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Sunday, December 27, 2015


We all have problems.
We all have challenges.
Never let anyone make you feel like you’re the only one who makes mistakes.
We all make mistakes.
Never let anyone make you feel anything less than positive and joyful.
Do not allow the martyrdom or false guilt of others to convince you otherwise.
Stay away from bullies.
Do not allow passive-aggressive individuals in your life who manipulate you into doing their bidding by seducing you with false kindness, false joyful words, and money – just to suit their needs.
If you have only the best of intentions in mind, healthy, strong-minded, good intentions - and if there are those who fail to see that, then let them go. It is not your problem they are unhappy – it is their problem…especially if they are not smart enough to hear the wisdom of your joyful, positive insight.
Surround yourself only with people who appreciate your positive view and healthy way of living.
Surround yourself only with positive, uplifting, loving-kind people.
Surround yourself only with people who have your best interests in mind.
Surround yourself only with people who speak joyfully of you, and others.
Surround yourself only with people who are healthy-minded, even in the midst of what may be their own infirmity.
Stay away from those who hurt you or abuse you in any way, physically, verbally, psychologically or emotionally.
Stay away from those who constantly curse, or use vulgar words.
Stay away from those who do not believe in any good Universal being or essence who runs the Universe, and/or those who do not believe in Love.
Live your life joyfully and surround yourself only with those who appreciate that joy, and whatever wisdom you profess in any area of life. Because if you espouse to be healthy, and you seek only all to be healthy, and if there are others who do not see or appreciate any of your wisdom, kindness, or insight…and if they seek only seek to be self-destructive, mean-spirited and unhappy…then let them be – and let them go.
Simply bless everyone, even those who do not have your wisdom of Love.
Just live your life joyfully, while blessing on their way others who seek a different path.
Love and forgive all of those who hurt you, while knowing, too, that just because you love and forgive them, that doesn’t mean they have to be in your life. You can still love people from afar, and just leave them be.
Just present your wisdom of Love and Health as best you can, and surround yourself with those who are smart enough to see your Love, and let go of everyone else who doesn’t.
Just be happy, share your Love, “let it rest where Jesus flung it,” as they say, and if it doesn’t stick, then just move on – joyfully – for the highest good of all concerned!
Happy New Year, Everybody!

Monday, December 21, 2015

My Mom's Circle of Peace

Many years ago, when I was maybe ten or eleven-years-old, I journeyed with my parents to see my father's sister and her husband who lived in a suburb of Rochester, New York called Greece. En route to Greece from my childhood home (on Erie Street in the inner city) we traveled down Mount Read Boulevard to the roundabout entrance way to West Ridge Road.

In the center of that roundabout was an empty field of green grass, which is still there.

This one particular day, circa 1971, as we made our way about that circular turn, a group of teens were standing, in confrontation to each other. One group was on one side of the field; a second band, on the other. A few of the kids had broken bottles in their hands, while others had knives.

These two groups were either two formal rival gangs, or two very opposed bands of kids who, either way, were planning on a nasty fight.

But they had no idea with whom they would soon be dealing.

Upon noticing these two opposing young groups, my Mom turned to my Dad in his 1969 green Pontiac Catalina, and instructed him to "Stop the car."

My father was like, "Uh? What?!"

My Mom reiterated with a slightly firmer and halting tone.


So, my Dad gave in and pulled over on the side of the circular exit near the field where cars usually never tread.

My Mom then exited the vehicle, shut the car door behind her, and stood, glaring at the two groups of kids. She wasn't budging - and she wasn't kidding.

Meanwhile, I turned to my Father and asked, incredulously, "Dad – WHAT the heck is she doing?!”

"Who knows?!" he replied in complete exasperation.

We then both looked on in awe and in fear of the scene before us, waiting for God only knew "WHAT."

By this time, my Mom and all the kids from the two rival gangs were staring at each other. It had now become a contest not between the two opposing groups of teens, but between both of those bands – and my Mom.

A few minutes passed, and as my Mom remained firm in her stance and her glare, something miraculous started to transpire.

One by one, each of the teens from both sides of the field, started to drop their knives and bottles. In a few more minutes, the two groups began to disband, and get into the cars of their own, or walked away into the distance.

Soon, the field had become empty again, save for that beautiful green grass.

At that point, my Mom got back in our Pontiac, and we drove away.

Somehow, my Mom prevented a riot, and possibly some very tragic, if not fatal injuries.

Years later, when I saw the movie Gandhi, starring, Ben Kinglsey, I was reminded of this one day with my Mom. In many scenes of the movie, Kingsley's Gandhi remained steady and calm - as violence transpired around him, experiencing threats many times against his own physical being. And still, he never struck back. He remained firm in his stance and belief that violence solves nothing – and that aggression is weakened by doing nothing in retaliation.

