It’s 5773, but the Message of Passover 2013 Is Still as Strong as Ever

(Here’s a re-post of a past Passover message, up again by request.  The year is now 5773.  Please enjoy, and to all my Jewish readers, have a happy, healthy Passover!)

Happy Passover to our Jewish readers.

It’s Passover 2011, or, in the Jewish calendar, I think it’s Passover 5771.

This is the time of year when Jews around the world celebrate their freedom from bondage in Egypt with the commemorative Seder and Passover meal.

Think about Moses all those years ago, trying to convince the Egyptian Pharaoh to “let my people go.”  Then all those plagues such as blood, frogs, vermin, slaying of the first born…

It took a lot for Pharaoh to finally let the Hebrews go, and even then, he still chased after them, necessitating the parting of the Red Sea so that the Hebrews could cross to safety.

There were wanderings, new beginnings, divisions, and some heartache, but in the end, the destination was reached.

There is one part of the meal that really stands out to me.  It is during the recounting of the plagues — when Jews count down the Ten Plagues during the Seder.  A drop of wine is spilled with each recitation in memory of those who suffered in Egypt…not the Jews, but the Egyptians.

I guess it’s a solemn reminder that when blood of any kind is spilled, we all lose a little something.  Then, it is important to remember that when there are those in bondage around the world, we ourselves (no matter our religion) are in some way in bondage.

Jewish or not, matzah-lover (matzo-lover) or not, remember Passover 2011 / Passover 5771.  Work toward justice, strive for freedom, and remember those who may not be so lucky or fortunate.

Passover isn’t just about a meal.  It’s about the whole human race.

Happy Passover 2011 / Passover 5771.

While They Pick Popes, Sequester, and Make Us Wait, We Can Control Something in the Drama….

I watch the news and realize there is so little I can control.

Of course, I can control how often I watch the news, so luckily, it’s not that often.

But who could miss all of this stuff about the Pope and the sequester and silly politics, and…well…all of that?  Life is full of drama.  Plays performed by others and we are doomed to watch…and often, all we can do is wait.  We Nobodies aren’t really the major history makers.  Instead, we do what we can when we can and maybe…just maybe…if we wait, then we can see the effects of our actions in the world.

But not all waiting has to be in vain.

I was once doing group with some clients and I told them that even when they thought they were spiraling out of control or just waiting for the next “attack,” something they could control was their creativity.  Their outlets.  How they used their time in between cravings or episodes.

Something to alleviate the waiting.  The endless waiting.

And, that’s not advice that I do not take myself when it comes to my own affairs.  I am fully aware of the fact that although my days are filled with waiting or work, or when the news is filled with drama, or my head has some anxiety, there is a place to go.  Something to do.  Something I can control.

My outlets.

So today, I sat in front of my computer and opened a book idea.  It’s a stem that I had been working on, but it had to take a back seat to some other things.  But I picked it up again.  Couldn’t ignore it.  Couldn’t quiet the voices of the characters.  I realized that their “drama” in the story could actually help quell the effect of all the drama in my own life.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  My life is fine.  One good thing about watching the news occasionally is that it reminds me that I don’t have “problems,” just “issues.”  But still, writing can be a great outlet.

So, I joined my characters already in progress.  It’s a big host of new folks, all with their own back stories.  I actually found them right where I left them…mid-action.  Still in the same place.

And, I joined them for a while.

I gave them some new directions.

And you know what?  I think they were just as happy to see me, as I them.

So, I’m done for the day.  I closed out their story for a little bit.  I’ve decided to move on to other things this evening.  But I feel better.  I don’t feel like I “waited” the day away.  Instead, something new was created.  A new story.  A new drama.

A drama I can’t wait to work on again.

A Suede Jacket From Florence, Italy, Reminds a Nobody of Days Gone By and…Fashion?

A memory found me the other day.

Nothing too earth-shattering, but just…well…a memory from March of 1995.

See, at the time I was studying in Scotland and for Spring break a group of us traveled to Greece and Italy.  I bought a suede jacket.

I really didn’t want to, but you know how it is when your friends pressure you.  So, I bought it.  Wore it for a while, but eventually outgrew it.

