Friday, November 13, 2009

A New Era

If you also read or subscribe to my other blog (formerly The Voice of Your Muse, now simply Mark David Gerson's Blog), you'll know that change is in the air on the blogging front: I've decided to take my philosophy that life, creativity and spirituality are all intrinsically linked and apply it to my blogs.

In effect, I've suspended posts to this New Earth Chronicles blog and am consolidating all my blogging efforts on Mark David Gerson's Blog. The result will be a more dynamic blog, still focused on creativity but with a more eclectic and broadly spiritual flavor that should appeal to writers and nonwriters alike.

If you were already a subscriber to The Voice of Your Muse, nothing will change for you. If you subscribe only to New Earth Chronicles, you will eventually be auto-subscribed to the other blog once Feedblitz merges the lists. If you'd rather not miss out on content in the meantime, simply use the subscription blank here, on my web site or on Mark David Gerson's Blog. Any of those will make sure you get on the mailing list right away.

I hope you'll continue to enjoy my musings on life and creativity on the other blog, and I encourage you to continue to share yours there, too -- with me and with each other.

One more change: I've revamped and redesigned my web site. Please have a look.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Colors of Enchantment

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico

I don't know what it's like now, but when Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall opened in 1982, its architects were loudly criticized for the auditorium, which, to many, was bland and colorless -- a stark contrast to its bold exterior.

The designers countered that its neutral shades were to be a backdrop for the audience.

And it's true. Before the lights dim, the concert hall is itself a symphony of color, with those filling its seats the star attraction.

I thought of this this morning while out for my morning walk in the high-desert foothills behind my house. And I remembered the first time, in 2005, that I drove into New Mexico.

Until that point, the only other place I'd lived in the Southwest had been Sedona, with its thick stands of juniper always green against striking crimson cliffs. When on the wintry January day I first crossed the state line from Arizona, I was shocked by New Mexico's unrelenting dun. "Where's the color?" I cried, determined to hate this place that had pulled me into it so magnetically.

Turns out, they don't call this the Land of Enchantment for nothing. During my next two years of full-time travel, New Mexico was where I spent most of my off-road time. Yes, it was a comfortable driving distance from my daughter, still in Sedona. But there was more: a numinous quality that transcends logic or explanation, a magic that speaks to the soul of anyone open to it.

Today during my walk, yellows, fuschias, magentas, violets and whites spring from the colorless soil, all the more brilliant because of their neutral backdrop. It's as though the land, in a life-imitates-art version of Roy Thomson Hall, has muted itself in order to give its flowers top billing.

I love this place, especially the granite-studded Sandia Mountains that rise up behind my home.

New Mexico lacks the obvious beauty of other places I've lived -- Nova Scotia, Hawaii, Sedona. But, no less than those, it has seduced my spirit and will, no doubt, keep me here until it has had its way with me. And for now, walking among the flowers that always seem such a miracle here in the desert, I pay tribute to the generosity of a land that steps back to allow all that thrives in its dusty soil to be its star attractions.

Photos #1, #3, #4, #5 (c) 2009 Mark David Gerson: Desert flowers, Sandia foothills, Albuquerque, NM; Photo #2 Roy Thomson Hall interior, by Roy Thomson Hall

Be Inspired!

Tuesday, August 11 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico

I'm excited and gratified to announce that the response to my 9/11/08 appearance as featured Inspirational Luminary on was so successful and popular that they're repeating it this Friday, August 14.

Once a for-pay site, Inspire Me Today is now free, offering you features that will inspire you not only on August 14, but every day. So when you visit to read my inspirational offerings, I hope you you'll also sign up for the free daily inspiration email and free 44 page eBook Secrets to Soaring.

The site is awesome and I'm proud to now be able to call the woman who created it, Gail Lynne Goodwin, a friend. Please check it out on Friday...and beyond!

Snap a Pic for Me and Promote Yourself - Part II

Monday, August 10, 2009 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico

This is a repeat of a piece I posted on my The Voice of Your Muse blog last month, but featuring a whole new gallery of readers! I hope you'll join the fun. Read on to find out how....

