Sunday, December 30, 2012

Passion Party #468 - Playing BIG in 2013

Marianne Williamson wrote this insightful message:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God! Your playing small doesn't' serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Please join me on Wednesday, January 30, 2013, at 8:00 PM as Secrets are Revealed, with the George Kahn "Secrets" Quintet

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Passion PArty #467 - Core Beliefs

Some beliefs are built on science:
"The sun will rise every morning"
Some beliefs are based purely on experience:
"Work is hard"
Some beliefs are not based on our experience,
but on what we were taught to believe:
"There's not enough for everyone, so take all you can"

I believe it is possible
to reset core beliefs,
getting rid of the ones that might have served me as a child
ones that are no longer helpful as an adult
ones that block me from getting to my highest self.

When doubt fills my mind, I just need to remember
my new core beliefs:
 - There is enough time
 - I am here to play big
 - I love the unknown
 - As I grow I will be surrounded by people that love and support me
 - The universe won't give me anything I can't handle

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Passion Party #466 - John Cage

From some of my earliest memories about music and composition, I was attracted to the avant garde and the "mavericks".  Mozart was pretty, and Beethoven's symphonies could be moving, but for me the lights really turned on when I was in high school and my first music theory teacher, Mr. Edwards, played our class a recording of Charles Ives' "Putnam's Camp, Redding, Connecticut":a short 6 minute "symphonic scene" that captures the sound of two marching bands playing to two keys and two tempos marching towards each other.
You can hear it here, if you like

Then, in the summer of 1968 I saw a performance of John Cage's "Radio Music", a piece he wrote in 1956 for 1-8 performers, each with their own radio (once again - 6 minutes long, hmm...).  This composition, as you can guess, sounds different every time it is performed, depending on what shows up on the radios.  It was than that I realized that anything was really possible with music - all you had to do was have the willingness to open up your ears.

By the end of my freshman year in college in 1970, I had set myself on a course to be a music composition major. I studied Schoenberg, Webern and Berg,  I studied Bartok and Stravinsky.  I studied the Bach Chorales.  I learned the keys, the modes, and the values of each note and how they related to the notes around it.

What I did not realize at that time was that I was too late.  In 1952, the year I was born and John Cage was 40 years old, he wrote 4' 33", which is performed in the absence of deliberate sound; musicians who present the work do nothing aside from being present for the duration specified by the title.
Here is a very formal performance of the piece by full orchestra.  The audience bursts into thunderous applause at the end of the piece, around 6:26 into the video.
Although I think John Cage would have preferred this black screen video version of the piece as a more personal, interactive presentation.  Check this out
Or this "classic" performance by David Tudor, one of Cage's long-time friends and associates, and the pianist that premiered the piece in Woodstock NY in 1952.

Cage's belief was that music is the interaction of sound and silence and the organization of these two elements. 4'33" is the logical extreme of this philosophy.  I use the word "philosophy" on purpose, because I find Cage's music to really be more a precursor of "performance art" than music per se. He blew the doors off the barn the year I was born, and all the horses had escaped by the time I began formal study.  The music conservatories and university music departments had decided to ignore the memo, though, as they have continued to do for the last 60 years.

Cage never stopped creating.  In 1973 I organized a performance by John Cage at Brandeis University. Cage had been to Brandeis in 1965 to perform ROZART MIX, a composition for tape loops to be played on at least a dozen tape recorders.  By 1973 Cage had moved beyond tape loops, and had started to focus on spoken word pieces that involved taking writings and deconstructing them into their individual words.  His performance, in the "all purpose room" of the Student Union, consisted of texts by Henry David Thoreau.  Looking now at Cage's list of published works, it seems it was a version of  his "Song Books (Solos for Voice 3–92)", published in 1970.  Speakers were set up around the room, and various recordings of Cage reading the words would come from each set of speakers.  At the same time, Cage sat at a table on the stage in the front of the room with a small desk lamp, reading a version of the text in his sing-song, high pitched voice.

