Archive for May, 2008

Respectfully, Barbara Walters

    On a flight to Florida this past week I was reading an excerpt from Barbara Walters autobiography Audition and came across the most glaring example of self-deception I’ve encountered in a long time. Reflecting on her shock and disappointment with Dick Wald, Chairman on NBC, who apparently failed to support her retention with the Today Show when ABC was bidding to woo her away, Ms. Walters stated the basis for her disappointment as follows:

    “Years before, we had snuck [sic] out of an NBC Christmas party on a clandestine romp to see Deep Throat, the much-talked-about porn film. I liked, trusted and respected him and I thought he liked, trusted and respected me.” [emphasis added]
    Apparently, on reflection, Ms. Walters believes a former clandestine meeting to watch porn a reliable basis for a lifelong relationship from which she could anticipate not only genuine friendship but also loyalty.
    Is it just me or is there something fatally flawed in her thinking?
    They left a Christmas party to watch porn. Now I’m a Jew so I could be mistaken, but isn’t Christmas the season people try and connect with their higher selves…with all that is good and decent in humankind?  And isn’t “Christmas porn” not only an oxymoron but a mockery of the inherent dignity of humankind? OK, forget humankind. How about a mockery of the inherent dignity of women? Of all that is divinely feminine?
    The issue of importance here goes well beyond Ms. Walters personal moral code. That is for her to define and for her to live.
    What’s to be learned from Ms. Walters shock and disappointment isn’t unique to her. We each have a tendency to bend the rules when they apply to us while using a higher, less flexible standard when applying them to someone else. I am certain that Ms Walters, if asked on her television show, The View, would decry the behavior of Elliot Spitzer or any other person of similar lapses in judgment and yet she cannot see her own.
    We each sometimes act as if there is no “boomerang” effect and we can, in fact, send out contaminated energy and somehow miraculously receive it back purified and cleansed. Further, we see in ourselves and others that which we wish to see rather than what is. And it’s from this idealized version that we expect right behavior when it’s needed. The reality is that we get what we get from who one chooses to be…not from whom we fantasize them to be.
    I am not saying that had Ms. Walters not ducked out of that Christmas party years prior to go watch a porn movie with her male acquaintance that he would have stepped up and been there for her years later in her time of need. What I am saying is that to be shocked that he had no moral core or that how they began their relationship was a foundation built upon an integrity of spirit to be relied upon is to delude only herself.
    The lesson is to always come from the highest good possible and to be honest about what that is. And if, in hindsight, we fall short in reviewing ourselves or others, to remember that hindsight is 20/20…not rose-colored.
    There are Universal Laws.
    Energy begets like energy and consequences follow actions.
    At these we should feign no surprise.

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The Power of Certainty

>I’m reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.
It’s not the first time. I read it about once every decade as its a great barometer against which to measure where I am in the evolution of my own consciousness. Presently, I find myself pushed to nearly the breaking point by her merciless objectivism and dismissal of all things related to human emotion. I seem able to endure this aspect of her writing, however, because I am simultaneously nourished (it’s the only word I can think of to describe the fullness and satisfaction I feel) by the unwavering integrity of her male and female protagonists…Howard Roark and Dominique Francon.

These two characters also suffer from this emotional detachment that runs through all of Rand’s writings. But, what they may lack in emotion they more than make up for in their dedication, almost obsession, to what they perceive to be the highest good. It is their >certainty that is so compelling…not just for the way it impacts the tenor of the novel, but also the reader. Howard Roark and Dominique Francon don’t know what the word compromise means. On second thought, they have no such word in their vocabulary. Their every breath, thought and physical movement is in alignment with, and in support of, living a Life that refuses to be anything other than fully present and fully engaged in manifesting greatness
So here’s the irony of Rand.

She despises small, insincere people who espouse an allegiance to the highest good yet act in ways that pray at the altar of mediocrity. She admires people who refuse to participate in such fraud and, instead, are willing to face the inevitable aloneness and ostracism that follow from independence of thought. But while she mocks emotion in reverence to the rational mind, it is the passion and certainty of Roark and Francon that captivate Rand and makes them so appealing to me.

In the world of moral relativism in which we now live, it’s the passion, the certainty and the courageous aloneness, not  loneliness, of these characters that truly inspires.
Truth is different for each of us. But the power that drives one toward the pinnacle of one’s own truth is a certainty of the intention combined with a passion to pursue that intention regardless of the cost.

Ironically, this is what drives Islamic extremism as well and provides it it’s successes.  Such believers have both certainty and passion, in infinite measure, and it powers their mission, however misguided it may be. On the other hand, we in the West have certainty and passion about little other than maintaining our materialism and acquiring more…even when more is never enough.

And so in the end we get no more than that about which we are certain.

If we in the West would redirect our certainty and energy toward peace, or healing the Earth, or even one another…there would likely be many more Howard Roarks and Dominique Francons to be found beyond the pages of The Fountainhead and, I suspect, as would the joy of witnessing the harnessing of true power for the highest good of all concerned.

