Why Do We Wait to Think About These Things?

I had the most amazing conversation during a recent visit to a dear friend who is in the hospital. She is very ill and her prognosis is worse. Fortunately, her pain medications are not affecting her coherency and ability to speak. The words she shared were profound. She knows what the future holds. Her wisdom and advice made think about things I never imagined. I now ask myself, “Why do we wait to think about these things?”

I’ll give you one example from our conversation. I told her I was preparing a speech and was concerned about saying the right things to connect with the audience. She asked, “What do you have so far?” I began to answer and she soon started shaking her head. She said, “No, no, no. Say little and connect eye-to-eye with just one person in the front row. The rest of the audience will then know your amazing heart. They will feel your love.” I was stunned in silence.

During the rest of our time together she shared wisdom about different aspects of life. I was in awe. It’s not that those things she shared were not always in her. It’s just that they came out now…and delivered in a way that really got my attention. Why do we wait to think about these things?

She has for years been a frequent participant on Facebook. To give you a glimpse of my dear friend, the following is a recent post of hers. Enjoy!

“Pushing a “like” button on Facebook means nothing.

Get off Facebook. Go into the world. Hug your mother. Buy food for a homeless person. Water a plant.

Open your heart. Go do a minimum of one good deed per day.

Your liking my pictures is bullshit.

Use your body mind and spirit to make your one little corner of the world better.

Speak truth to power.

Fight for the oppressed.

Teach people to read.

Give a hand up not a handout.
Stop being cowardly.

Either use your life for good or get the hell out of the way.
Your selfishness nauseates me.

Unfriend me if that’s who you are. I won’t miss you. 

If you don’t use this amazing life to do the amazing good for which you were put on this planet, why are you here?

I know my answer.

Go figure yourself out what the truth is for you.

Restore your corner of the world.

I am going on strike until you figure it the fuck out.

And I’m not waiting around to make sure you do.

Thanks for the love.

See you next time.”

Thank you for the life lesson, Debbie. I love you!

P.S. If you want to know more about Debbie and her award-winning books (you should buy all of them!), check her out at  www.sociosights.com and www.winegarten.com.

Oh Sweet Lorraine

Sometimes it just all comes together. You have one of those days like mine has been today. It started out with a meeting with a new group of friends whom I admire greatly. In our discussion this morning, many were reflecting on the memory of a young friend who died last week. They spoke so highly of him and the stories of his life. The message we all gathered was to not let a day go by without telling  your friends and family that you love them.

Then I received an email this afternoon with this incredible video attached: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDi4hBWsvkY. Without spoiling the story, I’ll tell you it’s about the love a 96-year-old man named Fred has for his wife. In fact, he wrote a song about her called Oh Sweet Lorraine. Based on my experiences this morning and watching this video this afternoon, I encourage you to do the following: 1) Watch the video; 2) Buy the song; 3) Tell someone today that you love them. Don’t wait! In fact do it now … right now.

And remember to do it every day. And when you tell that person you love them, think of Fred … and sweet Lorraine.

Live Theater – An Unexpected Love Story

I don’t remember my parents taking me and my brothers to live theater growing up. We went to plenty of movies and loved it, but no live theater. It still baffles me how, after soooo many years, I have fallen in love with live theater. How did this come about? Here’s a synopsis of the love story:

I mentioned to my business coach about seven years ago that after nine years on the Board of Directors of a wonderful non-profit organization here in Austin, I was ready for a change. Her eyes lit up as she said, “You have to come to a ZACH party!” I learned not to question the advice of this business coach, so I did just that…I went to a ZACH party. She was right!

The Zachary Scott Theatre (ZACH) http://www.zachtheatre.org/ in Austin is the oldest continuously operating theatre in the State of Texas. “So what?” you say (as did I back then). I was not interested in theatre and certainly knew little about it. But like so many things in life, it’s not the building, business, or idea that’s important, it’s the people! I quickly discovered that the people associated with ZACH were not only smart and caring, but also fun folks to be with. And while that is an important ingredient in my decision to get involved, that alone wasn’t enough to cause me to fall in love with it.

My love of theater began with the first play I saw at ZACH. I saw their production of Tennessee Williams’ Streetcar Named Desire. I saw the Marlon Brando movie and liked it, but it’s a very different experience when it is performed live…and with professional actors. Part of ZACH’s mission is to “create intimate theatre”. To me that means that you leave the experience of your day behind when you are in the theatre and are taken to the time and place where the play is living. And at ZACH, you feel like you can almost touch the actors. I actually feel that I am a different person in a different place when experiencing live theater. That’s probably why I love live theater so much. It’s an escape from the “outside world” for a brief period of time…and yet it seems like it lasts for countless hours.

Many of you might be thinking, “Sure, Mike. There is live theater, and then there is LIVE THEATER!” If you have never experienced the joys of the escape that I am describing, come to a play at ZACH. Thanks largely to the expertise and professional talents of the Artistic Director at ZACH, Dave Steakley, you will not be disappointed! And if you’re not careful, you might fall in love, too!