Archive for November, 2009

Turning Points

November 30, 2009

I love hearing life-changing stories. I wrote this article about people’s defining moments in business for Twin CIties Business magazine eight years ago. It’s fun to learn the behind-the-scenes details of how a company or person took a giant leap toward success. Not all of the companies represented are still in business but that doesn’t change the fact that these are very cool stories!


It’s a day like any other. You’re minding your own business when suddenly, unexpectedly, there it is: a fork in the road. It may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that’s dropped in your lap, a dramatic moment of expanded insight and clarity, or a challenge that yanks the rug right out from under your life. You may only have a moment or two to act or you may have a few months to sort things out. You may curse the gods or sink to your knees in gratitude. The circumstances vary but two things are certain. One, your life is about to change. And two, it’s a day you will not soon forget.


Ed Klemz, the Mac Maestro

Klemz co-founded Central Coast Solutions, a full-service business technology consulting company whose core markets reply on Apple Macintosh computers.


I had been working as an electrical engineer for five years for Tecnetics, an industrial control company in New Brighton. For a couple years, I had been helping family members and friends with their computer issues and, through word of mouth, that slowly evolved into a small side business. When that started to pay well, I decided that Tecnetics wasn’t paying me enough to


Be Kind to Yourself

November 29, 2009

Not long ago, I shared a table at the raw food restaurant I frequent with a handful of friends, one of whom was a woman who was relatively new to the concept of a raw food diet. After hearing some of our stories, she enthusiastically announced that she was going to go 100 percent raw the very next day. Gently, I told her that going raw was not as simple as it sounded, that it typically took two to three years to make the transition, and that she was setting herself up for certain failure.

I bet you can relate to that woman. Who among us hasn’t excitedly started an exercise program, changed our diet, started a spiritual path or leapt into any other self-improvement effort with high hopes and stars in our eyes? And who among us hasn’t raised the white flag after a few days, a few weeks or a few months and slunk away defeated and disappointed in ourselves?

The pattern is always the same. You (more…)

You Can Simply Be Happy

November 28, 2009

Image created by Dynamic Graphics

Aristotle concluded that the motive for everything we do is to find happiness. Yet there is a better way. You can simply be happy.

There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way.

Striving for happiness is counterproductive. The belief that happiness will be ours when certain obstacles are overcome is itself a certain obstacle to happiness.

The search for happiness is (more…)

The Bedtime Olympics!

November 27, 2009

Erin and me in the glory days of her kidhood

Like most kids, my daughter Erin was a pro at delaying bedtime. She’d ask for a glass of water (“Water for the daughter!”), then ask for a bedtime story—one from a book, followed by an original “Super Erin!” story. Then she’d be hungry (I’d sneak her bread and butter sometimes when her mom thought she was sleeping). Then it was time to rub her back (“Stay with me until I fall asleep, Daddy”).

I used to tell her, “If there was ever a Bedtime Olympics, you’d win a gold medal!”

Years later, when I was writing cartoon ideas for Strange Brew, a nationally syndicated cartoon panel originated and drawn by John Deering of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, it occurred to me that Erin’s bedtime stalling would make a great cartoon. John agreed, and was kind enough to use Erin’s real name to make it even more special!

So the night before Erin left to go to college in England for five months, we went to a restaurant and I presented her with the framed original artwork of the cartoon you see below (more…)

Radiate Mental Sunshine!

November 26, 2009

When you are intoxicated with the ever-new joy of God-contact, you radiate mental sunshine. Others take notice as surely as if you were visibly glowing and sporting wings. Your peaceful countenance speaks louder than words.

What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

In fact, you need not speak at all. In response to Jesus’ statement about coming into this world to “bear witness unto the truth,” Paramahansa Yogananda wrote, “A child of God bears witness by his life. He embodies truth; if he expound it also, that is generous redundancy.”

The deepest rivers flow with the least sound.
Quintus Curtius Rufus

The more centered and peaceful you are, the more exhilarating (more…)

Outwitting the Stars

November 25, 2009

Swami Sri Yukteswar and Paramahansa Yogananda

I never had much of an appreciation for astrology. Over the years, a number of people I highly respected spoke glowingly of its value and validity but I just didn’t care enough about the subject to invetsigate it further.

Then one day, I happened to read a chapter in a life-changing book that burned off the fog of ignorance and answered every question I had about astrology. It was written with clarity, precision, wit and wisdom, and I felt the subject come brilliantly alive for me as I read it.

