Saturday, August 29, 2015


          I walk into the gallery at SAY Sí the way I often do on Sunday mornings, carrying an armload full of equipment while going through an extensive mental checklist of things that need to get done before our 10:00am sound check. Half a dozen folks are already hard at work, setting up the sound system, making coffee and putting out chairs as I check in with our technical director, Eddie Wise, who's explaining the intricacies of a new technique for running the mixing console. I'm happy to be here, but I'm a little tired and my mind is going at least a hundred miles per hour while I bounce from one task to the next.
            All of a sudden, five year-old Anjéa enters the room with her father, smiling even more radiantly than usual, eager to show off the gap where a tooth is missing from her lower jaw. "I lost my tooth!" she said, as excitedly as a grownup might have exclaimed, "I just won the $1,000,000 lottery!" This isn't exactly a surprise, because Anjéa has made a point of demonstrating how wiggly her tooth was getting over the past several weeks of Sunday Circles. Still, she is so fully alive and joyful in this moment that I can feel my mood shift instantly in response to her dazzling smile because her joy is definitely contagious!
            What's so striking is that she isn't just happy because the adults are paying extra attention to her, or because the Tooth Fairy left two dollars under her pillow, but because she can see where her new front tooth is beginning to appear, barely showing above the gum line. More than anything, she's simply exulting in this physical proof of her own growth, in the visible march of loss and gain moving through her body.
            What she's really saying is, "Look - I'm growing! Isn't that exciting?" Of course, it is wonderful to witness, and I'm happy for her happiness, but for a few moments, I'm also feeling a little jealous, too... How long has it been since I've felt THAT much joy in the awareness of my own body, much less celebrated the losses in my life with the absolute certainty in the goodness of growth that she's demonstrating?  
            But then, a few seconds later, a new thought occurs, as if it's been injected directly into my brain stem by the gleam in her eyes, demanding to know: "Why not celebrate your losses as well as your gains? Why not feel that much joy and enthusiasm right now? Since the word "enthusiasm" comes from the Greek word enthous, meaning "possessed by a god" (theos), why not come back to the awareness of the ever-renewing, free flow of Spirit moving through you and all creation, right now?"
            Why not, indeed?
With gratitude and enthusiasm,

          PS: Speaking of radiant energy, last Sunday's Circle was truly blessed by Josh Glenn performing his latest, multi-layered, symphonic compositions. He's shared his music with us on a number of occasions over the past five years, and has always been well received, but this time it was quite evident that his artistry and originality as a guitarist, vocalist and composer have taken a quantum-leap forward. He got a rousing standing ovation, and a wonderful reception when he announced that he's begun production on his first solo CD project, for which he's seeking pre-sales support via You can hear some his preliminary tracks and decide if you, too, would like to add your support by clicking here
.  Personally, I can't wait to hear what the fully produced version of the Josh Glenn Experiment sounds like! 

Friday, August 21, 2015


          I greet this day with a grateful heart.Starting now, I choose to cultivate an attitude of gratitude foreveryone, everything and every situation I encounter today. I embracethis day as adventure, knowing that only good can come from mywillingness to greet whatever I encounter today as a gift, waiting tobe unwrapped and received with the expectation of grace arriving.

If at any point I findmyself resisting one of these "gifts," I am committed toshifting my perspective at the moment I become aware of myresistance. I chose to travel my path with a grateful heartthroughout the day ahead.