The result was a cacophonous mix of spoken words, all of which made no sense, as hard as one might try to make sense of it.  The room was set up with rows of chairs.  Some people sat in the chairs.  Others moved about the room to get closer or father away from the various speakers.  As time passed, and the drone of words continued, some people started to leave.  Other people, sensing that perhaps this was one of those artistic "happenings" they had heard of, started taking the chairs and piling them into a sculpture in the middle of the room.  Finally, someone raced the stage, pulled the plug on Cage's light and microphone, and ran out of the auditorium through a side exit.  Staff quickly reconnected Cage's light and equipment, and the performance continued until the end.

At a question and answer period after the performance, Cage was asked if he minded that people were piling chairs and making noise during the performance.  He answered that he had no problem with that - but he was enraged that someone would come up and pull the plug on his performance.  "I don't care what you do, but you have no right to stop me or interfere with my performance."  This was, for me, the essence of John Cage - Creative, opinionated, always searching, and if you don't like it, please leave me alone and let me do my thing.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Passion Party #465 - There Is No Map

When I was young I used to create Treasure Maps
filled with clues
You might have to solve a riddle
or dig a hole to find the next item
on your way to the treasure.

But life is not like that
No one hands you a map
It is not until after you have traveled the road
that you get to look back and go
"Ah Ha!" or "Oh, crap."

Perhaps there is not map
because we don't know our destination
or I like to think
there are so many different roads to the destination
that you don't need a map.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Passion Party #464 - Give, Every Day

What is it that I can do
and love every day?
Not that I will "love my job" every day -
they call it work for a reason.

The toughest jobs can be the most fulfilling,
if you love what you do.
If you don't love what you do,
it may be time to find a new job/company/boss, etc.

If you work from a place of love
you can always find something to give
and when you give your gift away,
when you give the thing you love the most,
the Law of Attraction kicks into gear.

I work from a place of love.
I give from a place of love.
Abundance will find me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Passion Party #463 - Happiness Potion #9

There is no such thing as a Happiness Formula
Only fools would try to create one
so here goes:
Friends make me happy
Family (blood-related or otherwise) makes me happy
Envy subtracts from my happiness
Jealousy  subtracts from my happiness
You need money in the formula, but not as much as you think
Doing service  makes me happy
Being trustworthy makes me happy
Working with trustworthy people makes me happy
Having a passion makes me happy
Working on my passion makes me happier
Thinking too much  subtracts from my happiness

So I'll stop now.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Passion Party #462- Trust and Tolerance

I met a guy named Happy.
I met a gal named Sunshine.
What a terrible thing for a parent to do to a child at birth...

Happiness is like yoghurt, or sourdough bread:
the secret is in the culture.

Happiness is a connective tissue
it holds people together
it rarely exists on its own
One finds happiness when they find their culture.
This is why some people love being in the army
and some people love living at an ashram
and some people love living in Key West, Florida.

But if you are happy in a Patagonia-type of work culture
you might not like working at Oracle.

For me, a culture of trust and tolerance
is key to my happiness.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Passion Party #461 - Change The Subject

Let's talk about happiness.
A funny thing will happen:
the more we talk about it, the less happy I become.
One cannot "try to be happy".
One just is happy, or not.
It is an ephemeral state which,
like a passing cloud,
brings pleasure when one notices it.

When I am unhappy about a conversation
I have a habit that bothers some people.
I change the subject.
This is not a bad thing.
As Eric Weiner says in "The Geography of Bliss",
 "When you get down to it, there are basically three, and only three, ways to make yourself happier.  You can increase the amount of positive affect (good feelings).  You can decrease the amount of negative affect (bad feelings).  Or you can change the subject."

The road to happiness is not paved with words.
Perhaps, after all, happiness is not in the mind,
but in the "never mind".

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Passion Party # 460 - I Have Enough

It is a great paradox of life:
to reach abundance
you need to feel you have enough;
to be rich
you need to feel wealthy.

