• Mystical Serendipity

    Sometimes the universe seems to send us messages to remind us that we are all connected. I’ve had too many such mysterious experiences to count, but two of the more recent ones merit mentioning here. When I was at my dentist’s office in Santa Monica for a check up, my hygienist asked me if I knew Angela Aki, a Japanese-American singer-songwriter who is popular in Japan. I said that I know of Angela, but hadn’t yet had the pleasure of meeting her. “I went to high school with Angela in Hawaii” my dental pro commented, “and I have a feeling you are going to meet her soon.” One week later, I was at Sony Music Studios in Tokyo, and the screen below is what greeted me in the studio that day.

    The bottom of the screen shows my studio, booked for Taro G, and the one above shows who is booked for the studio next to me. For those of you who cannot read Japanese, it says “Angela Aki.” So there we were, meeting in the studio just a week after my dental hygienist had a feeling we would. How fun is that? I love when life does this! But that was just the start. After Tokyo, I went to Shanghai and attended a dinner party at my friend Pearl Lam’s home. Pearl has a magnificent 88-seat dining table, and that night it was full of guests from all over the world. To my right was Pearl and to my left was a friend of hers, Ludovica, who came all the way from Rome. 

    Pearl said to us, “you are both musical people, so I wanted you to get to know each other.” As we talked about our lives and our musical backgrounds, Ludovica said to me, “wait a minute, your name is Taro? Taro what?” And when I replied “Gold,” I thought she was going to fall out of her chair! The look on her face was a mix of shock and delight. “When my friend was driving me to the airport in Italy the other day,” she said, “he had a CD player in his car and was playing your album in it! I loved it so much he gave it to me as a gift!” And then just a couple of days later, we were seated next to each other for dinner in Shanghai. So fun! I love the universe’s way of weaving happy surprises together in ways we could never even imagine. Below is a photo of me with Ludovica and Pearl and other friends on that mystically serendipitous night in China. 

  • Hello Goodbye

    I’ve been giving a lot of thought to changes, particularly beginnings and endings.  Recently my grandmother fell ill, and I was reminded yet again of the eternal cycle of hello goodbye. When grandma was admitted to the hospital, her doctors said she would live only a few more days. Family members rushed to say goodbye. That was almost two months ago now. Although goodbye will come, no one knows exactly when. Today, grandma is still smiling, still laughing, telling us she doesn’t know either. One thing we do know, we must make the most of our time between each hello and goodbye. Isn’t that the most rewarding knowledge of all?

    Beginnings and endings – punctuation marks, dotting the paragraphs that make up the story of our lives. Let the punctuation marks do their job, but focus on creating the best life in between. A script filled with happiness, sadness, ups, downs, lots of questions, not so many answers… all leading to growth, openness, hope, love. Everything worth remembering from yesterday, doing today, and dreaming for tomorrow.

    The eternal cycle of hello goodbye reminds me to always thoughtfully create the story of my own life, weaving colorful words through whatever punctuation points comes along in life. Joy is not found in the stops and starts of hello goodbye. Joy is in the middle, the flow, the now. That is the sweet and simple secret every hello and goodbye hides inside.

    Moonlight State Beach Sunset Sky

    I took this photo sitting by the wide blue ocean at Moonlight Beach near my grandma’s home, as the sun said goodbye again today. Then the moon said hello. How can I be sad that the radiant sun has said goodbye when the shining moon says hello? So goes the flow of hello goodbye, forever perfect in glorious detail.

    Friends in Brazil have recently been having to say goodbye to loved ones there, too. Like me, they say they’ve been watching the sun and moon and stars and pondering the cycle of life. They sent me a sweet note about finding strength from the words in the Portuguese-language edition of my book Open Your Mind, Open Your Life (Abra Sua Mente, Abra Sua Vida). If you enjoy the good fortune to have a Brazilian friend, then you know how Brazilian people savor each moment of life, celebrating every hello and goodbye as if it was their first and their last, cherishing every moment in between. Good reminders for us all!

