Tuesday, October 28, 2008


As I type the November edition of RADICAL EXPRESSION, I am amazed once again at how quickly a calendar year can seem to pass. While time is ultimately an illusion of consciousness, it certainly seems to me that the illusion is moving more quickly than ever. I find myself often stopping, breathing deeply into the present moment, and becoming conscious of all that is around me and within me. I am drawn more and more to savoring the quality of my moments, and wanting to fully experience my experience. My dear friend Abbi, whose picture you see to the right, is a master teacher of this art of savoring. Can you see and feel the gleeful look in her eyes as she gazes off, free of interpretation and labels? Such attention simply for the experience of attention. Such joyfulness for the sake of joyfulness. Such pure and natural Presence. The wonderful author Alan Cohen wrote a small book some years ago entitled ‘Are You As Happy As Your Dog?” Even for those who don’t have pets, it is a great inquiry. I personally am taking a cue from Abbi, and engaging in a lot of gleefully gazing these days.
November contains within its days the beautiful holiday of Thanksgiving. I have always loved the vibrational feel of this observance. I don’t believe there is anything more enlivening and healing than the heart-felt frequency of gratitude. I have long made it a practice to tap into this vibration before my feet touch the floor in the morning. I also make it a practice to keep a gratitude journal, recording entries each and every day. Gratitude is the best barometer I know for my current state of wakefulness. When I am not feeling at least a subtle mist of gratitude flowing forth from my heart, I know that I am trapped in a perception that is not worthy of Who I am in Truth. I know that I am trapped in a story of separation, and that it is a story that is steeped in the past and projected into the future. I know it is time for a wake up call from my Self to my self: HELLO! ARE YOU FORGETTING SOMETHING? ARE YOU FORGETTING YOUR SOURCE, AND WHO YOU ARE WITHIN THAT? ARE YOU FORGETTING HOW INCREDIBLY BLESSED YOU ARE TO BE ALIVE WITHIN THE ONE? ARE YOU FORGETTING THAT THE ABILITY TO FORM A STORY IS A SOURCED-RIGHT THAT YOU ARE MISUSING AT THIS VERY MOMENT?

It doesn’t take very long for these types of questions to snap me out of my temporary unconsciousness. As I begin to arise in consciousness from my ego-stupor, I feel such gratitude to be able to recognize the contrast that awakening gives. Chances may be good that I will nod off again, yet it is simply another opportunity to practice the art of chosen wakefulness. What a gift! And rather than using the tools of guilt and condemnation that I used to engage in, today I allow the feeling of thanksgiving in my heart to be the way of recognizing where my focus is in any given moment. Grateful, I’m awake. Labeling-making in contraction- I am definitely asleep.

There is always something, and usually a myriad of things, to be grateful for. I personally choose to practice being grateful FROM more than I do being grateful FOR. Gratitude needs no object. It is a state of heart. A state of Being. Just like Abbi. Abbi is a picture of joyful thanks-living. I will definitely take some of that!

Happy days of November to each of you, and a most joyous Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008


On this Erev Yom Kippur, countless Jews around the world are beginning the observance of this Highest of Holy days with the hauntingly mysterious and beautiful Kol Nidre. Kol Nidre is a prayer of forgiveness that is derived from the prayers repeated by Spanish Jews that were forced some centuries ago to pretend that they were Christians. In order to live, the Jews were literally forced to betray their faith, and to live as imposters. The prayers of Kol Nidre beseech G_d to forgive these acts of inauthenticity, and all such acts that betray the created nature of Who we are in Truth. The observance of Yom Kippur includes fasting for those who are physically able, and many hours spent in the temple praying for the sins that have occurred since the previous years Holy days.

While I was not born into the Jewish tradition, the power of this symbolism has touched me deeply for the many years I have adapted my own practices around these ancient rituals. Yom Kippur is of course the Day of Atonement, or what for me is the practice and process of coming back into Oneness within my self, my world, and my Source. As beings of dualistic minds, we have been divided against ourselves in a virtual trance of separation. We remain eternally One, and yet experientially we are torn apart by our own faulty perceptions. Like the Spanish Jews of long ago, we are imposters. We are pretending to be mere shadows of what we were created to be. We play small in order to fit the tribal code. And yet our Souls are urging us back to our authentic state of Glory. This return to One is the very essence of forgiveness. We are called to fast from the identification with false perceptions and limited ideas. We are called to pray within the temples of our own hearts. We are not praying TO a G_d out there FOR forgiveness. We are invited to pray IN the G-awed of our very Being, and the very vibration of that prayer is what restores back to One. The only forgiveness to seek is ultimately our own.

