Tag Archives: John Russo

A Dream Goes on Forever

A little known Todd Rundgren song is a favorite of mine: A Dream Goes on Forever.

My interpretation? Our dreams sustain us through difficult times. They are unsinkable corks, bouncing up as lifesavers (sometimes despite our best efforts to drown in our sorrows.)

Like flowers yearning to break through the cracks of cement, these resilient buggers called dreams stretch onward and upward.

“A dream deferred makes the heart sick…”

Oh, boy (or oy vey!) I’ve had some sick hearts over the course of 56 years. From not getting the part of Dorothy in the 4th-grade play (and instead, cast as the Lion) to watching my younger friends marry during my single 20’s and 30’s, life dumped some #$%^@ on some of my dreams.

“…but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” – Proverbs 13:12

Beating out thousands to land a job as one of the original QVC Show Hosts! Finally walking down the aisle to a packed church cheering the end of my single days!

Some of you quizzically read those last two lines, knowing that I was unceremoniously dumped by the shopping network and cut bait on an unfulfilling marriage after 14 years.

Hey, weren’t those dreams fulfilled supposed to be trees of life?

Well, they were. For a season.

My tears dried after losing the part of Dorothy. Life went on. Life marches on! What mattered SO much once is just (as my friend Roseann likes to say) a pimple on an elephant’s ass.

Gotta love my spicy Roseann-isms.

Thoughts of dreams stirred my soul this week when immersed in a Sex and the City marathon. The show begins in their twenties with invincibility fueled by cosmopolitans and a fabulous foursome of friends. Over the course of a decade we watch breakups, losses, cancer, babies and so much more that Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte could never have imagined.

Had they a crystal ball, they might have avoided most of their adventures to avoid pain.

And so might have I, as I pondered this photo from my past:

This photo captures the moment in time when I prepared to graduate from college. Already working in my chosen field, there was no doubt in my mind I would be the next Diane Sawyer.

It was my dream to write and speak words. To use them skillfully to inspire and inform.

Also, to be fabulously wealthy and famous. (Look, I’ve never claimed to be Mother Theresa.)

Oh, had I a crystal ball I would have definitely bypassed that QVC audition, kept driving past the church (that ended up being a cult)…

…but in the choices made to avoid pain, I would have lost some of my best stories. And my best friends.

I may not be Diane Sawyer, but I’m really glad to be Brenda Viola.

Yes, Viola. I loved my ex, still hold affection for him, and love that last name. It fits!

Just as I have changed over the years (my taste for pitch black, sky-high hair replaced by golden highlights), my dreams also evolved. Some have come true! (Published author, anyone?) Some remain to be fulfilled.

But that’s the beauty of life.

I believe the dreams of our hearts are Divinely planted. And they must grow! They will materialize in perfect form when the gestation period has ended.

But aren’t we supposed to learn lessons from disappointments?

Sure!

And once learned, we move forward. To think that life is meant to be a constant string of lessons learned from heartbreaks runs counter to the idea that God (Source, the Divine, All That Is) is good and life should be happy.

I believe life should be happy.

Perhaps my message today is if you are pregnant with a dream, don’t abort it.

Turning your back on your dream is to turn away from your very self.

Your dreams are intertwined with your gifts and answer the question, “Who am I?”

They light you up. You feel most alive when expressing from that deep, holy part within you where the dream lives.

This is what you were made for!

John Russo croons a standard from the Rat Pack. My sister, Shirlee, acts on a moment of inspiration and whips up a calligraphy masterpiece. Artists are brave souls!

I have friends who claim they don’t have dreams. Oh, but when they express their gifts, they so beautifully live their purpose.

Maybe that’s a better word…purpose.

But I’ll stick with dreams. And I hope you stick with them, too.

On this topic of how what we want evolves over time and how when WE change, everything changes, here’s this week’s video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7S8BZ-CNsc&feature=youtu.be

If your dreams are feeling choked, your hope has been deferred, and you feel a bit adrift – take heart. We all weather such storms. These, too, shall pass.

Ask for the grace to help in time of need (and don’t be afraid to ask for help.)

Much love –

Brenda

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You’re Telling Me To RELAX?

RELAX???

When your word of the week says, “Relax!” and the world as you’ve known it becomes completely upended, it’s like a bad joke.

You want me to relax when I can’t leave the house?

It’s a bit counterintuitive. You’d think not being able to leave the house; not fulfilling obligations; not even being able to go to the gym would offer abundant opportunities to relax, right?

Ah…but relaxation is a mindset.