It is a great excercise
to walk through the shopping mall
visiting the Great Temple of Consumerism
filled with stores
filled with shelves and shelves of stuff -
and to look around and say
"I don't need anything.  I have enough."

And from this place of abundance and wealth
I can enter a day of
thanksgiving, gratefulness, potential, opportunity.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Passion Party #459 - Being A Warrior

Today I choose to be a warrior
I choose to make things happen
rather than let them happen to me.

I choose to act from a place of
impeccable integrity
as I find joy in this day.

I will energize my actions
with strength from my body as well as my mind and heart.

I will be courageous in my actions
and in my observations,
and will allow myself to sit and let the thoughts come, unfiltered.

I will care,
but I won't care too much.
I will be serious
in my desire to lighten up,
knowing that nothing lasts forever
and this, too, shall pass.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Passion Party #458 - Independence Day

If the 4th of July is all about freedom and independence
I cannot think of a place I would rather spend it
than in the middle of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
No parades, no fireworks besides the nightly campfire,
no guns of any kind allowed (we're in a National Park).
An area settled by rugged families
willing to sacrifice comfort for the ability
to sit in Nature's lap
surrounded by Alpine meadows and wild flowers

Free from television and advertising
Free from telephone and internet
Free from newspapers
Free from shopping

Independence from all we are force fed every day
and free to walk as far as you can
as far as your body will carry you.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Passion Party #457- Nature Wins

I still have trouble wrapping my head around the fact that I am 60 years old.
50 always seemed old when I was growing up,
but 60 -
60 WAS old.
I remember when my mom had her 65th birthday,
about 25 year ago.  My son was 4, now he's 29.
Well, you can do the math, I don't need to continue.

The trees don't care
they just experience the seasons
sometimes a wet winter, sometimes dry
sometimes a forest fire, sometimes an earthquake.
This area had it's first road built in 1887
the houses still standing date back to 1901 and 1907
So young!
Mankind is such a short blip in time in this area.
The trees and flowers have survived miners, loggers, developers,
mainly due to inhospitable winters,
avalanches that wiped out most all attempts to build in this area.
In Mineral King, Nature wins, Nature rules.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Passion Party #456 - Morning

The sun comes up differently in the mountains
or maybe it is that my eyes are clear
senses more acute
the birds singing
water rushing down the mountain
the smell of pine and firewood.

I have come to Silver City so many times over the years -
as a hiker, as a lover, as a father,
all through the childhood of my two sons
and now with friends,
kids gone off to their own lives

But the sunrise, the trees, the road, the general store,
 they are all the same.
The only thing that is different
is that here it seems that nothing changes.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bonus: How to Defeat Fear

HOW TO DEFEAT FEAR by Pema Chodron

Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave instructions for the battle.

The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?”

Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.”

Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?”

Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.”

In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.

Passion Party #455 - Advertising Run Amok

Back in the 1960s it was a simpler time.
You might be exposed to 60 advertising messages a day.
Now estimates run from 1600 - 3000 advertising messages a day.
With flashing electronic billboards,
"public service" ads hanging form lampposts,
cars turned into traveling ads, and the onslaught of online advertising
 it has become a never-ending barrage.

I recently read an article by an internet marketer who pointed out “When you get something for free, you become the product”.  This makes sense – if the website is not charging you a fee to view it or use it, you are becoming the product they will want to sell to others to maintain their bottom line.  Some, like Google, use it well, others like Myspace use it poorly and lose their viewers and lose their business.

So what is the answer?
Mine was 5 days in the mountains
no newspaper, no TV, no internet, no billboards
my mind cleared
with the help of hundreds of trees
a view of 100 miles that was not trying to sell me anything.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Passion Party 454 - Social Media Vs. Social Proof

My business is built on Social Proof:
I do good work for a person,
and she tells two more people that
I am a good person to work with.
 - knowledgeable
 - trustworthy
 - honest
She doesn't "like" me on Facebook,
she refers business to me from personal relationships.

