Friday, May 30, 2014


          This is supposed to be my day off, but I'm already busy, running errands first thing in the morning. Having made a quick trip to the bank and grocery store, I'm picking up tacos for Mateo's breakfast, before heading home to clean the kitchen and start fixing lunch for family who are coming to celebrate Mateo's birthday in a few hours. Doing my best to relax, but still feeling a bit rushed as I come zooming out of the restaurant, tacos in hand.

            Standing on the sidewalk right outside the front door is a heavy-set, ruddy-faced, gray-haired man, holding a slender, tow-headed boy in one arm, while half-tickling, half-wrestling him with the other.  They are having a great time. The child is about a year old, and seems to be at least fifty years younger than the man, who is almost certainly his grandfather; there's a clear family resemblance in the cast of their eyes, the jut of their jaws.
            It's easy to see that they've played this little game many times before; there's a deep familiarity expressed in their joy as they continue jousting and jesting, testing each other's balance, taking turns giggling and squirming, time and again.

            He handles the child effortlessly with large, calloused hands, his biceps and forearms bulging under a well-worn, denim work shirt, reflecting a lifetime of physical labor. The two are fully engaged with each other, playing comfortably, paying no attention whatsoever to the steady stream of customers flowing in and out of the cafĂ©, many of whom find themselves caught up in their joy, smiling at the sight of these two, just as I am.
            Watching them makes my heart glow. Reminds me of those long-ago days when my son and I played similar games under similar circumstances. Re-affirms my faith in the underlying goodness of Life, in the continuity of love, the power of heartfelt connections being forged effortlessly, wordlessly between familial generations and total strangers alike.

            Yes, life can seem awfully fast and challenging at times, but these two shining souls are living proof that seeds of joy are constantly being planted, too, with the potential for blossoming at random, in times and places where we least expect them.
            Driving home, I find myself feeling deeply grateful for this reminder, while wondering what seeds of joy I can plant today. And then it occurs to me that one thing I could do is to write about this incident, then share it with you, ending the story with the same question that the grandfather/grandson have planted in my heart: What seeds of joy can YOU sow today? 
With gratitude and blessings,

Saturday, May 24, 2014


The bright afternoon sun
gently taps my shoulder
invites me to sit down
get still
be filled
with one small piece of the peace that
passes all understanding

my monkey mind keeps demanding
his right to keep
making plans for
a more perfect future
here and now

Resisting the concept of rest
it insists on
wandering restlessly through the hills
and valleys of old memories,
then go back to making
all the things that still need to be done:
in order to secure the fort against
the many changes and strangers
approaching from all sides

How it longs to hide,
to lock the door
pace the floor
build new fences
make more sense of everything,
to do anything
sit still
this moment
this silent embrace
this whispered voice
this one choice.

With blessings,

Friday, May 16, 2014


            My 62nd birthday is finally receding into the distance, after four days full of celebrations, meditations and conscious co-creations. My heart is filled to overflowing from the many, many warm hugs, birthday cards, e-mails, e-cards, phone calls and texts that I've received from loving friends and family this week.

            Sitting in the pre-dawn silence, feeling slightly lightheaded from this Love Buzz hangover, part of me wants to replay the details of the past three days over and over again. To cling to the warm fuzzies, to review the congratulations and affirmations I've received from my extended circle of support this week. Another part of me wants to hide from the stack of tasks and unanswered communications that have piled up on my desktop during those three days off, wanting to avoid them a little longer. Frankly, I just want to keep swimming around in this vast pool of juicy feelings, and floating in the energy field glowing all around me.

            But then I find myself wondering: Why does it have to be an either/or? Why chose between basking in the glow or getting down to the tasks at hand? Why not embrace both? No reason at all...
            So here I sit, surrounded by the shimmering light of the rising sun, dripping with the honey of unconditional love flowing towards me - not just from the many loving souls who've extended themselves towards me in these past few days - but by all of Creation, past, present and future. Breathing calmly, I visualize and affirm, again and again:

Now...  and Now... and Now...
Each moment brand new
There is nothing I need to learn, earn or do in order to make this happen.
I simply do whatever is mine to do, centered in the awareness that:
I AM being showered with blessings, Now...  and Now... and Now...

I AM not alone,
for I AM surrounded by Love,
filled with Light and
Guided by Infinite Intelligence,
helping me co-create the circumstances of my life.

Today, and always, I chose to remember:
I AM being showered with blessings, Now... and Now and Now.

Perhaps you, too, would consider taking a few moments to experience, explore and express this awareness for yourself. It certainly has brought many bright blessings to me and my house... In any case, that's my invitation, and I'm sticking to it.

With gratitude and joy,


Friday, May 9, 2014


           Upon returning home from last weekend's retreat, Zet and I received some very touching e-mail from one of the participants. With her permission, here are a few of her words, slightly edited for the sake of brevity and protecting the identity of the woman I'll call Martha:
            I couldn't help crying at the service this morning. Every word, no matter how positive and loving, just seemed to turn on the faucet a little more. It was so beautiful a morning, and I know I have not allowed myself to grieve. Well I haven't stopped crying yet.
            The [whole] retreat was magical, as always. [In the past] I have always participated fully, but this time I was low energy and couldn't seem to get out of myself. [Mostly] I slept, wept and walked. I couldn't even get the energy to go down to the waterside, but I sat on the little patio by my cabin and listened to everyone else who was down there. My sweet friend tried repeatedly to coax me down there, but I wouldn't budge. But... I did experience a time of renewal, a joy of still being alive... Thank you.

