Monday, April 21, 2008


Even in the midst of tragedy, there is a spiritual law of surrender: when you let go and accept whatever is happening in this very moment — when you stop worrying, stop stressing, start appreciating and start giving more than you receive — magic begins to happen in your life. No matter what is going on, there is always something to be grateful for. Sometimes you have to lose your life to save it. Sometimes you have to lose everything to gain what's really valuable.

It's a spiritual law: the more you give, the more you receive. Wayne Dyer, in his bestselling book You’ll See it When You Believe It, says that the magic of giving actually is a law in the universe and works like clockwork. Every single time he sent out 10% to charity of any income that came in, his income doubled, tripled and rose exponentially.

All sorts of wonderful things opened up when I started giving, tithing, caring about others and giving things away. In the debauched 80's, I even offered to drive a friend to the airport — an unheard of gesture in L.A. during that time. No one drove anyone to the airport; it was considered a huge imposition. But everytime I would give time or money, both time and money would expand. Soon, an abundance of riches flowed into my life. I love Oprah's new show THE BIG GIVE.

This is how we can change the world. It will happen on a community level. The other day I heard a woman on the radio say that she was at Trader Joe's, and just as she was checking out, she realized she had forgotten her wallet. Instead of sending her away, the cashier offered to pay for her groceries — and when she gushed apologies, he refused to let her pay him back. It wasn't that much, she had only purchased a few items, but still — this kind of generosity in "paying it foward" could change the world. This is how we'll win over corporate greed.

What has always, always seemed wrong to me is excess consumerism. It has never seemed natural to have so many stores, so much pavement, so many products. The other day I was driving back from Palm Springs where I did a wonderful TV show and I wandered into an outlet mall. People were shopping mindlessly, staring at "things" and never looking at each other. It's so bizarre, this shopping mentality — as if "stuff" can really fill you up. We have been programmed to be shoppers, always searching for something material to fill us. But it never does.

We are snowballing toward chaos and excess for one purpose -- to force us to look within.


By the way, what's wrong with downsizing, simplifying and living with less? Less is actually more. Thom Hartmann said, “Why are we so hell bent on ‘economic growth?’ Why not ‘economic stability?” If economic growth means even one more cancer death, then I am for stabilizing the economy, not growing it."

If the economy slows down, won't prices drop? Isn't necessity the mother of invention? I have long believed the emerging green economy will save American industry. But we have to stop thinking of ourselves as separate and superior to the rest of the world. Germany is excelling in solar power, and we should learn a lesson from their solar model.

As home prices drop to human levels, wouldn't it be great if the average American could actually afford to buy a home without killing himself — without holding down two jobs, or having his spouse bring in the second income while the children stay in day-care until 7 p.m. after a harrowing drive in rush hour?

This got me to thinking about Ted Knight’s favorite expression: “less is more.” He used to advise us not to mug for the cameras — and that there was more power in underplaying a scene. These were his acting tips in the beginning of Too Close For Comfort. I was too scared to look into his eyes, so I'd look at his forehead instead. He kept standing on his toes to get into my line of vision. Ted thought I was doing this on purpose, and the National Enquirer sent spies down to check out the tension on the set.

I believe that less really is more when it comes to quality of life. In fact, lately I’ve been longing for a country life or "pastoral life" ( without the sheep.) I'm obsessed with HGTV and all the shows on fixing up houses, painting, cooking and gardening. Growing our own herbs and vegetables, building furniture, downsizing, shedding excess... I've actually been making my own hand lotion and face cream (olive oil & glycerin) because I'm sick of the chemicals the big brands put in there. Who knows what we're putting into our bodies with 'Aluminum Silicate, Dimethicone, Triethanolamine, Methylparaben, DMDM Hydantoin... (partial list of ingredients in a major label hand lotion.)

