Posts Tagged ‘Elaine Breinholt Street’

Breaking Through To The Inner Soul

December 26, 2010

Before reading this note please take time to read a beautiful Christmas story just posted in Paulo Coelho’s blog. I refer to it below and you will miss the point if you have not been enlightened by its message.

I want to thank Paulo for this beautiful and inspirational story – It has touched me greatly.

We all want to be able to reach our true inner soul—the light of God.

The following analogy has been helping me to move toward my inner light.

Think of your true inner soul being covered by five various shells – much like the Babushka Dolls of Russia.

babushka dolls

babushka dolls

If we can take off or get through the outer shells, we will discover our Divinity. We learn by removing each shell on our journey inward.

SHELL ONE: Even though it might seem awkward, risking by praying to your Higher Power with your own words/thoughts — Some might start with memorized prayers of their religion, then move into a conversation with their Higher Power… (much like Tevya, from Shalom Aleichem’s stories) Always keep a prayer in your heart.

SHELL TWO: Reading and learning from various scriptures and articles from various faiths – ALL religions have truths sent by God/Goddess — ponder them and meditate – and listen for your inner voice 😉 Patience is required here… Listen..Listen..Listen

SHELL THREE: Not to be afraid to show charity for those less fortunate — remembering that ALL of your cohorts here on this world, man, (rich, poor, well, sick) animal, plant, and even land, at times need a helping hand — if you are continually praying, seeking and especially listening, you will know those who need your aide. You were blessed with talents…USE them for the Good of the entire Soul of this World.

SHELL FOUR: This is where most of us stop. To literally break the shell of this doll, we must not be faint-hearted and fearful because it is only through true humility that we will get to know our higher power… We must develop a deep lasting faith– and become “lowly in heart.” We begin to remember and rejoice over all that is good in us. This will strengthen our inner selves and leave us less dependent on outward acclaim. When we pay less attention to public praise, we then also care very little about public disapproval. Competition and jealousy and envy now begin to have no meaning. Patience and unconditional love is gained as we overcome our weaknesses; and like the boy in this beautiful story “even through the journey gets heavy,” the rewards though any times not seen are of such profound strength and quiet triumph of faith that we are carried into an even brighter sphere. This fourth doll is broken open, just as a contrite heart is broken and we are reborn.

SHELL FIVE: The inner doll… our true soul… the sacred center of existence — the boy, through the recognition of the beautiful Vicar was able to feel of his true being…. For those of us who have the courage and faith to break through to the center of our existence we will find the brightness, the wisdom, and the warmth of a the loving power who keeps all of this universe in a continual motion…going forward with brightness.

My blessing for all is for you to know that YOU ARE HOLY— that YOU HAVE DIVINITY right there within you waiting to be uncovered — unleashed— brightened.

Merry Christmas …

((((LOVE)))) and ****Warm Bright Blue Light**** radiating your way from this side of the world,

A facebook note by Elaine Breinholt Street and also posted on her blog, inspired by A Christmas tale by Paulo Coelho posted on his blog.

Also see

Christmas tale – the pine tree in St Martin

Christmas message from Paulo Coelho

The Pilgrimage

The Alchemist

The Witch of Portobello

Land of Gods

August 11, 2010
Zion Narrows

Zion Narrows

I always wanted to hike the narrows all the way to the Wall Street – inside the narrows. Wow! These massively, ominous cliffs/walls provided quite the adventure.

— Elaine Breinholt Street

Also see

Land of Gods

Zion Narrows Trek

The Size of a Puppy

July 28, 2010
sighs of a puppy

sighs of a puppy

‘Love knows no difference between life and death. The one who gives you a reason to live is also the one who takes your breath away.’ — Ghalib

“Danielle keeps repeating it over and over again. We’ve been back to this animal shelter at least five times. It has been weeks now since we started all of this,” the mother told the volunteer.

