November 2005

Dear Friend

I write this newsletter post-Hurricane Wilma. Wherever we live, we all suffer when anyone else does. Peter and I were in Palm Beach when this slow-moving, dangerous hurricane progressed from a category 2 to a category 5 hurricane. Fortunately, we were able to evacuate, along with thousands of worried people at the airport.

We’ve all been through a lot with hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Our friends have suffered damage to their homes and boats, and millions of people have no electricity. Last week, the day after Wilma slammed into south Florida, we had a storm in New England, which brought heavy winds and flooding. As we stayed inside listening to classical music, cozy by a warm fire, my heart expanded in deep gratitude for the countless blessings in my life. I thought of all my friends who evacuated these brutal hurricanes. Some friends are homeless, having to start their lives over completely. I sat editing You Are Your Choices: 50 Ways to Live the Good Life due at my publisher’s office on November first. My great sense of spirit of place, Peter’s and my love of our old cottage, of each other, of our children and grandchildren, our friends, made me daydream about my love of life. So many of the people I care most about, besides my family, I’ve met because of my choice to write books. My literary agent, my editor, my assistant, my readers, all are so vitally important to my happiness. I spent some time thinking about the generosity and kindness of readers who take time to write me and let me know my books make a difference in their lives.

I went back on Channel 8 News on October 24th, thinking I was to talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and how color can lift our spirits in the fall and winter when we have less light. A male host smiled at me as he sat down to interview me, “Alexandra, I love your book. This is going to be fun.” Wow! I couldn’t believe the joy. Ted and I had a live on-air conversation about Time Alive: Celebrate Your Life Every Day that was thrilling. Ted asked me why Time Alive is a wake-up call. I responded that many people live as though life will go on forever. People have a tendency to think that this is a “dress rehearsal.” Others live in a state of emergency, rushing around trying to get through everything. Life is not a destination, it is a journey. We’re here for such a brief time alive; we need to celebrate every moment we are alive.

A New York City political figure feels he had a life-transformation when his college girlfriend died suddenly. The August of his senior year, the two were biking on Martha’s Vineyard when a passing truck clipped her handlebars; she fell and was crushed by the truck’s wheels. He’s reluctant to think that anything good could come from the tragic and pre-mature end of a bright life. His girlfriend’s death clearly galvanized him: “Going through the experience of having someone close to you die teaches you that you have only so much time on this earth to give your life meaning. Time is a very precious commodity. I don’t want to have regrets.”
I keep the famous three words of Joseph Campbell on my desk: Follow your bliss. Life on earth by any standard is fleeting. We’re only given so much time alive to give our lives meaning. Please don’t wait a moment to live the life of your dreams. Today is today. This is all we have, now. Right in the thick of things, in the aftermath of the last three hurricanes, we all pull ourselves up. We make the best of our lives now, in all circumstances. We reach out to loved ones who need inspiration and hope as they struggle to find meaning in unspeakable chaos, loss and sadness.

I sat next to a man at breakfast last week whose house is Naples was under water, whose boat was ruined. He told his wife with a smile, “We have to focus on all the good in our lives. Everyone is safe, we are healthy, and you know, Sue, we’re happy. This is where we are today.”

Thank you for your Emails, phone calls, and notes about Time Alive. Your encouraging words sustain Peter and me as we go back on tour. Our time loving up the cottage for the November Happiness Weekend on November 4th, 5th and 6th, 2005, has been fun.

I’ll be in Atlanta on my birthday November 8th. If you have any friends or family who can join me, we can share a piece of cake and celebrate my birthday together. Please continue to check my calendar to know where I am. Also, for those of you who want a “Mrs. Brown’s table,” call Levenger and tell the representative. The table is always available even though it is not always in every catalogue.

Remember to call Jeannine at The Lennox Hill Bookstore (212) 472-7170 or fax her at (212) 772-1790 to order personalized copies of Time Alive. I hope this book will be on your holiday gift-giving list. Jeannine will gift wrap each book and send it along if this simplifies things for you.

Thank you for all of your support and love. I send great love to you.

Love & Live Happy

PS: Recently, I received such a sweet letter. I thought of what Mark Twain once said, “Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy, you must have someone to divide it with.”

Letter from Jo:

I am writing to thank you for the contribution you have made to my life. I have collected and read, several times over, your books, and visited with you briefly at two of your book signings here in Louisville. My favorite of your books is Grace Notes. Since 1994 I have journaled a sentence or two each day – sometimes commenting on your grace notes, sometimes just noting what is happening in my life that day. What a delight I experience from year to year, as I observe my life growing and changing. My and your Grace Notes is a treasure beyond words.

Also, I want to thank you for being a role model for joy. You are truly an example of what Paul in the New Testament says to “Be joyful always.” You are chairwoman of the Joy Committee on my personal Board of Directors! You spread joy all over those who are with you in person or read your books. Your home, your decorating, your life, and even the colors you select and wear radiate joy and happiness.

May God bless your calling to live from your heart and to shine joy and happiness to our world that so desperately needs light. And thank you for the inspiration to me to do the same in my life.

Joyfully, Jo

The last of Alexandra's organic summer tomatoes that were feasted on at breakfast, lunch and dinner all summer season!

Some of Alexandra's late blooming Nikko blue Hydrangea and pink roses from the picket fence.

The cozy south living room interior of the cottage. Alexandra's favorite Roger Muhl painting is displayed over the mantle.

Nikko Blue Hydrangeas on the picket fence against the 18th Century doorframe of the cottage.

Happiness Weekend Planned for November!

Alexandra is looking forward to the upcoming Fall Happiness Weekend on the 4th, 5th and 6th of November. Call Anne at the Inn at Stonington for details on future events. The Happiness weekends are simply wonderful and enjoyed by all.

The beautiful artwork of Ruger Muhl

"Labaie de St. Tropez" lithograph. 21" x 28.5" Edition of 150. $1400 unframed.

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.

Mrs. Brown's Table

Good News! Levenger has brought the Mrs. Brown table back. Call toll free (800) 544-0880 to get their gorgeous complimentary catalogue.

Grace Note

Make this day the best day of your life so far. One well-lived day is a microcosm of a well-lived, happy, meaningful life.