July 2021

Happy July Fourth celebration!

Dear Friends,

I love you!

Happy July!

The newsletters for June, July and August are a bit different than usual, because my literary assistant Elissa gave birth to a baby boy! She is taking some time off to care for her new baby, and for these three months, I am sharing some previously unpublished essays from my collection Choosing Beauty.

Elissa will also not be monitoring my emails during this time, so if you’d like to reach me, please write to me at:

Alexandra Stoddard
87 Water Street
Stonington, CT 06378

I will see you again in September for my usual newsletter!

Love & Live Happy,

“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.”
—James Boswell

The hydrangea forest is in full bloom.


I love to play with a magnetic desk toy called a Bucky Ball. It’s the size of a lollypop, consisting of roughly 105 BB-size beads that attach to metal objects. While this toy doesn’t necessarily draw me to my desk to work, the alluring metal ball never fails to get me to play with it once I am seated.

When we play with magnets, we learn that the beads either attract to one another, or they don’t. You figure out the puzzle. Every single BB-like bead energetically clicks together. They connect, and when they do, it is powerful.

Before the pandemic, I would bring my desk with me and randomly hand the ball to people. Young children are the most wondrous, rapt in curiosity, because this is utter magic if they have no knowledge of physics. Pure, unrestrained joy.

Holding these connecting beads in our hands is fun indeed, but it is also a metaphor for our attractions to people, places, and things wherever there is magnetism throughout our lifetime.

There is something deeply mysterious and mystical about two souls meeting. Some feel this connection is destiny or fate; others feel it is a random coincidence. Dr. Carl Jung understood certain soul connections’ synchronicity, believing that simultaneous coincidences or events are indeed meaningfully related, evidence between the mind and matter, between the soul and material objects. Often, we tend to meet people who are interested in similar things. People who love the opera meet. Dog owners walking their dogs meet at the dog park. Espresso lovers meet while buying coffee beans at a coffee shop. Sailors who love the deep blue meet on the water. Hiking in the woods, a man I know met his major mentor.

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”
—John F. Kennedy

Peter and I have a connection that transcends time and space.

Whenever the connections are positive, they are fortunate. What are the forces that cause the timing of both being in the same place at the same time? What are the chances?

When we get to know two lovers or lifelong partners, inevitably we ask, “Where did you meet?” “When did you meet?” Leave the “Why” to the unanswerable question.

I don’t believe everything happens for a reason, but whenever we meet someone, and our heart is open to listen and show genuine interest, there can be a sincere seed of a connection that has potential to grow.

“Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.” —George Eliot

Every single encounter we have throughout each day of our lives is an opportunity to learn, to enlarge our compassion and elevate our conscience. We are spiritual beings temporarily on earth. Our bodies are mortal. Outside the oldest church in the English-speaking world, St. Martin’s in Canterbury, England, is a welcome sign: “We do not have all the answers. We are on a spiritual journey.”

The magnitude of wondrous goodness awakens when we listen to the stillness within. As we connect with others on a transcendent, internal spirit realm, not on an outer material level, inner peace washes through us because of our mutual understanding.

Peter promised me a rose garden, gave it to me, and the joy is ours to share.

Because physical death is our only certainty, we are all in the same existential reality, headed in the same direction. None of us knows the circumstances of when or where or how we will die. Who is certain what will happen to our essence? After we are no longer breathing, our usefulness is behind us. Will our earthly lifetime, born human with a free will, have made a difference? Have we made heartful connections with others in deeply meaningful ways that will live on? Will our life serve as an example of goodness, decency, and honor, offering inspiration to future generations? At the end of our lifetime, will we have lived up to our full potential in the time we were allotted? Will we be at peace, knowing we expressed our love and appreciation genuinely and freely to our family, friends, and community? Will we have played our part to care for our fragile planet, our earthly home we all share? 

“Life is as fleeting as a rainbow, a flash of lightning, a star at dawn. Knowing this, how can you quarrel?” —Buddha

When we choose beauty over ugliness, love over hate, when we focus on cultivating our character in all our relationships with others, we will be a force for good. When we take responsibility for our essential well-being and the quality of our connections to others and to nature, we embrace life fully.

When I see the light in you, I illuminate the ever-flowing stream of light also in my soul. The serendipitous encounters wherever we show up outside our own private worlds of retreat will add grace-notes of connection. We discern, and when there is a true connection, we know. We can and will be fooled, we will put our trust and faith in hypocrites, but not often. When we make mistakes in a person’s character, we burnish our own. We have a teacher of how not to live.

Charlie's snapshot of us savoring our blue hydrangea garden.

It’s always easier to get into things than to get out of them. The company you keep is a direct mirror of your soul’s core values. The soul has a code of ethics that is intuitively felt and known.  An excellent test of a soulful connection is whether we feel more uplifted and openhearted after our meeting, no matter how brief the encounter. When I was reading at a Starbucks one day, an earth angel appeared quietly with a glass of ice water: “This will refresh the tickle in your throat.” I was completely unaware. I had been coughing, rapt in my reading, unaware of others’ presence. Good intentions shine through someone’s “active virtue.” The ice water was holy water to me at that moment. Another time, on a train, my pen exploded and someone smiled, handing me a hand wipe.

Pay mindful attention to how you relate to others whose paths you cross. When we understand synchronicity, we accept that the teacher appears because we are receptive to listen and to learn. To learn is to bring out what is inside us in our nature. The people we are drawn to encourage us to work hard to burnish our innate talent and potential and to create. When we know their intention is to help us, we so willingly can accept their advice and counsel.

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” —Henry James

We influence everyone we meet, and we are affected reciprocally by others. Even if we cannot understand what it is like to be in another person’s skin, our greatest gift is our love and acceptance.

