Monday, March 17, 2008

The Charmed Monday Minute, March 17

Hi, all -

Top o' the mornin' (afternoon, evening) to you on this St. Paddy's Day. It's sunny today and the snow keeps melting. This is good stuff. Lots of new this week so I'll keep my personal stuff short.

I will tell you one sweet thing. On Saturday William got his tattoo in honor of James, his teenaged son who died last fall. It's a slight adaptation of James's favorite song lyric, "I am heaven-sent, don't you dare forget" (from the song "Okay I Believe You but My Tommy Gun Don't" by the band Brand New). I am now married to a man who has "He was heaven-sent" on one inside forearm and "Don't you dare forget" on the other. He came in after doing this and said, "I don't care what anybody thinks. It gives me peace." I'm so proud of him.

Love and light -

Recipe of the Week:

I just had this fabulous raw soup for lunch and have to share it with you. It comes from Raw Foods for Busy People: Simple & Machine Free Recipes for Every Day, by Jordan Maerin - a dandy little cookless book.

Cream of Tomato Soup:

4 medium tomatoes
1 stalk celery
½ bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbl. Fresh basil or 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 avocado
2 tsp. maple syrup or agave nectar
Salt, cayenne, and minched hot peppers to taste

Blend well. Yum-yum. Serves two generously as an entrée, four to six as an appetizer. (If you want a lower fat version, leave out the avocado and sweetener and you've got Maerin's "Real Tomato Soup.")

Sherry Boone in cabaret:

My amazing, extraordinary action partner (see Fat, Broke & Lonely No More) and wonderful friend will be in cabaret in NYC one night only. Tri-staters: this is not to be missed.

Directly from a triumphant London debut in The Royal Festival Hall's Carmen Jones, Sherry Boone brings her new solo sensation The SuperSTAR Artist Show to the Metropolitan Room. From Broadway (Jelly's Last Jam, Ragtime, Marie Christine, Master Class) to Opera (Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival), Sherry Boone has garnered raves for a voice that Ben Brantley of The New York Times describes as "ravishing."

Make your reservations now!
Sherry Boone in The SuperSTAR Artist Show
Monday April 7th -7pm
NYC's Metropolitan Room
34 West 22nd Street NY, NY
212 206 4440
Alls seats: $34
*Reserve before March 21st for $25 (use codeword OPERA)*

For a preview (and a treat), go to this link on YouTube.

A New Internet Radio Event:

Nancy Mills is the very focused woman who's come up with The Spirited Woman Circle Tele-Chat Conversation Series -- first Tuesday of the month, 10-11am PST, 1-2pm EST. Register at or call 888-428-1234.

Here's the lineup:

April 1: Jill Conner Browne, Sweet Potato Queens Books of Love
May 6: Susan Miller, founder of
June 3: Carolyn Howard-Johnson, writer's advocate, "How to Do It Frugally" series of books
July 1: Jacquelyn Mitchard, highly acclaimed author of Oprah's first Book Club
pick, The Deep End of the Ocean
August 5: Laurel Touby, founder of, just sold her company to for $23 million
September 2: Catherine Ryan Hyde, bestselling author of Pay It Forward
October 7: Victoria Moran, self-help guru (I am?) and author of Creating a Charmed Life

Let's get celebrating:

Let's get celebrating: My friend Greg Tamblyn, a wonderful singer/songwriter, comedian, and all-'round inspirational guy ( put in his recent newsletter that, as part of bringing about more understanding in the world, he was going to start celebrating different holidays from around the world. Here are the ones he lists as his favorites:

Liberia: Matilda Newport Day, December 1. "A festival in honor of a widowed pioneer who lit a cannon with her pipe and saved her countryin 1822 when under siege by tribespeople."

Mongolia: Naadam Festival, July 11-13. Three day holiday for "the manly games, of horse racing, archery, and Mongolian wrestling." (Women compete too, except in wrestling.)

Finland: Walpurgis Night, April 30. "In the Norse tradition, bonfires are built to keep away the dead and chaotic spirits that are said to walk among the living."

Japan: Coming of Age Day, 2nd Monday in January. "All people who turned 20 during the last year are congratulated. Cities and towns hold ceremonies with alcoholic beverages, which are the privilege of adults."

Calling all writers:

This is a conference I never miss, and this year I'm moderating a Sunday morning panel seminar on publicity and platform. Here's the scoop:

Annual conference, Amer. Soc. of Journalists & Authors, April 12-13, Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City. Public program and registration link at: Award-winning literary journalist and author Melissa Fay Greene will be the keynote speaker on Saturday. Programming includes one-on-one "pitch" sessions with agents and editors, and opportunities for personal mentoring with professional writers. Representatives of several of the nation's leading magazines will participate, notably AARP The Magazine, Audubon, Better Homes & Gardens, E! Magazine, Family Circle, New York Times Magazine, Outside, Redbook, Self and Wired.

Where I'll Be:

I'm in writing mode at the moment and not doing a whole lot of speaking, but I'll be here and there and would love to have you join me...

Radio: - Wed., March 26, noon Eastern - guest: Jerrold Mundis, author of How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously (will be archived for later listening)

Speaking: New York, NY, Sunday, April 13, 9 a.m. to noon, panel- "Publicity for Writers," annual conference, American Society of Journalists, Grand Hyatt Hotel, info at

Take care, and all good things -


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Charmed Monday Minute, March 4

Dear Readers & Friends,

I'm thinking of the children's poem, "The Owl & the Pussycat," where it says, "They sailed away for a year and a day..." because I'm a week and a day late on this issue of the Minute. But that's cool because today is a lovely holiday invented by my friend, writer and storyteller Deborah Shouse. This is March 4th: the day we're to march forth into the rest of our year, the rest of our lives.

