Sunday, December 27, 2015

Reason for the Season A Musical Gift for You December 2015

        During a full week of hosting and attending multiple holiday seasonal gatherings, it's easy for me to start feeling overwhelmed. To counteract this feeling, I do my best to pause throughout the day, to breathe quietly and embrace the gift of the Precious Present. As I do so, I often find myself humming snippets of "The Reason for the Season" - which is the song I wrote several years ago specifically for this purpose.

        Last Sunday in the Circle, Sarah sang a particularly lovely version which I'm sharing with you here. You can click on video link above to hear it, or perhaps simply read the lyrics below. In any case, I wish you rich blessings for the Holiday Season, and hope that you, too, will find time(s) to stop and savor the Precious Present.

  THE REASON FOR THE SEASON                                                         

The Reason for the Season can't be wrapped in pretty paper

or tied up with a ribbon into a perfect bow

you won't find it in the tinsel hanging high up in a treetop

or at a dinner party with candles all aglow

Because the Reason for the Season doesn't stay in far-off places

nor wait for the Wise Men to arrive out of the East

no the Reason for the Season is much closer than imagined

it's as simple as remembering to feel your heart at Peace.


No the Reason for the Season can't be bought by going shopping

or dropping a few quarters in some sidewalk Santa's pot

and you probably won't find it writing cards or baking cookies

or giving to the homeless, who have less than what you've got

For the Reason for the Season can't be found in piles of presents

or baked inside a turkey or a slice of pumpkin pie

no the Reason for the Season is really rather simple

it's the Light of Love rekindled in the hearts of you and I.


Hark the Herald, angels sing, glory to the Newborn King

In the Little Town of Bethlehem and in your hometown, too

As the Child was born of Mary and the Buddha born in silence

and the dawn is born in darkness, may the Light be born in You

in me and you

With joy and blessings to you and yours,


Saturday, December 19, 2015


     As we approach the Winter Holidays, I invite you to spend a few minutes in truly receiving the gift of the Precious Present - "the gift that keeps on giving." This gift manifests in many different ways, but in this moment, you're invited to experience it as Divine Light manifesting in you -- and to remember that it is a very real "reason for the Season"  at this time of the year, with its colder days and longer, darker nights. 
     The gathering darkness takes many forms: personal, political, environmental and social, and it is all too easy to succumb to the many voices of anger, fear and hatred surrounding us. But the Divine Light calls us to see beyond these seeming illusions and focus on a higher, larger vision instead. To focus on the One Light and the Deep Abiding Peace which forms and informs us and everything arounds us.  It is the Light of the Sun, giving life to all on Planet Earth, and it is the Light of the Holy One, vibrating through all of Creation. It is the Light of the Christ Child being born and reborn in you, and it is the Divine Light of Consciousness made manifest in each and everyone of us who is open to the possibilities of Conscious Co-Creation.
     Whether you feel fully aflame, bursting with the Living Light - or able to locate just the tiniest spark in the corner of your heart - know that this Light is Divine, and fills all space and all time. That it is more than enough to Light your way forward on the Path of Life, one day at a time, one small step at a time, one breath at a time, Now.. and Now... and Now... 
     You are also invited to be mindful of the darkness of hatred, war, greed, global warming and environmental devastation which cast their growing shadows over our precious, blue-green planet. Living in denial is not healthy or helpful, so it is important to acknowledge the feelings of fear and despair that sometimes arise in the face of such darkness on both the personal and the planetary level.
     And yet, here, in the silence of this moment, in the safety of this space, you're invited to release all judgements. To choose anew. To see the contractions of darkness for what they are, and then feel the power of choosing to align yourSelf with the expansiveness of the Eternal Light, flowing to you, through you, as an Amazing Peace, a Divine Presence, right here, right now.
     Feel that you are not alone in this process, for there are many others in the Celebration Circle community, as well as countless other Light Workers throughout the world who share this vision and are joined in this consciousness with you. Together we affirm that we are undeterred by our fears, even as we feel them fully, for we find hope in welcoming and embracing the Divine Light. We find hope in the Light we are kindling, whether alone or in one another's presence... hope in our songs and prayers and silences... hope in our actions, taken one step a time...hope in this very moment...a moment pregnant with possibilities for peace, justice and well-being for All.
     We affirm that the Divine Spark is alive and burning in the heart of each and every being on the planet.  And we reaffirm our willingness to see, feel, nurture and support that Divine Spark within ourselves, each other, and all we encounter. May All Beings be Blessed by our willingness to remember and affirm,  LET THERE BE LIGHT!

With blessings on your Holiday Season,

What does the Celebration Circle mean to you?

