Movie: A Good Year

movie_a-good-year-2006

Released in 2006 : Rated PG-13 : Directed by Ridley Scott

If I could no longer watch movies, I would miss A Good Year the 2nd most! Russell Crowe leads as Max Skinner who inherits his uncle’s vineyard in Provence, where he spent many childhood holidays. He returns to settle the estate where he relives childhood memories (Freddie Highmore as young Max and Albert Finney as his Uncle Henry).

There are many sub-plots. Trouble with the day job, employees of the estate, a possible inheritance challenger, discovery of new relatives, a love interest and self-discovery. Not an original concept of a film and has been compared to Diane Lane’s Under The Tuscan Sun which I loved. This film kept me interested the entire time as well as the scenary was one beautiful scene after another. Kudos to the location scout! The scenary alone makes me want to see France with my own eyes.

Provencal villa,Chateau La Canorgue,villa in Good Year movie (9)[1]

The pool…

Provencal villa,Chateau La Canorgue,villa in Good Year movie (12)

Where I want to drink coffee every, single morning…

Provencal villa,Chateau La Canorgue,villa in Good Year movie (7)[1]

Not everyone is as enthusiastic about this film as I am and I think that is because I see France as this amazing place I haven’t visited yet but it’s films like this that make me want to go there even more.

The Cast:

 

A Good Year was first a novel written by Peter Mayle.

A_Good_Year_novel

Book: A New Earth

By Eckhart Tolle published in 2005

eckhart

With the success of The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle continues to present readers with his insightful look into humanity’s ego-based thinking and provides practical teachings for waking up to a new, enlightened mind-set.

Describing to us the nature of this shift in consciousness, Tolle writes in detail how our current ego-based state of consciousness operates. Then simply using practical terms he leads us into this new consciousness. We will come to experience who we truly are and to live and breathe freely.

Unconscious people, (many remain unconscious, trapped in their egos throughout their lives), will quickly tell you who they are: their name, their occupation, their personal history, the shape or state of their body, and whatever else they identify with. But do they really know themselves? Knowing yourself goes far deeper than the adoption of a set of ideas or beliefs. Knowing yourself deeply has nothing to do with whatever ideas are floating around in your mind. Knowing yourself is to be rooted in Being, instead of lost in your mind.

“This book’s main purpose is not to add new information or beliefs to your mind or to try to convince you of anything, but to bring about a shift in consciousness, that is to say, to awaken. In that sense, this book is not “interesting.” Interesting means you can keep your distance, play around with ideas and concepts in your mind, agree or disagree. This book is about you. It will change your state of consciousness or it will be meaningless. It can only awaken those who are ready.”

There is much to absorb in this book by Tolle. That’s why I feel the more I read it the more I benefit from it and remember more of it. Here is a powerful thought to ponder:

“If the thought of lack – whether it be money, recognition, or love – has become part of who you think you are, you will always experience lack. Rather than acknowledge the good that is already in your life, all you see is lack.”

My father has always been the most negative person I know and after reading this I thought about how much it described him. He grew up with nothing and always struggled for everything he wanted. He suffered a stroke in his fifties while working. The stroke actually changed him for the better because it made him physically and mentally slow down. Then he appreciated life and family. I also forget sometimes to appreciate what I have. When I do become aware of my blessings it always makes me smile.

Nail Biting Remedy

keep-calm-and-stop-biting-your-nails-7

My history for biting my finger nails goes back 40 years.  Forever biting my nails and trying to stop. Trying different methods that didn’t work which equals the amount of times I felt like a failure. There are only 365 days in 1 year so literally I tried thousands of times to stop biting my nails and failed thousands of times.

I would find myself biting my nails when I was anxious, excited, hungry or mad. At times I would catch myself biting them for no reason other than they felt ruff which my biting caused to begin with. If I cleaned with bleach or got gasoline on them, I’d bite them because they would overly dry out and aggravate me.

I became more conscious of how my hands and fingers looked when I became interested in girls. I would hide my hands by putting them behind my back or in my pockets. If that was unavoidable I would simply curl my fingers under to avoid any looks. I hated how my fingers looked. I thought they looked gross and when I saw others who had the same habit I hated my habit even more.

