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

Monday, March 29, 2010

Passion Party #186 - Springtime in The Desert

The other weekend I went to Desert Hot Springs
to soak in the hot tubs and have some recovery time.
It has been a wet winter there
the ground was green, not brown,
and on Sunday there was a light rain
so that all the rocks showed their patterns and colors.

My favorite moment:
We drove to the Coachella Valley Preserve
a remote part of the Coachella Valley near the San Andreas Fault,
and walked out into the desert.
Looking down I could see that
each plant and every blade of grass had minute flowers,
tiny petals of color.

There is life and beauty everywhere
if you just stop for a moment
and open your eyes.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Passion Party #185 - Bankable Results

It has been frustrating lately
Sometimes weeks go by
and it feels like nothing is getting done.

Last week I came up with a new variation on an old idea.
My usual pattern is when I start the work day I make a list of the 6 - 8 most important things to get done.

But then, instead of just starting down the list,
I prioritize, based on this question:
"Which item will most directly cause me to receive income now?"
After using this "Bankable Results" screen,
I start with the #1 immediate money-making item,
and move down the list.
My goal is to get the Bankable Results, and then I move on to the other items on the list.

I have seen an immediate change in my focus and ability.
When I am clear in my objective
decisions are easy.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Passion Party #184 - A New World

200 years ago if you were born a farmer, you were a farmer. If you were born in royalty, you were royalty. It did not take much thought. Society placed you, and there you stayed.

90 years ago my Dad was born in Scranton, PA, a coal mining town. After returning from World War II he married my mom and went to work for his Father-In-Law, learning the sheet metal business in New York City. It seemed logical to him to get in into "the family business". He could have been a coal miner, but ended up president of his own fabricating and installation business.

58 years ago I was born in New Rochelle, NY. Growing up I observed my dad's business, and I knew it was not for me. After college I moved to California to pursue a music career. Through a series of events I got into banking. I could have been in the building trades, but I have become Sr. Vice President of a mortgage bank.

We are truly in a New World
where life, more often than not, is not a linear process.

26 years ago and 16 years ago my two sons were born into this new world.
Imagine the possibilities.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Passion Party #183 - Time Is Short

"Time is short
Opera is long"
- slogan on a sweatshirt

One of the key things that separates man from other creatures on earth
is our sense of mortality.
People realize this at different ages.
Perhaps it happens when you step on your first ant
or when the goldfish from the carnival dies.

But sooner or later, we learn
that all things - and people - must pass away.

The fact that life is transitory
that our time here is short
can lead to depression, or to action.
We have been given a gift
and it will be wrong to waste it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Passion Party #182 - Age Is Relative

I don't feel 58.
I don't really know what 58 means,
except it is 2 years shy of 60
and I am sure I don't feel 60.
But what does 58 feel like?

When I was 17 I felt like I was old.
By the time I was 18 I felt like I knew everything.
By the time I was 28 I was already having my mid-life crisis.
I used to joke that I got my mid-life crisis over early, as I lived it during my 30s.

I have been spending time with my Mom the last few weeks
She will be 88 this year
Still creating art, still traveling (although not as fast),
still planning for the future.

Just like Einstein proved that
time is relative,
it logically follows that
age is relative as well

partly depending on genes and exercise
but also depending on
interest - involvement - curiosity - joy

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Passion Party #181 - Four Spirit Brothers

Why is life so crazy?
Because man is a demon, and man is a god
Each person has the ability
to equally choose between darkness and light.
We can choose to get busy living
or to get busy dying.
And, like in the movie The Shawshank Redemption,
we can choose hope over fear
and if time is on our side. hope can win.

I love the thought
that I have four Spirit Brothers,
four Angels, or Virtues
that can help me every day.
They are born with me, and they can help me if I call on them.
These four virtues are
- Intelligence
- Friendship
- Strength
- Poetry

I love the thought that I can call on them, any time, for rescue and assistance.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Passion Party #180 - What Do You Love?

Sometimes we get so stuck in our heads
that we forget our hearts
we forget the purpose of all our "getting".

At times like this it helps me
to stop
and make a list of everything that I love, everyone that I love
just a quick list, that starts every line "I love..."

and give thanks for the ability
to know this
and to be able to choose from this list
and love today.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Passion Party #179 - The Hallway

They say,
"When one door closes
another one opens",
but it's HELL being in the hallway!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Passion Party #178 - Back To Basics

I am tired of chasing
the next shiny object
I am tired of branding
and building market share
I am tired of charts and statistics
and happy talk in the newspaper about economic recovery
when I see people around me all struggling.

