Suddenly realizing what had happened, a burst of laughter sprang forth.
“She was happy!” I exclaimed. “Truly and sincerely happy!"
The night before—mere hours before the tragic news—I was alarmed to receive a phone call from my mother. She never called at that hour. It was late. Or was it early? It was a phone call during the in-between hours when most people would normally be sound asleep.
But I was still wide awake, dreaming of happy memories and what dreams may come. Just the day before, I had returned home from a weekend away with Stephanie—a mini celebration in honor of our engagement. How could I sleep? Happy thoughts were dancing merrily through my mind—for life had become a dream.
But this phone call gave me pause. Only bad news comes at this hour. Answering the phone, I braced myself for the worst.
But rather than bad news, I instead heard my worried mother’s voice who was simply calling to check in on me. Mothers tend to have a “sixth sense" and my mother is especially one to be ethereally sensitive loved ones. On that night, those feelings moved her to make a connection.
I should have taken this as a hint—a foreshadow of things to come—but instead I simply put my mother’s worried heart at ease and told her of all the wonderful things that had transpired that week: the engagement, the trip, and the euphoria of sincere life-giving happiness.
The concept of happiness originates from words meaning chance, fortune, and luck, and is often used to communicate feelings of pleasure, gladness, and contentment—qualities that surely pointed to how I was feeling that September night in 2007.
My mother could hear it in my voice. "I'm so happy for you, my son!" she exclaimed. She had never known me to be happier.
The next morning (while standing on the porch where Stephanie and I had our last kiss goodbye) her mother told me of the pure happiness she saw in her eyes, when just the night before Stephanie recounted her own rendition of the week we had together.
"She was happy," she consoled, holding me tight, unable to hold back the tears. "Truly happy. You made her happy, Jonas."
My constant prayer for Stephanie was her happiness—that she would be happy for the rest of her life. I should have been more specific, because while this prayer was answered swiftly, it turns out her life was to be incredibly short—for the night before (during the in-between hours between late and early) quietly, in her sleep, Stephanie died.
It is not despite the contrast between the highs and lows that we are able to experience joy, but rather it is precisely because of this contrast.
When the Whos down in Whoville woke up Christmas morning, despite the absence of packages and bags—and despite not having their Who pudding, roast beast, and even the very last can of Who hash—they looked around and realized they still had what neither rust nor moth could destroy: faith, hope, and Love. Ah! but the greatest of these is Love.
These highs and lows provide opportunities to renew our commitment to what truly matters most—because without happiness, life can become arid, empty, and meaningless. All the more so when we deprive ourselves of happiness with words like "I’ll be happy if…” or “I’ll be happy when…”
These are dangerous words, because ifs and whens won’t always come to pass, and making happiness conditional to variables outside of our control will deprive us of experiencing the fullness of life. Better, then, to source our happiness where neither moth nor rust can destroy.
All of these thoughts sat in my mind like a simmering stew when Stephanie's mother released her grieving embrace. Life had become a dream where all sincere poems, prayers, and promises can be realized—and realizing what had happened, a burst of laughter sprang forth.
“She was happy!” I exclaimed. “Truly and sincerely happy!”
It brought a smile to my face, just knowing Stephanie was happy for the rest of her life.
Even when chance, fortune, and luck don't smile upon us—when all pleasure, gladness, and contentment are gone—it is still possible to laugh and smile in the face of despair. Even through the tears, joy is possible because of how sweet it is to love someone and how right it is to care.
The experience of happiness and the memories they lend can provide the fuel to get through tough times—so long as we store our happiness where neither moth nor rust can destroy: in faith, hope, and Love. Ah! but the greatest of these is Love.
Up until now, how often have you delayed happiness with ifs and whens? What might you do to remove artificial conditional barriers so you may experience sincere life-giving happiness
“Looking back on the memory of the dance we shared beneath the stars above, for a moment all the world was right—how could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye?”
It’s been 14 years since our dance beneath the stars—the night when Stephanie finally said yes. After eight years of being wildly in love, with the brightest smile, she finally said yes!
“I’m glad I didn’t know the way it all would end, the way it all would go.”
Just ten days later, Stephanie died unexpectedly from an aneurism. The ensuing battle with grief removed all flavor for life. Even the things that once brought great joy just seemed so bland, so useless, and I could see no life beyond the hill of grief.
Amidst the darkness, there were even days when I wished I had never even met Stephanie—for a greater pain had sincerely never before been known.
And yet, what is perhaps most fascinating, is that after climbing that hill, life has continued to be filled with surprises to amaze and delight.
“Our lives are better left to chance—I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.”
I can say with authority that one of the kindest gifts you can give yourself is fascination for life, because fascination empowers you with curiosity and wonder to look for, discover, and embrace new possibilities for what your life might be.