My reason for lateness is that I was in New York City for a full glorious week in a charming little studio on the Upper East Side. It was divine.

You know the law-of-attraction idea that says that happiness begets more of the same? I really saw that. I was borderline giddy to be back there living the way of life I love so much. During the week I was there in giggly bliss, a refund from my former gym showed up in my account (it three months past due and I'd pretty much given up on it); an income tax refund we hadn't expected showed up and the accountant confirmed that it was due us after all, and then, things really picked up for my husband's screenplays. He's a lawyer working hard to make a career change; his screenplays are amazing, and yet that is one tough business to break into. While I was in the city, some very positive things happened for all three of his scripts. This tells me, (1) all good things are indeed possible, and (2) joy does open the way for more of itself to enter in.

This past weekend I was at another idyllic place, the New Age Health Spa in Neversink, NY. I spoke there and had a restful few days of yoga, meditation, great food somebody else prepared, and a magical nature connection when three deer came right up to the window of the yoga center. We stared at them and they stared at us. It was heavenly. It reminds me that we all can stand to live in a more spa-like way: rest enough, exercise and meditate daily, eat fresh, organic food. It's not that hard - just uncommon. But we can change that.

Link of the Week:

I so hope this video link works for you... This is an image you won't soon forget. The woman in this news clip found this lion malnourished and about to die. She took him home and took care of him. When the lion was better she called the local animal sanctuary. This was the reaction she got when the lion saw her.

(Please remember, especially if you share this video with children, that this is a special case. Most wild animals should never be approached this way, even at the zoo.)

Info of the Week:

For five years, I've been trying to interest my publisher in a book on living the spiritual life. For some reason, they won't bite, so I developed it as a class, initially for the Learning Annex of New York City, and I've now done it with great success there and at various churches, spas, and conferences. Through developing and refining the concept, I've come up with the 12 Power Principles for Living a Spiritual Life (and those are the twelve chapters of that book which will happen somehow - you heard it here). The principles are:

1. Accept yourself.
If this is difficult, clean up your past as best you can and then look at each day at the end of it so you can make things right as you go along. None of us is ever going to be perfect, but we can start each day fresh and feel good about our imperfect selves.

2. Claim your joy.
Joy is necessary. It's contagious, so being joyful is a great way to help others. And it begets more of itself (see my little story above about the great things that came into my life week when I was in such a happy state).

3. Take quiet time every single day.
Meditate, pray, write in a journal. Quiet time is mandatory to get in touch with your deeper self and with your Source.

4. Keep a Sabbath.
If you don't have a religious Sabbath, just pick a day and set it aside for spiritual, recreational (that means re-create, you know), and delightful endeavors. For me, it means no email and keeping my desk verboten.

5. Cultivate greater compassion.
"Feel with" (that's the basic definition of the word compassion) the homeless guy on the corner, whether you opt to give him a buck or not. Feel with the people you read about in the paper, and expand your circle of compassion to include other sentient beings. The Jain saint Mahavira put it so beautifully: "To every creature, his own life is very dear."

6. Treat your body as a temple.
Honor it. Care for it. Treat it kindly. Use it well. Feed it the best food, give it enough rest and exercise, and show it some appreciation: it does a lot for you.

7. Share your time, talent, treasure.
Give of your time, let the world benefit from your talents, and give of your resources, either through tithing (regular giving of 10% of all money that comes to you) or some other system of sharing. This makes the world better and opens the way for the universe to give back to you.

8. Study and learn.
Read the scriptures of the world or of your own tradition. Read mystical poetry (I love The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse). Read the spiritual classics such as The Yoga Sutras of Patajali or Brother Lawrence's The Practice of the Presence of God. Read new books that help open your mind to more wonder and beauty and grace.

9. Create community.
Bring into your circle people who are also on a spiritual quest. You need them to reflect back to you what's really important.

10. Allow others to, simply, be.
Principle 9 states that you need people around you whose spiritual questing is in keeping with yours, but you also need to allow other people to be on other paths and some to be on, seemingly, no path at all. Shine your light: if it's of the wattage they can see and appreciate, they may want what you have and they'll ask how you got it. If not, trust that they have a Higher Power, too, and that they're just where they should be.

11. Find Spirit everywhere.
Look around your life and your day and find God, Spirit, Presence, Source Energy. See it in nature, in serendipity, in children and animals, in art and beauty, in simple pleasures.

12. Make gratitude your constant companion.
Make gratitude your first thought upon awakening. Make gratitude lists in your head as you walk around town or in your car as you wait for the light to change. Be grateful when things are going fabulously and be grateful when they're in a slump - it's even more helpful then. Gratitude connects you with the Source of all good. You can't do better than that.

Love and light,

Where to Find Me:

I'm in writing mode at the moment and not doing a whole lot of speaking, but I'll be here and there and would love to have you join me...

Speaking: Albany, NY, Sunday, March 9, 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. (careful: this is the day that daylight savings time begins), Unity Church of Albany, 2 Sunday services: "Awakening to the Light," 518-439-1775

Radio: - Wed., March 26, noon Eastern - guest: Jerrold Mundis, author of How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously (will be archived for later listening)

Speaking: New York, NY, Sunday, April 13, 9 a.m. to noon, panel- "Publicity for Writers," annual conference, American Society of Journalists, Grand Hyatt Hotel, info at

Take care, and all good things -