It wasn’t until I read Bob Proctor’s book The Art of Living that I figured out where I was going wrong. I was always thinking how much I don’t like biting my nails. So I kept biting them. From Proctor’s book I devised that it’s where your thoughts go that lead you. I wanted nice looking hands because I liked nice looking hands. I focused on that and nothing else. It has been over 2 years since I quit and they still look nice.

This can work for you. If you have to print a picture of someone’s hands and tape it to your mirror to help then do it. It will remind you of what your goal is. The key is to focus on what you want and not on what you don’t want. I hope my method works for you.

My White Light Experience

Friday – May 13, 1977 

My father fell asleep while driving with me in the passenger seat when I was 6 years old. Our car ran off the road and flipped upside down in a small creek. The next thing I remember though, was the brightest light as if I were engulfed in it. I felt calm and not scared. It didn’t last long until I slowly started seeing the things around me like the car I had been in, a lake near the car and a bush. I felt gravitational forces pulling my body down and realized I was sitting on a road with my lower left leg gone. I remember seeing flesh and my veins hanging out of my leg. It scared me so I screamed for my father. He gets out of the car and I see him grab my leg from the bush then he picks me up.

My father’s boss just happened to be driving by that night in a new, yellow Cadillac. They picked us up and drove to the hospital. Next thing I remember were the doctors and nurses moving so fast around me it made me feel I was running out of time. No one was looking at me just objectively trying to fix me. I remember wanting to ask if I were going to be ok but too weak to say the words.

I was to transfer to a bigger hospital because the small one couldn’t give me the medical care I needed. I was also told that it took 3 ambulances to get me to that bigger hospital because of one flat tire and one ambulance broke down. I don’t remember anything else until much later when I woke up from the coma. I had been in coma for 2 weeks.

I spent 3 months in the hospital. I have good and bad memories of being there. The nurses were amazing….especially Sharon who became my regular nurse. I met a lot of kids with traumatic injuries. Maybe I’ll write about my experiences in the children’s hospital in the future.

Most people will ask me how did I lose my leg and some will ask what do I remember. I was in my late thirties when I was telling someone new about my childhood car accident when it dawned on me about the light. I always assumed I hallucinated about the lake and street light. I had never thought of my memories in any other way until then. The area where my accident took place was nowhere near a street lamp or a lake. That wasn’t a street lamp I was under. This was in the country on a country road. This was my white light experience.

112093-75

Many critics want to define what people experience or reason with an explanation. They will justify what I saw by saying that was traumatic injury to my brain. I don’t have a medical explanation for what I experienced. I feel it was Devine intervention. I do know for a fact..I should have bled to death and many doctors said it was a miracle I lived.

I only shared my personal experience because I know others have experienced this too.

Feeling Lost During Divorce?

 

Finding-Passion-Purpose-and-Flow-C1-1024x682

I was 40 years old when going through divorce. During that time I felt completely lost and my world was spinning out of control. I read many books on self-enlightenment and used meditation to center and calm my thoughts. It’s been 7 years since my divorce was final and I keep reading, meditating and making more goals. It helped me focus so much during divorce, why stop?

I was content in my marriage until it went tits up. I would come home from work to 3 very active kids and a wife I adored. I didn’t want more from life because I had it all. I didn’t want a job promotion, a new car or a new home. I was happy. Then things fell apart and for a long time during my divorce I felt empty with no direction in my life. I was going through the motions of going to work but I wasn’t fully there. My job was repetitive where I felt like an empty shell showing up to earn my paycheck. I wasn’t drinking or doing anything to alter my thinking just stuck in a lifeless state of being.

Before our divorce was final we decided to move back to Florida so I took some time off to search for places to live. Driving around in Florida alone for a full day looking at homes and apartments sounds nice but I was just going through the motions. I was just driving around in that empty shell of mine. After just one day, I had enough and got some food and went back to the hotel room. It was that evening in my hotel room I started wondering what I was doing. I started trying to define what I was going through. I didn’t want to go look for a place to live and couldn’t figure out what it was that I actually wanted. I felt completely separate from myself as if I were losing control of my reality. I was losing my mind.