For Sylvia and Drew, who both work on Sundays and are seldom able to attend Circle gatherings, it's a favorite website where they can watch spiritually meaningful videos and listen to meditations together. For Ronnie, who lives in Denver, but frequently visits her elderly parents in San Antonio, it's a valuable way to sustain her spiritual life while she's far from her own home.
But for Adriana, a hard-working single mother of two, whose family attends almost every Sunday, it's a chance to feel both uplifted and relaxed, while her youngsters are being nurtured in the Children's Circle. For Rick and Sherry, it's a place where their widely-differing faiths have a common meeting ground. Lara enjoyed a much-needed weekend of comfort and tranquility at our Spring Retreat in the aftermath of a difficult divorce. Meanwhile, Mark, Jill and Vince are grateful to have a variety of Circle gatherings where they can meet and mingle with other like-minded, single folks in a relaxed, purposeful way. And Maria, living in Columbia, is grateful for the inspirational quotes sent each day that help her remain centered in her busy life.
The names above have been changed, but the people and circumstances are all true. Just like you, these folks are all fed through their connection to the Celebration Circle, whether they attend seldom or frequently, live in San Antonio or far away. And, it's up to individuals like us to support the Circle financially to help insure that it will be there for us in 2016, just as it has been for the past 23 years.
The fact is that we are a non-traditional, non-dogmatic spiritual community with no official membership rolls, and the majority of our supporters attend our gatherings somewhat sporadically. But, at the same time, we are also a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, and like any other business, we have fixed expenses and financial obligations that continuously function day in, day out, all year long.
Please help us maintain a solid financial foundation by making a year-end contribution to the Celebration Circle so we can continue to provide opportunities for spiritual connections to happen.  

In any case, thank you for your support - past, present and future. Wishing you and yours a peaceful holiday season! With gratitude and blessings,

Celebration Circle Council of Stewards
Rudi Harst, Spiritual Director
Zet Baer, Executive Director

Friday, December 11, 2015


     Armand and Angelina, two truly delightful, metaphysically inclined, musical friends, spent the night at our house earlier this week, as they have a few times before. These wonderful, wandering minstrels were passing through San Antonio on yet another 6-week tour through Texas and New Mexico, which is just a fraction of the 225 days that they will have spent away from their home in Orlando, Florida this year (down from 250 last year!).
     I've had the good the fortune to befriend scores of professional troubadours like them over the past forty years of being in the entertainment business, but these two are unique in the extent to which they've managed to maintain a loving, committed relationship while working, playing and staying so close to each, year after year. Lots of couples try it for a while, but few manage to last very long when the miles and trials of the road-warrior lifestyle start piling up, multiplied by the creative pressures that any two working artists would tend to encounter.
     But, fifteen years after they first met and began performing together, Armand and Angelina are still deeply in love with each other, and truly enjoy crisscrossing the country, sharing their musical messages of harmony, hope and heart-centered living via their elaborately-staged and highly-energized performance style.
     Zet and I have had many such professional travellers stay in our home over the years, and while we've enjoyed all of them, Armand and Angelina have an unusual practice which makes them particularly easy and welcome houseguests:  they always bring their own bedding.
     Because they travel in a mini-van and often stay in a number of different homes and/or hotel rooms in any given week, they've developed an amazingly quick and efficient system of making any bedroom feel like "home."  Upon arriving at their new room for the night, they immediately strip, fold and store whatever linens their hosts have provided, and replace them by unrolling a big bundle containing their own queen-size sheets, blankets and pillows. Then, when it's time to leave, they simply remove and re-roll their bedding, and replace the host's clean sheets, leaving the room neat as a pin and ready for the next guest. Not only does this make life easier on their hosts, but also this technique helps the couple feel more "at home" wherever they go.
     In doing so, they not only demonstrated a handy travel tip, but also reminded me that it's possible to feel at home wherever I am, by simply taking a few minutes to "unroll" the free flow of Spirit that travels with me everywhere. Of course, that's easier said than done, but that doesn't make it any less possible or powerful. Thanks for the reminder, Armand and Angelina - and Happy Trails!
With joy and blessings, wherever your Holiday Season travels may take you,

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Top 5 Things You Really Should Know Before This Sunday

#1. This is the last Sunday to bring toys for the Inner City Development Center Christmas Toy Sale. This unique event allows qualified, low-income parents to buy toys with dignity, paying at a 90% discount, with all funds going to support the ICDC Food Pantry program. So your donation(s) will do double duty!
#2. It's also the last Sunday for the Circle ArtsMart, when Circle artists and vendors will be selling their art and craftworks before and after Circle, from 10:00-11:00am and 12:00-1:00pm. Great place to buy your Holiday gifts!
#3. You may need to take a different route to the Circle this Sunday because many downtown streets will be barricaded from 3am to 1pm for the SA Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. The ONLY sure-fire ways to get to SAY Sí will be via the South Alamo Street exit off Interstate 35, or the Probandt Street exit off Hwy 90.  You can check the race course map for details by visiting
#4.  We'll have even more music than usual on Sunday because our featured vocalist, Sarah Gabriel, who was supposed to sing last week but had to cancel due to illness, will be here this week instead. So I've decided to pack two week's worth of music into one morning, just because we've got a bunch of songs we want to sing for you!
#5. We're meeting in the Black Box Theater (one room over from the gallery space where we usually gather). We'll meet there through January 17th, due to a large exhibit of ceramic vessels by Danville Chadbourne that will be in the Main Gallery space during this period.
So there you have it: a new meeting space, toys, art, rock-n-roll marathon, and an extra large dose of uplifting music - all being served up with a smile this Sunday. It's definitely going to be a highly energetic morning around the Circle!
With joy and hopes of seeing you there,