Saturday, December 27, 2014

RECEIVING THE GIFT





           In the spirit of the Holiday Season, I'd like to offer you a special gift. If you've been around the Celebration Circle for a while, you probably won't be surprised that it's very similar to the one I gave you last year, and the year before, and the year before that, too.
            The format changes over time, but the essence remains the same, because it's the Precious Present. Which is to say that once again, I am inviting you to take a break from the hectic pace of the Holidaze for a few minutes, and fully inhabit the moment at hand. To feel and experience the free flow of Divine Light moving to you, through you and as you, right now, in this Precious Present moment.

RECEIVING IT
            And, no, it's not really mine to give, because only you can give it to yourself. In truth, my gift to you is simply the process of reminding you of your own gift. But this time it's arriving in the form of the following guided meditation, focused on the Divine Light, and designed to support us in taking a few minutes to relax from the hustle and bustle of daily life, especially during this busy Holiday Season. To open to the fullness of who we truly are:  Beings of Infinite Light, Limitless Life and Unconditional Love.
            You may have heard this meditation as part of last week's Around the Circle, but we revised it as a video, since a number of folks had trouble accessing that audio file. Whether or not you've heard it before, I promise only good will come of your willingness to focus inward and meditate on the Light within in the form of a ten-minute video clip, available by clicking on the image of the candle above. 

RE-GIFTING IT
            Of course, you are free to do whatever you want with it. Savor it alone in silence, or share it with a group of fellow meditators; forward it as an e-mail to a friend via the Internet, or use your InnerNet to send it out around the whole world via your Divine Imagination. There are no limits to the number of times and ways this gift can be re-gifted. It truly is "the gift that keeps on giving."
            In any case, I invite you to take this time to breathe calmly and sink into the Precious Present. Watch the flickering flame of the candle on the screen before you, and experience the Light alive in you and All Creation as you send silent affirmations of inner peace, strength and joy to every cell and fiber of your Being, and all beings everywhere. 

Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed Holiday Season and a Happy, Healthy New Year,
           Rudi

PS:  Many thanks to Joe Reyes for creating the audio, Ray Palmer for the enlivening keyboard music, and my son, Mateo, for producing this video. What a team! 

AND... We have a great article to share with you here, too, featuring Circle Band Director, Ray Palmer. It's from UTHSC where he's as researcher, know as Raymond Palmer, Ph.D. Check it out by clicking HERE!
  You'll get a glimpse into the man behind the music in the video above, and of the guy in the driver's seat of the band each Sunday morning. We Love You, Ray!





Friday, December 19, 2014

THE GIFT OF LIGHT


          What follows is a guided meditation focused on the Divine Light, designed to support you (and myself) in taking a few minutes to relax from the hustle and bustle of daily life, especially during this busy Holiday Season. To help us open to the fullness of who we truly are:  Beings of Infinite Light, Limitless Life and Unconditional Love.
            Thanks to the generous assistance of Joe Reyes, who produced this session in his recording studio, along with Ray Palmer, the multi-talented keyboard player and musical director of the Circle Band, you can float in a rich, warm sea of music as you hear my voice guide you through this meditation on the Divine Light for the next ten minutes, simply by clicking here.


MORE LIGHT
          Of course, we'll have additional opportunities to share deep experiences of this One Light together during the Winter Solstice Concert in the Cave Without a Name this Saturday night, December 20th at 7:00pm, as well as the particularly upbeat Sunday Circle we've got planned for the following morning at the Garden Center, beginning at 11:00am. But... why wait till then? As noted spiritual teacher, Ram Dass, likes to point out, the only time you can ever meditate is right now.
            However, if you feel like you can't really spare the ten minutes to receive this gift at this moment, please consider setting aside the time to do it sometime soon. Whenever it happens, I trust you will enjoy this time of guided meditation as we reflect together on the nature of the Divine Light moving to you, through you and as you.
            Or perhaps, you've reconsidered and decided that you can do it now after all. In which case, I invite you to get as comfortable as possible, take a few deep, quiet breaths and begin by clicking here