The call of Yom Kippur is the call to live divided no more. It is the call home to One. Regardless of your faith tradition, you may want to stop during this Holy time, and reflect deeply on the ways you may be betraying the True nature of Who you are. In what ways are you pretending to be less than you really are? What parts of your person have you split off from in aversion and in shame? What are you rejecting of your self, and how may you be projecting that out as judgment of another?

If you are living in anything less than an experience of unlimited love and compassion, you are at a level an imposter. It is Love and it is compassion that is at our very core. I firmly believe that forgiveness is our function here in the realm of human story, and it is that forgiveness that leads us back to the state of One that is our Truth. Whether you are called by the sound of the Shofar, or a silent whisper in your heart, the call Home to One is universal and compassionately relentless. Please don’t betray the magnificence of Who you are. Please don’t accept anything less than a life filled with Love. It is Who you are. It is the Truth of all you behold. It is the state of One.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I have spent a large percentage of my life experience pretending to be someone that I am not. I now recognize that a career as an actor was the perfect fit for me in that, as much as I loved becoming someone else, I never really wanted to be me. I would relish diving into a script and transforming myself into what the writer and director wanted me to be. There certainly was individual creativity as well, which included drawing from personal emotional experiences. But in retrospect, much of the thrill of creating a character was that I didn’t have to focus on the one role I was determined not to play: me.

It took me quite a few years to realize that when I retired from the stage and screen, spirituality became the next best way to avoid being the self that I had so much unconscious aversion for. I was doggedly devoted to fixing all the things about myself that I deemed to be unacceptable. I really turned the volume up on this quest when I followed the inspiration to become an ordained minister. I went to war against my humanity, and wanted nothing more than to float slightly above the earth, shining my divinity upon every situation. As noble as this sound, it had the effect of creating an unending internal conflict between the organic self of my humanity, and a “Disneyesque” version of what I thought I was supposed to be. In short, I was still avoiding being who I am in my divinity and my humanity. After much unsuccessful striving and self-enforced suffering, it finally dawned on me that I was here in this realm for the experience of incarnation- an incarnation that was to include the wholeness of me, and not just the parts that I thought were the most “Godly.” I found the truth within the Carl Jung quote: “ I’d rather be whole than good.” I began to see that “good” is an image that is more constrictive than expanding. Trying to play the role of perfect spiritual person kept me locked in the analytical and dualistic mind, and blocked the experience of compassion and acceptance so integral to spiritual emergence.

I am so grateful to be at a place in my evolution where I am finally allowing the “me” that I am in wholeness to lead me to the experience of my authentic self: a self that is as one writer observed, “too true to be good.” I am here to be real, and in that experience of realness, my Truth is revealed. I don’t want to play any more roles, even if that means I am not widely accepted by the masses of this world. I want to know at depth my Oneness, yet in order to do so, I must first become one within my self. I choose Presence over pretense, and intimacy over imaging. I am aware that I am not my thinking, my emotions, my perceptions, and my behaviors. And yet those are all parts of the human experience. Making them wrong and trying to suppress them doesn’t lead to an authentic spiritual experience. It is the underlying unworthiness inherent in the human condition that leads to unconsciousness, and that unconsciousness then leads to unskillfulness. Pretending it isn’t so does not heal this. Healing occurs as we welcome and embrace all of the parts of ourselves that we have resisted and rejected. It is our wholeness that leads to our realness, not the splintering off of the dualistic mind. It is our fullness that leads us to the experience of our authentic self, not our role-playing and posturing.

I have long loved the fable of The Velveteen Rabbit. If you have not read it, or have not read it in a while, I highly recommend this masterpiece of common wisdom. It is a story about becoming real. It is a story about acceptance and inclusivity. It is a story about wholeness. It is a story about appearances being only a part of the picture. And it is a story about love. Deep, abiding love for exactly what is.

While this is the month for masks and costumes, I intend to simply become more of myself. I intend to place my focus on playing the only role that isn’t a role: the whole, authentic me. Now I see that’s who and what I’ve always been called to be. It feels really good and really true to finally get real in my incarnation. And it feels really good and really true to let you be all of who you are as well.