AUTHOR | SPEAKER | PHILOSOPHER | DESIGNER
Happy New Year! I wish you and your loved ones a beautiful 2012. Now that the holiday season is behind us, we are given a fresh beginning. I love using this new year as a challenge to make it the best year of our lives.
Once when I was interviewed in a newspaper, I was asked what were my New Year resolutions and I said I didn’t have any. This year I have decided to enjoy every golden moment with Peter and make each hour a happy one that will be stimulating and celebratory. Test me a year from now and let me know how I score.
Peter and I were toasting each other at breakfast with orange juice at a restaurant in New York City over Christmas and the waitress asked what we were celebrating. Peter smiled, “Life. Being Alive. Being here. Being healthy.” I added, “We always celebrate because the more you do, the more reasons you have to observe occasions with ceremonies and respect and rejoicing.”
Embracing each new day with an open, loving heart is a victory and I believe it is the best possible way to live. 2011 was an exciting year for me for many reasons, but the most significant was having my book accepted by my publisher and the joy of writing the essays. Next in significance was the marking of my turning 70. As shocking as it still is to me to have reached this mature age so fast, now that I’m here, it isn’t so bad as it sounds. Old age IS a victory and is cause for celebration. Every single day should be lived with passion and focus. Because I was writing my book as I was soul-searching about my seventy years of life, I intensified my commitment to living as authentic a life as is humanly possible. I became acutely aware just how important it is for me to work hard, and as I’m trying to improve my mind, to be mindful of all the enormous gifts I’ve received from other.
One of the happiest times in December was my traditional luncheon celebration with my dear friend and literary advisor, my agent Carl Brandt. This ritual continues to inspire my writing and reinforces my dedication to devote my energies to writing books that will help my readers to live more beautifully with greater joy and appreciation. I’m grateful you have reached out to me to let me know I am continuing to make a difference in your lives and the lives of your family and friends. I feel the blessings every day as I write.
The first essay in my new books is about optimism – I Choose to Remain Optimistic. It’s easy to be a pessimist. It doesn’t require any discipline, character or effort. Remaining optimistic, however, like happiness, requires hard work and is an achievement. Being in honest touch with our emotions, living the truth, seeking wisdom and doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason requires extraordinary inner resources and no matter what, is the only way to live fully and well.
Let this new year challenge your better angels and see how well you can stay on a straight path toward transformation, choosing to remain an optimist. You and I are not alone in our personal struggles, our challenges and our heart aches. The good in each of our lives is so abundant and, while we can, we must build our inner resources up so what is more difficult to accept, we will do so willingly.
Once, the Buddha performed a miracle. He planted a toothpick in the ground. It grew and grew into a giant tree with jewels on it. Apparently, when the jewels radiated a certain light, all the people who experienced this sight became temporarily clairvoyant. Other people were aware what they were thinking. Imagine! You immediately become mindful of not thinking anything negative. Other people might be thinking something unconsciously that might be negative.
Paint the thoughts in your mind with many beautiful pictures. The last words Steve Jobs spoke were, “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” He looked up over his wife and children and was in awe. Just try to imagine how beautiful our lives can become if we are modest in our lives and can say, “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow” often and with great reverence.
I want to be in awe and I want to be modest. I read an obituary recently that made me smile. An architect that had been the right-hand man to a famous architect was interviewed by a journalist and asked what he wanted to be remembered for. “My modesty.” An experimental psychologist, Robert Ader, who was among the first scientists to show how our mental processes influence our body’s immune system changed modern medicine. He clearly proved the mind-body link and called his field of research psychoneuroimmunology. He understood that meditation helps reduce arterial plaque, close social bonds improve cancer survival, and people under stress catch more colds. Placebos, he discovered, work on humans as well as non-humans. He told his daughter, a psychology researcher, “I just didn’t know any better.” She said that her father’s sense of modesty had been at the core of his curiosity as a scientist. He told her, “I didn’t know the immune system wasn’t supposed to be connected to the brain.” Dr. Ader said his breakthrough that began in 1975 was “scientific serendipity.”
I quoted a great reality from the genius Albert Einstein in my book, “If we knew what we were doing, we wouldn’t call it research.” Let us together be open and curious. Let us also believe in ourselves. Let’s think for ourselves and know our truths. Be one to say, “I just didn’t know any better.”
Peter and I spent a magical week in New York over Christmas. We experienced the wonders all around us and inside our hearts. We heard 300 people singing our favorite Christmas carols at St. Bart’s; we went to experience the majestic Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center with it’s one million lights; we watched the ice skaters, saw family and friends and felt the peace on earth Christmas morning when the city became a quiet, sacred place.
We went to see Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse,” the fable of optimism, nobility and happiness. I fell in love with Joey, the horse that reminds us how much we rely on animals and the land. The visual beauty of the land and sky is powerful as is a scene where the British cavalry in World War I moved in to ambush German troops – the soldiers on horseback in a wheat field. This film will touch your heart and make you say, “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.”
Most sincere wishes for this new year to be the happiest, most productive and meaningful of your life so far.
Great love to you.
Love & Live Happy
Have you taken photos at one of Alexandra's events that you'd like to share? If so, you can email them to AStoddardInc@aol.com. Please be sure to include the names of those in the photo and where and when it was taken! We will try to include them on the website in the future.
Peter & Alexandra enjoying a visit from Hero.
Anna, Nicholas and Lily charging ahead!
Cooper at the beach in her mother's hat.
" When the snow bites and the wind stings, daffs are still one of my most favorite things" shared by Debbie in Virginia. Debbie wrote, "Alexandra, it was you that taught me to find beauty, design it's spirit, and share it's joy with others. This I share with Joy! with you and Peter."
A beautiful photo of Alexandra and Peter at their cottage, shared by Jim Hicks. Thank you Jim!
Figure It Out: A Guide to Wisdom
Please consider giving Peter's new book to family and friends for the holidays. Make checks for $25.00 per book to:
The Stonington Free Library
Peter Megargee Brown
87 Water Street
Stonington, CT 06378
Peter will pay shipping. Your contribution is 100% tax deductible.