Tuesday, September 20, 2011

An Affair of the Heart

(Click on the photo in the side bar for more information.)

By the time you read this, I will be gearing up to be on my way to Malibu California to attend the premier screening of An Affair of the Heart: The Journey of Rick Springfield and his Devoted Fans, a documentary filmed over the last year, two years in the making. I'm one of the folks featured in the film, maybe not a 'devoted fan' in the fanatical sense of the word, but certainly a lifelong one.  Rick still holds a special place in my heart because he was my first teeny-bopper crush; his posters were the first ones I papered my bedroom walls with. I eagerly saved up 35 cents every month to get the latest issue of Tiger Beat or 16 Magazine because I just knew he was the centerfold. If you asked me then what songs he sang, I couldn't have come up with the title of a single one ( this was many years prior to Jessie's Girl). I've always felt that Jessie's Girl becoming a #1 single was vindication for all the teasing I used to take from my friends because Rick wasn't cool enough for them while they were listening to music they considered more progressive. Not that what they were listening to wasn't good; it's just that I preferred the way Rick wrote about everyday things that applied to what was happening around me . It resonated with what was happening in my life and reflected what I was feeling.

All I knew was that in a sea filled with perfect, androgynous teen idols(  boys barely more than a few years older than I was at the time) Rick was different.  He was ten years older than most of the cast of 16 Magazine and Tiger Beat,  had a bumper crop of thick, dark chest hair...and an earring. And, he was exotically Australian when most of his musical peers were boys-next-door from the USA.

I seriously think it was the earring that got me...a dangly beaded number that hung rakishly from his left ear lobe. Maybe the significance of that minor detail is lost on some of my younger readers, but in the early 1970's, men did not have earrings (unless they'd crossed the Equator on a ship) or other visible piercings, so therefore, a guy sporting an earring just because he could was big news. It announced he was a 'bad boy', a potential troublemaker in the eyes of all fathers who were specifically paying attention to what their teenage daughters were doing. That dangly little number has been replaced by a rather sedate, small gold hoop these days, and the chest hair mysteriously disappeared over a decade ago. Rick, however, still rocks the stage at an age when most of his contemporaries have retired.. The fan base has grown over the years to include grandmothers, mothers and daughters, and at any concert you can see male and female fans from several generations now, rather than the teens who populated the seats when I was first smitten.
Fans travel cross country to attend shows now that  the core of them are old enough to hold down jobs which allow them to afford the luxury. Going to see Rick Springfield concerts has become a destination and a goal for many of them. I never had the time off from work, or the money to travel around the country, and I'm not sure I would have gone more than a couple hundred miles to a show anyway, but kudos to those who can and do. It's just not my cup of tea and doesn't have the right feel for me, so that's not a judgement. I'd rather just go to a show and enjoy myself without all the worry and extra expense of major travel.

Going to Malibu, to the first screening, is an awesome opportunity. It will be the first time all seven of us who were featured in the film will meet, and that will be exciting. There will be a private pizza party on Saturday for the cast which I'm going to miss because I will be literally on my way to LA that night and can't change travel arrangements I made six weeks prior without incurring major penalties from the travel broker, and frankly, I'm disappointed to the only one not there, but...we'll all be together Monday night for the party and screening ( which is also a major fundraiser for the movie). Independent films are really tough to fund. Most of the time they're pay-as-you-go projects. Rick has done a lot of work behind the scenes with this project, and he's is  doing an acoustic set that night, which I'm  really looking forward to, and there will be a Q&A session hosted by MTV VJ Martha Quinn, and a lot of celebrities and industry insiders. It's the first time he's seeing the movie, too.

I like LA, I used to fly in and out to work there when I was a tour production assistant in the 80's and 90's. There's a lot to see and do, and I adore the historical aspect of Hollywood's Golden Age. I wish this trip was going to be a little longer and there was a bigger budget, but it is what it is, and I'm happy to be able to have a day to go around locally and maybe get down to the beach. I really want to see some sea lions, I've never seen them in the wild. I'd like to do a little day trip to shop. I always try to find a reasonably priced pair of earrings where ever I go ( my version of buying souvenirs). I'm not much for celebrity watching since I'm not star struck, but I can get into a little sight seeing on a day trip....and finding a really cool place to have a cup of coffee. Memories of my years touring with JD include all the nifty and cool places we found to have coffee and meaningful conversation.  Maybe I can hang around long enough to have a nice dinner and see one of those beautiful sunsets Malibu is famous for since I'm missing out on the party the night before.