            In any case, whenever or wherever you choose to do so, may you and All Beings be blessed by your willingness to bear witness to the One Light that shines in, on and through us all.
With love and best wishes for a peaceful, healthful Holiday Season,
          Rudi


Saturday, December 13, 2014

HURRY UP AND WAIT AGAIN

     
             It's about 9:15am on Sunday morning, and I'm zooming down the freeway, en route to Celebration Circle. I wanted to be at the SA Garden Center by 9:00, when the load-in and set-up always begins. But once again, I got caught up in some last-minute details at home, and I'm running late, despite the fact that I was up at 5:30.
            Fortunately, traffic is light, as it often is on Sunday mornings. Unfortunately, that has given the Steering Committee in my head the chance to hold another one of those raucous meetings, with various voices coming in from different corners of my brain, while the car speeds down the freeway.

CHIMING IN
            One voice is clearly upset that I'm late again; another one sounds grateful for how little traffic there is. A couple of voices are hacking away at the new song I wrote last night, busily re-drafting the lyrics, which I'd already revised earlier this morning (part of why I'm late). One thinks the third verse is fine the way it is, while the other thinks it contains one of the worst endings ever. Meanwhile, another voice is worrying about the fact that this is an extra-bad day to be late, because Monty is in Oklahoma and won't be there to handle the load-in today in his usual, ultra-competent way. And then there's the character that keeps looking hungrily across the passenger seat to where my half-eaten breakfast sits waiting for everything else to get unpacked at the Garden Center first.

TIMING IT
            The Committee calms down a bit as I pull onto the Mulberry/St. Mary's Street exit ramp, take a quick glance into the rearview mirror, then at the dashboard clock, which reads 9:20. Not too bad, all things considered, says the Timekeeper's voice, rejoicing at the green traffic light just ahead. But just as I get there, the light turns red and the voices in my head start clamoring once again.
            I know this particular intersection fairly well, through frequent usage. I'm fully aware that the light-changing interval here is quite long, because it's such a dangerous intersection, due to the high speeds at which cars tend to zoom through it, as well as reduced visibility due to the odd angles involved.  That's why there's a big "No Right Turn on Red" sign hanging directly in front of me.

WEIGHING IN
            I'm really tempted to ignore that sign, which is much needed during rush hour, but seems pointless right now, because there's almost no one in sight, except for one car way off in the distance, heading in the other direction. But I hesitate, knowing that occasionally there's a traffic cop parked just around the corner, hidden from sight and waiting to pounce on any law-breakers who might do exactly what I'm contemplating.
            In that moment of hesitation, I remember a higher law that clearly applies to this situation: the metaphysical principle of Focus, i.e. "What you focus on expands." In other words, if I go through this light illegally because I'm focused on being in a big hurry, I will just heighten the feelings of being rushed, stressed and strained again. But, if instead, I choose to focus on feeling at peace with where I am, I'll create more ease and peace. Taking one slow, soft breath, and then another, the energy shifts as my mind drifts back to Thich Nhat Hahn's insightful invitation to see a stoplight like this one as a gift, rather than a nuisance. As an opportunity to enjoy a mini-meditation, a time for contemplation of the blessings at hand.

SETTLING IN
            So I take another breath and smile at the sacred silliness of being in such a big rush to get to the Circle, where we gather to sing/speak about the importance of slowing down to "align with the Divine" and be more present in our lives.  Hee-hee...
            What a good time to relax and remember that all is well, just the way it is, right here and right now.  That I won't get to where I'm going any faster by worrying about it; and I certainly won't reduce my stress by making an illegal turn. I might as well learn to enjoy this opportunity to simply sit here and bathe in the stillness for a moment.
            It's so peaceful that I swear it feels like I've been sitting here for at least five minutes, though logic tells me it's probably been much less. When the light finally turns green and I start driving again, it's with a big, wide grin in my heart, eager to start preparations for this morning's celebration from a sweet place of ease and joy. Something tells me that it's going to be a particularly upbeat morning in the Circle.

