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My Dear Friends and Family,

It is with great pleasure that I announce the publishing of the third edition of my first book, Happily Ever After…Right now, Stop Searching for Mr. Right and Start Celebrating You. Thanks to my wizard associate Brandi Flittner who is making it all happen, Happily will be the second title of HEARN House to be published this year. And, we are well on our way to getting the third one out—a handbook to accompany both Happily and Self Belonging—Embrace the Wisdom of Soul and Science to Live your best Life, which we anticipate will soon be complete.

Over the course of the last two years while this material has been in progress, it’s become more and more clear to me that it was time for a transition from life in the Rockies. At this stage of the game (which my older son affectionately terms: “the fourth quarter” ☺) I am feeling called to be closer to family and community. Therefore, I’ve set out on yet another in a series of life-adventures. One of my oldest and dearest friends and I packed up a Penske truck (after U Haul failed to make good on their rental) with all of my earthly belongings—plus some junk food for comfort. We hitched my car on the back and headed west (my favorite direction). After an amazing stop in Zion National Park (thanks to my older son), and with God’s grace, we ended up in the Los Angeles area where my younger son, who paved the way, gave us a glorious welcome.

With a brief stopover in Florida being the only exception, I’ve been inching my way to California for most of my adult life. Now then, according to the news (which these days I do my best to avoid) a slew of folks are moving east to avoid the crime, corruption, and excessive cost of living reported to be brewing out here under less-than-desirable leadership. And since I’m drawn to going in the opposite direction of the momentum (yet another time) with my blinders off regarding this leadership problem, I have to ask myself, what can be done? Well, of course we can vote, though if things continue to go south, I reckon we have no other choice but to become leaders ourselves in whatever ways we are called to do.

So how can such a seemingly daunting task be accomplished? Perhaps step by step as we tune in to the following insightful directive by John Heider, author of The Tao of Leadership. He says: (pp. 51) “Center and ground. The leader who is centered and grounded can work with erratic people…The centered and grounded leader has stability and a sense of self.” Bingo. Happily Ever After…Right Now, is fundamentally about being “centered and grounded” in yourself and not grasping for or clutching to whatever‘s orbiting in your outside world to find happiness, contentment, or leadership, for that matter.

In trying to sort what to take, leave behind, or discard, while preparing for the move, I have definitely been called to stay centered and grounded. And as I continue to be in the thick of this life-changing, glorious challenge, I often find myself mumbling, “Good luck with that.” Nonetheless, in my not-short-life-time, I have found the only way to move forward is to ground in the present—which seems to be an oxymoron when Life has shown you to advance on down the road. Even so if I’m not “here, now,” I find I can’t accomplish a damn thing. Magically, once I root my feet firmly to what’s underneath me, I find I can forge ahead, recruit what it takes to lighten the load, minimalize the collection of things that matter, while taking (and putting things away, now that I’m on the other end of the move) only what is necessary to live a simple life with meaning and purpose. It’s an exercise in faith and trust. You have to believe that you can rely on your judgement, and ability to discern—even when you think you can’t. (This method, I’ve found, applies to every other aspect of life, as well—not just packing up to move, and getting settled once you’re at your next destination.)

In continuing to whittle away at what to let go of, I had to consider how small the dimensions were in that Penske truck. And since books, my treasured companions, take up room and weigh a lot, I’ve been weeding through my collection. In so doing I’ve come across some real gems. One being the Heider book, mentioned earlier, as well as: If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill him!” by Sheldon B. Kopp. Now then, the pronouns the author uses definitely date the material. Nonetheless, it’s rich with insights. Here is one, pp.188:

“The Zen master warns: ‘If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!’ This admonition points up that no meaning that comes from outside of ourselves is real…Philosophy, religion, patriotism, are all empty idols. The only meaning in our lives is what we each bring to them…There are no mothers and fathers for grown-ups, only sisters and brothers.”

The following are some thoughts to add to Kopp’s musings from the beginning of Chapter 12, Happily:

“Many of you have been on the pilgrimage toward happiness and health for a while. Time and again, you have felt the ecstasy after making measurable progress followed by the agony when you slipped back into old behavioral patterns. You have been connected to the sense of freedom and peace that you have so desperately wanted to sustain, only to watch that state of bliss evade and elude you yet another time… And so, when things in your external world fall apart—together with all of your unresolved hopes and desires—you may be inclined to direct your attention inward for the answers…(And while you’re at it)…if there is even a tiny part of you that can start to believe, and then actually begin to know that you deserve excellence across every area of your life, the heart voice will become more and more audible. Remember. You were born to be loved, appreciated, and celebrated. And as you can continue to love, appreciate, and celebrate yourself (regardless of your perceived mistakes), so then can others see you in your state of grandeur.”

I wrote those words twelve years ago, and every time I take a breath, they continue to ring more true than with the last. As I exhale into this future of mine, I keep realizing with crystal clarity that it is my destiny to be a bit of a rebel and a renegade, if I am going to follow the true pioneer spirit that is inherent in my being. (Yours too, if you are reading the words on this page.)

“Oh that you would bless me indeed—enlarge my territory beyond the narrow bounds of confinement, the cage in which my soul has existed for far too long. Keep me from harm. Let me breathe the sweet air of freedom and savor the taste of joy. I am ready to expand. Take me beyond this cage into the lap of joy. Amen.”—Prayer of Jabez, Corinthians 4:10

If you’ve seen the latest version of Top Gun—Maverick, whether you’re a fan or not, you can’t disagree that Maverick was the only one flying that plane, and the success of the mission happened specifically because he dared to challenge the establishment. Living in the safety of “being retired” was not part of his MO. Maybe like Maverick (and me) you’ve come to understand that the only true retirement, is when you leave this life and go onto the next. No matter what our age or stage in life, don’t we have to strike out into new territory every now and then, face our fears, and stare possible failure in the face (whether it be moving to another state, another continent like my son and his family, learning how to play pickleball, or trying out a brand-new recipe on guests)?

Isn’t now the time to step fully into that state of “grandeur” of yours? Just sayin.’

Believing in you!

July 11, 2022

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