If you are here to explore working with a Spiritual Director, you may well be in the right place. Explore the site, listen to how you feel while reading what's written here, and if you'd like to be in touch, the Let's Get Started page will put us together.

The spirit of my practice can be summed up in these words (adapted from Robert Mabry Doss): For those who come here seeking God ... may God go with you. For those who come embracing life ... may life return your affection. And for those who come to seek a path ... may a way be found, and the courage to take it step by step.

Friday, March 9, 2018

What feeds your spirit?

For the past couple of weeks these posts have included music videos that I, at least, find deeply spiritually filling.  (I hope you have as well.)  While in many ways quite different from one another, there are four things which all five videos have in common that I think make them "spiritual."
First -- and these really aren't in any specific hierarchical order of importance -- they are all highly visual.  Whether the lush imagery on John Boswell's Symphony of Science videos, the often breathtaking scenery in Matt Harding's Where The Hell Is Matt?, or the sight of musicians from a wide variety of human cultures all working together to create something beautiful, all of these videos offer us images.  Imagery can touch us in very deep ways.  It's no wonder that all of the great religions we humans have ever developed make use of imagery -- whether Greek Orthodox Christian's icons or Tibetan Buddhism's ephemeral sand paintings
Next, these videos also are not just visual, they are also musical.  Music, too, can take us to really deep places.  It has been said that, "Music is what feelings sound like out loud."  (The quote is attributed to a number of people.)  Saint Francis of Assisi is remembered as telling his companions, "Preach always.  When necessary, use words."  Music is a way of "preaching" spiritual truths in a way which bypasses our more literal, linear thinking.
Of course, words aren't all bad, and all but Matt Harding's video include words.  John Boswell's Symphony of Science videos use words to convey meaning more heavily than does Playing For Change's "Stand By Me," yet the song's lyrics certainly support the message (implicit in the images) that we are one human family and need to stand by one another.  I think I could make a case that even in Matt Harding's dace video, the decision to include the place name of each scene constitutes a use of words to convey meaning. 
Finally -- again, not because it's least or most important -- there is the fact that when watching and listening to the videos we are having an experience, yet an experience we from which we have a little distance.  We do not have to be invested in the work of creation/production.  We do not have to be hampered by any kind of "performance anxiety."  Nothing is demanded of us but that we engage with these works and allow them to "enter" our hearts and our minds.
These four things are not the only things that define a source of spiritual inspiration and nurture, yet one of more is very often involved.

To round out this series of posts I offer these questions for your consideration:

  • Where do you find inspiration and nurture for your spirit?
  • What qualities do the sources share with one another?  What do the share with the four qualities I've writes about here?
  • In what ways do the things that speak to your spirit differ from these videos and/or from each other?

Pax tecum,


Wednesday, March 7, 2018


In some of the more progressive stands of Christianity, it is said that God did not create "the heavens and the earth," but that the universe is in the on-going process of creation, and that we humans are its co-creators.  That is, we are partners in the sacred and holy work of creation.  This idea is not entirely new --  the Catholic theologian Meister Eckhardt said as much during his lifetime (which spanned the 13th and 14th centuries).  You can also find the concept expressed in the writings of countless mystics through the millennia.

Today this idea is often termed, "Creation Spirituality."  The website Creation Spirituality Communities defines creation spirituality as a, "way of living within the community of earth that deepens our reverence for life, participates in the creativity of the cosmos, and develops our passion for justice and human transformation."

Hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people receive daily a brief meditation that come from the writings of the Franciscan priest Fr. Richard Rohr.  If you look through the archives of these reflections, you will see that this approach to spirituality runs through his writing and, he would say, throughout Franciscan spirituality generally.  (At the website where these archives are you can also sign up to receive the meditations in your inbox daily!) 

I would also make the case that the videos I've been posting recently also share in this spiritual understanding.  (Although I don't believe all of their creators would put it that way!)  Today's offering focuses more directly offers an experience of what "co-creation" can look like, and while it may not seem obvious that the people in this video are co-creating the universe, I encourage you to let that thought dance with the experience of watching and listening to this video.

