Friday, March 30, 2018


     In our household, we take water conservation pretty seriously: we have a xeriscape yard, use low-flow appliances, and recycle gray water to help water our trees, among other things. So, when I recently saw a vast stream of water gushing out of a fire hydrant and flowing down the street just around the corner from our house, I immediately pulled over, ready to call 311 and report this stunning waste.
     But on closer inspection, there was already a San Antonio Water System (SAWS) employee on the scene, standing nearby in the shade of his truck, casually observing the cascade of water. When I got out of my car to engage him in conversation and find out why this was happening,  the man was polite, but unfazed as he reeled off an answer he'd clearly given many times before.  He was conducting a mandatory, annual SAWS maintenance procedure, because this fire hydrant hadn't been used in the past year. Therefore, he's required to flush hundreds of gallons of stagnant water out of this pipe, until the water runs clear enough to pass the water quality test he'll administer. Moreover, this was just one of several hydrants in our neighborhood that would be flushed that day. He was also quick to point out that failure to do this could easily allow stagnant water to wash back into the water system and cause a costly, wide-spread contamination of our entire municipal supply, which is exactly what had happened in Corpus Christi just a few months ago.
     As I drove off, shaking my head in disbelief at the sight of this massive stream flowing out of the hydrant and into the gutter, it occurred to me that this seeming waste of precious water was an apt metaphor for the way we tend to accumulate stagnant energy inside ourselves. Whether it comes through stress, lack of exercise, poor diet or physical fatigue, if we don't take conscious action to address such stagnation, it can contaminate and/or diminish every aspect of our body, mind and spirit.  "Flushing it out" of our system doesn't have to be complicated, time-consuming or expensive, but it does require some degree of self-awareness, honesty and diligence. Whenever you notice yourself feeling sluggish or depleted, it can be helpful to look for those places in your life where the energy is stuck or stagnant, and then take action to release it. Addressing it can be as simple as taking some time off to be in nature, engaging in vigorous exercise, committing to a period of prayerful reflection or volunteering to be of service to others.
     Now might be a particularly good time to do some kind of inner "Spring Cleaning" since it's the season for renewal and new life. But, whenever you do it, this process of flushing out the stagnation starts with an awareness of the blockages in your life, and a willingness to take action, remembering that you don't have to do it alone, knowing that the free flow of Spirit is always available to support you in the process. At least, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it...
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.

Saturday, March 17, 2018


     Winter's clearly behind us here in South Texas, and spring is signaling her warm, vibrant energy of rebirth and renewal in many wondrous ways. The birds, bees, trees and breezes are all doing their best to get our attention by whispering:  "Hello, humans! Come join us outdoors - breathe, listen, watch! Remember, there's more to the world than what you can see from your window, your car, your computer screen. Come outside and touch, smell, feel some of that delicious, nutritious more-ness..."
     Having heard this invitation myself, I'm taking the liberty of extending it to you. Won't you take some time today, tomorrow or sometime sooner than later to go outside and let the waves of spring energy wash through you for a few minutes or more? Gardening or hiking or biking or simply standing still in a space that allows the Sacred to brush your face, soften your heart, and remind you of your amazing, grace-filled place in the great circle of life. 
     Perhaps you can join me and my musical friends this Saturday night in the Cave Without a Name for our annual Spring Equinox concert, for what's sure to be a rousing experience as we focus on this energy of spring from deep within Mother Earth together. Or maybe you can come outside and spend a Day in the Garden near Kerrville with us next month or our weekend-long Spring Retreat on the banks of the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels (details for both events listed below).
     But hopefully, you won't have to wait that long to find yourself outdoors, drinking in the beauty surrounding you, hearing the lyrical song of rebirth and renewal being sung by all of nature. Wherever you go - whether it's in the courtyard of your apartment complex, the parking lot at work, a city park in your neighborhood, or just outside your back door - every blade of grass, every bird, every tree is buzzing with new life and inviting you to re-connect with that same vibration inside of you. Why not?  At least, that's my invitation... and 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.

Saturday, March 10, 2018


     In my softer moments, the sight makes my gut flutter and eyes water; in a more cynical mood, I might mutter something about having seen yet another "raccoon pancake" on South Presa Street, around the corner from our house. That may seem a little harsh, but unfortunately, wild animal "roadkill" is a seemingly unavoidable, fact of life in my neighborhood, where Presa is a major artery that runs parallel to the San Antonio River for several miles of relatively undeveloped greenbelt, which houses a lot of wildlife. Technically, the speed limit is 40 miles per hour, but cars regularly travel much faster along this stretch of the road, especially on late weekend nights, when the hot-rodders spillover from the Southwest Military Drive drag strip.

