Saturday, December 30, 2017


As the old year draws to a close, may you release all that no longer serves you, letting it burn in the Sacred Flame. And as the New Year unfolds within a field of Infinite Possibilities, may you, may we and All Beings be blessed by 
being Present, Prospered and Peaceful.

With best wishes for a Healthy, Happy and Harmonious New Year
 Rudi Harst

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, December 23, 2017


I hope you will be able to join us for our uniquely inter-faith celebration on Christmas Eve this Sunday morning. I, for one, am feeling deeply grateful for the simple joy of being able to gather with friends and family to celebrate the Holidays, because our car wreck in October has given me a renewed sense of joy and gratitude for the gift of life itself. Plus, the enormous outpouring of kindness and generosity we experienced has radically shifted the way I see the world and I am reminded even more of this field of infinite possibilities. Now, more than ever, the story of the Nativity speaks to me personally as a miraculous story of Divine Manifestation in the midst of the most humble circumstances.

It would be wonderful to share the space with you in person this Sunday, to see the light shining in each others' eyes as we celebrate that meaning of the Nativity story with our blend of multi-faith songs, poems, meditations and reflections. But whether you are there at SAY Sí in person, or tune in on FaceBook Live, or simply open your Divine Imagination to join us in consciousness wherever you are at 11am on Sunday, I hope you, too, can feel the power of our connection across time and space as we affirm once again, "We Are One."

With best wishes for a Blessed Holiday Season,
     Rudi Harst

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, December 17, 2017


     I recently found a single piece of a jigsaw puzzle in our grocery store parking lot. There was no one else nearby, and it brought lots of questions to mind, so I couldn't help but pick it up and take it home. How did it come to be there, separate from all the other pieces in the puzzle? What did the rest of the puzzle look like? Who dropped it? And will s/he find herself feeling frustrated when she tries to complete the puzzle without it?
     While it's still an interesting, colorful piece of cardboard in and of itself, it doesn't have nearly as much meaning or value now as it would if it were connected to the larger picture. Nor can the whole puzzle ever be completed without this piece sitting on my desk.

     Similarly, should you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, confused or out of sorts in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season, it's entirely possible that you have temporarily forgotten that you are part of a much larger whole. Perhaps you've succumbed to the illusion that you are isolated, alone and a victim of the circumstances that surround you. If so, won't you take a few moments to reconnect with Spirit, with the Sacred Mystery that binds us all as One. The same Divine Source that gave birth to billions of galaxies and the infinite complexities of life on Earth certainly has a sufficiency of resources to support you, too, if only you will pause, reflect and reconnect with that Source.

     Of course, you are a valuable and powerful individual, too. But you don't have to have all the answers, don't have to figure out the best way forward, don't have to handle everything alone. In the words of the late Jesuit mystic, Anthony De Mello, "Life is not a puzzle to be solved, but a mystery to be contemplated." And, a gift to be received - if only you are willing to receive it in Peace. At least, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
      With best wishes for a Blessed Holiday Season,
     Rudi Harst

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, December 10, 2017


     It snowed last night, and today the internet is full of photos, proclaiming the first significant snowfall in metropolitan San Antonio since 1987. I certainly appreciate and share in the delight; it was Big Fun to bundle up and wander through the neighborhood, gaping at the sight of those big, fluffy snowflakes falling. I didn't think it would last, so it was an equally wonderful surprise to wake up to find that there were still significant patches of snow decorating the scenery. 
     But, now, as I stand here in the morning light, seeing the last of the snow melt away under clear blue skies, I'm reminded once again that it's ALL a miracle: every single tree, rock, bird, cloud and breeze. Each person, each feeling, each moment is deserving of the same wide-eyed wonder, gratitude and joy. Aaahhhh...
With love,
     Rudi Harst

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, December 2, 2017


     It's another beautiful, crisp autumn morning in South Texas, with waves of butterflies weaving their way through our garden, while overhead flocks of geese fly south under clear blue skies. Every few moments, another stiff breeze sends golden showers of pecan leaves fluttering down, making the softest of sounds as they land on the ground underneath the ever-more-bare branches above. It's as if all of nature is conspiring to remind me once again that life is in a constant state of flux. That this moment is precious and fleeting. That it is a blessing to be alive and aware.
     Walking out to the mailbox, I take small, slow, but steady steps, doing my best not to favor my still stiff knee. The physical therapist says it's important to spread my weight as evenly as possible, in order to avoid creating bad habits while re-learning how to walk. It's slow going, but also a good opportunity to practice staying focused, mindful of the gift of life, present in this moment.
     Heading back into the house, my prayer is simple:  may I stay mindful throughout the day, in whatever activity comes my way, grateful for this gift of being alive. In the words of the beloved poet, Naomi Shihab Nye, "...walk around feeling like a leaf. Know you could tumble any second. Then decide what to do with your time."
With 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, November 24, 2017


This year Thanksgiving Day means more to our family than ever before. From the very depths of our Being, we truly recognize that each and every day is a gift to be savored and treasured in the Precious Present, rather than being measured against some illusory "better" time in the past or future. We also have a renewed appreciation for the gift of our friends, family and community who showered us with so many, many blessings in our time of need.  

May you, too, feel deep gratitude for the gifts in your life, and the power of this rich Celebration Circle community which you have co-created with your time, talent, treasure -- and love.
With blessings, 
Rudi & Zet

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.