While I still think of Stephanie every day, the pain of losing her has been transformed and integrated into who I am, in what I do, and in how I live my life. As a result, I am consistently amazed to discover new joys, passions, and relationships to make my heart flutter and soul sing in ways I never before could have imagined—whether it’s discovering a new perspective from a mountain top, learning to play the ukulele, or simply helping to make someone smile.
As for today, I’m amazed by all that life has offered since September 5, 2007, a valuable reminder that I could have missed the pain, but I would have had to also miss the dance.
What beliefs might you challenge today—with fascination, curiosity, and wonder—to discover what your life might be?
I have decided to sell my fiancée’s engagement ring so that I may make good on the many debts I accumulated when she passed away just a day after I picked it out for her.
I have not made this decision lightly for this is the ring that I promised to give to her but never did. I just could not bring myself to do it after that unimaginable Sunday afternoon after stepping through the unfathomable door at the funeral parlor and walking the impossible walk across the room to stand over her lifeless body lying in the casket.
One week earlier from that very moment we were playing mini-golf at Lake Winnepesaukah and just four days before that we were lying together in her bed staring into each other’s eyes, our
souls were talking to each other you see. She was willing me to ask, and I that
I hadn’t a ring yet, and she that it didn’t matter.
And so I asked.
And so she smiled.
And so she nodded.
And so I smiled.
And so I said, “I always wondered what that would feel like.”
And so she asked, “What?”
And so I said, “To ask the woman of my dreams to marry me and to have her say yes and to have that woman be you.”
And yet there I was with ring in hand and finally ready to give it to her seeing in my heart that the woman lying in that casket was not Stephanie.
It was not my best friend.
It was not her.
It was most certainly the body her soul inhabited during her time as Stephanie but no that was not Stephanie.
And so I couldn’t give Stephanie’s ring to a lifeless body that was not her and so I carried that ring with me anywhere and everywhere I went in search of her from appletini to appletini yet anywhere and everywhere I could not find her.
I drank all my work. I drank all my possessions. I drank all my money. I drank all my hopes. I drank all my life away and still I couldn’t find her.
And so time went on and time went by as I did not and just when I all but gave up I did find her again and I will give you a hint as to how I finally did:
She was found in letting go.
No job. No car. No home. No possessions. No anything nor no everything. No nothing no never no not no none no no.
Once I let go of life I found that I could have all of life and it was in all of life that I found Peace of Mind. And it was in all of life that I found Love in my Heart. And it was in all of
life that I found Joy for Life.
Yes, I have finally found Stephanie again.
Yes, I have not made this decision lightly to sell my fiancée’s engagement ring that I promised to give to her but never did but I have found Stephanie again and I have also found I no longer need to carry this ring anymore nor do I need to hoard it anymore for this ring is of this world but is not for this world and my work is for this world but is not of this world and my work for this world needs the money that this ring holds. Transferring this money to my work for this world will finally allow me to give to Stephanie her engagement ring that I promised to give her but never did to make good on the many debts I accumulated when she passed away just a day after I picked it out for her, this modest trilogy diamond ring that has an inscription that reads “P.S. I Love You”
It is with a heavy heart that such a moment has come but it is with a heavy heart that all moments of this world come.
With Abundant Peace of Mind, Love in Your Heart and Joy for Life --
I visited my best friend yesterday. It's been sometime since I visited her last. I think I've only been there once since the return from my bicycle trip. I didn't plan on going there and I was a little hesitant when the idea popped into my head. I've been doing really good lately and I didn't want to stir up emotions that may still be laying dorment in my mind.
It was my first official day working with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. Since they hired me as their "Musical Petting Zookeeper" I've been fixing the instruments, getting the cleaning materials organized, making phone calls and emails to clients and preparing my presentation script. But yesterday was the big day to see if all my work would pay off. I visited two schools in a row, for preschool and kindergarden aged children, and taught them about the different instruments from an orchestra then they got to play them. It was so fun seeing these little kids playing the cello and violins, the tuba and trombone, banging on the glockenspiel and triangle and waving the conductors baton around.
Since I've taken my new direction in my work with magic I've had little interest in performing magic for children. I've rather moved the focus of my work to inspirational programs to motivate the participants to go after the life they were born to live. But this music program perfectly into my new vision, allowing me to do the magic I want to do instead of the magic that I have to do.
In 2007 when my best friend and I got engaged I decided that I wanted to be with her more than I wanted to be a magician so I decided that I would pursue a career in music, as a teacher first then become a conductor of a symphony orchestra (a man has a right to dream!) When she passed away soon after all dreams died and that's when I became acquanted with my dark night.
Inspired by the desire to leave the darkness I slowly began to heal and have been in the Light for over three and a half months now. Interestingly it coincides with the release of my book which details my experinece in the darkness. Now, nearly three years later, I have my job with the symphony and am able to inspire young people by teaching them about music and no longer have to perform magic to support myself. Instead of marrying my best friend I have married my two passions, enabling me to maintain artistic integrity with all my work while helping, teaching and healing those around me.
