Saturday, January 30, 2016


    I got a number of responses to the piece I wrote in this space last week, about the experience of living without heating or cooking for a couple of days, in the middle of a South Texas cold front.
    Two of them were particularly interesting. One was from a relatively new online friend, Jo, who lives in an isolated cabin in northern Minnesota, just a few miles from the Canadian border, where the temperature was 28 degrees below zero - and that's without the wind-chill factor! The other note was from my long-time, long distance friend, Connie, who lives in a historic stone cottage in the highlands of Scotland, where indoor temperatures hovering in the 50's are just a fact of daily life for much of the year.
     Both wrote to thank me for reminding them of something that they already knew, but which they found helpful: that "cold" is mostly a state of mind, and that there's great power in choosing to feel peace, wherever we are and in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.
     The interesting thing is that their responses arrived five days apart, from separate sides of the globe, but each landed in my inbox at the perfect time, just as I was wrestling with some circumstances that had me feeling temporarily flummoxed. I won't bore you with the details of the situations involved, because they really don't matter.
     Suffice it to say that, once again, I was caught up in trying to slay imaginary dragons - when, PING!  Here was a timely, thoughtful greeting from Jo, thanking me for reminding him about the power of making conscious choices. But, in fact, his note came tapping me on the shoulder at just the right moment, inviting me to look up from my computer, glance up at the bright, blue sky and see beyond the self-imposed limitations of my current situation into the possibility of making a new choice.
     And then, four days later, it happened again. Another dragon, another exquisitely timed reminder from Connie. Once again, the boundaries of time and space melted, and the note she wrote with the intention of acknowledging my support arrived at the perfect moment to support me instead. Amazing how that works!
     Here's hoping that you, too, are feeling loving and loved, being supportive and supported, choosing to bless and being blessed by your willingness to see beyond the illusions of separation and limitation.

With gratitude and wonder,

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Home Sweet Home

     I love our home, and feel very blessed to live here. Surrounded by acres of greenbelt, our neighborhood looks and feels like a rural setting, even though we're actually located in the middle of a booming Southside commercial district, too.
     One of the few disadvantages of living in this house is that it's not connected to the city gas and sewage, so we've got to maintain a septic system for our sewage, plus a propane tank for our cooking and heating needs. For the most part, that's no big deal, as long as we remember to drain the one and fill the other on a regular basis, which hasn't been a problem - until last Friday night.
     Knowing that a cold front was supposed to blow in that night, I checked the gauge on the propane tank, only to find that it almost empty.  Hard to know exactly how much gas was left, but definitely not enough to get through a cold weekend. Bummer! It was after5pm, so there was no chance of getting a re-fill, because our propane supplier is already closed for the weekend. And if we let the tank get completely empty, the company will have to charge us a minimum of $35 for a state-mandated leak check - with the possibility that it could cost up to $200, depending on what's involved and how much time it takes.  And that's on top of the $350-$400 it normally costs for a fill-up. Ouch!
     I immediately turned the water heater to it's lowest setting, and shared the bad news with Zet and Mateo:  no central heating, long hot showers and or cooking for the next two days. No big deal, really. It's definitely what my friend, Charlie, would call "a First World problem," because it's just a temporary situation, and we have the money and resources to deal with it. It's not like we live in the outback somewhere. Past experience shows that as long as the outside temperature stays at around freezing, the temperature in our house will be about 52-55 degrees; chilly, but nothing that woolen sweaters and blankets can't handle. The quick, tepid showers probably won't be wonderful, but not bad, either.  I'll miss cooking, but we have an electric kettle for brewing hot tea, and we can always go out to eat, if we want.
     And that's probably how it would have turned out: a nice chance to snuggle up to each other on the sofa, catch up on family conversation and watch some Netflix. Unfortunately, the hard winds that blew in with the cold front Friday night also brought very high levels of cedar pollen, which lead to one of the worst cases of Cedar Fever I've ever had. Sneezing, coughing and hacking punctuated the next the next few days, and elongated the sleepless nights, spent tossing and turning, waking up every hour, coughing, trying to relax and go back to sleep
     By 4am Monday morning, I found myself in the middle of a full-blown Pity Party. Sleep deprived, with an aching chest and a runny nose, knowing it would be easier to breathe if I got up and got dressed, but not wanting to leave the warmth of the bed to go sit alone in the cold, dark living room, either. Longing to turn on the central heat, but unable to ignore the crummy feelings involved in the possibility of spending an extra $200 for a gas-leak test.
     There I was, rolled up into a tiny, little ball, feeling sad, stressed and alone with my fears, when all of the sudden a new awareness rose from somewhere deep inside, gently unfolding my body, bringing a smile to my heart and a deep sense of calm to my lungs. Reminding me, once again, that these feelings of deprivation and separation are just an illusion. That I AM truly blessed in this circumstance, and every circumstance in my life. For all the seeming No's (no sleep, no breath, no heating, no careful budget planning for unexpected expenses, no, no, no...), I was and AM surrounded by so many rich blessings: the warmth of my bed, the presence of my sweetly sleeping wife and son, a cozy home, plenty of food, and most of all, the rich, indwelling flow of Spirit moving to me and through me, filling every cell and fiber of my being with Life.
     A few minutes later, I fell into a deep sleep and didn't wake up until well after 8am, feeling deeply rested and truly blessed by yet another opportunity to learn to say Yes to the No's in my life, trusting that all is well, and all shall be well.

