Personal Energy

Exhibit  # 1: An Afternoon in Rome

My first memory of being in the presence of someone with presence.

I am 21 years old and hanging out in Rome. Like many first-time visitors to this intoxicating city, I am entranced by its history. It seems to seep out of the pores of every building I pass. The moment I am about to describe is like a cliché from a Fellini movie – except that it really happened. As I am strolling up the Via Veneto, Ursula Andress, the original and archetypal James Bond girl, is descending toward me.

Even before I see her I notice people ahead of me step aside. It’s as if I am witnessing the proverbial parting of the seas. Ms. Andress is strolling down the Via with a strong, firm gait, her head held high, her posture erect, her celebrated bosom thrust forward with an easy confidence.

 Like Read more

I just spent 4 days with a group that knew how to swing.

From silly laughter to penetrating seriousness. From keen questions to irreverent banter. This group knew how catch a mood. Swing with it.

I cherished the group.

Relished the mood swings.

We were gathered at a learning event outside of Frankfurt, Germany. A mash-up of individual and Euro-cultural sensibilities. Collectively, these sensibilities traveled a wide expressive range. And they knew how to swing to the ends of the road.

I consider them my Euro-swinger-friends.

Sometimes we get lucky.

We’re with folks who catch the collective swing.

 Like Read more

Where do you get your lunch?

Mo, the proprietor of the sublime Sozo Sushi in Ft. Lauderdale, asks me as I pay for dinner.

We run down the street to Doris’ Market, I answer. They have a $5.00 lunch special. Sandwich, chips, and a soda.

Doris’ is your classic old Italian market, less than a mile from my firm’s office, right on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Florida.

Yes, there really is a Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood.

Lunch rush at Doris’ Market means you pull a number and wait your turn. Behind the counter, Gilda and Frank and Doreen and Freddie and a whole slew of others hustle to sell deli meats and make the lunch orders while a crowd eagerly waits.

 Like Read more

Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer is on the road, promoting her new Fox television series Red Band Society.

As I catch an interview with Ms. Spencer on New York Fox News, I am captivated by a brief bit of chit-chat.

It’s about Octavia Spencer. It’s about presence. It’s about how we show up.

You didn’t start off as an actress, the interviewer prods.

No, I was a PA [production assistant] on movie sets, Ms. Spencer explains. On every set I worked on, the director at some point would say to me “You’re so animated” and ask me to read for a part. I always declined.

And then you worked on ‘A Time to Kill,’ the interviewer prods again.

 Like Read more

Raw and fearless.

In the onslaught of tributes to comedienne Joan Rivers, these are the adjectives I hear most often.

Raw and fearless.

To people who didn’t like her, Joan Rivers was crass, loud, unabashedly insensitive.

Too much.

I liked Joan Rivers. A lot.

One thing was abundantly clear as I watched the 2010 documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work: Rivers was first and foremost an entertainer. She lived to be on-stage. She abhorred not being on-stage.

 Like Read more

Where do you get your lunch? 

Mo, the proprietor of the sublime Sozo Sushi in Ft. Lauderdale, wants to know. 

We run down the street to Doris’ Market in Hollywood, I answer. They have a $5.00 lunch special. Sandwich, chips, and a soda.  

Doris’ is your classic old Italian market, less than a mile from my firm’s office, right on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Florida.  

Yes, there really is a Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood.

Lunch rush at Doris’ Market means you pull a number and wait your turn.

 Like Read more

Consider this the vacation issue.

 I just spent a couple of days in Amsterdam.

 A room in the magnificent Hotel Pulitzer, window looking out over The Prinsengracht, a superb feast of Turkish meze in the Jordaan, richly stimulating conversations with my friends Melanie and James Roche.

Amsterdam perfection.

And yet, I’m not one of those people who crave a vacation.

What makes our spirits soar? A change of scenery?

 Like Read more

It wasn’t a happy travel day.

I arrive at my airline departure gate, no service agent in sight, no sign of my flight. Once I find the large electronic board in the terminal that lists all departures for the airport, there it is, no longer any doubt. FLIGHT CANCELLED.

No, I will not tell you a travel-war-story. This is a story of happy pain.

I see a little elderly lady standing at the gate, looking lost, another displaced soul from this flight.

I am going to the other terminal and find a rebooking counter, I say to her. I hesitate, and then I figure I should ask. 

 Like Read more

I saw my dentist this week.

A simple crown adjustment. A minor visit.

Dr. Fishner wasn’t there, so Dr. Schwartz took care of me.

Both are fine dentists. Both are likeable human beings.

And I liked Dr. Schwartz better.

I knew it within seconds. I was startled by this insight because Dr. Fishner is my regular dentist, and I like Dr. Fishner a lot.

 Like Read more

It is so simple. It is always available to us. 

And we forget.

The shift from our clever-thinking-mind back into the body.

The move forward through our body.

When a business conversation suddenly gets stuck. When we start playing verbal ping pong with another person and are determined to win the point. When we want to shut up and simply don’t know how.

 Like Read more