March 2012

Dear Friend

February was a great month that went by so quickly, even with the extra twenty-four hours. I can’t account for all the time. When we’re really enjoying ourselves and life hums along pleasantly, time speeds up. When we lose all track of time because we’re in the flow of our experiences, we’re living in the present as mindfully as possible.

The most dramatic aspect of February was sending my book revisions back to my literary agent. Now the book is out of my hands temporarily. What a strange feeling to “empty and be full.” I was ready to have someone see what I’d done and, at the same time, anxious to discover what I wanted to do next.

Peter and I went to New York City to visit Brooke and Cooper before going to Chevy Chase to spend some time with our other precious grandchildren – Nicholas, Anna and Lily. We hand made Valentines for everyone in their classes and because of their passion for basketball, we talked basketball lingo and Jeremy Lin. Nicholas got a Jeremy Lin sweatshirt from me for Valentine’s Day. How cool is that!

While we were in Maryland, it snowed three times but there was no real accumulation. We had snow a few days ago in Stonington and people teased me because I’d said earlier in the day when it was sunny and 60 degrees that I felt we were sliding into spring without any more snow.

With all things in life, certainly including the weather, we have to expect the unexpected. You never know. We are all in for some surprises politically in the months ahead, and I’m sure, every other area of our lives. Rather than fighting life, I’ve adopted an attitude to roll with the punches and try to do my best in every situation. As we all know, this is not always easy, and is not automatic. We have to have vast inner resources in order to do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason.

Sending my 28th book off in hopes of being happily published has caused me some time to reflect on the meaning of my life and what’s truly important. I’ve come to some insights that I find comforting and exciting, while the world is changing rapidly and everything is different now than what we knew growing up, I embrace the changes but on my own terms, in my own way. I find it increasingly difficult to write new books because I have already expressed so many beliefs I still value.

The most recent note I’ve received from a young reader reinforced my commitment to my work and to my love of beauty and belief that we are meant to live happy, thriving lives. Catherine, from Colorado wrote:

Dear Mrs. Stoddard:

Your books have inspired me to encourage life around me and within me into a beautiful state of being. Ten years ago, your book Living A Beautiful Life, was loaned to me. Since that time the beauty that surrounds my life fills me with joy. Thank you for writing and sharing with others.

My copy of Living A Beautiful Life has passed through many hands and delightfully returned with praise and the warmth of smile as if a great secret was revealed!

Your books are inspiring and bring joy to my life.

Thank you.

Living a Beautiful Life: 500 Ways To Add Elegance, Order, Beauty And Joy To Every Day Of Your Life is still fresh and new in our society where people are running around so fast they have lost touch with the pleasure of rituals, celebrations and ceremonies. The process of our daily lives is who and what we are. As I anticipate writing a new book, I’ve become deeply reflective about what my major messages have been in the past. Do I feel differently now in changed times? Or, do I still value what has meant so much to me all my life?

This moment of reflection has made me think about how important order is to our ability to live beautifully. As a result, I’ve unearthed all the mess and piles in my closets and, with the help of our contractor and our carpenter Mike, I’m able to create greater organization in our closets. This is enormously satisfying and I find myself soothed and relaxed by this renewed outer order.

As I re-think my life in the years ahead, with fresh eyes and a new vision, I’m focusing on Peter as he approaches his 90th birthday. All of you who have been fortunate to meet and know Peter have been enriched and blessed. The fact that I’ve known and loved Peter since 1954 has graced my life with such joy and meaning that I want to share more of his wisdom with you.

When I asked Peter what he wants to pass on to us in order for us to thrive, he told me to “Live your best.” He went on to say that turning 90 is a moment to consider the exceptional things about the forward movement of our lives we’re going to live fully.

In preparing for Peter’s big, significant birthday, I went through some memorabilia and found a letter from his years of service in World War II. Because of eye problems, he was prevented from going overseas. He was sent to the University of California to study Russian foreign area studies. When I came across this letter from the Department of Physical Education, I was so impressed by Peter’s determination and efforts.

Peter and I are off to Paris to celebrate his 90th birthday, March 15th. When he took me to Paris November 8th for my 70th birthday, I lived each moment as though it were our last. I found this a profound lesson, to live each moment fully and joyfully and not expecting anything more. We spend long hours talking, and walking around this city we dearly love, and feel we are living the good life we believe in so passionately.

I have started working on two new book ideas and find my work enormously stimulating. I have never been more aware of the importance of time as I am now because I want to continue to come up with new ideas I can express in my writing.

I find life an amazingly exciting journey, and with all the challenges I hope I will continue to embrace hard work and never give up the good fight.

Happy March. Spring IS coming. Toast Peter and me March 15th.

Love & Live Happy

Have you taken photos at one of Alexandra's events that you'd like to share? If so, you can email them to AStoddardInc@aol.com. Please be sure to include the names of those in the photo and where and when it was taken! We will try to include them on the website in the future.

A rose I brought to a talk to demonstrate the power of a one flower meditation.

Kerri, Sam, Peter & Alexandra on the dock at Water Street Cafe' in Stonington.

Peter with Kerri's daughter Colleen at a book signing.

A magnificent February sunset in Stonington on the harbor.

One of Alexandra's favorite photos of Peter in front of Claude Monet's house in Giverney.

The letter from the University of California to Peter in 1944.

Figure It Out: A Guide to Wisdom

Please consider giving Peter's new book to family and friends for the holidays. Make checks for $25.00 per book to:
The Stonington Free Library

Send to:
Peter Megargee Brown
87 Water Street
Stonington, CT 06378

Peter will pay shipping. Your contribution is 100% tax deductible.

Grace Note

"There is a sort of gratification in doing good which makes us rejoice in ourselves."