With blessings and gratitude for life's many lessons,
                  Rudi



 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

TURNING WITHIN

            
              Ahhhhhhh. So much is happening all the time that it feels really important to pause periodically throughout the day; to take a few breaths and slow down long enough to give body, mind and spirit a brief respite from the suddenly-quickened pace of life. To take the time to turn within to embrace the many gifts of the season, and do my best to learn from them.
            The first thing in the morning, plus at least once or twice during the day, I push myself away from the desk and/or computer long enough to go outside and experience the world beyond these familiar walls; to watch the migratory birds make their way across the sky; to walk on the grasses and leaves underfoot; to sit on a rock and feel connected to the soil, reminding me that all too soon my body, too, will turn into ashes and return to the earth.

RETURNING
            It doesn't have to take long; just a few minutes will generally do the trick. Less time than it usually takes to follow down the cyber-trail generated by clicking on any one of the hyper-links embedded in the many e-mails that will arrive in the inbox on any given day.
            As a matter of fact, as soon as I finish this paragraph, I'm heading back outside for another glimpse at the sky, another reminder of how time flies, another chance to feel grateful to be alive. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing right now, perhaps you'd care to join me in returning to our roots outside and resting in a state of gratitude inside? If not now, perhaps sometime soon...

With blessings,
           Rudi

 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

IN ALL THINGS GIVE THANKS

            I'm grateful to be here in the 186th District Courtroom at the Bexar County Courthouse this morning for what is proving to be one of the most challenging, but joyful and life-affirming events I've ever witnessed.
            Zet and I are here to testify on the behalf of William White-Volk, who's been an integral part of the Celebration Circle community for the past fifteen years. He and his mother, Ellen White, have long since become family friends, and my eyes get teary as I look at Will and remember the sweet-faced, five year-old who used to hug me around the knees every Sunday morning. Now he's taller than me and all dressed up in a brand new, dark blue suit, pacing up and down the hallway, facing the stark possibility of receiving a five-years-to-life sentence for a first degree felony charge of aggravated assault, to which he has plead no contest.

SURROUNDED BY LOVE
            Will, Ellen, Zet and I met with his lawyer earlier this week to practice every step of this morning's hearing, and we feel pretty good about his chances, but today feelings are tense as we greet each other in the hallway. Fortunately, Will and Ellen are not alone, because twenty-five other folks from the Celebration Circle community and their family have come here on a cold, wet, Thursday morning to surround them with love at this difficult time. Seeing this crowd in the courtroom makes me proud to be part of such a loving, affirmative community.
            It's been almost a year since Will was arrested for his role in an ugly incident involving drugs, guns and money, that left him in a coma for four days. It was the horrific result of a series of poor choices he'd made during his last year in high school, leading him to people and places that were totally inconsistent with the warm, loving home in which he'd been raised by his sweet, smart mother. Fortunately, Ellen had the courage to embrace "tough love" and leave him in county jail, rather than bail him out while he was awaiting sentencing for his crime.
            As difficult as it was for both of them, those three months behind bars forced Will to take a deep look inside himself - as well as a long, hard look around the cellblock - and to begin making a new set of choices. My clergy visitation privileges allowed me to serve as a conduit for the outpouring of love and support that he received from his family and Circle friends during this period. It was heartbreaking, but also heartwarming, to witness Will's long, hard process of accepting responsibility for his actions, making amends and creating new goals for himself.

CHANGED BY LOVE
            Since being released on his own recognizance in February while awaiting trial, he's been working diligently to meet all the court's requirements, attending classes at San Antonio College, finding a full-time job, putting in many hours of community service and creating a positive vision for his life. Even so, we are all fully aware that he could still be sentenced to some serious jail time today, and that possibility hangs heavy in the air.
            The judge remains stone-faced when presented with the report of Will's hard work, along with the thick stack of letters of commendation that have been written on his behalf. But when the defense attorney asks all those in the courtroom that are here to support Will to stand, the judge is clearly amazed to see twenty-five people rise in silence. The room goes absolutely still, as not just Judge Herr, but all of the many legal professionals who have been milling around the room handling various details of the thirteen other cases being processed here today, turn and stare in astonishment at this powerful show of love and support.