The other day, going through a closet, I happened upon that jacket.  I checked the pocket and lo and behold!  There it was.  The receipt from that purchase.  From what I can tell from the old-time credit card receipt, it cost 200,000 lira and came from a place in Florence called “Florence’s Moon.”

Well, it brought back some great memories of friends I’d made, awkward moments, the beauty of Florence, and a nice time in my life.

Unfortunately, I lost track of the folks who goaded me into that purchase, as we’ve all melted into the scenery of life.  It’s now almost 20 years later and the jacket is now at a Goodwill store, but that receipt.  For some reason I just couldn’t part with it.

As a die hard Nobody, I thought back to roaming those European streets, ducking into cafes, huddling under umbrellas, and exploring whatever life had to offer.  We had budgets (definitely didn’t budget for that jacket!), a will to travel, and each other.  When we got short with each other, it was generally not too long afterward that the fence was mended and life was good again.

There was no Riviera, no throngs of fans.  We pooled our money, stayed in one room, and now?  Well, many of the memories don’t reside in magazines or movie screens but in crumpled up receipts that in a moment splash a bygone era in front of the mind’s eye.

If you’re part of Nobody Nation and you’re reading this, think back…what memories lie in your mind?  What quiet moments, lost people, or old places stir your emotions…even for a second?

And as for that jacket?  Hey, even a Nobody needs to donate old things to make room for new fashion!  Just not anything from Florence!

From Cheez-Its to Recliners, We’re Always Learning Who We Are

Wow.

It’s been a while, right?  That was actually a rhetorical question.  You can just check the dates of the posts and you’ll know it has.

I want to write.  Honestly.  It’s just, well…as you know, I write for a living now and, well…it’s hard to write for 16 hours a day (yes, I’m routinely pulling crazy days like that!) and then write some more!

I have some book ideas I’m developing, as well as some other projects on my mind, so I’m getting back into the swing of things, but goodness gracious.

So, what’s been up?  Crazy storm in the East.  Chilly weather in the West.  In my reclusive state, I’ve actually discovered some interesting things about myself the last few weeks.  Want to hear about them?  No?  Good.  Here they are:

1.  I have a strong fondness for Cheez-Its.  You know.  Those tasty Kellogg/Sunshine crackers.  Oh, and if you put enough of them in your mouth at once and chew, it’s almost like you’re eating a big piece of cheese.  I know, gross.  But I love those little crackers.  I actually dream that a big Sunshine truck will deliver tons of boxes to my door and I’ll be on some Cheez-It commercial.  Won’t happen, but a man can dream.

2.  When I’m not writing, I actually do think about writing!  Yes!  I’ve been so insanely crazy busy lately and I’m just dying to get back to writing for pleasure again.  And that’s good.  I haven’t lost my desire to write for fun.  In fact, I can’t wait to get back in the writing saddle again!

3.  I absolutely know I hate the cold.  I mean, I already knew that, but I’m realizing that below…say…50, unless I have skis on, it’s better to be in where it’s warm.  Luckily, my life choices have me in a place that is mostly over 50, so…good stuff!

4.  I have a good sense of decor.   Now, I know you’re thinking, “Nobody, you’re just a nobody.  Leave designing to the professionals!”  Well, I say you’re wrong!  I actually just moved and put the place together myself, and I must say–it looks great.  I have my guitar out, and my rug from Peru up on the wall.  Oh, that rug.  Got it in an alley in Cuzco.  Memories, my friends.  But my favorite thing is my electric recliner.  Leather.  I’m actually in it now.

5.  I know that sometimes, it all just works itself out.  You know what I mean, right?  Of course you know!  I don’t have to elaborate on that one.

It’s still a scary world out there, folks.  Work, weather, craziness.  But take some time when you read this to count down 5 things you’ve learned in the last few weeks.  Anything can be on the list.  Your love of The Big Bang Theory.  Your hatred of snow.  Who knows?  We are who we are.  We learn what we learn.  We may disappear for a while, but you know what?

We’re always right where we are.

 

 

Still Here. Still Nobody. Still Going Strong!

Still here.  Still here.

Thanks to those of you who have stuck around to read over the course of the last few weeks.  It’s been the best of times and the worst of times, but luckily, the worst of times were very short and are now getting more distant in life’s rear view mirror.

