Friday, October 24, 2008

Stay Inspired Intro with Pictures

Stay Inspired Dream Team
The Stay Inspired Team (L to R) Marilyn Strong, Charlie Hess (founder,) Jerry Wennstrom, Joanie Brady, Richmond Mayo Smith, Jayadeva (kneeling) Scott Greenburg, Juanita Yoder, Mark Finser and Wah.


Stay Inspired Mission Statement
(Written in its original form by Richmond-Mayo Smith and endorsed by our team)

Stay Inspired engages with those bold enough to act on their awareness that we are all deeply interconnected. It pursues ways to nurture and connect such people so that their lives may inspire others to awaken their fire for spirit–enriched lives. Stay Inspired is grounded in an understanding that the universe is intelligent and that we are part of an amazing web of beauty and abundance.
We invite you to join us in nurturing spirit–centered lives.

Richmond Mayo-Smith writing our Stay Inspired Mission Statement
July 26th 2008

(Click on document to enlarge)
Original Mission Statement Document
written by Richmond Mayo-Smith


When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."
~ Mary Oliver
Photos from our Stay Inspired Gathering on the East Coast

April 25, 2007
Dear Dream Team,

Now that I have asked you to participate in Stay Inspired’s Advisory Board meeting and you have agreed (which I am very grateful for), I want to share with you as best as I can, what my intention is. I hope our planned six hours together on May 6th will lead to a level of discernment and generating plans for manifestation. "Stay Inspired" has landed on my doorstep, caused certain activities to take place and suggested a meaning for its existence. I have shared with all of you some of the activities which have occurred as well as my interpretation of its meaning – as a living, breathing support network for those inspired to serve Spirit. I hope we have the chance to explore the deep understanding (the soul, if you will) of this network supplementing the understanding that I now have – which has been aided by exploring this endeavor with all of you in different ways. Our meeting on the 6th will, I believe, create greater discernment and clarity about what is occurring, what is necessary to sustain this endeavor. The discernment/manifestation discussion will hopefully answer some questions I carry concerning "Stay Inspired."

These include:
• Is it a worthwhile endeavor? How worthwhile?
• Is it sustainable?
• What will it take for the full design to be sustainable?
- How should it be approached to give it the best chance of sustainability?
- Is there a sequence of implementation of the various components which would make sense?
• How are those who meet the criteria (inspired to serve Spirit) to be identified?
- What are their characteristics?
• What way will communications among all of the community be facilitated?
• Does an investment fund, geared to provide a good financial return, while supporting identified endeavors, make sense?
- What would the characteristics of investors likely be?
- What would the role in the support network, be for these investors?
• How would the support for "manifestation" be delivered? How would ideas of manifestation methods be shared with the community?
• How should the ripple effect be facilitated, other than by its natural momentum? (i.e., "Purpose Prize"-Civic Ventures).
• What is meant by, "to Serve Spirit?"

While these are most of the major questions I have today, I’m sure other valuable ones will emerge in our discussion. And I certainly don’t expect all of these to be approached on the 6th, but identifying the right questions and issues always seems to me to be a very important step.
I want to introduce you to the other members of the "Dream Team" with my distinctly personal impressions of everyone expected to participate on the 6th. As such, there is much else to learn about the people we’ll be with and I will undoubtedly omit very significant credentials and history, but the best I can do is offer my personal experience – which is the primary reason I have asked each person to participate.
* Playing center on the Dream Team is Richmond Mayo-Smith.

Richmond brings to the team an exquisitely balanced combination of practicality and a fierce sense of wonder. Formed and functioning with a classical New Englander’s eye on the pragmatic questions of whom, how and when he wonderfully balances those dynamics with an open heart and mind, seeking to accurately divine the critically important questions of "what" and "why". Richmond will listen to and absorb the information and propositions put forward and then open to Great Spirit and listen for messages from his tree friends and early morning poetry and bring this to his human compatriots in the form of clarifying perspectives from Consciousness through him. I have been blessed with receipt of these messages of wisdom many times and they invariably bring scattered fuzziness into sharp clarity which serves to energize the situation into right action.

Actualizing Bernard Baruch’s challenge, "Man is made whole only by his own actions," Richmond has taken his convictions to the streets working to halt nuclear proliferation through the Center for Psychology and Social Change. He and his wife, Nancy, attempted to bring America to its senses in 2004 by personally hitting the New England campaign trail urging a vote against George Bush (by default, for John Kerry). Unfortunately, America was asleep at the time. Richmond has been a real warrior in his lifelong pursuit of understanding, experiencing and connecting with Great Spirit. This has taken him on a journey through numerous experiences quite foreign to his conservative New England brethren. A small selection of Richmond’s long line of learning includes holotropic breath work, the Nine Gates Mystery School, Native American Sundance, three years of teaching in India, a visit to John of God in Brazil and now experiencing Ellen Tadd’s teaching. Richmond is constantly putting himself "out there" and not only experientially learning, but (because of his inherent teacher nature) he invariably lovingly shares his learning with those blessed to be his friend.

* Mark Finser comes to us from his home in the San Francisco Bay area and will be playing an inspired forward position on the Team.

Mark brings to the team a beautifully inventive spirit combined with a workman’s sense of diligence and discipline. As I see it, Mark essentially took the primary inspiration of Rudolph Steiner and transformed it through the Rudolph Steiner Foundation into a new relationship with money. Similar to the way Steiner introduced an intense relationship with Spirit through his Waldorf education programs, Mark has brought Spirit into the lives of the Foundation’s investors and financial entrepreneurs by shifting the lens of money. The flow of "currency" he has created through the Foundation is quite extraordinary and through its various mechanisms creates a Spirit connection many say has fundamentally changed their relationship to that charged entity, money.

Mark is one of the most beautifully intuitive people I know. Often we’ll be talking about a subject which I am seeing on my common material/logical plane and out of nowhere (and everywhere) Mark will bring in an intuitive connection and deep insight which literally stops me in my tracks. Switching channels and looking at the situation through the intuitive lens Mark has offered, quite literally sheds light and a deeper perspective on the subject I thought I knew. The new perspective is invariably much richer and poetically sparkles with beauty in its rightness. Mark has been graced with a wonderfully playful mind which constantly asks the question, "what if". From that creative vision position, Mark is regularly connecting actors in the play that has been his life. He will see the possibility of combining energies and capacities which disparate individuals possess, creating a new possibility neither had envisioned. When Mark makes such connection for me I have learned to pursue them. It is through deep empathy that this gift emerges.

* No winning team can succeed without a great shooting guard. Juanita Yoder is that to our Team.

Coming from her Mennonite background she has manifested her deep connection to Spirit in the powerfully moving paintings which she has created through her life. Many of those are silk painted wall hangings or "flags" which grace the walls of numerous chapels throughout the country. While Juanita’s patrons at these churches are often looking to bring color and art into their dwellings, she connects the walls and their inhabitants to Spirit by transmitting her personal connection through her art. An important part of this process is Juanita’s constant sense of wonder and learning. Part of that journey has been provided by her son, Niko, who for the past few years has courageously dealt with Crohn’s disease. He is a magical young person and witnessing the mother/son dance which they perform is inspiring in the strength and tenderness Juanita exhibits and the wisdom and sweetness Niko brings to their life.

I know Juanita has learned important lessons from her son – but she does it with many in her universe. She is constantly creating with her environment, not always through her art, but often purely with her sense of wonder in many personal ways. She is one of the most keenly artistic people I know who performs the dance of her life in a beautiful and inventive improvisation.

* Playing point guard on the Dream Team is Scott Greenberg.

The necessary capabilities of a good point guard is accurate assessment and confident action in any situation. Scott has played this role on the various "teams" he has been part of. His most challenging team is his family today consisting of twin daughters Lana and Dylan and wife Carla. Whether he will be as skilled in that challenging role as he has been in previous iterations is yet to be seen, but I have great confidence. The other "teams" he has participated in have included the trading floor of the Pacific Stock Exchange, UC Berkeley, his all-star rock climbing team and currently his investment firm, Capital Instincts, which is based in St. Thomas with offices around the world.

In all of these positions, Scott has brought a keen mind agile with numbers, a strong sense of wonder and an abiding morality not often evidenced by others in those environments. While able to see the opportunity in a situation he regularly carries the question, "But is it right?" into the transaction.
* Our secret weapon on the Team is Joanie Brady.