Monday, November 13, 2017


     I've had difficulty writing more than a few sentences at a time over the past month. Simply unable to concentrate my attention in whatever area of the brain the writing process resides; some say it's a natural consequence of the residual, post-collision shock waves rippling through my nervous system.  All I know is that my life-long habit of writing at least a couple of pages of creative output daily has definitely been disrupted in recent weeks.
     Body movements have been constrained as well. No Tai Chi Chuan is possible for awhile yet, much less yoga stretches or twice-daily, mile-long walks with the dogs.
     On the other hand, I've had Big Fun playing my guitar much more than usual. Forced to spend hours a day sitting down with left leg propped straight out over a footrest, I've had my guitar cradled in my lap for much of that time. Flurries of improvised notes flow effortlessly out of my heart, giving voice to my deep feelings of gratitude for the many, many gifts with which my family has been showered during this month of healing.
     Listen closely. Perhaps you can hear my song of gratitude flowing out towards you through cyberspace, because I'm so glad for your companionship in the Circle community...
     Rudi Harst
PS: I'm delighted to be performing a benefit coffeehouse concert at Inner City Development Center next Saturday, alongside our good friends, Rod and Patti Radle. Like I said in the paragraphs above, I've got a whole bunch of musical energy flowing through me, and I really look forward to sharing it in this heartwarming space. See details 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, November 4, 2017


     I'm glad to report that Zet and I are continuing to heal very well across multiple dimensions in the aftermath of the car wreck. It's been a heart-opening, mind-widening process to observe our energy levels rise and pain-levels fall on an almost daily basis, as our bones and muscles keep mending and shifting to adapt to wheelchairs, crutches and rolling walkers in turn. We've had the good fortune to be blessed by the many, many friends who've generously shared healing skills, herbs, meals, rides, financial support, prayers and household help - all of which have definitely affected our healing process.
     Not that it's all been peaches and cream. Because we've long been focused on holistic healthcare prior to this event, I had never really dealt with health insurance companies and allopathic medical providers before. Now I'm literally getting a crash course in patience and perserverance while navigating the bureaucratic maze of mainstream American healthcare. It's been humbling, too, to have to rely on others for transportation, and to have learn new ways to do such simple things as bathing, dressing and walking. Nothing too difficult, but all of it is slow going, demanding concentration, humility and the ability to stay grounded in the Now. The other day I found myself joking to a friend that it feels like I've enrolled in an Advanced Level Training in Mindfulness and Compassion.
       But it's interesting to note that the single greatest challenge I've faced throughout this process is learning to stay open to receive all the love and support coming our way.  As with many folks, it's generally easier for me to give than receive - but in this situation, it's been particularly challenging because of the sheer volume of love and support flowing abundantly through our lives. Time and again, I find myself starting to demur and deflect when someone offers to help, only to encounter the contracted energy that accompanies such deflections, which reminds me to stay open and receptive to the abundant flow of love instead. Because as my beloved friend and mentor, Arnold Patent, taught me years ago, "Abundance is the natural state of the Universe. Any attempt to resist that abundance will result in some form of pain or contraction."
     Apparently, it's taken quite a while to understand that lesson, but I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. Moving forward, I choose to remember that there is no need to struggle or resist the free flow of love moving through me, regardless of what situation or person may be involved. At least, that's my intention, and I'm sticking to it.
     Rudi Harst

PS: Speaking of time, remember that Daylight Savings Time ends tonight! 
So set your clock back one hour before going to bed, which will give you plenty of time to join us for Sunday Morning Circle at 11:00am, with our special musical guest, Dana Cooper. You won't want to miss this one!!

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, October 29, 2017


     Having had a mighty close encounter with death just three weeks ago, and lots of time to reflect on the nature of mortality since then, Zet and I are particularly focused on the power of living mindfully in the face of death these days. I discussed this subject at some length last Sunday morning (as you can see by clicking on the video clip displayed above), and will delve further into the subject this Sunday. Given the context of our creative ritual, poetry, music and communal Dia de Los Muertos altar, it promises to be a particularly powerful morning. Plus, Zet is doing really well with her physical therapy, and is looking forward to being with us back in the Circle again.

      I hope you can be there, but If you can't attend in person, you can always join us online via the Celebration Circle Facebook page and watch the Livestream Video from 11am - noon, or view the archived Live videos any time by clicking on the Video button on our FB page.

     In any case, I hope that you, too, find yourself feeling grateful to be alive and surrounded by love. With joy and hopes of seeing you Around the Circle,

     Rudi Harst

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, October 22, 2017


     It was a mighty sweet seeing Zet back at home yesterday, even if it was for just a couple of hours. She and her occupational therapist came to measure and assess the dimensions of our house, and determine which minor modifications need to be made in preparation for her return, which, hopefully will occur within the next week or so.
     In the meantime, the surgery on her left hand was successful, and the orthopedic surgeons have determined that her hip bone, sacrum and pelvis fractures are all healing well and won't require any surgery -- and neither will my fractured knee. Yippee! Meanwhile, my dad and his partner, Dawn, continue their healing process, and all four of us share a renewed appreciation for the precious gift of life itself -- and for the many folks who have been praying for us throughout this time.
     We have so much to be grateful for, having been richly blessed by the loving kindness and generosity of so many people over the past couple of weeks, dear friends and total strangers alike. Having had such a close brush with death has really brought our priorities into focus, deepened our commitment to each other, and underscored the depth, breadth and preciousness of our Celebration Circle family. Our hearts are filled to overflowing with gratitude for the many lessons learned and blessings received.
     That's why I'm starting a new campaign to "Make America Grateful Again" -- because I think most of us take our blessings too much for granted, and don't spend nearly enough time feeling grateful. I know I didn't, until I came within two inches of losing my life and/or my loved ones in the blink of an eye. I don't ever want to go back to taking these many, many gifts for granted. Having spent these past two weeks feeling the deep joy of living with a heart full of gratitude, I'm really looking forward to being back in the Sunday Morning Circle this weekend. I can't wait to share my words and songs of gratitude with you and the rest of our beloved Circle of friends.