That's how my Mom was that day near the green field of troubled young souls. She stood there, as Gandhi would, but looking like Clint Eastwood (minus the "hardware"), as if to say, "Go ahead...make my day."

But for my Mom, "make my day" meant, "Put down your weapons, hurt no one, and cause no harm."

And somehow those bands of kids listened as my Mom spoke her "peace" - her silent wisdom – all the way across that field and around that circle – and into their hearts.


Read more about my Mom - and Dad - in the tribute to them, by cutting and pasting to the link below.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Just give people what they want...for Christmas...and always

We might think we are controlling the Universe of what happens in our life, but sometimes we work against our own best interests.
"Nay, I don't wanna go to that party. Why? So I can make the host happy?! Who cares?!"
"I really used to like it when Betty Lou would always win at Checkers. But you know what? She's really bugging me now with that winning streak of hers! How dare she parade her Checkers genius to the world?!"
Let it go, peeps. Just be happy for people doing their thing. And be part of their joy...just as much as you want others to be part of your own joy.
Making people happy...even with feeding their ego just a little bit...brings a lot more Light into the world...especially during the Holidays.
As opposed to goin' all Grinch and Scrooge on the people who love you the most.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Caregiving for my parents shaped me into who I am

I dedicated my "core" years to caring for my parents, and I don't regret one second of it. While most of my friends were finding true love, getting married, securing their career paths, investing and making money, I was caring for my ill, elderly parents. And trust me: I didn't do it for the money. My parents didn't have any. Not one cent. I did it because I loved them, and they needed me. First, my Dad, "Pompeii," or "Herbie P," who died in 1995, and then my Mom, Frances," who died in 2008.
I'm not saying it was easy caring for them, because it wasn't. I did sacrifice a lot. But what I sacrificed I made up for in gaining a ton of love and lovely and inspiring moments that I forever cherish and get to keep long after I leave this world - all worth more than any annuity or estate or financial inheritance could have ever paid off.
Into this mix, I became a better person in caring for my parents. I'm no angel now, nor was I ever, but in caring for my parents, I learned to be more compassionate and caring...more understanding...more of everything good. I learned more about love....of every kind.
Every good thing I say, think or do is based on something I learned from my Mom and Dad, directly or indirectly. And I never felt that God or the Universe or the Great, Good Superior Consciousness of All...or however anyone wants to term it...I never felt that I, my life or my goals, would be abandoned if I cared for my parents during those "core" years...because I didn't abandon my parents.
"Honor thy mother and father" does not just mean to honor our parents when they are alive. It means to honor the lives that God, the Universe, etc. gave us THROUGH our parents. And I believe I am doing that. And in the process of doing that, and caring for my parents in the past, I've shaped a life that inspires me, and maybe a few others, every day...a good life that every so often seeps into my it a book...a script...a essay...or even a live event...or a party.
All of that, and so much more, is sprinkled with just a little bit more light and love...because of the light and love that shined upon me in caring for my beautiful parents.
Bless you always, "St. Frances" and "St. Pompeii." I know you're both watching over me now from Heaven, in a far superior way to how I watched over you both on Earth...and we're all the stronger and more loved - and more evolved, in countless, graceful, amazing ways that cannot possibly ever be measured.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Clear Space! Clear Head!

I've played the moving game countless times...too many to remember. And I used to think, "Gosh - I can't throw THAT out!" But you know what? I did. And you know what else? I don't miss ANY of the stuff I threw out, gave away or donated. 

There were many treasured items that I gave to friends and family, and those items will as a result always remain treasures, now in the possession of those I love and hold dear. But the other stuff? It was all crap and junk and I'm glad it's gone, along with yesterday.

Instead, I'm living for today, and my head and my storage areas are CLEAR! So, get rid of all that crap, junk and clutter in your garages, attics, basements - and live your life for today - and enjoy a nice clutter-free home and life. 

Clear space, clear head is the way I look at it. 

Happy Turn-it-Around Tuesday, Everybody!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Church Pet-Peeves

I have a few pet-peeves in general, but when it comes to attending Church, I have many:
1] It's rude when people leave Church right after communion....or when they don't wait to hear to choir finish singing. Really? All just to make sure they beat the traffic in the parking lot? This is Church; not a ballgame.
2] When people talk in church or couples who snuggle, kiss and sometimes nearly have a make-out session in the pews. Hey, I'm all for affection...but this is Church; not a hotel room.
Have a Happy Sunday, Everybody!

Monday, November 16, 2015

One "Hail Mary" is all it takes....