            However, I also give myself permission in advance to "fail" --- knowing full well that I will almost certainly forget this attitude of gratitude as being my chosen modus operandi. Having given myself this permission, I am free to notice my resistance behaviors without judgment, whenever I encounter them. Rather than beating myself up for having forgotten, I will simply accept that this "forgetting" too, is just another gift I've been given, as an opportunity to remember to shift back gently to my chosen stance: "I greet everyone and everything I encounter today with a grateful heart."
            Even as I write these words, I noticed that my neck and left shoulder are particularly stiff and sore this morning. It hurts. I feel myself starting to complain, rooting through my memories of yesterday to find out what "caused" this pain. "Surely it was something you ate, or did, or didn't do that made this happen," grumbles my Monkey Mind, doing his best to add another level of shame to this Blame Game he just loves to play...
            But rather than arguing with him, resisting the bodily sensations of soreness and spending time trying to find the culprit who's causing this discomfort, I remember that this pain, too, is a gift. One that I choose to greet with an attitude of gratitude. Within moments of making this new choice, I become aware that this "pain in the neck" is a clear body signal that I am out of alignment with myself, and that this is a personalized, hand-delivered invitation for me to do what it takes to get my life back into balance. No need to go into the details here; I'm clear on what needs to be done, and feel a renewed commitment to actually doing it.
            I'm also feeling grateful for the appointment I made earlier in the week to see my chiropractor later this morning. Based on our long-term relationship stretching back over 25 years, I'm pretty sure Dr. Owen can provide significant relief from this pain, as long as I do my part. This awareness, in turn, reminds me to be grateful that our family has enough money to pay for his services - which, in turn, triggers an overwhelming sensation of the abundance permeating every facet of my life.
            "Baloney," interjects my Monkey Mind into this internal conversation I'm having, wanting desperately to pop my balloon. "That's so phony! You're just being Pollyanna Positive."
            I can feel myself starting to contract in reaction to that old Monkey Mind voice, once again. It's a syndrome I know all too well. But today, rather than trying to drown him out, I remember that his presence, too, is a gift, as long as I remember to shift my perspective and welcome his voice as a reminder that I have a new choice now. And now. And now...
            I love the way this Game of Gratitude works! Which is why I choose to repeat what I said earlier, " I greet everyone and everything I encounter today with a grateful heart."  That's my story, and today, I'm sticking to it.
With gratitude and blessings,

Sunday, August 16, 2015


          This morning, watching as our increasingly independent, sixteen year-old son, Mateo, got on his bike and rode off to buy breakfast tacos on his own, without asking for any cash, much less my parental permission or companionship, my mind drifted off on a dewy-eyed trip down memory lane, back to the days of his youth. General reminiscences of his soft little fingers tucked into mine while crossing busy streets, gave way to images of one particular day when Mateo was about four years old and we were playing a game he had made up called "The Guy in Charge". This involved a role-reversal, where for a couple of hours, Mateo was the one in charge of making decisions about where we went, what we ate and how to do/not do things. Of course, I reserved the parental veto power during the game, though I did my best to refrain from exercising that option except when absolutely necessary for the sake of our safety or financial sanity.
            This time, Mateo wanted to ride a VIA trolley car, so we parked the car near downtown and found our way to the nearest bus stop. He picked which of the two trolley routes we took, paid the conductor our fare and chose our seats. But a few minutes later, bored with sitting on the trolley, he wanted to get off and run around. I was a little disappointed, since we'd only ridden a few blocks and felt we hadn't gotten our money's worth of bus fare. But with my fingers firmly tucked into the grasp of his little hand, he led me off the bus at the next stop, and onto the steps of the nearby gazebo at Alamo Plaza.
            Soon he was zooming up and down those steps, climbing the railings and running laps around the snow-cone vendors, insisting that I keep up with him every step of the way. I did my best for awhile, but was no match for his boundless wellspring of youthful energy, so I was grateful when he wanted to go look inside the Alamo, where I hoped to find a bench where I could sit and rest. But he quickly realized that this was one of those buildings where people are supposed to stay very quiet and keep their hands off everything - and he wanted no part of it. But he also knew that his father wasn't up for any more running or climbing. It was time for a different strategy.
            Grabbing one of the free maps of the Alamo grounds from the information rack he headed out the door. Once outside, he unfolded the map and studied it very intently, turning it this way and that. "What are you doing?" I asked.
            "Deciding which way to go on this map," he said with a disarming mixture of nonchalance and confidence, as if he really could read the words and discern directions, which he clearly couldn't. But without skipping a beat, he pointed confidently down the street, saying, "The map says we should go that way!"
            Off we went, wandering through the heart of downtown San Antonio and the Riverwalk area, with Mateo "reading" his map periodically, each time pointing in another direction with absolute certainty that "the maps says we should go this way!" Down to the river level, up to the street level, back down to the river, going in and out of one store after another. He found the lobby of the Riverwalk Hyatt Hotel particularly entertaining, because there were several sets of glass-sided elevators, from which we could watch an endless parade of pedestrians walking through the sprawling, fountain-filled lobby below while zooming up and down between eleven floors. Each time we emerged from one elevator, he would consult the map again, and then solemnly declare, "The map says we should take that elevator next." It was hilarious, though I did my best to keep a straight face.
            It was probably during our ninth or tenth consecutive elevator ride that I couldn't help chuckling, when I realized that what made this particular adventure so funny was that Mateo was mirroring the way I often act when faced with Big Decisions: I tend to defer to someone else for advice or instructions on what to do. Whether it's a therapist, a friend or the author of some bestselling self-help book, there's this temptation to think that some outside "authority" can make the decisions for me, ignoring the fact that there really is no external map that can guide me through the complex interior landscape of my soul's path through life.
            Of course, others can and do provide valuable insights. But sooner or later, I have to set aside my "map" and all the other external sources of information, then turn within to align with the Still Small Voice, and claim the power of making my own choice(s) from the inside out. Only then can I stop zooming up and down on the "elevators" of thoughts, feelings and emotions long enough to return to the place of peace, harmony and abundance which is my birthright...
            That was twelve years ago. Although his soft little fingers have become much longer and stronger, and he's much more likely to be playing his guitar than wandering around downtown with me, the lesson he taught me that morning continues to come in handy. Thanks, Mateo!
With joy, 