You can't buy social proof;
you can't twitter yourself to expertise.
As Wall Street and investors rush to monetize social media
the danger is that websites will become as annoying as the
electronic billboards that now dot the Los Angeles landscape.

With Social Proof, "friend" is not a verb.
Friendship is spread by those that you have helped.
Once again, the old becomes new.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Passion Party #453 - A Father's Job

A father's job is to teach his children how to be warriors;
to give them the confidence to get on the horse and ride into battle when it is necessary to do so.

 After my dad returned from World War 2, he rode into battle every day in the sheet metal industry in Queens, NY.
He taught me indirectly.
He taught me by creating his own company
He taught me by going to work every day and by kissing my mom every night when he came home from work.
He taught me with his strength, and his anger, and his compassion.

What I have learned is that all I had to add was unconditional love and a willingness to let go of my desire and support whatever battle my warrior children choose to fight.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Passion Party #452 - Quietness

There is a quietness here
the wind blowing through the trees
oak and pine intermingled
creating a unique sound
the low rustle accompanied by the high wind.
The craziness falls away
becoming as meaningless as running for a streetcar.

We are meant to be dreamers,
dreamers that energize their thoughts with actions:
The hard stuff,
the hours of making it right
and sometimes, in the end,
we get this
beauty, peacefulness
a sanctuary for the spirit.

A night of quietness
before returning to the jumble and rush of the city.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Passion Party #451 - My Relationship With Time, Part 2

If we all agree that
your choice today creates the future,
then how you spend your time today
creates your future relationship with time.

Long ago I decided that time was valuable, and I did not want to waste it.
I decided that I would spend 90% of my time at work actually working;
if I am not working I would rather be somewhere else, so why not just be somewhere else?

Now that I have committed to
focusing on work while I am working,
I can use technology and team-mates
to help create a better use of my time.

Efficiency does not create more time,
it crates the illusion of more time
because I get to spend more time
doing what I want to do.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Passion Party #450 - My Relationship With Time

My relationship with time
is that I am always trying to create more of it.
It used to be an argument with the clock
but the clock always won.

We have all agreed
to live by the clock
dividing our days and nights
into 24 pieces of 60 minutes each.

And yet some of us
seem to get so much more done
in the time we are given.

What allows a Mozart to write 41 symphonies in 35 years? (A complete set of his compositions takes up 180 compact discs!)
What allows a John Coltrane to change the course of jazz and release 24 albums in 12 years?

An intensity
a sense of purpose
a focused use of the limited time we are given

Now my relationship with time is more of a negotiation -
how to steal an hour from sleep
so I can be more awake,
how to be more efficient in the hours
that make up this conscious journey.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Passion Party #449 - A New Chapter

What does it take
to start a new chapter?

The birth of a child,
or perhaps a new job,
or finally receiving
the thing you've been after?

Open your eyes
and open your heart -
you don't need to be brilliant
or gifted or smart

You don't need an oracle,
prophet or sage -
Perhaps all I have to do
is turn the page.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Passion Party #448 - Game Changer

I got on a train on Sunday.
We boarded the Expo Line at La Cienega
and 30 minutes later we were in downtown Los Angeles
and 15 minutes after that we were at Disney Hall,
eating a picnic lunch in the garden,
the sound of Bandera music
wafting over the wall from the band at the
Fiesta Broadway four blocks away.

On the ride home
we stopped at the Exposition Park Rose Garden,
and joined the other families wandering about
amongst the acres of the most wonderful roses, totally in bloom.
Exposition Park is a grand city park, like you find in Great Cities
filled with museums, gardens, fountains
and people, all kinds of people
enjoying the day together.

Then we rode home,
and dreamed of when the train reaches Culver City,
and then the Santa Monica Beaches,
and I thought,
"We live in a great city."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Passion Party #447 - When Computers Die

Staring longingly at the empty desk
it feels as bad as a friend dying, maybe worse
it is like a small bomb exploded
wiping out pieces of my memory.
It is like an addict, suddenly cut off from his drug.

