Sunday, May 28, 2017


      Recently I was mixing a fresh batch of salad dressing, when suddenly the lid flew off the bottle and splattered the oily mixture all over my shirt.  Bummer. This is one of my all-time favorite shirts; I'd hate to lose it. Made of an incredibly smooth, silky Egyptian cotton by a top Italian designer, Ermenegildo Zegna, it probably cost  $200 - $300 when new, although, like almost all of my clothes, I bought it at a thrift store and paid just a few bucks for it.
     The Cynical Critic that lives in the back of my head immediately started yelling at me for having ruined the shirt, for not having tightened the lid of the shaker bottle. Telling me that I'll never get these oil stains out; the only chance of saving it requires taking it to the dry cleaners, which will definitely cost more than I paid for the shirt. Plus, in order to get this mixture of oil and basalmic stains out of my shirt, the dry cleaners would have to use perchloroethylene, a chlorocarbon which is toxic to people and degrades the environment. That's why I haven't gone to a dry cleaner in years. No way I would do that!
     Between my anger at the mess I've made, the potential loss of a favorite shirt, and lack of salad dressing for the lunch I'd been rushing to prepare, I instantly find myself stuck in the yuck of a crummy mood. To say nothing of the fact that I've managed to work myself into an inner rant over the irresponsible industrial use of toxic chemicals and the horrors of climate change, and...
      But within a few moments, I became aware of how silly it is to get so upset over such a simple accident, and start to laugh at myself. A couple of deep breaths later, I calm the Critic, reminding him that it's just a shirt. And, that it's quite possible that the folks at Clothesline Cleaners might be able to get these spots out with the non-toxic, environmentally friendly process they use. Plus, I still have plenty of time and ingredients to mix up another batch of salad dressing.
     It's no big deal, but as Zet and I sit down to lunch a few minutes later, I find myself feeling incredibly grateful, not just for the food, but for having had the opportunity to practice the power of awareness in such a simple, straightforward way. Not that long ago, such an incident would have left me in a sour, self-judgmental mood for the rest of the day; now, it's just a temporary inconvenience, and a chance to laugh at myself. And, as poet Mark Nepo said so eloquently, it's also another reminder to enjoy this precious, present moment in all its "flawed abundance." Why not?
With gratitude and blessings,
PS:  And, yes, as the before-and-after photos show, the folks at Clothesline Cleaners were able to get out every bit of that salad dressing without the use of toxic chemicals!

Saturday, May 20, 2017


     I'm just hanging out with my wife and son, chatting about nothing particular, simply enjoying some all-too-rare time together at home, doing as little as possible for a change. Suddenly, a huge wave of love comes washing over me, and I find myself swimming in a sea of gratitude, while standing right here in the middle of our kitchen.

     I rub my eyes and blink, seeing these two amazing beings, radiating so much beauty, love and intelligence that it's almost blinding to look at them. How did I get so lucky as to have a family like this? How is it possible that Mateo will be turning 18 next week (!!) and heading off to college in Albuquerque in a few months, when it seems like it was just a couple of years ago I was standing in that hospital room, watching him emerge from his birth mother's womb. And how could it be that Zet has been my best friend for 37 years, and yet, here I am, looking at her - at both of them  -- with brand new eyes, as if seeing them for the first time.
     It's wonderful to be basking in their radiant glow, although I also find myself feeling humbled by how much I don't know about either one of them. My mind wants to race off into analyzing this and that about them, wishing I knew more about who they are, and what they're thinking about, and what they're longing for, and...  but my heart cuts in and says simply:  "Peace, be still and give thanks..."

     I'm reminded once again of Garrison Keillor's wry observation that each of our lives is a thick, complex novel, full of multiple, twisting plot lines and strange, wondrous characters. And yet we walk around merely glancing at each other's dust jackets, while pretending we've read the whole book and acting as if we know everything there is to know about the people whose stories we've only glimpsed - even beloved family members, like these, with whom I've been living all these years.
      Zoom...instantly my mind goes right back to judging, twisting around to "figure out" more about Zet, Mateo and our relationships, turning in on itself to make sense out of things, wishing I had more time with Mateo before he heads off into his new life... 
     But, just as quickly, the Still Small Voice reminds me: "Peace, be still, and give thanks..."  And so I do, remembering once again that this is just another moment, just another day. Just another chance to sink into the silence:  "Peace, be still, and give thanks."