All the outward signals are of a sophisticated woman with the uncommon beauty and grace of a well-schooled socially skilled participant of the "right circles". When one looks through the lens of gentile social correctness, the components are all there manifested with the skills most commonly possessed by a lifelong foreign diplomat. But scratch the surface only slightly and what is revealed is a warrior with a will of forged steel. Having been visited from an early age by guides in multiple forms, Joanie did not turn away as so many others in her world have. She has courageously invited them into her world and worked with them in many ways to the benefit of herself and others. After ample scrutiny she has held up various alternative health practices (such as biological medicine and jin shin jyutsu) for their validity and value and has fought the tough fight of introducing many to the traditional practitioners whenever she has – or more accurately, makes – the opportunity.
With the will of a lion she has supported and spread the gifts of "messengers" to her personal world. Some of those have included Ellen Tadd, Dr. Thomas Rau, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Barbara Mitchell, her daughter Kerry and Deepak Chopra, to name but a few. Joanie has manifested the flower of this knowing through her beautiful watercolors and poetry (and wait till you see what she’s doing now)! and her wonderful book, Another Kind of Time, which came out of her journey shepharding her mother through the passage to death. It is another wonderful offering to us all. But most of all, Joanie is our secret weapon in the way she has honed her openness, encouragement, great vision and will and has shown all of us blessed to be in her constellation, how it is done in "mixed society," with fierce grace and compassion.
* If Joanie is our secret weapon, Jayadeva is our most versatile Team member who can and will play all positions with great skill and enthusiasm.
This may stem from his most interesting and curious life story. After traveling the "traditional" path of some years in a Rhode Island prep school and selection to an accelerated physics program at Stanford University, Jayadeva embarked on a journey which has taken him through roles of financial advisor; membership in a cult (he was the first formally "kidnapped" cult member organized by his parents); operating for sometime in Iran; a founding member of Sri Swami Satchidananda’s Yogaville in Virginia; manager of the Integral Yoga Institute in Manhattan and teacher training guide and yoga instructor for various schools and organizations in the New York/Princeton area. That describes a smathering of his fascinating life story, but most importantly it brings Jayadeva to us as a wonderful contributor to our world. There are many things that Jayadeva does (in addition to the 20-30 yoga classes he offers per week and the Teacher Training he conducts over several weeks). But what distinguishes Jayadeva for me (and I believe for most in his constellation,) is the way he lives his life and the example he offers to the world.
Beyond the regular personal spiritual practices he performs which are incredibly formidable and disciplined, Jayadeva has integrated into his very being the principles of an elevated human. He truly offers selflessly and seeks to serve Spirit through his interactions and sweet offerings. While I’m sure he feels he still struggles, he offers a sublime example of detachment from ego and is as effective as anyone I know in transmitting Spirit to other people. As such, he can and will gratefully fill the needs of whatever community he is part of as his life continues to be an expression of his love for his connection to Spirit. He may not know this, but I drew on that joy and example when fear ran rampant during my encounter with cancer last year. I believe that those silent gifts regularly run through Jayadeva.
* This brings us to Jerry Wennstrom who cannot be assigned a position on the Team.
The mere act of placing Jerry in the Team environment will inform his creative spirit – and who knows what will come forth! (I suspect he’ll invent a totally new position). What is certain is that Jerry will sit and listen and absorb and process the interaction of people and ideas and cast a light on the situation with a hue which clarifies and brings forth the depth of the new – which will allow for interactions unimagined. He will not necessarily come up with a "play" for the team but he will place that which is in a context which will catalyze an important reaction. Jerry’s deep respect for Spirit creates an interaction with the surrounding that is both submission and interplay. He has wonderfully played this out in his personal interactions through the workshops that he and Marilyn provide and, of course, through his art. Submission and interaction. When sacred elements arrive in his workshop he unleashes his creative third eye and fashions new forms which invariably draw in others. Surprise, wit, play, insight and beauty. These all surface from somewhere through Jerry.
My favorite story of the magic which so often unfolds for Jerry is the one of Jerry having his stupa blessed by the Dalai Lama’s monks. Feeling called to create a stupa on their property, Jerry spent several months fashioning a wonderfully artistic and sacred tower. He felt that in order to fully initiate his prayer space, it should be properly blessed. Within days, the universe delivered a gaggle of laughing Tibetan monks in burgundy and saffron robes who, while playing soccer on the grounds of Whidbey Institute, kicked their ball into Jerry’s yard. After delivering the errant ball back to the monks who were traveling and praying with His Holiness, their ensuing discussion led the monks up the steps to his recently finished stupa to properly bless his creation. One of my prized possessions is a small bottle with several grains of rice used in the blessing ceremony. It sits proudly on my altar.

* Every Dream Team needs a dream cheerleader. And the wonderful singer/musician Wah! is that for our team.
Although she is unable to be with us in the flesh, she will be definitely with us in spirit. The image of Wah! shaking her pom poms for the team is too delightful to omit from my mind. For those of you who have yet to experience one of her performances, I encourage you not to wait! You can find her tour schedule on her website The irony (and perfection) of Wah! taking on the cheerleader role stems from her devoted life journey pursuing her Devine connection. This wonderful journey has taken her on a magical mystery tour through Africa, India, ashrams, deep pure practices, organizing kirtan concerts and now offering her sweet messages on stage, through CDs and books (Dedicating Your Life to Spirit). What will be next, "only god knows."
Wah! reminds me of a combination of St. Francis and St. Claire, Francis’ yin who stayed in Assisi and attracted a group of dedicated sisters who exist to this day. She is constantly asking herself how she can be an instrument of Spirit’s love, and like St. Francis, going directly to Spirit for the instructions which she then religiously follows. Dedicated like Francis, who periodically retreated to La Verna for re-inspiration, Wah! periodically goes "offline" for that replenishment and questioning of her soul. At the same time, she embodies the willingness (like Claire), to sit constantly in her devotion with an open heart. Much as this served as a refuge for Francis when he returned to his root faith in Assisi, Wah! is providing that in today’s world to her audiences.
* To round out the Dream Team, Marilyn Strong is taking on the ambitious position of player/coach.
As such, she is destined to use her incredible skills of ritual manifestation. Traveling her path from one of the very early initiators of the Chinook Learning Center (later to become the Whidbey Institute) to today’s interfaith minister, Marilyn has consistently pursued her calling of the application of ceremony, ritual and deep understanding to serve her varied communities. Marilyn regularly graces wedding ceremonies with her wonderful singing combined with a very spirited and spiritual ritual of union. In addition, she co-creates with Jerry a variety of workshops and "events" bringing in the loving applications of Jungian psychology with an alchemical potion thrown in. Make sure you have a chance to speak with her about that perspective. And her voice provides a magical lute to that being. If we don’t experience it firsthand, I think we’ll receive one of her CDs. The sweet bird lives within her Strong being.
There are many wonderful characteristics you all possess. When I think of the common traits which bring us together, I recognize "humility" and "confidence" as uniting the Team. Everyone seems to carry with them an abiding sense of humility in the presence of Great Spirit, Universal Consciousness, the Divine. At the same time each has led their lives with a confidence that has overcome our own adversity, obstacles and been led to an inspired creative life. Those qualities of humility and confidence are rare and powerful. I really feel honored that you all have answered the call and I truly couldn’t ask for a better group to help me listen and dream and manifest. I do feel blessed.

In order to help you ruminate and do your own listening as we move towards Stay Inspired Sunday, I am attaching the preliminary image Jerry created of my Stay Inspired design. As I’ve discussed with all of you, the endeavor has appeared as a multifaceted support network for those inspired to serve Spirit. I see it as potentially a variety of valuable resources which inspired endeavors/individuals would be able to access as the need arose.

I have already become active in several of the components. I have facilitated Breakthroughs by engaging in about 30 guided mindmaps with a variety of individuals (including many of you). I have held a few relooks at mindmaps which fits into the Integration of Breakthrough segment and have learned some about what works and what doesn’t in that important arena. I have done some one-on-one work in an attempt to help individuals Manifest their inspired work in a sustainable fashion. In some cases there have been a series of sessions. In addition, I have financially supported a few inspired endeavors primarily by providing loans, some refinancing onerous credit card debt. The prospect I envision is also to make equity investments in endeavors, requiring a sustainable business plan necessary to assure success for the investors.

