Looking Ahead to 2012: My New Years Resolution.

Love is the only human condition that is unconditional, therefore not of man but of something Greater than man.

A gift is not a gift if there is a price to pay.

The greatest gift is Love.

The greatest gift is Acceptance.

The greatest gift is Forgiveness.

Love can only be experienced by Giving and Accepting.

By Giving and Accepting we experience Forgiveness.

 

 My goal for the year 2012 is to continue learning to Give and to Accept.

 

I have already asked myself these questions:

What do I want to do differently?        Do less; be more.

Will these changes serve humanity? Family? Friends? Me?        Love benefits all.

What step toward my goal will I take the first week?        Express gratitude.

What action toward this end am I willing to take on Jan 1 2012? Encourage someone.

This first activity; when will it take place?    When I post this message.

What Day?        Today

What time?      1:00 pm.

Who will hold me accountable?     We will.

How do I believe this will make me feel?        Grateful.

How will I celebrate having done it?         By doing it again.

Another Life

 Once upon a time, in a land of desert sands there lived a man by the name of Kamal Amin. He began his life in the sands of Egypt. In mid life he moved to the sands of Arizona. As a child in Cairo he lived in his grandfather’s home, a castle more or less, with thirty two rooms. When I spoke with Kamal a few minutes ago, I meant to ask him how many bathrooms there were in that house but as we laughed about him using a bicycle to wander from room to room, the thought somehow escaped me. One can only imagine the contrast of life styles when my friend of thirty-five years first arrived in Scottsdale,  Arizona, eager to begin training under the tutelage of his new mentor Frank LloydWright and assigned to live in a “tent” of his design made of scraps of materials discarded from previous “tent”, a part of the ritual of entering the culture of Taliesin life.

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that Kamal had a tremendous faith in the belief that doing the next thing was for him, truly the right thing. A man now in his eighties, this is still his practice. When we were both adventurous young single men with an eye for the ladies I never quite understood this guy’s approach to life but as the years passed and ideas were exchanged our friendship grew to the point that there are now no longer any surprises. I met Kamal through a mutual friend, Linda Brock, a Scottsdale Porsche dealer at the time. On a beautiful, sunny Arizona day in 1977, Linda walked into my shop at Scottsdale and Shea which at that time was considered Far North Scottsdale and said “Hi Lee, I have someone I’d like you to meet.”

So, in the spirit of the approach of the New Year, the time for New Beginnings, marked by many as a period for re-examining one’s goals and refining and/or setting new ones, I‘d like to turn this part of the article over to Kamal as he explains the beginning of his career as one of the world’s great architects. It might interest you first to know that this chapter in his life was preceded by one in which he refused an inheritance of millions in order to stay on the path of his choosing. He had a few dollars in the bank but not much more than that. His explanation is called New Beginnings and is chapter Twenty Three of Reflections From The Shining Brow, in an amazing first person account of his internship at Taliesin in North Scottsdale. So, to paraphrase Linda Brock , “Hi everyone, I have someone I’d like you to meet………”

ANOTHER LIFE

            Remember yourself always and everywhere.  – G.I. Gurdjieff.

     “When I left the Taliesin Fellowship in November 1977 I did not have a dime. Nor did I have an office or a client. I borrowed $3,000 and rented an apartment in a new section of North Scottsdale. I asked an acquaintance contractor if I could rent, for $100 a month, a desk in his office where I could place a telephone and a chair so that I could sit next to the telephone. He agreed. For $1,000 I bought a wreck of a car from an acquaintance who owned a car agency.

     Every morning I dressed up in a suit and a tie, drove to the office, and sat on my chair next to the telephone. No one knew I was there………………………….”

     “…………………………….After two weeks of waiting by the telephone in my office, it rang one morning. I said to myself, “Good Lord, someone knows I am here.” A civilized voice on the other end of the wire introduced himself as though I should know him. I asked, “Do I know you?”

     He said that he remembered hearing me talk, the year before, about energy in relation to building, and that he had liked what I had said. I did not remember the occasion but I said that I did. I further said that I remembered him, which I did not. Then he asked, “Can you come to San Antonio?”

     “Sure,” I said.

     “Can you come the day after tomorrow?”

     I was jumping with excitement but I contained myself and said coolly, “Let me look at my schedule here for a moment.” Seconds later I said that I could.