 With joy and hopes of seeing you Around the Circle,
     Rudi Harst

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, October 15, 2017


    Zet and I are so very grateful for the amazing outpouring of love and support we've experienced since surviving a high-speed, highway car wreck near Midland last Friday. It's a miracle that we're alive at all, much less doing as well as we are. Zet, my dad and his partner, Dawn, are all back in their home towns, having been transferred to rehabilitation centers where they will undergo physical therapy in San Antonio, New Braunfels and Seguin, respectively.  I am convinced that the positive outcome is due in large part to the abundant outpouring of love that was sent our way within minutes of the accident, thanks to the supportive power of the Circle community, multiplied by the speed of social media. We literally had hundreds of people praying for us before our ambulances even reached the hospital from the rural site of the collision, and that number has grown exponentially since then - which has blessed us many times over.
     This has been a humbling process on many levels. All four of us experienced painful injuries, which will take some time to deal with. Each of our lives were changed drastically, plus our newly purchased 2014 Honda was totaled before we even made our first car payment. Nonetheless, I truly believe that this wreck is one of the best things that ever happened to us, topped only by the day Zet and I met for the first time. We've learned so many lessons from the incident, experienced such deep peace, and been inundated by so much love and affirmation, that I can't help but feel grateful for these gifts, even if they came wrapped in a devastating, painful collision.  As the Book of Thessalonians reminds us, "In all things give thanks." 
     We are very grateful for the many people who have prayed for us, reached out to us, and blessed us with generous donations. We are still accepting contributions to our Medical Expenses Fund, you can DONATE
     And we are truly thankful to you, for your companionship around the Circle, as we travel on this healing path together. Truly "all is well, and all shall be well." 

With joy, 

Friday, October 6, 2017


     My dad is doing quite well. At age 93, his mind remains sharp, his spirit is strong, he lives in his own home and still drives his car to visit his girlfriend who lives 45 miles away. However, his health is declining steadily, as is his energy level and he's at peace with the fact that his time is drawing nearer. So last month, when he declared wistfully over dinner that he "sure would like to go to the mountains and see the aspen trees turning gold one last time," Zet and I felt it was important to honor his wish.
     So, here we are, sitting alongside a gurgling mountain stream in the Jemez Mountains in the heart of New Mexico, drinking in the stunning, sun-drenched view of the golden-hued aspens splashed across the valley. It's always a pleasure to see any variety of trees change colors in the fall, but there's something particularly hypnotic about the way that the dazzling yellow aspens perform their distinctive dance at high altitudes, shimmering in the crisp autumn breeze while murmuring their seasonal song of surrender to the rhythm of changing seasons. It's a brief, but glorious blaze of beauty; soon these bright, golden leaves will flutter to the ground and slowly turn into fertilizer for next year's foliage.
     It's painful to watch Dad struggle to maintain his balance, clinging to his stroller as he takes a few doddering steps toward the nearest stand of aspens, as if wanting to immerse himself more fully in their golden glow, one last time. He, too, appears to be shimmering in the breeze, responding to the pull of gravity and the changing seasons of his life. Yet, while his shoulders may be stooped, and his gait has slowed considerably in recent months, his gaze remains clear, reflecting the fact that he is a man of deep faith with an abiding trust in the Divine, which helps make him unafraid of what lies ahead.
     A thin stream of salty tears comes trickling down my cheek as I watch him, but I choose to remember that I, too, have faith. Even when it feels frail and faltering, that faith remains alive and willing to welcome whatever may come.  And this sadness I'm feeling? Whether it is for Dad or for me -- or for those who are suffering in Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, the GulfaCoast nd all the other newsmaking places where logic, love and loss are colliding and creating chaos - this sadness, too, is a gift, waiting to be faced and embraced. And now is as good a time as any...
     All too soon, it's time for us to get back in the car, drive down the mountain, and head for home. Watching Dad's face as we pass through the last of the aspens, I remember once again the words of the ancient promise: "All is well, and all shall be well... today, tomorrow and always."  It may be just a small comfort, but that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

In peace,
     Rudi Harst

Saturday, September 30, 2017


      People often complain about how busy they are, how little time they have for themselves, how few opportunities there are to do what they love to do; because they've got so much that they "have to do." Many of my peers are retired now, and almost all of them have told me something like "I'm busier now than I ever was when I was working!" - and they're only half-joking.

     I'm not criticizing; because I sometimes hear myself saying similar things, although I do my best not to do so, knowing full well that what I focus on expands. Instead, I chose to focus on the power of Sacred Rest, knowing that there are many benefits to be gained by pausing from busy-ness periodically in order to turn inward. Taking time to become fully present, relaxed and re-energized by allowing the free flow of Life to move through me, to me and from me. Plugging into the vast field of energy which is readily available when we stop Doing long enough to inhabit our Being.
     Maybe you recognize yourself in one of the two preceding paragraphs. Maybe you're planning to attend our upcoming weekend retreat on October 13-15, which will be a wonderful, extended opportunity to get some Sacred Rest in a beautiful nature setting. And if you can't make it for the whole weekend, perhaps you'll consider coming for the Saturday only option (see details below). You'll be really glad you did!