Of course, attitude wasn’t everything, but it was a big part of it, so with that being said, let’s move on in joy into 2013!  Can’t spend all our time lamenting.  Has to be some time in there for the good stuff.  I’m shooting for 98.56% good stuff.

So, the new year has brought some new news, some new surprises, and some of the same ol’ same ol’.  Has yours been the same?  I have a new recliner and a new bookcase.  There’s something for which to be thankful.  Some stones still haven’t moved, while others continue to roll on, even when I try to stop them!

President Obama was sworn in to another term and Vice President Biden also had his swearing in.  The NFL playoffs march on into another week, getting us closer to the Super Bowl which, for those of us who don’t give a hoot about either team, is really just a chance to watch 30 second commercials the cost of which could feed a poor country for weeks.

I continue to meet new people and re-connect with others I’ve not seen in a while.  Meditation techniques grow in new directions, with new techniques that help me to focus day by day.  I’m meeting cynics, skeptics, and believers, all of which only serve to drive home the notion that I am on the right path — nothing set in stone, but just trying to be that ol’ Citizen of the World.

I still dream of India.  I still wake up in my home city at 5:30am for work.  I still believe the yin-yang is one of the most beautiful metaphorical drawings ever created, and I’m finding myself more comfortable in my skin as days go on.

For those of you who care (and, surprisingly, for those who don’t), I want to give you the Nobody message for January 2013: Embrace your Nobody Nature to the fullest.  Cherish your ability to struggle in the daily grind without the benefit of prying eyes and paparazzi.  Know more and more each day that you are the trendsetter.  That fashion is only fashion because you wear it.  Top 40 is only Top 40 because you download it.  Movie starts only make it because you buy the tickets. I had occasion the other day, in my new recliner, to think about that message a little bit for myself.  I realized that when I turn the movies off and go sit for a while to meditate, I’m making a free and conscious choice that is not really informed by anything other than my own will.  Nobody’s watching.  Nobody’s reporting.  Nobody’s counting.

It’s just this Nobody experiencing.

I hope your 2013 is full of your own special brand of magic, your own special choices, and, most importantly, peace.  You are the world and you make it spin, so…enjoy!

Happy New Year 2013…Let’s Hope 1/1/13 Brings 13 More Blessings Than Superstitions!

Lucky number 13.

At least, that’s what this year brings, right?  1/1/13.  I know, I know…technically it’s TWO-ZERO-13, but still…seeing that “13” hanging off the end there is enough to make even the least superstitious a little nervous.

So, will this be a year of broken mirrors, opening umbrellas in the house, black cats, and walking under ladders?  Or, will it be a time of truly wonderful omens and special opportunity?

I laid in bed for a few extra minutes today and stared at the ceiling.  I thought about 2012 and all of its past glory and really had to smile.  It was quite a year for me, and I’m sure for you, too…whether or not you know it.  Not that much “exciting” really happened to me, but it certainly was a time of near misses, false starts, new beginnings that turned into false starts, and…well…let’s just say I still have all 10 fingers and all 10 toes and am counting my blessings for it.

I’m not really a resolution man by nature, so I won’t engage in too much of that here.  But if you know me, you know I’m counting the ol’ blessings every second I can, just in case.  So, since we’ve narrowly avoided a fiscal cliff and a Mayan Apocalypse, let’s take some time to count some before the cliff drops off…13’s a nice number, don’t you think?  Some of these may be a bit obtuse, but again, if you know me, well…then that’s no surprise!

1.  Near miss in hospital avoided for one whom I love.  Heard the phrase “just in time” one time too many for my liking, but so far have not heard it again.  All’s well going into 2013.  There was good spirits, laughter, and positivity the WHOLE time it was going on, and there continue to be, and yes…that made all the difference.

2.  Conversations about new ventures are ongoing with some really cool people.  Why count this?  Because instead of being stuck in a rut bemoaning the state of things, it’s actually nice to be able to think about fresh adventures and see them unfold.  I’m open to that.  I have that opportunity.  It takes work, but I’m happy for it.

3.  Chicken parm.  That’s right.  I know it’s not a hospital near-miss or the promise of a new business venture, but it’s delicious, right?  Right.  Enough said.

