July 2004

Dear Friend

I hope June was a productive and happy month for you and the loved ones whose lives you touch. Peter and I spent some time in New York as well as at the cottage, experiencing some extraordinarily sparkling clear days and star-filled nights. As a result of the good weather, we enjoyed walking about with the approaching summer solstice June 21st; enjoying fully the longest day of the year when the sun is in the zenith at the tropic of Cancer. I loved the sensation of gaining all that light, watching magnificent sunsets and feeling a sense of expansion in the soul.

We saw family and friends. I had a celebratory luncheon with my friend, my literary agent Carl Brandt. I enjoyed a lunch celebration with my editor and friend, Toni Sciarra. Peter and I went to our favorite restaurant, La Grenouille, where we courted in the early 1970’s on the summer solstice. We lingered over espresso, filling our moment with eternal memories of our years together. This day had a certain magic because it was truly a day that had no end. We enjoyed seeing the Childe Hassem show at the Metropolitan Museum, the American Impressionist who painted scenes of New York, Connecticut, Long Island and Maine, showing us light-filled days of happiness that has a real echo of the day Peter and I experienced so fully.

We walked across the street when the museum closed and sipped iced tea at the Stanhope Café in dappling sunlight enjoying the parade of people walking about with a spirit of pleasure and timelessness. To give thanks for this gift of light, Peter and I decided to stay in this delightful trance by walking to a nearby restaurant where we could sit by the window and look at the sky. We sipped some wine and tasted some delicious wild salmon before we walked home on a clear, beautiful evening.

Without realizing it in advance, we were having a delightful vacation in New York City. We didn’t have to travel to get there. We simply gave in to a glorious day together, free from obligation, open to allow us to embrace the beauty of the days fully. We all are creating memories by the way we use our time, by the thoughts we have as we experience the unfolding of time.

Summer is the time to feel this great freedom. We’re given times off from occupation that we can devote to pleasure for a period of time in order to rest, enjoy relaxation and to empty ourselves of tension, schedules, and the stress of life’s normal demands. Whether we take a half-day off or two weeks, staying home has great charm and comfort. We have the support of all the things we enjoy and need. It’s a luxury not to live out of a suitcase when we’re on a holiday. Why do so many of us think we have to go somewhere in order to experience a real vacation? Has home become a work trap where we busy ourselves all day without any real feeling of accomplishment or satisfaction?

Summer is the time to be outside our housea as much as possible. In my book Living Beautifully Together, I introduced the idea of taking a home vacation. The way to do this is to treat your house or apartment as though it were an inn or hotel. For a period of time you pretend you’re a guest in your home. Other then making the breakfast and making the bed, you go out to cafés, you hang out, you walk about and you eat out. Vacations are treats to refresh your spirit, to give you time to think, to be silent, to read, and for some of us, to write.

My love of mini-home vacations was heightened when I lived in an apartment with two energetic daughters. We’d go to the park, we’d ride the carousel, we’d go to the zoo, and we’d have a picnic. This sense of creating memories that expand the boundaries of present time is what makes life so vitally alive. For me, I thrill at the idea that when we do come home I have my writing desk waiting for me. I have my notebooks, pens, books and paper greeting me as though with a smile.

For the rest of the summer, Peter and I are going to take some home vacations. June filled our hearts with a sense of expansiveness that is too large to be diminished. The light that we’ve absorbed from the sun, the sunrises, the sunsets, the moon and the stars have awakened us to the light that shines from within our consciousness. By seizing these delightful moments when they are spread before us, we can accumulatively enlighten ourselves so our spirit is transformed.

I have faith you will celebrate July with great vigor and happiness. We will continue to spend time in Stonington as well as New York. Our roses are so lush and beautiful, hugging our picket fence, but we’re having the outside or our house painted soon. It will be a noisy time because 95% of a good paint job is preparation. We’re excited to anticipate a sparkling white house we can return to in August.

As we move about in both places, when we feel the warmth of the sun on our backs, we’ll feel your presence and love. One of the greatest gifts in my life, perhaps more important than words can express, is the feeling of connection I have with a large number of wonderful people I’m blessed to call my friends.

As we collectively take time to smell the roses, eat lobster and organic tomatoes, smile at the sheer joy of being alive, you are in my heart and I am forever grateful for this happiness and inspiration we collectively share.

Happy July.

Love & Live Happy

Book of the Month
Treat yourself or a loved one to Peter's book, Village: Where to Live and How to Live. I wrote the foreword. We live in the charming village of Stonington he so lovingly writes about. He helps you to visualize that wherever you live it is truly a village. $20.00

Stonington, Connecticut

Celebration party given by Jim Hicks aboard his boat "Kim" at Skipper's Dock in Stonington Harbor on June 20th. What a glorious time!

Alexandra's Roses!

Antiques in Alexandria

Alexandra and Roberta Stevens!

Alexandra in Alexandria!

Mrs. Brown's Table

Good News! Levenger has brought the Mrs. Brown table back. Call toll free (800) 544-0880 to get their gorgeous complimentary spring catalogue. Turn to page 43! Choose dark or natural cherry finish.

Grace Note

Light is love. Light is the most positive force in our lives. Think of youself as a light-bearer spreading illumination in every direction, eliminating darkness.