So, thus far I have engaged in all of the recognized components except that which will facilitate the Ripple Effect, a component which I believe is critically important. I’m going to be working on articulating what I conceive of "inspired to serve Spirit" on my trip to California this week. And I may have something to share before the 6th. Hopefully, this will give you some things to think about coming into Stay Inspired Sunday. If you have comments, questions and requests, please don’t be bashful. I look forward to getting a running start on the dialogue.
Love and gratitude to all, Charlie
*Since we, Stay Inspired's "Dream Team," have all been so graciously introduced by Charlie, I (Jerry Wennstrom) thought I would take the liberty of introducing the captain of our Team - Charlie Hess.
With the ability to be “in it but not of it,” Charlie juggles corporate-mindedness, facts, intuitions, hunches and humor – all, with an uncanny ability to predict shifting business, social and world trends. After having spent time with Charlie in Italy and reading several of his Inferential Focus briefs, I can personally say, Charlie interprets the whispers of even the most common elements of modern life with absolute breadth, depth and mind-boggling insight, Charlie is a visionary who sees the world through a uniquely different lens.

Once when Charlie and I were waiting at a train station in Rome, Charlie decided to pick up a newspaper. Seeing, for the first time, the headlines and pictures of the damage Katrina caused in New Orleans and reading about our government's slow response to the disaster, Charlie's first response was, “This will have enormous political implications for the Bush Administration.” At that particular moment that possibility did not occur to me, however in retrospect his insight proved to be completely accurate.

Another more personal story -- I first met Charlie when I was on the East Coast during a book tour . Coming from the moderate climate of Whidbey Island and going into an especially cold East Coast winter, I decided to wear a hat. Since I couldn’t find one that I liked, I decided to alter one that someone had given me. It was one of those black, wool “Kangol” caps with a small brim. I decided to cut the brim off and turn the hat around so it didn’t look quite so British and proper. Happy with my newly designed creation, I decided to wear it to New York. One day I was standing around with Charlie and a few other people and I felt Charlie looking at me. When I looked up at him I could see that he was looking at me in an interesting kind of way – as if seeing through me. When our eyes met he immediately smiled, lightened his gaze and said, “I can tell by your hat that you are going places.” I laughed a little nervously and took off my hat to see what he might be seeing. Wearing it backwards did give the impression that "the wind was in my sails." I then responded, “Is that how you predict trends in the world for your million dollar clients?” --and together we had a good laugh. I was completely won over by his wonderfully intuitive way of seeing the world, even gleaning information from a hat!

Once when I was trying to describe Charlie and the work he does to a friend of mine. After some consternation, I finally said, "Charlie is a corporate mystic with a big heart! He’s like a "medical intuitive" who heals the body of corporate America by seeing and truthfully expressing What Is in the world."

Dear Dream Team members -- our captain holds many of us in his big heart and he does so in a most selfless and uncomplicated way. Like inspiration itself, I can’t say I fully understand Charlie, or understand how one would manage an entity as illusive as inspiration; however, I respect Charlie’s mystery and completely trust his intuitive sense of the possibilities we might discover together in our Stay Inspired endeavor. I am excited to be a part of this creation and interested in seeing what we can see while held in the wide arms of Charlie’s vision.
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Marilyn and I felt this was the best description of Charlie's work at Inferential Focus and how it led to the development of Stay Inspired. I have taken the liberty to present it here.
Thank you, Jerry
An introduction to Stay Inspired, or "What Have You Gotten Yourself Into? (By Charlie Hess)
Thank you all for answering this call to gather on July 1st to explore, and perhaps plan what is called for Stay Inspired to continue to manifest. And perhaps some will be inspired to pitch in to help with that development. I am honored that you have agreed to donate some of your precious time to this effort. Dana has done a great job of introducing you to Stay Inspired – and has gone way overboard in her flattery of me. So I wanted to give you the real picture as we move towards the gathering on July 1st. I did help found Inferential Focus way back in 1980. We’ve been focused on pursuing our discovery work since then and have been graced with consistent success in identifying shifting dynamics in the world’s dance, over the years. The work is not “trend spotting,” “forecasting” or “mega trending”. It is very disciplined diagnosis of merging dynamics in the world – social, economic, political, technological and industrial. You can learn more about our approach, if you’re interested, at The interview in Barron’s last April is a quick way to get a gist of our discipline which actually comes directly from the medical diagnostic aproach.
This expertise has created various wonderful relationships and afforded me the opportunity to interact with a wide variety of senior business leaders, investors and government officials. I’ve not only been invited into their culture but have over the years had the opportunity to take them out of the traditional corporate mindset and engage many in aspects of creativity, intuition, art and other non-linear experiences. We held creativity seminars in staid NYC clubs for groups of clients back in the early 80’s and wrote an investing book integrating Taoism with western decision making – The Tao Jones Averages.
Back then we also hosted dinners for clients organized around speakers such as Stephen Sondheim, Dan Goleman, Edgar Mitchell, Steve Allen and others, in order to introduce clients to the creative, intuitive, spiritual experiences and skills these people had and effectively employed in their lives. Individuals represented organizations such as the White House, JP Morgan, Fidelity, Bank of NY, Goldman Sachs, American Express, PepsiCo and many others.
Our efforts were conscious attempts to introduce these expansive characteristics to the traditional, but open decision makers we worked with through our research/decision making service. The real important learning for me in my years of working with corporate/investor/government decision makers, has been an up close view of how a very powerful force in our world, operates. My foot in this world, blessed with a fair amount of credibility and intimate access, has been critical in my efforts to stimulate change in this world of power. It is clear, when one is able to view from the outside, that these powerful organizations and the culture they generate, tend to work within a worldview of scarcity (“if we don’t get ours, others will take it”), intense competition (to prevent that) and ultimately fear (that “we” won’t have what we need). This world view tends to get reinforced in very powerfully subtle (and not so subtle) ways and affects the goodness of the individuals in that culture. As an outsider, invited in, this became quickly clear as the driving perspective in that world.
Over the years I have taken the opportunity, where I saw an opening, to build off of our position as a respected unusual source to these organizations, to drop in a little “change agent” - a poem, a quote, Joseph Campbell tapes, readings from books exploring man’s nature – and recently offering individual mindmap sessions with those appropriate. These small catalysts, offering their potential for small steps toward opening, have led me to envision a bigger step – Stay Inspired. I want to be clear that the vision and form of what has become Stay Inspired was not the product of my determination. I didn’t sit down and strategize what I should do next. I seem to have been a vehicle in that in a totally unplanned, unexpected way, I have over the last couple of years, been put in situations where support of various people I’ve come into contact with, was needed. My role was to be open to that unrequested support and to step forward and make an offering. And I feel it is important to emphasize that none of the people I have engaged with overtly asked for anything. They were all actively pursuing their good work and had met a challenge which was impeding their ability to fully make their offering to the world. I saw that and offered small bits of support. I will describe the forms of support which I offered but for the purpose of background, I want to explain that the reason Stay Inspired has come into being, is because after several months of finding myself stepping forward and offering support to various particular individuals, I noticed something interesting - and significant seemed to be taking place. Stepping back and observing what had occurred over time, I recognized that I had been called to offer support to inspired individuals who I recognized as “serving spirit” (I’ll explain what I mean by that in a minute). The various forms which that support was offered, was to help them stay inspired to make their offerings. Hence the name, Stay Inspired. Expected for the gathering on the first in NYC are three of these individuals, Gerarda Pizzarello, Juanita Yoder and Jayadeva. They are serving on an Advisory Board with others, I have dubbed the “Dream Team.” There is a description of them and other internal communications on a Stay Inspired blog you may want to visit if you haven’t already We don’t have a website yet – which is one of my top items on the “wish list.” I apologize for the long introduction but I felt it was important to give you all a sense of the context in which Stay Inspired exists. So, Stay Inspired is an endeavor designed to offer support to those inspired to serve Spirit. I have offered support in a variety of forms – financial; practical “business” guidance, which I call manifestation; “breakthrough,” or help in creating clarity and insight into one’s life and true path – in the form of guided mindmaps; integration help – support designed to help make the breakthroughs part of how one lives one’s life. My intention for Stay Inspired is to make these (and other) support aids available way beyond me – and in a form that is sustainable. And ultimately, the higher purpose is to support models of a way of being epitomized by those serving Spirit – so that effect can ripple out into the greater society. The core of Stay Inspired’s mission is to support and present as a model a way of being I have described as “serving spirit”. Those who are serving spirit take as their driving life force a devotion to offer to others. Those offerings are experienced in a wonderfully diverse way. It can be through simple meditation, yoga practice, song, visual art, wrapping oneself in sacred cloth, through exploring in circle or workshops, or pilgrimage, through humor and many more ways. This comes forward in a loving way – by that I mean, with love and wisdom. As such, the personal benefits are not a driving force although an individual living this way regularly receives sweet and valuable personal benefits. But the energy which generates the offering, the actions, comes from a heartfelt desire (inspiration) to offer to others. (Those familiar with Charity Focus can see the natural sybiosis). My experience has been that sharing the selfless inspired offering can often serve to inspire those who come in contact with that offering. That ripple effect can change onsciousness and the way we treat and interact with each other. This has the capability to alter the consciousness of the recipient of that “gift” and make them a more giving, egoless, selfless person, essentially a more spiritual way of being. This is, of course, the essence of all the great religions of history and essential spiritual teachings. I have seen, in my personal support of those living in this way, profound positive impact. And now it seems time to offer this support beyond my efforts, in a sustainable way. I have attached a chart (very linear, I’m afraid), detailing some thoughts on building Stay Inspired into that sustainable endeavor. Some of the work in progress is detailed in that chart and I look forward to discussing others in process, and your thoughts and inspirations surrounding this effort. I again am profoundly thankful for your offer to meet on the 1st of July to see where your inspiration takes us!