  • Thus I Heard

    A longtime lover of travel, I’ve sometimes gotten into such a whirlwind of adventures that I wake up and wonder “what city am I in?” Sometimes when this happens, thankfully, the answer is “home.” You know you travel a lot when you wake up in your own home and can’t remember what city you’re in! Perhaps another reason for this kind of disorientation is that, on a deep level, I usually feel completely at home wherever I go on this blue oasis in space that we call Earth.  

    Thankfully, most of my travels in recent years have been a good mix of pleasure and business, and a nice combination of new sights as well as familiar places. Some new places, like Iowa, Wisconsin and South Dakota were also a welcome treat.  I stood among the cornfields in Davenport, Iowa soaking in the quiet, natural majesty of the American heartland and felt enriched by it. I’ve sat in the Neptune gardens of Versailles palace of France and marveled at the fireworks spectacular.  

    iowa-cornfields.jpg

    Maybe it was the evident French influence in Iowa, with Des Moines showing reminder after reminder that it was once the capital of the French colonies in the US, I’m not sure what it was but somehow the transition between the farmlands of the Midwest and the ancient halls of France felt seamless. Wish the vegan options were better in both locations, but they are improving! To my surprise and delight, while visiting friends in Oxford, we enjoyed some of the best vegan food ever in the UK!

    soka-university-aliso-viejo.jpg

    Every year, I also love visiting Soka University in Aliso Viejo, CA for the annual scholarship fundraising gala. This past visit, a group of friends and I had fun bidding on auction items, especially enjoyable knowing that the proceeds all go to student scholarships. I’ve made some great new friends there over the years as well, including the wonderful and legendary artist Howard Jones

    Throughout all my travels, I keep a journal of thoughts and I’d like to share a few of my favorites with you. As they have done for me, I hope each of these simple thoughts promote ways of thinking that open your heart and mind:

    • You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.
    • There is no sunbeam that is separate from the sun, and so there is no person who is separate from the Source.
    • What is your purpose in life? If you had all the time and money in the world, how would you express yourself? The answer to that, is your purpose.

  • The Best Things

    With the effects of global pandemic and resulting tragedies of loss of life and economic devastation being felt everywhere, my heart goes out to everyone struggling around the world. The novel coronavirus has struck my friends and family as well, taking the life of one of my good friends in Europe, and sickening my mother as well as other friends we hold dear.

    At the same time that we witness so many sad stories, we also witness enormous kindness, bravery, and goodness springing from folks’ spirits everywhere. There seems to be a reality check going on in hearts of many, remembering what is really important versus what we’ve been told was important, or what we may have considered important before. Perhaps we can all see now that the shiny veneer of throw-away consumer culture has always been as superficial and unsustainable as the ad campaigns that sold us on it, and what really matters can never be bought.

    A universal and time-honored truth is that when we are challenged by hardships, we appreciate anew the simple and best things in life, those intangible riches that bring us tangible happiness. The “best things” in life are different for everyone – yet as the old saying goes, they are free.

    Double Rainbow

    These days for me, the best things in life are many – the pure joy in my dog’s face after we play a long game of catch… the impossibly deep blue of the water and sky from my hilltop view in Sayulita… that look from a friend with whom I need not exchange a word to know exactly what we’re both thinking… the shining double rainbow that lit up the sky the other day… the buzz of a diligent wild bee through the tiny blue flowers in the fields near my home.

    To remind ourselves of the divine in this life, sometimes it takes facing difficulty, an emotional jolt, or a shift in our collective cultural consciousness. Adversity has the magical ability to snap us out of a living sleep, helping us live more widely awake in the here and now, purely aware of what this moment is and has to offer – what this moment needs of us. Such an awakened state of life is a gift beyond measure.

    So maybe the hard times our country and world are going through are a blessing in disguise. “There is always a piece of fortune in misfortune,” goes one of my favorite sayings. I hope we all find pieces of good fortune in any misfortunes we may endure now and in the future, always appreciating the present moment and seeking to find joy within it. After all, if we can be happy here and now, we will forever be happy, for there is only the here and now.

    Bees in the Backyard

    As I wrote in my book Living Wabi Sabi: The True Beauty of Your Life: Appreciate this and every moment, no matter how imperfect, for this moment is your life. When you reject this moment, you reject your life. You don’t have to settle for this moment, you are free to steer a different course, but for now, this moment is yours, so be mindful to make the most of it.”