4.  The new playlist in my car.  Yup.  I listen to certain things in the morning to get me spiritually motivated, but in the afternoon?  Well, in goes a playlist of songs that I love to rewind:

Speed of Sound by Coldplay

Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve

Afternoons & Coffeespoons by Crash Test Dummies

April Come She Will by Simon and Garfunkel

Bitter Tears by INXS

The Broad Majestic Shannon by The Pogues

This Cowboy Song by Sting

Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen

Strawberry Swing by Coldplay

Hannah Jane by Hootie and the Blowfish

Lonely Girls by Ian & Sylvia

Only Living Boy in New York by Simon and Garfunkel

Talk by Coldplay

Wisemen by James Blunt

Time to Move On by Tom Petty

Tiny Daggers by INXS

Trip Through Your Wires by U2

What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?  by REM

Why Should I Cry for You? by Sting

Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall by  Coldplay

Yes…thank goodness for that playlist.  Doesn’t get too too much better than that, my friends.  Go ahead.  Take your shots at it.  I’m immune.

5.  My agent.  Have to thank her again.  Why?  Just ’cause.  Y’know.  Just ’cause.

6.  Fresh faces and friends in 2012.  New spaces to fill with those new people in 2013.

7.  When I saw darkness in 2012, I was able to reframe it to see the message instead of trying to yell at it to become light.  Thank you 2012 for that.  Thank you thank you a million times thank you.

8.  That I continue to be able to forge ahead.  Thank you, 2012 for allowing that, too.

9.  I’m blessed for the ability to count blessings.  Yes.  Gotta list that one.  Thank you, Universe, for even allowing a count to happen.

10.  Thank you for dreams and reality.  Why?  Because when the line blurs, we know we’re on to something.  If you haven’t reached this state in life at least once, try it.  See that your world is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.  It’s interesting!

11.  Thank you for teachers, students, and the ability to connect with both.  You need to talk to people who think like you once in a while.  They’re your feel goods.  But, yes, you need to learn from the ones who yell at you for what you think.  Sorry.  That’s life.  But look for the people who believe what they believe out of conviction, and not because they’re told to believe or or believe it because of some lame news station.  Be a true teacher and a true student.  Nice.

12.  Thank you for the spice of life.  It ain’t always sugar.  It ain’t always lemons.  Sometimes…well…sometimes it’s just right.

13.  And lastly?  Thank you for allowing me to be Nobody in particular.  I love my Nobody brothers and sisters.  And, the more I watch reality TV, commercials, and sports (the NBA), the more glad I become for this one.  Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you a million times thank you to whatever is running this Universe that the world is not really about (at least I HOPE it’s not about…) the most money, taking talents elsewhere, or being “in”famous.  Thank you for quiet rooms, conversation over coffee at the local wherever, a special playlist, an honest day’s work, and knowing that when we point to heaven after something special, we know that everyone else is just as loved….Universe, we know you don’t only care about three pointers, touchdowns, winning a voice contest, and sunken putts.  These are special things, yes.  These are karmic things, I know.  But at the end o’ the day, you present glory to see how we handle it.  I have to believe you just want us to simply be grateful for what we have (except for the occasional blog post…sorry!), and we know you love that pitcher whether he gives up the homer or not.  I’m grateful for knowing that, even though I’m not a pitcher.

So, I know I said I wouldn’t make a resolution.  But I will.  As January 1, 2013 comes and goes I will vow only to do my best to keep on moving ahead.  To be open to new opportunity.  To let the past be the past.  To let the future be the future.  And…well…to keep on being the best Nobody I can be.

From this Nobody to you, whomever you are, have a safe, happy, and blessed 2013.

May This Christmas 2012, Hanukah-Past 2012, and All Your Post-Mayan Apocalypse Holidays Be Filled With…Burl Ives?

The 2012 Mayan Calendar date has come and gone and we’re still here.  We still work, eat, meet, greet, and do our thing.

So, here’s a favorite post from last December.  Hope your lives are full of “holly jolly” each and every day, and may the season bring you a smile.

———————————-

Hanukkah 2011 and Christmas 2011.

Welcome, holiday season!

Wait, why am I saying welcome?  The holiday season has been here for a while now, hasn’t it?  At least, Christmas has.  Heck, the commercials have been here since October.  And, I’ve been eating other peoples’ holiday cookies and goodies since just after Thanksgiving.