In gratitude, Charles Hess
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Why in the World?By Charlie Hess

Why in the world when there is an endless list of worthy efforts necessary to deal with a myriad of human challenges, should one spend any energy "supporting those inspired to serve Spirit"? There are very real, immediate needs to end human suffering, provide adequate health care, educate masses of populations, ameliorate environmental degradation, etc., etc., etc. Immediate corrective action is called for in many, many areas. Why serve Spirit? And why support those inspired to serve Spirit?
The simple but powerful effect of those serving Spirit involves a way of being in the world which can change consciousness and emanate out to effect interactions and inspire others. Causing a shift in consciousness to one of offering from one of grasping, to acceptance from critiquing, to including from protecting and excluding – can cause a very real shift effecting the very real problems of the world such as violence, ignorance, hunger, etc., etc.
The way of being, inherent in serving Spirit, goes to a systemic shift rather than a targeted tactical effort utilized in any of the worthy problem solving efforts marshaled to tackle the myriad of challenges humanity faces. As such, the inspiration and energy released in serving Spirit has the capacity to create a leveraged impact on the world. It has the capacity to shift the way that humans interact with their surroundings, human and otherwise. When that shift in consciousness progresses, the discrete issues of the time are affected by a systemic shift – which may ultimately be the only sustainable way of effectively dealing with the discrete issues. So, while the targeted efforts are very, very laudable, a leveraged impact on basic human interactions can be effected by impacting a fundamental way of being – evidenced by those serving Spirit. That’s why.
Click on images to enlarge
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Inspired To Serve Spirit
By Charlie Hess

The phrase, “inspired to serve Spirit,” comes from the defining notion of what Stay Inspired is: A network of support for those inspired to serve Spirit. It is important to articulate an understanding of what this is as it is core to the integrity of Stay Inspired - and it can be interpreted in many different ways.

To me, “inspired to serve Spirit” describes those whose driving life force starts with a devotion to share with their fellow human beings the blessings of being connected to Spirit’s offering. These offerings are experienced, of course, in a wonderfully diverse bouquet. It can be through simple meditation, yoga practice, song, visual art, wrapping oneself in sacred cloth, through exploring in circle or workshops, or pilgrimage, through humor and many more ways.
The individual and group endeavor essentially should manifest from a strong desire to offer. This comes forward in a loving way – by that I mean, with love and wisdom. As such, the personal benefits are not a driving force. There are often sweet and valuable benefits personally received by those offering their gifts, but the energy which generates the offering, the actions, comes from a heartfelt desire (inspiration) to offer to others the joy of connecting with Spirit.
This is critical in my mind for the primary benefit I see for Stay Inspired, is the ripple effect from these endeavors. Both the selfless, egoless origin and the offering of a richer connection to Spirit are two critical ripple impacts, which can emanate from an inspired offering. They have the potential to change human consciousness.

My vision is one of sharing both the selfless inspired offering in the form of an endeavor which can inspire those who come in contact with that offering, as well as the uplifting of a connection with Spirit. Both of these hoped for impacts have the potential to alter the consciousness of the recipient to become a more giving, egoless, selfless person, essentially a more spiritual way of being. This, I believe, is an opportunity to leverage a shift in consciousness, which the world needs today. Stay Inspired is emerging to help provide support for this shift.

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Why an Investment Fund?
By Charlie Hess

Throughout the emergence of Stay Inspired, I’ve been very mindful of the interplay between the personal will and the presence of Grace. In fact, I’m inspired to write another piece about where the center lies, entitled, “Where is Copernicus now that we really need him?” But that’s another story.
The thought of an Investment Fund as one of the support facilities for those inspired to serve Spirit, came from the recognition that as I stepped forward to assist various individual efforts, money was in fact an appropriate offer as an important means of support. As mindmap sessions, manifestation help and the prospect of ripple impact started to materialize in my engagement with individuals and their inspired endeavors, financial support became a natural part of the picture.
It was clear that a significant hurdle for many of the people I was drawn to try to support, was an onerous financial hole that they confronted. And if they were to have their inspiration supported, reducing that financial hurdle was important. In a number of cases, in order to meet past accumulated financial obligations, significant energy was being depleted and entire offerings were being subverted. Individuals were scrambling to generate income to pay debt obligations or meet past expenses. In other cases they were stymied in executing their passionate offering because they could not conceive of how to financially support their endeavors. Financial support quickly and effectively freed up the individuals, their passions reignited and their offerings manifested beautifully. Richmond cited in one of his pieces the notion, that “In a decision window, even small ‘fluctuations’ can change the destiny of the system.” I have experienced this with relatively small financial “fluctuations” dramatically impacting the destiny of inspired, but challenged work.
This emerged not as a plan by me but rather a natural outcome of a willingness to support. As the blank Rune stated, “Willingness and permitting are what this Rune requires.” That is the spirit from which the financial support emerged.
In the context of Stay Inspired the role that financial support needs to play is providing sustainable support. Therefore, an affordable financial requirement of the endeavor should be balanced with sustainable output of the endeavor. To me that seems to mean the output by the endeavor should be supported by a “manifestation plan,” with financial resources designed to match the sustainable energy output of the endeavor. That balance supports both the investor and the endeavor.
In other words, in order to give an endeavor the best shot at lasting over time and creating an impact in the world, it needs to start out with a sustainable business plan and finances designed to support the endeavor and provide a good return to investors. My notion is for these good endeavors to also be good investments, not sub par. Gifts or grants unsupported by a sustainable plan for the endeavor run the serious risk of burning out and ultimately not serving to support either the giver or receiver. Therefore, it is important for the support of money to be positioned as an investment.

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Stay Inspired’s multiple support facilities core qualities will be offered to individuals who meet the following profile:
. They have a sense of calling to be of service (in alignment with Divine will)
· They have "kept their feet to the fire." They’ve not taken the easy out.
· They have experienced a sacred wounding. The experience has included "agony," "pain," "awe," and also served to cause the elimination of useless suffering.
· They live with a sense of the sacred. This has served to help them open, listen deeply and also have a sense of awe.
· They firmly stay present in the face of the unknown.
· They have a work in place (this can include suffering beautifully – which opens their heart)
· They have an awareness of oneness with Spirit.
As you can imagine there was a multitude of characteristics, experiences, and qualities discussed, but this is a distillation of qualities the Profile Team felt would be very helpful in discerning the appropriateness of Stay Inspired! providing its support capabilities to various worthy individuals.

We also recognized that ultimately there will be access to support to anyone potentially through things like videos depicting others living in this fashion, links to other resources an individual can access, an online community of support, etc. The more intensive support of mindmaps, manifestation help, investments and support for endeavors, etc., which I have been providing will require a screening process to discern who those more intensive support facilities will be made available to. This is where the characteristics listed above will be applied. Recognizing the two forms of support was an important distinction for the Team.

We also concluded, that someone in the Profile group would suggest an individual for the more intensive support being offered and by using the characteristics cited above would look for a majority of the members to agree on a candidate. It was firmly assumed that looking for consensus would not be effective.