Do you have a copy of either of my books? If so, I'd love to include a pic of you reading either The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write, The MoonQuest, or both in my Rogues Gallery of Readers Photo Album on Facebook.

And to help you promote your book and/or web site, I'll include in the photo caption not only your name but your promotional info/link. I'll also post a selection of reader pics here in a future blog post.

If you have my email address, simply email me your pic and caption information. If you don't have my email address, contact me via Facebook, Twitter or my web site once you have the photo, and I'll tell you where to send it.

Thanks to Lynn Higgin (top pic, above), Dave Rhodes, Cristina M.R. Norcross, Laurent Delpit, Irene Brodsky and Joanne Allgoewer for their reader pics. I'm looking forward to getting yours!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How Great Thou Art

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico

I originally wrote this piece for a May 2005 issue of my then e-newsletter. But with so many people facing so many doubts about so many things in these so-turbulent times, it felt time to offer this reminder of the fundamental truth of our infinite potential and innate greatness.

May 16, 2005 ~ Victor, New York

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
~ traditional hymn

There's an old hymn you might know titled How Great Thou Art. I discovered it about a decade ago on a country gospel compilation and have loved it ever since. Through that time and until a few weeks ago as I was walking through a riverside park in suburban Detroit, I gave little thought to the words or their current relevance.

Then as I strolled among the emergent greens of an Eastern spring, something shifted and suddenly I got it.

All those church-goers through the hymn's century-long history who assumed they were singing to someone else, to the God-on-high that's outside of themselves, were missing the deeper truth behind the words.

All this time, they and I have been singing to ourselves!

How Great Thou Art is a declaration addressed not to some white-bearded deity, but to the singer. To me and to you: How great thou art.

For you are the God That You Are. And how great thou art!

The God That You Are is mighty. The God That You Are is strong. The God That You Are is fearless. The God That You Are knows only effortless, easy abundance.

The God That You Are is love.

We hear variations of this so often: You are love...God is love...Love is everything...Love is all that is...Love is all there is...

All these are true, even if they have been tritened in the over- and superficial use of those phrases.

But the basic truth is that the energy of love suffuses all. The energy of love fills all. And the energy of love is all there is.

And if that's so, then you are that energy. You are love.

How can something that is love be less than? How can something that is love be not good enough? How can something that is love be not valuable?

You are all these things. And from that place, it's time to step into an appreciation, acceptance and embrace of what you are.

For once you recognize, truly and viscerally, that there is nothing but love and that that's what you are, you can no longer hold yourself down. You can no longer diminish and demean who and what you are.

All you can do is acknowledge how great thou art. How great thou art.

There is a God Presence within and around you that in this moment is expressing itself in human form. It has the eyes the allow you read this. It has the ears that allow you to hear this. More than anything else, it has the heart that allows you to know this.

So stop for a moment. Take a deep breath. Take a deep breath and breathe in the truth. And that truth is the underlying greatness of the love that defines who and what you are.

Yes, the word the love has been cheapened through misuse. But in our human language that we now share as a means of communication, love really is the only word we have.

It's time to reclaim. It's time to re-energize it. It's time to open to the truth of it, which is that love is more than a romantic, red-trimmed valentine that makes you feel good on February 14.

Love is an energy.

It's the energy that created the Universe. It's the energy that created you. It's what holds you together in this body. It's what stitches the Universe together. It's what holds the stars together in their constellations. It's what creates the healthy, healing and whole-making patterns of our lives.

It's a frequency and vibration that sets no conditions for its expression, its giving or its receiving. It simply is. Ever-present, it always surrounds you in its embrace.

Take a moment to feel yourself embraced by that energy.

Close your eyes and think back to a time and place, where you felt fully nurtured, loved, embraced, present and in remembrance of all that you are. And if you cannot now recall such a moment, simply allow these words to create one for you, as you remember how great thou art.

Wherever you do not feel love in your life, wherever you do not feel that nurturing, nourishing, all-embracing, all-accepting energy of creation, breathe it in. Allow your breath, your connection with the Divine Being that you are, to embrace you, to nourish you, to nurture love you

You are the God That You Are, and that God, all triteness aside, is love...the infinite and ultimate expression of love.