This rendition, performed by a band of musicians that literally spans the globe, was the first effort by what has become the Playing For Change Foundation.  Here is the description from their website about how it all started:  
Playing for Change is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music.  The idea for this project came from a common belief that music has the power to break down the boundaries and overcome the distances between people. 
Playing for Change was born in 2002 as a shared vision between co-founders, Mark Johnson and Whitney Kroenke, to hit the streets of America with a mobile recording studio and cameras in search of inspiration and the heartbeat of the people.  This musical journey resulted in the award-winning documentary, "A Cinematic Discovery of Street Musicians."
In 2005, Mark Johnson was walking in Santa Monica, California, when he heard the voice of Roger Ridley singing "Stand by me."  Roger had so much soul and convicion in his voice, and Mark approached him about performing "Stand By Me" as a Song Around the World.  Roger agreed, and when mark returned with recording equipemtn and cameras he asked Roger, "With a voice like yours, why are you singing on the streets?"  Roger replied, "Man, I'm in the Joy business, I come out to be with the people.  "Ever since that day the playing for Change crew has traveled the world recording and filming musicians, creating Songs Around the World, and building a global family.
19 people or groups participated in this performance of "Stand By Me."  The YouTube video has had over 100 million views.  Besides being a technological marvel -- how did they get all of those musicians, in all of those different places, to sync up so perfectly with one another? -- it is also a marvelous demonstration of our human ability to co-create.

  • How did you feel while watching the video?
  • How did you feel afterward?  (And if there were any differences, why?)
  • What message do you get out of it?
  • How might the experience of watching and listening to this song impact or influence your spiritual life?

Pax tecum,


Monday, March 5, 2018

Dancing With The World

Last week I posted three videos from the Symphony of Science series.  Symphony of Science is an expression of the creativity of musician, remix artist, and video maker John D. Boswell.  In these videos Boswell takes clips of scientists from lectures and documentaries, mixes them together, sets them to original music, and auto-tunes the scientists's voices so that their words become songs.  I suggested that they could be engaged with as meditations on, as one of them is titled, "Our Place in the Universe."

Today I want to introduce you to another video.  It's called, "Where The Hell Is Matt?" and is the work of a man named Matt Harding.  Harding has now made several of these videos, each one pretty much the same in format -- he travels the world, filming himself dancing the same "goofy" dance, most often dancing with people from where ever he is.  In this video he filmed in 42 countries, dancing with thousands of people along the way.

He describes this venture like this:  "I dance with people all over the world.  I make videos of it and I put them on YouTube to show that the world is a whole lot safer and friendlier than it looks on TV."

The signature on my emails is a phrase that came to me several years ago as a way to sum up the theology of the Unitarian Universalist tradition which I serve.  I think it also expresses the message in these dancing videos:

"We are one human family, on one fragile planet, in one miraculous universe, bound by love."

As with last week's videos, I encourage you to watch this one and, while watching Matt dance, watch what you're feeling:

  • How did you feel while you watched?
  • How did you feel after having watched it?  (Did you feel at all different?)
  • Did particular scenes stand out for you?  (Which ones, and why do you think they did?)
  • What "message" did you get through the video?
  • What else might you wonder about how this video speaks to your spiritual life?

Pax tecum,


Friday, March 2, 2018

We Are Stardust

This is the third is a series of posts, sharing videos that I find beautiful meditations on the scientific realities which are so powerfully and, in the deepest and truest sense, awesome.

Some people maintain that science and religion/spirituality exist in opposition to one another -- each one, some think, negates the other.  Yet a great many scientists -- even those who eschew traditional religions and religious language -- often express the same kind of awe and marvel which many spiritual traditions also exhibit.  There is a joy, a deep and profound appreciation for this incredible universe in which, and of which, we exist.

