“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Proverbs 27:17

I am excited to share my birthday, October 11, with Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk. Once nominated for the Nobel Peace prize by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Eleanor Roosevelt, former first lady and political activist. Although I’ll never have the chance to hug Eleanor or shake hands with Thich, I consider them my friends. These kind and gentle souls offer some great advice for living a happy life. So please have a piece of my birthday cake and let’s listen to what they have to say.

Let’s start with Eleanor who said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” So the logical question to ask ourselves is what do we want to do be or have? Do you want to be a circus clown, run in The Boston Marathon, or earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? As long as it’s legal and you’re not hurting anyone, I wish you the best. And I also encourage you to take some steps to make that dream come true. Eleanor also said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Now let’s hear from Thich. He said, “If in our daily life we can smile,  if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it.  This is the most basic kind of peace work.” A smile, I have been told, is one of the few things you can give away and keep at the same time. And there is no law that I know of that limits how many smiles you can give away. So on your next trip to the market, gas station, work, or school why not go for the Olympic Gold in the smile division.

Here is another tip from Thich, “The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” Just like smiling, it doesn’t cost anything to be a good listener. And I confess I’m no where near the top of my game on this one. But, as a wise man said just the other day, “The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.”

So I promise you, next time we meet I will do my best to hear what you have to say and unless you ask for advice, I’m just there to be your friend, to share your laughter or tears.

Now it’s time to “loosen the bone.”

Look who else just showed up for a piece of my birthday cake.  Singers and musicians; Daryl Hall, Gene Watson, Todd Snider, Andrew Woolfolk, Paulette Carlson, Scott Johnson, and Leigh Gibson.  All born on October 11. Now it’s a party.

And how about we finish the night with a few laughs. Here comes comedian Artie Lange, also celebrating a birthday on October 11.

Thank you, everyone. Have another piece of cake.