Thursday, February 19, 2009

Finding Our Bliss

Dear Friends,

I was thinking about what to share with you today, and in the process I was searching through some quotes online. One of my favorites was this one from Benjamin Franklin:

"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of."

It made me think of how often we treat life as if it is a dress rehearsal for "the real thing." Once I get the best job, the perfect relationship, when the economy finally picks up, when I get my degree...THEN I'll be happy! But aren't these all just excuses we use to avoid being happy on a daily basis? It doesn't seem to make sense. Isn't being happy what we're all searching for? Why would we want to avoid it?
For me, I think the answer lies not in the fact that we don't want to be happy, but that we don't always look in the right places for that happiness... which brings me to another quote from old Ben Franklin:

"Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances."

Some people can have no money, be going through an illness, be dealing with physical or emotional hardships in their lives, and yet still have a smile on their face and a positive attitude. I got an email today from a friend who lost his job recently. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he realized that he finally had the free time to pursue his passion of photography - something he had wanted to do for years. He was able to transform his loss into a gift, not just for himself, but for everyone around him.

My wish is that each one of us is able to celebrate the opportunities we are given from day to day. I hope we can realize that what at first seem like a personal tragedy may in fact be the hand of destiny gently guiding us to an even greater adventure. And may we all recognize the true happiness that already exists in our lives.

In song,
-Todd Herzog

PS. "You And I," a song I co-wrote for smooth jazz saxophonist, Michael Lington, is now at #2 on the Smooth Jazz Charts. Let's keep our fingers crossed for #1 in the coming weeks!

PPS. You may notice the new look of my newsletter. It is also reflected in my new website design which you can find at The design was done by Juliana Swenson at Studio Lapis ( and programmed by Jason Lehman at Jazepromedia (

PPPS. Once we hit #1, then I'll REALLY be happy! =-) just kidding...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Turning Over An Old Leaf

Next week marks the celebration of Tu B'Shevat in the Jewish community. It's our version of Arbor Day, and is sometimes referred to as the New Year of the Trees. It is not just a celebration of trees, however, but a celebration of the creation of the Earth and all its inhabitants. Many schools use this holiday as an occasion to teach students about environmental consciousness, about recycling and about taking care of the environment. We plant trees in public parks and in Israel and have a special seder to celebrate the holiday.

For me, Tu B'Shevat is about all of these things, and it is also a recognition of our connection... both to the Earth and to one another. As our awareness grows about things such as global warming and environmental pollution, we begin to recognize how our actions impact those around us. We as individuals have a wonderful ability to create change within our own circles, and these circles in turn can radiate out to larger circles. We can use this ability to create positive changes which can have far-reaching results in our community.

Take for example the phenomenon of Facebook. Many of us didn't even know what Facebook was until relatively recently (myself included). Now, all of a sudden we are reconnecting with people we haven't spoken to in 20 years or more. Just yesterday, my wife received an email from a childhood friend she had lost touch with since she moved away from their neighborhood back in high school. And to top it all off, she lives right here in Phoenix. They have plans to get together again in the near future... talk about the magic of the internet!

All of this connection made possible by one person, who knows another person, who knows another person sharing information and history in the tangled web of life. I have no idea what possibilities the future holds in terms of technology and evolution, but I know that people coming together with a common goal and working as one will play a huge role in shaping that future... for better or for worse.

-Todd Herzog

PS. My new children's album, Everyday Blessings, is now available online and will be available shortly at iTunes and many other online retailers. Stay tuned for more details...