     But, I also know that it isn't necessary to go anywhere or do anything special in order to get some Sacred Rest. It's available right where you, wherever you are, whenever you are ready. I had a particularly amazing experience of that just a few days ago, when seven friends came to our house to help us haul a huge, 35-foot tall hackberry tree out of our backyard.
     It had been knocked down by the winds associated with Hurricane Harvey, and a kind neighbor had used his chain saw to cut it into manageable pieces, leaving a ton of heavy branches and logs that needed to be carried out to the curb for city pickup. It was Big Fun to work alongside these generous friends for a couple of hours, but it was also hard, sweaty work for a desk jockey like me. Most of the heavy lifting I do usually involves moving a pen across paper! 

     Halfway through the process, panting from the effort of dragging yet another heavy branch across yard, I stopped in my tracks and stood in sacred rest, drinking in the view of my kind-hearted pals working alongside me, sinking into my breath and really feeling the sweet ache in my sweaty arms and back - and experienced an extraordinary swell of energy zooming through my spine, pouring into my heart and gushing out into the world. It probably took less than a minute of chronological time, but seemed to last an eternity, and left me feeling totally energized, renewed and imbued with quiet joy that made the rest of the work just fly by.

     I'll be exploring this process of Sacred Rest in more detail during the next two Sunday Circles, as well as at our Retreat weekend, and it would be great to see you there. But, I also invite you to join me for a few moments of Sacred Rest, right now, right where you are, just as you. Turning within, with eyes closed, or eyes wide open, resting in the rich, sweet sacred space that is Now.  And Now...and Now...  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

With gratitude and blessings,

     PS:  Thanks, too, to all the generous artists, volunteers and donors who helped make our 14th Annual Sacred Art of Altars art exhibit and silent auction our most successful one yet! It will be several weeks before we will know exactly how much we raised, but the level of artistry and generosity of all involved was truly extraordinary! 

Friday, September 22, 2017


     I'm writing this near the end of ten days spent alone, housesitting at a friend's isolated Hill Country cottage, mostly cloaked in sacred silence. What a blessing to be here, tucked into this quiet valley located fifteen miles from the nearest town, surrounded by many acres of green space, far enough away from neighbors and roads that very little human noise ever intrudes on the stillness.
     Spending time in "sacred silence" involves limiting communication with others unless an urgent need arises, and choosing instead to focus on paying attention to my surroundings, and the "still Small Voice" as it emerges out of the void created by unplugging from human contact and electronic media. Mostly I sit quietly, simply watching thoughts come and go without attachment, periodically punctuated by small acts that feed the moment: making a cup of tea, journaling, taking a walk, listening to the breeze singing its song in the treetops. I know this time is a gift, and I do my best not to take it for granted.
      One of the more wonder-filled aspects of being here is a chance for this city-dweller to get re-acquainted with the way the ever-shifting sunlight illuminates the earth, thanks to the sheer size of the vast horizon. It's particularly mesmerizing at sunset, when blazing swirls of orange and purple clouds seem to arise out of nowhere to dazzle the eyes, then quickly dim to yield the stage to the first evening star as it blinks into being out of the gathering darkness. A few moments later, that solitary "star" (which is actually the planet Venus on most nights) is joined by two or three others stars, before scores more make their sudden entrance. Within a few brief minutes, the deep dark skies are filled with zillions of other lights, in a display that takes me by surprise each time I stop to watch it unfold.
     It's stunning to realize once again, as if for the very first time, that those stars didn't just appear suddenly; they've been there all day long, "hiding" in plain sight, obscured by the light of the sun. Just because I couldn't see the stars in daytime doesn't mean they weren't there. Of course, I already knew that as a scientific fact I learned in elementary school, as you most likely did, too. But re-experiencing it so vividly in this spectacular setting provides a pointed reminder of the metaphysical Principle of Perception: that what we see, touch or believe to be "real" is actually just a small fraction of what there is to be seen, touched and perceived.
     I feel both humbled and enlarged by the reminder, dramatically punctuated by a shooting star zooming briefly across the sky, as if to underscore the point: let go of your attachment to your thoughts and judgments, and be amazed again and again, by the richness and variety of experiences that Life has to offer, far beyond the boundaries and limitations of your thoughts and beliefs. 

With awe and gratitude,

Saturday, September 16, 2017


I just came home from seeing the documentary "Walk With Me - On The Road With Thich Nhat Hanh". Maybe you were there too. If not, I hope you get to see it sometime soon, because the filmmakers have shared a unique insight into the monastic life. The personal interviews and the respectful observational eyes of the camera provide a thoughtful look into the commitment involved in mastering the art of mindfulness, as demonstrated by Thich Nhat Hanh, who at age 90 is still teaching this practice he brought to the Western world since he was forced into exile in 1966 over his attempts to bring peace to the Vietnam War. This film is not about those efforts but about the three years the filmmakers, Max Pugh and Marc J. Francis, spent at Plum Village, the French monastic community he established in 1982 and following them on a speaking tour to New York.
The movie drew me in and made me feel like a fly on the wall (or maybe the ants on the meditation mat) with a brief glimpse into the lives of these monks and nuns. Slow shots of candles on the pond, clouds in the sky or across the moon, storms rolling in and ladybugs crawling all brought the focus to the here and now.  The warm voice of Benedict Cumberbatch quoting the lyrical words of the master from his Fragrant Palm Leaves: Journals, 1962-1966 provide another powerful invitation into the stillness.  And watching the seasons change on the screen, the children play and question, the young monk yawning and twitching during meditation, the families connecting all brought emotions of joy and sorrow.  As I left the theater someone asked me what I thought and my response was that I felt my body. Frequently called back to breath in scene after scene and brought to stillness by the sound of the bell, I could not help but breathe into the experience.
Filmmaker Alejandro G. Inarritu, who won Oscars for "The Revenant" and "Birdman" says about the documentary "I loved how [the filmmakers] capture and convey, cinematically, the sometimes inexplicable state of being awakened. It gives a hint of that quiet voice so underrated today and ironically so needed in this time of fear and ignorance."
I am grateful for this opportunity to be reminded that we can breathe ourselves into the moment. That this practice of mindfulness is as simple as sitting or walking or cooking or smiling. Thich Nhat Hanh is an inspiration for his peaceful approach to this world and for his sense of social responsibility. This film gave me hope for our world and hope for my own potential. May we all remember stillness each time we hear a bell ring.
In joy,
Zet Bear