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The Gift of Self-Knowledge

>Having “officiated” at so many divorces (I’m a former divorce lawyer) it’s easy to think you know it all, or at least have seen and heard it all, which should likely make you smarter than the average consumer.
    Not so as I recently found out.
    You see, I’m going through my own divorce and had to retain a lawyer. While it’s true that intellectually I could represent myself, emotionally it’s not a very bright thing to do. There are just too many emotions in play when it’s this close to home. Having created and marketed my own DVD for women going through divorce, I was certain that I knew what to look for. I had actually taught women how to hire a lawyer! While it’s true that it might have been easier had this all occurred in Pennsylvania where I used to practice, we had moved to New Jersey a few years ago and I really didn’t know much about local lawyers. So, in a sense, I was having to make my decision as would anyone seeking to hire a lawyer.
    I thought I chose wisely. Turns out, not so much.
    Within a very short period of time (less than two months) I knew with certainty that this person (and his associate) were not for me. Technically, I think they are not for anybody. They were egotistical, non-responsive, poor listeners and costly. I was continually stressed by not only the dissolution of my marriage and the divorce process, but by my lawyers as well.
    So I fired them and felt great…even before I had found another lawyer. Which is the point of this story.
    How I felt.
I often write and speak about how our hearts are the real internal guidance system we are born with, not our brains. It’s our emotions that most accurately guide us when we are properly attuned and responsive to  their call. I hired those lawyers from my mind. I fired them from my heart.
    Here’s the irony and the paradox.
    When I was represented by this well known and well respected lawyer I was uncomfortable, in constant need of correcting his errors and generally feeling unsafe. When I fired him, I felt great. I actually felt as if a weight had been lifted off of me. So there I was, in the middle of a divorce,unrepresented and feeling great! My emotional Self was signaling me that I had done the right thing. Taken the right step. Intellectually and objectively I was suddenly, and seemingly, worse off. Emotionally and subjectively I was soaring to new heights.
    There are two teachings here.
    The first is that no matter how much information and knowledge you acquire through study and second-hand sources, it’s never the same as having the experience yourself.
    The second is that while a mind is a generous gift given us by Creator, the wisdom necessary to live Your Highest Good comes from the heart.
    Finally, because I wouldn’t want to leave you wondering about the outcome, let me tell you about my new lawyer.
    He met me on a Sunday night at his office because he knew I was in need of making a decision. He listened, he understood Who I Am with little explanation, he had his own stories of charitable representation  as I had in the days of my practicing law, and he is a man of his word.
    I go about my daily Life now attending to things of importance, virtually unconcerned and not distracted by the divorce and it’s potential drama because in my heart I know I’ve got the right lawyer.
    Literally…in my heart.

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After The Rain

>If you’ve ever been aware of how the sky looks and the air feels just before and after a rain storm you’ll appreciate what I’m about to say.
    The news continues to be troublesome on it’s face. A perverse father who imprisons and rapes his own daughter, a political campaign that looks like it has no end in sight, continually escalating oil and food prices and rising unemployment, just to name a few. These are what we awaken to each day. It might just be enough to depress you.
    But wait a minute.
    Where else in Life, or Nature, can you find change that hasn’t been preceded and accompanied by, growing pains? Isn’t that what we’re experiencing? So many commentators and “doomsdayers” (or should I say “Armageddonites”) want to point to all the stressors and hold up the mirror of fear and destruction. Surely, they point out, with all the bad news (and as they see it prophetic events) The End is surely near.
    Not as I see it.
    What I see are the natural byproducts of transition. Growth pushes against restrictive boundaries and throws off waste. That’s how it happens. Further, I see not a transition for the worse but rather a transition for the highest good for all concerned.
    Because the way we were living and the values we prized had ceased to serve our progress. We had become accustomed to stagnation and mediocrity in our lives. We had our values and priorities upside down. We were numbed by the technology and the media’s repetition of violent reporting and images to how much pain there is in the world. We had spiritually lost out way.
    Yesterday I received an e-mail from
a young man in upstate NY who is a trader on Wall Street who wrote that he was
depressed and unmotivated because he was “having his first bad year in
the stock market, ever. And it’s been raining here for 3 days.” Pain, as the Buddhist’s say, “isn’t meant to cause us suffering. It’s meant to wake us up.” And so all this “suffering” we’re experiencing is a gift to re-focus us on the Present, on what matters.
    I e-mailed the young man back and said that Life was trying to teach him something about worry and materialism. I suggested that perhaps he needed a “rinsing off” and that he should go out and run in the rain…to experience what was Present in his life.
    I have a lot more I could say on this topic but the sun just broke through the clouds and I’m going out for a walk.
    Perhaps first I need to get a little heated up.

REMEMBER to click here to download my FREE e-book, “Too Many Secrets.”

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