    May you make the most of every moment now and forever. May you appreciate the best things in your life, the simpler the better. ♥

  • Independence

    I was happy to return to Del Mar this summer for my family’s annual reunion, which we celebrate every 4th of July. Due to the pandemic, however, we couldn’t do many of the fun things we usually do, like visiting the San Diego County Fair (which I still refer to as the “Del Mar Fair” as it was called when I was a kid) and most of our other favorite Independence Day activities were also canceled. Staying home for most of the holiday weekend, I gave thought to the concept of “independence.”

    Although it’s obvious that we’re all interconnected in direct or subtle ways, underneath it all, it seems people tend to interpret “independence” as a solitary gateway to their own happiness, freedom, rights, liberty, and peace, often in ways that simply preserve self interests while encroaching on others.

    The truth is, all facets of Mother Earth’s order — the physical, natural world and the human world — are completely connected and interrelated, and cannot be separated even the slightest bit. Disorder and aberration in one sector will affect other sectors. If we want to live in happiness and peace, we must learn how to live in balance and harmony with all spheres of our natural environment: the internal and the external, the individual and the social, the physical and the spiritual.

    To create true happiness, we must reflect on the interrelationship of all things, see ourselves clearly as one part of the causal relationships within the natural order. To do this we become aware first of the internal mental/spiritual factors we create, then we see how those factors attract to us and manifest various effects in our life experiences, in society, and ultimately in the world around us.

    Once this system of causal relationship, of interdependence, is understood on the spiritual level, we grow to see the connections between our inner factors and their causal relationships in our lives and every aspect of our environment. What is unseen inside us, we will attract, and it will be seen outside us. This simple ray of understanding can lead us to true independence, an independence that honors our connection to all others and all that exists in the universe, while cherishing ourselves and looking to no one but ourselves to solve our own problems from the inside out. Some people these days call this the law of attraction.

    Speaking of attraction, I can’t stay away from the ocean for too long. It always pulls me back, and I’m glad it does. Above is a southerly view (from Del Mar toward La Jolla) of Torrey Pines State Beach where I loved walking nearly every day.

    In other news, while at my mother’s home during our family gathering I found one of the original Taro Gold lotus flower pendants. My buddy Oded is a brilliant Israeli jewelry designer living in Tokyo, and he created the pendant as part of the Taro Gold jewelry collection years ago during my J-pop music days in Japan. Oded owns one of the coolest jewelry stores in Tokyo, on Harajuku Street, called Oz Abstract. Below is a photo he snapped of the first Taro Gold lotus pendant he made. My logo is the shape of a diamond within a lotus flower. To me, it signifies the diamond of wisdom and joy we all possess deep in our hearts, and the strength and beauty that blossoms from our lives as we overcome each challenge that comes our way. As you may know, the lotus flower blooms most beautifully from the deepest and thickest mud, which is a great reminder to make the most of our “mud” and use it to bloom with even greater happiness!

    Pendant

    I also want to express my gratitude to everyone who sent well-wishes for my mother earlier this year as she battled the novel coronavirus. She made a full recovery after nearly two months of symptoms. This independence day my family and I saluted her strong character – a shining example of a truly unbeatable spirit. I want to live with as much vigor, courage, and laughter as she does! And I wish you and yours the very best of health and happiness this year and always.

  • Focus on the now

    Have you ever noticed that when you’re busy you can get much more done than when you have free time? Just when I think I’m as busy as I can be, my schedule become fuller… and yet, mysteriously, I accomplish more. It’s counterintuitive but great; much like when I feel too tired to exercise but then go ahead do it anyway, and feel energized by it.

    I’ve realized that if I focus on the now, whatever’s right in front of me, I can glide through loads of tasks and my creativity and energy grow. For me, a key to reaping the greatest benefit from each moment has been to play with my sense of time, actually to pay little attention to time – create a feeling that I have all the time in the world, appreciate the time I’m spending on something right now, and still look to finish whatever I’m doing as soon as possible.

    When time dictates your day, your life, it can mess with your sense of accomplishment and joy. I find when I practice “timelessness” and give myself all the time I could ever need (at least in my heart and mind), then somehow that translates into reality, and I can accomplish even more than I would expect to achieve in a minute, an hour, a day.