     As I descended the plane steps in San Antonio I looked hard at the waiting crowd, hoping to find a face I could recognize. Then I did. A tall, handsome youngish man, prematurely gray, stood out in the crowd. As soon as I saw him I remembered the entire occasion of our earlier acquaintance. He drove me sixty miles north to the Texas Hill Country to Kerrville, where I met a charming young woman from the Hunt family who owned a construction company. She wanted to build twenty-four homes on a property that she owned. When I returned to Phoenix a day later, I had a signed contract which kept me going while other projects came into my new office.”

Thank you Kamal.

Meister Eckhart. The Next Thing.

During the eighties I studied the works of Eckhart von Hochheim, commonly known as Meister Eckhart. A German Theologian, Meister Eckhart was an avid researcher, fastidiously occupied with testing every new idea in syllogistic form. There is a quote, the essence of which has stuck with me for thirty years which I have not yet verified so trust me on this. If nothing else the logic is fairly tight regardless of source.

His assertion was that for a person of faith, that person need not trouble themself with the correctness needed in choosing one’s next activity. Just do the next thing. It will be the right thing to do. 

I have a friend who is so devoted to this idea that he made decisions like this, decisions which has so far, provided my friend with a wonderful life. I will tell you more about Kamal Amin tomorrow and perhaps draw upon his book, Reflections from the Shining Brow.

Earl Nightingale “…you own your own career.”

A Candy Appleish, Sparkly Gold Rolls Royce

All you have to do is know where you’re going. The answers will come to you of their own accord.        Earl Nightingale.

On October 19, 2011. I posted a story about Earl Nightingale. It was a memoire of our first meeting. In the spirit of the great tradition of setting New Years Resolutions I will spend the next few days posting about the goal setting habits of memorable Twentieth Century thinkers. I will begin by reposting A Candy Appleish, Sparkly Gold Rolls Royce.

“The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else. Job security is gone. The driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember: Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career!”
Earl Nightingale

 I was in the workroom of Lee Broom Picture Framing Company. It was a beautiful spring day in Scottsdale Arizona. The stereo was tuned to the classical music station and I was listening to Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30. The recording was of the composer himself at the piano. The year was 1929, years before the year of my birth, probably at New York City Music Hall. (I am listening as I write, to this same piece as performed by Olga Kern.) As I listened and locked in the last brad in the frame I was building, reaching as I did so for the Kraft paper I had already prepared to be used as a dust cover, I saw through the window, a Candy Appleish, Sparkly Gold  Rolls Royce pulling up to the curb.

Great. This could mean a big sale. I continued working, observing the driver emerging from a  beautiful if somewhat vulgar looking almost-a-limo; he walked around to the trunk which appeared to be opening itself, removed a large cardboard box and start toward my front door.  As he approached the showroom I was holding the door open for my visitor.  He entered the room moving deliberately toward the 4’x 8′ glass table which served as a sales counter and also as my desk. The gentleman did not look around at my beautifully designed showroom as did others when entering for the first time. Nor did he hesitate when entering the room; he seemed to have been here before. Today, I was the only staff member on the premises. My two framers were absent without leave.

The music reached its conclusion. I looked at the welcome intruder, listened as he asked what I thought to be a perfectly ridiculous question, “Do you offer senior discounts.” Music returned. It was now my favorite composition of all time, the Rach’s first movement from his second piano concerto, this time being performed by Van Clyburn. Instantly inspired and at the same time recognizing my visitor, I helped him remove the contents of the box ignoring for the moment his question and pausing to admire a Piranesi print .  “I know you. I couldn’t place your face but the minute I heard your voice I knew you.”                          

“Well”, He dragged it out a bit, watching me as though he were deliberately and easily reading my mind. “So…..tell me please,” the serious look on his face was a mask for an impish side to his personality, that particular trait being suddenly revealed by a bit of a twinkle in one eye or another, “Who am I?”.   

“You Sir are Sky King.”

The gravel in my visitor’s deep baritone voice added an unusually comedic air, filling the small show room as he began to laugh, and laugh and laugh. I chuckled as he quieted down and offered me his hand. “Earl Nightingales” he explained.  

“Lee Broom.” I accepted his handshake. “I’m very happy to meet you Mister Nightingale.” 