LOVE IN ACTION
            The scene remains frozen for several long beats, while the judge clears her throat and deliberates before giving Will the most favorable outcome he could have hoped for under the circumstances: ten years of deferred adjudication. Presuming that he continues on his current path, the charges will be completely removed from Will's record in ten years, and quite possibly sooner. This is great news.
            There's no way to measure what effects our presence, our letters and our support may have had on the judge's decision. Yet there is hardly a dry eye in the room, as she asks the group to stand again, orders Will to turn around and look directly into his supporters' faces, inviting him to feel the importance of living up to the faith that has been placed in him by his community who are holding him accountable.

GRATEFUL FOR LOVE
            A few minutes later, we're all hugging each other joyfully in the hallway, where it definitely feels like Thanksgiving has arrived early. There's so much to be thankful for. As tragic and difficult as this process has been for everyone involved, it has helped Will and Ellen come to a much more peaceful, positive place in their relationships with themselves, each other and their community. And the Circle family has certainly been strengthened, not just by Will's personal growth, but our collective growth in faith, and a willingness to demonstrate that faith in action.
            It's one thing to talk, sing and study about conscious love and Oneness, but it's even more powerful to see those concepts make such a concrete difference. And I, for one, am deeply grateful to be able to participate in this process and bear witness to the healing power of Love. Happy Thanksgiving, indeed!


With gratitude and blessings.
          Rudi



 

Friday, November 21, 2014

BLESSING IN DISGUISE

         
         
         Our central heating unit went out last Thursday night, just as the first big cold front of the season brought freezing temperatures to South Texas. Fortunately, we know a wonderful HVAC contractor named Javier Colvarrubias, owner-operator of Southern Comfort Heating and Cooling. He installed a new unit for us this summer, and quickly sent a technician who diagnosed the problem: the circuit board on our brand new heater/AC unit had gone out. Fortunately, the equipment was still under warranty, so there was no cost involved. Unfortunately, the part wasn't available until Mondaymorning, so our house was mighty cold over the weekend, with the indoor temperature hovering around 50 degrees.

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS           
            Fortunately, we have plenty of sweaters and blankets, so it was simply a matter of bundling up during the day, snuggling up at night, and huddling around the stove cooking big pots of soup and baking pear cake in the afternoon. Not such a bad deal.
            Javier came out first thing Monday, only to discover that it wasn't the circuit board after all. Apparently, there was some problem with the propane converter valve, something that the other technician had missed. So Javier ended up shuttling back and forth to the parts warehouse, making three separate house calls on Monday morning, afternoon and night. But he was determined to repair the unit, even though it was almostmidnight before he finally got the heat back on. Boy, did it feel good when the warm air started blowing out of those vents at last!

GOOD FORTUNE
            Lying in bed a little while later, spooning up to my sweet partner once again, my heart was flooded with gratitude for our warm, cozy home. How easy it is to take this - and all our many blessings -- for granted; the blessing of Javier, who in the middle of his busiest week of the year, spent almost the whole day at our house without earning a single penny, determined to solve the mystery and get the job done right. For the luxury of being able to call him in the first place, knowing that we had enough money to afford whatever repairs would be required, whether or not a warranty was involved. For the abundance of sweaters and blankets that had kept us comfortable; for the pantry full of food that had kept our bodies fueled. For the knowledge that this was just a temporary inconvenience and discomfort, that relief was on the way. And that if, for any reason, we wanted to leave the cold behind, we had the resources to get in our car and drive to any one of a number of friends who would gladly have opened their comfortable homes to us.
            Drifting off to another good night's sleep, I found myself wondering: how many other gifts and blessings do I take for granted on any given day?
            This Sunday afternoon, immediately following the Morning Circle - and again next Thursday - we'll celebrate Thanksgiving by sitting down to a large, festive meal with family and friends, and we'll undoubtedly say a prayer and/or raise a toast in the spirit of Thanksgiving. But there's need to wait until then to feel grateful for the love and abundance that surrounds us today and everyday. Right now, for instance, would be a very good time to do so.