The series of videos from these have been taken -- called Symphony of Science -- are the creation of John D. Boswell (who goes by the name Melodysheep).  While this is the third video I have shared, it's actually the 15th Symphony of Science video Boswell made.  This one, We Are Star Dust," contains material from:

  • Cosmic Quandaries with Neil DeGrasse Tyson
  • 10 Questions for Neil DeGrasse Tyson
  • Beyond Belief 2006 with Neil DeGrasse Tyson
  • The Most Astounding Fact
  • A Universe from Nothing - Lawrence Krauss
  • Feynman "Fun to Imagine" Interviews
  • Journey to the Edge of the Universe
  • Finding Life Beyond Earth (NOVA)
  • Wonders of the Universe (BBC)
  • Sunshine

Pax tecum,


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

We Are All Connected

On Monday I posted a video from the video series Symphony of Science, by John D. Boswell (aka, Melodysheep).  These videos take clips of scientists from lectures and documentaries, and sets them to original music, creating beautiful and deeply meaningful meditations.  This is the second in a series of posts in which I'll be sharing more of these videos and encouraging you to consider engaging with them as a meditation, as a form of prayer. As you watch and listen, as yourself questions such as these:

  • How do I feel while watching this video?
  • Which effected me more -- the words, the visuals, or the music?
  • Did the video in any way change the way I look at myself or the world?
  • Am I continuing to reflect on the video for some time after watching it?
  • What might this video -- and the act of engaging with it -- have to do with my spiritual life?

"We Are All Connected," includes clips from Carl Sagan's Cosmos, The History Channel's Universe series, Richard Feynman's 1983 interviews, Neil deGrasse Tyson's "Cosmic Sermon," and Bill Nye's Eyes of Nye series.  It also includes visuals from NOVA's The Elegant Universe, Stephen Hawking's Universe, Cosmos, and Powers of 10 (plus others).

Pax tecum,


Monday, February 26, 2018

Our Place in the Cosmos

Many years ago now I stumbled across the work of a musician, remix artist, and video maker that has inspired me ever since. He goes by the name Melodysheep, but his real name is John D. Boswell.  While he's done a great deal more than this, what has touched me so powerfully is his "Symphony of Science" series.

In his Symphony of Science videos, Melodysheep (Boswell) takes ordinary science lectures and documentaries, and mixes them with original music (and using technology to make the scientists "sing").  These visual and musical creations are sermons, as far as I'm concerned.  (I'm mindful that Saint Francis is remembered as saying, "Preach always.  When necessary use words.")

For the next few posts I'm going to share some of my personal favorites from this series, and I encourage you watch and listen meditatively.  Afterward you might want to think about how you felt during the video, as well as what you might have been thinking about.  (From the point of view of spiritual direction, how we feel -- physically and emotionally -- can be much more revealing that what our intellects think.)

You also might to share these videos with friends and family members -- encouraging them to also watch the meditations, or perhaps watching them together.  You could then talk with each other about your experience(s).

The first one I'll share is the first one I discovered, "Our Place in the Cosmos."  It includes clips fro m Carl Sagan's Cosmos, Richard Dawkins' Genius of Charles Darwin series as well as his TED Talk, Stephen Hawing's Universe, Michio Kaku's interview on physics and aliens, along with added visuals from the films Baraka, Koyaanisqatsi History Channel's Universe series, and IMAX Cosmic Voyage.

Pax tecum,


Friday, February 23, 2018

Spiritual Questions 5

This is the fifth part in a series of posts in which I've provided "spiritual prompts" to (hopefully) help you explore your one relationship to "spirituality."  (Here are links to the first, second, third and fourth parts.)  There is no "right" way (or "wrong" way) to respond to these prompts.  Some may elicit a lot; others may leave you entirely cold.  You may find yourself thinking a lot about some of them, while others might bring up feelings that you can't quite put into words.  You are the one who is responding to these questions.  No one else.

So ... here's the fifth and last question:
If you have been using these prompts to explore you relationship to spirituality, how has it been?  Have you seen anything you hadn't known (or fully recognized) before?  Has anything changed for you?  And how as it been to spend time looking at things like this?  Is this something new for you?  (If so, why do you think you haven't done this before?)  Or is this something you've been doing for a while?  (If so, what's kept you doing it?  What have you been getting out of it?)  And having done this, where do you want to go from here?
These exercises aren't the only kind of thing you might do in Spiritual Direction, but they could be.  The real focus of working with a spiritual director is helping you look at where the holy is being expressed in your life as it is right now, no matter what is happening.  If this intrigues you, if you feel drawn to this kind of exploration, drop me a note through the Let's Get Started page.

Pax tecum,