All those documents I don't need
but knew were always there anyway.

The hardest part is picking up the phone
to tell people that my computer is not working
and - oh my god -
they have to call me on the phone if they want to talk to me.

My reliance on this machine scares me -
this electronic storage unit -
this keeper of memories and music.
7 days spent without my computer
I lived to tell the tale:
thank you for inventing back-up drives
and smart technicians.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Passion Party #446 - If Money Is My Friend

I will treat you with respect
I will hold you loosely
and be proud of having you around.

I want you to stay with me,
I will not make you disappear.
I have everything I need, and now
I want to see you thrive and grow.

We will have fun together
We will be accountable to each other
I will be dependable and supportive
and in the end, we both win.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Passion Party #445 - What Money Has Taught Me

Money has energy and should be handled with care.
Money is not good or bad, it is what I do with money that is good or bad.
If I pursue money, it will run away from me.
Money is willing to give, if I let it.

If money could speak to me, it would say:
- Don't be greedy
- Don't hold me too tight
- Never regret paying people what they are worth
- Expect the flow of money to continue, but be prepared for it to stop
- I am here to support you
- Always carry cash... you never know.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Passion Party #444 - Listen

I am here today
to listen and learn
to continue my human experience.
My goals and plans
mean very little
and can be blown aside
by the merest distraction.

Listen -
the heart pumping blood
though my veins
this fragile shell I call body

I am here to learn
to collect lessons about pain and love
to listen with compassion and
without judgment

and let that internal voice
shake loose the ego
release the one who wants to fix everything
and grab hold of the one that says
"How can I love you more?"

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Passion Party #443 - Checking In

I need to speak with you
not because things are so bad
be because things are so good.

Because we can spend a day in love together
after being a couple for 25 years

Because the more specific I am
the more successful I am in getting what I ask for.

Today my biggest fear
is that I will sabotage my success
with old behavior.
It is uncomfortable getting what you ask for
questions of worthiness and integrity arise
And so I need you
to hold my hand
and tell me it's more than okay:
it is just harvesting
the seeds that have been planted.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Passion Party #442 - Surrender

We are taught at a young age
never to give up.
Try, try again.

But maybe surrender is not such a bad thing.
Perhaps giving up allows me to move on
to the next item on Life's agenda.

Like the small country that goes to war
knowing that when it surrenders
reparations will follow,
the universe will honor me when I stop the battle:
when I stop "trying" and start "doing".

Perhaps "I surrender"
really means
"I don't know everything"
"I can't do everything"
"My way is not working".

Surround yourself with love.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Passion Party #441 - Serve More People

Being a waiter won't make you wealthy.
Being a restaurant owner that serves thousands of people can make you wealthy.
Being McDonalds and serving BILLIONS can make many people wealthy.

Serving people creates abundance
Serving people creates happiness
Serving people creates purpose
Serving people creates passion

It can start with an idea
or an activity
or a song
or a design
and then...
it's a question of: How many people will it touch?
How well does it serve it's purpose?
How well do you serve your purpose?
How can you serve more people?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Passion Party #440 - Magical City

I live in a magical city
where the sun constantly shines
and they are always busy
building more roads to help me
speed from here to there.

A city where one night I can drive for 30 minutes
and be in a bedroom community
at the edge of the entertainment industry
and for the price of two drinks
see a guitarist that played with Benny Goodman,

And the next night I can drive for 30 minutes
and be in a ghostly downtown
filled with architectural delights
lit with neon colors and searchlights,
arrive at a loft in Little Tokyo
that feels imported from Manhattan
and for the price of two drinks
see a 25-year-old guitarist that plays like Pat Metheny.

Leaving the club at 11PM,
driving through streets littered with homeless
and visions of countless car commercials,
the city sparkled and said,
"Ignore the 3-car accident on the 10,
take surface streets".