With gratitude and hopes that you, too, find yourself surrounded with blessings right now,
        Rudi

PS: If you should need heating/air conditioning service sometime, I wholeheartedly recommend Javier and his Southern Comfort Heating and Cooling company. In my experience, they provide good work, done right, at a fair price.
 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

COLD WEATHER, HOT TEA


            
           Hot tea is definitely my beverage of choice. First thing in the morning and last thing at night, and several times a day (in between numerous glasses of room-temperature, freshly filtered water) I love sipping a hot cuppa whenever possible. For much of the year, I prefer drinking multiple pours of a light-bodied green tea or freshly picked herbals, such as sage or peppermint. 

SHARING IT
           But now that the first cold front has blown into town, I find myself making my favorite cool-weather libation, Spicy Ginger-Lemon Tea. If it were possible, I'd love to have you come over to our house, sit down at the kitchen table and pour you a cup right now, because it's always fun to share tea with friends. Since I can't, I'm doing the second best thing by sharing my recipe with you instead (as I have done with many other Circle friends over the years) in hopes you'll consider make some for yourself sometime soon. It's really quite simple, once you have the ingredients on hand.

MAKING IT
1 quart boiling water, poured over
1-2 tsp. of green tea leaves (Dragon Pearl Jasmine Green Tea is my favorite for this, but any unflavored green or black tea will do. And if you prefer to avoid caffeine, you can use Chamomile instead)
1 cinnamon stick (or 2 tsp. cinnamon powder)
3-4 whole cloves (or ½ tsp. clove powder)
1 inch of fresh ginger root, peeled, and sliced thin (Powdered ginger does not really work in this situation. Only fresh ginger will do, in my humble opinion...)

Let the tea mixture steep for 5-7 minutes, preferably in a well-insulated teapot. A double-wall, stainless steel thermal container is ideal, but a regular ceramic teapot or large Mason jar wrapped in a kitchen towel will do just fine.
       
Pour through a strainer into large mugs, each containing 1-2 tsp. lemon juice (or more, to taste), and 1-2 tsp. of pure maple syrup (or honey). If you're daring enough, your tongue (and stomach) will thank you and dance with joy if you add a healthy pinch of cayenne powder to your mug, too! 

DRINKING IT
            This tea is guaranteed to warm your heart and soul from the inside out, whatever the temperature might be outside. In addition to being refreshing, energizing and mighty tasty, the ginger and spices are also excellent for stimulating your digestive system, while calming your nervous system, too. Might sound odd, but its true.
            And, in the event that you find yourself rushing around, feeling way too busy to even consider doing anything as superfluous as brewing up a batch of this stuff... may I suggest that it's all the more important that you allow yourself the time, space and resources to do so anyway? And, if this particular beverage doesn't speak to you, please consider finding another tangible, physical way to give yourself the time and space to relax, rest and refresh your soul for 10-15 minutes today?

DOING IT      
            Not only will you benefit from doing so, but so will all the others whose lives you will touch in the course of your day. At least, that's my cup of tea - and I'm sticking to it.

With joy,
       Rudi

PS:  This same tea also makes a delicious, homemade Ginger Ale. Just let it cool, then pour over ice and mix with equal parts sparkling mineral water, for a tasty beverage guaranteed to quench even your thirstiest thirst. Enjoy! 



