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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What if the world was really ending?

So, May 21st was supposed to be judgement day and the world would come to an end except for the 3% of the population that would be saved. For weeks, I heard of this campaign of judgement day on the streets of NYC and in crowded subways. I saw literature line the sidewalks and buildings on how the world would end on May 21st. The person promoting all of this in NYC reportedly spent over $140,000 to spread the word. I wonder what he thought on May 22nd? But I think the deeper question is regardless of his belief, what if the world really did come to an end? How would you feel? I sat back and thought about this as I laughed with my friends about the notion of the world ending. I spent my last night having Sushi at Bond Street with my good friend Karen and then off to an underground, hip, cool lounge in Soho where you have to walk through the actual kitchen to get to the "cool" part. Just a standard night in NYC-no different than any other. Except what if it was my last? I really thought about it- What did I always want to do but never got the chance? What person was I not speaking to or a relationship strained that I could mend and what regrets would I have?

My grandfather would share with me during his dying moments his greatest regret. It was one of love. My grandmother, Beatrice "Bee", died when i was only a baby. I don't remember her. But Bee was my grandfather's true love and soul mate. He would talk about Bee with love in his voice, eyes and heart. You could feel his passion for her. His unconditional love for her regardless of how she was or who she was. But my grandmother was an alcoholic and died of cirrhosis of the liver. She missed our lives because of an illness that even she could not control. My grandfather would cry during these moments and tell me his greatness regret was that he was not stronger with her. That he did not stand up to her and the drinking so she could be around to watch her grandchildren. He was mad at himself for being weak, for ignoring the problem in hopes it would go away, and for never confronting it. But he loved her- good, bad, unconditional love. He would envision how she would look now almost 40 years later- would she be wrinkly, would her beautiful red hair be gray and would she have stopped drinking?

In the diary, my grandfather talks of Bee and the letters she would send him. It was his salvation to a dry, desert day of war. Bee's letters would uplift him and he was able to carry on knowing he would return to Queens, New York one day. My grandfather's regret stayed with him till his dying day. "If only," "I should have," or "why didn't I" filled the hospital room when he talked about Bee.

I think back on my regrets or list of things I always wanted to do. Did I have any regrets? What if the world ended after my night in Soho- did I do everything I wanted to do?

So, I thought about it and listed some of the things I still want to do:

Go to Africa on a 3 week Safari
Spend more time with my family and friends
Volunteer my time with a charity Organization close to my heart
Go to London when Prince Harry get's married
Laugh more
Write more
Love unconditional
PUBLISH this book :)

Now, what regrets do I have in my life(these are just a few):

Never saying goodbye to my good friend Benny before he died
Wasting too much time at odds with my best friend Debbie instead of loving our friendship
not spending more time with my grandfather
not working on this book more and getting it out to the world

I would encourage everything to think about the regrets you have and change them or forgive yourself for them! and then list the things you want to do and DO THEM! My grandfather couldn't change what happened to Bee but he did regret it till his dying day that he didn't do more to help her. But he loved us for two people and I can only hope I have the patience, understanding and unconditional love he had for Bee one day.

Much love


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Taking Risks

Well I know it's been a while since my last blog but just know that I never forget about this book or any of my readers. As we say all the time, life got busy and time slipped away. Since my last blog or post, I have reflected on the book its purpose. Will anyone care? Will anyone read it? Will it become a best seller and i can speak around the world? But then I realized something.... I care and that is all that really matters. If you do something for yourself to make you feel whole and possibly heal wounds, new and old, then it matters..

I watched myself these past couple of months loose sight of who I really am as a person. Do i try to hard to make something "fit" when it really should just be left alone. Do I work too much and maybe this is all I have in life? Could life really be just that- a job? Then I remember my grandfather and how proud he was of me till his dying day. He was so proud that I made something out of myself. He was the only one that believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. He never stopped asking me or pushing me to excel. Have a better life than he did and always take a risk.

I can only imagine the risk my grandfather took when he stepped forward on that day in 1943 to go half way around the world without any friends or family to Egypt and Tunisia to fight with the British in WWII. What bravery and an enormous risk at 24! I took me till 35 years old to get a passport and leave the country on vacation (thanks Erin and Kala) .. Now I can't get enough of Europe or any other destination. Life is about taking risk- professionally and personally. There are times i have taken a significant risk and it didn't work out. But i learned a little bit more about myself that i would have never known. I opened my heart and let life in. My grandfather opened his heart everyday of his life. He didn't care if people were mean to him, loved him or disliked him. He kept his heart open to lead a better more joyful life.

My grandfather risked it all to go to Egypt and he would tell you today if he was alive he does not have one single regret. The memories of that time was so vivid for him that he replayed some of the war missions to us before his death. I asked him one day" Grandpa, were you scared." He said " of course i was but if i didn't try it i would have been more scared of life." I guess we are a family of risks. My grandfather's father ( my great-grandfather) travel alone from Italy in 1916 on a boat for over a week with $5.00 in his pocket- no family, no friends. He took a risk. And it paid off.

I think about the times today and how my life is evolving. How my friends are evolving and family. And I feel proud of the person i have become today. I am not so sure i was proud of me back then when my grandfather always was. I was a hurt person by painful past scares and I didn't know how to handle them. So, i hurt people in exchange and showed no emotion. Until one day, right after my grandfathers death, when i didn't even recognize myself anymore. I lost my footing in life- cold, unemotional and scared to take any sort of emotional risk. Then I woke up and started to read the diary. It felt like a connection to something warm and loving like my grandfather. As cold as i had become, my grandfather could melt it away with his smile, laugh, words on a page and unconditional love for me. The more I read the diary the more I wanted to change and risk everything that i built to protect me. Life was about more than surface relationships or a big paycheck. Life was about opening your heart and truly being a whole person with limitless boundaries.

Its taken me 5 years or so since my grandfathers death to really understand who I am as a person and show people i have changed. I am so blessed to have the love of my family and friends who just never gave up on me. And I write this today to help shape the book and show you how a diary from so long ago can really change a person for the better. I have taken many risks and opened my heart to only be hurt. That's ok. It made me better because I can feel now and I would rather feel something than nothing at all..

I am starting to work on the book's outline and will be posting more...

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Much Love