 “Thank you” he replied. I wish you’d call me Earl. May I call you Lee?”

“You may do that Earl. I apologize for not answering your question about senior discounts. No. I don’t do that. But I’ll tell you what I will do. If you’ll watch the shop for twenty minutes, I’ll go fetch some sandwiches. You can play with samples. Look at artwork. Just make yourself at home. When I return – I assume since it is 11:45 that you haven’t had lunch?” I paused.  “When I return I’ll give you a ten percent discount on all framing and artwork that you might be inclined to buy and I’ll deliver all completed work to your home free of charge. I’ll even install it for free if you will allow me to bring a photographer.”

A big smile lit Earl’s larger than life, face. “Where’s the sandwich shop, Lee?”     

 “Scottsdale and Shea.”    

“Scottsdale and Shea? That’s two blocks from here. I don’t see another car out front. It’ll take twenty minutes just to walk there and back. Another 15 minutes for the food to be prepared. Is your car in the rear of the store?”                                                                 

 “It’s at the garage having the brakes  re-lined.”

 “Well, just how did you plan on getting there?” 

 “I plan to drive your car.” His face now had that same look that I’d interpreted earlier as his ESP face. He reached in his pocket and removed his keys. 

“I’m trusting you with my Rolls Royce, Lee.” 

 “I’m trusting you with my shop, Earl.” I suddenly had an idea and told him to hold his thought while I retrieved something from the back room. I returned with a well-worn copy of THE STRANGEST SECRET by Earl Nightingale. “I made some notes in this book. Maybe while I’m gone you’d like to flip through the pages.” That look again. And, then a smile.  

“Okay”.

And thus began a friendship with a man who would with no more than a dozen meetings in as many years, be remembered as one of the most stimulating friendships I had ever known. We talked a lot about “Success” over the years. He learned that day, the day he loaned me his Candy Appleish, Sparkly Gold Rolls Royce, the day that I left him with my well-worn copy of his book, The Strangest Secret; he knew that I did not agree with everything that he had written. Whenever I had felt a critique rising to the surface I’d left written evidence in the margins of those thoughts. Some were a bit caustic. I’m not certain why I took a chance like that. I ran the risk of sabotaging a friendship not yet realized and on a more practical note, I needed his business. But, I felt that I knew Earl the minute I let him in my front door. And, as time would demonstrate, my sense of a connection had been accurate. It could be said that the concert pianist playing in the background as Earl and I met, was only a skilled craftsman compared to the Composer who was one with the Universe as he wrote the original composition. One could say that but I believe that would be a  mistake in judgment.

I believe that those who create, especially those who create music are often indeed, One with the Universe, regardless of which role they happen to be playing at the time. I believe that on this particular day that Earl and I were every bit as connected as Van Cliburn to Rachmaninov, on that spring day in 1981. Or was it 1982. (As you can see I have more faith in my connectedness than in my memory.)

When I returned, Earl was visiting with my friend and business neighbor, Herb Drinkwater. It was to Drinkwater Liquor and Cheese that I had gone for sandwiches. Silly me. It was right across the street. Earl was telling Herb about his new home. It was near the crest of Mummy Mountain. It had a fully equipped radio station, a 100 foot mast and he was already doing his radio show every morning from the comfort of his own home.

I was very familiar with the building in which he lived and after he left that day I wondered for a moment what it must be like for him to be earning his living doing the work that he loved. It took only a moment to realize that this is what sparked the flame of recognition between us for it was that drive to live one’s dream that Earl and I shared.

I reached across the table and picked up THE STRANGEST SECRET by Earl Nightingale and opened the cover.

“To my new friend Lee, who loaned me his store and welcomed me to Scottsdale Arizona. Earl Nightingale.”

 

his entry was posted in Biography, customer service, Humor, memoirs, Uncategorized and tagged Composer, Earl Nightingale, Herb Drinkwater, Olga Kern, Piranesi, Rachmaninov, Rolls Royce, Sky King, THE STRANGEST SECRET, Van Clyburn.

New Years Resolution(s)

 On the morning of New Year’s Day I will state my goals for 2012.

I have already asked myself these questions:

What do I want to do differently?

Will these changes serve humanity? Family? Friends? Me?

