February 2020

Dear Friends,

Happy Leap Year February!

This is the shortest month with the theme of love; but every four years we are given a bonus day. Ah, a bonus day. Not a bonus check, not a reward for work we have preformed, but a spiritual grace note. A great deal of our good fortune is undeserved -- imagine being born, being alive today, and being healthy and energetic enough to read, write, laugh, dance, pray, sing, and be you.

Happy New Year indeed. January has been a most fruitful, quality period for me to work on my new book. I’ve often said that I am happiest when I have a pen in my hand. Peter insisted I “write it down.” When I read something that leaps off the page, I write the author’s words on 4x6 file cards, a habit that began when I started to write my first book. I use my filing system to “write it down” when I learn insights and truths I need to remember written by other writers; I also write the seeds of ideas I have for my work on 4”x6” cards. Since the late 1960’s when I discovered my natural inclination to write, to take notes, to have a paper trail, I’ve been able to review my research. The entire month of January was a time of reflection and illumination.

The second week of the first month of this year 2020 I gave a talk in Mystic: Celebrating Happiness. Studying well-being lifts me up, encourages me to continue on my path to write and talk about how best to live as a human being. There are certain universal truths that flow forward twenty-five centuries, that sing true today: Happiness is our responsibility.

I found a consistent thread in all I reviewed in my research. The sages and wise thinkers throughout recorded history have been courageous, and have taught us that the human condition is not for us individuals to control. What is in our power is to control our mind. To be out of control is clearly to be out of our mind.

I’ve read many articles by contemporary writers who believe we are in a Post-happiness era. I refuse to go along with the gloom and doom that is so available on our wrist, and in front of our nose, in our hands, that can so quickly and effortlessly cause unhappiness.

Everyone I’m in contact with agrees we have to redefine what happiness is in reality. The prevailing view is that outside events control our “way of being.” If the instantaneous news from every dark corner of the world is breaking news, it could break us. Lasting, peaceful happiness is found inside our human heart and mind. The deeply compassionate, loving life on earth can flourish when we chose happiness as the way to be. We practice perfecting our mind to be healthy, positive, and wise.

My good friend Carl, my former literary agent and intellectual pillar and muse, ended his letters onward and upward and love. Today we face a dilemma of human spirit. The better our thoughts, the more peaceful our world. Onward and upward indeed. Love, yes, love. Now, inward and upward. More love.

Today let’s celebrate having a magical day as a gift of grace, a bonus day February 29th, a day when we look for the good. A bonus day when we have expansive freedom to reach out to the universe and accept our meaning for being born. On this magical day, we live in the present. Today, this day, is the day of our wildest dream.

As my almost-93-year-old friend Norma believes, she can live in bliss because she doesn’t internalize the world’s twenty-four-hour news cycles. Peter and I chose to live by the motto in Sanskrit “Participate with joy in the sorrows of the world.”

In this day of grace, visualize paradise in your soul. In the pre-dawn hours, you can light candles, meditate on a single flower, visualizing ii coming into being. Mr. Rogers in the moving film, “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” asked a journalist to take a moment and think about all the people who are responsible for you to have come into being.

I’m eternally happy to have Lao Tzu’s Tao te Ching as an essential part of my spiritual practice. “Free from desire, you realize the mystery … the supreme good is like water, … nourishes all things without trying to … the way to do is to be … empty and be full.”

If, in the mysteriously magic day, there are some unresolved thoughts that flow into conscious awareness, remember the flow of water. Pregnant with our daughter Brooke, after having a picnic with our older daughter next to a babbling, flowing brook, we came up with her name.

Our local bank has a 2020 calendar Clear Visions. In the month of July, on the 4th, my beloved husband Peter is next to me. This is true of my life since his body died September 25, 2014. My passion is to live passionately in love. Jesus taught the enduring truth: “The Kingdom of Heaven is within.” It was Mahatma Gandhi who taught us “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” By starting where we are today on this magic extra day, to live with beautiful thoughts, imagine we’re starting from scratch. The only way to improve our minds is to choose happiness as the best way to live well: through meditation, time spent in awe and wonder, creating our own ways to think the thoughts that are most “true, good and beautiful.”

The January Happiness Retreat is here, now. I’m deeply grateful to all of my readers, friends and the inn for providing such an inspiring place for these deeply meaningful retreats.

Please consider coming March 11th and 12th to gather together to further our important mission. In our printed menu at Breakwater for our candlelight banquet after the seminar I always have a quote.

“Together, as light bearers, our inner transformation will add light and love to all whose lives we touch.”

Happy February. I agree with the Dalai Lama’s insight for Valentine’s Day 2020: “The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence.”

I send you great love and gratitude this wonderful month of love.

Love & Live Happy,