Today I go back to basics
meeting people to break bread
and facing them, eye to eye.
Today I will work on what is in front of me
drilling down to the bottom of my desk
to find the diamonds
that have been right in front of me
the whole time.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Passion Party #177 - Retirement

I was at a seminar last night
about retirement and financial planning
scaling what often seems the
insurmountable wall of saving money for retirement
building a cash cushion
gradually putting money away in different "buckets",
investing prudently
so in the end you don't outlive your money.

It really all came back to this basic fact:
You need to know how much you spend every month
to know how much you can save every month
and if you live in vagueness and hope
the odds are against you.

Looking at the diagrams and all the variables it seemed to me
that one answer to the problem was "never retire!"
But of course, that is not really the best option.

So I must go back, review and know my numbers
The more specific the numbers
the more accurate the numbers
the better I can plan for the future
I cannot live as if there is no tomorrow
but I also can't live as if my life won't begin until I "retire".
Finding that balance
knowing my numbers
that is the first step.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Passion Party #176 - The Shift

Why do I do this every morning?
It is to share a moment of silence with my self
to feel my breath
to accept the darkness of the morning
to sit and breathe
until my mind becomes still
and I can feel
the warmth coming from my heart
the energy flow through my body.

It is not that I am looking for an answer
I want only to be open to the possibilities
that will be presented to me today
My heart is open
and I am willing

This is the biggest shift that has taken place
my days have moved from
Fear - Hard Work - Shut Down
to Trust - Possibilities - Sharing My Open Heart.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Passion Party #175 - Risk and Reward

Great Love and Great Achievement involve great risk.
This is evident when we watch Olympic athletes
and it is evident when a child is born.

In finance and investing
there are books and books and books
written about this risk/reward ratio
attempts to calculate and quantify the balance between acceptable risk and the resulting return on investment.
Our current financial crisis in part stems from a flawed belief that great rewards could come to many people without any risk.
You bets your money, and you takes your chances.

But with Great Love and Great Achievement
when you know in your heart it is right
the risk is worth it, we make the move.
It is impossible to have it all figured out
We risk
We take that leap of faith
and often
Great Love and Great Achievement will follow.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Passion Party #174 - Be Gentle

There are things we do for money
and things we do for love
Things we do for passion
or to thank the stars above

But one thing I must remember
for my actions to have worth:
Be gentle with myself
and be gentle with the earth.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Passion Party #173 - Letting Go

My business is full of things I cannot control
My life is full of things I cannot control
So I have a choice
1) Try to manage things out of my control
2) Let go

There are people in my life that don't do what I think they should do.
I have a choice
1) Try to make them more like me
2) Try to accommodate them
3) Let go

As I am letting go
with acceptance, compassion, and love
I notice
my mood lightens
I can focus on those things that I can complete
I create space for more good things to enter my life
Better clients
Better relationships
And some people that I let go
come back
with a new understanding.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Passion Party #172 - Imitate, Emulate, Innovate

The first thing I need to do
is just imitate
find someone already successful at what I want to do
and copy the model.
The KEY is to find the model that fits for you:
it has all been done before,
don't re-invent the wheel,
just find the wheel that fits

The next step is to emulate
to aim to exceed or surpass
what was created by the people who taught me

Only after I have fully integrated
what has already been proven
can I consider innovation.
Trying to introduce something new
when I don't even have it "right"
is a road to disaster.
Once I totally have the system wired and perfected
only then can I begin to do it in a new way.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Passion Party #171 - Love and Cooking

Love and cooking are very similar

Both need to be approached with reckless abandon
Both get messy at times
Both require focus
You don't want it too spicy, or too bland
The more your pay attention, the better the results
Reading the recipe is OK, but things get even better when you know the ingredients
and you start to improvise.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Passion Party #170 - Wishes, Prayers, Action

Years ago I learned the correct way to pray
and I didn't learn it in Religious School.
The Hebrew prayers I learned were rote memorization of a foreign language
and alphabet (alef-bet).
When translated they mainly were just saying
"God is great"
"Do this to supplicate to God"
"Thank You God for giving us bread or candles, or whatever".
And then my prayers in English were really wishes,
"I wish I had a million dollars"
"I wish I could find True Love"
"I wish I was in a famous rock band"
"I wish my dog wouldn't die".

Then I learned a better way to pray,
to ask to be able to do God's will.
If I wanted something more specific, I could say "If it is your will, please..." and I could close my prayers with, "Thy will, not mine, be done".
And I learned that God is a pretty busy guy (or gal, or whatever), and that if I really wanted something to happen, I can't wait around for it like waiting for a bus to show up, I would have to take action to make it happen.

The moral of this story is:
Spend less time developing your wish-bone
and more time exercising your back-bone.