I wish I could uninstall my rampant thoughts as easily as a computer USB.

Remembering that every fearful thought begins with “What if?” has helped me to stop negative momentum.

And, if the thoughts we are thinking don’t feel good? Stop milking them.

Further, if the news we listen to heightens our anxiety? Power down that device.

I’m not suggesting to stick our heads in the sand. But I am saying as the CEO of our lives, we need to (more than ever) listen to our internal, emotional gauges. When we feel information overload, take a step back.

Wash your hands.

Then watch something funny or play catch with the dog.

Social distancing needs to be offset by healthy doses of laughter, virtual connection, and generosity.

Rather than focusing on lack, I’ve been considering how I can give. And some of you have been inspiring me greatly!

My friend, the amazingly talented John Russo, has been crooning on Facebook live. What a joy! (I’d pay to subscribe, John, if you had that option…)

The Main Line’s Martha Stewart, Pat Nogar, does live cooking demonstrations on her page (seasoned with big doses of inspiration.)

And I considered, “What can I do?”

Ages ago I bought a software subscription to offer live webinars and it collected dust because of my busy life. Plus, my favorite thing to do is to speak live and in person!

But who’s doing that now?

Crickets.

However, behind my desire to encourage groups in person is not what I’m paid to do, but what I’m made to do.

And that is to be an uplifter.

Nothing else makes me feel more alive. So I’m hosting my first virtual book club webinar on Friday, March 27th at Noon. Pat Nogar is co-hosting with me, it’s free, and will focus on one of the chapters of The Public Servants’ Survival Guide: REST.

We’ll be chatting about how REST is more than getting a good night’s sleep, and that those who master resting in peace have become adept at sidestepping drama. Please register by clicking here.

(Breaking news: There’s always drama. Always will be! )

Long after this pandemic is a memory, there will be drama among in-laws, frenemies, cubicle-sharers, and the real housewives of any community.

I read where the Spanish Flu in 1918 resulted in 50-100 million deaths, but also ushered in a wave of unprecedented self-reflection and personal growth among the populace. King Lear was written when Shakespeare was quarantined during the plague!

What beauty will come from these ashes? Let’s find it together.

And boy, the cards don’t lie. Wait’ll you hear what the new Word of the Weeks is!:

https://youtu.be/qIfqEX-sru0

Stay healthy. Know you are loved. And I hope to be with you next Friday!

xoxoxo

Brenda

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What a Treat! The New Word of the Week…

When you’re in a jam, INTEGRITY will preserve you.

(Did anyone else get the jam/preserve play on words?  I actually am writing this soon after having peanut butter on an English muffin, and was craving jam.  Or preserves.  But we didn’t have any.)

I talk about this aspect of integrity in this week’s wrap-up video:

So we won the WOW lottery!  It’s a week to be DELIGHTED.

Or delightful.

Even more so than usual.

As I always say:

Little treats

I’m interested to know what delight looks like to YOU?

For me, it’s hearing John Russo sing The Way You Look Tonight or Fly Me to the Moon.

It’s the show, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix that I binge-watched giggling non-stop this past week. Who knew being a former cult member could be funny?

When Duane visits me in my office and rubs my shoulders…*sigh*.  Or we start singing Jimmy Fallon’s “Tight Pants” song together – yippee!

Don’t tell me you’ve never heard it?

Now the song WILL be in your head for days to come.  Duane and I like to change the words to fit the moment.  “Every body’s talkin’ bout my ______….”

You get the idea.

Unique cards that are like little works of art. Beautifully wrapped packages (it doesn’t even matter what’s in them.) The perfect cup of coffee. Payday!

Triple digit Scrabble words and episodes of Modern Family!

Life is full of potholes, speed bumps and sometimes sink holes. I believe that the little delights in life are the exclamation points and highlighters that keep our stories moving forward.

Please know that you deserve every single delightful thing that comes your way. And if one hasn’t come along in a while, it should be your priority to do something about it.

Buy YOURSELF those flowers.  Stop waiting for someone to take you to that restaurant – just go (sit at the bar and order dinner there if it helps.) Carve out an afternoon to binge-watch an entire series you haven’t caught up on.  (If it’s Grey’s Anatomy, proceed with caution.  With McDreamy gone and Japril on the rocks, it’s rough going…)

Just do it.  Whatever your IT is, treat yourself.

“Let your heart be light” is a great line in a Christmas carol, but good advice all year long.

Notice it says LET.

It’s a decision; a choice – and it’s all yours.

Have a delightful week, dear friends –

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

 

 

 

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