This is a transcript of a speech our daughter Shanti gave to a class at St Petersburg College last week.  So many beautiful insights.  family friendship and loveMeet Shanti Robinson:

Hi everyone! I’ve brought an enormous paper sculpture that is important to me and is also symbolic. You may be wondering how to maintain a happy life. I’m still learning too, but these are some of the things I’ve learned and maybe they will apply to you.

My name is Shanti Robinson and I’m going to talk about some of the most precious aspects of life: family, friendship, and love.

Connection is one of the most important things in any relationship. Like this paper sculpture.  It’s connected to make this unified globe. And if you were to take one piece out, the whole thing would fall apart.

I’m really grateful for my family because we trust and respect each other completely. Trust enables us to share our deepest thoughts and feelings with one another. So our discussions consider everyone’s feelings and disagreements often end in compromise.

My mom and I are both very strong-willed individuals so sometimes we argue. But we learn from each other. One of the things I’ve learned from my mom is to think before I speak. I treasure this insight because it has helped me in all areas of life, particularly in friendships.
I calculate everything I plan to say. What I mean by that is before I respond, I predict how a person’s going to react and I edit in my mind until I can visualize a positive outcome.

People are multi-dimensional like this 3D sculpture, so people will react differently to what you say. The perception of kindness is relative. So in order to be compassionate with everyone, I learn about that person and adjust to better communicate with them.

My best friends are kind and we connect on a very deep level.  Although I love all people, through experience I’ve learned that there are some people I can’t be friends with.  These are people who take more than they give.  That can be really draining.  I learned that lesson when I fell in love.

The person that made this sculpture for me was the first person I ever loved.

Even though love is always magical, our relationship didn’t end well and I realized that there are two different kinds of love: incompatible and compatible.

Incompatible magic was what I experienced. It was magical because our connection and the moments we shared were intense and inexplainable and we wanted to spend all our time together. But it was incompatible because our needs conflicted. He wanted an undefinable romance and I wanted him to be known as my boyfriend.

Compatible magic is what I believe everyone desires. It’s the type of love where everything is mutual. Both people’s wants and needs are met. Compatible magic lasts forever. It’s beautiful and sometimes complex but there’s always a happily ever after.

So again, I’m Shanti Robinson.  And these are my deep thoughts on family, friendship, and love.



Randi and Jack Wedding BlessingsA marriage: a ceremony and celebration of two people joining as One.

Charles was honored to perform the wedding of Randi Smith and Jack Callahan on Saturday, March 9th, 2013 at Sand Key Park in Clearwater.

The ceremony included a review of The Four Agreements as a guide for creating balance and harmony in their marriage and also in relationship with the world.

Special thanks to Ann Witt for helping to organize this beautiful event!  Randi said, “It was magical!”



Shanti and I went to see the movie “The Help” today.  I cried through most of it.  Sobbed, actually.  It was painful to watch.

Shanti said that she found all the characters believable except one – the meanest character, the one who was the most vindictive and cruel.

I said, “Why didn’t you find her believable?”

And Shanti said, “Because I couldn’t find anything good about her.  That’s not believable.  You can find some good in everyone.”

Gotta love this kid.

What do you think:  Can you see some good in everyone?



When Shanti was little, we tried to train ourselves:  Scold in a whisper (much easier for Charles than for me), and celebrate her successes like we were partying on New Years Eve.   How often we praised her and recognized what she was doing right was important, but just as important was how big a dose we delivered.

It wasn’t just about the frequency of our interactions, it was about the intensity.

If we were scared – if that parental panic inside was flagging us down like the robot in Lost in Space screaming “Danger, Will Robinson!  Danger!” – we’d let out a yelp that made everyone within earshot freeze and stop breathing for a minute.  That’s a big dose.   Alright, so you’re thinking it’s a pretty good thing to stop danger in its tracks.  But what about the other kinds of fears and anxieties we communicate to our kids? And, what about our anger?  When it’s anger you’re delivering, even a little dose goes a really long way.  Are the doses of the healthy stuff big enough to outweigh it?

This week something jangled me.  Took me out of my nice comfort zone and had me sweating and a bit tremulous actually.  Let’s just say an old clerical error that I didn’t even know about, but with financial consequences, came back to haunt me.  Not exactly the IRS, but just as bad.  Coughing up the payment was painful but brief.   What jangled me was the worry, the fear of the unknown.  “If I didn’t know about this, what else is lurking out there?”  Several hours of the “what if’s” later,  and after trying – and failing – to find relief with a bunch of my usual centering techniques, I finally asked myself:   “How big a dose of this fear am I willing to take?”

And after careful consideration, I decided that I’d already had a sufficient dose, thank you very much, and it was time to get on with life as I enjoy it.  In this case, the dose was self-administered and I’d had enough.

So I thought I’d share my experience, maybe inspire you to consider – not only about what emotions you’re dosing yourself with –  Fear?  Anger?   Joy?  Love?  Appreciation? – but also how big a dose you’re taking.   When it’s self-administered you’re the only one who can decide.   I think some thoughts should come with warning labels.

Photo by Hans Von Rijnberk on Flickr Creative Commons


Billy and Lindsay

Begin the day with Love.
End the day with Love.
This is the path to God
Sathya Sai Baba

Earlier this month, Charles was honored to celebrate the love of a beautiful couple, Billy and Lindsay, by performing their marriage ceremony in Naples, Florida.

(Aren’t they gorgeous?!  And just as beautiful inside.)

Billy and Lindsay created their wedding vows based on The Four Agreements that we teach to people who are committed to building a lifelong partnership in love.

With all the challenges that life can bring, love is a refuge.  It is the place we come home.   For us, our relationship is a spiritual path.  But even if you find only practical advice in The Four Agreements, they will serve you well.

May you be blessed with great love.