            Martha's experience is not that unusual, because quite often someone tells me that he can't come to our retreat, or that she hasn't been coming to our Sunday Morning Circle for a few weeks, "because I've been feeling really bummed out, and didn't want to bring my downer energy into the Circle."
            But as Martha discovered, it is precisely when you're feeling sad or confused that being in an openhearted, loving space can be particularly beneficial to you, and those around you.
            I mention this because this Sunday is Mother's Day, which is usually one of our best-attended SundayCircles of the year, a wonderfully rich and moving opportunity to remember and embrace our mothers collectively and individually. As we bring up fond memories and send forth blessings to our loved ones, the room inevitably gets filled to the brim with warm, fuzzy feelings, engendered by our songs, photos, poems, and prayers focused on our collective experience of the Divine Mother - as well as our individual moms.

            But, I also know that every year there are a number of people who won't attend our Mother's Day Circle, because they're still grieving their recently-deceased Loved One - or, perhaps because they had painful, dysfunction relationships with their parent(s) - and are therefore reluctant to attend such a "happy space," where everyone else seems so much more positive.
            Should you happen to feel like that this Sunday, please consider attending anyway. Because as much as we enjoy focusing on peace, love and joy in the Circle, we are also there to affirm the healing and empowerment that can come from facing and embracing the full spectrum of our thoughts and feelings in the context of the shared rituals, poetry, artistry, songs and silence we foster in the Circle. That's because our purpose is to honor and nurture the Sacred in ourselves, each other and ALL Creation - not just the fun stuff, the good feelings and smiley faces - but the dark places, the shadow spaces and the healing graces, too.

            Personally, I still miss my mother a lot, and based on past experience, I will probably shed some tears while thinking about her on Sunday, twelve years after her passing. But I am deeply grateful for the gift of having the Celebration Circle community and the public space it provides for my grief, as well as the rest of my often-conflicting thoughts and feelings, all of which are welcomed and affirmed in the context of our gatherings. I hope you feel the same way, too, and look forward to the possibility of seeing you in the Circlethis Sunday.

With gratitude and blessings,


Saturday, May 3, 2014


 I swore that I wouldn't do it again, but it looks like it's going to happen after all...
            For the past several years, each time there's been Circle Weekend Retreat, I've spent Friday afternoon throughSunday morning at Slumber Falls Camp, soaking up the delicious blend of love, peace and tranquility that are generated there.  It's truly heaven on earth to spend the weekend with a bunch of delightful, caring, creative people; eating fabulous meals; listening, learning, laughing, and dancing together; wading in the cool, clear Guadalupe River, or meditating in silence underneath a canopy of cedar and cypress trees, while a symphony of water sounds and birdsongs serenades us.
            These qualities always seem to come to a climax during our Sunday morning outdoor service at Vesper Point as we gather to worship at the overlook together, drinking in the vast view of the river snaking its way through the Guadalupe Valley, tumbling over the limestone rapids located two hundred feet below. I always find myself singing with heart wide open, sighing in deep peace, while crying silent tears of joy.

            But then, as soon as the service is over, I rapidly shift gears, pack up my guitar and related paraphernalia, and zoom forty miles back down Interstate Highway 35 to the "regular" Sunday Circle service starting at 11:00am in San Antonio.
            While I've always enjoyed the chance to bring a heart full of High Joy Vibrations back to the city and share it with those who didn't get to be at the retreat, it can be a little stressful, too, if traffic is unexpectedly heavy, or some other glitch pops up. More than once, I've slid into the Circle with just enough time to plug in my guitar, my heart racing as we kicked off the opening song. When it happened again last November, I decided that the next time, I'd stay at the retreat through Sunday afternoon, and enjoy a slow, easy ride home.

            But... then I had the opportunity to book singer/writer/guitarist, Erika Luckett, for this Sunday, May 4th - thanks to our good friend, Janet Hans, and the folks at Urban Campfires, who booked Erika for a concert on Saturday and arranged for her to stay over for the Sunday Circle. Erika has long been one of my all-time favorite female vocalists, because she has such a resonant, soulful voice, writes powerful lyrics, has stellar guitar-picking skills, sings in multiple languages, tells colorful stories and is a profound spiritual teacher, as well. No way am I going to miss the opportunity to hear her, much less the chance to co-create a tapestry of deeply moving music and meditation together. Can't pass that up!
            I really hope you'll be able to enjoy the weekend retreat, which is going to be a wonderful experience.  (And yes, you CAN still register if you haven't done so yet.  Just click here for a link to register on our website).
            But if you can't make it to New Braunfels, be sure to join me for the Sunday Morning Circle at the SA Garden Center, as we welcome Erika Luckett back to the Circle, along with fellow singer/guitarist, Lisa Ferraro. I guarantee you'll be glad you did, even if you have to drive in from out of town - as I will be doing, with a big smile on my face and a song in my heart.
             With blessings,