Thursday, October 27, 2011


A few years ago I presented a lecture I entitled The Audacity of Authenticity. The name of that lecture has been looping through my awareness lately, and I realize more than ever that really isn’t a talk to be given but a reality to lived. In these days of Halloween costume parties it can be great fun to step into a masked persona that is often as freeing as it is fun. Inhibitions are dropped as we re-enter a child-like game of “can you guess who I am?” Many a sub-conscious fantasy has been played out as men become women, women become pirates, good girls become witches, and muscle men become tinker bell. We are momentarily free of the confines of who we think we have to be, and the blissfulness is palpable, inviting, and liberating.

And so as I face the re-looping of my talk title once again as I feel equally into the flowing fun of the seasonal masquerade. I am confronted and confused by the esoteric question of the ages “well, who am I anyway? Which me is the authentic me, and which are the roles I have been conditioned and programmed to play in this worldly game of fit in or get out? If I were audacious enough this day to be truly and fully authentic, what would that look and feel like, and would I have the courage to live that out? There are certainly parts of my personality self that I have fought long and hard to suppress, control, and hide. Of course, these are the very same parts that occasionally come leaping forward when I am triggered beyond any measure of self control. Are the parts of me that I so want to be free of indications of an inauthentic me, or are they actually a healthy reaction to the self-stifling of the wild and wondrous being trapped behind the mask of tribal rules and societal convention? I fear that if I gave into and let loose all the darker aspects of my person I would be scarier than any horror house goblin! And yet I have found that these murkier traits only become stronger in the struggle of my inner resistance. I find that after years of hiding, mask wearing, role playing, and as many seeming tricks as there have been treats, I am left to finally become friendly with the wholeness of who I seem to be at this point in my emergence. While I would still at times rather out-picture as the perfect self-image I deem to be the greatest version of my self, that ideal actually and honestly feels as much a role as does the midnight monster of my hidden rage and despair. The smiling mask of my spiritualized self will slip and fall off as my heart aches and my fears arise and my valor droops. And yet it is all a part of the self I have become to be. It is only my self opinion that leads to my suffering and shame. It is the evaluation of my self that separates me from the Knowingness of Source.

I have come to value authentic presence over fictional pretence, and it is freeing and liberating beyond description. I am very clear that I am a Soul that is here with a body and a personality, and I am devoted to being the very best that my Soul is calling me to be. And that includes the fullness and the wholeness of my sometimes fearful, anal-retentive, hyper-sensitive, over-critical, generous, compassionate, bawdy, wildly creative, loving, often wordy, humorous, uplifting, totally devoted self.
I am audacious enough this day to finally be my full and free authentic me. I have played enough roles this lifetime, on and off the stage. And so I have removed the masks and relinquished the pretense and I am showing up in life as fully me as I know how to be. I am committed to living fully my Divinity and freely my humanity. I am committed to embracing the wholeness of me exactly as I am. I am committing to seeing through the painful roles that I and others sometimes play, and to relish the uniqueness and the beauty of the human race at large. I am audacious enough to know that behind these wondrous roles we have come here to earth to embody there is the constant Truth of the Authentic Self that transcends roles and masks of any kind. I am audaciously authentic enough this day to simply live as me.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011


It is late in the afternoon of what has been deemed this year’s commemoration of National Coming Out Day, and I am reflecting on what this really has to do with me and on what my current relationship is to my sexual orientation and in how it expresses in the world of my making. This is a day that is designed to encourage people that are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered to step out of the fearful hiding that is a prison for so many marginalized individuals, and to claim the freedom that self-referral and courageous authenticity provide. While the majority of people who will read this blog are people of proclaimed inclusivity and heartful acceptance, the ravages of race consciousness are insidious and often unrelenting. The race unconsciousness works in the shadows and is partly perpetuated by suppression and denial of what is really going on beneath the surface. There are many times when I feel as if this is a non-issue in my life, and then some situation or interaction will occur that reminds me that I am still plugged into a collective brain that states that LGBT people are second class citizens at best and spiritual abominations at worst. I am a gay man living in a world that is still dominated by a thought system that says that there is something wrong with who I am by virtue of a part of my human expression. My life has been in many ways shaped and molded by my sexual orientation, and countless choices have been made to compensate for the way I am viewed by the populace at large. I know that my ultimate acceptance and celebration must come from the way I behold myself internally; I am also called to do my part in expanding the critical mass consciousness and leaving a legacy of greater freedom and equality for the generations that come after me.

