Thirty Four years after my birth….
It was 1979. I was working as an accountant in Beverly Hills. Tax season was in full force and I was facing stacks of returns that needed attention. I flipped through the piles, separating out the ones that needed calls to the IRS and the ones that needed calls to the Franchise Tax Board. But something else was gripping my attention that had nothing to do with tax returns. I was feeling hopelessly vacant, lost and frighteningly unhappy. Trying to work was useless. I put aside the returns, and looked up at the clock. It was eleven in the morning.
There had been a lot of changes in my life over the last ten years. I had left the Catholic Church, a religion I had been deeply devoted to until I ran face long into the hypocrisy it struggles with today. As soon as I left the church, I put myself into therapy twice a week, dredging up the traumas and the pains of my upbringing, my Catholic induced restrictions, and slowly worked my way to a healthy mind, body and emotions. I had arrived at a decent, secular life. Or so I thought.
But over the previous year I had been feeling the magic, the charm and good fortune draining out of my life. I didn’t know why, or what was missing, but something was definitely wrong. I had always in the past felt excited about life, in love with it, that it was magical, but that sense of joy was slowly collapsing until it was, that day, suddenly and completely gone. There I sat with no answers, vacuous and deeply sad. I felt desperate to change my state—quickly. I couldn’t stay like that. I cried out as if some presence could hear me,“What’s wrong with my life?”.
Instantly an audible voice answered me, commanding, “You have forgotten God!”.
I spun around in my chair, looked at the ceiling where the voice came from to see who’d spoken to me. Of course no one was there. I answered it, aloud, as if someone was.
“Yes! You’re right! I have forgotten God!” I couldn’t stop myself from talking back.
Suddenly I stood up, shaking my index finger at the ceiling and said in an act of sheer defiance and acceptance at once: “But I’m not going back to the same Catholic God I was raised with!”
I had been taught as a child that God was both loving (if I deserved it) and vengeful, prone to delivering severe punishments for my countless sins. To me, He was a super-human with a beard and “red eyes” who would ferret me out of the closet for the slightest infraction. I was terrified of Him. I felt that way about God into my twenties, when I started therapy.
After my bold retort, I waited. The voice didn’t say anything back. I wasn’t struck dead, either. I figured what I said was accepted.
Shocked, I dropped to my chair, clearly having just had a paranormal experience. The urgency to seize the opportunity, to use it wisely, before I lost it, felt critical. Somehow, I knew my life depended on it.
Right there I jumped into searching my life for a personal, direct experience of God—if I’d even had one—an experience that would provide me with a working definition of God, a sense I could relate to, live with and be inspired by. I was consumed. All awareness of the office disappeared.
I sat at my desk and began going back down the timeline of my life. ‘Was this God, was that?’ I went back decades. At last, I came upon an experience I’d had when I was five years old. I don’t remember how or why I got outside, but I was sitting in our yard in my PJ’s all alone in the dark. After what seemed like a whole night, the sun finally came up. On rare, clear days, we could see Mt. Hood from our front yard, some 90 miles away. That day the sun rose in a robin egg blue sky—an incomparable gift in Oregon. I looked up into the ensuing light. My eyes filled with a massive image. There stood Mt. Hood hovering in the sky, ice capped, her entire front face lit in warm, golden sun light. She was looking straight down on me. As the sun continued to rise, it fell down over the face of the evergreen trees I was sitting under and finally lit up the grass everywhere. The dew sparkled, birds began to twitter, and a slight breeze started to stir. It was then that I felt it. I felt this Presence–it was everywhere—it was in the air, in the grass, the dew, the birds’ song, the sunlight—it was all around me and it was looking at me with immense love. It had no body, no form, but I felt these eyes looking at me. This Presence loved me so utterly and knew me so completely that it knew every little hair on my head. It provided for me, loved me, cared for me. I had never felt so good in my life. I wanted to lean back into it and stay there forever.
Within a few moments, it faded away. Some of our kittens scurried out from underneath the porch and I ran off to play with them. I completely forgot about the experience until that morning in my office twenty six years later.
It was in this brilliant yet simple recollection, that I claimed my rudimentary working definition of God. My new definition began as, “God is life, It is light, It is love. It is everywhere, all knowing, all powerful, all caring, all personal. “ With those all-encompassing, loving eyes, “He” belonged in my definition as well. So my final definition of God, was: He/It is Life, Light, Love, all knowing, all powerful, all wise, all caring, everywhere, in everything.”
Instantly I was struck with an over-powering joy and my inner voice shouted,“Eureka! I found it!”
I flooded instantly with peace, happiness and astonishment. Like Paul on the road to Damascus, I nearly fell out of my chair. I felt awake, alert and terribly new. I looked at the clock. It was one in the afternoon.
That day, I made an unyielding commitment to step onto my spiritual path and never get off. I’d not once heard the word “spiritual” before, but that day, I knew it as if I’d been with it forever.
Later that night the same voice told me to quit my job. The next day I gave the firm six weeks notice. I finished out the tax season and gladly left. Thirty days after that, the voice told me to move to Santa Barbara, go into the Healing Arts and the Spiritual Ministry. I did.
Within two years I had completed all my studies, was certified and ordained and “put out onto the streets to do my work”. That was 1981.