This week, I am on a solo retreat in the Hill Country, focused on Sacred Silence. I look forward to sharing my reflections in this space again next week - and at the Autumn Equinox Concert in the Cave Without a Name on Saturday, September 23, and the special Equinox Celebration we'll share the next morning in the Sunday Circle.
I am deeply grateful to Zet - and to you and the many others in the Circle community - who have made possible this time of Sacred Silence.

With gratitude and blessings,
Rudi Harst

Saturday, September 9, 2017


     For the fourteenth year in a row, our altars have been hung in the Bijou Theater Gallery with care - in hopes that lots of folks will go see them there. And what a great show it is!  As wonderful as each of the past thirteen Sacred Art of Altar exhibits have been, I truly believe that this the most colorful, delightfully varied collection of all. It's so much fun to look down that long gallery hall and see them virtually dancing on the wall!
     A large part of the magic of this annual event is seeing the transformation of dozens of plain, identical, handcrafted wooden boxes become such diverse, richly-detailed and highly-individualized expressions of creativity. I can think of no better physical demonstration of the paradox inherent in our Oneness and Diversity.
     But, as much as I enjoy contemplating the aesthetic, spiritual and philosophical dimensions of this annual Circle exhibit, it's even more fun to hang out in the gallery and watch the faces of the unsuspecting moviegoers faces as they drift from the lobby toward their movie screening room, only to encounter the multi-dimensional magic of the altars. These folks are there to see a film, then unexpectedly find themselves first surprised, then captivated by the mystery, majesty and oblique spirituality of these sixty altars hanging in a row on the wall, in the middle of a mall setting. Personally, I think of this as being a kind of "sacred sneak attack" on the sensibilities of innocent bystanders -- a gentle, but penetrating way of sharing the Circle's purpose ("to honor and nurture the Sacred in all creation") with the broader community. It's sort of like guerrilla warfare in reverse: instead of a violent, explosive provocation, it's a gentle, inclusive invitation into the wonders of life.
     I really hope you'll also get the chance to see them in person sometime during the next two weeks. Make a date: bring a friend or two, buy them a tasty beverage or snack and give yourself the time to really view the exhibit deeply, walking slowly down the hall, examining each one for a minute, maybe more -- and then go back and spend at least 3-5 minutes of silent time with The One Altar that spoke most directly to you; allow it to draw you in and make you look deep within yourself for a few moments... And then take a few minutes to express, explore and expound with your friend(s). 
     Perhaps you will join us for the Closing Reception on September 28th, which promises to be another upbeat celebration of our shared energies. (see details below).
     However, If you live outside the San Antonio area or just haven't been to see the show yet, you can view photos of the altars on the Circle's gorgeous website photo gallery, thanks to the generosity, energy and technical wizardry of Penny Malone, Karl Franklin and Jeff Chestnut, simply by clicking here. 
     Thanks to all the artists who created these amazing pieces - and the valiant crew of volunteers who helped collect, transport and hang them. What great work you did in providing us with this stirring visual reminder that, truly, "We Are One."

With gratitude and blessings,
     Rudi Harst

PS:   This Saturday night, September 9, I will be hosting and singing at JOINT EFFORT COFFEEHOUSE, along with my good friends and musical cohorts, Patti + Rod Radle; Dana Clark, Piper Tilton and John Whipple. Rousing songs will be sung, a meal will be served and Big Fun will be had. Dinner, conversation, candle light and crayons -- all for a suggested donation of $8, more or less (children free). It's a real deal and promises to be a great deal of fun, too. Doors open at 7:00 and buffet dinner served; music starts at 7:30 at the Inner City Development Center, 1300 Chihuahua Street. All proceeds support the ICDC programming. 