While in just the past few weeks we have finally seen and celebrated the repeal of DON’T ASK DON’T TELL it is still a hard fought battle with a distant finish line to the repeal of the DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT which makes it impossible for me to enjoy the 500 + liberties assumed by my heterosexual married counterparts. Religious equality or even tolerance is still rare in all of our world’s organized religions, and the alarming number of teen suicides related to sexual identity issues is beyond despairing. I am the first to recognize that there is a Soul-agenda component that cannot be denied or ignored by those of awakening consciousness, and I have certainly embraced how my own personal journey has been enhanced by realizing this aspect of my journey. I know beyond logic or reason that I came into this earthly experience to traverse a landscape that would lead me to the highest of spiritual realizations. Part of my awakening has come from living in a world in which I didn’t fit simply by virtue of a sexual orientation that I had no choice in aligning. These facts do not in any way however condone the continued bigotry and violence that are waged against the LGBT population. While there are still those who despite the science will posit that being gay or lesbian is a choice I can assure you it is not. With my religious upbringing and my life long passion for a true and deep connection In my Source I would never have chosen a sexual expression that I was taught was contrary to all things spiritual. I know today that there is not an iota of truth in that theology, but I suffered for many years the effects of that unconsciousness. I guess part of my coming out this day is to end my personal silence when it comes to these damaging dogmas. I was once denied my place in ministry by an evangelical seminary I attended, a school that after thirty years has begun soliciting me for contributions. I am grateful to be able to embrace the irony, and I also see how I consciously avoided informing the school of why it is I will not accept an invitation to return to the school to perform musically for a reunion. Apparently a change in staffing has returned me to the roster of eligible alumni. The invitation to come and to sing at a reuniting seminary event included a hospitable offer to accommodate me and my spouse for the duration of the conference. Something tells me that a gracious acceptance for me and my husband would have drastically altered my place on the program. And I do not have to judge or make wrong what is for them a theological belief. I do, however, feel compelled to be clear, committed, congruent, and articulate about what is Truth for me down in the heart of my hearts. Those theological views once led me to seriously contemplate suicide in my youth, and I simply must be a voice for those who feel they have no choice and no voice at this point in our evolution.

And so I guess I too again come out on this National Day of Coming Out, as I will most probably continue to do on every day of this incarnation. I come out in the name of freedom and liberty for all people of all walks. I come out in the name of a democratic Universe that gives volition to all of Its inhabitants of every expression. We have the choice of how to behold the other, and the choice to either reject or embrace that which perhaps we don’t fully understand. I come out in the name of self-referral and inner identification, regardless of the tribal dictates. I come out in the name of allowing this challenging journey of mine to be an opportunity of maximal growth and expediential evolution. I come out in the name of the Source that celebrates Loving expression in all of Its Infinite forms. Though being gay is not my total expression, it is a valid, important, and beautiful part of who I am. Though I do not yet enjoy equal rights in the country of my birth, I know that I am equal to all people everywhere. I come out this day in the name of love. Love for all people, even those who are consciously working to rob me of my freedoms. No one can take away my freedom in how I choose to see myself and how I choose to express and to love my world. For me and for all those who lived to give me this level of freedom, I come out. And for all those who will follow me on this path to equality and liberation, I come out. Yes indeed. I come out.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I am composing this blog entry during the period of time between the Jewish observances of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, commonly known in that tradition as the High Holy Days. These ten intervening days are referred to as the Days of Awe, and encompass the time between the opening of the Book of Life on Rosh Hashanah and the sealing of the book on Yom Kippur. These days give Jews the opportunity to atone for accumulated sins since the last closing of the Book last Yom Kippur. The failure to atone will result in the living out of these unresolved missing of the mark during the coming year. These ten days begin first in celebration, and then the feasting is followed by intensified prayer, fasting, and active forgiveness. By the time the Book of Life is sealed on Yom Kippur, Jews have every opportunity to ensure a sweet and prosperous New Year by forgiving what is in need of atonement since the preceding year’s ritual.
I have been for almost twenty years what might be called an observant non-Jew, though my observance is more metaphysical than literal. These High Holy Days are for me a profound time of introspection and insightful clarification. I relish the ten days as a time of both symbolically and literally looking at my own personal “book of life” and seeing where I am in need of forgiveness, integration, and atonement. I spend dedicated time during each of these ten days sitting “in awe” of what my prayers of revelation bring into my awareness. I feel deeply into my heart to find where there is closure, withholding, or resentment. I literally ask to be “revealed at depth.” This is very often uncomfortable and yet always spiritually beneficial. Though I do not share theological notions of what sin or atonement is all about, I do recognize that it is as a direct result of my own unconsciousness and unskillfulness that I create my own suffering. It is as well a result of my own inner reflection and surrender-driven forgiveness that I am then freed of that suffering. The journey here in this dualistic and fragmented realm of time and space reality is a Soulfully guided return to One. Every place that I am divided against myself will be projected into relationships and situations that present me with the opportunity to reclaim those projections, engage in inner forgiveness work, and integrate what had previously been disowned. All forgiveness is ultimately self forgiveness. Everything that seems to disturb me out there is an out-picturing of what is disjointed in here. When the pain of fragmentation becomes great enough spiritual surrender begins to have a very merciful appeal. When I have suffered long enough in my personal quest to conquer the world, I am open to the empowerment that Source alignment automatically provides. If I am willing to have my inner landscape revealed, illuminated, integrated, and renewed, a truly new world begins to unfold before me, from within me. The old fearful initiated and permeated book of life that I had been unconsciously authoring becomes a novel of newness, nowness, and profound possibility. Facing my fears frees my love, and within Love, anything and everything is possible. This is the power of forgiveness. This is the power of atonement. This is the power of Awe.

And so I sit quietly these days in openness, presence, and all embracing awe. I watch what arises in my awareness, and I feel the waves of energy as they move within the field of my awakening consciousness. I ask to be shown what is in need of integration, and I look upon the answers to that prayer. I know at a deep level that I am being revealed and renewed. I know experientially that I am being transmuted and transformed. I know that I am being restored to One. I know that the New Year before me may unfold in unpredictable and unprecedented ways by virtue of my forgiven perceptions. I know that I am free to be all that I am being called to be. And I know that my personal forgiveness is contributing to the transformation of the One field. The way that I now choose to inscribe my Book of Life is a radical Love story that holds a vision of Oneness, inclusivity, and harmony for all. And that unfolding vision indeed fills my heart with Awe.