you?
Instead of measuring the GDP
Gross Domestic Product

perhaps we should be measuring the GHP
(Gross Happiness Product)
How much happiness can you produce today
for yourself and others?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Passion Party #192 - Happiness Is Transitory

When one asks, "What do you want from life?"
many people will say, "I just want to be happy".
But happiness is transitory
it is just an emotion on the spectrum
from depressed to ecstatic.
Happiness will come and go,
like the clouds in the sky.

I see happiness not as a goal, but as a byproduct of a life worth living.

"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
"Happiness is like a cat.
If you try to coax it or call it, it will avoid you. It will never come.
But if you pay no attention to it and go about your business, you'll find it rubbing up against your legs and jumping into your lap."
-William Bennett

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Passion Party #191 - I Am Not My Job

A generation or two ago life was simpler.
You got a job with benefits
You worked your ass off for most of your life.
Then you retire
too old to do much of anything.

For many people
their job was their life.

Things are different now
the average person has two careers - or more - during a lifetime
and many people have multiple careers simultaneously.

I am not my job
I am not the money I earn
The money is a tool
The job is a tool
to help me create a life worth living.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Passion Party #190 - My Life Is Rich

Life is hard sometimes.
There are days when it feels like there is so much to do,
it is impossible to get it all done.
And then you get a flat tire
or a speeding ticket
or a runny nose
or the notice from the dentist that
its time for a teeth cleaning.

At times like this I remember that
God doesn't give me more than I can handle;
it will get done
maybe not exactly as I planned

I can be thankful that I am busy
and remember my old mantra:
My life is rich
My life is full
Another day of Opportunity and Potential.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Passion Party #189 - The Mountain

Climbing the mountain
begins with a thought
"I can do this"
and then a single step
starts me on my way.
The action
puts the thought to rest
and then once I am halfway through the journey
I have no choice but to continue.
Sending a rescue party
or a helicopter is not an option.

Whether it is putting $100 a month into savings
or producing a music album
or building a business
or mastering an instrument
or wining a gold medal in the Olympics
or hiking the Pacific Crest Trail

it all begins with a thought
"I can do this"
and then a single step.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Passion Party #188 - My Wish

My wish for you
is that when you turn 90
you can look back and say,
"All in all,
things have turned out pretty good."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Passion Party #187 - Freedom and Tyranny

Last night was the first night of Passover.
Passover is my favorite holiday, because it is a Festival of Freedom
and there is nothing better to celebrate
than the freedom we have here, every day.

Passover also asserts our condemnation of oppression and tyranny. And not just the tyranny of a Pharaoh from long ago.
"We speak of the tyranny of poverty
and the tyranny of privation
Of the tyranny of wealth
and the tyranny of war
of the tyranny of power
and the tyranny of despair
of the tyranny of disease
and the tyranny of time
of the tyranny of ignorance
and the tyranny of color.
To all these tyrannies do we address ourselves this evening. Passover brands them all as abominations in the sight of God" - Rabbi Alfred J. Kolatch