    More than ever, something I wrote in my first book Open Your Mind, Open Your Life rings true to me: “Enjoy the here and now, for there is only here and now.” May you always enjoy your here and now, savor a sense of timelessness, and appreciate yourself and the path that life unfolds before you.

  • Paris & Montreux In Spring

    There’s something special about Paris in the Spring. It’s not cold but it’s also not really warm either. The green lawns and trees are back from their slumber, and flowers are starting to bloom again. The sky is a certain kind of deep, clear black with a little purple at night and in day it’s a pale, bright blue with a little grey. Magical!

    After working intently on my most recent book project, I treated myself to some days in Paris, Geneva and Montreux for a break. I like how the Eiffel Tower lights up at night every hour on the hour with a thousand bright sparkling white lights. I took a shot when it was lit up as you can see here, looking across the River Seine near the Alexander III Bridge. Enjoyed a great French meal at an organic restaurant next to the Seine that night with some dear Parisian friends. Merci mes chers!

    My favorite hotel in the city is the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme. During my visit this time, the concierge, who knows I’ve explored Paris many times and “seen it all,” suggested something new for me to explore at night. Everyone knows what the Arc du Triomphe looks like, especially from a bit of a distance, but who ever knew how special the view is at night when you’re standing right under it and look up? Check out the golden-hued majesty.

    And finally, a shot from inside my hotel room. Just kidding. This is part of Napoleon’s apartment in Paris, which somehow I’d also never managed to see before.

    After Paris I went to one of my favorite places in the world for vegan cuisine, Montreux, Switzerland. The folks at the La Prairie know how to do it up right! Whenever I’m there I never want to leave. Their master chefs prepare 2 gourmet meals plus 2 snacks per day, curated to fit each guest’s exact dietary requests and needs, in my case pure vegan. Every dish they create is exquisite, and I always find myself eating more than I’ve ever eaten before and gaining about 4 pounds by the end of the week, which for anyone who knows me is a good thing for me. I can’t wait to go back again. Thank you to everyone who made my visit so special.

  • The Diamond You album

    Back in my J-pop days, I brought together a global collaboration of my talented friends to create what I like to think of as a multifaceted auditory diamond — a musical jewel for you — also known as my album, The Diamond You. It’s an international labor of love that was many years in the making. And although I’m glad my album was popular with the critics and public alike, nothing delighted me more than hearing my “uncle Herbie” (jazz legend Herbie Hancock) give me his personal review.

    I’d dropped off an advance copy of the album for Herbie when I visited him in LA, and before the album was released he came to Tokyo for some shows where he told me backstage one night “I listed carefully to every track. Great job, it’s really great. Everyone’s gonna love it.” Hearing these kind words, I felt a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment greater than any other compliment I’d received had evoked in me. That’s how much I respect Herbie’s opinion. And he was right, even people who don’t speak Japanese tell me they love it. Which is exactly what I was going for! Universal positive energy conveyed through music that transcends culture. 

    My album’s title is The Diamond You, and the way it was originally sold was under the genres of: J-pop, Pop, World, and Fusion.

    Here are the track listings for the version of The Diamond You that’s available now on streaming platforms and iTunes outside of Japan:

    1. Love Star | 愛星へ
    2. When Is Someday | いつか
    3. I Will Always Remember You | 忘れない
    4. Moonlight Dancing | ムーンライト ダンシング
    5. Beautiful Nightmare | きれいな悪夢
    6. Slave To Love | スレーブ 2 ラブ
    7. Let’s Start Over, Te Amo | やり直そう
    8. The Tears Of Goodbye (with Dave Koz) | さよならの涙
    9. When Is Someday – Reprise | いつか リプライズ
    10. The Start Is Always Rain | はじまりはいつも雨
    11. Two Lights As One | ひとり
    12. Diamond (The Diamond You) | ダヤモンド
    13. Imagine | イマジン

    You can hear these tracks on Amazon MusiciTunes, Spotify, and Tidal. Enjoy!