But yes, ’tis the season of getting and the season of giving.  I’m never sure which is more important to the masses this month.  I know so many people right now who are getting some nice things for themselves.  Let’s see…there’s two new TVs, a new car, 3 new phones.

And a partridge in a pear tree….

I know a few people who have a new lease on life, some making new starts, some closing old business some opening up something new.  All kinds!  All walks of life!

There’s new jobs out there, and I think there’s a new pet in the mix somewhere, but I could be wrong.

Yup.  The holiday season is in full swing!

What’s new with you this December?

The other day, I had an interesting episode in the building where I work.  I got in the elevator — just moi, nobody in particular.  And in stepped another guy.  Nobody in particular.  There we were.  Just two guys in an elevator going down 10 floors.  No clue the other existed until that moment, and probably only about to share 20 seconds of life…two seconds per floor.

In the peopled solitude of the elevator, drifting out of the speakers in the elevator, was Burl Ives’ “Holly Jolly Christmas.”

I’m telling you, it was weird.  The guy was looking one way.  I was looking the other.  Life was life.  Work was work.  We both had that awkward elevator-busy going on.

And there was Mr. Burl Ives and “Holly Jolly Christmas.”

Ever see Twin Peaks?

So, in the spirit of the season, I reached out and say to the guy, “Boy, this is kinda surreal, isn’t it?”

He smiled.  I smiled.  The song played on.

In the lobby, we exchanged pleasantries and another smile.  I wished him a good day, he wished me a good day.

Nothing came of it.  I haven’t seen him again.  It’s a big building, after all.

But you know?  Something nice happened there.  Two guys shared a holiday season exchange.  No one witnessed it.  Heck, I didn’t even really think about it again until now.  But you know?  It was nice.  And it cost nothing.

I’m not really sure why I’m sharing all of this with you.  You probably could care less.  In fact, I’m not really sure what it has to do with Christmas and Hanukkah 2011.  All I know is that thinking about it now makes me smile.

TVs, cars, phones, and pets are great.  They are!

But this holiday season?  Well, it’s the connection with the stranger that has really brought a smile to my face.

So, from me (a nobody stranger) and Burl Ives (a somebody who always has a Holly Jolly time), have a Holly Jolly Christmas and a Happy Healthy Hanukkah.

And whatever you do, smile!

So the “Mayan” December 21, 2012 Date Is Here and the World Woke Up to Count Down Again…

Today is December 21, 2012.  The infamous Mayan December 21, 2012.

More prophesies of the world’s end did not come true, and December 22, 2012 is waiting in the wings.

I’ve been telling people for years that this is not an “end”…but just the end of a cycle of over 5,000 years that will start itself anew.  Others have said this is also the end of two different Hindu age cycles a grand cycle, and a shorter cycle (the Kali Yuga?).  I’ve listened to many commentators on this subject and find it very interesting.  The most interesting are the ones that say the earth is moving on its path as it always has and that indeed, new “ages” are here, but, well…they’re spiritual in nature.  Or expose us to more light from the center of the galaxy.  Some may feel a little different today.  More tingly.  Some may not.  But we’re all still going to be here.

And we are.

What are your thoughts?  What were your beliefs around this day?  Did you take the day off work?  Did you Google December 21, 2012 or Mayan Calendar this morning as you watched the news or read the paper, or got ready to face day one of the “new” Mayan countdown?

Forget what you “thought” would happen today.  Instead, take 12/21/12 it as an opportunity for a new beginning.  Heck, if you read this, take a moment to take a deep breath and say, “The world is still here, ‘same’ as it ever was.  What can I do to take a new direction?”

Here at Nobody’s View we believe that we are all nobody, and that makes us somebody special.  So, in that spirit, remember that you’re not the special Mayan priest.  You’re not the oracle.  You’re just a person who hit snooze once this morning, got out of bed, and are going into the office or getting the kids off to school here on December 21, 2012, the end of a Mayan cycle and the start of another.

