A Present in the Present

It’s early on Monday morning, five days before Christmas, and the house is quiet. My girlfriend Jaime left early for work and our 3 daughters are sound asleep. Our new home in Malibu is the quietest place I’ve ever lived. There is an absolute silence here, no cars, no dogs barking, not even the sound of crickets.

I’ve desired stillness in my life and I have found it here. And the stillness isn’t just in the physical environment. More importantly, its in my mind and therefore truly in my life. For the first time in a very long time, I feel totally at ease with where I am in my career, in my relationship, as a father, as a man.

Sure, there have been moments of stillness in all of these areas over the years, especially since I started my inner journey eight years ago. But the difference today is that I feel it in my whole being. I feel exceedingly content and fulfilled, exactly right where I am.

For much of my life, I lived with this belief that if I just got all the external stuff in order, I would be happy. If I had the right girl, the right job, the right home and lots of money, I would be okay. I tried as best I could to make that happen, but always there was something missing. There never was enough of what I thought I wanted and the moments of joy when I thought I had finally ‘made it’ were quickly replaced by unhappiness and disappointment when things didn’t go my way or disappeared all together. I never even considered that I couldn’t change the outside conditions and find true happiness.

Through the circumstances of my life, I found myself in a place where I was forced to look inward to find my true self and the life I desired. It was a hard concept to swallow at first, but slowly over time I came to believe that this inner journey was the true path to happiness. Still, it was one thing to believe that and another thing to truly know it. Knowing meant facing myself and facing pain head on rather than running away like I had always done. Knowing came through going inside over and over and over again.

Four days ago, I started a physical journey home for the holidays from Cape Town, South Africa where I am working on a movie project through May of 2011. I was on three flights totaling 25 hours in the air and including a stopover in New York City for a day to shoot a screen test for the film. During one portion of the journey I took out my journal and started writing. One thing I have learned for sure about my inner journey is that, unlike the flights I was on, it never ends (although the flights seemed like they would never end too!).

As I wrote, yet another realization came to me through the writing. My relationships, both personal and business have shifted dramatically. Rather than the old relationships in which I was taken advantage of and manipulated, I have attracted in relationships where I am valued and appreciated for exactly who I am.┬áThese relationships haven’t come from me making them happen. They have been attracted to me because I am becoming the man I have always wanted to be.

Yesterday, Jaime and I picked up the kids and went to buy a tree in the rain as we prepare to celebrate our first Christmas together. I strung the lights, then downloaded Christmas songs from Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Sarah McLachlan while Jaime helped the kids hang bulbs and candy canes. “Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright.” The music filled the room and for me, the lyrics had a meaning like never before.

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7 Responses to “A Present in the Present”

  1. Peter Beary says:

    Congratulations on finding life peace, John. I hope it continues and you continue living such a fulfilled life.

  2. Kimmy Ledoux says:

    I love your blog John.You are such a special person!I am beyond happy for you and Jaime and your “3 daughters”-my heart melted when I read that line.
    Merry Christmas John.

  3. Donna says:

    Oh John…your latest journey has been quite rewarding for many of us because you share it so openly. I am literally crying here! Happy tears for you, because I think we all search for that stillness…at least I do. My stillness has been intermittant through the years but not complete. I hope to find it one day.

    I too noticed when you mentioned “our 3 daughters.” How absolutely wonderful. Jaime must be an exceptional woman…someone only you deserve.


    Merry Christmas, love!

    Donna :)

  4. Robbie Goldstein says:

    Brutally honest and as visual as the pictures you take and I enjoy.
    I will contine to follow your blog. I never knew it exsisted. It is insightful
    into the man you are and and the evolution it took to get there.
    We worked briefly on a few movies together. I could tell, like everyone else, how effective you are at your job. I certainly never realized how introspective you are. And your willingess to share is more
    than commendable and very aprreciated.
    No doubt you will have a Happy Holiday- So i wish you a Really Big Big Big Happy Holiday for you and your family.
    Robbie Goldstein

  5. FilmFather says:

    Far be it from me to quote an animated turtle, but your wonderful post made me think of the Zen of Oogway from Kung Fu Panda, whose saying I make myself remember from time to time:

    “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”

    Glad to hear you’re in such a peaceful, loving, special place in your life.

  6. beeebeee says:

    Hi John,
    Just wondering if there is a way to get the material from your other blog – since it now seems to be defunct. It was nvaluable and i would like to share with others, if possible.

  7. Beeebeee-in all my recent travels I let my other blog lapse and I am in the process of trying to recover it. I will let you know with a comment here! Thanks for asking!

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