“The quest for wholeness can never begin on the external level. It is always an inside job.” -Dr. Shefali Tsabary

A memory came to mind of my roommate in college meditating on his bed. I had never been around anyone doing this before so I had the opportunity to ask him questions about it and try it. He told me it was about centering yourself and your thoughts. I tried it and liked it but didn’t exactly understand it. So here I was in the hotel room feeling extremely lost in life with no direction so I meditated. It took a while to get centered with all the hotel noises of doors closing and elevator bells ringing but then my thoughts started to settle down. My thoughts started to focus only on my breathing. I felt calm and then a feeling of happiness as if to be regaining some control of my life. Then an impulsive thought that defined exactly what I had been feeling, my life was spinning out of control. By defining exactly what I was feeling and what I was going through is where I found direction. It gave me a sense of purpose and I knew what I needed to do next. Stop resisting what I couldn’t change and make the best of it. Hoping somewhere along the way I’ll find happiness and my kids will be less affected by this divorce.

Opening my eyes I now had direction, to not waste the trip to Florida and actually find a place to live. I succeeded with a couple of options with different plans. It felt so good to have direction that it relieved a lot of depression that was brought on by divorce. I had the choice of 2 different apartments. Preferred apartment A but if price wasn’t right and no availability then apartment B. I wrote down my plans on paper so I knew what needed to happen next. I was already approved to transfer to Florida with my employer so I didn’t have to think about that. My plans consisted of searching the web for comparing prices for a moving truck, blankets, boxes and tape. Then canceling phone contracts and cable television services to multiple address changes. I hadn’t realized that my self-confidence had been lost until gaining it back. Getting my plan together and acting on it became my therapy for divorce. It became my focus.

Since the divorce and moving to Florida I have many times over felt lost in my life. Each time I meditate I feel centered as a person and focus on the current moment. I feel as though I’m 47 and I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. I do enjoy writing but fail to see where I could make enough money doing it. So I’ll stick to what I know and try to find work in my field.

In the meantime, I continue to read books on self-enlightenment, mindfulness and meditations. I like learning about different ways of thinking about life. What works and what doesn’t. People such as Eckhart Tolle and Michael Singer have written books that feel like the truth because I identify with many things they have written.

If you feel as though your world is spinning out of control then try meditating. Exercise also helps clear the mental cloud. Try reading some books and focusing on learning a new way of dealing with life. It was Albert Einstein who said,  “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

Movie: Take The Lead

 

p159539_p_v8_ak

Released in 2006 and Rated PG-13

Antonio Banderas stars as Pierre Dulaine. A real-world dancer and dance instructor who’s early works with children was fictionalized in this film.

I suggest this movie because of the good story, good acting with some drama and comedy. I gave it 4 stars.

The story of a dance instructor who gets involved with an inner city school and volunteers his time to teach the high school kids ballroom dancing. He isn’t taken seriously by the teachers or the students until one day he tries something different by bringing in a professional dancer from his dance studio to encourage the students. It works but they do not care for the typical ballroom dance music so they tweak it to a blend of modern sounds while keeping the original rhythm which is something more their style with the approval of Dulaine. When the classes start going really well, one teacher who doesn’t like the dancing tries to stop it.

A parent/teacher conference is held to consider stopping the dance lessons. One argument is the students should use the time for studying and homework. Dulaine’s point of view won me over as well as the parents so the dance lessons continue. Dulaine’s rebuttal was the benefits of the students physically interacting with one another and showing respect. Teaching young men to earn their partner’s trust to lead them. Quote “The man proposes the step. It is the woman’s choice to accept by following. Now, to follow takes as much strength as to lead.”

Dulaine’s teaching advances to the point of a ballroom dance competition and he encourages his students to compete. It makes for a good ending of the movie.

Antonio Banderas may have starred in this movie but there were many others who made this film memorable. Ramos played by Dante Basco was really good and had me searching his other film credits.

4-stars

Book: The Power Of Now

Released in 1997 by Eckhart Tolle.

TPONCOVER    190px-Eckhhart_Tolle_front

I will keep this book so I can re-read it. So much to benefit from I can’t remember it all.

The back side of this book reads: To make the journey into The Power of Now we will need to leave our analytical mind and its false created self, the ego, behind. From the very first page of this extraordinary book, we move rapidly into a significantly higher altitude where we breathe a lighter air. We become connected to the indestructible essence of our Being, “the eternal, ever-present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death.” Although the journey is challenging, Eckhart Tolle uses simple language and an easy question-and-answer format to guide us.

