June Newsletter
  December 31, 2012         |    Santa Barbara, California                 
  



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Well, the 21st of December has passed and the world’s still here.  


As my 8-year old son is now fond of saying,

       “Guess the Mayo people got it wrong, Pops.”  

      “Yeah, well in addition to the Mayan people, a lot of people have been wrong      
        about the end of the world.”

      “Pops, wouldn’t you say ALL of them have been wrong?”

      “Yes, I would.  You’re right, that’s a better way of saying that.”

     “And that’s good, right?”

      “You betcha.”


It’s hard to write this without vast amounts of heartbreak knowing that for many it was the end of the world.  I can’t even begin to imagine the nightmare that some parents in Connecticut are trying to live through.  Just can’t even imagine...  My son, who has no knowledge of this tragedy mildly complains that he’s being hugged too tightly, too frequently and wonders about his ability to get more desserts and TV than normal.  

That’s just what we do.  What else can we do?  We remember how precious all of this is and we go on hugging our loved ones a little tighter, a little more frequently.

The other morning I was cleaning up after my son dashed off to school.  He had left the Peanut butter and jelly out, there was a sticky knife and crumbs all over the counter and and I started one of those parental grumbles.  But this time I caught myself.  And I thought, what a wonderful problem to have.  My wife and I have this wonderfully, sloppy, messy, forgetful, cheerful boy who makes his own lunch and leaves sticky messes on the counter for us to clean up.  What a gift, really.  What a blessing.  

Awareness of the end can help us honor and cherish the middle, the now.

Some of my favorite public figures left the planet this year.

Neil Armstrong, Ernie Borgnine, Nora Ephron, Dave Brubeck, Ray Bradbury, Phyllis Diller, Michael Clarke Duncan, Richard Dawson, Andy Griffith, Marvin Hamlisch, Etta James, Davy Jones, George McGovern, Sally Ride, Earl Scruggs, Maurice Sendak, Ravi Shankar, Donna Summer, Mike Wallace, Jack Klugman and many more that deserve naming.

All of these famous people had the luxury of being seen, appreciated, and then missed and mourned by millions of people.  

One of my favorite stories about Neil Armstrong was how he would be at parties surrounded by fans and would start telling a long winded, completely boring and pointless joke about being on the moon.  He would finally deliver the “punchline,” usually to the blank expressions of his guests.  Then he would pause for a very long 10 seconds or so and then say, “Well,... I guess you had to be there.”  

Ray Bradbury was a fixture here at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and was an inspiration to behold when he got going.  I remember the first time I saw him speak was probably 12 years ago and he could barely get up to the podium.  Inwardly I cringed that my childhood hero was probably long past his prime.  He began to speak slowly and carefully and then something magic happened.  He just took off!  His voice boomed and his eyes blazed and his pace moved like a man decades younger.  In addition to his fantastic volume of work, he paid it forward by inspiring so many to write.

After a couple of decades working in the music industry (a past life), my musical tastes may seem oddly unfocused, but I shall miss a world without Marvin Hamlisch, Etta James, Ravi Shankar, Earl Scruggs, Davy Jones and Dave Brubeck.  While it may be hard to imagine how all of these divergent musicians could be favorites of mine, perhaps it was best summed up by a phrase a successful musician friend once used.  During an interview he was asked, “What kind of music do you like to listen to?”  He simply said, “Great music.”  These were all, in their own way, great musicians that made great music in each of their genres.  

When I reflect upon this past year and think about the highs and lows our family has been through, I’m reminded again how important gratitude is.  We live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.  We have more than our basic needs met and we have some of the most lovely friends and community we could ever have dreamed of.  

We have enough.  


That’s an odd phrase in our American culture.  Even as I write it, it feels like “settling,” like I’ve capitulated and am now settling for less.  Somehow in this culture we’re supposed to want MORE than enough, more than we have.  We just emerged from the midst of it with all of the holiday shopping.  So now we all have more stuff while all the stuff we got last year will be at the curb stuffed in bins waiting for the people who cart off our old stuff.

When did enough come to mean “less than enough?”

This year my family’s intention is to focus on the loved ones in our life and spend more quality time with them.  None of us know how long we have with each other.  On Christmas day, we exchanged fewer presents and a lot more hugs.  We’re committing to loving who and what we have in our life, and not what might be missing.  And we’re going to find more ways to give back to our local and global communities.  There are people who genuinely do not have enough who could benefit from our donations of both time and money.

My wish is that you can experience gratitude during this holiday season and long into the New Year.  My hope is that you can want and love what you already have.  My belief is that gratitude for life, loved ones, and all that is good enough in our lives is the key to peace and a reasonable amount of happiness.

I’m grateful for you for being in our lives.  I hope the support we were able to provide you this past year was good enough and Happy New Year from all of us here at Mick’s Macs.

All the best,


Mick


www.MicksMacs.com