I often joke about Rick being my Rock Star Muse. His music is my 'dirty little pleasure'. It's always loud - and sometimes pretty raw. I adore complicated electric guitar riffs. The fact that at 62, Rick is still serious eye candy doesn't hurt. The combination is irresistible.

So...I won't be posting anything new for the rest of this week, probably not until after I get back next  Tuesday. There will be lots of photos and a post or two to catch you up on what's happened in LA LA Land.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The AntiChrist in the Mirror

So the Dominionists have now formerly declared spiritual warfare on the 'pagans'. As a matter of perspective, that's not just Pagan with a capital P, but Jews, Buddhists, Hindus-people of all faiths other than their own-including mainstream Christianity. (http://pncminnesota.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/dc40-to-pagans-we-release-the-power-of-blood-covered-light-over-you/) 
 Join the club- we're all being lumped together by the likes of Cindy Jacobs and her band of zombies.  Jacobs a self-proclaimed prophet and televangelist from Texas, has been quoted as saying abortion, adultery and homosexuality is caused by a curse of violence upon the land where it was previously inhabited by Native Americans  who “did blood sacrifice” and “were cannibals and they ate people.” Watching Jacobs speak reminds me a lot of the crazy guy we've all seen on the city bus; you know, the one everyone lets sit in the front alone because they're a little concerned at what he might do.The look of intense lunacy is unmistakable.

"We release the power of blood-covered light over you."
I guess what I find the most disturbing is that they did not indicate this was the blood Jesus shed for the forgiveness of sins according to Christian doctrine. I could take that in a much more sincere and logical manner. They did not connect it at all with the Blood of the Lamb of God. It is not the symbolic smearing of blood on the lintel to fool the Angel of Death and make him pass over the innocent. Neither was it said in the in the spirit of  Kyrie Eleison (Greek for " Lord have mercy"). It does not mention the power of Jesus as Light of the World. It does not mention Jesus at all. It does not mention the sacrifice of their god for the forgiveness of supposed sins. 

What it says is carefully worded and crystal clear: it is meant as a curse. 

If you cover a source containing light, it mutes the illumination and casts that light in darkness. And the darkness they project, for all intents and purposes, is not connected to the shadow self, but farther  beyond, from the lowest realm of existence where evil entity dwells. These are nothing less than malefic magickans intending harm through occult means.
How can I be certain of this? Because true Christians believe that they are capable of nothing unless they invoke the name of Jesus as the agent of Yahweh and the Dominionists have never named their God. Not once. I have never seen mention of a personal pronoun for their god. And I suspect the reason for that is because what they leave out of their very carefully worded missives is the truth they don't want the rest of us to figure out- that they are bunch of misfits who have been rejected by conventional Christianity. Mainstream Christianity has kicked them out of the fold and to the curb, and because of this they have become a cult of haters who have created their own god. Their version of God is an angry, malevolent tyrant who is vengeful upon the whole of mankind: it is a god created in their own likeness, yet they cling to the hem of the garment of the Holy One of the Bible to appear credible to the media and the mainstream. Remember the verse about being wary of evil coming in the guise of a  Messenger of Light? He's here-and his name is Dominion.

They are the antithesis of mainstream Christianity, and I personally believe they mirror the commonly held Biblical description of the Antichrist.  

"The devil . . . has their souls in his possession, and under his dominion" (Jonathan Edwards).
I find it interesting that nearly all the online dictionary sites use this quote among  the definitions for the word 'dominion'. This is the only religious reference; the other are political or geographic. There's just too much of coincidence here for me to ignore. They could have chosen to call themselves anything else other than Dominionists...and I suspect that's why we are now seeing new names for them, ones that sound ever-so-slightly more acceptable to the Judeo-Christian mainstream ear: ' New Apostolic Reformation', 'Christian Reconstructionism', 'Neo-Calvinism',' Christian Nationalism'. Could this be be from a growing self awareness that their acts are so shameful that they are now becoming ashamed of their own chosen identity?(http://noodleepoodlee.org/2011/08/22/onward-christian-soldiers-%E2%80%93-dominionists-revealed-as-wolves-in-lamb-of-gods-clothing/)