Friday, September 1, 2017


     Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the many, many Gulf Coast residents whose lives, homes and safety have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. Sitting here in the comfort of our home, it's hard to comprehend the devastation being caused by this historic storm system, no matter how many stories we've heard or videos we've seen.
     Our house (as well as the Circle office) is located in a rain-sensitive flood plain, just 50 yards from the San Antonio River, so there's a good chance that if Harvey had continued just 30 miles further inland, our neighborhood would have been flooded. As it was, the only physical damaged we experienced was that a strong wind knocked down a 40-foot hackberry tree in our backyard. Had it landed 20 feet in the other direction, it would have crushed our living room. These are just two of the many things Zet and I have to be grateful for, and among the many reasons for wanting to reach out to those who are less fortunate.
     That's why we will be collecting donations on behalf of the Texas Red Cross in the Circle this Sunday. We encourage you to bring nonperishable food items, bottled water, baby food, diapers, flashlights and batteries, hygiene items and cleaning supplies to the Circle, and we'll take them to the Red Cross. We'll also be offering metaphysical support this Sunday by lifting up our collective prayers as part of the official Day of Prayer in Texas for the victims and responders involved in the flooding. We hope that you can join us in these efforts.
     In hindsight, it may not have been necessary to cancel last Sunday's Morning Circle gathering at SAY Sí, since the worst of the storm had already passed through San Antonio by then. But in the face of uncertain local weather conditions on Saturday afternoon, Mayor Ron Nirenberg had requested that area residents stay home and off the streets over the weekend if possible, so it seemed like the right thing to do when we cancelled.
     One totally unexpected benefit of not meeting with our Circle family was that Zet and I spontaneously decided to hold a Circle gathering by ourselves in our living room, and broadcast it to the community through a Facebook live-stream video on the Circle's Facebook page. Despite little planning and an abundance of logistical challenges, we had a wonderful time celebrating together, accompanied only by Circle Band percussionist, Carl Rush, and our next-door neighbor, Jose Mojica. We had no idea what to expect, so we were pleasantly shocked by how many Circle folks joined in with us online. We reached 473 people on Facebook during the live broadcast, with 130 watching all or most of the video, and 63 people posting comments! And in the days since then, that video has reached more than 1,100 people, which is pretty amazing, considering that this was our first time - and since our attendance on most Sundays varies from 60-85 folks.
            The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with numerous requests to continue live-streaming our Sunday Circles. So that's what we'll do, beginning this weekend, when Zet and I will be joined by our guest speaker and dear friend, Susie Monday, a well-known visual artist, writer, art educator and long-time Circle supporter. It's particularly appropriate to make this available via online video, because Susie will be sharing her insights into creative living, along with a colorful Power Point presentation demonstrating her creativity - and encouraging YOUR creativity.
     I'll also be cooking up some new music, accompanied by the Circle Band, with Adam Tutor sitting in on saxophone, so it promises to be an especially lively Sunday morning gathering, whether you join us live or on Facebook, as we launch into this newest iteration of sharing our Oneness. I look forward to the possibility of sharing it with you, one way or the other.

With love and blessings,
     Rudi Harst
PS If you haven't our Facebook Live Video from last Sunday, you can still see it on our Facebook page by clicking here.

Sunday, August 27, 2017


As Hurricane Harvey approaches the Gulf Coast, we send blessings to those whose homes, health and safety are being threatened directly - and to the many others who are feeling anxious for themselves and their loved ones in this time of uncertainty.
In view of the severe weather predictions for the San Antonio area, we are cancelling this week's Sunday Circle gathering at SAY Sí, as well as the Qi Gong class that meets at 10:00AM. Rudi will lead the Wednesday night Meditation Circle as usual, and we look forward to gathering again next Sunday, September 3rd.
Whatever circumstances may arise this weekend, may our hearts stay open, may our minds stay clear, and may we take appropriate, compassionate actions toward ourselves and others, remembering that We Are One.

With love and blessings,
     Rudi Harst

PS: Below, please find some valuable information on congregational preparedness provided by the City of San Antonio's Faith-Based Community Initiative, Department of Human Services, which is urging local faith communities like Celebration Circle to take compassionate action:

1. If you live in the South Texas area, please consider downloading the ReadySouthTexas app, readily available on GooglePlay and
. It is the official, comprehensive resource supported by the state and multiple local government agencies, as well as the National Weather Service, with the very latest information on weather and emergency logistics -- as well as readiness suggestions to help you help yourself and others

2. If you would like to volunteer to support the thousands of Gulf Coast evacuees who are seeking shelter in San Antonio, please contact the SA Red Cross at 210-224-5151

3. Visit or the City of San Antonio Facebook or Twitter pages for more information.

For the complete list of the SA Faith-Based Community Initiative suggestions for ways to respond compassionately to this situation, click here.

Saturday, August 19, 2017


     Here we are, helping Mateo move into his college dorm room, located on the third floor of an old building with no elevator. Between making multiple trips up and down these narrow concrete stairs carrying luggage - as well as a couple of walks back and forth to our car, parked halfway across campus - my lungs and legs are feeling maxed out.
     Please don't misunderstand. I'm not complaining; there's no place I'd rather be than here with Zet, supporting our son in his transition to college life. It's just that these circumstances are making me feel "old" for the very first time. Turning 65 a few months ago, and dealing with Social Security and Medicare was no big deal; that was just a matter of numbers and government regulations. And watching our "little boy" turn his attention away from our family and toward his new life at the University of New Mexico was a little tough, but we'd long been expecting that, because it's a normal part of the growth process.
     But this moment feels different. I tell myself that the reason I'm gasping for breath on the 3rd floor landing is because Albuquerque is 5,000 feet above sea level, which is about 4,000 feet higher than San Antonio. And that's probably true, too. But there's something else that's different about this physical sensation of fatigue, combined with the act of crossing over this threshold to Mateo's new life, as well as the smell of this old stairwell, which brings up old memories of being a college freshman myself many years ago, in a dorm building that smelled, sounded and felt much like the one I'm standing in now. That particular combination of sensations has just sucker-punched me, sending me lurching downward on a gut-wrenching journey across the many years that have passed by and into the depths of the mysterious abyss that lies ahead - a voyage through many decades in the span of a few seconds.
     Leaning against the wall to catch my breath while carrying another suitcase, I take another glance down the stairwell, and feel the power of simply being aware of all the thoughts, feelings and sensations spiraling within and around me. Grounded in this awareness, it's easy to embrace and accept this situation as yet another gift from Source, then shift into a place of deep gratitude for all of it: the joy and sorrow, the fun and the fatigue, the faith and confusion. How wonderful to be here in this particular space, at this particular moment, experiencing this particular set of circumstances. May I remember to continue being grateful for it all.
With love and blessings,
     Rudi Harst