That is why I went to see Stephanie yesterday. It used to be that when such wonderful things happened I would call her or go to her apartment and share with her my excitement. So I just had to go and, for the first time in such a long time, share my joy instead of my sadness, grief and despair like all my former visits to her grave.
I am so happy that I have her. I am so happy that she is my Guardian Angel. I am so happy that we get to do great things now, things that we wouldn't have been able to do if it worked out any other way. For I carry her heart with me (I carry it in my heart).
With Abundant Peace, Love and Light-
i carry your heart with me
by ee cummings
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
On a walk
Recognized the true nature of the phrase “I Love You.”
For such a small phrase it holds such profound meaning.
It is an expression of gratitude, an apology, forgiveness, a promise, a prayer and a declaration.
When I say I Love You I’m saying is thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for all that you do and all that you are. Thank you for who you were and who you want to be. Thank
you for your Vision. I Love You.
When I say I Love You I’m saying sorry for all that I have done in the past to have hurt you or dishonored your trust. I’m sorry for any pain that I may have brought you now
and in the past. I never meant to hurt you and I am so very sorry. I Love You.
When I say I Love You I am saying that I forgive you for anything that you have done now and in the past to have hurt me. I know that you never mean to cause me pain and recognize that
we all make mistakes along our journey through life. I trust you and forgive
you for all your missteps. I Love You.
When I say I Love You I am saying that I promise to do all that I can to help build you up. Whatever you may need along your path to spiritual advancement I will do all that I am able.
That is my promise to you. I Love You.
When I say I Love You I’m praying that all of your Hopes and Dreams come true. What you think, say and do matters to the world. I value all that you are and pray for your vision to come
to life. I am routing for you. I Love You.
When I say I Love You I’m recognizing the connection between us. By verbalizing this recognition it is acknowledging as a declaration for all to know that we are truly the same and
not as separate as so many believe. I declare that the Divine in Me recognizes
the Divine in You. I Love You.
Three simple words; so often so hard to say. “I” and “Love” and “You.” A world so blessed with all recognizing the true nature of Love would be a much more peaceful world indeed.
Until then, let me say this: Thank You for being a part of my life and for all
that you are. I am sorry for anything I have ever done to hurt you. I forgive
you for anything you have ever done to have hurt me. I promise to do all that I
can to help build you up to become the person you were born to be. I pray that
all of your Hopes and Dreams come true. And I understand that you and I,
despite our differences, are truly the same; United by the Divine in each of
use. In other words:
I Love You.
After two and a half years of writing, editing, rewriting, re-editing, sharing and setting aside and writing some more and editing some more, my book is finally finished…and published! “It Just Happened the Other Day: A True Story” began on a quiet park bench late in the evening one mid summer night as the air turned purple and a storm flashed lightening in the far off distance. My best friend and I were talking about all the adventures her and I had shared over the years and we decided to write about them together in a book. We had shared a similar promise to do a play together, but at that time I didn’t keep that promise. Perhaps in the back of my mind I thought maybe this idea about the book wouldn’t stick either; that maybe it was just a dream that two people so often fantasize about while sitting on park benches in the summer. Turns out it was much more than a fantasy, for today it is a reality. But the book is not the only promise I kept. Back in the fall of 2008 I made good on the play promise too, premiering the multimedia theatrical production of “It Just Happened the Other Day: A True Story.” It is my hope that these accomplishments will serve as inspired proof to others that whatever you can dream, if you truly want it with all of your heart and soul, never give up and are willing to ask for help along the way, then you can achieve it.
This book is based on my experiences with my best friend, and is the book that we had originally decided to write together back on August 3, 2007. It reveals my personal secrets, the stories behind my magic, the obstacles I've faced, and the questionable decisions I made along the way. “It just Happened the Other Day: A True Story” reveals a new way to live life; offering a fresh perspective on the experiences life gives us enabling us to dream freely and to live those very dreams. In short it is an important read for everyone looking for the inspiration and motivation to live the life they want to live.
In honor of the release of this book I am holding a dinner party on Sunday February 28 at Abruzzo’s Restaurant at 2589 Boston Road in Wilbraham and I invite you to attend. The party begins with a social hour and cocktails at 5PM followed by buffet dinner at 6PM. At 7PM there will a performance of my show “The Meta-Illusion Experience” with live music by The MaGenies featuring percussionist Matt Skowyra, singer/songwriter/acoustic guitarist Mike Barone, and yours truly on saxophone. The party is $30 per guest and you can receive their own personal copy of “It Just Happened the Other Day: A True Story” for just $20…but if you reserve your seat before February 21 you will get both the autographed book and dinner with entertainment plus be entered to win a $60.00 cash prize all for only $40.00. To reserve your seat call 413-364-4862 or email email@example.com This is truly a very special event for me and I hope to have you there in support to share it.
I'm a mirror (and so are you).