People who work with words.

First time I heard Marianne Williamson speak, she stood at a podium in front of about 1000 people who wanted to commemorate what was said to be the birth of a new era. 2012 was about to end. Excitement about the new-ness of so many things was everywhere. Awareness of the potential for so much more awareness was unspoken but almost palpable. And we applauded speaker after speaker with hope and faith.

Then Marianne was introduced. About two minutes later, everyone present was on their feet, not just applauding, butMarianne Williamson photo loudly, emphatically, intently roaring in passionate agreement with what she had to say.

Marianne’s message strikes a chord with people who are living and leading a revolution in consciousness that’s undeniably taking place and growing fast. She’s a beacon of light in that awakening as she stands at microphones and reminds us what we already instinctively know: that, worldwide, peace and prosperity are within reach, and that there’s no doubt people can now create it together.

When she finished, as the standing audience was bringing down the roof with applause and shouts of support, I stepped into the lobby. A moment later, I unexpectedly found myself standing next to her, and had the enormous pleasure of expressing to her my heartfelt thanks, respect, and praise. She humbly, and genuinely, asked “Did that come off all right?”

Second time I heard her speak she was running for U.S. Congress. Her presence there – or anywhere — will be like a rising tide that lifts all the boats, or the transition from black and white to full living color, or a gentle rain on a parched garden.

Marianne Williamson is speaking the truth of ideas whose time has come. As Victor Hugo said, that is something all the armies of the world cannot stop.

 “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” —Marianne Williamson in her book A Return to Love.


Rudyard KiplingIf

by Rudyard Kipling 1865–1936

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and all that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a man, my son! [have a lot of fun!]

Rudyard Kipling was born on December 30, 1865, to British parents in Mumbai, India, and spent the first six years of his life there. In 1871, he was taken with his three-year-old sister to live as a boarder in a foster home in England. His parents then returned to India. Rudyard was moved to a boarding school when he was about 13. Biographies say he was severely near-sighted, sickly, and frail; bullied and abused in both places; and that he longed to return to India, which he did when he started making a living as a journalist at age 17.  He wrote prolifically for almost the rest of his life, and died in 1936. In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Do you think he would ever have written “If,” “Captain’s Courageous,” “The Just-So Stories,” “The Jungle Book,” and so many of his other great works if his childhood had not been so hard?

Duart Maclean

Duart Maclean


Self-Enquiry: The Direct Path to Self-Realization

26 Minutes To A Powerful Tool

In an ingenious distillation of ancient and modern wisdom (including that of Sri Ramana Maharshi), Duart Maclean gifts us with articulate insights that lead to a very powerful tool for spiritual discipline. 

To listen to it, go to and click on ‘Self-Enquiry: An Introduction.‘  Be prepared to wait a minute or so for the MP3 to download.

Duart is a genuine yogi, highly respected spiritual teacher, and accomplished master of enlightened living. He and his wife Lyse LeBeau are Canadians who journey to various parts of the world learning, discovering, and humbly sharing their awakened state.

Two of their books are available here:

“This awakening to the Self is not something conceptual.  It comes with a letting go of our limited and erroneous notions of what we are and a complete surrender of our egoistic tendencies.  Such a transformation is a complete internal revolution, which touches every fiber of our being; it cannot be obtained by reading books, although books can be useful allies on the path.  It also cannot be reached by changing the external circumstances of our life.  Abandoning our families or quitting our jobs to lead a monastic life is unnecessary, because the real work is entirely internal. ” -Duart Maclean on Self-Enquiry


Immortality Made Easy

Even though it was only two months away, no one thought Jack Kamen would live to see his 85th birthday. His son, Rick, found himself wondering, “Why would Dad want to stick around? He’s not having fun.”

Which gave him an idea. Maybe, somehow, that’s exactly what he could give his father for an early birthday present. Fun.

But what’s fun for elders? Rick figured gerontologists, caregivers, and loving children of aging parents must ask themselves that question a few times every day. It’s easy to create fun for kids. Give them toys and teach them games, and they have fun playing. Adults keep right on playing, albeit with toys and games that cost a lot more.

Jack Kamen, Father of Rick Kamen

Jack Kamen, Father of Rick Kamen

And elders? What do they do for fun?

Rick mulled over that puzzle for about a week. He watched elders, and thought about what it’s like to be 80 or more years old, searching for clues. And then one day, he saw a wise old soul smiling. What do you think that elder was doing?


Rick got it. That’s how people who’ve lived a while and seen a lot have fun. They reflect on the beauty of their pasts, and they tell their stories.

It’s also how they help people who haven’t racked up as much life experience. Not by lecturing and teaching and instructing and demanding, but by anecdote and fable. By gentle example that lets the listener infer the moral of the story and do with it what they may.

Rick remembered that elders naturally tell stories, and that in the culture and custom of many societies, storytelling and storylistening happen naturally. Was there a venue for this in modern U.S. culture? Rick didn’t think so.

Rick Kamen, Author and Founder of Heirloom Stories

Rick Kamen, Author and Founder of Heirloom Stories

He did know his understanding of what fun is — for all people, at all ages — had changed forever. Fun, Rick realized, is that good feeling people get when they’re engaged in certain behaviors that are programmed into human beings for a very good reason: to help the entire species.

Fun, Rick proposes, might be what motivates us to do the things we do that help humanity.

Kids help humanity by learning, so play is fun.

Adults help humanity by being productive, as well as reproductive. So those behaviors are fun for them.

Elders help humanity when they distribute wisdom – especially to kids. So that’s fun for elders.

Not to mention that exquisite silver lining around the cloud of growing older, namely that even though we lose many abilities as we age, storytelling is one that improves as the years go by. And who doesn’t love to do things they’re good at?

So that’s how Rick gave his father the gift of fun. Storytelling. It was the perfect early birthday present.

Rick called his dad up, as he often did. But this time he steered the usual conversation about the usual stuff in a new direction. “I know you grew up in a world that can’t happen anymore. Why don’t you tell me some stories from those days? I’ll write them up for the grandkids.”

Without even saying, “Okay,” Jack launched right into a story.

The story was wonderful, Rick recalls, but even more wonderful for him and his family was seeing the the joyful impact storytelling had on their beloved patriarch’s mood. His voice and spirit sounded ten years younger. As he shared the highlights of his life, Jack was having fun again for the first time in a long time.

That first story led to another, and then another… and eventually a book called Heirloom Stories from the Harnessmaker’s Son.

Jack lived another seven years. Seven precious years that let him leave a legacy of written stories that will entertain and educate his descendants for centuries.  They would have carried his genes into the future, of course. But thanks to Rick’s gift of fun, Jack’s descendants will also carry with them Jack’s own thoughts and images of the life he led. That’s as close to immortality as you can get.

When he died in 2005, Jack didn’t know that, even more than the priceless stories, Rick cherished the additional years some genuine fun had given his father. The health benefits of storytelling were profound.

So Rick didn’t stop there. He gives the gift of fun to English-speaking elders anywhere in the world by interviewing them by phone, putting slices of their lives in writing, and preserving some Heirloom Stories® for their descendants.

Learn more about Heirloom Stories® at or call Rick at (858) 273-1111.