 




Saturday, November 8, 2014

TAKING A RIDE

          
       My daughter, Sarah, Zet and I are zooming through the Dutch countryside, early on a cold, gray morning, heading toward Amsterdam to catch our flight back to San Antonio after three weeks of sweet suspension from our "regular" life. Much of our time was spent immersed in multiple dimensions of pleasure, beginning with our daughter's story-book, three-day wedding celebration, wrapped inside a sunny, week-long, beachfront vacation on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza, followed by a heartwarming ten days of post-wedding, domestic bliss in Sarah's home town of The Hague.
MAKING IT HARD
        It's been wonderful to spend this time visiting with friends and our newly-enlarged family, especially our step-granddaughters, Panther (age 7) and Arizona (age 9), who were already very close to our ten-year old granddaughter, Aiko, and quickly bonded with Oma Zet. What a lively household! Add in the joy of grazing our way through numerous feasts of favorite Dutch/Indoneasian foods, re-connecting with long-time friends and re-visiting some of my old stomping grounds from the 1970's, and you've got a can't-miss recipe for a great vacation. I'm not exactly grieving, but it sure is tough to think of leaving all of this behind.
        We are mostly quiet as Sarah drives through heavy traffic, focused on arriving at the airport on time. The silence allows my mind to ricochet wildly between replaying the joyful highlights of these past three weeks and projecting into the looming sadness of leaving this sweet family and country that I love so much, knowing that it may be quite awhile before we return. Bouncing between the past and future, alternately burning with pain, beaming with pleasure and seeking some measure of peace, I get off the mental rollercoaster just long enough to take a slow, deep breath... and then another...
TAKING IT EASY
        In the silence, I feel the soft embrace of the Divine - gently reminding me that I've been so busy zooming around inside my mind that I've overlooked the extraordinary treasures available right here within the moment at hand. "Sure, those times in Ibiza and Den Haag were delicious, and sure, it's hard to leave your loved ones," the Still Small Voice seems to say, "but what about Now?"
         Caught by surprise, I look with fresh eyes at this incredibly beautiful, kind, capable and strong woman at the steering wheel, fully engaged in this wonderful life she has created. And then there's my best friend and beloved wife, Zet, seated right next to me on this latest journey, just as she has been for the last 35 years. It's astonishing to feel that vast field of love radiating between the three of us, filling this car to overflowing. How could I possibly have overlooked that?
And why in the world would I spend so much of this precious, hour-long ride to the airport clinging to the past or regretting an unavoidable future? Why not simply savor the richness of this present, precious moment in the company of these two amazing women I love so deeply? Let the joy and the sorrow, the faith and confusion, the past and future be present, too? There's plenty of room for all of them -- and so much more -- within my heart, if I'm willing to embrace them all.
ENJOYING IT ALL
        Within a split second, the time-space continuum seems to melt away completely, and rather than hurtling through rush hour traffic, we're moving in slow motion, floating in an ocean of love that stretches out in all directions, inside and all around us.
Soon enough, we'll arrive at the airport, share goodbye hugs and lug our bags toward the departure gate and whatever else lies waiting ahead. But for now, I'm savoring this moment, knowing that it is enough.
With gratitude and blessings,
          Rudi


 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

FURTHER TRAVELS WITH THE WONDERFUL ONE

  
 What follows is a continuation of the piece I wrote last week, as part of my intention to experience, explore and express Spirit as fully as possible during the course daily life, which includes our current trip to Spain and the Netherlands for my daughter's wedding.
         
         I feel very blessed to be standing on the beach in Ibiza at sunrise, meditating on the seven energy centers (chakras) in my body, in preparation for another full day of wedding festivities. What a gift it is to be breathing in the freshness and beauty of Talamanca Bay, where the clear, blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea dance against the muted light of the not-quite-visible sun, while a number of multi-hued yachts bob gently at anchor and a flock of pelicans fish for their breakfast in the harbor. 
         In a couple of hours, this beach will be full of sun worshippers, but for now I'm simmering in the silence of total solitude, with not another soul in sight. Accompanied only by the fading light of the last few stars, I imagine that they're winking at me, reminding me that they'll still be shining brightly in the day sky, despite the fact that I can't see them with the limited vision of my human eyes. "Pay attention," they seem to say, "for there's so much more to life than meets the naked eye."

DIVINE KISS
         Standing on the constantly shifting margin between land and sea, where the clear, calm water intermittently laps against my ankles, I dangle two fingers into the surf, then touch them to my lips. I taste You, O Wonderful One, in the wet, salty sweetness and slight bitterness, too. Soon, it will be time to go back into the hotel to greet the other wedding guests at the breakfast table, then get ready for today's festivities. But for now, I can't help but feel that I AM truly kissing the Divine in this water, and wish to linger as long as possible.

FOLLOWING THE PROCESS
         Choosing to drink You fully in this precious, present moment, I bend down, dip two fingers once again, then place them on my scalp to re-baptize myself, activating my crown chakra, and opening to the infinite, unlimited possibilities available now. And now. And now...
         Dipping and dripping the sacred water once again, this time on the center of my forehead, where the third eye is focused on the One Light illuminating all of creation, beautifully reflected and refracted in the shimmering sea, stretching out as far as I can see.
         Soon more drops of water are coating my throat, as I pray that I may speak and sing in ways that bear Fair Witness to Your power and presence throughout the coming day.
         Dipping once more, then dribbling water over my chest, doing my best to feel the One Love moving freely around me, within me, through me, as me. Just as surely as this clean, clear water swirling past my feet is an indivisible part of the one ocean that touches all the shorelines of the world, I AM connected to all of creation through the power of this One Love, too.
         The next wet touch lands on my solar plexus, the nexus of power and peace, located between my navel and the bottom of my rib cage. I choose to access the full measure of power available to me here, by affirming my willingness to allow Thy Will to be done through me, on all levels of creation.
         The following affirmation sinks down through my groin, where the seawater joins with the limitless flow of creative energy moving freely through me. Not coincidentally, it also reminds me that I AM much more than a passive observer, for this energy center holds an untold measure of potential co-creation ready to be made manifest on the physical plane.
         Feeling centered, I enter one last round of bending and dipping, touching the water to the base of my spine, embracing the desire to move beyond simply surviving into a place of truly thriving. Whatever fears or limitations may appear through the coming day, I choose to experience, explore and express You fully, now. And now. And now...

SACRED REST
         Feeling much stronger than before, I turn around and head for the hotel door, knowing only good will come from this process of contacting, connecting and cleansing these energy centers with You, Dear One. May all beings be blessed by my willingness to do this. Amen.


         With gratitude and blessings,
                   Rudi

Sunday, October 26, 2014

TRAVELING WITH THE WONDERFUL ONE





            Seated in the San Antonio Airport terminal, surrounded by anxious travelers clutching their carry-on baggage, angling toward the boarding gate, shuffling their feet to protect their places in line, I suddenly feel Your Presence at my side, reminding me that there is an abundance of time, space and resources available, now and always. And that there is no need to rush to join the herd in squeezing forward, or staking claim to my fair share of seemingly limited resources. I choose to view this as an open-ended invitation to have You be my Divine Traveling Companion for the duration of this trip to Europe and back.


CLAIMING THIS SPACE
           Soon enough, it's time to assume my assigned seat at row 25A, where I spread my possessions in the overhead bin, in the seat pocket, in the headphone jack on the armrest, on the floor beneath me. Mine, mine, this space is mine, defined by my gear, the spread of my elbows, the tilt of my seatback. Shortly, You are back at my side, broadening my limited view by breathing through me slowly, softly. Expanding the space within and around me, just as surely as if You were blowing up an inflatable raft for a leisurely float in a friend's swimming pool, instead of this trans-Atlantic flight, packed to the rafters with several hundred fellow sardines.

SAVORING THE TASTE
           Settling in, attempting to savor the micro-waved, vegetarian, special-request meal that seems remarkably free of any discernible flavor, You lean in to uncover one of the few plump, sautéed mushrooms that lies hidden, nestled under the steaming hot rice, as if to turn a spotlight on this nugget of pleasure and say, "Here, taste this with Me. Savor the few buttery bites that are available on this tray, instead of complaining about the flavors that seem to be missing."

