Saturday, April 30, 2016


    I really wish you could be here with me to see all these fireflies flashing in the growing darkness surrounding our home. It's definitely one of those sights that's much more fun to share with someone else than to digest alone. But since you're not here, I've given myself over to the experience and have become hypnotized by the mesmerizing sight of countless mysterious creatures, each dancing in the glow of their self-made light, while collectively blanketing the landscape with their seemingly random patterns of flickering dots.

     The heavily wooded creek beds and relatively large lawns in our neighborhood have always been fairly hospitable to these bioluminescent wonders of the insect world, but this is definitely the best display I've seen in the fifteen years we've lived here, possibly because of the warm, wet winter and spring seasons we've had. Here's a peek:

     Elsewhere around around the world, fireflies (sometimes referred to as "lightning bugs") are said to be disappearing at an alarming rate. Nobody knows exactly why, although there's some fairly solid evidence pointing at the increased use of pesticides, as well as the ever-decreasing availability of open, green spaces adjacent to the fireflies' ideal habitat: marshes, ponds, streams and other sources of warm, standing water. Then, too, some biologists speculate that increasing levels of light pollution from homes, cars, stores and streetlight may be disrupting the fireflies' ability to signal each other during mating season - and thereby resulting in fewer firefly larvae being born each year.
     Whatever the reasons for their declining numbers elsewhere - and their booming population in our neighborhood - it is an absolute delight to be standing here in the front yard, surrounded by these ever-shifting crowds of luminous beings. What a gift it is to observe my mind being lifted to a higher, quieter space, where it is being emptied out of all the busy-ness of this day by the slowly drifting, ever-shifting field of a thousand points of light. Soon I, too, seem to be floating on the evening breeze alongside the lightning bugs, where I'm gently ushered into full awareness of this precious, present moment by the heady scent of the night-blooming jasmine; the chirping of the tree frogs against the rasping cicadas; the acrobatic bats and night hawks flitting overhead, the moonlight filtered through the trees.
     Inviting me to remember, once again, just how much there is to notice and appreciate, how many small miracles seem to escape my attention on a regular basis. These fireflies have been out here every night for several weeks, but I hadn't paid much attention, until now. But now that I have, how effortlessly they rekindle such sweet memories of childhood, while simultaneously opening the door into the Now... 

     Soon it will be time to go back inside, to wash the dishes and finish writing notes for tomorrow. But, for now, it's enough to stand here a few minutes longer, feeling just a little bit stronger for having stood here in the darkness, watching this peaceful, palpable demonstration of the power of even the smallest light to penetrate even the deepest, darkest night, one moment at a time.
With joy,

Saturday, April 23, 2016


     As far as I'm concerned, this is the best time of the year in South Texas - the few brief weeks when the temperature is warm enough for shirtsleeves, yet cool enough to leave our windows open, without having to think about turning on the air conditioner. The recent rains have painted our yard a dozen different shades of green, dotted with colorful wildflowers, while the night blooming jasmine outside the office door has so many fragrant blossoms that the sweetness is almost more than my nose can bear.

     Soon enough the summer heat will blanket the area for months on end, leaving much of this verdant vegetation brown and dry once again. But for now, it provides the perfect backdrop for the purple martins dancing in the morning breeze, inviting me to look up from my desk periodically and feel the sheer grace of being alive at this particularly delicious juncture of time and space. To wander outside whenever possible, breathe in the expansive energy of growth and renewal, and listen to the song of creation, reverberating from every surface in sight.

     Having received this generous invitation, I will do my best to weave it into the words and music we'll be sharing during our time of creative ritual and reflection in this week's Sunday Morning Circle honoring Earth Day. In the meantime, wherever you're living and whatever you're doing, here's hoping that you, too, will find yourself outdoors sometime soon, with eyes, ears and heart wide open to absorb the blessings of this renewing, refreshing burst of spring energy.
     With joy,

Friday, April 15, 2016

The dogs have been walked

The dogs have been walked 
and our child has been fed
the dishes are finished and the emails all read
the laundry's been folded and stored away, too
and yet there's still more that I feel I should do.

It was a full day at work
and a full night at home
and I'm guessing tomorrow will have the same tone
this morning's To Do list, has hardly been touched
and as bedtime approaches, it all feels like too much

But it's just a fact, I'll never get it all done
so why not relax and just rest in the One?
rest in the Presence, and bid my worries farewell
simply simmer in silence, trusting all shall be well
simmer in silence, knowing all IS well...

In peace,

Saturday, April 9, 2016


 I recently found myself feeling very upset about a particular situation, and very certain that I was right about my point of view. But then I found myself reminded of a lesson I had learned several years ago, while staying at a friend's ranch, deep in the heart of South Texas ...

