Let life humble you.

I know it’s rare, but every once in a while Facebook comes through with something that actually means something.

Take this, for example, originally posted on FB by life coach Paul Weinfield and found and shared by my friend writer Wynne McLaughlin:

by Paul Weinfield

Let life humble you.

Leonard Cohen said his teacher once told him that, the older you get, the lonelier you become, and the deeper the love you need. This is because, as we go through life, we tend to over-identify with being the hero of our stories.

This hero isn’t exactly having fun: he’s getting kicked around, humiliated, and disgraced. But if we can let go of identifying with him, we can find our rightful place in the universe, and a love more satisfying than any we’ve ever known.

People constantly throw around the term “hero’s journey” without having any idea what it really means. Everyone from CEOs to wellness influencers thinks the hero’s journey means facing your fears, slaying a dragon, and gaining 25k followers on Instagram. But that’s not the real hero’s journey.

In the real hero’s journey, the dragon slays YOU. Much to your surprise, you couldn’t make that marriage work. Much to your surprise, you turned forty with no kids, no house, and no prospects. Much to your surprise, the world didn’t want the gifts you proudly offered it.

If you are foolish, this is where you will abort the journey and start another, and another, abusing your heart over and over for the brief illusion of winning. But if you are wise, you will let yourself be shattered, and return to the village, humbled, but with a newfound sense that you don’t have to identify with the part of you that needs to win, needs to be recognized, needs to know. This is where your transcendent life begins.

So embrace humility in everything. Life isn’t out to get you, nor are your struggles your fault. Every defeat is just an angel, tugging at your sleeve, telling you that you don’t have to keep banging your head against the wall. Leave that striver there, trapped in his lonely ambitions. Just walk away, and life in its vastness will embrace you.

Don’t know about you, but I think this world could use more Leonard Cohens and Paul Weinfields.

PJ McIlvaine on the eternal struggle for the right work/life balance

(Love this illo!)

My friend PJ McIlvaine, author of the current best seller, VIOLET YORKE, GILDED GIRL: GHOSTS IN THE CLOSET, and close friend and companion of dragons everywhere (yes, it’s an inside joke – my apologies) recently appeared on the bookechoes.com podcast and talked about, among other things, the age-old problem of how to best balance the writing life/family life relationship.

This particular situation is something I still haven’t mastered, but I’m working at it. And what PJ has to say here definitely helps.

Enjoy and learn, kids!

PJ’s website is HERE

BookEchoes.Com is HERE



Just Another Life Lesson Learned While Recovering from Surgery

(Free image from CLIPARTIX.COM)

As a Redditor might phrase this sort of thing on one of the interweb’s most popular sites:

TIL [“Today I learned,” for those over 40] that not even 10mg of oxy can give me the feeling of joy my mother saw on my face when I was 8 years old and the local radio news announced it was a Chicago School District snow day.

But Gwen the Beautiful did get to see me smile more than just a little as I read a “Get Better Soon” text received from a junior high buddy I’ve been telling her about for sixty-five years.


The True Fact Secret of Success…

(I'm using this free Image from http://clipart-library.com/ again because a big, cautionary red X should always come with advice, right?)

…As indirectly revealed to me by my Oldest Daughter J— just the other day:

We’re visiting A— this weekend. She’s happy as a clam and taking a film class taught by SK’s ex-wife. It’s a —

Wait! Wait!

To truly appreciate the upcoming punchline, you may need a few additional facts.

I say this because I’m an old-fashioned writer who likes to make sure everything is clear, mostly so I can tell myself that the reason my work has always been misunderstood (okay, maybe not always, but a few times at least) has been because the readers or viewers weren’t paying proper attention and not because I, erm, screwed up.


In addition to being my oldest daughter, J— is my first child in general and a producer/writer at NPR in San Francisco. Her second daughter, A—, is one of my – wait, I’ve got to count – five granddaughters and is a sophomore at UCLA.

SK has been a writer and/or producer on a ton of Marvel films among others. He’s also been a close friend of my older son (also a human whose name starts with a J–) since their college days, which means that SK’s ex-wife has at the very least been a part of the overall Brody extended family.

Older son J– also is well-known within the same business as SK. I’d say a Remembrance of Things Past worth more of great things about him, but he likes to keep a low profile.

I also have another daughter and another son and two grandsons that don’t figure into this conversation. And even though I’m not using their names, I do know them. Just don’t ask me their birthdays, okay?

Now that you’ve been alerted to the backstory, I’ll finish telling you what Oldest Daughter J— was telling me. Let me start over:

We’re visiting A— this weekend. She’s happy as a clam and taking a film class taught by SK’s ex-wife. It’s a small, nepotistic world!

There. That’s it. ODJ said it with a sigh, which is pretty much what this kind of fact of life deserves, but the point remains, not only in showbiz but in all walks of life. The Secret of Success is to always keep in mind that we do indeed live on a small, nepotistic planet. If you can’t manage to get yourself born with the right contacts, then go out and forge other connections with everyone you can.

LB’S NOTE: This, btw, isn’t what I did. Connecting and Larry Brody do not even occur in the same universe. I got started via what I’d have to call “The Second True Fact Secret of Success,” which I’ll throw in now because what the hell:

In spite of possibly being the most antisocial human anyone could ever know, I spent not only my college years but most of my adult life happy as a clam because I was the luckiest son of a bitch you may ever know.

Thanks, ODJ!