There is much baggage around the word God. Yet it is simply a three-letter word we have chosen to describe an energy that our minds cannot, at this time, comprehend.

How can your mind comprehend the infinite nature of all that is? How can your mind comprehend love as that infinite expression?

So we create words like God -- or Universal Spirit, Great Spirit, Goddess or All That Is. The words aren't important. What's important is that you attune yourself to what that energy represents, an energy that is beyond your mind's grasp.

Your mind is an important part of you. But it is only one part of you. Honor your mind and the roles it plays in your life. Don't allow your mind to be your life.

Your life is the energy represented by the concept of God. Your life is the energy represented by the concept of love. Your life is the frequency of your highest potential, a potential that your mind cannot begin to grasp.

So step out of your own way and into the God That You Are. Or better put: Get out of your own way and allow the God That You Are the freedom to step into your life.

Many evangelical Christian religions talk about accepting Jesus, which can sometimes, in some situations, be off-putting.

Yet if we take that call as a metaphor for opening your heart to let the love that Christ represents flow through you, then we're essentially talking about the same thing.

We're talking about opening our hearts to allow the highest energy to express itself through us, not only in Sunday church, not only in meditation, not only in the midst of some other experience of touching the Divine.

We're talking about being that Christ Light. It's being the Jesus within you, the Mother Mary within you, the Buddha within you, the Moses within you, the Allah within you, the Great Spirit within you. It's in being those energies in every moment.

Too easily and too often, we disempower ourselves by seeing those God energies as separate from ourselves. We sing How Great Thou Art to the outer God.

We do that, in part, because our minds cannot grasp that these energies reside within us and are part of us. We also do it because our minds, or some fearful parts of our beingness, cannot accept that we are that love, that we are that greatness.

So your assignment for this moment is to surrender to the concept that you are great, that you are love, that you are God.

Your assignment is to read or sing the words how great thou art and apply them to you. Your assignment is to see every expression of the word God as an extension of who you are.

The Divine God of your beingness is you. Not your human body or personality mind but the God That You Are, which encompasses everything -- all that is, was or ever could be -- and brings it together in a greatness that longs to express itself through you.

So open your heart, mind and soul to the greatness that you are, to the God That You Are. And in doing that make the choices for that higher resonance. In every moment.

When you stand at the crossroads of any choice, notice which fork in the road carries the higher resonance, which choice is the God choice.

Do your best in that moment to take that path, the God path, the Jesus path, the Allah path. Take that path as the Divine-in-human form that you are, and move forward in that energy, spreading the love and greatness that you are through each word, thought and action, in each moment.

You are the God That You Are. Repeat that:

I am the God That I Am.
I choose the God That I Am.
I surrender to the God That I Am, and I allow that highest potential, that highest presence, that highest expression of who I am, to live through me, to love through me, to act through me, to speak through me, to breathe through me.

I am the God That I Am.
I am the God That I Am.
I am the God That I Am.

Bless yourself with that energy in every moment of doubt, uncertainty or fear: I am the God That I Am.

The word namaste means I greet the divine in you, I greet the God in you, I greet the God That You Are.

And so I complete this by blessing you, by honoring you and by acknowledging how great thou art, by acknowledging the God That You Are.

I know who you are. I know the Divine Presence and God Potential you are. I know the miracles you are capable of. I know the love that you are. I know how great thou art. And I believe in you.


Photos by Mark David Gerson: #1 Albuquerque sky; #2 Yucca in bloom, Sandia Mountains; #3 "Bridge to Your Potential," Albuquerque sunset; #4 "Rough Crossing," Brookfield, WI; #5 Stone cairn, Meditation Mount, Ojai, CA

Upcoming Writing Workshops in Albuquerque

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico

Dear Friends,

I'd forgotten how much I loved sharing my passion for writing with other writers until last month's workshop here in Albuquerque. You see, it had been a couple of years since I'd offered a full-fledged writing class or workshop -- partly because of my travels and partly because I'd been so focused on getting my own books out that there'd been little time to teach.

But June's event was so fulfilling, for myself and the participants, that I've decided to do it again.

More to the point, I've decided to make Albuquerque -- and New Mexico -- the hub of a new series of classes, workshop and, ultimately, retreats.

It wasn't easy to declare any place as "home" after my 30 months of full-time travel. But two years after having landed here at the end of those travels, Albuquerque has finally come to occupy that place in my heart. I'm home. And I want to do as much of my work here as possible.

For now, I have two Albuquerque workshops coming up:

Birthing Your Book...Even If You Don't Know What It's About ~ July 18
So many of us know we have a book inside us but either aren't clear what it is or don't know how to start. Through a series of powerful exercises, I'll help connect you with the book that's been inside you all along and show you how to use that connection to get your book written.As well I'll offer you practical tools to get going and keep going...through to completion.

The Call to Write: Answering the Voice of Your Muse ~ August 8
Bring your questions, issues and concerns about writing. And prepare to write -- naturally, spontaneously and from that deep place within you where your muse resides, waiting for her call to be answered. (By popular demand, this offering of The Call to Write will involve more hands-on writing than any previous version.) I've offered versions of this workshop over the years and it's always more about the people who turn up than any fixed curriculum -- which means that every Call to Write is different from its predecessors.

It doesn't matter what your genre or experience level is, these workshops will transform your creative process and revolutionize your creative life. You'll never feel the same about writing again!

Both Saturday workshops take place from 1-5pm in the Tramway/Candelaria area of Albuquerque's Northeast Heights.

And if you sign up for both by July 14, you'll pay only $99, a savings of up to 34%! July 14 is also your deadline to get into the Birthing Your Book workshop for $55, instead of the regular $75. (PayPal and all credit cards accepted.)

But call soon: Space is very limited and my June 20 Call to Write was sold out!

If you feel any pull toward joining us, I encourage you to honor it. So often, the call to participate only makes logical sense once you're in the midst of the experience. And each workshop will be a powerful, supportive, nurturing and accelerating experience. I hope to see you there.

Remember, space is limited. So register today.

Warm regards,
Mark David

P.S. My calendar of upcoming book-signings, classes, workshops and other events is always posted on my page at

Monday, May 11, 2009

Leaps of Faith

Monday, May 11 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico

"You enter into this lifetime in the leap of faith your soul takes into the being in your mother’s womb. You take that one huge leap only to discover that such leaps never cease being demanded of you."
~ from "Leaps of Faith," The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write

As a writer, mentor/coach and teacher, I never seem to be entirely done with the words that move out into the world through me. I always have an ear cocked to my own issues when I counsel a client or teach a class. And although my books are snapshots in time, reflecting who I was the moment final corrections were appended to the final galley, they, too, contain messages for me long after I've moved on to other projects.

I pulled the "leaps of faith" quote from The Voice of the Muse a few days ago to include with the dolphin image in a friend's e-birthday card. In the end, I used neither the image nor the quote on his card, because I realized the message was more for me than for him.

Like many of you, I am moving through one of the most challenging times in my life. Whatever their outward appearances, those challenges have nothing to do with finances, employment or the economy. They're all about my determination to shed all that stands in the way -- all that I have placed in the way -- of a free-flowing life...a life of profound passion, joy and fulfillment...a life open to love in all its forms.

Having called that in, I'm now in the midst of an alchemical process that is, at times, terrifying and emotionally painful, an alchemical process that requires all the faith I can muster.

The dolphin image, by the artist Apollo, was one reminder of that. I experienced another yesterday while visiting the studios of photographer David Cramer. One of the photos on display was of a cougar caught in midair as it leapt from one cliff to another, with nothing supporting it other than the faith -- the knowingness -- that it would safely reach the other side.

We, too, are being called to leap off the cliff of our certainty and into the void through which will birth the magnificence our souls are yearning for. Like that cougar, we are caught in the space between breaths, living our faith as best we can, allowing the alchemical fires to purify, lighten and transform us into a more perfect physical expression of our divinity.

It's not an easy journey, nor is it one for the faint-of-heart. But it helps to know that it's one we all travel together.

Even if, in this moment, you don't believe in yourself, I believe in you -- in all that you are and in all that you are becoming. And I know you possess the courage, wisdom and inner strength to land, firmly and joyfully, on solid ground.

I wish you a wondrous journey, filled with the miracle that is your flowering spirit, expressing soul and opening heart. Thanks for being part of mine.

The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write just won its first award, an IPPY Silver Medal, from the Independent Publishers Book Awards. Click here to order a copy or for more information, including excerpts.

You'll also find audio clips from my 2-CD set,
The Voice of the Muse Companion: Guided Meditations for Writers, on the same site.

Image credits:
• Dolphin: "Leaps of Faith" by Apollo
• Cougar: "Leap of Faith" (c) David Cramer 2007

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Love Changes Everything

"I am here to remind you that without love, your MoonQuest cannot succeed."
~ The MoonQuest: A True Fantasy

Love will turn your world around, and that world will last forever / Yes, love, love changes everything ... Nothing in the world will ever be the same.
~ from Andrew Lloyd Weber
's "Aspects of Love"

Saturday, March 21 ~ Gallup, New Mexico

The black jeep drives out of Denny's parking lot, my daughter Guinevere waving from the back seat. It turns south on Muñoz Drive, then west on I-40 on its way back to Sedona, Arizona.

For ten minutes, I sit numbly in my car, unable to turn the key in the ignition and follow Muñoz to I-40's eastbound ramp, for the two-and-a-half-hour trip home to Albuquerque. When I do, it's a long time before I can turn on the radio or call a friend, the two distractions that often ease long drives for me.

Today, I need silence.

I've experienced many versions of this sadness since December 2004, when I drove out of Sedona in the wake of a marriage breakup and launched the odyssey that ultimately landed me here in New Mexico. But this is one of the most intense, and it takes me several days to figure out why.

Over the next two days, Guinevere emails me a half-dozen YouTube video clips from Easter Parade, Meet Me in St. Louis and Singin' in the Rain, the three classic movie musicals I introduced her to during our March Break visit, each accompanied by a love note. But, unusually, I don't hear from her at bedtime.

On the third night, I call. Her mom explains: Guinevere was more distraught than usual at leaving me and was afraid that talking to me would make her even more upset.

I understand. In those early months after I first left Sedona, I too hesitated to call Guinevere some nights for the same reason.

The next night, I have a seemingly unrelated experience: Someone I would never have considered pursuing romantically because of the yawning gap in our ages, pushes many of my buttons by flirting with me.

My first instinct is to recoil. Then I remember both the counsel I've given friends on that same topic in recent months and words I wrote just two weeks earlier in an online discussion thread on the subject. I was writing about two men. But the words apply to any two potential mates, regardless of gender or orientation:

"It's not age difference by itself that presents the potential problem," I wrote. "It's differences in maturity, psychology, life experience, goals, energy levels and interests that can get in the way. Sure, age differences can exacerbate those issues. But the same issues can easily arise between two men who are the same age.

"Dating someone young enough to be my son would push all sorts of buttons for me. But I wouldn't walk away from the potential for a deep, abiding love based on numbers alone. Love is too rare and special to make up artificial rules that ignore the mystical, magical illogic of the human heart.

"When love comes calling, I'm not going to ask for a birth certificate. I'm going to explore the heart connections that make love so wondrous."

When love comes calling....

Suddenly, I realize that what I've been experiencing is isn't only about me and Guinevere. Nor does it really have anything to do with this guy, who for reasons other than age may not be mate material. It's about how open I truly am to love -- however it chooses to come calling, whatever form it takes.

Back in January, I overcame some of my antipathy to The Secret movie and watched it again. The most profound thing it left me with was a call to write out all the things I was grateful for -- both those already visible in my life and those I desired but had yet to see or experience. The result was a comprehensive, four-page, ever-evolving list of statements related to every aspect of my personal, professional, creative and financial life.

I've been reading it aloud daily ever since.

When, Tuesday night, I get off the phone first with Guinevere and then with this young guy, I run to the computer and add this gratitude/joy statement to the others:

"I am so happy, joyous and grateful, now that I fully embrace and am unconditionally open to all the love directed toward me and flowing to me -- now and in all dimensions of time and space."

At first I think it's only about allowing myself to feel the fullness of my daughter's love and allowing myself to let in the kind of "loving, physically intimate and committed relationship" I've described in one of my other gratitude/joy statements. Then I realize that, as the Beatles so simply put it, "love is all there is."

Love is the energy that fuels everything and is the true source of every item on my four-page list. The only way to achieve my personal, professional, creative and financial goals is to keep opening my heart wider and wider to receive that love, however it comes calling.

The more open-hearted and vulnerable I can become, the more I can allow love in all its forms to touch and transform me. These forms can include the words of my next novel as much as the success of this one. They can include financial freedom as much as loving relationships.

They can also include pain.

The love from an unexpected source that led to my marriage became the pain of its dissolution. The joy of a week with my daughter is also the heartache of our parting.

What last week reminded me was that love can bring pain as well as joy, and that unless I'm open to a full experience of love's pain, I will never experience the heights of its joy and passion.

It also reminded me that the best inner and outer work I can be doing in these times of intense upheaval involves not only keeping my heart open but doing everything in my power to open it yet more...and more...and more -- to myself, to everyone else and to all the ways love presents itself, even if they're potentially painful to me or to someone else.

When love comes calling, whatever form it takes, I choose to be the open vessel that welcomes it and allows it to fill me with all my heart desires -- the four pages' worth that I know about as well as the infinite realms of desire I cannot yet begin to imagine.

Love does change everything. Everything.

I'm now ready to embrace it. Unconditionally.

Are you?

Please share your thoughts here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Our Inauguration Day

Monday, January 19 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico

Tuesday at noon ET, when Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States of America, it will not only be his inauguration but ours. It will be an inauguration for each of us willing to step into a new world with him.

If only 10 percent of us -- in this country and around the world -- leap across the threshold today into that new beginning saying "Yes, I can. Yes, we can," and if we not only believe it but act on it and live it, this country and this planet will be changed forever.

Are you part of that 10 percent? Are you ready to turn your back on fear? Are you ready to embrace all parts of you and of each other in love and respect? Are you ready to embrace possibility, hope and potential?

What can you do in your life today -- right now -- to anchor this new beginning? How can you embody your possibility and your potential?

Share it here. Then be it. Now.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Coming Out (Again) for Christmas

Friday, January 2 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico

It's December 14 and I'm at the New Mexico Gay Men's Chorus's "Come Out for Christmas" concert with my friend Kathleen. It's our second year attending this event together and although this year's show is not nearly as good as last year's, there's something about being here this time that feels inexplicably right.

After the concert, Kathleen and I are chatting about this and that at a nearby Starbucks when I ask her, "Have I ever told you my 'gay story'?"

If you've been following this blog for a few years, you'll have read various versions of the story. What I told Kathleen was this:

For the first 20 years of my adult life, I lived as a gay man. Yet, as I awakened to my spirituality, I felt called to stop identifying myself as gay -- or straight. Rather, I began to see myself as a sexual being open to all possibilities. Still, I was somewhat surprised when, a few years later in Sedona, AZ, I fell in love with a woman.

When I told my gay friends that I was getting married (a sort of reverse coming-out), I explained that I had fallen in love with a wonderful spirit who just happened to occupy a female physique. From that place of love and passion, I said, gender and orientation were irrelevant and anything was possible. And it was.

Yet as profound, intimate and wonderful as our relationship was, it ended six and half years later, for reasons unrelated to sexuality.

In the four years since, I've often revisited the sexual orientation question. "Am I gay again?" I would ask in meditation. The answer was always, "Nothing has changed. Don't label yourself. Be open to all possibilities." Even though my primary physical attraction remained toward men, I honored that counsel and refused to categorize myself.

Something changed when I returned to Albuquerque in November after 40 days on the road. It was as though after 15 years of traveling in the spiritual realms, I had crash-landed back on earth and was reconnecting with the 38-year-old I had been before my spiritual awakening.

Suddenly, people from my past resurfaced, as did work opportunities disturbingly similar to those I hadn't pursued in 16 years. And at the very physical (read "earthly") job my financial situation pushed me into last month, I have been "Mark." Only friends and family from years back know me as Mark. To most everyone else I'm "Mark David."

I was starting to believe that I was living my own version of the infamous dream season of the 1980s Dallas TV series and that I would wake up and discover that nothing of the past decade and a half had really occurred.