The group struggled with a variety of issues to come up with this brief frame work and I am very pleased about what was accomplished. There is more to design but we tackled the impossible (discern the intuitive) – and I feel, succeeded! Charlie Hess

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Cultural Expressions of Human Light

Night Vision: Looking for Light and the Integrity of Being
By Jerry Wennstrom
How do we recognize someone who has surrendered into his or her essential light and the integrity of Being? The task of recognition is no less than to identify and profile aspects of diaphanous human light. If we have to depend on reason and logic alone, discernment would be all but impossible.
With the attempt to perceive human light, classically expressed as a halo-like glow in the art of many cultures, we would need to adjust our vision to include paradox, mystery and elements of the unseen. Discerning the emanating glow of those who swim in the light of essential consciousness requires a change of priorities and maybe even a shift in our usual mode of perception. Linear thinking and external notions of worldly “success” do not necessarily define the integral success of a person acting from their deepest integrity.
What reality they inhabit is their own and of a different standard than that of the mainstream. How would a fish, which knows only the medium of water, navigate a mountaintop? In the rarefied air, above the dark waters of the unconscious, most of us are fish out of water. Here, where we lose sight in the unfamiliar atmosphere, we must trust our vision to moonlight.
Perhaps the heart’s resonant response to the conscious innocence of others is what first gets illumined. We can also gain vision from the perceptions of wise seers. One in particular who comes to mind is Paramahansa Yogananda. “Autobiography of a Yogi" is about his search for light and the integrity of Being in the many people he met during his relentless search for God and Guru, throughout the deeply spiritual land of India. Through his many encounters Yogananda was able to clearly perceive the subtle differences and unique gifts in the powerful and unusual people he met. His clear perception finally led him to the feet of his wise and humble guru, Sri Yukteswar Giri.
As a result of his innately spiritual understanding of human nature, Yogananda was also able to distinguish holy from phony-holy. Once a man of another religious persuasion arrived at Yogananda’s (Hindu) ashram with a desire to meet him. His followers, perhaps judging too quickly, thought the man might be the proselytizing sort without any real substance. They were prepared to watch Yogananda undo any illusions the man might have had about himself. After listening to what the man had to say, Yogananda finally lit up, hugged the man and said, "What a blessing it is to be in the presence of a man of God!" Something gets translated in the presence of inspired and inspiring human beings – something beyond the dogma of any particular practice, religion or form.
How then, do we define the substance of that which is inspiring? What do we perceive that awakens our innate sense of the sacred? There is Hindu parable that tells the story of a swan, that when offered watered down milk, had the ability to drink only milk. How do we find the essential “milk” of the people, places or things we encounter?
An encounter with the sacred will evoke an emotional response and a conviction about the rightness of a thing. Something about the experience will resonate “true” at very the core of our being. This is the same stuff that moves us deeply when we encounter great art, music and literature or when we experience awe in nature.
Separate from the resonant gut feeling, there is another way of knowing the sacred. We can discover it through discipline and a long and committed involvement with any particular form, practice or occupation. To know the light and integrity of form we must experience it’s essence personally. To do this, we must invest all of our heart and soul and believe in what we do completely. The same is true for determining the light and integrity of Being in others. What begins as simple inquiry eventually becomes a spiritual journey of one’s own.
I personally believe giving one’s self to the form of this journey will eventually lead to the proverbial “pearl of great price.” Attempting to define awareness inevitably leads to self-awareness, even if that were not the original intent. The sweetness of wisdom draws us forth towards the slippery (up-hill) slope of awakening – sometimes in spite of ourselves! Before we can fully know the light and integrity of Being of others we will have to embody it ourselves.
For some that might be seen as an unfortunate turn of events. We often don’t know what we’re getting into when we pursue awareness! Surrender is the unexpected end game and a holy defeat is prerequisite to achieving our completeness in grace. This is something the ego, hell bent on control, does not necessarily welcome. Our above-mentioned seer, Yogananda says, “To set out on any holy purpose and to ‘die’ along the way is to succeed.” In other words, to find those who embody the light and integrity of Being, we must not look for survivors! Inhabiting the fullness of Being usually requires the grace of a sacred wounding so complete that nothing recognizable survives!
We are free up until the moment we act out of fear and run for cover. Without coming to terms with death we will inevitably run from the subtle threat of its tyranny. There is no clear distinction to be made between metaphor and reality when it comes to facing one’s worst fear. The person who leaves the safety of the known world and gives themselves to a direct confrontation with the possibility of their own demise, is the person who is unconditionally free to serve that world -- even in the face of darkness. With their return, they find transformation and renewal in limitation and death. This poem by Rainer Maria Rilke alludes to the mystery of this paradox:
Dann bete du, wei es dich dieser lehrt (To that younger brother) Now pray, as I who came back from the same confusion Learn to pray. I returned to paint upon the altars those old holy forms, but they shone differently, fierce in their beauty. So now my prayer is this: You my own deep soul, trust me. I will not betray you. My blood is alive with the many voices telling me I am made of longing. What mystery breaks over me now? In its shadow I come to life. For the first time I am alone with you— You, my power to feel. - Rainer Maria Rilke From Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, Translated by Anita Burrows and Joanna Macy. (Permission granted to Jerry Wennstrom by translators.)
To understand such an illusive bunch as light beings, we will arrive at the conclusion that they are people who have made the final surrender. When one has, with great intention and at the expense of all else, developed and refined a soul connection with spirit, he or she truly “dances to a different tune.” A person who has arrived at the inspired life is someone who has claimed his or her unique relationship with the mystery. There are no known references to existing notions of “goodness” in their dance. If we look for good people doing good things we will not necessarily find those living the light and integrity of Being. Although generally well intended, it is our intelligent, sophisticated, “Politically Correct” mind that creates our images of goodness, and then tries to fit the largeness of integral Being into them.
It is human nature to create these archetypal images in the world and then project our unlived life onto them as a way of avoiding responsibility for our own spiritual growth. Once the projection has been established we attempt to wet-nurse our own soul-work by hob-knobbing with the Mother Theresas or the Dalai Lamas of our own creation. This intelligent deception is only the unconscious strategy of mind. It is often the most intelligent among us who have the most difficulty making the necessary surrender. Didn’t Christ point first to the subtle and sophisticated deceptions perpetrated by the most learned ones – the priests and the Pharisees? After all is said and done, our perception of the light and integrity of Being, is identical to who we are.
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Art & The Creative Life: Jerry Wennstrom - Pacifica Graduate Institute

God's Sense of Humor
By Jerry Wennstrom
Swami Venkantesananda Laughing

"Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee, and I'll forgive Thy great big joke on me." --Robert Frost

Little reminders of God’s presence, however comical, serve as unexpected guideposts along the way in life. We know that we are “in the best seat in the house” when the gods bring forth just enough paradox to let us know they are paying attention.

"Gorby II" (Ronald V Knapp) and Marilyn Strong

Story 1-

On a recent trip to the Santa Barbara/Ojai, California area, a memory came unexpectedly to mind. One night several years ago, having dinner with David Whyte and his wife Leslie at their Whidbey Island home, David had just returned from a trip and mentioned meeting Mikhail Gorbachev at an event he had spoken at. Gorbachev has been a hero of mine for a long time. I admired the courageous way he was able to let go of the Soviet Union’s dying, old paradigm and allowed for something new to come through – something that better served his people.

I had heard that Gorbachev actually lived in the Santa Barbara area. Thinking about him and my evening with David and Leslie, I wished I, too, could somehow meet Gorbachev. It was just a fleeting thought and being “on” for the next few days, speaking at different engagements, my thoughts turned elsewhere.

However, our last event before flying back home to Whidbey Island was with a wonderful organization called the Inside Edge Foundation, in Irvine, CA. After our event I was sitting at the reception table signing books when I noticed my wife, Marilyn, talking to a person who looked like Gorbachev. Soon, when the event died down, Marilyn and the man approached and he introduced himself as “Gorby II.” He went on to explain that he was actually Mikhail Gorbachev’s professional “double” and had traveled internationally making appearances for him. He even spoke Russian! Apparently a birthmark similar to the one Gorbachev has on his head would be painted onto Gorby II’s head and most people wouldn’t know the difference! Gorby II began listing particular world events where Mikhail Gorbachev had appeared in the media, following each one with “That was me!” Remembering my secret wish to meet Michael Gorbachev, I found the moment so paradoxically comical that I wasn’t able to keep a straight face for the remainder of the conversation.

Story 2

When I was approached by my, now, publisher and asked to write a book, I had to begin the process from scratch. I didn’t know how to type or use a computer, so I had to teach myself both of these skills. As I learned to type, my favorite feature in the Microsoft program I used to write was “SpellCheck.” I had an ongoing joke with my publisher during the writing of my book that I was co-writing the book with Microsoft SpellCheck. When I had completed the book and my publisher asked me to write the acknowledgements, I took the joke further by including a hearty thanks to Microsoft SpellCheck for its’ help (of course we did not include this in the actual book.)

Soon after my book was published, Marilyn and I held a workshop in our studio on Whidbey Island called “The Union of Opposites: Exploring the Inner Sacred Marriage.” One of the people who attended the workshop was George Heidorn, a retired Microsoft employee. After getting to know George, he revealed to me that he had been head of the team that created Microsoft Grammar and SpellCheck. To my surprise, I was actually able to thank Mr. SpellCheck in Person! George found the story so amusing that he contacted the former Microsoft development team and told them my story and how much I appreciated their help in writing my book.

