Monday, December 15, 2008


Several years ago I was visiting dear friends in an out-lying area of Chicago. Down the quiet country road from their house was a large Christmas tree farm, the first and only one I have ever personally seen. I was delighted by not only the extraordinary expanse of growing evergreens, but also by the felt-sense experience of all that was going in to the preparation of a tree that would then serve the purpose of being a centerpiece for one relatively short observance. A great amount of tending, care, and attention is given as each seed becomes sapling, and each sapling becomes a tree mature enough to be chopped and shopped for the pleasure of perhaps the grandest of all holiday celebrations, at least in the Christian tradition.

While trees are certainly living beings in their own right, they are not organisms of self-reflecting consciousness. As I gazed upon this field of trees, however, I couldn’t help but feel they each were manifesting themselves into a form of selfless service. That each tree was incarnating its self into being simply to bring beauty and joy to those who would acquire it. I found myself with a deep and profound desire to be my own kind of Christmas tree, a desire that has lasted and certainly re-surfaced at this time of year. I want my time upon this planet to serve and to uplift others, to bring some beauty and some joy to those who are led into my sphere of experience.
A few years after experiencing this tree farm, I was on retreat in North Carolina in early January. I was “G-awed-walking” when I came across a group of people who were gathering the discarded Christmas trees of the recently ended season. They explained to me that they were part of a group who mulches the trees for the purpose of using that mulch on all the hiking trials in the area. I nearly exploded in glee! I immediately thought of the tree farm, and the lengthy process of bringing each seedling to readied maturity. I thought of the trees being cut down, and how they went from the desolate field to a festive place of honor, with gifts at their feet. I felt how they would then be stripped of their adornment, and unceremoniously dumped at the curb for pick-up. And then these dear people were furthering their usefulness by turning their past glory into a carpet for countless to tread upon. It only deepened for me the metaphor of living as a Christmas tree in every season of the year! I want the whole of my life to be a path upon which future generations may travel. I will that the awakening and the unskillfulness of my living be used to beacon those who are to follow me when I am gone from physical sight. I want the entire process of my unfoldment- from seedling to immortal mulch- to be used for something larger than myself. This is my prayer and my intention.

Though at times I may over-accessorize, I have not led a life of great accomplishment or adornment. I have not been a “tree” that has been viewed or celebrated by masses. The ornaments of human achievement have always seemed a bit too heavy for these branches, and the lights of fame or fortune are not now the goals of this maturing tree. I feel a bit more like Charlie Browns Christmas tree than the one at Rockefeller Center. Mine is more an interior incarnation, though at times I may be the center of some attention. So much of success is perceptual, as is the assessment of what is beauty or grandeur. The fact that a hundred people pass by a particular Christmas tree doesn’t diminish its beauty to the one who chooses its expression. I seek to remember this daily as I commit to giving my gifts. I hold to the purpose of my Being; to awaken to the splendor of the One Self, and to give expression to It in my daily being and doing. I live so that my love will be a lasting legacy, and so that my struggles will ease the way for future pilgrims upon the path. If some of the experiences that I am called to bear within this incarnation weigh my branches down, I trust that the Life Source within is equal to the demand. I will remain a devotion to G-awedness, beauty, serenity, and joy. I will remain rooted in the Love that is my Truth, and I will allow the example of that Love to be a reminder for all those who choose to behold it. I will embrace and release the ego tendency of comparison; despite any outer appearance, we are all trees of One Source, and our expressions are equally reverent and precious just as they are.

As we end this calendar year of 2008, I embrace an openness of what this “tree of me” will grow forth in the year of 2009. I relish the uncertainty, and the opportunity to simply root myself in now. I celebrate the adornments of my present, and let my Presence be my gift. I am knowing for each who chooses to read this expression of my heart a glorious holiday season, and a new year that is filled with peace and endless possibility.

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Mass of Christ, and a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


In contemplating what I felt inspired to share with you in this final edition of RADICAL EXPRESSION for 2008, the name of the newsletter its self captured my attention and stimulated my imagination. It has always been my greatest desire and my most challenging obstacle to truly be radically expressed right here and now on planet earth. There it is; I shamelessly expose myself to all my readers, and I must say it is more liberating than embarrassing. Particularly in this season of Light, I recognize that for me it has been the embracing of the darkness that has led to my greatest experience of transcendence. No amount of parroting affirmations of Truth ever released me from the bondage of my own mis-perceptions. No amount of information ever saved me from the hell of my own imprinted self -opinions. Services, seminars, and a seeming endless array of reading materials may have pointed me in the right direction, but it wasn’t until I was willing to truly excavate the depths of my own despair that a transformation in consciousness began to slowly emerge. I had the desire to express radically, but I did not have the quality of inner atmosphere that could support such radiant living. I could put on my metaphysical happy-face, but in the darkness of night, I was still slowly dying from the tribal lies that held me bound in a trance of deep, often unconscious unworthiness.

During this season of Advent in the Christian tradition, we are reminded of how the prophet Isaiah foretold of a “great Light that would enter the darkness.” This great Light was the promised Messiah, the redeemer of the lost souls caught in the trance of separation and despondency. The man Jesus, whose birth this tradition celebrates at this time of year, is said to be that very Messiah for those who believe in him and his example. Though I do not identify as a Christian, I do resonate with my own particular understanding of the example he came and shared. Isaiah and later John the Baptist were great and passionate prophets of this coming Light. John lived to meet and to baptize his cousin whom he saw as the embodiment of redemption. I most certainly celebrate the man Jesus as an example of this Light. I do not, however, stop there. The “great Light that was coming into darkness” is still and again the Light that enters that darkness of ignorance in each and every one of us. We are called to passionately prophesy, and then to embody this Light in our own earthly experience. Advent means “to come,” or “coming to.” It is the task of humanity, if you will, to come to our own intrinsic nature of Divine incarnations. We do this as we are able and willing, by right of consciousness, to enter our own darkness. It is on the other side of the darkness of unawareness that we each meet the Light of Truth, the Light of our very Being. As in the cases of Isaiah, John, and Jesus, this takes great passion. It takes a devotion to seeing through our individual and collective stories and myths. It requires vigilance, patience, compassion, and a radical commitment to transcending the past without attachment to a projected future. The embodiment of Light is certainly not the sole domain of Jesus or of Christian mythology. The Maccabees of old became these same qualities as they took back the temple from the Syrian army, leading to the miracle of Hanukkah. Their passion and faithfulness became the fortitude that beat the odds of their circumstances. The Light of Hanukkah is the same light that is of Christmas: it is the Light of Truth that burns brightly in every incarnated Soul.

While this is a time of rich and revealing symbolism, theory or concept does not transcendence make. Radical Expression is about becoming the Light: embodying It here in time and space reality. There is nothing conceptual about it. Light is not mental. It is experiential. It is transcendent, yet it is also imminent. While we are not the Source of Light, it is through us that it is seen and known in this world. That is the power of the examples of the Maccabees and of Jesus. They became the Truth in vibrant and living example. Light is indeed the redemption of the world, but it is not a Light that comes from someone else. It is our individual responsibility, privilege, and destiny to embody the One Light. For that we are born. That is the purpose of incarnation. We are each the Light of the world, and it is our mission to shine forth in splendor. Shining forth is the Essence of radical expression” EXPRESS I ON.

I am knowing for each of you a shining holi-day season, and a radically expressed new year. Shine on, dear friends. Shine on.