It is also true that abiding by principle really pays off: if you treat your employees well, they will strive for you; they will be more loyal and more dependable. Trader Joes, CostCo, Starbucks, Best Buy and Google all pay great benefits and overtime; they have proven that companies who really do the right thing, are rewarded by the laws of the universe. To me this proves there is “goodness in the universe” – and that the Golden Rule works! Honestly, when I walk into Trader Joes or Costco, the employees seem to love their jobs. They are incredibly happy. Joy is contagious. On the other hand Circuit City keeps wages low, somehwere around $8 dollars an hour, just above minimum wage. they fire employees in order to hire new ones at lower wages. Guess what? Circuit city is failing. WalMart uses similar tactics; though they brag they donate more money to charity than any other company, they are not fooling smart people. Charitable donations are tax write-offs; why don't they put all that money into employee health care instead?

I love Stephen Covey’s book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” which basically proves that in business, if you abide by certain fundamental principles of justice, honesty and kindness — and seek to understand rather than to be understood (in other words, if you do the right thing) everyone is happy, wealth is created and harmony prevails.

To me this principle is most clearly and mysteriously propelled by “giving to the poor” or tithing.

As Obama says, "Pain trickles up." In a country such as ours, where corporations are given huge tax breaks and executives get million dollar bonuses, hoarding wealth at the top levels does not "trickle down." The government must step in and help the middle class and the poor. We can’t leave it up to the churches and synagogues to take care of the "least among us," as The Great Peacemaker admonished.

The day I started seeing the world through other people’s eyes and feeling other’s pain, is the day I can honestly say I became more progressive, inclusive, democratic, less fearful of the "other." In other words, I was a Republican and then I got sober. As I shed my old selfishness, I began to suspect other people existed in the universe — and not just to serve me.

By the way, LIBERAL IS NOT A DIRTY WORD; it's a beautiful word! It means "generous, bounteous, freedom loving, protecting of civil liberties."

Courtesy of Carl at SimplyLeftBehind "Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things...every one! So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, 'Liberal,' as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won't work, Senator, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor." -- Matt Santos, The West Wing

Despite thirty years of 'liberal-bashing as blood sport' on AM Talk Radio via Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, etc — I believe GOOD CONSERVATIVES ARE LIBERALS AT HEART. Obviously, anyone who's paying any attention knows FOX News should have its license revoked for being a propaganda news network. I don't mean Fox Primetime or Fox Entertainment Network, but Fox News Division. Billionaire owner Rupert Murdoch admitted he tried to use his news channel to sway public opinion for a rush to war. Why isn't it a crime to pretend to be are a "fair and balanced" news broadcast, whose sole purpose is to deceive and manipulate viewers? My radio co-host Doug Basham said something very wise: "If Fox News thinks the media has a liberal bias, why aren't they showing us all the good news out of Iraq and the Bush administration? Why aren't they showing any other pictures, taken by their own "news" team?" BECAUSE THE TRUTH HAS A LIBERAL BIAS, that's why. It's hard to camoflage the truth, but they sure are trying.

The very idea of “conservatism” is antithetical to the Christ idea of loving ones neighbor as oneself, not judging others, blessing ones enemies, turning the other cheek, giving to the poor, giving one’s cloak, washing the feet of the lepers... in other words, 'love conqering fear.'

Conservative means "cautious, restrained, opposed to change." Sounds fear-based to me. And Christ said, "Love casts out fear." If the definition of God is Love, doesn't this mean that if you have faith in God you have nothing to fear? So tell me again, why are we at war with terror if we have faith in God? (The fundamentalist Christian right-wing agenda according to George Bush, Tony Perkins, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James D. Kennedy, Ann Coulter, Dick Cheney, James Dobson, Ted Haggart and the most dangerous pastor in America - John Hagee - who is advocating war with Iran! (Please read my expose on Hagee in the archives.)

Charity begins at home. Here are a few of my favorite sites to begin helping others.
The Hunger (one click feeds the hungry. It's free!)
Do One Nice
Good News

When I read the newspaper, I look for the good news because every thought we think changes our biochemistry. Your hormones are all affected by your thoughts. Pay attention to things that bring you joy. - Dr. Christiane Northup

"Enthusiasm and courage actually change your brainwaves, which means that your thoughts can physically change your reality. This also means you can be attractive even if you're not good looking because if you radiate love, you attract people." - Lydia Cornell

The FBI has a new way of tracking terrorists. They are now able to see every click they make on the internet. Privacy advocates say this is bad. Let us know what you think. Click on this link: