Saturday, October 5, 2019

Sahasrara


The Sanskrit word for the crown chakra, Sahasrara, refers to the thousand white petals of a lotus flower. Sahasrara connects us to the spiritual energy of enlightenment. It is the energy center that awakens us to a higher power, the awareness that each of us is an expression of universal consciousness. Realizing that you are simply pure consciousness is the true source of enlightenment.
 
You only have to be willing to allow your mind, body, spirit, heart to open to this Divine consciousness as you let go of fear, self-doubt and selfishness, as you express unconditional Love and believe in the unlimited possibilities. This consciousness resides in all living beings, and in each moment we are connected to all and everything on the planet.
 
The simple (but not always easy) tools for opening the crown chakra are sitting in quiet stillness as you lett go and surrender to the Unknown, to the great mystery. So allow some time each day for real silence, no phone or computer, no mental replay of your To Do list, no outside distractions. Challenge yourself, allow your Self time to feel the healing power of this spiritual practice. Let it become a part of your everyday life as you image these thousand petals of spiritual connection and Divine consciousness. As we do this individually we remember together that We Are One, We Are The Lotus.
 
In joy,
Zet

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.


http://www.celebrationcircle.org/donate


Friday, June 7, 2019

We Are One


In her 1980's ground-breaking book, The Aquarian ConspiracyMarilyn Fergusoninvokes the power of the imaginal cell that is present in all living things. This primary cell holds the image of the fully grown organism and the innate life force of that organism continues to grow it into its full being-ness. It is this life force that holds the full potential of a giant oak tree within a tiny acorn, that allows a crawling caterpillar to transform into a colorful butterfly fluttering through the sky.
 
As we each take our journey of becoming, life circumstances sometimes get in the way of us growing into our own fullness. As you read the piece below from the poet Rilke, I invite you to feel how he encourages us to move our life force toward the soul, the heart of who we truly are, the imaginal cell, which lives in each of us, though we sometimes forget its presence.
 
"I want to beg you, as much as I can...to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."

If you have been present in the Circle recently you are seeing, feeling, experiencing the process of transformation.  The Cosmic Mass, Angel's ordination, the Spiritual Leadership Training, last Sunday's Cosmic Circle, Rudi's recovery...all of this is part of the process of growth and change. These are all part of living into the questions of who we are and who we are becoming as a community. 

For each of you, each of us, we are all present in the imaginal cell that lives at the heart of the Celebration Circle.  We are grateful you have chosen to join us on the journey to who we truly are, as individuals and as a spiritual community. Whether you are with us on Sundays, Wednesdays, watching livestream, reading our words online or sitting alone watching your own breath, please remember that We Are One.
 
In joy,
   Zet

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.


http://www.celebrationcircle.org/donate

Sunday, June 2, 2019

TAKING ACTION


     In Celebration Circle, we often speak, sing and meditate about our connection to Mother Earth, as an integral part of our spiritual growth. There is real power in employing ritual space and spiritual principles to explore our connection to the Earth and focus on a sustainable future for our precious planet.
 
MAKING CHOICES
     But it's also important to take concrete actions, to do our part to create that sustainable future on the physical plane by choosing to recycle, reducing consumption of material goods and fossil fuels, re-thinking our "foodprint" and becoming more mindful of our personal lifestyle choices. In a very real sense, every dollar we spend -- or don't spend -- is a direct vote on the nature of our relationship with the earth.
 
USING OUR VOICES
     Speaking of voting... if you are a registered voter who lives in San Antonio, I strongly urge you to vote in the current mayoral runoff election. Among other things, this election is a direct referendum on what environmental policies and actions the City of San Antonio will or won't act on in the near future. Of course, I can't  tell you how to vote, but I do want to remind you that the two candidates have very different approaches to environmental policies -- and that your vote matters. Historically, local run-off elections are often marked by low voter turnout and can be decided by just a handful of votes. Please make your voice heard.
     Early Voting continues through June 4, and and Election Day is June 8. Please consider voting early, when you can easily cast your ballot at any one of a number of locations, rather than waiting till Election Day, when lines may form at your local polling station, and unforeseen circumstances might keep you from getting there. For information about polling places and times, check the official Bexar County Elections website by clicking here
.
 
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
      In closing, I'd like to share a story about Mahatma Gandhi, who was getting on board a train that was just about to leave the station, when one of his shoes slipped off his foot and fell to the ground. The train began moving, and unable to retrieve his shoe safely, Gandhi quickly took off his other shoe, and threw it out the door, where it landed near the first shoe. His companion was taken aback, and asked him about it, to which Gandhi replied, "Whoever finds that one shoe will now have a pair that he can use."
     This story asks us to ask ourselves, again and again: "What small, simple actions can I take today that help make the world a better place?"  

With gratitude and blessings, 
     Rudi Harst

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.


http://www.celebrationcircle.org/donate


Sunday, May 26, 2019

WATCH OUR CIRCLE GROW


    This Sunday morning marks an exciting new phase in the ongoing growth of the Celebration Circle: we'll be celebrating the ordination of Angel Santiago as a new minister of the Circle, in acknowledgement of his spiritual studies, service and leadership over the past five years.  We will also be honoring the four graduates of our first official Spiritual Leadership Training class: Kathy Barrios, CeeJay Black, Linda Cuellar and Mary Mosley. These new leaders will be assisting with various duties on Sunday mornings in the coming months, adding their diverse voices and talents to our programming, and broadening our community with their skills as spiritual companions.

NEW VOICES 
     We are deeply grateful to Angel for his support in developing this training program, and to these four graduates for their willingness to embrace this new process, as well as their support in refining it. And we're really excited that they'll be collaborating with some other voices in our community to co-create an experimental format for next Sunday, June 2, which they're calling a "Cosmic Circle." It will be a more participatory version of our usual Sunday gathering, focused on movement, music, meditation and collaboration. At this point, it's just a one-time event, but who knows, it  might turn out to be something we do more often.
 
NEW CHOICES
      Rest assured that we both hope to continue serving as Spiritual Director and Executive Director of the Circle for a long time to come. But, having faced significant physical, emotional and professional challenges over the past two years, we realized it was time to expand the leadership team to help sustain the increasing diverse spiritual community which the Circle has become, and ensure its continuity in the years ahead. To that end, we're excited to honor these newly graduated leaders -- and to announce the second Spiritual Leadership Training class beginning in the fall. We will be opening the application process for that program this summer, and look forward to combining what we've learned from this first class with the co-creative impulse which has been guiding the Circle since its inception twenty-seven years ago.
     As always, we're grateful to you, dear reader, and the many other folks who have helped keep this inclusive, independent, interfaith community and its creative approach to spirituality alive and thriving. Thank you.
    
With gratitude and blessings, 
     Zet and Rudi

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.


http://www.celebrationcircle.org/donate

Sunday, May 19, 2019

NEW DAY, NEW START


      As I wake up, I begin the day as usual, feeling the freshness of the morning, launching a silent prayer of gratitude for my many blessings, and focusing on my sacred intention to serve Spirit today:  "new day, new start, open mind, open heart." But, all too soon, those moments of bliss get shoved aside by my Monkey Mind, chattering on and on about the long list of things it thinks I need to get done and/or should have accomplished yesterday. 
 
OLD PATTERN
     Fortunately, that semi-panicked feeling that quickly arises is an old acquaintance of mine, and I'm learning how to simply acknowledge its presence, rather than letting it throw me for a loop or run away with my attention. Instead of trying to make that feeling go away, I choose to observe it without giving it much energy, then focus on getting calm, centered and focused on my statement of purpose, which is "to experience, explore and express the free flow of Love moving to, through and from me."
     From this space, it's easier to remember what I am really here to do today: to Love and be loved.
 
NEW CHOICE
     All I am being asked to do is to show up with an open mind, an open heart and a willingness to recognize each person and situation I encounter along the way as a potential teacher, here to help me become more present and less resistant to the free flow of Love. And that includes my Monkey Mind! It, too, is one of my most powerful teachers, and each time it distracts me from my purpose by chattering on about insignificant details, it is not really a problem, as much as it is a prompt, reminding me to make a new choice.
     And, yes, I often forget this sacred intention. But that gives me more opportunities to remember.  And, yes, I still have a long list of things to do -- but I might as well do them from a place of peace -- and they don't all have to get done today. At least until my Monkey Mind kicks in again... Which will just give me another chance to remember.
 
With gratitude and blessings,

      Rudi Harst


THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.


http://www.celebrationcircle.org/donate

Saturday, May 11, 2019

BLOSSOMS OF LOVE


     Once upon a time, not that long ago, in a place not that far from here... a man drove to a flower shop, because he wanted to order a bouquet of flowers wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away. As he pulled up to the flower shop and got out of his car, he noticed a young boy sitting on the sidewalk, looking downcast.
     He approached the boy and asked kindly, "Are you okay? Is something wrong?"
"I really wanted to buy a red rose for my mother," the boy replied. "But I only have a dollar, and roses cost two dollars each."
     "We can fix that," said the man with a smile. Come on, I'll buy you a rose for your mom." So, they went into the store together, where the man bought a single rose for the boy, as well as ordering a nice bouquet to be delivered to his own mother. As they left the flower shop, the man asked the boy if he wanted a ride, and the young man gratefully answered, "Thank you, it would be great if you could take me to visit my mother."  He proceeded to give directions to a nearby cemetery, where he got out of the car, and carefully placed his rose on the freshly turned dirt beneath a simple tombstone.
     Driving away with tears in his eyes, the man immediately went back to the flower shop, canceled his previous order, picked out a beautiful bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to deliver them in person.

GATHERING IN LOVE
     This Sunday, I hope you will join us in celebrating Mother's Day in the Circle, as we collectively make the metaphorical, metaphysical "long drive home" to honor our birth mothers, as well as invoke the vast field of loving and supportive feminine energy that has made our lives possible.
 
EMBRACING THE PARADOX
     Having said that, it's also important to acknowledge that you may have a less-than-joyful relationship with your mother. Or perhaps she died so recently that your family memories are still clouded by feelings of grief and loss. Please know that those feelings, too, are a welcome addition to our time of shared ritual remembrance of the Divine Feminine alive in us all. For the metaphysical energy of the Divine Mother is not all just sweetness and light; life and birth. It is also the energy of darkness, chaos and death, for there can be no light without darkness, no nurturing without challenge, no birth without death.
     And yes, it's hard to make sense of this paradox; the language of logic, precision and prose struggles mightily under the weight of carrying these seeming contradictions. Which is why I find so much value in the power of gathering together and focusing consciously through shared silence, poetry, music and ritual space. As we approach this Great Mystery of the Divine Feminine as a spiritual community, we're able to mine the rich seam of meaning and purpose that awaits us, in a deep and meaningful way.
 
SHARING THE LOVE
     So, whether or not you are able to attend our Mother's Day Sunday Circle in person, on-line through Facebook Live, or are "merely" tuning from somewhere else, I truly hope you'll consider tapping into the vast field of generative, feminine energy we'll be focusing on together. It promises to be a powerful time, and it wouldn't be the same without you.

 With love and blessings,   
     Rudi Harst

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.


http://www.celebrationcircle.org/donate


Sunday, May 5, 2019

PULLING WEEDS AND PLANTING SEEDS


      I'm down on my knees in the garden, vigorously pulling up weeds and planting seeds. Ever since our car wreck a year and a half ago, I have largely ignored this patch of ground, so the weeds and hackberry saplings have had plenty of time to multiply and get rooted. Getting them out is pretty slow going, but it's deeply satisfying work, tugging at each weed, reaching down low at just the right angle to get out as much of each root as possible, to clear this tangle, plant new seeds and prune back the old, woody growth from the established herbs.
 
FEELING ENERGIZED
     I'm doing this in part because it's getting near the end of the planting season in South Texas  but mostly because The Cosmic Mass last Sunday literally picked me up by the seat of my pants and shoved me outdoors. So what if my knee is sore and my fingers are stiff. Ignoring the call to be outdoors and working in the garden is no longer an option. It was so very energizing and uplifting to be in involved in The Cosmic Mass alongside 350 other people, engaged in ecstatic dancing, a powerful grieving ritual and stimulating visual images of nature. It also provided a pointed reminder of my body's deep-seated longing to be in direct, physical contact with the Earth. That's something that's very easy for me to forget, since much of my time and energy is spent reading, writing, thinking and responding to head-oriented stimuli. I'm grateful for the reminder, and find myself feeling more energized than I have been in a long time.
 
SEEKING ALTERNATIVES
     If you were at The Cosmic Mass, you probably know what I'm talking about. If you weren't, you can find a link to video of the event at the bottom of this newsletter, and get a taste of what I'm referring to. And if you heard our guest speaker, Matthew Fox, last Sunday, the chances are good that you, too, are eager to find life-affirming ways to respond to the his elegantly-stated challenge to embrace our Sacred Earth fully.  
 
SUPPORTING EACH OTHER
     What does that mean? I don't know, exactly. But we'll spend some time in this week's Sunday Circle leaning into that question, and affirming our intention to support each other and ourselves in finding answers. I hope you can join us and add your energy and insights to the process, whether in person or on-line via Facebook Live. It wouldn't be the same without you.

With gratitude and blessings,
     Rudi Harst

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.


http://www.celebrationcircle.org/donate

Friday, April 26, 2019

CELEBRATING THE COSMIC MASS


     We usually use this space to tell an uplifting story or share some spiritual insight. This time, YOU are the uplifting story and the spiritual insight is the one we'll experience together when you attend the first ever Cosmic Mass being held in San Antonio this Sunday night! Noted author and theologian, Matthew Fox and his Cosmic Mass production team are coming from California to share this powerful event, as they've done in scores of cities worldwide in recent years.
 
JOINING FORCES
     Together we'll harness our collective consciousness, dance our hearts open and engage in powerful ritual affirmation of our deep connection to the Earth and to the many other individuals around the world who are committed to co-creating a New Story of peace, possibility and sustainability. We believe this is one of the most important, empowering actions we can take in the face of the massive environmental challenges our culture faces. Tickets for the event are available here.
     Also, the San Antonio Express-News features an interesting article written by local scholar and journalist, Ed Conroy, about this event in Sunday's paper, and you can read the online version
now.
     Of course, we hope you can join us in person, but you can also tune in online for the live webcast by clicking on the following link, beginning at 7:00pm Sunday.
 
A VERY SPECIAL SUNDAY CIRCLE
     And, finally, we're very fortunate that Matthew Fox will be our guest speaker in our Sunday Morning Circle, sharing his deep knowledge of Creation Spirituality, developed in the 34 books he has written. What a day it's going to be! In a very real sense, it feels like we've spent the past 27 years preparing the rich soil of the Celebration Circle community together in preparation for planting these powerful seeds of consciousness this weekend. We're delighted to be working alongside you in this fertile garden, and deeply grateful for your support in getting here!

With gratitude and blessings,
     Zet and Rudi

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.


http://www.celebrationcircle.org/donate

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

THE POWER OF CONNECTION


     I'm standing in our backyard, bathing in the early morning sunshine, with the sheer beauty of nature blossoming all around, and the grounding energy of Easter/Passover flowing through me. Once again, I'm experiencing the sensation I wrote about in the following poem while hiking through the Ozark Mountains many years ago:
 
The cold clear creek
mumbles an ancient song
as it tumbles headlong through the mountains
 
I try to sing along, but my tiny human voice is swept aside
by the strong breeze stirring through the trees
by the sheer size of this majestic forest, stretching far past the horizon
by the strident cries of a zealous blue jay
guarding his wooded domain
 
There is nothing to do but remain silent
in the face of such a display of royalty
kneel on the spongy, green woodland floor
and swear a personal oath of loyalty, spilling up and out of me:
"I pledge allegiance to Mother Earth
and to all Beings which walk, fly, swim or stand
One Strand, indivisible,
With love and compassion for All"
 
THE POWER OF PLACE
     At the time, the feelings which this creek fostered and the solemn oath which it imprinted on my soul seemed unique to that particular "power spot" and its breathtaking vista. Since then, however, I've had similar experiences in a variety of locations: from the top of the Rockies to the bottom of the Grand Canyon; from the heart of the Yucatan jungle to the edge of the Bavarian Black Forest; floating on the Dead Sea, and wading in the river that flows through our neighborhood -- and right now, just standing in the back yard. Each is a sacred space in its own way, engendering a sense of awe and wonder. Each one forced me to release my tenuous grasp on the top rung of the "food chain" for a while, and remember that every creature is my relative, every spot is Holy Ground, and that our Oneness is not just a good idea, it is the very ground of our being. 
      As the global debate over climate change, like the climate itself, becomes ever more heated, it's vital that we find ways to release our old roles as dominators and manipulators of the Earth, and embrace new roles as her stewards instead. Such a shift in consciousness requires a massive change in orientation and acculturation occurring one person, one day, one decision at a time.
 
THE POWER OF CHOICE
     It is precisely this kind of incremental, individual shift in perspective that we seek to nurture and support in the Celebration Circle. Week after week, we meet to affirm our willingness to learn new ways of being and seeing. To free ourselves from the grip of our fears and become more compassionate with ourselves, each other and the Earth herself.

 THE POWER OF GATHERING
     That's why I'm so excited that the Circle is co-sponsoring the first-ever Cosmic Mass in San Antonio next Sunday night, April 28th! This upbeat, deeply experiential worship process combines elements of ecstatic dance, guided meditation and sacred ritual. Conceived and presented by noted theologian, Matthew Fox, the Cosmic Mass fosters a deeply spiritual encounter with the Four Directions and contains an urgent call for re-examining our personal and communal relationships to the Earth in the face of global climate change. I really hope you can join us for this important event -- as well as our Sunday Morning Circle earlier that day, where Dr. Fox will be our guest speaker, sharing his vision of the "Order of the Sacred Earth."
     In any case, let's keep meeting, meditating, praying, singing and ritualizing together as we share our strengths, heal our weaknesses, and feed our deep awareness of our connection to the "One Strand, indivisible - with love and compassion for all." 

With gratitude and blessings,
     Rudi Harst

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.


http://www.celebrationcircle.org/donate

Saturday, April 13, 2019

AWAKE TO THE NEWNESS


     Having moved to South Texas in 1957, I should be used to the ever-changing weather around here by now, but somehow I still found myself feeling astonished by the way spring arrived almost instantaneously this week. The temperatures had remained relatively cool until a few days ago, when a huge rain system brought weather that went from low 50's and stormy, to the low-90's under a brilliant blue sky in less than 24 hours! Today, walking through our neighborhood in the bright sunshine just two days after those dramatic thunderstorms, the plant life along the banks of the river looks outrageously lush and green, growing so rapidly that I can almost see the leaves inching upward in real time.

BEAR WITNESS NOW
     This sudden burst of vibrant plant growth provides a graphic reminder of how freely the creative power of Spirit moves through all of creation at this time of year, regardless of how dark and challenging things might have seemed in seasons past. I'm finding it especially helpful to experience this awareness of rebirth and renewal in the aftermath of my father's recent death, as well as some physical, emotional and spiritual challenges I've been dealing with over the past couple of months. 
      What a blessing it is that Spring magically calls forth the creative energy waiting to be re-awakened and expressed through each of us, whatever shape it may take: poem, prayer, dance, song, sculpture, story. Whether we choose to share our creativity publicly or keep it private matters less than partaking in the creative process itself. Not just for our own sake, but also for the sake of participating in that free flow of energy being re-born within and around us.
     May all beings be blessed by our willingness to see, hear and respond to this gentle invitation being hand-delivered by all of Creation, dressed in the colors of spring. 

With gratitude and blessings,
     Rudi Harst
PS:  Thank you to the many Circle friends who have written, called and reached out to me and my family in the aftermath of my father's passing. I haven't been able to respond to all of your messages personally, but am deeply grateful for this generous outpouring of love and support. His memorial service will be held at 2:00pm this Saturday, April 13, at Faith United Church of Christ, 970 Loop 337 in New Braunfels.

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.


http://www.celebrationcircle.org/donate


Saturday, March 16, 2019

YOU ARE MY OTHER ME


     Every Sunday our Children's Circle engages in activities from the curriculum published by Spiritual Playdate, an educational organization with which we are affiliated. This Mayan-inspired poem by Luis Valdez is a moving example of their response when children see or experience hate in our world, such as the latest example in New Zealand. A quote from their email, "We at Spiritual Playdate firmly believe that we are all part of a human family and that we are all profoundly connected. When hateful or violent acts are committed by one human being against another, we maintain it is because that person sees themselves as separate from the rest. When we understand that we are deeply connected, we grow to understand that loving our neighbor is an act of self-love. It is the Golden Rule and it is not a transaction, it is a transformation!" Reading this, you can see why we are proud to be a part of sharing this consciousness with the next generation of the Circle.

     We are grateful to the many individuals who have taken the time to nurture the Children's Circle over the years. We are particularly thankful to Ava Hawthorne who is currently guiding them each Sunday, as well as parent, Krista Delgado, for taking the lead in preparing lessons for the Spiritual Playdate.

With gratitude and blessings,
     Rudi Harst

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.


http://www.celebrationcircle.org/donate


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

CREATING OUR SPACE


The website says that our Sunday Morning Circle starts at 11AM, but in fact, it really begins at 8:30AM, when Leslie Goddard arrives to unlock the building, begins the setup process, and gets the first pot of coffee ready for all the other volunteers and staffers about to arrive. By 9AM, Sebastian Siller is hard at work, putting out signs in the parking lot, then hauling in all the tables and chairs we use from other rooms, while Jake Mylnar has begun the hour-long process of setting up the sound equipment in time for the members of the Circle Band to move in all their music gear, and be ready for the 10AM soundcheck with Rudi.
 
EACH ONE IN PLACE
     Meanwhile, the Circle Singers have begun arriving for choir practice, and the band is rehearsing their tunes, while Jose Mojica, Kassi Wright, and/or another one of our Board members sets up the Lobby Shop table, and Marie Koenig, is laying out her amazing array of Essential Oils and diffusing an invigorating oil blend which fills the air with healing, harmonious scents.  Across the room, Ava Hawthorne begins preparing for the Children's Circle, while two ushers and a greeter arrive to set out the various handouts, and greet other folks as they filter in, while Karl Franklin sets up the Facebook Live video feed. All the while, Zet Baer has been circulating throughout the space, touching base with each person and aspect of the preparations, making sure everything is in place before 11AM.
 
CLEARING THE SPACE
     From week to week, the names might change at bit, but it always takes about 15-20 people every Sunday morning to set up the space beforehand -- and then it takes all of them (with at least half a dozen others) pitching in for almost an hour afterwards to pack up and clean up (thanks to Joe & Penny Shinners for cleaning up the coffee room each week!), put everything back in place and leave SAY Sí looking like we found it, or better.
 
EXPERIENCING GRACE
     It truly takes a community to create the container for our larger Circle community to gather each Sunday. To transform an art gallery into a Sacred Space where people feel welcome, safe and free to drop their guard and turn within to encounter their Inner Selves. So... the next time you enter the room where Sunday Circle meets, I invite you to take an extra moment or two to step into that space consciously -- and really let yourself bathe in the vast tide pool of Unconditional Love created by the many hands and hearts who helped make this space available to you. May you experience the feeling of grace which is your birthright, and may all who are involved in co-creating our Circle space be blessed by our willingness to do this.

With gratitude and blessings,
     Rudi Harst

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.


http://www.celebrationcircle.org/donate

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

GETTING BACK IN TOUCH


     It was wonderful to visit with my dear friends, David and Karen Hendley, last weekend, and to have David play a couple of his songs in the Circle. In addition to being a talented singer/songwriter and nationally-respected ceramic artist, David was my best friend at Trinity University in the early 1970's. We went our separate ways after graduation; in short order, he moved to California, earned his MFA, became a professional potter and built an amazing homestead and studio on 74 acres of forest land, deep in the Piney Woods of East Texas. Meanwhile, I drifted around, following my musical inclinations to London, New York and San Francisco, before settling back in San Antonio and co-founding Celebration Circle.
 
LOSING TOUCH
     We completely lost touch with each other for over 20 years, but reconnected instantly when we met again by happenstance at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 2002, as if it had been just a few weeks instead of two decades. While we still don't see each other as much as I'd like, time and distance don't seem to matter that much in our friendship. Although it's usually a year or so between visits, each time we get together, the conversation just picks up right where we left off.
     As usual, last weekend's re-union felt all too brief, although we did have time for a couple of meals and some heart-to-heart talks. One of the things I treasure most about our relationship is the long pauses that often arise in our conversations.  Neither of us has a need to fill the void with social niceties; we simply allow silence to resonate in the space between us until the next topic emerges at its own pace.  Our many years of friendship have taught us to trust the silence, to know that something of real interest will arise in the gap between our words, if we will just give it time.
 
FEELING TOUCHED
     I mention this aspect of my relationship with David as a metaphor for the similar presence of silence and willingness to trust that I am cultivating in my relationship with Spirit.  At the risk of over-simplification, I believe the process of spiritual growth requires me to turn inward, enter the sacred silence and trust the profound sense of mystery I encounter there.  Not just once or twice, but continually, time and again, day after day. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes not -- as was the case with the story of my thumb and surgery, which I discussed in last week's newsletter.
 
STAYING IN TOUCH
     This week has brought a different set of choices and challenges; but my underlying story remains the same. I'm so grateful for my deeply personal relationship with this impersonal and infinitely mysterious Source that is beyond naming or explaining, but remains unfailingly Present. However often I may forget, I have an abiding faith that I will always be led to the next right step, and that the perfect person, place or thing will always emerge, as long as I can resist the urge to make it happen "my way" or according to my time line. At least, that's my story, and I'm glad to be sharing it with you.

With gratitude and blessings,
     Rudi Harst

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.


http://www.celebrationcircle.org/donate

Saturday, February 23, 2019

ALL SHALL BE WELL


     My left thumb started hurting a couple of years ago, shortly before the car wreck Zet and I experienced. Because we both had more painful and pressing injuries to deal with after the wreck, I delayed taking action on the hand, until the pain increased to the point where the thumb locked up and became immobilized. An orthopedic hand specialist diagnosed it as Trigger Finger, a common occupational hazard for long-time musicians, massage therapists and others who use their hands extensively. Repetitive use can cause the main tendon that runs through the affected finger to develop a knot, which then can't slide through the protective sheath surrounding the tendon, eventually causing the finger to lock in place.
 
CONSIDERING SURGERY
     The doctor recommended a surgical procedure which is fairly common, involving an incision at the base of the thumb, and has 96% average success rate. However, in about 3% of the cases, the surgery doesn't help; and less than 1% of the time, the situation gets worse, with some patients suffering permanent nerve damage and/or stiffness in the finger. Sounded dangerous to me.
     I'm fairly risk-aversive by nature, and generally avoid allopathic medicine by habit, so I decided against the surgery, consulted other experts, tried dietary changes and experimented with finger exercises to no avail, before finally electing to have a steroid injection. That effectively reduced the pain for several months, but eventually it returned, just as the doctor had predicted it. He recommended surgery once again, saying he'd performed this identical procedure several thousand times over the years, without failure, and that I'd almost certainly be playing guitar without pain within a couple of weeks.
 
CHOOSING TO FOCUS
     Still, I delayed taking action, not wanting to risk being one of the rare patients whose condition worsens after surgery. But after a couple more months of pain, I finally realized how silly it was to keep worrying about the 1% chance of failure, versus the 96% chance of success. Instead, why not focus on my Soul Purpose, which is "to experience, explore and express the free flow of Spirit moving through me" and which DEFINITELY includes my love of playing guitar. Why not concentrate on trusting the Holy Mystery, rather than on my trust in a surgeon - or lack thereof.
 
FEELING THE DIFFERENCE
     That's how I wound up at the TSAOG outpatient clinic yesterday morning, where I received excellent service and compassionate care, resulting in a relatively painless operation that literally took ten minutes from incision to finish. I went home with my hand heavily bandaged and a prescription for a narcotic painkiller which proved to be completely unnecessary. Instead I took a 1M dose of homeopathic Arnica and one Acetaminophen, applied an ice pack and some essential oils, then enjoyed a good night's sleep. I awoke feeling well-rested and pleasantly surprised by how good my hand felt, all things considered. I didn't need any additional Acetaminophen, and was even able to play a few chords on the guitar, albeit gingerly. Yes!
 
AFFIRMING MY FAITH
     In the aftermath of all that, I feel humbled once again by how easy it was to let myself be run by my fears and resistance to change. And how simple it was to make a new choice to focus on faith instead, with a willingness to trust in the ever-evolving mystery of life unfolding within and around me. That's why I'm taking this opportunity to tell you my story, and affirm that all is well, and all shall be well - today, tomorrow and always. For this awareness -- and yet another opportunity to remember -- I give thanks.

With gratitude and blessings,
     Rudi Harst

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.


http://www.celebrationcircle.org/donate


Friday, February 1, 2019

Robert Crazy Horse Moreno


Robert Crazy Horse Moreno, 
 beloved brother in Spirit, passed from the physical plane early Monday morning, January 28th, surrounded by his loving family and friends. He was healthy and full of life until two weeks ago, when he contracted a viral lung infection from which he did not recover. Crazy Horse was a steadfast member of the Celebration Circle community for almost twenty years, always grounding the energy of our gatherings with his clear, calm and loving presence. A respected Apache elder and chief, he was a very humble, kind and generous man, who will be greatly missed.
His family has invited all members of the Celebration Circle to attend a memorial service for Crazy Horse  this Saturday,
February 2, at 1:30pm 
 at Castillo Mission Funeral Home, 520 N. General McMullen, San Antonio  78218  
Visitation also from Noon - 6:00pm.
Interment will be at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery at a later date.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

ADVANCING THE DREAM


     As Spiritual Director of the Circle, I am very proud that for the sixth year in a row, Celebration Circle is helping host DREAMWEEK San Antonio, a city-wide series of events and actions that advance the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by proliferating and modernizing his aspirations of a more equitable and enlightened society for all. It's a privilege to support this free exchange of ideas on issues of tolerance, equality and diversity, knowing that our spiritual community is helping foster the consciousness of Oneness, Equality and Compassion in the world.
     I really hope you can join us this Sunday morning as we celebrate our Oneness - and possibly attend one or more of the 1,000+ events being throughout the city now through January 26th.  Together we are truly helping to "keep the Dream alive" - and thriving. For more information about DREAMWEEK San Antonio, click here.

With blessings, 
Rudi Harst

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.


http://www.celebrationcircle.org/donate


Saturday, January 12, 2019

CULTIVATING PEACE


Once upon a time, long ago and faraway, or perhaps it was a time not that long ago, in a place much closer than you might imagine... a sage was listening to a young man complain about a neighbor who was making life difficult for him. "What can I do?" asked the man.
 
Pointing to her own shoes, the sage answered, "If you want to keep from getting thorns in your feet as you walk, you have two choices. Either you can cover the whole world with leather, or you can put leather on the soles of your feet by wearing shoes. Both methods would work, but which is the more practical?"
 
"Wearing shoes, of course," came the answer.  "In  the same way," continued the sage, "we tend to think we can achieve happiness by the controlling the outer circumstances of our lives, such as other people's behavior. But, the more we attempt to achieve happiness by controlling the people and things around us, the more we encounter frustration, fear and disappointment. Far better to work on transforming your own mind and cultivating patience and equanimity."
 
May the stories, songs, silences, prayers and ritual space we share together in Celebration Circle serve us in remembering the truth of our Oneness with all that is, and support us in cultivating inner peace and equanimity in our daily lives.

With blessings, 
     Rudi Harst

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.


http://www.celebrationcircle.org/donate

Sunday, January 6, 2019

SETTING SACRED INTENTIONS


      One Sunday morning late in December last year, a friend approached me after the morning Circle with a big smile on his face and said "the best Christmas present I got this year was the New Year's Letter of Intention I wrote to myself in the Circle last January." And then, just a few minutes later, a different person approached and used exactly the same words to describe her letter as being the "best Christmas present" she'd received as well!  Both of them said they're looking forward to taking part in our annual guided meditation letter writing process again this year.
 
EXPRESSING NEW POSSIBILITIES
     That goes for me, too! Writing and reading my Sacred Intentions has always been one of my favorite Circle activities. That's why I really hope you'll be there with us in this Sunday's Circle, and take part in our process of forming Sacred Intentions collectively for the coming year. Of course, it's something you could do at home alone, too. But it's just not the same as being part of a large group of people who are aligned in consciousness, truly feeling our Oneness with our deepest Self and our Source while supporting ourselves and each other in tapping into the Field of Unlimited Possibilities.
 
FEELING OUR CO-CREATIVE POWER
    Whether you're physically present in the room with us, or participate via our Facebook Livestream video, your co-creative energy would be most welcome and helpful. It just wouldn't be the same without you. In any case, I trust your New Year is off to a great start, with much more goodness headed your way in the days and year(s) to come.
 
With blessings, 
     Rudi Harst
     Speaking of starting the New Year on a powerful, positive note, I'm delighted to report that the Circle has met and exceeded our Year-End Fundraising Campaign goal of $20,000!! We have received $21,513.67 to date, which means we've more than made up for the lost income from our postponed Altar Show, and have started 2019 with abundance. THANK YOU to all who have donated and made this happen with your prayerful thoughts, creative fundraising ideas, and generous donations! Please continue to hold abundance for the Celebration Circle in your heart as we work to restore our Circle savings account. And if you would like to help us do so, you can make a one time or a recurring donation by clicking the donate button below. 
With abundant blessings for you,
    Zet Bear

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.


http://www.celebrationcircle.org/donate



Tuesday, January 1, 2019

RELEASING THE OLD, EMBRACING THE NEW

"Angel of Fire" by Dirk Magdahl 
     As the old year draws to a close, may you release all that no longer serves you, letting it burn in the Sacred Flame. And as the New Year unfolds within a field of Infinite Possibilities, may you, may we and All Beings be blessed by your willingness to be Present, Prospered and Peaceful.
     With best wishes for a Healthy, Happy and Harmonious New Year,
     Rudi Harst

MARVELOUS NEWS
     If you've been reading, you know that we kicked off our Year End Campaign at the end of November with a goal of raising $20,000 by December 31. So far 62 donors have helped us raise $18,025.67. THANK YOU to all who have donated and THANK YOU to those that will. Please continue to hold abundance for the Celebration Circle in your heart. And if you would like to help us reach our goal you can make a one time or a recurring donation by clicking here. We only have $1,974.33 left. Can you help us get there? Every amount makes a difference! We can do this together because We Are One!
With gratitude for the gift that YOU are,
     Zet Baer

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.


http://www.celebrationcircle.org/donate