“What is it she keeps asking for?” the volunteer asked.
“Puppy size!” replied the mother

“Well, we have plenty of puppies, if that’s what she’s looking for..’ ‘I know….. We have seen most of them, “ the mom said in frustration…

Just then Danielle came walking into the office

“Well, did you find one?” asked her mom.

“No, not this time,” Danielle said with sadness in her voice. “Can we come back on the weekend?”

The two women looked at each other, shook their heads and laughed

“You never know when we will get more dogs.. Unfortunately, there’s always a supply,” the volunteer said.

Danielle took her mother by the hand and headed to the door. ‘Don’t worry, I’ll find one this weekend,’ she said.

Over the next few days both Mom and Dad had long conversations with her. They both felt she was being too particular. “It’s this weekend or we’re not looking any more,” Dad finally said in frustration.

“We don’t want to hear anything more about puppy size, either,” Mom added.

Sure enough, they were the first ones in the shelter on Saturday morning . By now Danielle knew her way around, so she ran right for the section that housed the smaller dogs.

Tired of the routine, mom sat in the small waiting room at the end of the first row of cages. There was an observation window so you could see the animals during times when visitors weren’t permitted.

Danielle walked slowly from cage to cage, kneeling periodically to take a closer look.. One by one the dogs were brought out and she held each one.

One by one she said, “Sorry, but you’re not the one.”

It was the last cage on this last day in search of the perfect pup. The volunteer opened the cage door and the child carefully picked up the dog and held it closely. This time she took a little longer.

“Mom, that’s it! I found the right puppy! He’s the one! I know it!” She screamed with joy. “It’s the puppy size!”

“But it’s the same size as all the other puppies you held over the last few weeks,” Mom said.

“No not size… The sighs. When I held him in my arms, he sighed,” she said.

“Don’t you remember? When I asked you one day what love is, you told me love depends on the sighs of your heart. The more you love, the bigger the sigh!”

The two women looked at each other for a moment. Mom didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. As she stooped down to hug the child, she did a little of both.

“Mom, every time you hold me, I sigh. When you and Daddy come home from work and hug each other, you both sigh. I knew I would find the right puppy if it sighed when I held it in my arms,” she said. Then, holding the puppy up close to her face, she said, “Mom, he loves me. I heard the sighs of his heart!”

Close your eyes for a moment and think about the love that makes you sigh. I not only find it in the arms of my loved ones, but in the caress of a sunset, the kiss of the moonlight and the gentle brush of cool air on a hot day.

They are the sighs of God. Take the time to stop and listen; you will be surprised at what you hear. “Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

“Love the people who treat you right and forget about the ones who don’t.”

From a facebook note by Elaine Breinholt Street

A Place Where Dreams Are Made

July 16, 2010
Margaret Hoorneman

Margaret Hoorneman

“Great Expectations” a musical? “Oh please … I don’t know whether I want to sit through that.” I muttered to myself before reading the article below and actually seeing this surprisingly wonderful experience for theatre goers.

My sister and I just happened to have the opportunity of sitting next to Margaret Hoorneman, the 96 year-old adapator of this Dickens’ masterpiece, during its opening performance at the Utah Shakespearean Festival.

“Never,never, never give up on your dream …” I started to think, and then tears filled my eyes as I observed Margaret’s essence beaming throughout the seated audience and realized that there really is no expiration date for one’s dream. I also thought of Fred Adams the Festival creator and his dream of a successful festival where the people of the west USA could come and learn to love Shakespeare and other great playwrights. Fred’s dream festival is going to celebrate it’s fiftieth anniversary next year. His dream has come true with an added bonus — a Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre — and now his vision is helping others to realize their dreams.

To fully understand the process it took to mount the musical “Great Expectations,” read the article below. I do hope and pray that Margaret’s dream can continue to grow. The show definitely is worth experiencing. I would love to see it performed on the West End.