Here is the beginning of that chapter from the spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda.

It is a dialogue between Yogananda and his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar.


“Mukunda, why don’t you get an astrological armlet?”

“Should I, Master? I don’t believe in astrology.”

“It is never a question of belief; the only scientific attitude one can take on any subject is whether it is true. The law of gravitation worked as efficiently before Newton as after him. The cosmos would be fairly chaotic if its laws could not operate without the sanction of human belief.

“Charlatans (more…)

The Celestial Music Of Your Soul

November 24, 2009

As soon as you accept that you are bathed in God’s loving consciousness in every moment, you open your heart to knowing true peace.

Knowing we are divinely loved enriches our life beyond measure, and provides the strength and courage we need to persevere through any difficulty.

God loves you unconditionally. No matter what mistakes you have made, God never loses sight of the pure, radiant beauty of your soul. You may forget God, but God will never forget you.

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.
Saint Augustine

In those sublime moments when you (more…)

Life Is a Game of Boomerangs

November 23, 2009

We all came from and will return to the one Source. By definition then, we are all one. Hence, whatever we do for others, we do for ourselves. So when you choose to be loving, you will receive love in return, both in this life and beyond.

How does this principle affect us on a practical basis? Author and speaker Dannion Brinkley offers a compelling example. While undergoing a near-death experience after being struck by lightning, Brinkley found himself receiving a life review in which he relived every emotion from every encounter he ever had on Earth. The process was then repeated, except this time he experienced the emotions of the people with whom he had interacted.

Today, when appropriate, Brinkley greets those who cross his path with a long, lingering, loving hug, a gesture that is at once selfless and selfish.

He explains that, since (more…)

Sparkly Brown Eyes

November 22, 2009

Do a kindness for someone and some day, somehow, it circles back to you. I can’t get enough of stories like this one. It’s by Robert Reynolds of Huron, Ohio. and appeared in the December 2009 issue of Guideposts.

Huron, Ohio, was where I’d spent my twenties, working on a steamer out on the Great Lakes. My wife and I started our family there, and later we came back to Huron to retire.

Then, during the final stages of construction on our new home, I had difficulty breathing. The doctor determined I needed open-heart surgery. I was admitted to a hospital in Sandusky. Everything was put on hold.

The night before my surgery, I was so worried I couldn’t sleep. I lay in my hospital bed, praying and thinking about the events in my life that had led me to this point. I remembered how I had fallen in love with Huron and its people. I remembered a Christmas many years ago…

The shipping season had been good to me, so that winter I decided to buy some Christmas gifts and help out a family in town.

“I know a family that would appreciate a visit from Santa Claus,” the owner of the marine supply store said. “A woman with (more…)

My Pet

November 21, 2009

A seventh-grader named Wayne left a comment on my blog Thursday night. He’s writing a report on me for school and wanted to know how I started writing poems. I’ve gotten a handful of such requests from kids over the years and they always make me smile.

Here I am, just a regular Joe, sitting at my laptop, unshaven, in a T-shirt and sweat pants, pounding out whatever copy I can to pay the bills. But because my name is in Kids Pick the Funniest Poems attached to a handful of goofy poems, to a generation of kids I’m a dapper poet laureate in a smoking jacket, relaxing in an overstuffed leather chair at an exclusive men’s club, lifting a glass of sherry and trading witticisms with the likes of John Keats and Robert Frost. Love it!

I have five poems in this wonderful little book. Do your kids a favor and buy this book for them. They'll love it!

I know that when I was a kid, if an author I admired had responded to a letter from me with a few kind words in a brief note, I would have whooped and hollered and run around the yard in circles until I passed out from joyous exhaustion. So I always enjoy responding to kids right away and helping them with their reports however I can.

In responding to Wayne’s note, I thought back to all the silly song parodies I had written in grade school. I would sit at the counter that separated our kitchen and family room and painstakingly type out my own versions of Snoopy and the Red Baron and Strangers in the Night on an old manual typewriter that would be in the Smithsonian today. I still have the little book of songs I so (more…)

What If Everything You Believe Is Wrong?

November 20, 2009

Drilling down to the essence of what you believe—with all the honesty and courage you can muster—and questioning every idea you have about God, is the key to unlocking the front door to your spiritual mansion.

I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth; and truth rewarded me.
Simone de Beauvoir

Even if you emerge with your original belief system intact, your effort will have been worthwhile. For you will now believe what you believe through conscious choice rather than unconscious acceptance.

