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Experiencing the 2017 Evening of Magic

Step into the magic of USM’s Evening of Magic! Enjoy the full photo gallery here

Magic was everywhere on the night of October 22, 2017, and perhaps most vividly at the stunning Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village for USM’s annual Evening of Magic gala…

Guests descended an outdoor staircase at the golden hour under a silver sliver of a moon to be greeted by and photographed with Ron & Mary against a majestic waterfall, a stunning centerpiece of the lush outdoor oasis.

It was an event of gratitude and appreciation as USM’s past, present, and future were celebrated by donors, volunteers, graduates, faculty, and friends from years recent and long past. The outdoor reception, highlighted by delectable hors d’oeuvres and prosecco, built to a crescendo of joy as guests’ twinkling eyes landed on longtime friends from across the veranda. Hearts flung open right along with hugging arms, and the air was filled with a special kind of stardust.

As darkness descended, the mood and the moon ascended, and the party moved to the gorgeous dining room decorated in autumnal splendor. The hum of fun and fellowship rang on as guests sat down to the exquisitely executed gourmet meal (Scarborough Farms Organic Greens with Lemon Ricotta and Pistachio before the main course of either Seared Halibut with Morel Mushrooms and English Pea Puree, Seared Beef Tenderloin with a Truffle Potato Pave, or the Quinoa-and-Kale-Stuffed Squash with Smoked Tomato Chutney).

Beginning with the cocktail hour and throughout the night, giggles could be heard from inside the novelty photo booth, which received a constant stream of friends documenting the special evening with moustaches, star-shaped glasses, and sparkly hats. All participants received a photostrip memento that will happily greet them whenever they open their refrigerator doors.

Beautiful art and experiences from a silent auction encircled the back of the room. The highest bidders will enjoy cherished memories such as dinner with Ron & Mary at The Magic Castle, a private airplane ride over San Diego, and gorgeous art pieces. USM thanks the silent auction donors for their generosity: Matt Hanover, Jeff Brickell, Paul Bond, Robert DeLaurentis, Lili Lambert, Paula Majeski, Miranda Alcott, and, of course, Ron & Mary.

Carolyn Freyer-Jones emceed the event as deftly as ever as this year’s host, though this time she had a little helper in a star-sparkled dress in the form of her daughter, Lucinda, age 9. Carolyn noted that this was in fact the first time the Evening of Magic has enjoyed young guests, which is a fitting evolution as USM paves the way for the next generation. To imagine how many generations of families have been impacted by the Principles & Practices of Spiritual Psychology, and how many are yet to come, is a humbling thought, and really what this evening is all about.

As Ron & Mary then took the stage, the genesis of USM and its next emerging era was in fact a theme of the evening. Ron shared the auspiciousness of being together with the Chancellor, John Morton, several other Board of Trustee members, and USM’s beloved donor community on this particular date, given that the University’s Founder and Chancellor, John-Roger, passed into Spirit exactly three years prior. He shared their profound gratitude for J-R’s remarkable support and read an excerpt from the Founder’s Message, which is as true today as it was when written in 1976, two years before Ron & Mary even met J-R. Ron then told a story about how Ron & Mary were entrusted by J-R in the most whole-hearted way to choose their own Board and run the entire operation of USM. What an enormous Blessing for all of us!

They also acknowledged their deep appreciation for this community and shared the new vision that seems to be emerging at USM, for which the financial, volunteer, and Light support by everyone in the room is helping to make manifest. More and more of the almost 6,000 graduates are inspired to take what they have learned at USM out into the world, and many are seeking support for this. The form is not yet known, but as usual, Ron & Mary follow the flow of Spirit’s guidance as this new vision blooms within them and out into the world. In fact, a pilot program called Soul Purpose was already launched this year by Licia Rester-Frazee and Kirk Souder to over 60 business leaders, developed with the loving guidance of Ron & Mary. It was an enormous success in that these 60 business people received valued Soul-Centered Education that met them right in the communities they are part of. In just a few days, Ron & Mary will head to Aspen, Colorado, to participate in the 2nd Annual Lead With Love—a 4-day leadership and wellness event created by USM Grad Gina Murdock—where they will share the stage with the Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, and many other leaders in the field of Conscious Awakening.

In essence, new form will continue to grow from the foundation created in 1976 wherein “new vistas will be opened, permitting entry into the consciousness of Love.”

Mary brought their sharing to a sacred close as she invited everyone in the room to close their eyes and send a blessing to the Soul of John-Roger for the majesty of his being, for his willingness to live a surrendered life, and for giving them the opportunity to use their consciousness and lives in service to creating something of true value over the course of these many years. It was deeply moving and a wave of reverence and gratitude washed over the room.

And this was a perfect entrée for some mind-bending magic! USM-favorite Wayne Hoffman, one of the top mentalists and illusionists in the world, entertained the room in the most mysterious of ways! It began with an audience member’s vacation dreams bursting out of a blown-up black balloon, and ended with all of us traveling back in time as evidenced by an empty Pepsi can sealing itself, filling itself back up, and chilling itself back to its original state from an hour or so earlier.

Wayne’s show was the befitting reflection of the USM teachings as he magically dissolved the illusion of separation for a moment and demonstrated how truly connected we all are. This was most manifest by a wife who could feel the tickle of a feather or the tap of a microphone on her skin that actually only her husband was touched by! It was demonstrated again by a young boy who chose the image of a boat, and drew it on a poster board while Wayne drew his own matching boat on the opposite side with not a single clue as to the selected image! The audience was dazzled, delighted, and audibly amazed!

The evening ended with a generous array of Ethel M. chocolates—which has become a most welcome Evening of Magic tradition!—enjoyed while guests marveled over the magic that was shared, the joy of a palpably Loving evening, and warm goodbye hugs.

Ron, Mary, the Board of Trustees, Chancellor, Faculty, and Staff share their deep gratitude for the generous financial contributions that continue to sustain and expand the University into its luminous future.

Step into the magic of USM’s Evening of Magic! Enjoy the full photo gallery here

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