Of course it all did, and I have a beautiful nine-year-old daughter (and all of you) as proof. What I have been experiencing, rather, is a giant turn of the spiral I wrote about in Everything Old Is New Again, a "full circle" far more comprehensive than any I remember having lived.

In spiritual terms, it's time to take all I have experienced on my spiritual journey and bring it down to earth -- into the practical, into the reconnect who I was with who I am now.

"Perhaps," as I wrote so presciently in The MoonQuest, "it is allow the boy I was to touch the man I have become..."

When I leave Starbucks that Sunday evening, having shared my story with Kathleen, I feel the same kind of rush I felt 24 years earlier when I began coming out as a gay man to straight friends. I feel as though a tremendous burden has been lifted from me. I feel lighter.

Four days later, I go to see Milk, the film story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in the US, who was assassinated in 1978 by a fellow San Francisco city supervisor.

The movie is brilliant, compelling and moving (as is Sean Penn's portrayal of the title role) and I find myself wiping away tears at frequent intervals.

It's compelling for another, more personal reason: the film's time frame covers the period of my coming out, and the gay activism it portrays is a bolder version of my activism in the Montreal of the mid- to late '70s. It's like watching my own life play out before me.

I leave the theater in an altered state and when I got into the car, I begin to sob uncontrollably. I sit there -- crying, heaving, releasing -- for 20 minutes. And when the tears stop I see that I have come full circle, that I have allowed the Mark I was to touch the Mark David I have become, that as open as I remain to the infinite realm of possibilities in life, I am a gay man. Again.

Even as I share this story with close friends in the days that follow, I'm not sure what to do with this realization. Is it appropriate to come out a third time? Is it necessary to be as openly gay at 54 as I was at 24 and 34? Does it even matter anymore to anyone but me?

This morning, in the midst of an interview with Joan Sotkin on her Prosperity Place radio show, I realize that it does matter. And I realize why.

During the show, Joan shares her spiritual coming out story and reveals how difficult it had been to let her spirituality have a place in her coaching work. And I note how vulnerable I felt putting out my most recent blog post, All That Matters Is That I'm Writing.

As we're talking, I remember how important it is to be vulnerable, how healing it is to share our truth and our stories out into the world. I remember, too, how much of my work is about helping give people permission to do those very things by doing them myself.

That's largely what this blog has been about. That's largely what Harvey Milk's message was about. He insisted that we must be who we are out in the world, and it's a message that's as valid today as it was 30 years ago -- whoever we are, whatever our orientation.

I realize, too, this morning that like Joan we all have many parts to ourselves and that each of these is more potent and transformational when operating as part of a oneness. When we fragment ourselves -- being spiritual only with our spiritual friends, gay only with our gay friends, Jewish only with our Jewish friends, vegetarian only with our vegetarian friends, Democrats only with our Democrat friends -- we cheat the world and ourselves of the strength, power and paradox of the human soul.

Each of us is a unit within which lives unparalleled diversity. Only when we can be at peace with that diversity within ourselves will we be at peace with that same diversity in others. And only then will we see peace in the world.

That peace begins in me. That peace begins in you. And it begins with me honoring all of who I am by integrating all of who I am into all that I do. One of the ways I achieve that integration is by being open and vulnerable with you, by letting you see more of me than I might always prefer you to see in the hopes that you will be inspired to share all of you with others.

Tikkun olam is a phrase in the Jewish tradition that translates from the Hebrew as "healing the world." That healing begins when I open my heart to myself so that I can see who I am. It grows when I open my heart to you and let you see who I am. It grows further when you do the same.

Won't you open your heart and share your light -- all of it -- with a world so desperate for healing? Won't you come out of hiding and be?

What parts of yourself are you hiding from yourself?

What parts of yourself have you hidden from the world?

Where can you integrate more of who you are into what you do?

Where can you be more open to others' diversity?

Where can you be more open to your own?

Won't you share some of who you are here?

Photos: #1 Gay Santa from The Austin Chronicle; #2 me and my daughter, Guinevere; #3 Book cover for The MoonQuest, designed by Angela Farley; #3 Poster for the movie Milk, starring Sean Penn; #4 Hebrew lettering for "tikkun olam"