Saturday, April 25, 2015


          It's been a particularly busy time in our household this week, given Zet's role as coordinator of the King William Fair, the annual, day-long, Fiesta party for 40,000+ people, which is zooming toward us at the speed of light. In addition to the day-to-day operations of the Circle, and my having had seven musical performances over the past ten days, our son, Mateo, is busy sending sparks flying as only a teenager in love can do. In short, it's Zoom Time at our house.



            Fifteen minutes after waking up this morning I find myself facing another To-Do List containing w-a-a-y more things to do than can get done in one day, and feeling rather overwhelmed. Fortunately, I've learned through experience that the very best thing to do at a moment like that is... nothing.  To simply sit still for a little while and breathe, release my need to Do and embrace my desire to Be.

            This process doesn't have to take a long time; just a minute or two is usually enough to get centered in the truth of who I AM - and that I AM is not limited or defined by what I do or try or buy.



            So that's what I'm doing now, remembering that regardless of what I accomplish on the physical plane, "my Purpose is to experience, explore and express the free flow of Spirit flowing through me, in a world of prosperity and peace, now."

            This statement of Purpose is a sentence that I've carefully crafted, re-crafted, nurtured and utilized often over the past 30 years, and it serves me well to embrace it now. As I expand into the spaciousness of my Soul Purpose at the feeling level, I am able to see my surroundings with fresh eyes. The floor, the furniture, the food on the counter, the yard outside the window are all shining, sparkling with aliveness.

            I open my heart to all of it, feeling compassion for myself, my sweet partner, Zet, our son, our home, and all of Creation, including the To Do list in front of me.  After all, it's something I've clearly created for myself as an opportunity to do what needs to be done, while simultaneously embracing the Oneness of all Life.



            Will I be able to sustain this feeling throughout the day? Highly unlikely. But it's here now. And, hopefully, I will be able to take my next action, whatever it may prove to be, from this space of feeling centered, free and unlimited. 

            And when I forget, as I probably will in awhile, I'll do my best to remember again. To pause and lift my vision up long enough to embrace whatever situation presents itself as yet another opportunity to experience, explore and express the free flow of Spirit fully, joyfully and gratefully. At least, that's my intention and that's my purpose -- and I'm sticking to it.

            With joy,


Friday, April 17, 2015


          It's that time of the year when the cold weather has clearly passed, the really hot weather is still (thankfully, hopefully) a few weeks distant - and the temperatures on any given day can swing from a pre-dawn chill in the 50's to a late afternoon high in the low 90's. For someone like myself, who is sensitive to ambient temperatures and always dresses for comfort, that means wearing multiple layers.

            It also means that our normally, well-ordered bedroom is currently filled with various piles of clothing in varying states of disorder, because we're still in the process of switching out our seasonal wardrobes, as we have been for a couple of weeks now. I really wish it were otherwise. Ideally, we'd already be finished with a quick, simple process of hauling summer stuff out of storage boxes and packing up the winter clothes in their place. But, we simply haven't done so yet, faced as we are with a combination of limited closet space, full work schedules, the need to wear layers and a desire to separate out unwanted items to donate to the upcoming Circle garage sale.



            Meanwhile, the random piles somehow made it easier to avoid making the bed; for shoes to wind up by the stairs, instead of on the shoe rack; for dirty laundry to pile up in the hamper.

            And yes, I'm fully aware that this is definitely a First World problem -- and I have absolutely nothing to complain about. Although we get almost all of our clothes free from clothes swaps or cheap at thrift shops, the stacks in our bedroom would still represent a state of incomprehensible affluence to a large percentage of the world's population.

            And yet, I can't help but notice how much the "messy" state of our bedroom has been bothering me. Apparently, not enough to shove aside some of the other tasks on my To Do List in order to organize this clutter. But still enough to keep me walking in circles while getting dressed in the morning, or get flustered while putting away fresh laundry, when I finally got around to it. Enough to leave me muttering under my breath periodically about the need to "clean up this mess,"and start and end the day feeling like a failure for not having accomplished this task yet.



            But, now, in this moment, I'm choosing to look around our bedroom with fresh eyes and a deep sense of gratitude. To feel grateful for the abundance of clothing, of course, but also for the gift of owning of this beautiful home; this lovely, light-filled, 2nd-floor room overlooking acres of trees and greenbelt; for a loving partner who shares my preference for a tidy, uncluttered living quarters, but doesn't get as "hung up about it" as I do, when things are temporarily untidy.

            Sinking into my breath and the silence of this precious, present moment, I suddenly hear that the critical, Monkey Mind chattering away just a few moments earlier was merely echoing the voice of my late, much-loved, but very strict and often-judgmental mother, who struggled to deal with her own issues of control and self-worth with limited resources, while raising six rambunctious sons in a foreign country. That I wasn't just looking at this room now, but at the bedrooms and bathrooms of my childhood, which could never be clean enough for her liking.



            Rather than arguing with either of those voices, I choose to simply observe and listen as they gently fade away, leaving me alone to simmer in silence and gratitude a few seconds longer.

            Soon enough, Fiesta 2015 will be history, and Zet's work schedule will slow down enough so that she and I can spend some time putting up these clothes. It might even happen tomorrow. Who knows? And frankly, who cares? Because, in the meantime, this room, this wardrobe and this guy sitting here are all perfect, just the way we are - for now...   And now.  And now.