Monday, April 9, 2012

Passion Party #439 - The Power Of Gratitude

I used to think
Asking for help was weakness
and showing thanks was weaker still
Admitting a second time
that I cannot do this alone.

But now I see
the power of gratitude
It colors my sky
infusing my life with
joy and camaraderie.

I wake up in the morning
thankful that my feet touch the floor
Another day on this earth
The sun will kiss my skin
My eyes will view dawn's arrival

It is true
I cannot do this alone
and gratitude
is the cornerstone of abundance.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Passion Party #438 - Education in a Google World

More and more it seems
it is Google's world
and I just live in it.

The old teaching method of rote memorization
becomes meaningless when The Oracle is always on.
"Who fought The War of 1812?"
can be answered in a nanosecond.
Why cram my brain with useless facts?

Computers are made for storage
the human brain is made for processing.
Today's education needs to teach
how to solve interesting questions like,
"What makes me different?"
"What should I do next?"
"What makes a great leader?"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Passion Party #437 - Just Say No

The majority of my day
consists of finding solutions to problems;
finding a way to say yes.

There is value in finding the "yes"
when others are saying "no"
but it is just as important
to say no when it is time to say no.

It may be a matter of prioritization
or allotting time
or knowing my limits
or saying no so that I create the space
to say yes to the next person I meet.

Saying no is painful
because I want to be loved.
Saying no is powerful
when it comes from a place of
clarity - knowledge - truth.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Passion Party #435 - Not Knowing

I woke up today
not knowing what will happen.

This fear of the unknown
made my mind race,
but what is there to fear?

This is a case where I know what I don't know
and I can act accordingly.

Today is a day like any other
a day full of opportunity.
It is not for me to know things that are out of my control.
I just have to show up,
be willing to do the work,
and keep in touch with my heart.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Passion Party #434 - Plan Vs. Intention

I can create the most elaborate plan
and it can turn to dust in a second.

Plans rarely survive contact with reality.

Intention will carry me through
when my plans fail.
When my intention is clear
When I know my purpose
and share it with others
the correct path will appear.

What is my intention for today?
To be present
to be loving
to serve others
to earn money by sharing my talents.

I need to get rid of the life I planned
to get to the life
the Universe intends me to have.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Passion Party #433 - The New American Dream

Be remarkable
Be generous
Create art
Make judgment calls
Connect people and ideas
...and we have no choice but to reward you.
-Scott Godin (from "Linchpin")

Monday, March 5, 2012

Passion Party #432 - Be More Human

On my first recording date I had the honor or working
with the great jazz drummer, Billy Higgins.
We were sitting in the control room, listening back
to one of the tracks we had just finished.
It sounded great: note perfect, vibrant, alive.
Then the engineer said,
"You know, the tempo sped up. The song ends faster than it began."
And Billy said,
"So what? What do you think we are - machines?"

We are not machines
and the more we standardize
and follow instructions
the less human we become.

My job is to be more human
more connected
more flexible
more resilient
more passionate.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Passion Party #431 - Be The Present

What is the best way to celebrate a birthday?
Give yourself
the gift of you.

Love what is
and be open to the next opportunity.
Be the present:
This extraordinary now
will create
an incredible future

Monday, February 27, 2012

Passion Party #430 - Honing Your Vision

Just as a craftsman needs to work with the most effective tools
I need to sharpen my vision every day.

Writing it out
reading it every week
sharing it with those I love.

Making it sharper
more efficient
more focused
the thought becomes reality.

And the more complete the picture
the more I see where I want to go
the clearer the path becomes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Passion Party #429 - Full Heartedness

I know I am in the right place
when I play with a full heart.

This full-heartedness
leads me to unusual places
where giving is common
and sharing joy is contagious.

Whether I am with 6000 people
or two people
the spirit is the same.
Trusting my heart
listening to my heart
the doubts recede
and decisions are easy.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Passion Party #428 - That's What Friends Are For

To beckon
To cajole
To check in with
To support
To be there when you're down or troubled
To share the triumphs
To share the fears
To share the joys
To share thanks

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Passion Party #427 - The Dance of Life

Every tragedy carries within it some illumination.
Every happiness carries some sorrow.
Every triumph reflects a struggle
and every defeat carries the kernel of success.

