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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Here Comes The Sun": A Story of "Hope"

Today, there are many wonderful charities that organize various "walks" to earn funding for their selected nonprofit organizations.

Years ago, in Rochester, NY (my hometown), circa 1971, my sister Pam and her high-school friend Joyce marched in the "Hike for Hope," which was then a charity walk for the then-medical big-line ocean cruiser that was essentially a massively floating hospital on the water.

At the time, the "Hike for Hope" was a pretty big deal. In fact, Rochester's turn-out that year was legendary, as it became the largest documented march in "Hope's" history.

I wanted to go, but I was too young. Although I did participate in something called the "Walk for Water" the following year, I don't recall exactly which charity that particular march served.

However, I do remember the water that poured down as rain during the monumental "Hike for Hope."

And I remember that rain clearly, because I felt so sad how it drenched the noble "Hikers."

Actually, all of Rochester was upset about the substantial downfall of rain.

But as the old saying goes, none of that dampened anyone's spirits. And to quote another maybe more applicable saying (of the era), the "Hikers," thousands of them, "kept on "truckin'."

Meanwhile, I kept on truckin' - with my parents, Herbie P. and Frances, in our green 1969 Pontiac Catalina, as we decided to set out and find Pam and Joyce in the rain, during one of the largest charity group events that ever took place.

I really didn't understand how we would be able to scout out my sister and her friend amidst the literal "sea of people," but that posed little threat to my parents, especially my Mom. She was determined to find them...despite the rain...and even a little opposition from my Dad.

"Frances," he said to her as I listened from the back seat. "We're not gonna' find those girls. Are you kidding me?!"

"Keep driving," my Mom instructed, ever so calmly.

Meanwhile, all three of us were simply amazed and what we did see. The dedication, loyalty and heart and soul of "all those kids," as my Dad put it, was just awe-inspiring.

Neither of us had any conception of what to expect as we commenced this journey to find Pam and Joyce in the wet masses that were soon surrounding us.

But now all that mattered was somehow, we were going to cheer on "all those kids," by offering the only support that we had at our disposal. And for the moment, that meant maybe playing some music.

As our Pontiac continued to nuzzle through the Hikers and the rain, with the windshield wipers, flumping, at full-speed, I asked my Dad to turn on the radio. At first he declined, but then my Mom doubled that request. "Turn it on," she said to my Dad.

He then reluctantly did so, and as if on cue, we heard the song, "Here Comes The Sun," by The Beatles.

"Oh, Herbie," my Mom said to my Dad, "Turn the music up - and open your window!," she added, as she opened the one on her passenger side.

"What?!," my Dad objected. "I'm not opening nothing. It's pouring out there."

"Do it," she insisted. "Look at those kids. They're soaked out there...and they're walking for something important. So, turn up that music...and open your window!"

That said, in seconds, my Dad did as my Mom requested. He opened his window after she opened hers (both by manual power), and out from our two-door sedan, poured the beautiful sounds of "Here Comes The Sun" to do battle with the pouring rain that was attempting to again, dampen the spirits of the Hikers.

But no way.

When "all those kids" heard that music coming from our car, with the little kid in the backseat and the two older adults in the front, they went wild with emotion.

We never did find Pam and Joyce, but we heard from their thousands of peers, as they shouted, one after the other, "Yeah, man!" "Thank you, Sister." "You're alright, Brother!" "Peace and Love to you!"

And on and on they went - as we drove on and on through the crowd, which was now melted - not by the rain - but by a little bit of Love that came shining through from a slow-moving vehicle operated by a sweet little man, a fast-thinking woman, and the illuminating sounds of very "en-Light-ening" music.

(Click on the link below to hear "Here Comes The Sun" by the one and only Beatles.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Live, Share and Shine!

I love money and all that is material, because I believe that money is a good thing - when employed properly - and when shared.

Essentially, iconic pop star Madonna was right when she sang years ago that we live in a "material world." We, as humans, should rule that world. Logic, history and science dictates the reality that humans are superior beings. Yet there are strings attached. Spiritual strings.