Story 3
His Holiness the 14th Dalai lama and monks

Several years ago I built a 40-foot high tower on our property here on Whidbey Island. When the tower was completed I somehow wanted to have it ritually blessed. Marilyn had been involved with a Tibetan Buddhist group for some time, so I thought a Buddhist blessing would be most appropriate. As I fantasized about who I would most like to bless the tower, the first person that came to mind was His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The possibility of getting him to bless the tower didn’t seem realistic, so I thought perhaps I might find a Buddhist monk to do the job. Having no idea how to go about finding a Buddhist monk, I let go of the idea, feeling that perhaps I was expecting too much.

A few days later, I went for a walk on the trail behind our house. Our trail links up with a network of trails on the hundred-plus acres of a retreat center called the Whidbey Institute. As I made my way along the trail on my walk, I approached an open field near “Granny’s,” one of the Institute’s housing facilities. I heard the sound of men excitedly speaking a foreign language, playing some kind of ball game in the field. Just as I came up the hill near the field, a soccer ball came flying into the stinging nettles near to where I stood. In quick pursuit was a bare-armed, robed Tibetan monk who was about to enter the substantial crop of nettles where the ball had landed. I said quickly, “ Wait, those are stinging nettles! I have long sleeves, let me get the ball for you,” and I went in after the ball. After retrieving the ball, I made my way up to the field where, to my surprise, I saw nine Tibetan monks happily waiting for their soccer ball! When they saw me, the one monk who spoke the most English, Tenzing, stepped out of the group to greet me and cordially thank me for getting the ball.

He told me their group was in the U.S. on a peace tour and that they were staying at Granny’s for a few days, creating a sand mandala at our local Loganberry Farm’s large, public space. As part of the tour of the U.S. they created peace mandalas, did ritual performances and spoke about the plight of the Tibetan people under restrictive Chinese rule. I later found out that they were the same Gyoto monks who were in the film, Seven Years in Tibet, and that the actor Richard Gere had sponsored their peace tour.

I spoke with Tenzing for a while and explained to him that my wife practiced Tibetan Buddhism and that we had, on several occasions, held Buddhist transmission ceremonies at our place, led by Tsultrim Alione. I asked if he and the other monks could possibly come the short distance through the woods and bless our tower. He didn’t quite understand what a “tower” was, so I explained that it looks a little like a Tibetan stupa. By this time the other eight monks became curious and came over to listen in on the conversation. I later found out that Tenzing was the only monk in the group who had not yet achieved the elevated spiritual status of “lama.”

When the group heard me say that the tower looked like a “stupa” they wanted to know which kind of stupa it was. I said I didn’t know, so the head lama stepped forward and led me to his room where we looked at pictures of stupas in a book he had. After looking at many silhouettes of a variety of stupas, I said, “Well, it doesn’t really look like any of those.” I then proceeded to draw a picture of my tower with its flame-like wooden cutouts running up the ridges of the long roofline. The head monk looked at the picture and immediately said, “Ohhh! Flaming Stupa!” and they all chimed in, “Flaming Stupa.” They began chatting in Tibetan and agreed to come over the next day about dinnertime to bless the tower. I was overjoyed and told them that I would prepare a nice meal for them, and they seemed quite happy with the arrangement.

9 Gyuto Monks pile into the 8 X 8-foot space to bless our tower

The monks arrived on schedule and with incense, rice, and water they blessed the tower in a 45-minute ritual. They rang a bell loudly, threw rice and water and did their deep overtone chanting. The tower seemed to glow in the dark for days after they left!
Once again the humorous gods came through. They didn’t exactly bring His Holiness the Dalai Lama to bless our humble tower but they did bring this wonderful group of Gyuto monks! The Gyuto monks constitute the Dalai Lama’s personal choir!

It does not matter what form our dialogue with the mystery takes. What matters, is that we are actively engaged in the dialogue and that we are tracking and grateful for the defining, guiding moments when the universe speaks to us (or makes us laugh!) All that comes to us, “good” and “bad,” offers a gift when we learn to interpret the language of the universe. There is no other freedom and no more active way to participate in the unfolding of our own destiny than to find meaning and guidance in an established dialogue with living mystery we are surrounded by.

Something born in me
Something very old
like the gray stone or the gray cloud
Something that puts light in my eyes
Something that sees light in yours

Something older than myself
But born anew inside me
Something very old
Like the brown earth
Or the blue heavens

Like rain upon the earth
In the season when coloured leaves
rain upon the earth
And now this -
As my heart trembles

I am laughing out loud

Poem by Mud *

Want to join the Stay Inspired email list, and get connected with a community of inspired individuals and organizations? Contact me at noemi.stay.inspired (at)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Interview With Charlie Hess

When I read Charlie’s interview in Barrons Magazine I thought it was so completely efficient and articulate that it must have been written rather than spoken. When I asked Charlie about this he said a writer from Barrons simply came to his New York office and asked questions. He went on to say, “Funny you should ask, my daughter liked the article too and wondered the same thing.
Charlie has an in-depth understanding of the world he inhabits and he articulates his knowledge/wisdom naturally and extremely well. It is always a pleasure for me to experience the expressions of those who have mastered their art forms. Charlie has mastered a form many of us know little about, yet this article would capture the interest of anyone. – Jerry

Click on Pictures & Pages to Enlarge

Charlie Hess also offers an intuitive, in-depth process called "Mind Mapping."

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Setting the Conditions for Grace to Arise
By Charlie Hess

What is our role in manifesting Grace? By Grace I mean the bounty of the invisible hand; the influence in our world of Spirit’s energy. We experience it regularly and it is there always. The dance between human and Spirit energy is a powerful and tricky thing.

In our world today, there is ever-present evidence of man’s energy powerfully exerted and influencing our experiences. In cases big and small, the influences of man’s energy in this dance are very sweet and welcoming. When there is daily action which emanates from the perception that “everyone is Buddha,” openness, acceptance, joy manifest in the world.

In many, the human will moves from a place of scarcity and seeks to create what it feels is lacking in itself. The effects of this energy are varied and numerous. These range from the gross manifestations of difficulty (often atrocious) imposed on fellow humans, to the more subtle effects of personal fear, greed, anxiety, confusion creating a closedness, a contraction of energy which prevents us from personally experiencing Spirit’s energy. We have the capability to contribute a level of energy to the “dance” which helps Spirit’s grace to fully manifest.

I want to share with you an experience – somewhat dramatic – which I had recently on a plane while traveling from New York to Los Angeles. It was an evening flight from JFK airport and although the weather seemed fine outside, because of storms moving through the east coast, flights were prevented from leaving and we crept on the tarmac to hopefully reach the head of the take-off line. At one point the pilot said we would be sitting for a bit while air traffic control held us on the ground (it’s always air traffic control’s fault). He allowed that we could get out of our seats while we stopped on the tarmac.

I was sitting on an aisle seat and suddenly from behind me appeared a young bearded Orthodox Jew holding a royal blue prayer satchel. I later learned he was a rabbi from a west coast seminary. He said to me, “are you Jewish?” I immediately recoiled. Although I had been brought up in a Jewish family, I had never associated with the Jewish tribe in any religious sense. In fact, although I had been bar mitzvahed, I hadn’t connected to that ceremony in any meaningful way. I sense that my energy had not connected to those rituals or prayers. He then asked me “have you been bar mitzvahed?” I said, “No,” because in fact I felt that although I went through the ceremony, I truly had not. He then said, “Would you like to pray with me?” At that moment, I knew that although my body was recoiling in fear and embarrassment, in the middle of this packed airplane, that something important was being offered to me. My energy shifted, I felt myself open and I said, “Yes”.

At that he smiled, opened his prayer satchel and proceeded to explain that we were to do a prayer which would connect my heart with my mind. He unwound the leather straps that attached to a small black box containing prayers from the Torah. Placing the box on my left bicep, he wound the straps around my forearm and through my fingers and lastly around my wrist. He explained, “These are connected to the energy in your heart, very important acupressure points.” He then unwrapped another small box and strapped it to my forehead. We then recited a series of prayers, “Blessed Art Though …”

“There,” he said, “Now you’re bar mitzvahed.” At that, the plane’s engines started up again and we laughed to each other, recognizing that the place had offered just enough time for our ceremony, before he had to go back to his seat. Although this Bar Mitzvah took place on a stalled plane, sitting on a black tarmac, in the presence of a plane full of strangers, I felt that a great initiation had taken place. And yes, the ceremony was a Jewish one and the words were Hebrew – which I had not previously felt connected to. I feel that the initiation was wholly a surrender to the union with Spirit.