— Elaine Breinholt Street

Adaptation Still Seems Strangely Misunderstood
By Heidi Madsen

Just as there are “many rooms in the house of art,” there are many ways of telling the same story (Prose, Francine, Reading Like a Writer [HarperCollins, New York: 2006], 10). Even Aeschylus humbly stated that his dramas were but “slices cut off from the great banquet of Homer’s poems.” Though origin and ownership of ideas were once cloudy and the borders of intellectual property ill-defined, the same stories were endlessly re-visited. With intellectual property and copyright laws now in place (largely through the efforts of Charles Dickens) flagrant copying has largely ceased, but familiar stories still circulate as reincarnates from one art form to another. And yet, even in this most particular age of artistic variation, adaptation still seems strangely misunderstood. Great Expectations, for example, will never translate precisely from novel to film or to any other media because these are distinct forms of communication and “compare,” as Dennis Lehane observes, “like apples and giraffes; fortunately for us, however, they do interbreed” (

Victorian author Charles Dickens is the father of a large family of novels, short stories, plays, travelogues, and poetry; but he is also the progenitor of untold artistic hybrids in almost every conceivable media. Even while he wrote, pirated adaptations of his novels were performed down the street in London playhouses. Though Dickens’s official plays have seen little stage time, his melodramatic novels can certainly be adapted into performance literature, but this process is far from simple: “The mixture of realism and symbolism . . . the often larger-than-life or grotesque characters [and] the first-person narration of some books” all provide challenges to the would-be-adaptor ( Margaret Hoorneman solves the latter problem in her musical adaptation of Great Expectations by omitting the first-person point of view, while still allowing the audience a window into the heart and memories of the story’s central character.

Dickens’s novels were largely sketched from his own life, both public and private, both observed and endured. Like David Copperfield, his favorite and most autobiographical character, Charles Dickens was a child-laborer; like Little Dorrit, he shared his father’s cell in debtor’s prison. As a youth Dickens observed a morbid bride clothed in a gown of tatters and soot haunting Berner’s street in London; years later he would immortalize her disappointment and her decay in Great Expectations. Dickens’s keen eye for detail and powers of description were such that “it would be difficult to overstate the intensity and accuracy of his observation” (Kaplan, Fred, Dickens: A Biography [John Hopkins University Press, New York: Morrow, 1998], 24). A member of The Ghost Club, a curious spectator at public hangings, and a frequent visitor to prisons and insane asylums, Dickens was a student of the bizarre and a researcher of the “variations of misery and its institutional treatment” (Kaplan, 142). The author had a sympathetic interest, as well, in the psychological effects of circumstance—especially in the young; he never outlived the profound emotions of his own formative years. “In the little world in which children have their existence,” muses Pip, another autobiographical character, “there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt as injustice” (Great Expectations [Oxford University Press], 57).

Margaret Hoorneman, the brainchild of the new musical Great Expectations, now in her nineties, taught ninth-grade literature in the Iowa Public School System for over forty years. From such a vantage point, she must have gained extraordinary insights into the plights, pitfalls, and great expectations of the young. She saw how her freshman students related to this young man’s tale of “falling for a girl that was out of his class, and [his] aspirations for a better life in the big city” (qtd. in “Fever Strikes Grandma: A Dickensian Tale.” [New York Times, May 14, 2001]). Fueled by her student’s youthful enthusiasm, Ms. Hoorneman ultimately proved that aspirations have no expiration date; she completed her stage adaptation of Dickens’s novel at age eighty-seven and sent it to her grandson, television writer and producer Brian VanderWilt, whose credits include Ellen, Home Improvement, and Dark Angel. Although his initial reaction was “Oh no!”, VanderWilt’s fears of having to either humor or disappoint his grandmother were soon overcome as he recognized the manuscript’s merits. He and co-writer Steve Lozier, producer and managing director of Moving Arts, a theater company based in L.A., helped refine the 200-plus page manuscript into a more workable length. Lozier, though not one of Ms. Hoorneman’s students, was another ninth-grader so impressed by Great Expectations that he could not part with his copy at the end of the school year.