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, August 11, 2017


     Zet and I are helping our son, Mateo, get ready to leave for college next week. Sorting through stacks of clothes, discarding high school books and mementos, buying school supplies, trying to anticipate the stuff he'll need for his dorm room. It's a little hectic, but we're doing our best to savor this process, knowing that all too soon this time will pass, and we'll have the proverbial Empty Nest.
     It's also a little discombobulating, because he's so ready to be gone that much of his energy has already left the building and zoomed ahead to Albuquerque, where he'll be at the University of New Mexico. There are times when he's barely present while sitting across the table. We were both 47 years old when Mateo was born, so many of our peers went through this phase with their children years ago. They assure us that, based on their experience, his desire for distance and independence will eventually give way to an even deeper, warmer relationship with us.
     I'm sure that's true. But, in the meantime, I'm doing my best to embrace the principle of impermanence, and the awareness that everything and everyone must pass from our lives. It's one thing to know that intellectually; it's quite different feeling the truth of it at the cellular level, experiencing the expansiveness of breathing into the knot in my stomach, the ache in my chest. Feeling blessed by the love and awareness flowing through the moment at hand, knowing it to be a true gift - far more potent than the illusory images of our family I've created in my head. It's just the latest in a long line of lessons and blessings I've received from being Mateo's father. And for that, I am deeply grateful.
With joy,
     Rudi Harst

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.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


     We haven't had much rain around here since the last week in May, yet temperatures have been hovering near 100 degrees almost daily for over a month, leaving our surroundings parched and dry.  So when some rain finally arrived last night, I was really grateful, even though we only got about ¼ of an inch from all that thunder and lightning.
     And then the sun came out this morning, evaporating whatever water had landed and instantly turning the city of San Antonio into Sauna Antonio once again. The moment I walk out the door, the ambient humidity hangs heavy on my skin, like a thick, too-warm blanket, making even small tasks like taking out the trash or walking the dogs seem like it's too much trouble.
     It's one of those days that make me feel particularly thankful for the blessings of central air conditioning, and for the solar panels on our home, which make the AC more affordable. And yet...I also love being outdoors, and am uncomfortable with the idea of feeling stuck inside my body's reliance on air-conditioned comfort. Humans lived without AC since time out of mind, and as recently as the 1950's, many public buildings and most residences (including my childhood home) were not air-conditioned. How did we come to be so dependent on this now ubiquitous technology in just 50 years time?
     Fortunately, our yard is filled with giant pecan and hackberry trees which make it possible to sit out here comfortably, for even the slightest breeze, combined with the shade, dissipates much of the heat. The thermometer on the side of our house reads 98 degrees, but here in the shade it's quite pleasant. That's a good thing, because I've been drawn outside by the bright sunshine and puffy clouds floating through the sheer vastness of the deep blue sky, providing a much-needed antidote to the hypnotic glare of the various-sized computer screens I've been staring at for hours while working.  
     And then there are the various songbirds that I can't see, but can clearly hear, calling out to each other from far and near, back and forth, drawing me into their conversations. Meanwhile, a red-tail hawk circles high overhead, seeking its' next meal in the grass below, while cicadas buzz all around, having spent several years underground in their larval state, before emerging for a few brief weeks of loud courtship before dying.
    Meanwhile, a slow but steady stream of leaves comes fluttering down out of the trees at random intervals, one at a time, graphic reminders of just how small and transient I am in the big scheme of things. And how soon Autumn will arrive.
     Sitting in the office, hemmed in by four walls and the ceaseless procession of e-mails, posts and phone calls crawling across my desktop, it's easy to allow the twin illusions of permanence and self-importance to trick me into imagining that the world revolves around me and my thoughts. But out here, the birds, trees, cicadas and breezes all conspire to demonstrate again and again, that everything and every one is temporary, for "This, too, shall pass."  I, for one, am deeply grateful for the reminder -- and am hopeful that you, too, will be able to spend some time outdoors sometime soon. 

With joy,
     Rudi Harst

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, July 28, 2017


Zet has just been named the Texas Festival and Events Association Professional of the Year! We are in Ft. Worth for the annual TFEA convention, where Zet received this prestigious award from her peers in the event production industry. This award is in recognition of her many years of organizing and developing the King William Fair, as well as all her work with the Celebration Circle and numerous other non-profit organizations.
I don't know if you're aware of how truly blessed we are to have Zet's energy in the Celebration Circle.  She brings such a loving, caring and organizing force to everything she's involved in, but most of what she does goes largely unrecognized, because she works so quietly and effectively, seldom drawing attention to herself.  After twenty-five years of organizing our weekly Circle gatherings, as well as the many art exhibits, classes, retreats and concerts that the Circle offers, she makes it all look easy, but it isn't always. As Spiritual Director of the Circle, as well as her partner (and a grateful beneficiary of her gifts as a facilitator, producer and organizer) for the past 38 years, I'm delighted that she has finally received this high level of recognition for her many years of service to the ideals of community and creativity, translated into action through her loving attention to detail.

It was a meaningful day for her with family and friends present. Her brother and sister-in-law, Gary & Ann, drove in from Oklahoma City, plus her brother Linus flew in from San Antonio for the presentation. Mateo and I were glad to be there to witness her happiness, along with her co-worker, Syeira Budd, plus other Fiesta event friends joining in. It was a special time!  Congratulations, Zet!
With joy,