What step toward my goal will I take the first week?

What action toward this end am I willing to take on Jan 1 2012?

This first activity; when will it be done?

What Day?

What time?

Who will hold me accountable?

How do I believe this will make me feel?

How will I celebrate having done it?

Curious Abner Meets the Alpha and the Omega.

Continued from yesterday’s post:

 Curious Abner: Cool. ………..,(but) I’m still high?

Psychoactive Toad: I don’t know. I think it’s starting to wear off.

Curious Abner: Why do you say that?

Psychoactive Toad: Ribbit.

Curious Abner: Huh?

Psychoactive Toad: Ribbit.

Curious Abner: I’m gonna put you back down where I found you, you dumb toad. Go find yourself a cricket.

Psychoactive Toad: Ribbit.

Curious Abner: Hey Jesus. Where are ya Dude? We need to talk……….

(TODAY IS JESUS’ BIRTHDAY)

Jesus: Hello Abner.

Curious Abner: Dude. Jesus, is that you?

Jesus: I am Jesus; yes I am.

Curious Abner: Wow. I guess you are kinda psychedelic at that, Do you know a Toad named Psycho?

Jesus: I do.

Curious Abner: He has lickky stuff all over him. People lick that stuff off his back, which gives them a religious experience.

Jesus: I know about that.

Curious Abner: Yeah, well, I still don’t get it.

Jesus: Get what Abner?

Curious Abner: Hey, I’m standing here talkin’ to an invisible man or maybe even a Ghost and the Ghost is talkin’ back. That sounds pretty weird to me.

Jesus: I see what you mean.

Curious Abner: Well, I’m glad one of us can see. Can you see me?

Jesus: I can.

Curious Abner: Well, howsabout balancing things up here. It’d be nice if I could see you.

Bling!!!!

Jesus: How’s this?

Curious Abner: Dude, that’s a cool thing ya do there. You look like a hippy. Cool jeans. I like your sandals. Where’d ya get that fancy hiker’s stick.

Jesus: I made it. I enjoy making things of wood. I’m a carpenter.

Curious Abner: Really. I hope you don’t go ’round hiding from your customers all the time. Seems to me, that’d be bad for business.

Jesus: Oh, I see what you’re saying. No, Abner; carpentering is a hobby. Saving souls is my business.

Curious Abner: So, carpentering is your hobby and shoe repair is your business. Could you make me some sandals like those you’re wearing?

Jesus: By soul I mean you, Abner; not your shoes.

Curious Abner: I’m not a sole. I’ve been called a heel before but never a sole.

Jesus: Soul Abner. S.O.U.L.

Curious Abner: Wow. Psycho Toad was right Dude. You are definitely out there.

Jesus: Out there, up there. Yes, Abner you could say I’m just about everywhere.

Curious Abner: So what’s the matter with my soul? And, why do you want to fix me?

Jesus: What are you afraid of Abner?

Curious Abner: Not much of anything, Jesus. Really.

Jesus: Go on.

Curious Abner: Well, girls maybe, a little bit. You know what I mean.

Jesus: Yes, Abner. I know what you mean. What else.

Curious Abner: Failing.

Jesus: Yes, that’s pretty scary, isn’t it.

Curious Abner: Duhh. Not as scary as dying.

Jesus: I know what you mean.

Curious Abner: Really?

Jesus: Really. Been there, done that.

Curious Abner: Done what? You died? I’m lookin’ atcha Dude.

Jesus: Yes. And I’m looking at you Abner.

Curious Abner: C’mon, you know what I mean; you’re still a young man. How old are you?

Jesus: I guess you could say that depends on your point of view.

Curious Abner: Whaddaya mean?

Jesus: To some I am one day old. To others I am 2012 years old, today. A lot of  folks are celebrating my birthday today. But, from my point of view I have been here forever and I will always be here.

Curious Abner: Wow, Dude that’s pretty cool. I want what you’ve got.

Jesus: Are you willing to go to any lengths to get it.

Curious Abner: Well, Duhh. I mean sure. What do I have to do?.

Jesus: You’ve already done it Abner, and so have I. It’s all yours.

Curious Abner: Dude, Thanks. Happy Birthday, Jesus.

Jesus: Happy Birthday, Abner.

Lee: Merry Christmas everyone.