George Grant, (the former executive director of Coral Ridge Ministries, which has since changed its name to Truth in Action Ministries), seems to have made the most poignant and chilling statement about the movement: “But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice ... It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time ... World conquest."(http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/08/14/dominionism-michele-bachmann-and-rick-perry-s-dangerous-religious-bond.html)

As to your curse of blood-covered light, I respond, not in kind, but with a message- in plain language you will understand: you have no power over me. Likewise, as you do not now, nor will you ever have power over this country, founded by those who rejected the dominion and tyranny of  those like you. As the founders and citizens of this land were once willing to fight then for their right to the freedom to worship the gods of their understanding- or choose to worship no gods at all- there are those who are willing still to defend that freedom today. We cherish the foundation of our Constitution, and the chosen symbols of our Union because they are sacred to us. That which is declared by men as  sacred in both heaven and earth for the well-being and dignity of all is sealed  forever in the holiness of the Universe by the spirit of humanity. I rebuke your maleficent words and deeds, bind them, and cast them aside like chaff in the wind. You will not prevail...Be gone!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pagan Clergy and Ethics

My friend Sabrina the Inkwitch has some of the best discussions on her Facebook page; this afternoon the subject was Pagan Clergy.  As expected, there was a wide range of opinions from those who replied, and a few of the points made were outstanding. Usually there is a flame fest within minutes when a hot button topic is discussed in our community, and thankfully Bri doesn't allow that sort of nonsense to take place on her page. We have both decided long ago that we are too bloody tired of dealing with trolls and their warty negativity, so we simply don't. The ensuing conversations are actual discussions where people are free to express their opinions as long as they behave themselves.

One of the most interesting opinions I read was from someone who said that he believed that Pagan clergy are not bound to the same sort of confidentiality as ministers of other faiths. I take this individual to be well- meaning and suspect he was trying to divorce the issue from what so many Pagans see as a taint from their former faith traditions, Christianity in particular. For some, anything vaguely relating to 'them' smacks of imperialism, and tendency is to run to the other end of the non-conformity scale.

Being Pagan or being legally licensed as a minister has NOTHING to do with the confidentiality issue. ANYONE acting as a minister, High Priestess or High Priest, spiritual director or whatever-lay or ordained-is obligated by the moral code of ethics widely accepted by society to keep confidentiality in their ministry, regardless of their denomination. It is expected and assumed by the general public and those who come to you as the leader of a religious group. It doesn't matter what your denomination or group identifies as, there are implied standards of behavior for religious leaders across the board. You are trusted with the secrets of other people's lives, and your word is your worth.

Someone asked about the legitimacy of online ordination through organizations such as the Universal Life Church. The ULC has been around for over 50 years and has been one of the places Pagans (and others) have gone for ministry credentials.  Despite it's critics, the ULC is a legitimate religious organization which holds regular worship services in it's home church in Modesto California. It has a legal 501 charitable organization certification from the IRS. A spin off organization, ULC Seminary, offers courses in religious education which are recognized by the State of California Department of Post Secondary Education. There have been legal challenges to the legitimacy of ULC in various states, but the Constitutional provision of separation of Church and State has prevailed.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Life_Church

It is an individual church (circle, coven, grove, etc.) which determines who is eligible to become a minister. That is the way it has always been, and it is the reason you still see so many little "store front"  Christian/Pentecostal/Apostolic churches in the inner cities and urban areas of the USA. People got together, formed a church and appointed a minister.  There is no educational prescient unless the governing religious body requires it. Covenant of the Goddess issues ministerial credentials to those who meet it's membership requirement, and so do other Pagan organizations. There are several strictly pagan schools which formally train clergy, including the    Woolston-Stein Theological Seminary run by the Aquarian Tabernacle Church (wiccanseminary.edu)and Cherry Hill Seminaryhttp://cherryhillseminary.org/ .

