Friday, September 30, 2016


May your love be like water,
falling like rain from the sky
flowing like a river, no force can defy
May your love, cut through the hardest stone,
in the course of time
flowing left, flowing right, carving through old lines
Even the mightiest mountain,
yields to water's way
tumbling down through a tiny creek,
with a quiet and humble display
but day after day, year upon year,
water flows over the stone
with its dance of time and space,
wears down thru the bone
And should your love turn cold and hard,
frozen by winter's wind
may it thaw and melt once more,
when spring returns again
May your love be like water,
flowing ever free
take you where you need to go,
and where you long to be

I wrote this song last week for my Monday Night songwriter's salon, where it was critiqued and gently re-shaped by a dozen fellow musicians. Then I shared it in the Sunday Circle, supported by the amazingly gifted and generous musicians who comprise the Circle Band (thank you, so much, Ray Palmer, Kevin Lewis, Kiko Guerrero, Michael Madison and Carl Rush!!!). The sound and video was recorded and produced by our talented production manager/videographer, Eddie Wise, with additional audio-mixing by Kiko, using photos taken by our deeply supportive friends, Gary O. Smith, Leah Damon and Dirk Magdahl. So...when you watch the video, what you're seeing and feeling is a sampling of the large, loving and creative community in which the Circle operates, day after day, year after year. 
As I watched this video (in the wee hours, after the closing reception of the Sacred Art of Altars show -- which was another AMAZING artistic/spiritual outpouring of love from a huge group of artists and Circle volunteers), I was overwhelmed by the renewed awareness of what a blessing it is to work and play in such an amazingly supportive setting.  

I hope that you, too, can feel the love surrounding you, as I do. And, may YOUR love be like water...

In the spirit of love,

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


     The thermometer says it's 95 degrees outside, and I'm sweating up a storm, but the calendar says it's the first day of autumn. Right on cue, the leaves on all our hackberry trees have started falling today, creating slow-motion showers of pale yellow each time a breeze blows, intermingled with the fluttering brown wings of those vast waves of migrating snub-nose butterflies passing through San Antonio this week. And as I write these words, a flock of ducks flies overhead in V-formation, heading south. No Hollywood director could have created a more picture-perfect illustration of the turning of the seasons, as if to telegraph the audience that something portentous is about to occur.
     Meanwhile, in the background I hear the NPR newscaster describing the disasters du jour: the latest terrorist bomb blast in New York; another grisly onslaught in Syria; another senseless killing of an unarmed African American by a heavily armed cop, followed by another night of senseless rioting in response to the senseless killing. And then come the strident voices of Donald and Hillary, each claiming to be able to put an end to all this chaos, if only the voters will entrust them with the power to do some vague, indefinable Something Presidential.
     Frankly, I don't trust either one of them, and as the polls clearly show, neither does the vast majority of my fellow Americans. To be clear, I'll still vote on Election Day, and I'll make some campaign contributions, but I simply don't have much faith in the ability of our over-heated, under-handed and small-minded electoral process to deal with the large-scale shifts that are underway in our social and environmental landscape.

     But I do trust the falling leaves and the migrating creatures, the seasonal rhythms of death and decay that are unfolding before my eyes, making the cycles of birth and new growth possible. And I have faith in the ever-evolving, collective consciousness of Homo sapiens sapiens, guided by an Infinite Intelligence that I certainly don't claim to understand, but still trust fully, nonetheless. And that, in turn, lets me trust in the periodic feelings of struggle and chaos that touch our society, and me, personally, from time to time, knowing that they, too, are an integral part of this open-ended process of Life. All reminding me that there is no final result, no winning score awaiting us. No one point at which everything will be finished, fixed and secure, once and for all.
     There is just this warm afternoon, with this one spider weaving an astonishingly intricate web suspended between two limbs, inviting me to slow down, pay attention and trust in the vast, interwoven web of patterns of our lives, our community, our planet. Reminding me to trust, and release my need to fix or change anything, just long enough to rest in the Peace that passes all understanding. Now. And now. And now...And for this, I am deeply grateful. 
In the spirit of awe and gratitude,

