Saturday, October 29, 2016


    This week, our Sunday Circle will be centered on preparation for Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) as we contemplate the process of dying and honoring the deceased from a peaceful, powerful perspective. 
    Every year for the past 24 years, we have spent the Sunday before November 2nd (Day of the Dead) focused on this important topic by engaging in a special blend of creative ritual, poetry, music, meditation and contemplation. A central feature of this process is the communal altar we co-create to honor deceased loved ones in our community. Each year since 1992, Edward (Butch) and Ruth Sagebiel, have been generously sourcing this traditional altar in the Circle through their art and artistry, as well as procuring the traditional sweetbreads (pan de muerto), marigolds and folk art figurines. Due to other family obligations, this Sunday will mark the first time that Butch and Ruth won't be there to add their resources to this communal effort. But we trust that others will step forward to help us carry on this wonderful tradition by bringing their photos, foods and mementos -- and we hope that YOU will be among them. 

    We're also fortunate to have a special guest speaker, Rev. Grant Lynn Ford, 
who will be sharing his wisdom and insights on the intersection of conscious living and dying. Grant is an eclectic thinker who is both an Old Catholic Abbott, and a respected New Thought Progressive Christian teacher; a lifetime member of both the Hymn Society and the International New Thought Alliance (INTA). He is the retired Dean of Sunshine Cathedral in Ft. Lauderdale, which became the largest Metropolitan Community Church in the world under his leadership. He is currently working as a church health consultant, while serving as Texas Rep for INTA. He also likes to laugh a lot: "Take life earnestly but not yourself too seriously. Breathe!"

    And we're delighted to welcome back the wise lyrics and silky smooth voices of Chris Pfeiffer and Kelly Quinn, better known as Full Moon Eye, who are celebrating the release of their brand new CD, "Landing." It's always wonderful when they return to San Antonio to share their sweet harmonies and gentle melodies, especially when backed by the Circle Band. Plus, we'll enjoy a new song from our a cappella choir, Circle Singers.
    All in all, it promises to be a splendid day to join us for this heartwarming, soul-stirring celebration of living and dying, and we hope to see you there. 

With gratitude and blessings,
PS:  This weekly newsletter is offered free of charge, but it is not free of cost. Your donations help make it possible for the Circle to provide this, and all of our events and programming! Won't you please take a few moments to make a financial pledge for 2017 by joining our Intentional Giving Circle HERE

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, October 22, 2016


     Because Celebration Circle is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, it is illegal for me to use my position as Spiritual Director to advocate for a particular political cause or politician. I can have my personal opinions, but under IRS regulations, I'm not allowed to speak politically on behalf of the Circle community, nor can I try to influence how others in the Circle vote.
      But...because this is such a historic opportunity to bear witness to the healing power of love in the face of the extraordinary degree of divisiveness and vitriol being generated in the presidential election campaign, I feel I have no choice to but to step up to the microphone and send some love to... Donald Trump. And I invite you to consider doing the same. Why?
     Because, in my humble opinion, it is so easy to hate him, to judge him and to dismiss his candidacy as a brazen attempt to create an even larger market for the Trump brand. BUT...then I recently got an e-mail from Alan Cohen, that helped my change my perspective. Alan is a respected New Thought author and spiritual teacher that I've met and studied with over the years, and his thoughts about Trump's candidacy touched me so much that I'm going to share some of them here:

"If you have done some self-exploration, you understand that everything we see represents something that lives in our mind, and we tend to project our perceived shortcomings onto the outer world. We behold and fight evil outside us to avoid the evil we believe is inside us. We judge, attack, and fabricate separations to defend our shaky self-image. Everyone we hate is a scapegoat of the sins we seek to disown. Could the Donald be serving us as a massive projection screen we can use to heal ourselves?
Now here's the gold available to each of us, if we have the courage to dig for it: Ask yourself, "Do I exhibit any of the behaviors for which I judge and criticize Donald Trump?" I asked myself this question, and found some startling answers, as you might if you consider:  Do you build physical, emotional, or psychological walls against people you fear will infiltrate and undermine your world?  Do you harbor judgments and prejudices, spoken or unspoken, against people of a different religion or culture than your own?  Do you negatively label members of the opposite sex, and/or judge people who are overweight, including your own body? ... Do you make up stories to support the case you favor? Do you ever interrupt people while they are speaking? Do you avoid paying taxes or effort to pay as little as possible? Do you blame people, events, and things for your shortcomings?
If you answer these questions honestly, you may see, as I did, that Donald Trump is not just a big blowhard; he is a big blow-up doll who embodies pieces of all of us. He is the archetypical bad guy who demonstrates and even exaggerates the "sins" we all own but wish to purge from ourselves. As much as we hate to admit it, Trump is the us that we wish we weren't. What we hate in him we hate in ourselves. In that sense, he serves us well as a mirror to face our own limiting beliefs, prejudices, and shadows, and grow beyond them..."
     In short, The Donald is giving me an opportunity to vote for love, not just on Election Day, but every day. Reminding me to embrace, not just him, but all the disturbing people and situations I encounter, with a consciousness of Oneness and acceptance. Because, in doing so I am embracing the parts of myself that are asking for healing, while also helping wage peace on the planet.
     Thank you, Alan, and Donald, for helping me see a little more clearly. And thank you, dear reader, for your willingness to become more conscious of your thoughts, feelings and the co-creative power of making conscious choices, whatever they may be. 