To all my Catholic friends and anyone else who would care:
When the Blessed Mother appeared in either Medjugorje or Lourdes...I forget which...but either way - she told those to whom she appeared the following core message, which I paraphrase here:
One singular reciting of the "Hail Mary," stated slowly, with sincerity and clarity, outweighs the countless, swift and empty mumbles of the Rosary that many say just to say, and to get it over with.
One "Hail Mary," said with true respect, is the prayer that is heard.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ignore the Bullies and Shine Your Light!

When I was in high school, I didn't have much confidence. I was athletic, and played sports on the city streets of my neighborhood growing up in Rochester. But I couldn't get it together to play organized sports in high school. Probably because I was bullied a lot, which clearly was not encouraging behavior by my peers. So, I retreated from such activities, although I regret it today. I could have easily played baseball, soccer, tennis; joined the swimming team - or boxed. I was good at all of those sports.
But because I lacked confidence, and because of the bullying...I didn't pursue any of that, sadly.  And as I look back now, I really don't even know how I made it through every day.  It was tough.
But when I would get bullied, I used to think "Now, why would that dude who is so blessed with grace and ability in football...or baseball...or basketball...whatever it was...why would that individual be so mean and so cruel to me and others who were not as blessed?"
I just never understood it...bullying...and I never really will.
I have long forgiven those who bullied me in high school. And I still get bullied today, for one reason or another. And I forgive those present attacks as well. Even though I truly don't understood those either.
I guess, then and now, we always have to consider the source - and if anything, I have learned not to allow any of that to hold me back today - from being and doing all I was born to be and do!
Happy Tuesday, Everybody!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

She Lived Her A-Life: A Tribute to Terry Scheil

I was blessed to have talked with her only a few weeks before she transitioned to Heaven.

But I was always blessed to have talked with her...or just to be in her was everyone else.

That's the kind of person she was...the kind of soul she remains in Heaven.  A loving-kind soul...a blessed soul...a soul who blesses...a soul I came to know in this world as Terry Scheil.

In the mid-1990's I taught acting and writing at the Rochester Association of Performing Arts, otherwise known as RAPA, located in my beloved Upstate, New York hometown.

Multi-talented in the arts - and in the art of living, Terry was a charming, intelligent, beautiful, and nurturing presence and colleague at RAPA, where she essentially helped keep it all together.

At the very least, she helped to keep me all together.

Whenever I had to reschedule a class, or was challenged by a particular time-crunch or any other issue that may have arisen, Terry worked her magic.  No matter how busy she was, and she was always busy, she somehow made time to make things better, to make things work, or to make things work better.

On many an occasion, she would place her work aside and be there to guide me.

One of the amazing aspects of Terry's sweet soul was her uncanny intuitive ability on how to deal with even the most difficult of challenges with nothing but an unflappable, pleasant, nonjudgmental, gracious, generous demeanor.

In the few years that I worked with Terry at RAPA, and in the years following, whenever I spoke with her in person or on the phone, I never once heard her say an unkind thing about anyone; never once did I see her become intolerant or angry or impatient with any one human being or in any one particular situation, intolerable or otherwise.  I never once heard her speak a cross word about anyone, anything, anywhere, at any time.

That wasn't Terry's style.  She didn't have time to be any other way.  She was too busy being an angel and working miracles.  Not the more opulent parting of the Red Sea, or anything like that...but the more subtle little miracles that pave the way for the big miracles...the big miracles that would not be possible if not for the countless little miracles that are created by the kind of souls...the loving-kind souls like Terry Scheil.

Terry's physical presence is gone now...but her very essence remains in the ethers of this world - and in the very molecules, hearts and souls of all those she left behind.

Any of us who ever loved Terry, and there are many...we now have a grand legacy to live up to.  The best way we can honor Terry and every good thing she ever did, said, felt, believed or thought, is to at least try to be as good and gracious a human being as she exampled for us.

To her beautiful son, Ian, who did such an astounding job in caring for his beautiful Mom:

I understand what you're going through...not exactly....but somewhat.  I, too, served as a caregiver to my dear Mother, as well as my dear Father.  So, I've been there...I get it.  But we all have our own journey...and our own way of processing life experiences, and I certainly will not suggest any which way as the best way to deal with anything.  

But what I do know is this...on Earth, my Mom and Dad's love was packaged and shaped in bodies and personalities called Frances and Pompeii.  And though I may not see them now in this world, everything about them that was Love, lives on - in their sense of of humor, the echoes of their voices, every hug they ever gave me, every blessing my Mom ever made with her rosary, every blessing my Dad ever made with his strong sense of right and wrong.

