Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wine Transforms

The November 15th 2011 issue of Wine Spectator magazine… unequivocally the top North American publication on wine… featured a romantic journey through our personal Tuscan-inspired wine cellar. Susan and I love to entertain in this beautiful space. Imagine experiencing an evening of specially selected wines, accompanied by a dinner menu thoughtfully planned to elevate a tasting discovery. You are seated in a dining alcove encircled by hand painted frescos the colors of Tuscany, and completely surrounded by dozens of flickering candles. The air is filled with the sound of gentle music. Everyone is enjoying the moment, totally immersed in intimate story telling. It is magical, it is memorable, often resulting in the creation of a “Perfect Moment” for everyone present. It can best be described as being “In the Zone”. All senses are heightened… taste, sight, sound, touch, and scent… emotions stimulated by the subtleties of the wine, the warmth of friendly conversation… the soft glow of candles.

Back in January when I began cataloging “Secrets of Life” I listed wine as a potential “Secret”. Wine has many attributes. It makes us feel good, and has a history that spans thousands of years. Wine is an art form that expresses intense characteristics of scent, taste, color, and elicits passion from those who enjoy its culture. As I sat down today to write about wine, motivated by Wine Spectator’s awesome article on our cellar, I underwent a new realization.

Wine has become a fascinating and intriguing interest in my life. It is a source of joy and discovery. My taste is delighted by its wide but subtle spectrum, and challenges me to “Always Be Learning”, since wine encompasses immense knowledge, of which I am still so limited. Wine makes me think long term… what is the vintage? When is the wine peaking? How long should it age? What will I drink in five years, ten years, special occasions… and with whom? What stories do I have that accompany the wine… have we been to the vineyard, when did we first discover this wine, who gifted it, what was the occasion, the place… where did I buy it, why this wine, this grape, this region, this moment??

After all, is wine not the original “Fruit of the Vine”, with an ancient history that was instrumental in civilization’s evolution? It is most probable that man’s decision to cultivate grapes for wine making constituted an inflection point in history… a disruptive change in human culture. Man settled down to tend the vines instead of nomadically roaming from place to place. Wine has a civilizing nature. One had to wait years (four or five) before vines produced a harvestable crop. The vines needed care… pruning, staking, harvesting, tasting, crushing, storing awaiting the magic of fermentation. No wonder ancient civilizations thought of wine as sacred and used it for ritual and bringing communities together. The grape inexplicably transformed itself into the nectar of the Gods and in doing so, transformed mankind. Wine is truly a gift and an extraordinary “Secret of Life”.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Personal Energy

A month since my last blog post… way too long! September 2011 was a month of extremes. It started on the shores of Truro in Cape Cod, walking secluded beaches, watching shooting stars, laughing with friends and re-charging my personal energy batteries. Have you ever noticed how crystal clear you feel surrounded by the vast beauty of nature? Our senses are heightened; we seem more alive, more connected to the universe, more mindful. We are engulfed by the grandeur of Mother Nature’s palette. The visual colors of our natural surroundings, the scent and even taste of the air, the touch of a breeze, all invigorating us with a pure, cleansing energy.

I needed that revitalizing weekend by the sea because I was in training… preparing to give and receive energy from 1,000 Hearts On Fire family and friends. Yes, I physically and mentally gear up for the most powerful, exciting, energizing four days of my year… Hearts On Fire University. Over the last 15 years, I reserve four days a week during the month of August for creative dreaming, physical training, over-preparation and energy building. This personal retreat, which mainly occurs outside on our garden terrace is a powerful discipline.

Held annually in hyper-energetic Las Vegas, the experience of Hearts On Fire University is impossible to capture in mere words. For those lucky people who attend, it is often a life changing experience of personal and professional growth… best described as four days of intense learning and falling in love with careers and businesses again, all while growing dreams and aspirations. “HOFU”, as it is affectionately called, is a wakeup call to overcome mediocrity and challenge ourselves to achieve a life of greatness. Sound amazing? I am truly understating the experience. It is a valuable gift of love and energy to all who attend.

Imagine 1,000 people totally pumped up and connected in both purpose and passion, motivated to action, excited to expand their individual aspirations… the outcome is energy creation on a nuclear scale. The results are palpable, the synergy is magical. Energy levels fuel creativity, action, success, and happiness. When our energy is high, positive things happen… when it is low, life is difficult. We feel most energized when we are connected… to nature, to ourselves, to a purpose….to something bigger.

Personal energy, one of the vital “Secrets of Life”, is a life force that flows like a mighty wave, fueling all that we are and everything we do. It fuels an essential awareness of being mindful. The more mindful we are, the better we can control and embrace it. This kind of personal energy on steroids is better known as passion…..generated by focusing on what we love… what we are most committed to.
Absorbing and transferring the love, the passion and positive energy at electrifying HOFU is immeasurable. This year it was even more extreme because Susan and I celebrated major life milestones with our extended family and friends… both of our 60th birthdays and our 35th wedding anniversary. The overpowering love and affection directed at us created a “perfect moment”… an intense life experience of being in “the zone”.

Fully charged and almost short circuited from four days of this mighty celebration of love and energy, we decided that there was only one thing we could do when “the music stopped”…


Directly from Vegas we flew to one of our favorite nature spots… the Bitteroot Valley in Montana. The very next day we were floating down the river fishing. What an extreme! One day Vegas and 1,000 highly charged people… the next day drifting down the majestic Bitteroot in rhythm with the cast of the fly rod, anticipating the excitement of a fish striking, listening to the sounds of the river and the birds, tasting the sweetness of the mountain air, being engulfed by the energy of old forests.

Energy is everything.

Energy is life.

Susan's "Perfect Moment" on her special birthday!