Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Journey of Life

I became a statistic in December of 2002, when my husband, Russ Berrie, died of 
massive stroke on Christmas Day. I joined a club I never wanted to belong to, 
along with 700,000 other women who lose their husbands each year. I will also 
reach another statistical marker for widows next year, when I hit the 14 year 
average that most women remain widows. (U.S. Census Bureau

Russell & Angelica Berrie

Widowhood, at any age, strikes women with disproportionate cruelty. As women 
tend to outlive their spouses, 84% of the 13.5 million people who lose their partners 
are women, 45% of those over 65 are females, four times as many widows as 
widowers (AARP). For widows over 65, 9.4% are likely to live below the low 
income threshold within five years of being widowed, direct impact on their 
standard of living. Globally, over 115 million widows live in poverty. (UNITED 
NATIONS (AP) 6/23/2010

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving: The Harvest of Presence

Thanksgiving is a national day of gratitude, a time to deepen our sense of presence. 

Deer in the woods

The essence of gratitude is rooted in attention, the awareness to witness the gifted nature of 
our lives. From a place of gratitude, we can unlock the fullness of each moment. 

Joy is the simplest form of gratitude. "Niente Senza Gioa!" (Nothing without Joy!) is a daily 
mantra to awaken our sense of wonder. Awake and alive, we see clearly the blessings that 
every single breath contains. 

May Thanksgiving be a time to harvest these moments of beauty in our life! 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Lost Art of Wandering

Not all those who wander are lost. ~ J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Travel has always been for me an inner journey of awakening, a new way of seeing, a nurturing of the poetic instinct.

View of the Arc de Triomphe, Paris, 1946
Ed Clark—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

In Arabic literature of past ages, travel was considered one of the four great subjects worthy of the poet: love, song and blood, being the other three. These four contain the basic desires of the human heart, worthy of being elevated to a necessity for any human being who is truly alive. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Celebrating 90 Years of Service at Holy Name Hospital

Holy Name's 2015 Annual Founders Ball was held last Saturday, October 10 at Pier 60 in Manhattan, New York.

Angelica with Holy Name CEO Mike Maron & wife Diane

This year was a particularly special one, as it celebrates the 90th anniversary of the founding of Holy Name Medical Center by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Refugee Crisis: A Leap in Empathy

The shift in the tide of empathy toward the global refugee crisis was undoubtedly the photo of a tiny Syrian boy's body on the beach, his shoes so small and his innocent face resting on the sand.

Two-year-old Alan Kurdi's image provoked people around the world to cry out at the injustice of humanity and the brutality of war. It awakened even the most apathetic soul to bring blankets and toys, open their homes, organize relief efforts and bypass traditional humanitarian agencies to respond in a deeply personal way.

At a time when we feel so much pain and don't know what to do for a global crisis that we have been helpless to act upon, we are awakened by the challenge to our soul of seeing our own humanity in the other. Knowing we cannot solve all the problems in the world has kept so many of us inside our own comfort zone, hesitant to take on the world.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Generosity = Happiness

Every day, we have an opportunity to practice philanthropy as an act of love. Giving opens our hearts to humanity. We all have the power to make a difference regardless of our means. How we give and channel the gift of our life to connect it to purpose is a soulful journey. Passion, aligned with purpose, creates a life of meaning. 

Underexposed by Aaron Draper
Aaron Draper's powerful images of the homeless sends a message about how one person can make a difference using his creativity and talent to be a catalyst for transformation. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Art Of Impermanence: A Journey to the Heart of Old Japan

The Japanese view of life embraced a simple aesthetic that grew stronger as inessentials were eliminated and trimmed away. ~ Takao Ando, architect

Ikebana: beauty pared down to its essence

Pared to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection, impermanence and incompleteness, a deep reverence for authenticity, austere simplicity and the gift of time that blooms with each passing moment. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

So beautiful it makes us cry

There are moments when our jaded sensibilities are reawakened by events that take us by surprise, like the family of Charleston victims who extended forgiveness to the killer of their loved ones. The power of forgiveness transmuted pain that could have erupted in rage at the injustice of brutality in a place of worship. Instead, peoples' hearts opened up in deep empathy and compassion, shifting a nation torn by racial prejudice toward a new direction. Many years from now, when we look back at this moment, we should remember the feeling of opening up to the other we never knew. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Power of Passion

"I never saw a meaningful life that wasn't based on passion. And I never saw a life full of passion that wasn't, in some important way, extraordinary." ~ Bill Strickland, Make the Impossible Possible

At the 19th Russ Berrie Awards for Making a Difference

At the Russ Berrie Making a Difference Awards each year, I meet the most incredible human beings who bring the gift of their passion to life in the work they do in our community.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Inspired at 60

Birthdays are invitations to live an inspired life,
to be part of the wholeness that flows all around us,
a stage when we are ready to give back what we have learned
to inspire others and be inspired again.

Monday, February 16, 2015

timeless stillness

Are you breathing just a little,
and calling it a life?
~ Mary Oliver

Rushing to start the year, I was snowed in and spent some quiet time at home. At first, I was gripped by a frenzy of housecleaning to fill the time. After a week, I settled into the quiet rhythm of my days, watching the light change over the river, geese flying home in formation at sunset, water solidify into a skin of crackled ice when temperatures dropped. Cozy in my cocoon while snow swirled outside, the pulse of life slowed as the sheer pleasure of found time opened a gateway into the present moment. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Mindfulness in a Mobile World

Finding myself checking my cellphone this holiday season - observing how families spend our precious time together texting, playing games, checking Facebook, or going online - I resolved to change my relationship with my cell phone as part of my mindfulness practice.