Take the days as they come.  Count the days to Christmas.  Count down to the new year.  Make a new dish to eat.  Make it a date night.  Leave your phone on silent.  Watch a good foreign film.  Practice Ho’oponopono like you really mean it.  If that’s not for you, try yoga, tennis, or golf.  Take up the guitar.  Remember the good times and make a strong commitment to the future.  Read a good book.  Read a bad book.  Read a book that you’ve heard is both (50 Shades of Grey?).  If you love the ocean, hike in the mountains.  If you’re a mountain person, take a dip.  Read about the Mayans, or book a trip to Mexico and see the ruins for yourself.

The point is, the sun rose today.  Some have said the earth is now cresting and more light and energy are bombarding us.  Good stuff.  Believe it?  Great.  Don’t believe it?  Well, you can still make a new start.  You can still shine a little light in your own world.

Folks, we’re all nobody.  We’re all somebody.  We’re what makes the world go ’round in our little corners of the vast universe.

This December 21, 2012, make the most of it.  Oh, and here’s the secret.  Do the same thing on December 22, 2012.

Newtown, Connecticut Shooting Puts the Year Behind, and the Year Ahead, in a New Perspective

It’s usually at this time of year when I write my yearly round-up.  I mean, not that anyone gives a lick, but I like to write it.  It makes me feel better about things, and it always helps to get some perspective going into a fresh 365 days.

There’s nothing wrong with that, right?

And, after all, the Mayans are telling us the end is near (it’s not–it’s actually a new beginning) this December 21, 2012, so…I felt like it was time to do it.

But I held off for the last few days.  I didn’t write it until today.

Why?

Well, the December 14 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.  26 killed.  I realized that the year behind, and the year ahead, were already squarely in perspective.

I read an article about the global outpouring of support for the victims’ families and the Newtown community and it really got me thinking, again, about the line we walk in our world between global animosity and global togetherness.  We are so close to being a world community.  The reason we seem so far apart is likely not due to your average person’s difference of opinion, but more to do with unfortunate leadership around the world.

People on their own are generally good.  At least, that’s what I choose to believe.  If you need help in a parking lot or at the side of the road, most good Samaritans won’t ask your political affiliation or your view on the Second Amendment, abortion, or the last election.  They’ll just assist.  If you drop a dollar, many people will pick it up and yell, “Hey!  Wait!”

Most people.  Not all.

We don’t generally have litmus tests for basic assistance or casual acquaintance.  Some do, yes.  Many don’t.  If you’re American and dining in Canada, the service will be like it is for any Canadian.  At a resort in Mexico, it’s okay to speak Russian.  Indian curries are fine to cook in Italy, and I had darn good roast beef in Kenya many years ago even though I’ve experienced it in an NYC deli as well.  We share religions across borders, appreciate or take on foreign customs, and see movies about events that take place many miles, or countries, away.

Not everyone is on board with this.  Some are.  That’s fine.

So, when I think about Newtown in what Paul Simon might call this “deep and dark December,” I prefer to think about the outpouring of support from around the globe.  Of the prayers that go out to those we don’t know.  Nobody I know really cares if the victims were Muslim, Christian, Hindu, or whatever.  We all turned on the TV to see the shock of lives lost.  Not Christian lives lost, but lives.  Not Buddhist children lost, but children.  Tragically.  And worthy of memory.

As I sit here now and reflect back on this year, I see it was full of ridiculous stars full of themselves saying ridiculous things.  There were new launches of more TV shows about people famous for being famous.  I encountered darkness in the least likely of places, but then again, also saw light in unexpected corners of my days.  There was work in places I never thought I’d return, but then there was another job waiting right where I’d left it last January 1.  There was a third job that came from nowhere.  All around there was a bad economy, racism, hatred, bigotry, a hotly contested election, people living lives with bold attachment to lies when the truth was just a simple channel click, book, or class away.  There were those that screamed, and still insist, we should never help others, even in circumstances beyond their control, but there was also a policeman that put shoes right where they belonged and people pulling together in the aftermath of a terrible storm.  Some came down from the ledges of hard life.  Some jumped into a new adventure.  Some moved on for new adventures and some stayed firmly entrenched in their old prisons while the keys to freedom were dangling just outside their self-imposed cells.  I learned some new things, let go of some old, read new books from friends and discarded old book ideas of my own.  Blood, tears, death, and taxes all made their appearances, but so did new nieces and fresh ideas.  I wasn’t always happy.  I wasn’t always sad.  I helped.  I sat idle.  I received help.  I prayed.  I sent prayers.  I knew I was on a good road even when others thought I had somehow missed a really important turnoff.  Thank goodness I kept driving.