States do not determine credentials or education for ministry, but some do require you to register and produce an ordination certificate and a letter of good standing from the governing church body, or to be 'licensed', meaning your name and credentials are on file with the agency which issues marriage licenses. A few states require you to purchase a business license to be legally recognized because it is assumed that you are providing a service for hire, which is essentially self employment. As a minister you are still subject to reporting all church related income to the IRS for tax purposes, despite what you may have heard otherwise. If I earn a fee for performing a wedding or other rite within my church, even if that money is a voluntary 'love offering', it is taxable income that must be reported to the IRS and failure to do so is considered tax evasion. ( Remember this, I'm serious!) Also, most states now require a background check and  the finger printing of adults wording with children as a matter of practice. All adults working with children are obligated by law in every state to report suspected abuse to the proper authority under penalty of prosecution as an accessory. It is not a matter of conscience, it is the law. Clergy are not required in any state to report abuse of an adult unless that individual is under threat of immediate bodily harm or loss of life.  There is an exception of those clients who are certifiably mentally/physically incapacitated, such as an elderly person. Elder abuse is unequivocally punishable under the law-as it should be. The local authorities will determine whether or not to act on a report of suspected abuse of an individual who is mentally competent: in most cases, the individual must make the report on their own behalf. That means if you are an abused spouse, it is up to you to report the abuse. There have been incidences where well meaning clergy have made a report to the police about a parishioner's suspected abuse, only to have that individually refute the complaint, and the minister was then  sued for defamation. ( In the case of disabled persons and the elderly, social services will investigate prior to the police taking action unless their is immediate threat of harm.)

Ministers are permitted to dispense advice, spiritual direction and pastoral care within the scope of their ministry which is usually limited to the specific dogma or theological teaching of their denomination. You are expected (within reason) when called upon to give guidance on spiritual matters. This includes pre-marital instruction to couples (whatever their gender identification), reiterate the tenets of your faith tradition, reinforce a moral code of conduct, and mitigate conflict and disputes among group members. In some traditions this is done by elders or a counsel of overseers, with or without the participation of the appointed religious leader.  You can provide basic spiritual direction and guidance as a minister, but anything else crosses into a gray area which may legally be considered psychotherapy. Be aware of the differences: even though pastoral care is therapeutic, it is not considered therapy. Spiritual direction is an adjunct to psychotherapy, but does not replace it. Pastoral care and pastoral counseling are loosely interchangeable terms in the public lexicon, however, I would recommend you check your local state laws before advertising your services. Currently in six states Pastoral Counselors are licensed; in this instance Pastoral Counselors are clergy who have received graduate training in both religion and behavioral science for a clinical practice that integrates psychological and theological disciplines. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastoral_counseling)

I advise you to use your discernment at all times when providing spiritual direction. If the situation doesn't feel right to you, then trust your instinct-but proceed with caution. That is also why I use and recommend to you to use a verbal disclaimer when doing spiritual direction and always keep notes about all counseling sessions. Not only do they help to refresh your memory and are good to refer to for further research into ways of assisting the individual, but they are a written record in the unforeseeable event of your morals and professional ethics being questioned later by the elders of your tradition... or legal authorities. Frankly, I prefer to privately interact face to face with someone I am counseling, but in our litigation happy society, I believe the prudent thing to do would be to meet in a public place such as a coffee shop, as far out of earshot of others, yet where you are visible. I strongly recommend that if you are meeting with a minor youth, bring elders or other trustworthy persons with you. Do not engage individuals in a one on one situation until a mutual trust has been forged-and then proceed carefully. It is the safe thing to do for everyone concerned, and will avoid or discourage any accusation of unethical behavior on your part.

Pagans love to split hairs, argue and push the envelope on issues of authority.  In a court of law it is clear: all ministers are held to the same standard of ethics. It doesn't matter what church or religious group you are sanctioned by.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Time to Clean the Cobwebs Again...

Every so often I have the need to write a few paragraphs about random things going on in my life to clean out the cobwebs...So here goes...