You begin to live more consciously when you (more…)

A Safe Career Comes at a Steep Cost

November 19, 2009

The question is not whether you have a talent, but how long it will take you to discover and apply it. If you are not actively striving to identify your talent and develop your right livelihood, you are passively engaging in self-sabotage.

It is understandable why so many opt for a “safe” life doing work that they do not enjoy, especially when there are children to be raised and a mortgage to be paid.

Most people live for their pension instead of their passion.
Les Brown

It is easy to make excuses for not developing your talents, for not exploring other opportunities, for not pursuing a more challenging career path. “I need a steady paycheck to support my family.” “There are too many other people doing what I want to do.” “I’ve invested too much time and money in learning how to do this job.”

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.
Samuel Johnson

Yes, leaving your boat chained to the dock is (more…)

Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen Meets Her Departed Grandmother

November 18, 2009

Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen

It was a great pleasure to interview Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen for my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything. Although Rachel had included this profoundly moving story in her book, Kitchen Table Wisdom, I asked her some questions so I could add more detail to the story. Here is an excerpt, beginning with her bio.

Dr. Remen is Clinical Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, a co-founder of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program, and the founder and Director of the Institute for the Study of Health and Illness at Commonweal. She is an internationally known teacher, and the author of the New York Times bestsellers Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings. Her course for medical students, The Healer’s Art, is currently being taught in fifty-three medical schools nationwide. Click here to visit Rachel’s website.

When I was in my middle forties, my mother, who was almost eighty-five, elected to have coronary bypass surgery. After surgery, she was wheeled to the coronary intensive-care unit. For the first week, she was unconscious, peering over the edge of life, breathed by a ventilator. As I sat with her, I remember feeling awed by her will to live and by the capacity of the human body to endure such a massive insult at such an advanced age.

When she finally regained consciousness, she was profoundly disoriented and often did not know who I, her only child, was. The nurses were reassuring. They told me they saw this sort of thing often. They called it (more…)

Gregg Braden Gains Insight Into the Mechanics of Prayer

November 17, 2009

Gregg Braden

Of all the stories in my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, Gregg Braden‘s tale of an outing with his Native American friend was the one that impacted my daily life the most. It deepened my understanding of universal laws and transformed the way I prayed. Here is an excerpt from Gregg’s powerful story, beginning with his bio.

Braden, a best-selling author and internationally renowned speaker, is a pioneer in bridging the wisdom of our past with the science, healing, and peace of our future. After serving as a senior computer systems designer for Martin Marietta Aerospace, a computer geologist for Phillips Petroleum, and the technical operations manager for Cisco Systems, Braden’s work is now devoted to inspiring humanity to build a better world. His books include The Divine Matrix, The God Code, and The Isaiah Effect. Click here to visit Gregg’s website.

Back in the early ’90s, I was living in the high desert of northern New Mexico. This was during one of the worst droughts that the Southwest had ever recorded. The elders in the native pueblos said that as far back as they could remember they’d never gone so long without rain.

David, a native friend of mine from one of those nearby pueblos, called me one summer morning and asked if I wanted to join him in visiting a place his ancestors had built, where he would pray for rain. I agreed, and soon we were hiking through hundreds of acres of high desert sage. He led me to a place where (more…)

Dancing with God

November 16, 2009

I just received this nice prose-poem from a friend in an e-mail. I like it! I don’t know who wrote it but a quick Google check tells me it’s popular and that’s it’s been used as a wedding poem. One thing is for certain: It’s definitely worth sharing!


When I meditated on the word Guidance,
I kept seeing “dance” at the end of the word.
I remember reading that doing God’s will is a lot like dancing.
When two people try to lead, nothing feels right.
The movement doesn’t flow with the music,
and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky.
When one person realizes that, and lets the other lead,
both bodies begin to (more…)

Be Present, Be Powerful, Be Timeless!

November 15, 2009


Being fully present is a timeless state of being, independent of what is happening around you in the physical world at any given moment.

My friend, the sufi is the friend of the present moment. To say tomorrow is not our way.

Timelessness is your natural state. The present moment patiently waits to welcome you home.

You would measure time the measureless and the
You would adjust your conduct and even direct the course of your spirit according to hours and seasons.
Of time you would make a stream upon whose bank you would sit and watch its flowing.
Yet the timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness,
And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.
And that that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.

Kahlil Gibran

Through its link to the divine mind, the present moment is a portal to (more…)