     Over the course of the past few years of Mondays, I've seen many a dead hawk, owl, rabbit, squirrel, possum, fox and coyote lying on the road. Each species evolved with a particular set of skills to survive in nature; each being strong, fast and especially adapted to thrive in its own way - but none can outrun a ton of steel on wheels, hurtling down the road at those speeds.
It was during one of those tender-bellied Monday morning moments not that long ago that I suddenly saw that these animals aren't the only victims of our fast-paced culture. That, like a number of people, I was feeling flattened by the speed and intensity of a life spent juggling career, family, music, driving, yard work and housekeeping, while simultaneously trying to keep up with a seemingly non-stop flow of calls, texts and information streaming in from those ever-present smart-devices.
     These days, whenever I find myself feeling deflated in that way, I choose to remember that it's only because I've allowed the free flow of Co-creative Spirit to get blocked. And that I can change that state, both physically and metaphysically, just by taking a few simple actions:

     1. Get up and stretch; move across the room a few times; or better yet, head outside for a minute or two of stretching or movement.

     2. Drink 2-6 ounces of room temperature, filtered water; try to sip and savor, rather than gulping it down.

     3. Focus on the breath for a minute or two. A few rounds of yogic "Breath of Fire" or alternate nostril breathing is great; but so is the simple act of watching the inhale-turn-to-exhale-turn-to-inhale cycle for a few times.  Either way, finish by taking an extra deep breath or two, and imagine using the exhale to inflate a big, brightly colored, blow-up beach ball.  Then imagine that ball is my Higher Self, pulsating with energy and breath; feel that pulsating in my physical self: chest, abdomen, groin, hips, feet, up and up thru the legs, spine, neck and scalp.

     4. Hold hands/arms out in a position that communicates a willingness/desire to receive more Love, ease and abundance right now. And then simmer for another minute or two in a deep-seated willingness to receive it, bless it, send it out into the world - and then receive it once again, in a ceaseless flow.

     5. Go back to the task at hand, feeling fully inflated, tested and rested, and ready for whatever comes next. 

     Having practiced this process for awhile, I can follow this whole progression in less time than it might take to drive through at a fast food restaurant and gulp down a greasy take out lunch. And my soul feels much better fed! You see...the choice is mine (and yours) to make. But really... why not choose love, ease and abundance?
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.

Saturday, March 3, 2018


     A few weeks ago, I was blessed with the rare opportunity to see a bald eagle soaring just a few yards over my head, while standing at the end of our street, overlooking the San Antonio River. What a truly majestic sight! It circled overhead once, with just a few flaps of its giant wingspan, before flying two hundred yards upstream, where it lingered for several minutes longer, apparently searching for fish, then flew out of view
     It was a rare, and all-too brief sighting, because our national bird is seldom seen in this part of Texas. Later that day, this particular bird was officially identified by local wildlife experts as being a young male bald eagle, who speculated that it might be searching for a new nesting site. This caused quite a stir and was featured on a local TV newscast that evening, as well as in the San Antonio newspaper for the next few days.

     I haven't seen the eagle since, although that's not because I haven't tried. I'd never been much of a bird watcher before, but every day since then I've scanned the skies whenever I step outdoors, hoping to see it again. For the first two days, each time I saw a large bird flying overhead my pulse leapt, hoping it was the eagle, only to find myself disappointed that it was "only" a red-tailed hawk, cattle egret or white heron. But, on that second day, in the middle of experiencing that same disappointment when what I hoped was the eagle was "only" an osprey, I found myself feeling embarrassed at my poor judgement.
     How in the world could I be so blind to the fact that seeing an osprey, too, is a blessing - as is the opportunity to see all of the birds surrounding us on any given day? Why limit the joy of looking skyward to another eagle sighting? Why not open my vision - and my heart - in amazement at the wide variety of birds in our area? In the past two weeks alone, I've seen blue jays, scissor-tailed swallows, kingfishers, purple martins, cardinals, woodpeckers, ravens, caracara, barred owls, plovers, killdeer, Egyptian geese... the list goes on and on.  Not to mention all the creatures that live on the ground around here!
     Whether I ever see that bald eagle again in our neighborhood or not, I am deeply grateful for yet another lesson in staying open and receptive to the opportunities for awe and wonder that surround us, wherever we are.
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.