Since then, I function continuously out of my personal definition of God and the belief that with all paths, there is one river and many wells. This gives me a stable, broad place to stand. I can work with people of any belief or any combination of beliefs, or no“belief” at all. That alone provides me with a life that is rich with love, gratitude, peace and wonderment and keeps me related to people of all walks of life.
Professionally and personally, that serves me to serve you, and I can say to this day, that since that awakening of mine, I live a remarkably awe-inspiring life, and it continues to expand and deepen every single day of my life.
And it wouldn’t exist for me at all without you.
FUN, PERSONAL STUFF
I love dogs. They are God spelled backwards. That’s what reflections do—they take the original and reveal it’s flip side. Therefore dogs are perfect. Bring them to your meetings with me. They inspire. And I have healthy treats-real meat.
I love cats, wild animals of all sizes and types, bugs, creatures that crawl, swim, float, play. Ones that fly—bats, birds, butterflies…Nature—the skies, storms, seas, sun, moon—oh the full moon—mountains, the Sacred Watchers of the Land—all of the forms life takes. I’m crazy in love.
I love science, physics, music, medicine, poetry, writing, books, thoughts, pure feelings, delicious healthy food, and working out.
I love the real human. We are God’s great Free Will project and wild design. Beautiful, magnificent, God filled.
My jury is still out on the ego. That’s where we get messed up…but it is given we have it, and at the end of the day, the heart wins.
It was February 29th, 1948. Mom’s water broke at 3:00 AM. It wasn’t supposed to break until March 1st. Exhausted from a long road trip, dad faithfully walked my mother to the car—this was their 6th child— and sped her madly to the hospital. With his luck, he got pulled over by the cops for speeding. When dad rolled down the window and pointed to my mom going into labor, the officer apologized, instructed my dad to follow him, and escorted my parents, sirens blowing, all the way to the hospital entrance.
The staff swept my mother into a labor room and at 5:01 AM, she gave birth to a 6 lb.,10 oz. baby girl, her second daughter. She decided to name her after herself: Miriam.
Dad never did like babies. He didn’t like kids until they were twelve, when they could think a bit and articulate fairly well. Before that age, he found them uninteresting, a nuisance. He didn’t like that about himself and decided that with this new baby, that was going to change. A religious man, he prayed to God to give him the patience and understanding he needed to feel close to this child.
It worked. He delighted in this little girl. Not only was she smiling, blonde and blue eyed, she was the first child born in that hospital that special day—a day that comes only once every four years—Leap Year Day—so they comped the ER and anesthesia. His little girl practically came free! Not a bad answer to his prayer.
Two days later, dad drove his wife and his new baby girl home. Just for fun, he decided to slip his new born down inside one of his high top boots to see if she would fit. Well, I didn’t like that at all! I went for it for just a second or two, and then the boot started closing in on me and the smell of leather was choking off my air. I started fussing and squirming, seriously, and thank God, those compassionate hands of my dad reached down inside that boot and pulled me out. I was so grateful to his kindness, so relieved I was out of there, I fell asleep in his arms. I don’t like tight places to this day.
You may wonder how I can remember something from when I was three days, or just seventy- two hours old. I don’t know. I just do. Dad confirmed that story over and over again through the course of my growing up, and told it with a little smile on his lips. I think he knew he was my hero then.
So I grew up in a big, loud, crazy Catholic family with six brothers and three sisters. That made ten kids, two parents, and all manner of birds, cats and dogs. I was right smack in the middle and learned how to parley to both sides. Like all middle children, we typically get lost in the foray, so somehow, we cleverly find ways to survive in the chaos. I laid low, popping up for special attention when I wanted it the most. Getting attention or special allowances was always hard work, and extracted more labor in trade for such, but it made me industrious.
All my brothers and sisters eventually married. I was the only one who didn’t.
When people ask me if I’ve ever been married, or why I haven’t married, I say, “I married a non-human”. I married my purpose some thirty three years ago and we are still going strong. I’ve had my infidelities, thinking I should try some other form of work to make more money, like direct sales or something, but I always came crawling back to my purpose, empty, unhappy, embarrassed and a bit ashamed, asking for forgiveness. It’s never hesitated to take me back. It was waiting for me all along. Talk about a faithful partner…
I am currently writing several booklets and a bigger book, all dealing with weddings, marriage, couples and life. They will be ebooks, enhanced books, print books, modules and apps. A lot of work lies ahead and there’s a great deal more to learn. There’s abundantly more I yearn to know and do.
I am very fortunately, on the preferred lists of :
The San Ysidro Ranch
The Four Seasons Biltmore
The Coral Casino
Bacara Spa and Resort
Fess Parker’s Double Tree Hilton Resort
The Canary Hotel
The Rincon Beach Club
The Santa Barbara Hyatt
The University Club
The Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens
The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa
The wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles
Wedding Coordinators and Planners
I am a member of and Secretary to the Santa Barbara Event Professionals, a former member of the International Leads Club, and the Sierra Club. Some of the organizations I support are the American Red Cross,Union of Concerned Scientists, Environmental Protection agencies, Animal and Mammal Rescue and Protection, and organizations for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. I also support listener sponsored radios, Classical KUSC and NPR.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it gave you a window into me to see if this is a life-scape that could possibly interface with your own, and contribute to your wedding–your own life-changing event.
I am immensely happy to say, that after performing over nine hundred ceremonies to date, I am even more passionate about the work I am privileged to do.
I would be honored in every way to work with you, if you choose to work with me.