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


 I'm back in college for the first time in many years, auditing a course on New Testament history at Trinity University. My primary aim in doing so is to re-read the Bible with new eyes, in hopes of re-thinking some of the perplexing teachings I learned in Sunday school during my devoutly Protestant childhood.
     The professor is a widely respected scholar in the field of early Christian narrative, who wields his extensive knowledge lightly, with a good deal of humor and humility. He's refreshingly quick to acknowledge how much he doesn't know - and how much is probably unknowable - in the realm of Biblical studies, and invites his students to engage in a deep, open-ended inquiry into the many layers of historical context and meaning to be found in the New Testament. It's a daunting and time-consuming challenge, and I'm doing my best to do justice to the task, in the midst of an already full life.
     Sitting at my desk, plowing through this week's notes and reading assignments, I come up against a wall of mental fatigue in trying to absorb this new level of complexity involved in re-framing and reclaiming the Jesus story. There's just so much new information to learn, and so many old ideas to let go of that it literally makes my head spin. It's such a concrete reminder of how little I know, and how many layers of meaning underlie all the everyday assumptions of life, much less the spiritual teachings that I think I understand.
     Suddenly, all vestiges of linear time and logical thinking fall away, and I find myself reliving an old memory involving my very first encounter with the mysterious Bigness of Life, when I was just four years old...
     My family is still living in the Netherlands at the time, and my mother is making hot chocolate as a special treat, when I notice the brightly colored can of Droste Cocoa Powder sitting in the middle of our dining room table. On the label of the can is the image of an old-fashioned nurse, dressed in a traditional black and white nurse's uniform; she's carrying a tray that contains a cup of hot chocolate and that same can of Droste Cocoa Powder. That can, in turn, bears the image of that same nurse, carrying a tray that contains a cup of hot chocolate and that same can of Droste cocoa powder, which bears the image of that same nurse, carrying a tray...  The image floods my brain, with layer upon layer of reality, sending my imagination into an infinitely long, swirling tunnel made of chocolate milk, serving trays and nurses, that loops back on itself, over and over again.
     My body seems to have dissolved, leaving me floating free of everything I thought I knew with my four year-old mind. There's a part of me that seems to be hovering high overhead, up near the ceiling, looking down at little Rudolf, sitting in his chair, staring at that can of Droste cocoa powder. Somehow it all seems confusing, scary, exhilarating, powerful and wonderful at the same time, as I wordlessly experience this illusory glimpse of eternity and the enormity of life. The experience seems to last forever, but when I finally manage to bring the cup of chocolate milk to my mouth, it's still just as hot as it was earlier, so apparently only a few moments have passed. I do my best to explain the experience to my mom, who is kind and patient, but clearly puzzled by my story, so I just let it go and focus on the sweet, warm chocolate milk instead...
     So, here I am, back at my writing desk, sixty years later, still trying to comprehend the Bigness of Life and communicate the mystery and meaning of the metaphysical realm, as I understand it. Whether it involves wrestling with my Biblical understanding, reflecting on the practical application of spiritual principles or having an out-of-body experience, it seems important to share it with others. Not because I think I'm special, or that my experiences are extraordinary. On the contrary, I'm convinced that such concerns are quite ordinary, and that we all have similar experiences from time to time, each in our own way, with our individual overlays of personality and perception. But we tend to dismiss or overlook them because we've been taught that our inner lives are not as important as our "real work" of making a living and being responsible citizens.

     I believe that this process of expanding our spiritual understanding and integrating it into our daily lives lies at heart of who we truly are. That's why I'm deeply grateful for the work of the Celebration Circle community, as we walk alongside each other on the ever-evolving path of spiritual growth in the post-modern world. In the words of the great 20th century mystic, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience." Thank you for your companionship as we travel this path alone together.
With gratitude and blessings,

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.

