AUTHOR | SPEAKER | PHILOSOPHER | DESIGNER
In April, 2002, just before going on a national book tour with Choosing Happiness: Keys to a Joyful Life, Peter and I went to a three-day conference in New York City sponsored by the Omega Institute, “The Heart of Happiness.” I took notes and was excited to think that finally people were going to think and teach us about the most important principle in life: happiness.
Omega believes in awakening the best in the human spirit. Their staff wrote a mission statement: “3 Steps Along the Path.” Finding the deep well of happiness within; letting it take root in our hearts; and then reaching out with compassion and spreading the seeds of optimism in a world hungry for peace and love.
The greatest gift each one of us can give to the world is hope – a hope born from our faith in goodness and meaningfulness of life. Share gratitude, healing and happiness with others.”
Last fall I was invited to teach at a conference at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, two hours from New York City, in beautiful rural country. The new “Heart of Happiness” three-day conference took place beginning this past October 16th through the 19th. Being faculty was thrilling because I admire the wisdom of the other speakers – Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, Martin Seligman, Elizabeth Lesser (co-founder of Omega, 27 years ago) and Iyania Vanzant.
The catalogue wrote eloquently about what is at the heart and soul of happiness: “Today, more than ever, we find ourselves searching for the kind of peace and contentment that will give us a steadiness of heart even in the midst of painful circumstances and difficult times – a deep inner joy that can sustain us through success or failure, strength or weakness, love or loss.”
Peter and I arrived on campus in time for dinner, before the evening speaker, Eckhardt Tolle, who spoke to us about “being still.” Readers of his book, The Power of Now, are inspired by his deep spiritual truths he teaches in clear words. We had dinner with Doug Von Koss, a “conference weaver” who came from San Francisco to introduce the faculty. He created community through a magical blend of chant, movements, poetry, and ritual. Joining us was Elizabeth Lesser, who told me she was approaching the subject of happiness from a different perspective in her talk the day after mine – a brilliant presentation.
Doug Von Koss enthusiastically introduced me. Back stage I gave him a piece of paper: “Let us all stand and hold hands in a continuous chain of love. Let there be happiness in my soul and let me share it with the world.” I asked him if he could put these final words to music. He was magical. We all ended up singing joyfully about our own happiness and the energy was vibrantly connecting, one to another in loving kindness.
I felt such unity. I felt so loved and loving, so connected. We were a community sharing ourselves, one to another. The entire conference was sacred. I was the first speaker Friday morning, ready to give my all and then participate fully in all the other talks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
I grew in depth and breath those glorious, celebrating days together. Time stopped. I felt like I was living in eternity. It was bittersweet to say goodbye on Sunday. Before we left, Michael Craft, the head of programming, invited us to join him in his office. “We’d love you to come back, Alexandra.” I’ve been invited to join the Omega community over Labor Day 2004!
I hope many of you will consider coming for a weekend of renewal, happiness and transformation. For me, this is the transition from summer to fall, a time to take stock, a time of new beginnings. Do think about this! Details will follow in the months ahead. I will be preparing for sixteen classroom hours. The theme will be BEAUTY. The title of my talks will be “Living a Beautiful Life.” I will speak about beauty from every possible perspective.
As you know, I don’t e-mail; however I love receiving your notes. Please keep them coming. Let me know what you feel I should talk about in the 960 minutes I will speak, considering time for breaks and conversation with you. This is an extraordinary opportunity for us to be together, to grow together, to learn from each other.
October was a watershed month, the culmination of 61 years on a guest for truth, goodness and beauty. We were able to spend time with Anna, Nicholas and Lily – our truly “grand” children.
I’m looking forward to beginning the month of November at a Happiness Weekend with friends in Stonington Village, sponsored by the Inn at Stonington. I’m happy to be giving a talk on my birthday in Florida where friends will come to help me celebrate, then off to Little Rock, Arkansas. I’m happy to speak in Utica, New York, to raise money for a hospice. (See Calendar Section for more details.)
HarperCollins will receive Things I Want My Daughters to Know on time November 15th. I will continue to write Time Alive and Grace Notes to Happiness. These are exhilarating days. We are happy with your thoughts and advice.
Our hearts are always full of gratitude over the season of Thanksgiving when we gather together to give thanks for the abundance in our lives. I wish you great happiness this season. I’m thankful for the blessings of you in my life.
Love and Live Happy,
Suggested Reading for the Month
The New American Spirituality: A Seekers Guide by Elizabeth Lesser, who "offers up a rich cornucopia of lessons for the soul ... a warm and fascinating account of a modern pilgrimage."
The Decoration of Houses $30 plus $5 shipping and handling.
A complete guide to Interior Design for everyone in detail with illustrations and a working index. No library should be without this most useful book.
Please use order form in Library Section
A New Look!
Living a Beautiful Life has a new cover. A memorable book to read, to have and to hold. This book has sold a million copies in hardcover. Now available, The new cover shows a tea celebration in Alexandra's charming cottage kitchen. Hardback $25.00 plus $5.00 s/h. Please send book orders and checks for this book to 87 Water Street, Stonington, CT 06378.
A Note about Roger Muhl,
My Favorite Artist.
Many of you have expressed an interest in this great artist’s work. I’ve been collecting Muhl paintings for 42 years. If you are interested in becoming a proud owner, please let me know. The prices range from lithographs to oils. Fax me at (212) 996-4625. Tell me your price range (lithographs are $1,400 and oils are $6,000 to $36,000). This one artist has brought great joy to the lives of hundred of collectors.
Try to remain mindful as the year moves toward the holidays. The real pupose is to love each other. When we're loving, everything falls into place.