Everything else that was not Love...the various physical challenges they each faced in their later years...the fears....the anxieties...the heart ailments....the stomach issues...all of that burned away in the Light of God's embrace...or Love's embrace...however you want to name it.

And I believe that to be the same for all who leave this world...including your dear sweet mother.

As I observed after my own Mom passed...our journey and final destination is like a rocket soaring into space.  The pieces of us that we don't need - fall off as we move closer to that all-encompassing Light...until all that is left is the little capsule that holds our soul.  And that little capsule, filled with every loving thought and every act of loving kindness that is ever displayed on Earth, is now not only bundled together, magnified, multiplied and showcased in Heaven - but is now able to leave behind a personal, immeasurable, immortal and priceless legacy in which the rest of us to revel while remain on Earth - and beyond.

What a wonderful gift...and so fitting to such a wonderful soul that we knew here as Terry Scheil.

Thank you, Terry, for teaching us all how to love - and how to live...the A-Life...a truly authentic and exemplary life...forever more.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Kindness Trumps Talent

Years ago, I directed a musical for the Rochester Association of Performing Artists (a.k.a. RAPA), and spent weeks auditioning many actors, singers and dancers of all ages.

            A diverse amount of extremely talented performers gave it their all during the auditions, but of course I could only narrow it down to a chosen few who would win the various lead and supporting roles.

            But it soon became clear who would round out the cast.

            I was impressed with the excessive talent of some, but more impressed with the extreme kindness of others. Some of those with the most talent, unfortunately, did not have the best personalities - nor the kindest of demeanor. And some of those with less talent - and in some cases, no talent at all, appeared to be less egotistical and potentially the easiest with whom to work.

            So, I was faced with a dilemma:

1.      Hire the most talented who were also the most egotistical and difficult personalities?


2.      Cast the least talented who were the gentlest of souls?

            Ultimately, it ended up being a good mix. I cast those who were talented AND kind, and I also cast some who were not talented, but yet kind. Either way, I did not cast any of egotistical and somewhat mean-spirited - but extremely talented performers. They would have to at some point try again later for another production of mine, or somewhere else in town.

            Years after that, when I started teaching acting at Rochester, New York's Historic German House, I came across a similar experience. There were many fine actors who enrolled for my classes, and in doing so, they had to audition. I was a tough teacher, and expected a great deal from each of them. However, many who attended those classes went on to great things, in and out of the entertainment field.

            In any case, there was this one particular student who stood out - but not for the reasons that one might expect.

            He was an awkward sort.  He was very tall and very thin, and not very coordinated or particularly talented. But this actor had heart - and passion - and determination. And he was one of the kindest souls I had ever met. I knew that when he auditioned for my class, and I experienced that throughout the entire semester.

            And once the course began, and each time he stepped in front of the class to work on a scene, either by himself or with another student, his talent did not shine, but his kind heart and determination to do his best lit up the room. What's more, I was so proud of my other students whenever he did one of his scenes.

            Not one of them snickered or laughed at his performance. They supported him 100% - which not only was one of the rules in my class, but it was something that each of them CHOSE to do on their own.

            I could never bring myself to tell this particular student that he might not have "what it takes" to make a success of acting, because acting was just too important to him. He loved it so much. He loved to perform. "I don't want to do anything else," he would tell me again and again.

            So I kept him in my class - not because I wanted his money - but because I enjoyed his good heart. He was an inspiration to my students - and he was an inspiration to me.  And I never charged him a dime. His passion and determination for acting - and his kind heart and gentle spirit - trumped his lack of theatrical talent.

            And he taught me more about life - than I could have ever taught him about acting.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mary Ray of Houston, Texas Celebrates Exemplary A-Life

Mary Ray, 95-years-old, and going strong, was recently named Resident of the Month, at her retirement community, Colonial Oaks, in Pasadena, Texas.

Born on December 14th in Houston, the middle of three sisters, Mary is a fifth-generation Texan and a graduate of Larmar High School.  She worked at Texaco and volunteered at the local Red Cross during World War II.  She was also a member of the Mother's Club at Queen of Peace Catholic elementary school in Houston.

Today, Mary loves playing piano while real passion, however, is reading.  She is also very good with numbers and dates, and can recite any family event with surprising accuracy.

Among the family, Mary is well-known as the family story-teller, as she retains and relays many family anecdotes, both serious and amusing - from her mother's childhood survival of the 1900 Galveston Storm to her accidental "wrapping" of the Golden Gate Bridge within a month of its opening in the summer of 1937.

Mary's family describes as loving and caring for others.

Clearly, Mary not only leads her A-Life - but a superior A-Life of humanitarianism.

God bless Mary Ray forever.