With gratitude and blessings,


PS: Our next Circle Garage Sale will be held May 15-16! So if you, too, are doing some spring cleaning/wardrobe re-organization, please keep that in mind. See details below. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015


           I must admit that after having produced and performed over 3,000 Celebration Circle weekly gatherings, concerts, classes, retreats and other events over the past twenty three years, there are times when Zet and I ask ourselves why we keep doing this. I can't speak for her, but I often invoke the joy of serving Spirit or living my Life Purpose as being the reason for doing this work, which is what I've been doing professionally, in one form or the other, ever since December 1980.

            However, there are definitely times when the sheer energy it takes to load my car with gear, to coordinate volunteers, to deal with the logistics of the various venues and menus, time and again, gets to be such a strain that the Monkey Mind in my brain goes into overdrive, finding fault with everything I have or haven't done.
            That was certainly true last Saturday night, as I was making my fifth consecutive round trip across Hemisfair Plaza, schlepping sound equipment and refreshments from the street curb to the UNAM building for "Voices, Vibes and Visions," our evening of poetry, music and interactive visual art. Monkey Mind was in particularly fine form; he kept up an intermittent chant of doubt throughout the load-in and setup process, which he raised to a high pitch as the first poet began reading to an audience of just a few dozen people.

            Fortunately, my initial disappointment over the low attendance was quickly erased by the swirling waves of sweet-but-savory, co-creative energy sweeping through the auditorium, transporting us all to an artistic Nirvana for a couple of hours. What an amazing experience it was to feast on the varied styles of tasty word stew being cooked VVV Poets 2015 Michael Chase Photo
up by such gifted poets (Mariana Aitches, Lahab Assef Al-Jundi, Jim LaVilla-Havelin, Ignacio Magaloni, Natalia Trevino and emcee, Don Mathis), stirred by the amazingly vivid, acrylic-on-canvas portraits that Thom Ricks was painting - and then served up with a whole slew of new songs I co-created on the spot, combining the afore-mentioned poetry, artistry and spirituality with the musicianship of Kevin Lewis (bass), Michael Madison (percussion), and Jake Pacheco (vocals). Everyone present agreed that it was truly a magical event on multiple levels, regardless of how many people were there to witness it.

            Much later, long after the last of the evening's details has been handled, the supplies had been hauled off and the equipment stashed away for the next program, I find myself flooded with gratitude. Not just for the particular blessings of this event, but for the larger gift of my unique career path that has come to include writing, music, movement, meditation, sacred psychology, community and creativity to an extent far beyond anything I could ever have imagined when I began this work 35 years ago. I'm feeling incredibly blessed to be doing this and deeply grateful for the support of so many people (including you, dear reader) that make it possible.

            Seen from this larger perspective, the trials, doubts and Monkey Mind pouts are all part of this gift, too, for they play an integral role in helping me face up to the shadow side of this work. Compelling me to remember, that I don't want to stay stuck in the yuck of old fears and Thom Ricks painting Jim - WOW photo by Michael Chasepatterns. Encouraging me to release ego attachments to particular outcomes, and trust that the income from any given event or fiscal year is just part of a much larger current that always continues to flow, whatever I do, wherever I go. Inspiring me to stop counting how many people are in attendance and start invoking the immeasurable presence of the countless, supportive souls whose gifts of time, attention and treasure, given so generously over the span of several decades, have helped make this moment possible.
            Hmmm... I'm pretty sure there's a new song, story or poem in there somewhere, just waiting to be written. Or as one of my literary heroes, Garrison Keillor, once said, "Nothing bad ever happens to a writer. Everything is material."

With gratitude and blessings,

Friday, April 3, 2015


             I wrote the following as a reminder to myself (and hopefully, you, too), that there is real power in creating and sharing our poems, songs and stories. I firmly believe that each of us has some measure of artistry that longs to be expressed. Whether we do so publicly or privately matters less than the doing itself, not just for our own sake, but for the sake of shifting the collective consciousness of our species beyond the unsustainable limitations, exploitations and separations of our dominant-but-dying culture. 

            It is in this spirit, too, that I invite you to join us this Saturday for "Voices, Vibes & Visions," a collaborative evening of poetry readings, live music and interactive visual art being produced by Celebration Circle at UNAM San Antonio in Hemisfair for the second year. Not only will the event feature five, well-respected poets reading from their work, alongside in-the-moment paint on canvas and live, interactive music  -- but you will be invited to participate in the creative process in ways that feed your spirit, too.  Suffice it to say that the creative space will not be limited to the stage!  (For event details, see below) 
            Whether or not you can join us in person on Saturday night, I hope you'll find this poem to be a helpful reminder to YOUR inner poet, whether sleeping or waking. 


    With gratitude and blessings,




Awaken the sleeping poet gently

remind her that there is no time to wait

for that other, more perfect moment to arise,

because there is a fresh crop of over-ripe words

waiting to be plucked, washed and served up



Never mind her many good excuses

for wanting to stay in bed

and doze a little while longer

there are stronger reasons that must be addressed


We no longer know how the story ends,

so we need to hear her tell it

in her own words

again and again


Awaken the sleeping poet softly

but please do not nag or rush her

for the time she spends waking

is an integral part

of the poem she is writing

even now

as she slumbers.

                 © 2015 Rudi Harst