And what I am looking at now is whether the ultimate success for we human beings is being able to use every bit and piece and inch and pound of every single event in our lives to the fullest. Because, though I know many of us have paid lip service to the concept that "we are all one" and "everything is connected to everything else"...it is really true. And the more we use of all the connections, the happier and more successful we will be.
An example from my own very recent life. On Friday, May 15, I wrote the post that precedes this one. And for the first time ever, I mentioned Jesus, quoting his "Ask and Ye Shall Receive" as perhaps the most powerful prosperity sentence of all time. On Sunday, the 17th, as I do usually every other week, I went to Unity Church of San Francisco, where my friend Sonya Milton is the minister. And TJ Woodward, the ministerial intern, came up to me and said they would like me to deliver The Daily Word the following week. It's a nondenominatonal daily spiritual message you can check out at www.dailyword.com. I said I would be happy to do so--after all, I haven't spoken to an audience in a lot of years and it was time to start dipping my toe back in. And what was the word for that day? Christ Light. (no, not a lesser version like Bud Light, but rather the light that Unity teaches shines within each of us)
Now remember, I was not going to be going to Unity this past Sunday as I usually skip a week, and besides, Sonya was taking the day off to be replaced by a speaker named Patricia Ellsberg, with a message entitled, "Joy and Gratitude as A Spiritual Path."
When I arrived at the church, I was greeted by my friend, Kate Thornton, vice-president of the board. She said she'd heard great things about Patricia Ellsberg, and that Patricia brought her husband, who was remaining very low key, even though he is quite famous. It's Daniel Ellsberg, probably the most famous anti-war activist in U.S. history, and the man who was at the top of Richard Nixon's Enemies
List for releasing The Pentagon Papers to the media at the height of The Vietnam War. No mention was made of Daniel during Patricia's excellent and inspiring talk.
I admit I peeked at Daniel Ellsberg a couple of times, but could see no resemblance to James Spader, the actor who portrayed him in the Pentagon Papers TV movie a few years ago.
During my own little five minute presentation, I opened by saying, "Some of you know I was released from Folsom State Prison less than a year ago after 12 years of incarceration."
When the service was over, Daniel Ellsberg came over to me and said he enjoyed what I had to say, and then started to ask me questions about how I had survived prison. Nixon had tried to have him put away for the rest of his life, and he was arrested many, many times at various peace demonstrations, but only spent time in county jails rather than actual prisons. He was fascinated by the subject and we talked on and on. He is obviously a brilliant and articulate man, a PhD in Economics who at 78 is fit and alert and just a very pleasant and distinguished person--and he and Patricia make an eloquent statement about growing older together in a relationship.
I gave Daniel some healthy dark chocolate, we exchanged email addresses and he said he wanted to send me his latest book, so I also gave him my home address. And on top of all this, during her talk, Patricia mentioned her sister is Barbara Marx Hubbard, a woman I met some years ago when we were both very involved in The Association For Humanistic Psychology. She also is a great speaker and has made a tremendous impact on our world in many different ways. I remember her TV series, POTENTIALS, from the 1980s, where she interviewed some of my friends and mentors like Norman Cousins and Ray Bradbury (interestingly, I quoted Norman in my short Unity talk on the subject of waking up each morning with "robust expectations."). And Barbara also made history by being the first woman whose name was placed in nomination to be Vice President of the United States.
Throughout my professional life, I've met many famous and accomplished people, and befriended a few, but after 12 years in prison, to connect with people who have been making such a powerful impact on the planet in such positive ways is a special treat. And this serendipity thing going on in my life, with so many things leading to so many other things, is something I just find profoundly enriching.
It may be arrogant of me to put this thought down, but I've had it any number of times in my life and haven't really shared it before. When spiritual seekers and leaders talk of that ultimate state of satori or nirvana or bliss, there are times when I honestly feel I've passed that state and gone on to the next higher level. Yesterday was one of those (and I didn't even mention yet how good a vigorous round of applause after I spoke made me feel!)
And even more connections inside connections--as I look at the impact of single sentences, and read the affirmation from yesterday's Daily Word: "I am energized and ready to take on the day." (which is what lead to my referencing Norman's "robust expectations" phrase) Well, I'll end this by telling you that I woke up in the middle of the night early Sunday morning and was bursting with energy and ideas. So much so that I came up with a whole new book project. An e-book focused on powerful single sentences that can change lives. More on this down the road.
and by the way, If you'd like to find out about joining me in my healthy dark chocolate venture, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or listen to my recorded message at (650)
589-8495, or check out my website at www.UnguiltyPleasures.net