I'm not doing a September 11th blog, I promise. Everyone else is doing one, and I've weighed in on the subject before. It's been ten years and a river of sorrow...it's time to heal. Let's stop calling the World Trade Center Ground Zero. It was Ground Zero when I was there as a first responder; now it should be a sacred place of healing and forgiveness. ( Not forgiveness for the terrorists, forgiveness for the evil men do to one another.) I'm pleased that the September 11th Memorial at WTC has incorporated fountains in the design. Water is purifying and healing, it incubates life, it moves and flows with possibility and potential. The breaking of water releases negative ions, and there is a theory that these ions bind themselves to free radicals which alter mood on the positive end of the pleasure scale. Spiritually, one of the things water 'washes away' is pain...let's hope so. (http://www.911memorial.org)

Fountains at the 9/11 Memorial at WTC
And let's not forget that 9/11 happened in other places besides New York: the attack on the Pentagon was just as devastating to those who lost loved ones in that tragedy. Not to negate the sacrifice of others who died that day, but I personally believe the real heroes were on flight 93 which crashed at Shanksburg, PA. The passengers of that ill-fated flight had an opportunity to fight back- and did. They were the sole victims of 9/11 to have engaged the enemy face to face.
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My involvement with a new church family is bittersweet. While I am excited to be a part of this eclectic group of wonderful people-who are strictly Pagan- I am feeling a little blue about leaving my former church home permanently. I've been unhappy with the direction my former congregation has been heading, feeling disappointed and even betrayed by the behavior of some of my brethren, so this past January I promised myself I would give it one more year to turn around, or I would cut the ties.Undeniably that time has now come, and I have my scissors poised.

I realize you cannot change the behavior of others, but  I can change my own and refuse any involvement with things that I find unethical or immoral. I wish I could say I am leaving without remorse or anger, but that would not be true because I have a huge emotional investment there. Perhaps I have too large a streak of altruism but I also have a genuine lack of understanding of why  people in a denomination known for being engaged in social justice, whose first principle is " the inherent worth and dignity of all people" cannot recognize that when we designate a distinction between  members and  friends based on the ability or lack there of to pledge money to the church, we negate that principle.When we continue to segregate into cliques in the guise of social circles, that is the very elitism that we accuse others of practicing. When we proudly point to foreign missions we support but seemingly refuse to acknowledge the need of  those less fortunate in our wider community-and even in our own ranks- that is invalidating those individuals with a haughty apathy that is simply inexcusable. When we make it about the money, how many post graduate degrees an individual has, or how many membership cards one has in their wallet for the 'right' charitable organizations, that is an inherent bias I cannot overlook- nor do I care to. Yes, it is unfair to focus on the flaws, but we have become so good at self-righteously pointing out the flaws of others that I find it disturbing. To be fair, is not the entire congregation who promotes this behavior- but it is the most influential core group, those who wield the power and dangle the pen above the checkbook who do this.These are the  uberliberals who have gone so far left that they ironically exhibit the same characteristics of the ultraconservative, intolerant political right.

The friends I have made, those who are lovingly enmeshed in my life (and I with theirs) will continue to be so. Otherwise the relationship has soured and become toxic, and I can no longer expose myself to that while counseling and encouraging others not to stay in abusive relationships. The tie has been stretched to the breaking point and about to snap. So mote it be.
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An Affair of the Heart premiers 9/26/11
Seventeen days and counting, and I will be soaking up the good vibrations of the Pacific Ocean in Malibu, California. ( Taking along little bottles to bring home a bit sand and ocean water for my private apothecary and hoping the TSA doesn't think I'm carrying bomb-making materials in my luggage and take those little bottles away,LOL) Finding a few sea shells would be good, and getting to see a live sea lion in its natural habitat would be awesome...Oh, yeah, and spending time with Rick Springfield in his hometown will be kinda cool, too. Attending the private premiere screening of the documentary An Affair of the Heart  with Jessie's Girl's Secret Stalker -who has been my Rock Star Muse for as many years as over half my friends have been alive- is going to be a difficult one to top on the pee-your-pants scale for a lot of reasons, some of which will become obvious if you keep reading.  Yours Truly (who is still incredulous)  is briefly featured pontificating on music and spirituality in the film, as well as representing the segment of those who appreciate his music and  realize the guy has feet of clay just like the rest of us mere mortals. It will also be the first time I meet the other featured fans for the first time- that and supporting this film ( which is a lot more than just about RS and his fans) is the real reason I've ponied up the cash for hotel and airfare. These people have amazing personal stories, and I want to meet them. I've already had my face time with Rick a few years ago, and I'm satisfied that I got to thank him in person for the pleasure I've gotten from his music. And I have to tell you, the fifteen minutes of fame thing Andy Warhol predicted everyone would get in their lifetime is highly overrated. Maybe it's because I learned about the smoke and mirrors of show business long ago, but I'm pretty sure I never want to be a celebrity. Recognition for having something meaningful to  say- and I hope people do find it meaningful and helpful spiritually- would be rewarding. Becoming a pseudo-celebrity because I have rubbed elbows with Rick the Rock God has had the same effect in my life as stepping on a land mine-disruptive.  I truly appreciate the Rick Springfield fans who have sent me little notes and asked to be my Facebook friend ( you have been placed your own list, folks). But on the other hand,the actions of a few petty, junior high school mean and outright jealous  over- the-top  groupies who view me and the other featured fans as  'competition' for the affection of their (unobtainable) fantasy idol has been hurtful and harmful to me personally and professionally. I would be lying if I didn't say that it's killed some of my enthusiasm: not  for the film project or the music, but for all the other 'stuff' that goes on around them.