UNPLUGGING THE NOISE
           As the cabin darkens and headphones are distributed by the flight attendants, miniature monitor screens flicker to life on the backs of hundreds of headrests simultaneously, to provide entertainment during our eight-hour flight. I wrestle with the low-quality, high-tech remote control device built into the armrest, attempting to make sense of the dozens of channels offering a bewildering variety of movies, TV shows, musical programming and gaming options which I struggle to decipher from a complicated, multi-layered menu which I can't figure out how to navigate. Frustrating. Plus the disposable headset that the flight attendant handed out appears to deliver sound to just one ear, and it's mighty hard to hear over the roar of the jet engines.
           You rescue me by gently pulling the headphone jack out of the armrest, hit the OFF button on the remote and run Your Hand over my eyelids, guiding me into a place of rest, reminding me that this has been one of the longest, fullest days in memory. And that my soul will be best served by falling asleep rather than staying awake, the low cabin air quality, high noise level and televised distractions notwithstanding. You whisper a sweet, soft lullaby as I drift off to sleep, arms and legs in a tangle, angled to find what physical comfort is to be found in the confines of 25A.

ARRIVING HERE
           Landing in Amsterdam, groggy, hungry and feeling cramped as I emerge from the airplane and set foot in the Netherlands for the first time in years, where all the signs and all the sounds are communicating in Dutch. It seems rather odd to feel simultaneously "back home" and utterly, unmistakably alien, too. Suddenly I feel You gently massaging the soles of my feet -- sweetly urging me to get grounded. To trail downward from my head to my heart, to the roots of my Being, guided by Your Touch. Not just the idea of You, or the theory of You, but the experience of You as Presence, as Peace, as Now. 

Wherever this journey may take me, may I be Here and Now. And now. And now...

           With love and blessings,
                   Rudi
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

SHARING THE VIBES


A few Sundays ago, it felt truly inspiring to soak in the company of so many warm-hearted, open-minded folks in the Morning Circle, surrounded by the vibrantly colorful art on the walls of the Say Sí Art Gallery, while bathing in the rich, descriptive language of our guest speaker, noted poet and author, Sheila Black.
Just after she finished her reading, I took the liberty of spontaneously creating a new song, with lyrics loosely based on a collage of stanzas lifted from the striking imagery of Sheila’s poetry, and accompanied by the skillful musicians in the Circle Band. It felt like a true blessing, to be hanging out at the intersection of all the deeply moving, creative energies in the room.

SHARING THE TASTE
If you were there, you probably know what I mean. But whether you were or not, I’d like to share a small taste of that morning’s richness with you in the form of the following lyrics, as well as an audio recording of the song made on the spot by our long-time production manager and sound engineer, Eddie Wise. Granted, it’s a live recording of a spontaneous creation, with its share of audio glitches and musical gaffes, but I hope you can catch at least a glimpse of the spiritual intention and invitation it contains.

LAUNCH A LITTLE PRAYER
The land of enchantment calls to your heart
asks you to start paying attention
and consider sleeping with a hibernating bear,
consider another dimension.
The land of enchantment calls to your heart,
right outside your door
consider looking at what you’d rather avoid
consider opening to the more.

Who would you be without this pain,
pieces of you bleeding up
Who would you be without this pain,
even stars keep burning up.

Space is an ocean stretching out wide
no way to know just how vast it is
caught in the tides that pull you outside,
and always, always twist
Space is an ocean, stretching out wide
asking you come down off the shelf
the moon keeps singing, singing, singing
always to itself
Who would you be without this pain,
pieces of you bleeding up
Who would you be without this pain,
the stars keep burning up.

Love doesn’t live here anymore
where you study every sky for rain
and you carry the compulsion to build more fences,
everywhere you go – that's no way to grow.

Your prayers are very small,
you say your prayers are very small, that’s ok
just launch your little prayer, anyway.

With love and blessings,
Rudi