But then, there is Newtown, Connecticut.  And it all snaps into place again.  All possibilities collapse into one moment in December when fame, fortune, freedom, and fallacy don’t matter.  It’s all about a different energy.  I can’t describe it yet, but it was clear while watching the news last Friday.

I’m going to move into the new year the same way I always (try to) do.  With a sense of optimism, confidence in my decisions, and a desire to do a little better.  No, not how someone else with an agenda of their own thinks I need to do better, but how my gut tells me I need to do better.  Usually, people who tell you how you’re mistaken or screwed up are only trying to sell you their own version of events or brand of regret and…well…no thanks.  You can put that advice in your pocket!

So, let me leave you with this: A happy holiday season.  A happy Hanukkah to my Jewish readers.  A blessed Christmas season for my Christian readers.  A happy Kwanzaa for my readers who celebrate.  And a happy travel down your chosen paths, whatever they are.

Let’s remember the most recent tragedy in America so we can figure out how we might move into 2013 with a different energy.  Let’s take a look at an event that matters, so that we know what we need to be in a different mindset this coming 365…a mindset of support, regardless of personal characteristics that, quite frankly, pale in comparison to what we have that we can share.

What We Take for Granted and What We Think Is Bunk Is…Well…a Matter of Opinion

I watched a movie tonight…the third Harry Potter.  I got to thinking (uh oh) and wanted to write a bit.

So, in the third Harry Potter movie, The Prisoner of Azkaban, we meet Professor Sybill Trelawney in her divination class.  She tells the students that they will see in her classroom if they possess, “THE SIGHT!”

Then she runs into a table with her Coke-bottle glasses (do they have Coke at Hogwarts?).

Brilliant.

Now, I love Harry Potter as much as the next muggle, but there’s something that’s always bothered me about the movie.  Hermione appears in the classroom and says to the air that Trelawney is full of “rubbish.”  (Other things bother me too, like why Dumbledore and Sirius Black can’t just be ghosts or talking portraits like so many others, or why Dumbeldore can’t go back in time with Hermione’s time turner and stop Tom Riddle…but that’s another blog post…or a post for the more Potter-nerdy than myself!)

So, let me see if I understand this.  Hermione is in a world of charms, animagi (animaguses?) shape-shifters, nurses who cure bones with potions, and elves who appear out of the blue.  Her day is filled with food that magically appears on the table, trains that leave from secret tracks that apparently never run into other trains, and floating demon things that can suck out souls.  She’s seen ghosts, talking pictures, and three-headed dogs.

But divination?  Well, that’s rubbish.

Hmmm….I mean, I’m as skeptical (and open-minded) as the next guy, but still….

Well, I guess there’s a lesson in there somewhere.  No matter what we “see,” we are still slaves to our prejudices.  We can have the keys to the kingdom, but still believe the castle isn’t real.

I know it’s just a movie.  I know it’s just fiction.  But still, it’s fun to riff ol’ Potter and see what’s in it for real life.

What it comes down to is that we’re not all passionate about the same things.  We don’t all like baseball, but someone else may consider it a religion.  I couldn’t stand math class, but my friends always seemed to excel in it.  I hate Brussels sprouts, but my dad can’t get enough of them.  In my own ways, I’ve experienced sports nirvana with football, loved English, and tasted culinary bliss with the perfect steak, but I still think baseball, math, and spouts are…well…not “rubbish” exactly…but things I could easily have lived without!

So, look folks….you have your truth.  You have a world of magic that’s real to you.  Your opinions matter and, well, when it comes to your own beliefs you can definitely say you have the “sight” when it comes to things you believe and the things that fill your day.

But don’t forget–the guy across from you reading tea leaves in Trelawney’s class?  Well, he believes he can see the future in the bottom of that cup.  And who are you to say he’s blind?

Watch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban again.  It’s the best one.  The sun disappears in that movie and doesn’t return for five movies.

And when you get to Professor Trelawney’s class, don’t judge.  Just have some fun.  Or, better yet, read a book on divination that challenges your beliefs.  And who knows?  Maybe it’ll open your eyes a bit.

Just watch out for the table.