Yesterday on January 13th, I turned 75 years young. Being old or young are just words and regardless of what is your age, you can decide what the number of years you live in the world mean to you. In Ram Dass’s book, “Polishing the Mirror” I read about an Indian tradition, according to which, life is divided into periods. Until you are twenty, it is time to learn. From twenty to forty is the time to raise the family. From forty to sixty is the time to study wisdom. And then it is time to leave the material world and one’s family to become a holy man. I follow a different tradition.
Until five years ago, when I turned seventy, I was preparing myself for the creative state of my life. For the next fifty years when I am going to be 120, my plan is to enrich other people’s life by sharing my God given gifts, either through finding mortgage solutions, writing poems and stories, publishing books and creating photo-art. My latest photo-poetry book is “42 Encounters with Love”, is going to be available at the end of January. Please pre-order it here.
I would like to start the new year with my favorite word in English language – Love. With the power vested to me by you, my readers, I proclaim 2022 the Year of Love.
To cement my statement, I published a new photo-book, “42 Encounters with Love”, which is going to be available at the end of January. This was also my first attempt to write love poems. Through thousands of years, many great poets expressed their feelings about love in their verses. This is why I do not call myself a poet – not yet. The title of one of my poems is, “What is Love?”. There I ask this question starting with a poet and ending with a woman.
“What is love?” I asked a woman.
She did not answer but instead
closed her eyes and kissed my lips.
And suddenly I knew the answer;
Love is not words, but a feeling,
Which fills my heart with love.”
Though December 31st is just another day in the calendar, people have new expectations for the new year with the anticipation of a better life. For me, it is going to be a year of noticeable dates.
On January 13th, I am going to turn 75 years young. On August 8th, Elfa and I and our family will celebrate our 55th wedding anniversary. It is also 20 years since I had my last drink of alcohol (I quit for a spiritual reason). September is going to be 37 years since we started Pacific Bay Financial. And December 29th marks 50 years since we left Riga, Latvia. I can also squeeze into the list our first trip abroad in April (I keep my fingers crossed). Also in the list — my next and fourth Encounters photostory book, “42 Encounters with Love”, which is my first poetry-photo book, as well as my book, “Fridays with Manny 2021”. And since conforming limits of mortgages went up and interest rates will probably stay low, I am going to be very busy, helping many of my clients. I am going to continue to send out my weekly essays and photo images, I hope you will enjoy them.
When I was growing up in Riga, Latvia, we celebrated the New Year by decorating a Yolka, a fir tree. We also had the white bearded Grandpa Frost, dressed in a Red Coat, who delivered gifts to children.
When we came to San Francisco in 1980, we discovered that a Yolka is called a Christmas tree, and Grandpa Frost is Santa Claus. There are a lot of interesting traditions connected with both. Though fir trees were used to celebrate pagan winter festivals, one of the first documented use of a tree at Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations was in Riga, Latvia in 1510. In the third century in Turkey, Santa Claus was known as Nicholas, who used his inherited wealth to help children. Later on, he became known as St. Nicholas. When Dutch settlers came to New York, they brought with them the tradition to celebrate the anniversary of Nicholas’ death. They nicknamed him Sinter Klaas, which eventually became known as Santa Claus. The custom of gift giving passed on down from St. Nicholas’ generosity, only to be picked up in the beginning of the nineteenth century by stores advertising shopping for Christmas. As we know, this tradition continues today.
The three images of Santa Claus are my gift to you. If you are looking for a special gift to give to others – give love. One of the forms can appear in my new poetry-photo book “42 Encounters with Love”.
Enjoy and Share!
In Hawaii, one is greeted with “Aloha”, which means “with love”. It is the only language I am aware of that greets someone with love. We just returned from a ten day vacation to Kauai. Though I have been in Hawaii many times, this was the first time I learned the true meaning of the word Aloha.
A stands for AKAHAI, meaning kindness, to be expressed with tenderness.
L stands for LOKAHI, meaning unit, to be expressed with harmony.
O stands for ‘OLU’OLU, meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness.
H stands for HA’AHA’A, meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty.
A stands for AHONUI, meaning patience, to be expressed with perseverance.
I learned it from Pilahi Paki, a Hawaiian poet, philosopher, linguist, educator, spiritual guide, songwriter, and author.
The national flower of Hawaii is a hibiscus. At one time they were considered endangered; however, today there are over thirty new species. I am sharing with you three samples of the flowers.
Love is one of my favorite words, this is why I just published my new poetry-photo book “42 Encounters with Love”, which is going to be available in January. Available for pre-order on Monday!
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