Sunday, October 26, 2014


            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.

           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.

           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."

           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.

           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,

Saturday, October 18, 2014


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.

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.

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,

Saturday, October 11, 2014


            My sweet daughter, Sarah, recently bestowed one of the greatest honors of my life, when she asked me to officiate her upcoming wedding. At age 35, she has finally found the man she wants to make this commitment with, so she and Ralph invited us to be there for their beachfront ceremony on the Spanish island of Ibiza on October 23rd. We are really excited about the wedding - to say nothing of the joy in receiving this all-expense-paid trip to The Netherlands and Spain, courtesy of our son-in-law-to-be.

            But we've all had to travel quite a long, sometimes strained journey of relationship to get to this joyful juncture in our lives, because Sarah was born and raised in Den Haag, five thousand miles and seven time zones away from San Antonio. I'll spare you the details of the story, but some of the major plot points involve my falling in love with her mother when I returned to my native country (The Netherlands) at age 25, simultaneously seeking my fortune as a professional musician and fleeing from the wreckage of my first marriage. As so often happens with rebound relationships, Sarah's mother and I broke up after a few months, only to find out that she was pregnant. Conflicts ensued, I fled back to Texas before Sarah was born, and wound up hitting rock bottom, both personally and professionally, before I finally met Zet and started turning my life around.
            It wasn't until Sarah was six years old and started asking questions about her absent father that her mom allowed us to visit or make contact. Our initial meetings were strained and awkward, but everyone involved did their best to stay in touch across the many miles, emotions and cultural differences that lay between us. Over the years, Zet and I invested our discretionary income and vacation time in order to travel there - or have Sarah come here - for our all-too-brief visits every other year, slowly closing the gap between us and building a meaningful relationship.

            Thankfully, we eventually formed a deep social bond to accompany our genetic ties, especially after the birth of our beloved grand daughter, Aiko, which enabled Sarah and I to acknowledge the joys and difficulties of parenthood together. And now, thanks to Ralph's generosity and the magic of Skype, we see each other regularly, and are enjoying a much deeper relationship, which continues to evolve and enrich our lives.
            I'm telling you all of this in order to share our family's joy, as well as to address the fact that Zet and I will be away for the next three Sundays. This is only the second time in the twenty-two year history of Celebration Circle that we'll be absent for three Sunday Circles in a row - in part, because I felt that we "needed" to be there in order for things to go smoothly in the past. That is clearly no longer the case (if it ever was), because the Circle community has grown significantly in the past few years, and so has our relationship to it.

            At some level, Zet and I are, and will always be, the co-founders and "parents" of the Celebration Circle, but these days our "child" is much older, stronger and becoming ever-more independent of us under the leadership of the Council of Stewards and a growing group of volunteers. Over the next three weeks, a powerful slate of guest speakers and musicians will be working with our staff, Stewards, band, friends and volunteers to sustain the high level of energy we've been enjoying in the Circle on Sunday mornings and throughout the week.
            But they can't do it without you and all the others whose time, talent, treasure and presence make this community possible. We are asking for your support in attending Circle events, sending your blessings and raising the consciousness of Oneness that connects us all, whether Zet and I are there or not, whether it's next week or next year. It will take many hands and hearts to nurture the ongoing growth of our self-sustaining, independent and inclusive spiritual community - and I'm hopeful that you will be among them. Thank you for your support and participation.
           With gratitude and blessings,

Saturday, October 4, 2014


          This week I have been astounded time and again by the natural beauty around me. From the Great White Heron I saw resting along the old acequia trail, to the Cottontail Rabbit that hopped across my path early one morning. And the spider web attached to the rearview mirror of my car, even after driving 30 miles on the highway! The soft tufts of Old Man's Beard blowing gently through the wind. The magical patch of Rain Lilies that sprung up overnight after the first rains of the season. The sun-kissed golden colored Burr Oak leaves that have drifted to earth. The Purple Bindweed that attaches its tendrils to everything in its path. The soft pastel morning sunrise greeting me from the east.  The spectacular twinkling stars in the clear night sky. The fragrance of the Rosemary bush as I brush past it. The intoxicating scent of the Night Blooming Jasmine. The eerie night calls of the Bard Owl. The happy chirps of migrating Ruby-throat Hummingbirds drinking from our feeder.

            Taking my morning walk, I ask myself:  Where am I when the beauty of nature is here and I don't see it, hear it, smell it? How much time do I spend fretting in my head instead of BEING in my heart? Am I more aware now because autumn has arrived, my favorite time of the year? I know that there is beauty all around me at all times, just waiting for me to see, smell, hear, touch and acknowledge. So, then...why don't I experience it all of the time?

            What can I do to remind myself to remain more fully attuned to my natural surroundings more often? I don't know "The Answer", but I feel that my willingness to take a deep breath - and to pay attention as fully as possible right now - is a good start.

Wishing you a wonderful autumn season,