All the "things" that we desire, such as fancy cars, lavish homes, and all the other what comedian George Carlin used to call "stuff," is worthless unless we have the Love of others, self-Love (and not the selfish kind; but a true respectful Love for oneself), and the highest Love of all: the Love of God - who IS Love.

But we are frequently tested in our human tangiable world, as we have been granted free will and choice. We are challenged in understanding that success, in any form, is Love itself. There is a silent rule of the Universe (the You-and-I-In-Verse) that says, "Whatever we concentrate on, expands. Focus on the good, and things get better. Focus on the bad, and things get worse." This does not mean to turn the other way when we see pain, or disease, unhappiness or empty pockets. But when confronted with such issues, we must make every attempt to concentrate on the positive aspects of the situation at hand; the healthy parts of us, instead of the ill effects; our savings, instead of our bills. In this way, the positive things will soon outweigh the negative.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case when challenges arise. Instead, many of us focus on the less-than positive aspects of living, beginning with our limitations - instead of our potential. From the day we are born we are taught to think less of ourselves in a large frame of doubts and narrowmindedness. Somewhere along the line, humanity lost its way. We believe we must struggle and suffer for any good that is to come into our lives; that success may only be achieved by paying some burdenous amount of "dues." Yet, this is backward thinking and, instead, we must be forward thinkers.

Our accomplishments don't make us better people; they only enhance what we already are; and what we already are is great. We spend (in every "sense"/"cents" of the word(s)) so much time trying to get happy that we forget to be happy. If we look first to our hearts - where Love lives - all the other stuff usually takes care of itself, and we still have the courage and stregnth to begin again when the world lets us down.

We can't wait for life to deliver its rewards; we have to go out and get them. If that means having to sweep floors and clean toilets to pay the rent (both of which I've done), then we must be the best floor-sweepers and toilet-cleaners the maintenance world will ever come to know. Once we excel at the task at hand, we prepare ourselves to graduate onto the next level of endeavor, be it a desire to become the next President of the United States or the Head of Maintenance.

Either way, we won't be able to reach those other levels (which are necessarily higher, but just different) unless we're happy with what we leave behind and complete it successfully.

Ultimately, our true success in life is intrinsically tied to our inate ability to care for others. To do so, we must not be so self-absorbed. We must be happy for people who have so called more than we do (and to not resent them), if merely because they may simply be expressing themselves to the best of their knowledge and ability; exemplifying how much we have yet to acquire and attain as well. Not only is it important to encourage others to be successfull, we must be the REASON for their success.

If you know of someone looking for a job, and who is experiencing a troubling time, and if you are capable of helping that person - and stand by and do nothing, you are doing a great disservice not only to that challenged individual, but towards yourself and the Universe. It negates their (and our) situation to just sit back and say, "Gee - I wish there was something I could do."

However we choose to support someone, we must do so cheerfully and not just with sympathy. Sympathy without action is boring and useless, and all the beautiful words in the world are ugly and worthless unless they are lived and believed. What allows us the financial freedom (and in turn the emotional stability) to "inspirit" others, is that we simply find employment at what we love to do. When money is suffered for or work at, it becomes a thing worshipped, not an already-have. This is why so many go without it, and why so many who have it are so unhappy.

In both instances, they idolize it and become attached to it - for better or for worse. While those without money become "slaves to the dollar," many of those with money wish to be worshipped. In either extreme, a life-imbalance is the result.

In all, we must forget our can'ts and limitations, and reach for the highest star and follow our dreams. If such reveries are filled with good intentions for ourselves and everyone involved - delights that will only bring joy, fullfillment and abundance in every good, thinkable way - then we should go for it - and not let anyone tell us differently.

Our silent imaginings and yearnings - when positive, combined with our material earnings - when joyfully shared - are pictures and whispers of ideas and suggestions from Heaven. To deny such wonderous and generous concepts, denies our true identities, our happiness and everything we are created to be. Realizing that all good things come from Love, we automatically place Love first in our lives.

Consequently, a full, happy, long life follows.

And isn't that what we all really want?