This is the dance of life
it is learning
it is a willingness to look at all sides of a situation
and not be afraid
to feel
to take responsibility
to take the next step
to move on.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Passion Party #426: Money - Trust - Relationship - Happiness

These four words
so simple
so powerful
and how they fit together
is open to interpretation

Which comes first?
Which comes last?
Are the four words even linear?

Many people think you need money to get happiness
Many people think you need money for people to trust you
Many people think you need money to be in a relationship

But what if money comes last?
Maybe relationship comes first.
Money is a means to an end
Happiness comes from the relationships we develop
relationships build trust
and trust creates happiness.
Money is just a by-product of the process.
Relationship - Happiness - Trust - Money - Relationship...
and around it goes.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Passion Party #425 - Big Questions

Big questions take time to answer
and in Gustav Mahler's symphonies
most every answer takes 70 - 90 minutes.

There is something inherently ironic
that in Mahler's search for Truth (with a capital T)
he would find the need,
not to sit silently on a mountaintop,
but the need to muster hundreds of musicians under his baton
to play out these philosophical discussions.

"Whence do we come?" he is quoted as asking Bruno Walter, a fellow conductor.
"Whither does our road take us?
Why am I made to feel that I am free while yet I am constrained within my character, as in a prison?"

The answer to Mahler's never-ending questions
often came from nature, from the birds or the Alpenhorns.
His "why?" is often answered by "why not?"

This week three more symphonies (#7, 8 and 9)
three more evenings
we'll continue the search
and ask more questions
and I will enjoy the ride.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Passion Party #424 - Mahler-Palooza

Some say Mahler is an acquired taste
but I took to his music immediately
when I was introduced to it.

Although he wrote in a Post-Romantic style, in many ways he was the first truly 20th Century composer.

A few words used to describe Mahler in Harold Schonberg's "The Lives of the Great Composers":
eternal questing
seeking and searching
inability to come to terms with society
guilt complex
doubt and anxieties
an "obsessive neurotic"
a psychic weakling
a sentimentalist
a "manic depressive"

In other words, the first 20th Century Schizoid Man.

"Only when I experience do I compose -
only when I compose do I experience."
- Gustav Mahler

The Los Angeles Philharmonic, under the direction of their 30-year old conductor Gustavo Dudamel, is performing "The Mahler Project", all 9 symphonies (plus the Adagio from the 10th) in a three-week time span.

I, of course, have to go.
I will bask in 7 symphonies in the course of the next 14 days, including the rarely performed Symphony #8 which asks for an orchestra and chorus of 1000 performers.

Over the years this overwhelming amount of music
has spoken to my heart
led me into marriage
and charted points in my mental joy and anguish.

Mahler died at the age of 51 in 1911.
His last completed score (Symphony #10: Adagio) was completed in 1910.
His music, and his life, bridges the last Millennium.
Two years later, Schoenberg performed "Pierrot Lunaire".
Three years later, Stravinsky performed "The Rite of Spring".
Mahler's symphonies certainly led the way, consciously or unconsciously, for these composers.

Mahler was a crazy diamond.
I look forward to spending time studying the facets,
watching them shine.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Passion Party #423 - Three Day Getaway

This is why you work so hard
This day of leisure
vacationing in Paradise
without getting on a plane
Three days of taking care of just myself
and my wife
our bodies
so in need of repair
our minds
so in need of a cleaning
Not blanking out
just turning off the noise
exercise and conscious eating
and being together.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Passion Party #422 - Compromise

Somehow in our society
compromise has become a bad word.
"My way or the highway" has become the
Standard Operating Procedure.
Cars have Personal Climate Control
so driver and passenger
need not negotiate on temperature.
Beds come with Firmness Control Numbers
so husband and wife
need not negotiate on sleeping conditions.