Translating classical text into lyrics presents its own daunting challenges. The adaptation of Shaw’s Pygmalion, for example, into a musical (My Fair Lady) was thought—by some of the best lyricists in the business including Oscar Hammerstein — to be an impossible feat. Perhaps artistic collaborators of Great Expectations were not as intimidated by the complexity of the project as they might have been; when composer Richard Winzeler and lyricist Steve Lane were approached to musicalize Dickens, they’d had many successful collaborations, but mostly in the genres of jazz and rhythm and blues, never in musical theater. Both writers, however, have a great love of musicals. As an academic reward, Winzeler’s parents would take him to see a musical in downtown Chicago; he began acting at age five and performed in high school and college musical productions. Professionally, he has arranged and conducted music for notable performers, as well as for commercials and his songs have been recorded by the likes of Gladys Knight, Diane Schuur, and Lou Rawls. His partner Steve Lane grew up watching summer “tent” theaters and musical road tours; in college he began writing music for his pop-rock band, but turned later to lyric writing. Lane’s songs have been performed by recording artist greats including Aretha Franklin, Peabo Bryson, and Anita Baker.

Steve Lane and Richard Winzeler both write as well as compose, which makes them a very versatile duo, and like dynamic partnerships from musical theater’s past such as Lerner and Loewe, and Rogers and Hammerstein, Lane and Winzeler complement each other’s writing styles. “Richard comes from a more ethereal place and I, from a pragmatic place,” says Lane. For their collaboration on Great Expectations, they studied the script for “posts,” emotional points in the story that demand a song; of this process Winzeler recalls, “I trusted my intuition and creative sense to lead me.” To keep the spirit of the novel intact, they used as much original content as possible; song titles, such as “Ever the Best of Friends,” and “Dear Boy,” are phrases taken right from the novel. But a single written page can turn into forty minutes of dramatization, so lyrics must paraphrase and often even replace text. Success depends upon a lyricist’s “ability to strip down the text and repair the damage so skillfully with lyrics that the seams become invisible” (Green, Benny, A Hymn to Him: the lyrics of Alan Jay Lerner [Limelight Editions, New York: 1987], 8).

Despite the novel’s elaborate detail, in the course of trial and adaptation, artistic collaborators found Great Expectations to be introspective, personal, and really very intimate. They decided “a sprawling, grand production would not serve the story as much as an intimate production,” Steve Lane reveals. Ultimately, under the direction of Jules Aaron, Great Expectations is not so much an analysis, but a synthesis of Pip’s psychology, an optimistic interpretation of his worthiness to expect and to obtain great things. It is their hope that this adaptation will appeal to all ages, but perhaps, in staying true to Dicken’s sympathies and Ms. Hoorneman’s motivations, most especially to the young. Winzeler summarizes their expectations, “I will know we have been successful, not so much when our show might play on Broadway, but when a small high school in rural Nebraska is performing the material.”

Thanks to Elaine Breinholt Street who wrote this as a Facebook note.

Novels by Dickens have been regularly turned into musicals. Tommy by the Who and The Wall by Pink Floyd owes much to and has echoes of these musicals of the 1960s. Who would have expected Les Miserables to have been such a success, and again it owes much to those earlier Dickens musicals.

Also what springs to mind is Santiago in The Alchemist by Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho and his determination to follow his dreams.

We all have dreams, it is that unlike Margaret Hoorneman and Santiago or Paulo Coelho (who always wanted to be a writer) we fail to follow them.

The present is the Lord’s time …

June 1, 2010

The present is the Lord’s time … not the past … not the future … He communicates with those deeply in the moment through urges, whisperings, and signs … Listen, Observe and above all, ACT.

— Elaine Breinholt Street