With gratitude 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, May 12, 2017


      This Sunday I'll be taking an old, black-and-white photo of my mother and add it to our communally created Mother's Day altar during the Sunday Circle. The shot, shown above, was taken when I was just a few months old; we're both looking off camera, seemingly gazing into a hopeful, joyful future that I have been living ever since. It's one of my favorite family pictures; my heart melts each time I look at it, feeling how very blessed I am to have had such a kind, caring mother. Her physical body may have died in 2002, but her spirit remains a living, loving presence in my life on a regular basis.
     I hope you'll consider bringing a photo or other memento honoring your mother, too. Because as you and I add our "Mom-orabilia" to whatever else other members of the Circle community might bring to co-create this altar, we'll be doing much more than merely making an attractive, composite visual image. We'll be honoring and invoking the vast field of loving and supportive feminine energy that makes our lives possible.
     Having said that, it's also important to acknowledge that you may have less-than-fond memories of your mother. Or perhaps she died so recently that your family memories are still clouded by feelings of grief and loss. Please know that those feelings, too, are a welcome addition to our co-created altar and our time of shared ritual remembrance of the Divine Feminine alive in us all. For the metaphysical energy of the Divine Mother is not all just sweetness and light; life and birth. It is also the energy of darkness, chaos and death, for there can be no light without darkness, no nurturing without challenge, no birth without death.
     And yes, it's hard to make sense of this paradox; the language of logic, precision and prose struggles mightily under the weight of carrying these seeming contradictions. Which is why I find so much value in the power of gathering together and focusing consciously through shared silence, poetry, music and ritual space. As we approach this Great Mystery of the Divine Feminine with hearts and minds wide open together, we are able to mine the rich seam of meaning and purpose that awaits us, in a way that's difficult to do as separate individuals.
     So, whether or not you are able to attend our Mother's Day Sunday Circle in person, or are "merely" tuning from somewhere else, I truly hope you'll consider tapping into the vast field of generative, feminine energy we'll be focusing on together. It promises to be a powerful time.
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.

Saturday, May 6, 2017


     Being somewhat near-sighted, I've worn glasses since the 5th grade, so having them perched on my nose has become second nature - so much so that I often forget I have them on. Sometimes I'll go days without cleaning them, which is unusual for a guy who is fairly fastidious otherwise.  Because my glasses are such a constant presence on my face, and the buildup of dust and grime is so gradual, I generally don't notice unless something suddenly splashes me in the face - which seldom occurs.  Instead, what tends to happen is that my glasses just get progressively dirtier for several days in a row, until suddenly sunlight will strike the lenses just right, forcing me to notice that the world looks somewhat blurry and dirty again!  Fortunately, it's an easy fix: A squirt of cleaning solution, a quick wipe with a microfiber cloth, and the lenses are sparkling once more.
     That's a simple solution for clearing my vision on the physical plane, and it's not that different on the metaphysical plane. As a student of spiritual principles, I've spent years learning to see the world more clearly by looking beyond my ego's limited perceptions and cultural conditioning, and remembering that life is not really an adversarial, win/lose proposition, pitting "Me vs. Them" in a ceaseless struggle for limited resources. Instead, I choose to believe in our essential Oneness with Source, knowing that I have enough and I AM enough, at all times, and under all circumstance, because there's a deep sense of love and abundance flowing through my life - even when it doesn't look like it or feel like it.
      While that's how I choose to see the world, I often lose this view when seemingly difficult circumstances arrive, and I find my guts tangled up in knots, eyes clouded with fear, struggling to deal with the challenge du jour. But the moment I become aware that what I'm seeing is mostly just a film of culturally derived dust that's impairing my vision, I'm free to "wipe off the smudges and dust" from the Eyes of my Heart, and then take another, deeper look...  Yes, disease, death and economic challenges can seem very "real", but so is the opportunity to look beyond them into the metaphysical truth of Sufficiency.
     Sure, it's a learning process, and there's still much I don't know, still so many times I forget. Having a meditation practice is a helpful way of remembering, but the most powerful way of re-visiting and re-focusing on these spiritual principles is to spend time in the company of others who are choosing to do the same. Which is why I'm so grateful for your companionship in Celebration Circle, as we move along this path of learning and remembering together, dear reader. Whether we meet on Sunday mornings, Wednesday evenings, at weekend retreats or even on-line, there is so much power and possibility in focusing our intentions collectively, and seeing anew with "heart and mind wide open." Thank you for your presence on the path! It wouldn't be the same without you...
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.