We strive for convenience
not compromise
Rather than the pursuit of happiness
we are in pursuit of personal comfort

What do we lose
in embracing the technologies of comfort?
If we no longer need compromise on the easy stuff,
what about the important issues?
Compromise is a skill
and like all skills
it needs to be nurtured and developed
or it will atrophy from lack of use.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Passion Party #421 - I'm Not So Different From My Dad

He got his start in the Sheet Metal Business
and soon he knew he had to be his own boss.
He did not love the sheet metal business
He saw it as a way to make money
improve his life
take care of his family
and be able to live well.

I got into the Mortgage Business
and soon I knew I had to be my own boss.
I did not love the mortgage business
I saw it as a way to make money
improve my life
take care of my family
and be able to pursue my creativity and dreams.

The difference is
my dad was consumed by his business.
It meant everything to him.

I built a business designed to give me
financial security and freedom to pursue my passion.
I may not get really rich financially
but my life is incredibly rich
in passion - love - friendship - creativity.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Passion Party #420 - No Limits - No Expectations

Certainly life has natural limits.
No one lives forever.
A tree does not grow to the sky.
But the human mind and human potential has no limits
Every time someone says "You can't do that",
all you have to do is search for a while
to find someone that has already done it,
and then you know it is possible.

Couple this belief in having no limits
with a lack of expectations
and you get powerful movement.
The voice that says, "It won't work" is momentarily silenced
by "Let's see what happens".
You won't know the result in advance
but isn't hat what life is about?
Living today with
no limits -
no expectations.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Passion Party #419 - After Thanks

After I give thanks
and tell someone how grateful I am
the most valuable thing I can give
is my time
and my talent.

It can be as big as spending a day at the food bank
or as simple as taking a less fortunate friend to lunch
or taking the thing I am best at
and giving it away for a day.

Imagine if everyone in the world agreed
to give 10% of their time and talent.
2 hours and 15 minutes a day
or 36 1/2 days a year
of just helping others.

It would be a different world.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Passion Party #418 - Why? vs. How?

When we were kids
every question was "Why?".
Why is the sky blue?
Why do I have to brush my teeth?
Why do the stars twinkle at night?

Then our questions turned to "How?".
How do you make breakfast?
How do I tie my shoes?
How do you drive a car?
And how does the engine work?

Schools are filled with how.
Jobs are filled with how.
We get so filled up with How
we often forget Why.

But the passion is in the why:
that is where the power lies.
Why are you doing what you are doing?

If you have a strong enough why
you can always find the how.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Passion Party #417 - The Welcome Mat

Sometimes it is the smallest things
that make the biggest difference.
A single rose in a simple vase
Allowing someone to get in front of you on the freeway
A shoe shine

Today it was my wife, returning from the store
with a new door mat
that says,
and now I get to do just that
every time I go in and out our front door.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Passion Party #416 - Sixty

Sixty years
of waking up
taking in the sweet smell of morning
another deep breath
an opening of my heart

Who would have thought
life could be this good at this age.
This Age.
How strange.
When I was young I had trouble imagining life at 50
much less 60
but now, looking at my mom as she approaches 90 this year
I see a different view from this side of the lens.
Only 2/3 of the way through life
this short span we are given on earth
and surely i have another 33.3%
or more
to give - get - and love.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Passion Party #415 - It Came Upon The Midnight Clear

An evening of carols,
peace, love and a clear night
the stars twinkling over Los Angeles
not a common sight.

The message
not one of miraculous birth
but one of kindness, brotherhood
and of good will to all men
a time of caring for our sisters
making our amends

But with the woes of war
our world has suffered long
We dream to hear the angels sing
as we live two thousand years of wrong.

The love song that the angels bring
is drowned out by man's noise and strife.
If we could hear the song they sing
then love might steer the course of life.

Perhaps, for more than one night,
we can quiet our voices
listen, and give back
the song which now only angels sing.

(Thanks to Edmund H. Sears)