Friday, September 9, 2016


     I'm really excited about our Underground Sounds concert next Saturday night, when we'll be celebrating the Fall Equinox at one of my all-time favorite performance venues, the Cave Without a Name. The lineup of musicians is particularly stellar this time and I can't wait to play with them in this magical space, especially during the second half of the performance, when we'll be making music in total, pitch-black darkness.
     I know from past experience that we won't be able to see our own fingers, even if they're just in front of our eyes, much less see the other musicians, which makes for a thrilling experience. Because, not having any visual cues whatsoever, we're forced to listen to each other with our hearts and our guts, as well as our ears. In order to do so, we've also got to let go of our preconceived ideas of where the music "should go" and listen deeply to where it "is" in the moment. Otherwise, the whole song could literally fall apart in the dark, and things could get discordant, quickly. On the other hand, presuming we're able to really listen closely, I know we'll create something fresh and special, and literally light up the darkness for everyone present.
     I mention this because it feels important to do so at a time when the tone of this year's national election season seems to be becoming more bitter and divisive by the day, as is the public discourse surrounding it. This is about much more than just one day of voting; this is about a fundamental shift in the social norms of how we address each other. There is so much anger in the air, it's easy to feel hopeless, or worse yet, join in the chorus of indignant voices. 
     But I prefer to make another choice:  I affirm that the very same sense of aliveness, creativity and connection I've experienced repeatedly while making music in the Cave is available in everyday life, too, each time I listen deeply to someone else. This is especially true if they're telling me something that's unfamiliar or uncomfortable to hear, or using a tone that offends me. If I'm willing to let go of how I think the conversation "should go" and simply listen instead, it not only helps me move beyond my fears and limitations, it allows brand new possibilities to emerge in the space between us that I couldn't have imagined on my own. As I let go of my position, long enough to hear the sadness and fear that inevitably lies beneath another person's anger, the energy in the interaction almost always changes. Like my friend and teacher, Arnold Patent, often says, "It takes two to tango, but it only takes one to change the dance."

In the spirit of Peace,

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.

Friday, September 2, 2016


     Our Circle office is much more full than usual, packed to the max with sixty colorful, handmade wooden altars, along with their individual packing materials, plus all the hardware, display stands and supplies needed to hang them for our annual "Sacred Art of Altars" exhibit at the Bijou Cinema Bistro.
     This is the thirteenth year in a row that the Celebration Circle is producing this exhibit as an outreach to the broader San Antonio cultural community, as well as our primary fundraising event of the year. It's always a powerful production, and this is an exciting, highly-energized time, with altars stacked on every available surface, volunteers popping in to help and artists dropping off last-minute submissions, between fielding phone calls and emails about the various details involved.
     My Inner Control Freak is operating at his peak, alternately freaking out about the various "intrusions" into my normally quiet, isolated work space, and feeling a little claustrophobic about all the extra stuff stacked on and around my desk. I do my best to ignore him, but from time to time it's also helpful to let him speak his peace, then politely remind him to stop whining, and focus on the powerful flow of creative energy filling this room instead of complaining about "this chaotic mess." And each time I focus in that way, it feels great in here!
     By the time you read these words, I know this mountain of stuff will have been transformed into a wonderfully elegant, aesthetically pleasing exhibit that thousands of people will enjoy while it's on public display in the central hallway at the Bijou throughout the month of September. And that's great. But for now, it's enough to feel blessed by the process of coming to peace with this "marvelous mess." And, for that, I am grateful, and humbled, too.

With joy, 

THANK YOU for holding the Circle in your heart by visualizing a generous flow of financial abundance. Thank you for supporting us as we continue our work of fostering a creative, inclusive approach to spirituality. We are deeply grateful.