With gratitude,

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Audrey Palulis was a loving, creative presence in the Children's Circle almost every single Sunday morning during the past 12 years. 
Playful, caring, kind and clever, Audrey freely admitted to being a Big Kid herself. She loved sharing her passion for art and spirituality with our young people until she was struck and injured by a VIA bus last year. After an extended period of recovery from her injuries, she returned as an active part of our Sunday Morning Circles again, as recently as January 3rd. Then, last Thursday evening, January 7th, she died after being hit by another VIA bus that she was trying to catch.

A memorial service will be held on
Friday, January 15th, at 11:00am at 
Unity Church of San Antonio, 
1723 Lawndale, 78209.  
Rudi Harst  will officiate the service, 
supported by Sarah Gabriel (vocals) and 
Ray Palmer (keyboards). 
All members of the Circle community 
are invited to attend. 

Internment will be the following 
Friday, January 22 at 10:00am 
at Fort Sam Houston.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her honor can be made to the Celebration Circle in support of the Children's Circleprogram to which Audrey devoted so much of her time and energy over
the past 12 years.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Finding the Front Door


A few weeks ago I spent a couple of days house-sitting in a friend's quiet, secluded cabin in the Hill Country near Wimberley. Other than feeding her two dogs and three alpacas twice a day, I had no responsibilities, no schedule and nothing to do but spend time writing, meditating, playing guitar and walking outdoors. My idea of heaven on Earth...


Weather permitting, my friend likes to leave the doors wide open so her dogs have free access to the house, so that's what I did, too. One morning, I arose to find a sparrow had flown in through the front door of the screened-in porch, and was careening from screen to screen, desperately trying to get out. It was painful to watch the bird, scattering feathers again and again as it darted from corner to corner, beating up against the screen over and over, trying to escape.


At first I tried to help, but it was way too fast and too frightened for me to catch by hand, nor did it appreciate my clumsy efforts to gently shoo it toward the open doorway with a broom. The porch is only about 12' x 15', and the doorway is 3' wide, so seen from my perspective as an observer, it didn't look like it should be so hard to escape. But, rather than backing up and seeing the wide opening available, the bird just kept moving frantically from side to side, smashing into the same barriers over and over.


Feeling helpless, I finally walked outside and watched from a distance as the sparrow continued it's relentless assault against the wire mesh. It was really sad to watch, in part because it reminded me so clearly of the times that I've found myself feeling trapped by circumstances in the past, feeling like there was no way out - when, in fact, there was always an alternative, an open door that was readily accessable, once I stopped frantically going around in circles long enough to pause, step back and put things in perspective.

As we move forward into the New Year, my wish for myself and for you, too, dear reader, is that we might see the openings, rather than the barriers that may appear to impede us on the path toward inner peace and outer freedom that we are traveling.

With blessings and best wishes for a Happy, Healthy New Year,


PS: If you live in the San Antonio area, I invite you to join me in starting the New Year on a positive note at this concert. I'd love to see you there!

Rudi + the Rudiments + Sarah Gabriel in Concert

Saturday, January 2, 7:30pm

Join Sarah and Rudi as they perform a concert of their heartfelt songs of affirmation and exploration over the lively rhythms of Kevin Lewis (bass) and Kiko Guerrero (percussion) in the intimate acoustic setting of Jump-Start Performance Co., 710 FREDricksburg Rd, 78201. Tickets are $15 and seating is limited. Click here for tickets!