Friday, August 7, 2015


There I was, stuck in the middle of the Bay Bridge, halfway between San Francisco and Berkeley. Rush hour traffic was at a total standstill, with no sign of movement in sight. Tired after yet another long day of driving around the Bay Area in the company car. Part of me felt like most of the other drivers around me, alternately honking their horns in frustration or sitting slumped down in their seats in resignation. But then I noticed the light of the setting sun, shimmering through the thick fingers of fog rolling in from the Pacific, crawling through the cables of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a sight I'd seen several times since Zet and I had moved to the Bay Area three years earlier, but somehow this sunset was different, more compelling.



            Entranced, I got out of the car and walked across five lanes of traffic to get a better look from the sidewalk.  Sinking into a tai chi stance and slowly breathing in the beauty spread out before me, I couldn't help feeling extremely lucky that while my car was stuck in the traffic jam around me, I felt totally free. Suddenly I knew the time had come to quit my job and beginning living my dream of creative spiritual expression. So I gave my two weeks' notice, and set off on this amazing journey that I've been living ever since. At the time it seemed a little crazy, but as I look back on that moment 30 years later, it makes perfect sense.

            I'd begun singing professionally in 1972, as a sophomore at Trinity University, eager to "make it" in the music business, without having any idea what that really meant. So I spent the next ten years flailing around the local music scene, punctuated by two extended stays in England and the Netherlands, a couple of disastrous romances, and multiple internal collisions with my lower self before I had the good fortune to meet and marry Zet, who supported me in becoming more focused, organized and successful.



            Eager to broaden our horizons and further my musical career, we packed our life into a VW bug and moved to New York in June 1982. We arrived in Manhattan with $900 in cash and an invitation to crash on a friend's sofa bed, neither of which lasted very long. Needing money to pay rent, we got hired to help produce the Whole Life Expo, billed as the first large-scale New Age fair, focused on promoting holistic health and a wide spectrum of spiritual teachers and teachings. Fortunately, it proved to be a big success, and Zet and I were invited to move to California and produce subsequent Expo's planned for San Francisco and Los Angeles.

            So we packed up our VW once again and moved to Berkeley, where we lived in an intentional community and got further acquainted with the astounding assortment of spiritual paths and alternative lifestyle choices California had to offer. My soul was on fire, but somewhere in the midst of all that hustle and bustle, I lost touch with my reason for singing.

            By the beginning of 1984, I hung up my guitar, quit working with the Expo and became an administrative assistant for Kaiser Permanente, a vast health maintenance organization. It was my first and only job in the corporate world, after years of being a free-spirited musician, event producer and waiter/bartender. I wasn't fond of the work but kept plugging away because it paid well enough to allow me to do what I really wanted to do: explore my burgeoning spiritual path.



            Then one Sunday morning, that path led us to the Unity Church of Walnut Creek, where I heard both the minister and the featured vocalist sharing their ministry from a place of depth, love and affirmation that was totally different from anything I'd experienced before. With both my spiritual and musical appetites whetted, I soon became part of their musical ministry team, where I learned to write and sing from a Spirit-centered place of service, rather than an ego-centered need to succeed.

