Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Rest in peace, Dom Deluise. You're probably flipping tortillas in heaven on Cinco de Mayo! My friend Sumi Lee says: "Met Dom Deluise once at Koo Koo Roo. He was very sweet and we discussed chicken." This makes me laugh, and I know Dom would appreciate us laughing! When people pass, we should celebrate them.

We extend our love, and prayers to Mexico. HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO!! My favorite food EVER is Mexican food, and I love the Mexican people.

Yesterday, May 4th was Star Wars Day: May the Fourth be with you!


Buddhists believe strongly that people must immerse themselves in feeling other’s pain in order to gain the compassion that heals the world. When your heart is full of love for your fellow man, you can reach out and actually change people’s lives.

"The only response to hatred is love." - Wayne Dyer

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance; that principle is CONTEMPT PRIOR TO INVESTIGATION." - Herbert Spencer

One day when my son was 8 years old, in third grade, he came home from school with a notice from the principal that a 10-year-old boy had died overnight from a high fever. My own son had also been home from school that week, suffering from a similar fever. We had never met this boy or his family, but I instantly felt the mother’s pain so deeply it shattered me and I couldn't stop crying. I looked up the family name in the school directory to see if they had any other children, which they did: one other son in ninth grade at our local high school.

I prayed deeply for this mother — pouring compassion out to her, holding her in my heart and communing with the divine love that passes all understanding. I asked God to comfort her, to fill her with peace. And then the tears stopped. It was four o’clock in the afternoon. I felt an urgent need to get in my car and find this woman. All I knew was that she lived in a large apartment building on Rexford Drive, a few blocks away. The car seemed to drive itself down the street, and at the end of the block, I saw a tall woman in a bathrobe, pacing the sidewalk, bleary-eyed. She looked at me with a sadness I will never forget. I parked in a driveway and rolled down the window. “Are you Benjamin’s mother?” I asked, getting out of the car. The woman ran towards me — literally rushing into my arms, sobbing. We held each other, both of us crying and she said “Did God send you?”

The woman was Korean-American, and explained in broken English that she had just come outside to search for her husband, who had disappeared in grief earlier that day. She asked if I would come in and look at pictures of her son. We went inside and she showed me her son’s “room,” which was just a corner of the living room. Though this was Beverly Hills, they lived in a modest one-bedroom apartment. Both sons slept in the living room. She showed me Benjamin’s report card, schoolwork, baseball trophies, Yugioh cards — which were just like my son’s. She poured tea and told me all the wonderful things about Benjamin.

I silently asked God to give me the right words to say, and out of my mouth came some memories formed into words I could not take credit for. I told her about my precious brother Paul and how he had come to me in a vision a few days after his death. I’ll never forget this because I was driving my car and literally had to pull over and stop. On the radio they were playing the song from the Disney movie “Pocahontas” with the lyric “Who knows how high the Sycamore grows... if you cut it down you’ll never know.” This struck me because we had Paul’s memorial service underneath a giant Sycamore tree. My head collapsed onto the steering wheel I was crying uncontrollably. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a surge of warmth and light filled my body and I bolted upright in my seat. I saw my brother’s face beaming at me so broadly I had never seen him this radiant. He told me to stop crying, that he'd “see me later,” that “there is no death.” He even said “I love you Lydia; you really helped me.” This was in 1995, on the third day after I had found his body. I felt completely at peace about him from then on.

I kept a picture of Paul by my bedside that week, with a candle burning next to it. One morning three days after his death, my toddler Jack, who was a year and a half old, woke up, giggled, pointed to the picture and said, “Paul happy!” This gives me goose bumps even now when I remember it. Now I’m going to sound completely loony, but on the day we scattered his ashes at sea, before we left for the boat, three white doves alighted on our lawn, and these were not doves for hire. What is it with the number three?

As I sat with the woman, I told her that her son Benjamin was a gift that she was blessed with for ten years and now God needed him back home for bigger things. I told her “our children are on loan to us.” I don't know where these words came from. As she walked me out she said she felt an enormous wave of peace come over her. “I was so depressed and now I feel I was visited by an angel.” It dawned on me that we can all be comforters or ‘human angels’ for each other when we open up and begin to really care about others.

Our entire school attended Benjamin’s funeral. During the eulogy, the minister read a letter written by the mother, in which she said: “Benjamin was a gift to us for ten years, and now God called him back home for more important things…"

It’s amazing how Love uses us when we make ourselves available. I've had full-blown miracles and healings from prayer -- and I’ve come to rely on ceaseless prayer for every problem in life including overcoming "genetic" diseases. But the best kind is praying for others with compassion.

After my crash and burn, I began to transcend my ego in fits and starts. It did not succumb willingly. Sometimes the ego is so big it needs an apartment of its own.

But the most important change was when I began to have more compassion for others. I believe that’s the main idea: to transcend our demanding egos and put others first. There’s no time to waste; we all need to get over ourselves and branch out. As Christ said, “you have to lose your life to save it,” and the St. Francis Prayer,“It is by self-forgetting that one finds.”

I always tell my children, “No matter how much you acquire or accomplish in life, if you’re not kind to others, you’ve missed the whole point.”

It's really hard to get out of my self-centeredness and actually do it. There are so many times I’ve received a nudge to extend myself to help someone, but out of laziness or fear, I’ve ignored the call.

Einstein said it beautifully here: "A human being is a part of the whole called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

It took years to smash my ego, gain some humility, stop forcing things my way, let go of fear and begin to deeply care about others. As I’ve become more enlightened, I’ve become more generous, more “liberal”, but I don’t mean this politically.

I believe "good conservatives are really liberals at heart."

Why are so many fundamentalist Christians stuck in the Old Testament with its eye-for-an-eye mentality — which is the exact opposite of Christian? Maybe they don’t realize the word “Christ” is the root of the word “Christian” because the vowel sounds are different! Christ brought the new law, in the new testament -- which brought the law of love. Christ talks about how we must take care of the “least among us,” we must be peacemakers and take care of the poor, the meek, and the outcasts. Perhaps this doesn’t fit their worldview of the downtrodden as “victims.”

I heard Gay Talese talk about his interest in the common man, the humble underdog who struggles through life without fame, fanfare or charisma – and how important it is to celebrate everyday heroes rather than superstars, gorgeous models and million-dollar athletes. In other words, we should value substance over style.