  • Living Wabi Sabi

    Synopsis of Living Wabi Sabi

    (by Andrews McMeel Publishing)

    In this beloved book by author Taro Gold, we find easy, practical advice to create the joyful life of our dreams. The beautiful message of Living Wabi Sabi shows us that our hearts already hold everything we need to be happy. This book celebrates the perfectly imperfect uniqueness of you and me and everything. It reveals the joy, creativity, and empowerment of imperfection through a new way of looking at life: the way of Wabi Sabi.

    Living Wabi Sabi helps us to see the beauty in imperfection and to discover that our so-called flaws can also lead us to our greatest strengths and treasures. When we know this fundamental joy here and now, we can reveal the most powerful and positive sides of any trouble, from the smallest of our daily problems to the biggest of life’s adversity. This is an exquisite keepsake and guide to the joy of living that every reader will cherish for years to come.

    Excerpt from Living Wabi Sabi: “Appreciate this and every moment no matter how imperfect, for this moment is your life. When you reject this moment, you reject your life. You don’t have to settle for this moment, you are free to steer a different course, but for now, this moment is yours, so be mindful to make the most of it.”

    Love for Living Wabi Sabi

    A Recommended Read by TIME, Publisher’s Weekly, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound and by countless newspapers and magazines around the world.

    “This beautiful book from Taro Gold helps readers see that problems in life are sometimes the source of the greatest personal growth and happiness. It celebrates life’s quirks, problems and blemishes. Gold calls it “the appreciation of the value and beauty of imperfection,” and writes that it is a virtue he learned from his sage Japanese grandmother in Kyoto. In short and beautifully designed chapters, he shares optimistic, common-sense philosophy of finding joy in the present despite our weaknesses, failures and flaws. Throughout the book, carefully selected quotes from great thinkers and world leaders invite readers to transform their defects and difficulties into opportunities for great hope and positive change.” – Jana Reiss, chief reviewer, Publishers Weekly

  • Open Your Mind

    Synopsis of Open Your Mind, Open Your Life

    (by Andrews McMeel Publishing)

    By the time he was in high school, Taro Gold had journeyed to more than two dozen nations. Along the way, he entrusted his feelings, discoveries and cherished quotes to his beloved journals. When he shared favorite passages with friends, their reactions were so warm and deep that he decided to expand upon the passages in local publications. While studying at UCLA, Taro gathered his favorite quotes and insights from those treasured diaries and published them in his first mini-edition of Open Your Mind, Open Your Life. Filled with sage advice on opening your life to its inherent joy, it includes gems such as:

    • Master your past in the present, or the past will master your future.
    • True happiness in life is found always within oneself.
    • As water can carve through stone, those who persevere will win.
    • Turn your face to the sun and shadows will only fall behind you.

    An overnight success, that first little book was soon expanded into a larger second edition. Both versions guide readers along the path to lasting happiness with hundreds of encouraging and uplifting thoughts. Open Your Mind, Open Your Life is richly illustrated with exquisite and original watercolor art. This inspiring collection, recently repackaged as a delightful Box Kit with Fortune Stone, continues to gain fans around the world.

    Love for Open Your Mind, Open Your Life

    A Recommended Read by Publisher’s Weekly, Barnes & Noble, Borders and by more than one hundred newspapers and magazines in North America and Europe.

    “Taro Gold’s creations are a refreshing breeze of loving inspiration and encouragement, flowing through the window of your heart.” – Dr. Deepak Chopra

    “This book will enlighten and ennoble the reader.” – Dr. Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and director of the Gandhi Institute

    Open Your Mind, Open Your Life has been published in English, Korean, Hebrew, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese.

    Original and Commemorative Editions

    To celebrate the popularity of the original mini edition of Open Your Mind, Open Your Life, a limited edition bookmark charm edition was added to its design on the anniversary of the book’s initial release in 2001. Etched in gold on the emerald green charm is the Chinese character for “Longevity.”


    A limited edition fortune stone box kit was created in 2005 to commemorate the success of all editions of Open Your Mind, Open Your Life around the world. The box kit includes a purple-colored prosperity stone with the word “fortune” etched in gold, a bookmark with inspiring words from Taro Gold on the back, and a small booklet with the most popular excerpts from Open Your Mind, Open Your Life.