To me, this was an example – a rather dramatic one – of setting the conditions for Grace to arise. For when the rabbi asked, “Do you want to pray with me?” my reaction, my ultimate opening, allowed Grace to flow. I asked him after we were through why he came up to me and he said, “I just recognized you.” I like to think that he could recognize that I was prepared to move beyond years of fear and to surrender.

This personal experience is a universal one. The opportunities for we humans to move beyond our well developed “muscle memory” of will, control and a curious assumption of power, are presented throughout every day – usually in much less dramatic, but very real circumstances. The energy we contribute to the dance can either result in twisted ankles, stubbed toes or a beautifully orchestrated graceful dance, filled with Grace.

To further illustrate how Grace seems to work, I later learned that at around the same time that I was on this plane, my son Justin was in LA on a darshan line, waiting for his blessed hug from Amma, an Indian Hindu saint. Just before he was to reach Amma for his hug the announcement was made that she was going to switch from Sanskrit and start doing her chants/prayers in Hebrew! When Justin made his way up to her she held him especially long in her embrace and continued uttering her Hebrew prayers in his ear.

It seems that in order to move beyond the strong muscle memory of years of habit, models can be very helpful. Various religious “saints” from a multitude of denominations are offered as historic models of a way of being. The support which Stay Inspired is designed to offer, is another way of providing everyday models. The open, giving offerings which inspired endeavors manifest provide ways for people to experience the characteristics of how others are setting the conditions for Grace to arise. And the ripple effect from those models can have a deep effect on how humanity engages in this wonderful dance.

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With Charles J. Hess of
Inferential Focus

By Brooke Southall
June 20, 2005

Most chief executives are whip smart, but they can't always see the forest through the trees.
Charles J. Hess founder of Inferential Focus can see the big picture. He has spent 25 years creating research based on the careful reading of hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. This approach helped him alert clients to the financial meltdown later known as the "Asian Flu," the realities of terrorism and the pricing shifts in the oil industry.

"In working with [Mr. Hess] over many, many years, I would say his gift is his ability to see the order in what appears to be chaos," said Kevin J. Bannon, chief investment officer of The Bank of New York Co. Inc.

Q. What is your edge in gathering useful intelligence for investors?

A. The method actually goes back to low-tech ways of getting information. I think there's a big change in the investment business that's impacting a lot of our clients. Getting some intelligence or a bit of information before the competition and being able to move on that - it's been effectively weeded out of the environment. So we do what people have done for a long, long time and that is try to get information you can rely on, and for us, those are events, and put those together in such a way that you get a picture of what is developing before it's well recognized.

Q. So what is an "event?"

A. An event is something like, Russia announces that they're going to do military exercises with the Chinese for the first time since 1958 this summer.

Another event might be, within the same context, that India changes their parliamentary restrictions and allows their oil minister to negotiate with Iran without restrictions. Those are two events, for example. And we try to accumulate a lot of little observations and put them in the right configuration to get us a picture of what's developing.

Q. How do you identify these events, and how do you determine which ones merit attention?

A. We read 353 journals and newspapers and, in a very disciplined way, we extract all of the opinions, all the commentary from the writers.

Every couple of weeks, we'll get together, the six of us who do the reading, and we'll have a stack of five or six inches of paper among us. We'll eliminate almost all of it and maybe come out with something to comment on.

Q. How do your reports differ from those of your competitors?

A. A lot of research organizations ask people things, and they respond to the responses. So they'll do polls, they'll do surveys, they'll go to corporate management, ask them what's going on, what their earnings projects are, and work off of that. That, to us, is processed information.

So we go back to the raw information, which is something that we can rely on. Actions speak louder than words.

Q. Then I guess you face the irony of having to turn around and process information. So how do financial companies use your expertise, and of what does it consist?

A.They use it to recognize a new situation. I was alluding to something we've written about recently, the very aggressive actions on the part of China, Russia and India getting together and creating what we call a "triumvirate." That's typically not what a China expert, what an India expert, what a Russia expert or a management investment strategist would be talking about. So we try to see out in the world what's occurring early and then migrate it to what it means for investors, for corporations, for the government. Those are our three basic client groups. We bring them whatever we find.

They don't tell us, 'we're interested in natural gas; go tell us what you know about natural gas.' We just discover what we discover.

Q. What have been some of your good discoveries in the past that have defined your success?

A. It's a long list. We started the firm in 1980, so it goes back a long way. Some of the most notable ones [include] the Asian flu, which surprised the financial markets in 1997 and 1998. We really had been warning about that for six months before Thailand devalued, and then we helped clients manage it as it progressed.

Q. Any more recent than that?

A. We saw something we called "World War III." And in September 2000, a year before 9/11, we wrote about the terrorist threat that we inferred was out there, that was not being recognized by the intelligence organizations. And with that, World War III to us was the dangers of permeable borders. Terrorism, physical incursion on borders was an obvious one, but it included everything from the record industry, the audio industry, not being able to protect their copyright borders of their records. So World War III became a very big context.

What that created, which became very important just as a timing issue for the investment world, was fear. As this developed, and of course as 9/11 occurred, the reality of borders not being able to be protected created an increase in fear, which we tracked through the end of 2002 and suggested - actually coming into 2003 - that the fear had peaked.

With that decline in fear, what we suggested was risk premiums collapse, the stock market in fact does a lot better, earnings do a lot better. The beginning of 2003 for investors was an important time to be invested, when there was a lot of fear out there.

Q. When I spoke to you two years ago, you predicted that the housing boom would continue. You were right. But I understand that your view has shifted and evolved to encompass global implications. What's changed?

A. Speculators, or they're called "investors" by the realtors, are able to use new instruments - interest-only mortgages, 100%-plus financing in some cases. The Realtors Association says [that] last year 23% of all purchases of homes were by investors. That's a new variable.

Q. But you say that housing depreciation might be the least of our worries?

A. The real important part of the housing industry was the effect on the economy.

Some figures will say $660 billion was pulled directly out of the home in home equity loans and cash-out refinancing. Money literally came out of the increased equity value of the home in the last two-and-a-half years, a significant amount. That, we think, explains the anomaly of consumer spending right through very low growth in their income.

We think that, in fact, real estate is actually driving the economy. And we're suggesting to clients that it's not only key to our economy but key to foreign economies.

Let me just draw a couple of implications. Housing stock would obviously be hit if housing started declining. But the less apparent implications are things like basic materials and basic industries in China slowing down. Because we think the link is now very firm between the housing market and the U.S. economy, which still is the major economy for China, even though they're trying to diversify.

Q. Who are your customers?

A.They range from very large, like Citigroup and Bank of America [Corp.], to smaller companies like - I just met with a client up in San Rafael, [Calif.] called Eastbourne [Capital Management LLC]. They manage about $2 billion for, in some cases, some small high-net-worth managers, investment advisers. There's one up in South Burlington, Vt., Paul Financial Services Inc. [with $50 million under management] that we work with. It's another money manager. It ranges from the biggest to the smallest.

Q. So are you finding a growing market for the types of intelligence that you sell?

A. I think there's an inflection point toward recognizing that they need to do something differently than they've done for the past 50 years or so, which is basically rely on processed information. You see it in a marketplace, where hedge funds are taking greater risks because they can't get the performance that they expected or that the clients expected. And that's partly because of the efficiency of the market. They're not getting the advance warnings that they could play as easily.

Q. Can you share any concrete investing themes based on events you observe?

A. It's not, per se, the oil prices. It's really the shipping of oil. Turkey has changed the rules for ships going through the Bosporus and Dardanelle straits. And that's something that's started to spread, and it's related to security, and not just terrorism, but just security in shipping. And so they changed the rule that mandated that all hazardous materials be shipped only during daylight hours. They spread the distance between the ships that go through the straits. What had been a 12-day round-trip from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea is now up to 44 days.

That's not going to go away if oil prices go down. So we'll need more ships, and the time to ship is going to be longer, so the costs will go up for the shippers. But it's good for the shipbuilders. And again, whether we go down to $35 or $30 a barrel, that security issue is not going to go away with lower prices.