Being true to our soul requires courage as well as all the other virtues to support pillars of strength and inner determination. The beauty of all our close connections is the foundation of our being.  

When our souls illuminate us with this knowing, intuitively we appear at the exact axis point of connection. The soul has no time frame. When you arrive two hours late, this could be the perfect and only time to have two souls reveal themselves. Had you arrived “on time,” you would not have been in a position of powerful connection and opportunity.

Peter is always with me.

One of the most significant moments of my life came about from a series of synchronicities. Six weeks after my husband Peter, my other half, died holding my hand, I attended a climate change conference at the Dalai Lama Center at MIT in Boston, where His Holiness was an attendee. That night, I stayed at the Taj Hotel, formerly the Ritz Carlton, where Peter and I had stayed for decades. I had planned to see the Dalai Lama speak the following day at the Garden with a dozen or so friends from Stonington Village in Connecticut. It turned out the Dalai Lama and I were both guests at the same hotel, in the same elevator bank.

As I was leaving the breakfast room, I walked toward an open elevator. The Dalai Lama and I encountered each other. I stepped away as he and his entourage walked into the lobby. Four hands became enveloped into one, and I was the first pilgrim he greeted. Our human touching met from a deeper place in our souls.

When we pay attention to all the signals and instincts that prompt our choices, there will be more and more synchronistic encounters. This one-on-one meeting with my living spirit guide lasted a few minutes in real time but has stretched into eternity in my heart, and it has expanded the essence of who I am and who I am becoming.

His Holiness is an enlightened, humble, human. In the Dalai Lama’s immediate and intimate presence, my consciousness was raised to new heights. Because he is a rare divine soul, he inspires all those who follow his teachings to live up to our own potential divinity. As we transform our consciousness, we can transcend into closer connection with enlightened souls.

After we unclasped hands, and in a jolly, relaxed, friendly farewell, he said, “Goodbye.” I’m left with this powerful goodness, his smile, a poignant experience of synchronicity, and his genuine love and compassion.

Being at the right place, at the exact moment of magnetic connection, is how you and I meet.


I believe in celebration and healing, not mourning and grieving. Life is continual change. Every living, sentient being has a life span. We all die who live. This is the promise of nature. The indescribable blessing to be alive, to be born with a soul, to have a conscience, to be fortunate to evolve and transform, is definitely cause for celebration.

Celebrations are shared with loved ones and people we choose to draw into our inner circle. Genuine gatherings to celebrate and recognize the present generations, alive and enjoying life’s opportunities to share the fullness of time, giving and receiving in fellowship, awaken our soul. We toast loved ones who have gone before us. Rather than grieve, celebrate lives who supported your journey, who are still a central part of your well-being, as you move ahead with your remaining time on this earth.

Healing is restorative. Our bodies respond intimately to our moods: the better, the more uplifting and cheerful, the healthier our cells. We must integrate our losses and lift ourselves up with gratitude. Our losses can be our teachers.

Loss is inevitable and will continue throughout the happiest times, as well as the most painful, challenging times, from birth to death. When someone you love dies, remember love never dies. Be as positive about death as you are about life, because death ends the cycle of birth. Just as we train our mind to be guided by our soul’s positive truth, death is as natural as breathing. When it is our time to shed our body, let it go naturally. While not in our control, a good death is a peaceful one, ideally at the end of an extraordinarily happy, productive life.

“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.”

Think of death as the only certainty. Prepare yourself for the time when you won’t be here. Leave a living will, love letters, and your detailed wishes if you can no longer make your decisions. You don’t want loved ones to be sad or to give up enjoying life fully. Just as your soul is all-knowing, I choose to believe that all the people I love who have died want me to thrive and be as happy as my courage permits me. When I remain true to myself, I feel closest to loved ones who have died before me. I have nothing to prove to anyone who watches over me from above.

Greeting the day on the Ocean House veranda.

From my deep experience with loss, I want to awaken a new day, to a rising sun, as Alexandra Stoddard. I choose to smile through my tears because the smile not only makes me feel better, it is a positive signal to family and friends that I am healing, accepting what I can’t change, and grateful for my times shared with my family and friends, some who were struggling to figure out how to cope with those same deaths.

My older brother had a heart condition most of his 57 years, dying after his fourth and final open-heart surgery. My baby brother died from taking his own life in his early thirties. The pain of what he experienced serving in Vietnam crushed his soul.

A friend who served in combat in Vietnam saw a young girl in a village who had a smile on her face and had a flower tucked behind her ear. We can always gain necessary strength from Choosing Beauty.

Having understanding friends who open their hearts to share in these healing times of raw vulnerability are sacred when fully lived. With our soul-spirit’s everlasting gratitude for the lives who have so deeply touched ours, celebrate their aliveness. They all experienced similar deaths of parents, siblings, a child, friends, and mentors. Their character, inspiration, love, and teachings urge us on to become stronger, not weaker. What have these heroes and great-souled people we admire and try to emulate taught us? Love life. Live to the hilt. Find ways to serve others. Be true. Be real. The baton is now in our hands.

Soul-healing is a privilege. Show up to honor people worthy of reverence. Healing goes both ways. As we give thanks in celebration, we heal. Think of gain, not loss. We gain in wisdom and understanding, strengthened for being reminded of all these meaningful old souls who have contributed their wisdom to our well-being. The more we flourish, the bigger significance our teachers will continue to have on us. Those who benefit from our example will indeed be pleasing to the gods. Healing is a process, and continues throughout our lives.

Celebrate vigorously. Be yourself. Heal on your own terms, in your own way. Let the tears roll. Inexplicably, they morph into happy tears.

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” —Dalai Lama

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” —Dalai Lama

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” —Aristotle