This has lead me to view the Malibu event with mixed emotions. Besides being marginally annoyed by the flocking of asshats (at least now it's marginal)I am less than thrilled at seeing my Prednisone-inflated body up there on the big screen. Vanity and anxiety aside, I am not happy about seeing my fat ass spread across a wide screen. Yes, it's a body image issue, and yes, I have several of them just like we all do. I'm pleased with myself ( most of the time) that I don't often give mine sway in my daily life because  accepting being a women's plus size- and a petite one, at that- has been a major element to accepting who I am and want to be on the inside. For right now, I am sweating the small stuff like wardrobe and hairdo because I know there will be a film crew shooting the entire event throughout the evening. I'd like to not cringe at my red haired dumpy-ness every time I see myself on camera later....like on the DVD version of the movie...that is going to be snatched up by a large percentage of Rick's fan base.  (How did this become all about me suddenly? That, gentle reader, is why they call it insecurity... Self awareness is a two edged sword. To be truthful, I'd find something about myself to pick on no matter what. That's what we humans do...women in particular. Society and the media that serves it has taught us to never be satisfied with the wonderful variations we all have and instead has brained washed us into disparaging our uniqueness and diversity in lieu of a perfect ideal of beauty. The bastards.) Did I mention there will be other celebrities and industry insiders attending this shindig? But there's no pressure...You believe that, right?
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And finally...There is the joyful realization that the Autumnal Equinox is nearly upon is and that means my favorite time of the year has arrived! Soon there will be a welcome crispness to the air, the  trees will be exploding with color, pumpkins will be on the doorstep and the ancestors will be making their annual journey across the Veil to visit with the living. The signs are already there- I saw them unloading mums and hay bales at the Whole Foods today. Next week I'll start to dig out the Fall decorations, adding in a few Halloween specific things everyday for the fun of it. This year has passed so soon...Don't we all say this as we get older? I like  dancing on the edge of my impending Cronehood because I have never felt less burdened in my life....besides, I have this really neat-o white stripe thing going on with my hair right now that is very Bonnie Raitt. I have finally come into myself, despite the minor derailment caused by the fleeting anxiety of the Malibu trip. On the whole, I like who I have co-created myself to be courtesy of the Goddess. I want to celebrate being alive, and you're all invited to the party.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Opening of Lotus

 There are lessons to be learned, if we allow ourselves to sit with the stillness. Yesterday I was sitting next to a lilt pond at Duke Gardens, and I saw a lotus open in the sunlight. It was amazing- it came up out of the water as a hard, green bud, and within minutes had transformed into a huge white flower. It took no more than three minutes from start to finish- slowly twisting it's green leaves to reveal a stark, creamy whiteness which burst into a star, it's center glistening. Inspiration comes from moments like these.
Words From The Dalai Lama

* Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
* When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
* Follow the three Rs: Respect for self, Respect for others, Responsibility for all your actions.
* Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
* Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
* Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
* When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

* Spend some time alone every day.

* Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.

* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.

* A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.

* In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.

* Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.

* Be gentle with the earth.

* Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.

* Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

* Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

* Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.