Saturday, July 22, 2017


     The weather forecast says it will get back up to 100 degrees again this afternoon, but right now, it's a pleasant 78 degrees and the early morning breeze makes it downright pleasant to be here on the screened porch. I spend a lot of time indoors, breathing air-conditioning, for which I'm grateful. But mornings and evenings I do my best to spend some time outdoors, surrounded by greenery and feeling the gifts of time and space. I wish you could be here on the porch with me, but since that's not possible, I'll simply share a poem I wrote years ago, and invite you into this space:
Wrapped in a robe of sunlit silence
the armless rocking chair takes me back
to where I haven't been for far too long
moving in place, back and forth,
noiseless as the swishing of my tabby cat's tail.
Just five minutes earlier,
I was firmly wrapped in a relentless hurry -
barely past sunrise and already my plate was full
of projects, plans and unkept promises,
feeling sullen and surly
wondering how did it get so late so early?
This quiet moment
snuck over the threshold on soft-slipper feet
first catching me by surprise
now holding me as willing captive.
This is my Waterloo, and I surrender to you, little rocking chair
Feed your prisoner steamed brown rice,
one grain at a time
water my thirsty heart,
tear my well-planned day apart.
With joy,
And a few personal invitations for those of you who want to get out and "do" something this Summer.
Please join me for these evenings of music as I share my passion for entertaining and enlightening, anytime, anywhere:
Saturday, July 22, 5:00 - 7:30pm, Barriba Cantina on the Riverwalk, 111 W. Crockett
Saturday, July 29, 7:30 - 9:00pm, Unity Church Coffeehouse, CommUnity Center, 8103 Broadway

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, July 16, 2017


     I've heard several friends fret about last week's round of hard-hitting news:  North Korea's first successful ICBM missile launch; the public acrimony swirling around what the Trump administration did or didn't do; the melting ice sheet in Antarctica; the horrifying acts of violence in Nigeria, Syria and Afghanistan; the outbreak of murders in Chicago. The list of reasons to feel scared, mad and/or hopeless goes on and on, if that's where you chose to focus your attention.

     But I choose to remember that I am not the victim of the circumstances surrounding us, much less the latest headlines. I am always free to choose where to focus my time, energy and attention. In the words of Mark Morford, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, "For every ongoing war and religious outrage and environmental devastation... there are a thousand counterbalancing acts of staggering generosity and humanity and art and beauty happening all over the world, right now, on a breathtaking scale, from flower box to cathedral...  Resist the temptation to drown in fatalism, to shake your head and sigh and just throw in the karmic towel...  Realize that this is the perfect moment to change the energy of the world, to step right up and crank your personal volume. Right when it all seems dark and bitter and offensive and acrimonious and conflicted and bilious... there's your opening." 

     I am not here to bury my head in the sand and deny the existence of the war, darkness and devastation in the world - but I choose to invest my time and energy in planting seeds of peace and possibility instead. That's why I invite you to join us this Sunday in the Circle, where once again we'll be focusing on the power of naming, claiming and framing our own stories. We'll share words, music and meditations that magnify the human potential of our hearts and minds, added to our Spiritual identity of our souls, and multiplied by the number of us gathered to explore, experience and express our Oneness. I hope you can join us, whether in person or from afar, as we engage in this important antidote to fear and hopelessness, one breath, one prayer, one person at a time.
At least, that's my invitation, but I'm sticking to it.  
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.

Friday, July 7, 2017


     Zet, Mateo and I drove to Albuquerque last week for Mateo's three-day Freshman Orientation session at the University of New Mexico. It was a heart-warming, mind-melting experience, and a wonderful opportunity to practice the "empty nest syndrome" for a couple of days. Afterwards, Zet stayed in New Mexico for a weeklong art camp, while Mateo and I drove home via Durango, where we spent a few days deep in the San Juan Mountains, visiting dear friends.
     Mateo is a wonderful travelling companion, and I was grateful to be able to spend that time together before he heads off to college "for real" next month. However, we had car trouble on the way home, as well as many hours of driving through heavy rainstorms, and arrived back in San Antonio feeling exhausted, rather than rested.
    So now, I'm sitting at my desk for the first time in ten days, feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of papers, tasks and phone calls/e-mails that need attention. But I know this feeling all too well, and this time I refuse to let myself get pulled back down into that dark, moldy old hole.
     Instead I choose to take a few moments to remember my statement of purpose: "to experience, explore and express the free flow of Life moving to me, through me, as me, in a world of prosperity and peace."
     Those are fine words, and of course, they're far easier to say than put into action. But that doesn't make it less important -- or any less possible -- to stay focused on the power of being propelled by my purpose, rather than feeling powerless in the face of the circumstances in front of me, as was so often the case in years past.
     Sure, part of me is fully prepared to head back into that tired, old familiar habit pattern once again. And yet... as I pause in the headlong rush to Get There, just long enough to remember who and where I AM right NOW, a subtle but power-full shift occurs. Lifting my heart, shifting my vision, feeling my Wholeness as part of the Whole, I release my need to control what comes next.
      Rather than feeling defeated by these tasks, I choose to take a few deep breaths, in order to relax, remember, review, and take responsibility for who I AM in truth, and what I'm really here to do:
     1. I relax (from the Latin relaxare, "to let loose"), and feel my willingness to let go
     2. I remember (from the Latin, rememorari, "call to mind") o clear my mind of the limiting beliefs and memories of what has gone before, and focus on the present moment.
     3. I review (from the French revoir, "to see again") is to look beyond what was, then open myself to new possibilities.
     4. I take responsibility, knowing that I am "response-able" and fully able to respond to the tasks in front of me, trusting that I have all the time and resources necessary to handle all these things I've attracted into my life...
      Afterwards, I open my eyes and see my desk in a new light. It's still full of papers, tasks and phone calls to be made. But now they are no longer problems to be solved or challenges to be overcome. Instead, they're just invitations to a dance with Spirit and reflect, connect and communicate with others... Trusting that all of the necessary tools, guides and resources are available, I feel fully capable of doing what needs to be done in service to the One Love connecting us to the All and the Everything. At least, that's my story, and this is how I choose to see it.
    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.