With love,
PS: Zet and I also strongly urge you to get out and vote for having more FUN in your life by attending TONIGHT'S CONCERT  with Hambone Hendley at our house! He always makes me laugh (we can all use that!) and I'm really looking forward to making music with him... and you. See ticket info below.

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, October 15, 2016


     The popular Hollywood film, "Good Will Hunting" is best known for being the vehicle that made Matt Damon and Ben Affleck famous.  But even more interesting is the fact that their script is based on a true story taken from the life of George Dantzig, a renowned mathematician and the father of linear programming.  When Dantzig was still a doctoral student at UCLA, he arrived late to statistics class one day and noticed two problems written on the chalkboard.  Assuming they were a homework assignment, he solved the problems and turned them in at the next class.  Late that night, his professor came knocking on Dantzig's dorm room door, shouting, "How did you do it?"  "Do what?" replied the dumbfounded student.
     "You have solved two classically unsolvable mathematic equations!" said the teacher, waving the pages in his hand.  "Oh, really? Dantzig replied, "I just thought they were homework."   
     You and I may not be mathematical geniuses, but I can't help but wonder:  What amazing thing(s) could we create if we didn't know it was "impossible" to do so?  Hmm...

     I also find myself thinking about this question in connection with my good friend, David "Hambone" Hendley, who will be performing a concert at our house next Friday night. Hambone is one of the most amazing, down-to-earth people I've ever met, with a "can do attitude" that has enabled him to do a number of  "impossible" things in his life. 
     He was my best friend at Trinity University, where we bonded over our mutual interests in psychology, pottery and playing guitar. He went on to get his MFA in ceramics, and became a professional potter who set up shop deep in the Piney Woods of East Texas, miles from the nearest city, determined to make a living on his own terms. He had - and has - a strong DIY work ethic, and an extraordinary ability to tackle new endeavors. Despite having no previous building experience, he and his wife, Karen, bought a large tract of heavily forested land, and set out to build a homestead where they could raise their two children. Over the course of five years of steady, arduous labor, David converted a dilapidated farmhouse into a home and studio, then built a huge wood-fired kiln, and a magnificent, two-story "cabin" in which each window, door and  drawer pull is a work of art. 

            Meanwhile, not satisfied with using commercial glazes, he created his own. Then, unable to create the kind of pottery he envisioned with existing technology, he came up with ways to use an extruder that no one else had thought of, becoming a nationally recognized ceramic artist in the process, capable of getting folks to drive many miles out of their way to buy his pots.
            He always maintained his love for playing and writing music, and in recent years, took up playing ukulele with the same passion and "can-do" attitude which he has brought to all of his endeavors. He also created the character of Hambone, with a bone-dry, clear-eyed wit and wisdom, and an ear for a catchy melody.
     In short, he's one of my real-life heroes. Zet and I are delighted to be hosting a house concert and release party for his brand new CD. Tickets at It's going to be a lot of fun making music with him, but more than that, he's got me thinking about what "impossible" things I could do... and looking forward to the possibilities.
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.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The TOP TEN Reasons for YOU to attend the Circle Retreat next weekend:

#10  For three days, you can relax as deeply as you wish. And not only will no one judge you for it, we will totally support you in doing it.
#9  You'll be outdoors in a gorgeous Hill Country setting on the Guadalupe River with perfect weather, at the best time of the year, when it's not too hot, not too cold, but just right! The whitewater rapids at Slumber Falls are PERFECT for playing in at this time of year, with clear water flowing freely, and very few tubers to spoil the view.
#8  You'll eat five great, home-style meals, made with top quality, all-natural ingredients and served with loving care - and YOU won't have to cook them!
#7  But, if you love to cook and decide to help in the kitchen, you're guaranteed to have a LOT of fun, because the experience of cooking with a group of happy, fun-loving folks who enjoy cooking too is Big Fun!)
#6  You'll have multiple opportunities to feel the deep peace of meditating alone and together: sitting meditation, walking meditation, Tai Chi, yoga, Labyrinth, contemplative writing - or perhaps just sitting on the riverbank under a huge cypress tree.  Ahhhh...
#5  You get time to sit by an outdoor open campfire and be mesmerized by the colorful, crackling flames while listening to music, poetry and stories.
#4  You'll have more fun than a little kid in a candy store - because, in fact, you'll get to BE a Big Kid in a very special kind of Candy Store, full of sweet, soul-satisfying treats. Especially during our group nap-and-story time on Saturday afternoon, when you wake up to the taste of huge platter of freshly baked cookies and milk (or tea, if you prefer).
#3  You don't have to check your email, text, Facebook, Twitter or To-Do list during the weekend!
#2  If you register before Monday, the whole weekend costs just $175 - which is less than it would cost you to spend two nights at a cheapo motel and eat 5 meals at fast-food restaurants.
AND the #1 reason to attend the retreat is...
You'll have plenty of time to relax and re-connect with someone that you seldom get to hang out with in this way - Yourself! Register now at
For all those reasons, and many more besides, I truly hope you'll come hang out with me and a bunch of other Circle folks at the retreat next weekend.
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.