     It's a vast spread, with thousands of acres of rolling hills, covered with mesquite trees and cactus. The main house is located at the end of a long, dusty driveway, several miles from the nearest road, perched on a bluff overlooking a clear, deep swimming hole in the Nueces River below. But the best part of being on this huge ranch is the rare opportunity to experience total immersion in nature. After walking just a few hundred yards from the house, there's not a single artifact to be seen, not a humanly generated sound to be heard. No people, no cars, no utility wires or airplanes overhead, nothing but the sound of my own footsteps in an otherwise silent landscape. Or so it seems. But once I stop in my tracks and listen deeply for a few moments, it's clear that this seemingly barren landscape is actually filled with a fascinating variety of sounds, all of which were previously being drowned out by my monkey-mind, chattering on and on with its endless stream of memories, fantasies and judgments. 
     However, the simple act of noticing this fact reduces the inner noise level and enables me to attune to the rich chorus of voices all around: wild turkeys gobbling, crows cawing, cicadas drumming, leaves fluttering, deer snorting and small critters skittering through the underbrush. Odd. Just a few steps ago, this landscape seemed totally silent, but now it's filled with a majestic symphony. What a humbling reminder of how much I'm unaware of in my surroundings...


     As stimulating as this landscape is during the day, it's even more engaging after dark. Since the nearest city lights are many miles away, the conditions for stargazing are ideal out here, where a mere sliver of fingernail moon hangs just over the vast horizon, surrounded by a gazillion stars. Standing slack-jawed, awed by the magnificent sight of all those twinkling lights above, I suddenly remember a fascinating fact I heard on National Public Radio recently: it might seem like I'm seeing millions of stars on a night like this, but actually, the human eye can only discern about 6,000 distinct, celestial objects from any given vantage point. Moreover, most of what we can see with the naked eye is actually located within the boundaries of our own small galaxy, the Milky Way, which contains over 400 billion stars, but is only one of at least 100 billion galaxies (and possibly as many as 500 billion galaxies) thought to exist in the observable universe. In short, there's so much more to see than what I'm looking at!


     In attempting to cope with the bigness of this thought, my monkey mind is suddenly stunned wide open by the sheer force of this visceral insight: that whatever I perceive is but a small fraction of what there is to perceive. In any given situation, whether I'm out here in this relaxing, wide-open space or zooming around in high gear at my Big City pace, it's important to be aware that whatever I see is just a small proportion of what there is to see. What I hear is but a small slice of what there is to hear. And by extension, whatever I think I know represents just a fraction of what I don't know. Which, in turn, pales in comparison to everything I don't know that I don't know!
     It's as if the stars above and the symphony of nature sounds surrounding me have conspired to teach me the importance of staying humble and keeping an open mind in the face of the Great Mystery which is unfolding within and around us every moment, every day, everywhere. Asking us, again and again:  Are you willing to let go of the known and embrace a willingness to be shown how much more is available, how much more possible now? And now...  And now...

In peace,  

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


     I'm busy scanning my bookshelves and closets to find items for our Circle Book Swap this Sunday when I encounter a large plastic tote box tucked into a corner. It's full of old scrapbook pages, newspaper clippings, flyers and other memorabilia from the 80's and 90's, when I was still crisscrossing the country as a musician and workshop leader. This box hasn't been opened in years, and as I pry off the lid and smell the accumulated mustiness, it's odd to see so many images of a much younger Rudi smiling up at me.
     In the spirit of Spring Cleaning, I know if should chuck out the whole thing; just dump the contents sight unseen into the recycle bin and be done with it. But I'm way too curious to do that, so here I sit, sorting through page after page of old photos and papers. Watching as my hairstyles and wardrobe changed over two decade of headshots; chuckling at the pumped-up verbiage of old press releases proclaiming my virtues as a post-punk, New Thought troubadour and performance artist - and wondering how the heck I ever thought that was going to lead to wide-spread success. And, yes, shedding more than few tears as I re-read old fan mail from folks who've long since died or drifted out of view.
     Doing my best to let go of as many of these accumulated pieces of paper as possible, I toss dozens of old church bulletins, fundraiser programs and concert posters, fistfuls of yellowing newspaper clippings, contracts and set lists. But, wait...I can't throw away these last remaining copies of "Por Nada", my vinyl single released in 1980. And certainly not my recording contract with Horizons Unlimited in London. Or my first published article in the Whole Life Times. Or that thank you note from Jean Houston...
     And so it goes, this process of sorting things into piles, deciding what to shred, save or share with loved ones. Fortunately, Zet and Mateo have been very patient with the fact that I've commandeered our dining room table for the past 3 days, while I float through this sea of memories at a leisurely pace, reviewing these physical reminders of the many choices, challenges and changes that occurred more than twenty years ago, but helped bring me to where I am today.
     It's been such a wonderful trip down memory lane that I wound up keeping enough pages to fill a small plastic bin. But, hey, it's less than 1/6th the size of the original giant tote box. That's progress, I tell myself. More than that, this has been a valuable reminder that the process of personal and spiritual growth is anything but linear. That "the future" I'd once spent so much time and effort planning and praying for seldom turned out to be what I expected - but was also much richer than anything I could possibly have imagined.
     Which is a good reminder to relax and stop worrying so much about getting where I "should" go tomorrow, and staying focused on enjoying the ride today.
With joy,