Everyone enters the world in the middle of great events -- not all of them good. We can choose to embrace our lives or whine loudly about our circumstances. Or we can muster the courage to imagine a different life, a life that has yet to exist.
Our collective exaltation of creativity is extreme and highlights a cultural problem: We're over-glorifying a fantasy of individual innovative genius, and asking it to carry weight it was never meant to bear.
I asked Yoko Ono -- who at 79 is as youthful, energetic and beautiful as ever -- how she picks the recipients, is there a committee or board? "No, I feel it in here," she said pointing to her heart, "It comes from the heart."
The London 2012 Olympics came to an end yesterday. The spectacular closing ceremony featured many great performances, including one by John Lennon. The late Beatle appeared on screen and sang "Imagine," one of his most popular songs. It was the perfect song for the moment.
I realize that I risk becoming a cliche when I cry over the first notes of John Lennon's "Imagine" -- that song plucks the same chord in me as it does for progressive, idealistic do-gooders all over the world.
For those of us who are both afflicted and blessed by the tendency to feel deeply about people and things, we may find ourselves very conflicted about the flurry of expectations for us to spend money and experience joy for the "holidays."
Early and tragic death of a hero, a leader, or a cultural icon produces reactions of greater intensity than the sad passing-on of a revered figure at a grand old age. Did we overreact to Lennon's death in 1980?