As we are preparing for Thanksgiving, I was thinking to myself… Thanks Given. Perhaps these two thoughts from my life story: River of Jade, best encapsulates my feelings:
Someone once asked me if my life turned out as I had hoped. This question has always been an intriguing one to me because it has so many ways to be answered. There is a saying, “If you knew someday you would be very happy, would you be in such a rush?” I think that my life, though filled with many detours and surprises, turned out to be more fascinating than I could have ever imagined. I’ve been blessed with the good fortune of realizing most of my dreams and been deeply transformed by love and loss, by friends and by those I’ve hurt out of fear or anguish.
I’ve been a poet, storyteller, educator, diversity trainer, community therapist, filmmaker, author, founded StirFry Seminars, and had the honor of being a father and a husband. In retrospect, I wish I could have had more time to smell the roses, spent more time with my incredible son, Joaquim and my closest friends.
Yet, in looking back on at it all, I would never have traded this life for another nor will I ever be able to describe all the wondrous places I have visited and all the thousands of courageous and kind folks I have met, loved, honored and grown from. For over thirty-five years I have travelled to every state in this country doing keynotes, trainings and workshops on the importance of Mindfulness Practices for educators, therapists and social workers, from the halls of the Pentagon to the boardrooms of corporate America.
And what I have discovered is that we’re all longing for a better world and more authentic relationships – we’re just too scared and floundering in a sea of fear and blame. All we need to do is to let go of always needing to be in control and having to protect ourselves from those we don’t understand or who are different from ourselves. The whole world is all around us, all we need to do is reach out and begin again: to take care of each other, to share what we have and to walk through our fears. It has never been that hard and it has always been that simple.
I feel very grateful to have led a purposeful life in the service of others and hopefully made this a better world with my films and workshops and writings. As Anais Nin once wrote, “The dream was always ahead of me. To be in unison with it, that was the challenge and the journey.” I think I caught up with my dreams, lived them to the fullest and came away with a lifetime of memorable postcards. Gratitude is the first word that comes to me and the last one I whisper at the end of each day…