            At about the same time, a friend gave me a copy of You Can Have It All written by Arnold Patent. The book described a path to living a purpose-driven life, focused on a simple, but powerful reading of metaphysical principles which moved me so deeply that I wrote the author, who immediately wrote back asking me to sing for a personal growth workshop he was leading in the Bay Area that very same week.

            We quickly developed a wonderful working relationship, and I began travelling all over the country with Arnold, providing music for at least two weekend workshops every month. During the weeks I wasn't travelling with him, I recorded my first album of spiritual songs, continued singing at the Unity Church in Walnut Creek, and began receiving invitations to perform in other New Thought churches and spiritual centers.



            Within a few months, my budding career as a spiritual troubadour was booming, and I was raring to go fulltime. But when I told Arnold that I intended to quit my job at Kaiser Permanente in order to "follow my bliss," he strong advised me against it and patiently explained the need to develop an unconditional love and acceptance for my work, before I could move on. "How long will that take?" I asked, feeling deflated.

            "Don't worry," he replied, "you'll know when you're done. In the meantime, stay focused on loving yourself and your job, just the way they are, until you feel at peace." So, that's what I did, working at my day job while travelling and singing on the weekends, deepening my spiritual studies and participating in a support group which helped me stay focused on the task at hand. It took over a year, but just as Arnold had promised, I knew exactly when the moment had arrived as I stood there on the Bay Bridge, feeling deep peace while stuck in a rush hour traffic jam.

            That's how I got started on this path of service as a writer, performance artist and Spiritual Director of the Celebration Circle. Then, as now, I choose to remain focused on my purpose, which is "to experience, explore and express the free flow of Spirit, now...  And now... and now..."  



            I love this work that I now have the privilege of doing, and I'm deeply committed to it, but it's not all sweetness and light. There are plenty of challenges and times when I find myself feeling confused or uncertain about what to do in a particular situation. When that happens, I do my best to recall the feeling of standing on the Bay Bridge and the metaphysical principles which brought me there, including: (1) It's helpful to have a vision of where you want to go, but it's vital to come to peace with where you are first; (2) change is seldom a linear process, unfolding in spurts and sputters that require patience and persistence; and (3) you've got to do it by yourself, but you can't do it alone, i.e. it sure helps to have the on-going support of like-minded people to help you stay on purpose. Thanks for being part of my journey!


            Then, as now, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


I keep The Book of Awakening by my bedside, and it has become a valued companion. Written by a remarkably wise and prolific poet, philosopher and spiritual teacher, Mark Nepo, it has a daily gift to offer. 


One reading contain a particularly powerful message, and I requested permission from the publisher to share it here, which has been granted. So as we celebrate today's full moon, a "blue moon" that occurs only once every 2 ½ years, I invite you to read it while feeling the power of letting go of whatever no longer works in your life. It seems to me that this burning heat of summer is as good a time as any to "burn up" that which no longer serves you.

In joy,




Burning your way to center

is the loneliest fire of all.

You'll know you have arrived

when nothing else will burn.


At first this sounds rather somber, but from Moses to Buddha to Jesus, the deepest among us have shown that living is a process of constantly paring down until we carry only what is essential.


It is the same in the human journey as in the natural world. As the center grows stronger, what once was protective turns into a covering, like tree bark or snake skin, that is now in the way, and, sooner or later, we as spirits growing in bodies are faced with burning old skins, like rags on sticks, to light our way as we move deeper and deeper into the inner world, where the forces of God make us one.


When faced with the need to keep going inward, we are confronted with a very difficult kind of life choice: like carving up your grandmother's table for firewood to keep your loved ones warm, or leaving a job that has been safe and fulfilling in order to feel vital again, or burning an old familiar sense of self because it's gotten so thick you can't feel the rain.


In truth, always needing to stay immediate by removing what is no longer real is the working inner definition of sacrifice-giving up with reverence and compassion what no longer works in order to stay close to what is sacred.

  • o   Sit quietly and meditate on the edge of yourself that meets the world. Feel its thickness.
  • o   As you breathe, feel the inner edge of yourself that meets your spirit. Feel its softness.
  • o   As you breathe, pray for the edge that is you to be as thin as possible and only as thick as necessary.


From THE BOOK OF AWAKENING © 2000 Mark Nepo, used with permission from Red Wheel Weiser, LLC Newburyport, MA and San Francisco CA