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-----Original Message-----
From: Charles Hess
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 7:16 AM
To: Unmasking the Mask

Hi Jerry,
I finally got a chance to read “Unmasking the Mask.” The thought process you describe is very similar to that which I experience in my mindmap process. The silence and listening for direction, even the act of creating a piece of art, are all a part of my process. I don’t know what it is but when I have faith and surrender to an unknown source, the result is unassailable, unfailing. When fear and uncertainty creeps in, things don’t flow. The sence of unknowing I enter the process with is also key. I’m just present and available for what is presented when I sit to do the mindmap.
No air conditioning in the office yesterday in 98 degree heat so your “stay perspired” envelope definitely was appropriate!
Cheers, Charlie (Hess)

Unmasking the Mask

Lindsey was a 22-year-old, suffering from anorexia. Her parents called one day and asked if I might try and help her. After doing everything they could think of to do, they were at the end of their rope. They had taken Lindsey to several doctors and all had failed to help her. They then convinced her to go into a treatment center, which was also unsuccessful.

I had a nice connection with Lindsey. A year earlier she had told me how she had been sexually abused as a child by a neighbor, so I knew something of her personal history. I wanted to help. However, not knowing anything about anorexia, I felt a little out of my element. My intuitive understanding of anorexia is that the conscious allure of emptiness is lived-out as the slow and unconscious elimination of the body. In other words, our natural inclination to trust the renewal we know exists in surrender (metaphoric death) becomes an unconscious collusion with the physical demise of the body (literal death.)

After seeing the hopefulness in her mother’s eyes and hearing about the suffering Lindsey had endured in recent months, my feelings of compassion over-rode the initial hesitation I felt. I knew I needed to trust whatever it was her parents trusted in bringing her to me in the first place. Determined to help, I suggested to her mother that she bring Lindsey over and leave her with me the following day.

The next day, Lindsey and her mother arrived on schedule. Her mother nervously dropped Lindsey off, thanked me and quickly drove away. Lindsey was cheerful enough on her arrival – at least on the surface. After a cup of tea and a little conversation, the bottomless pit of her sadness slowly began to emerge. Lindsey looked very unhealthy – thin, gaunt, dark circles under her eyes, discolored teeth from self-imposed vomiting.

When sharing some of the more intense details of her struggle, she would occasionally switch back into a more cheerful voice and counter what she had said. At one point she countered the details of her laxative use with, “I am really not that bad – I only bought 6 boxes this week – I mean there was a girl in rehab who would buy 20 at a time-- you should have seen her!” Quietly and prayerfully I went inward and asked to be given what I needed to help this sad young woman.

“Lets make a mask!” I suggested. She looked at me quizzically and hesitantly said, “Okay.” I had made masks with individuals and groups before, using a simple procedure where plaster bandage was used to mold the general shape of the face. I happened to have a box of the plaster bandage, on hand, that a friend had sent me just a week before. Once we were prepared and ready to begin I had Lindsey lie down on a blanket, covered her face with Vaseline (to keep the plaster bandage from sticking,) and then covered her face with the warm, dampened plaster bandage. After giving the plaster a few minutes to harden, I removed the mask from her face and we were ready for the next step in the process. I had plenty of art supplies in my studio so we set off to paint and decorate the mask. I was still feeling somewhat inadequate in terms of the deeper issue of Lindsey’s anorexia, however she seemed absorbed in the process of making the mask. I was simply trusting where our creative exploration might take us.

Lindsey seemed to get quite involved painting and decorating the mask and was pleased with the final results. Having no intuitive insights as to the meaning of her creation in relation to her current issue, I suggested we take a break. Mask in hand, Lindsey followed me upstairs for a cup of tea. As we sat with our tea and the mask in front of us, I asked a few questions about her experience of making the mask. Lindsey was not someone who was particularly articulate in expressing her feelings, nor did she have a general interest in pursuing the deeper or symbolic meaning of her experiences.

When she was younger, my wife Marilyn and I took her to see a movie we thought she might be interested in. On our drive home after the film, Marilyn and I naturally (natural to us,) discussed what we felt the deeper meaning of the film might have been. Eventually I turned to Lindsey and asked what she thought about the film. To my surprise she looked puzzled and said, “I don’t know -- do you always think about movies?” I said, “Yes, we usually do -- don’t you?” She said, “No, I just watch them.”

As Lindsey and I sat drinking our tea, I didn’t have a clue how making a mask might help her current situation. My confused state of unknowing and a deep desire to help this troubled young woman became a silent, passionate prayer for guidance. At that moment, my feelings of concern for her, and the silence we inhabited together created a particular kind of intimacy between us. I felt she trusted me completely and all of my compassionate attention, at that moment, was focused on concern for her. Perhaps the space we inhabited together was what the Bible assures is available to all of us,
"Where two or more are gathered in my name, there will I (God) be also."

As we sat in our long and diffuse silence with our hands resting closely on the table, I noticed a bit of paint on her hand. With one finger I reached over to rub the paint off. At once, Lindsey snapped to attention, looked at me wide-eyed and appeared to go into a completely altered state! As I watched, a part of her seemed to disappear right before my eyes.

Sensing what was going on for her, I picked up the mask, held it before her eyes and said, “You look just like your mask.” Seizing the moment, I quickly followed with, “You just left your body?” “That is why you don’t feed and take care of your body -- because of the sexual abuse, you learned to leave your body when things get difficult, and somewhere along the way you made the choice not to inhabit your body at all. When I touched your hand in that quiet moment you thought I was coming on to you and you left your body, just as I am sure you did when you were a little girl being abused. That was your way of surviving the experience. When you are afraid, or feel betrayed you leave your body behind and go somewhere else.” I continued relentlessly, suggesting she love and care for her body and never betray it the way others have. I told her she must never again abandon or abuse her body by systematically starving it to death. In my insistence I even gave her “homework!” As a counter-measure to the abuse/self-abuse, I suggested she occasionally produce beautiful, candlelight dinners for herself and consciously care for and feed her body as if it were the Beloved.

Lindsey sat quietly, deeply listening. I can’t remember all that I said that day. However, I felt something very important got through to her and that I had said all that came through for me to say. When I had nothing more to say we sat in a long silence. At about the time we expected her mother to arrive we heard her car come down the driveway and pull into the parking lot. Out of the silence, gratefulness and urgency of the day’s end Lindsey finally said, “You are the smartest person I have ever met.” It was a simplistic way of interpreting my small part in the magic of the day, and I felt anything but “smart.” However, I was grateful for the breakthrough we experienced and grateful for the help of unseen hands that gave us both what we needed.

I didn’t see Lindsey again until months later when she sought me out at a large gathering. It was a blessing to see her so plump and happy as she told me how well she was doing. I told her how wonderful she looked in her pretty red dress. She said, “Don’t tell anyone -- I got it on sale at Target. It was a formal occasion and everyone was well dressed. I said, “Well, you look as beautiful as anyone here.” She beamed a smile and told me she was getting married.

Her tears fall

on the beach

strewn with pebbles and small shells

while her cries mix

with the clacking of

the wild birds

circling above.

It is not easy to



on a pile of stones

~~~~~~~~~~~~~* ~~~~~~~~~~~

Juanita Yoder with "Matter" - her most recent installation at a Princeton, NJ school (a former convent)

"Transposition"by Juanita Yoder
Commission for Christopher Dock Mennonite High School Rosenberger Academic Center

Banners by Juanita Yoder
Princeton Alumni Weekly Magazine


Another Kind of Time
by Joanie Brady

“Joan B. Brady has invited us into the heart and soul of the private world that she shared with her mother. It is an elegant tribute to the best of our humanity, when it is inspired by love.”
Deepak Chopra

Click on images to enlarge


A Blessing for Equilibrium by John O'Donohue (who has just passed away)
Contributed by Joanie Brady

A Blessing for Equilibrium

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the music of laughter break through your soul.

As the wind wants to make everything dance,
May your gravity be lightened by grace.

Like the freedom of the monastery bell,
May clarity of mind make your eyes smile.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May a sense of irony give you perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May fear or worry never put you in chains.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
To hear in the distance the laughter of God.

~ John O'Donohue ~

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Music CDs by Wah

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Soul's Journey Services
by Marilyn Strong

Click on brochure to enlarge
Click on brochure to enlarge

Songs for Sophia Music by Marilyn Strong

By Jerry Wennstrom
Available in March as an Audiobook by Wetware Media


Inspirational Videos

Stay Inspired Mission

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Stay Inspired engages with those bold enough to act on their awareness that we are all deeply interconnected. It pursues ways to nurture and connect such people so that their lives may inspire others to awaken their fire for spirit–enriched lives. Stay Inspired is grounded in an understanding that the universe is intelligent and that we are part of an amazing web of beauty and abundance. Contact- noemi.stay.inspired (at)