This book is so much more than the title yet the title sums it up nicely. The book delves into our thinking patterns and the way it has shaped our thinking today. Then using processes suggested for a different way of thinking that leads to a happier life.

Oprah Winfrey calls The Power of Now the most important book she’s ever chosen for her book club as it explains how to free yourself from the tyranny of the past, live more fully in the present, and come to the calm, joyful place where intuition, creativity, and wisdom live and breathe. Oprah summed up this book the best.

An excerpt from Chapter Two about the pain body (whatever causes you suffering): Focus attention on the feeling inside you. Know that it is the pain-body. Accept that it is there. Don’t think about it –don’t let the feeling turn into thinking. Don’t judge or analyze. Don’t make an identity for yourself out of it. Stay present, and continue to be the observer of what is happening inside you. This is the power of the Now, the power of your own conscience presence.

The book doesn’t end there but gives you an idea of what a lot of this book is about and how it is written. At times this book is a page-turner and at other times it isn’t. Well worth the $15 or buy it in used condition for less.

Negativity. If you would like less negative thoughts in your mind and to improve your thought processes, read The Power of Now and it will start you in the right direction.

 

 

 

 

 

Movie: Bottle Shock

Bottle-shock

Released in 2008 and rated PG13

I liked this movie so much I am wanting to see it again. Loosely based on actual events about a 1976 wine tasting event in Paris, France. America’s wineries and the wine they produced were apparently not respected in the rest of the world. Wine expert, Steven Spurrier, (played by Allan Rickman) wanted to bring California wine to the tasting. He travels to California and the local wineries eagerly want to participate. He does have concerns about the plane ride back home because of possible…bottle shock.

The term “bottle shock” describes wines that temporarily suffer from muted or disjointed flavors. There are two ways that bottle shock occurs: either right after bottling, or when wines (especially fragile older wines) are shaken in travel such as on a plane crossing the Atlantic Ocean for a wine tasting event in Paris.

Bill Pullman plays Jim Barrett, the owner of the Chateau Montelena winery with his brother Bo Barrett played by Chris Pine. bottleshock-3

Rachel Taylor adds to the story depth with some romance and Freddy Rodriguez is the proprietor of Stags Leap wine.

I enjoyed the film a lot without caring that it wasn’t 100% accurate. I did like the fact that California earned some respect for their wines. This film was light-hearted and easy to follow. It’s the type of film that easily draws you in. You get the impression that all the wineries in California are financially suffering until the wine tasting. The scenary is beautiful and makes me want to try the wines that won.

220px-Montelena_Label_1999 stags-leap-winery-cabernet-sauvignon-napa-valley-usa-10383902

 

 

 

 

How to Live Like the French — Taste of France (re-blogged from my favorite blogger)

The one thing you need to live the good life like the French.

via How to Live Like the French — Taste of France

I will someday visit France and when I do I feel it will be difficult to leave. Read this and you may feel the same. The other blogs by Taste of France are equally fascinating to read about everyday life in France through the eyes of someone who wasn’t born there.

Book: The Four Agreements

TFA cover

By Don Miguel Ruiz

A practical Guide to personal freedom. Self summary – In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, this advice offers powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness and love.

I liked this book and will keep it for my son to read.

The author’s family taught him the Toltec wisdom. His mother a curandera (healer) and his grandfather a nagual (shaman). A shaman by definition is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of good and evil spirits. Ruiz shares his family’s simple but very profound teaching of four simple truths.

  1. Be impeccable with your words. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
  2. Don’t take anything personal. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be a victim of needless suffering.
  3. Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you want. Talk as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.
  4. Always do your best. You will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse and regret.

I like small books with simple truths. They are easier to remember and understand. With the first rule I find myself listening more and talking less. The second rule I quit letting other people’s opinion of me matter so much. The third rule, I stopped thinking that I know exactly what is going on in any given situation. I’m more open to other possibilities. The last rule is the most rewarding I think. Every job I’ve ever done my best it led to better jobs where the pay was better and more satisfying.

My son is too young to understand this book and wouldn’t take the time to read it. When the time is right and hopefully before he is out of high school, I will ask him to read it. I believe it leads to a life of integrity, prosperity and less regret.

To learn more about The Toltec Four Agreements